Author Topic: Don't Stop Believin'  (Read 563 times)

Jake Jensen

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Don't Stop Believin'
« on: March 23, 2013, 10:20:21 AM »
When daylight finally broke, it was to a gloomy and overcast day that promised to be cold and damp and rainy, just the kind of day made for staying in bed and snuggling to keep warm, but Jensen had other plans. He'd kept his promise to himself, staying awake and watching over Leia while she slept, holding her close in his protective embrace, reluctant to let go. But there were things that needing doing, important things. As soon as the first light of day peeked in through the window, he climbed out of bed, careful not to disturb her, a soft kiss pressed against her cheek before he pulled the blankets up over her to keep her warm.

He shivered in the morning chill, dressing as quickly and quietly as he could in the clothing he'd stolen from the prison storeroom. He found his glasses on the bedside table and wiped a smudge or two from the lenses before putting them on, glancing over at the sleeping elf before tiptoeing over to her pack in his stocking feet to search for his laptop.

Leia just barely stirred as he left her in the bed, just the barest suggestion of a purr in her soft breath when he tucked the blankets close to keep her warm. But they were not alone this morning - Sloti had returned, curled up on the windowsill as though he had never left. The ferret opened first one eye, and then the other, as Jensen moved across the room, lifting his head to chitter enquiringly at the hands reaching for Leia's magical bag. He wasn't going to shop the man for rummaging, so long as Jensen told him what he was doing. If he didn't, Leia was going to get a sharp wake up call.

Jensen frowned when he heard the chittering sound from the ferret, having almost forgotten all about him, wondering where he'd gotten to all night. "Shh," he warned, lifting his head to look at the ferret. "You'll wake her." He turned to look back at the bed and the sleeping elf, not wanting to disturb her sleep, though he hadn't slept a wink. "I'm looking for my laptop," he whispered an explanation, though he felt a bit silly doing it. I've really lost my marbles, he thought. I'm talking to a ferret.

The explanation seemed to do the trick, though. Sloti appeared to nod, slithering down off the windowsill to lope over to the man rifling through his friend's belongings. Evidently, the creature was going to supervise, since Leia was being allowed to sleep soundly for the first time in a long time. The bag itself weighed almost nothing, and appeared to be empty when Jensen first looked into it. But slowly, objects began to appear in view, seemingly cycling through some pre-ordained list, showing off the contents of the bag one by one.

"What the hell..." he muttered to himself in amazement as he watched the bag's contents flip by like a slideshow on a computer. He was mainly looking for his laptop, but his curiousity was piqued not only by the other objects in the bag, but by how the bag worked. It was magic of some sort, but he wasn't sure what. Some people though magic was just science that wasn't fully understood yet, but he wasn't too sure about that.

He saw potion bottles slip by; the hilt of the sword he had seen her put in the bag only the day before; a quarrel of small crossbow bolts; a wrap of scrolls; spare boots; a loaf of bread; a flask of wine; all this, and much, much more. Everything she could possibly need to survive alone for several days at a time. When his laptop finally came around, he had seen the entire contents of the bag of holding, enough equipment to fill a moderately sized suitcase, not a bag small enough to rest comfortably on a half-elf's hip without hindering her movement.

"That's amazing!" he exclaimed, mostly to himself, a little louder than a whisper, but not loud enough to wake her, he hoped. He reached inside the bag for his laptop, wishing she had some clean clothing he could change into. Or maybe something for breakfast. A cup of coffee and an Egg McMuffin would do nicely, but he had a feeling he was no longer in the land of Egg McMuffins any longer. That thought brought a frown to his face and a growl from his stomach. He knew he needed to eat and catch a few z's, but first things first. He tucked his computer beneath an arm and closed the bag before tiptoeing over to a small table to set his laptop down. He opened the computer and hit the start button, letting it boot up, while he tiptoed his way to the bathroom to relieve himself.

Quiet though he was, Leia was slowly becoming aware that she was alone in the bed, his surprise and amazement filtering through the link binding itself from her to him enough to begin the slow process of gently waking her. She rolled onto her back as Jensen slipped into the bathroom, stretching out only to slide back into a comfortable doze with a soft yawn. On the back of the chair, Sloti glanced from the bed to the bathroom, and jumped bodily into the bag, a ferret on a mission.

Unfortunately for Jensen, or maybe for Leia and Sloti, he'd forgotten that his computer booted up to the sound of Freddie Mercury singing the praises of Fat Bottomed Girls. An exclamation of, "Oh, sh*t!" was heard echoing from the bathroom and he hurried back, fumbling with the zipper on his jeans.

So much for not startling her awake. Shocked by a full, unnatural sound that was so far beyond her sphere of understanding as to be magic of itself, Leia lurched up out of the bed with a gasp, rolling to her feet. She fell into a crouch, defensive and genuinely fearful, her daggers caught up from the ground in her hands. Naked and deadly, her eyes focused on the laptop, narrowing in a manner that suggested it should either stop making noise or face the consequences of having an elven dagger hurled through the screen.

"No, no, no!" he screeched, seeing her ready to do battle with his computer, and he put himself between it and her, shielding the thing with his body and lifting his hands, palms forward to try and calm her down. "Relax! It's just my computer. I forgot to mute it." From the looks of things, he was willing to brave a dagger to save his beloved electronic device from destruction. And it was only a machine. It might make one wonder what he'd do if it were her who was in danger.

Wary and not entirely convinced everything was safe, Leia stayed tense, one finger uncurling from her grip on the leather wrapped hilt in her palm to point at the thing that had woken her. "What is it?" she demanded. "Why is it making that horrible noise?"

"Horrible?" He snorted. "I'll have you know that's quite possibly the greatest rock singer that's ever lived," he said, bristling a little, feeling just a little insulted. "Just... put the dagger down and I'll show you." He still had his hands up, like he was being held up, appealing to her to put her weapons down.

Of course, he hadn't quite taken into account her ears - what sounded only a little distorted through laptop speakers to him sounded like something being tortured to her. She eyed him for a long moment, wincing faintly at the torture on her eardrums, but did slowly set the daggers down on the bedside table once more, straightening out of her crouch. Shamelessly free in her entirely natural state, she dared to creep a step or two closer, peering around him at the device. "Make it stop," she said quietly. "It hurts my ears."

Now that it was daylight and he had his glasses on, he could clearly see what he couldn't the night before. "Oh, my God..." he muttered as she stepped closer, not moving a muscle to turn off the music, as painful as it was to her sensitive hearing, too enraptured with the look of her. He'd actually slept with that? How had he gotten so lucky? "You... you're..." He appeared to be tongue-tied again. Maybe it was something about the daylight.

Her eyes, soft violet in the morning sunlight, rose to meet his enamored gaze with a tender expression a romantic would call love, her lips curving a gentle smile for his sudden inability to speak a full sentence. She rose up onto her toes, small hands fisting in his shirt, to brush her lips over his in a morning greeting. "Yes, I am," she agreed, assuming he was trying to point out her lack of clothing. "But I really will kill your pet thing if it doesn't shut up."

Thankfully, the computer was done loading and had finally gone quiet. He smiled, as if the thing had shut off as if by magic. "You just don't know good music when you hear it," he said, smiling down at her, leaning down to meet her morning greeting with one of his own. He still wasn't sure if she was a dream, since he hadn't fallen asleep yet or woken to break the spell. His eyes fell shut at her kiss, savoring the moment for however long it would last.

It would last as long as he allowed it to. The small feminine form pressing close to his was in no hurry to let go, soft lips coaxing his to part as her hands traveled up his chest, over his shoulders, looping about his neck with familiar confidence. Leia's dreams had been full of him all night; she wasn't going to pass up any opportunity to enjoy the real thing.

He would have allowed it to last all morning, but there were things that needed to be done now that daylight had arrived. He needed to figure out where he was, how he got here, and how to get home, even though the thought of leaving her made him ache with loneliness. Maybe if he could figure out a way home, he could figure out a way back. "Leia," he said, as he broke her kiss, disentangling himself from her embrace. "We're not going to get anything done this way."

Guilt flared in her gaze as she realised what she had done, that she had allowed the bond to rule her for just long enough that her will to let him go his own way had been overcome by the desire to keep him here, to haze his mind and keep him distracted until he couldn't think of being anywhere without her. "Of course," she said awkwardly, managing to raise a smile for her overzealous hello. "There is food in my bag, I'll find something to eat." Inwardly, she cursed herself as her gaze lingered on his, not wanting to look away but needing to, for her own sanity. He was going to think she was the worst kind of clingy lover at this rate.

As for himself, he was feeling about the same, but for different reasons, not wanting her to think he didn't want her, didn't find her desirable. How could he not with her traipsing around naked and kissing him all the time? She was distracting, but it was a good kind of distraction. Still, he felt a pang of guilt for being the practical one. He had the feeling he'd disappointed her again. "I'm sorry," he said, taking a seat at the table in front of his computer. "You should get dressed."

Only part of her was disappointed; another part was relieved, and impressed that he had so much control over himself. Her fingers trailed over the line of his shoulders as she passed behind him. "Do not apologise," she told him with a faint smirk. "I let my desires overwhelm my senses. You're right to stop me, or you will not get out of bed all day and all night." She chuckled, twitching a blanket from the bed to cover herself with, more for his sake than her own. "I need to wash," she mused, more to fill the silence than out of a need to inform him of her plans as she looked into her bag. "But I do not see a fire, nor a bath. Perhaps I will have to find a bath-house."
"Don't start none, won't be none."

Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2013, 10:22:50 AM »
Oh, he didn't have that much control. If she'd gotten a little bit closer, she would have known that. His body wanted her - he wanted her - but he was doing his best to resist or they really wouldn't get anything done. Maybe elves could live on sex alone, but humans needed more than that. He frowned as she passed behind him, her touch making him shiver, but not from the cold. "I'm not sure that's such a bad thing," he murmured, punching a few keys on his computer before looking over to see her covering up with a blanket. God, she was beautiful. How many times had he said it already? He furrowed his brows at her curiously. "You really are from the Dark Ages, aren't you?"

She blinked, turning to look at him in surprise, her gaze flickering to the window as though that might give her some indication as to what he was talking about this time. "It is not so very dark, is it?" she asked curiously, wondering if his eyes saw the world anywhere near the way hers did in the wake of this unsettling query. "I am sure it is just a passing storm, there will be sunlight later."

He chuckled lightly at her misunderstanding of his statement. He thought there might be a lot of those as they got better acquainted - if they got better acquainted. "No, that's not what I mean." He got up from the chair and reached for her hand. "Come here."

Distracted from her self-appointed task, her expression was unabashedly hungry as he rose to his feet, her gaze sweeping him with possessive desire, remember how he had looked in the darkness, bare to her gaze. How he had felt and tasted. It took something of an effort to tear her gaze upward once again, meeting his eyes as her fingers slid over his, realising belatedly that she was purring again. Her other hand clutched tighter to the blanket tucked beneath her arms, as though she could convince herself to behave just by staying covered up. "What did you mean?"

"It's easier just to show you," he replied, leading her by the hand to the bathroom and the wonders of indoor plumbing. Oh, the wonders he could show her. He pushed open the door and waved a hand at the tub, like a game show model. "Ta da! Sink, toilet, shower. The marvels of modern technology." Well, not that modern, but they probably seemed pretty modern to her. He let go of her hand and reached over to turn the hot water faucet on the sink. "See? No need to heat water over a fire or on a stove. It's all done for you." Steam rose from the sink to prove his point.

Her eyes were drawn first to the toilet, a look of disgust crossing her features. "The privy is inside?" she asked, sounding horrified before sniffing the air tentatively. "It does not smell like a privy, and ... it has pizzle still in it!" She drew back, her nose scrunching in vague disbelief, only to jump and squeak in shock as hot water splashed from the faucet in the sink. Leia's jaw dropped in amazement. "You have harnessed the power of a volcano's water?"

He sighed and rolled his eyes. He could have sworn he'd flushed, but maybe he hadn't. He wondered if he should blame Sloti. He stepped into the bathroom and leaned over to flush the toilet, chuckling at her remark. "No, I haven't harnessed anything. The water runs through pipes to a..." He paused a moment as he considered how to explain it. He could have told her it was magic, but that would have been a lie, and he wanted her to appreciate the science of it. "It gets heated and stored in a tank. You know what a tank is? And then it comes through the pipe to the sink when you turn the faucet on." He turned off the water and tapped the left knob. "This one's hot. The other one is cold. The tub works the same way, but with one difference." He pushed the shower curtain back to reveal the shower head and faucet below it, along with a small lever that activated the shower. "Pull that lever and the water travels through a pipe and comes out there," he said, as he pointed out the shower head with the wave of a hand.

Watching in fascination as he leaned to flush the toilet, Leia lurched backwards at the first swirl of water, alarmed by the violence of the flush. Her eyes turned back to Jensen then as he went on to try and describe the workings of a plumbed bathroom. "And ... all this, you are used to all this?" she asked with a bemused frown. "It is not luxury, to horde water and heat it and use it whenever you wish?" She peered up at the showerhead. "What does that do?"

He chuckled again at her assumption that you had to be rich to be able to afford such luxuries as hot running water. "I don't think I could live without it. I mean, I have... When I've been out in the field. We probably take it for granted, but trust me, once you get used to it, you can't live without it. You wanna see?"

She blinked again, violet eyes deeply bemused by the wonders of what to him was so everyday as to be scenery. "You have lived in a field? With one of these magic rooms in it?" He was confusing her wonderfully, to the point where she had taken a step closer to him, eyeing the shower in particular with wary uncertainty. It all felt so sterile and yet she could feel the steam from the water that had poured into the sink; the privy was clean and seemed safe; more importantly, he wasn't afraid of the things all around them. "See what?" she asked him, one hand curling about his bicep as she stepped close to him. "What is it going to do?"

He was laughing again, amused by her misunderstanding of his explanations. "You're so cute when you're clueless," he said, bopping her nose with a finger. "I didn't live in a field, and this room isn't magic." He smiled down at her as she touched his arm, looking like she was curious and a little afraid. They still had a lot to learn about each other and about the world around them. "It's nothing to be afraid of, Leia. It's just water and pipes. Here, I'll show you." He turned, leaning over the tub to turn on the water. "See? You turn the water on here, and then you can either plug the drain so the tub fills up or take a shower." He showed her how to close the drain, letting the water fill the tub for a moment before emptying it again, reaching then for the lever to turn the shower on, stepping back so he didn't get soaked by the spray of water. "The important thing is to make sure you test the temperature first so you don't get burned."

She gasped, astonished and more than a little impressed. "Your people have created an indoor waterfall," she declared, deeply admiring of the mechanics that had to be behind such a contrivance. Her hand, however, tightened on his arm as he explained further. "Wait ... you expect me to get into that, that porcelain coffin?"

"Don't be silly. It's not a coffin. It's a bathtub." He reached over to shut the shower off, along with the water. "It beats the hell out of heating water over a fire, don't you think?" he asked, with a smirk on his face. He found it amusing that for once he knew something she didn't. He didn't volunteer to take a shower with her just yet, though he would if she wanted him to. He was going to need one sooner or later.

"How does the water stay warm if it lives in the pipes?" she asked, showing up her curious nature and ignoring the somewhat smug smirk on his face. She couldn't blame him for enjoying being the one with the answers for once. "And where does it go when it goes down the drain?" Dropping the blanket from around herself, she stepped away from him, bending over the side of the bath to peer down the drain, jumping in surprise at just how warm the spray of water had made the porcelain beneath her hands.

Seeing her bending over to take a closer look, he turned the water back on, carefully testing the temperature with his fingers to ensure it wasn't too hot or too cold. He couldn't help but admire the view, which left nothing to the imagination, and he suddenly had a strong urge to do more than just wash her back. "I, uh..." Any intelligent thought went straight out of his head as his gaze wandered over her body, as awestruck and tongue-tied as a virgin at a strip joint.

Not hearing any answer from him, she straightened, turning back to look at him. Water slid over her skin in enticing droplets, doing nothing to withdraw from the image she presented. Her smirking smile had risen again, pleased that he found her so pleasing to look at even in daylight, one hand reaching toward him to tuck a finger into the waist of his pants and tug him closer. "I think you should show me exactly how it all works," she suggested in a purring murmur, only too easily distracted from purpose by the sweet urging of the forming bond. "You would never forgive yourself if I were to be sucked down this drain, or drown, or burn myself, and I am certain that would not happen with you here ... holding me."

He blinked down at her, his glasses fogging up from the steam coming from the shower. There was no way she was going to be sucked down the drain or drown, though getting scalded could be a concern. He thought she could probably handle the shower herself, but who was he to argue? He wasn't feeling any sort of bond the way she was, but he was sure as hell feeling something, only too eager to find any excuse to join her in the shower. At this rate, they'd never get to breakfast, but at least they'd be squeaky clean. "We should get in before the water gets cold," he warned, not having explained that the water only stayed hot so long before it ran out and had to reheat all over again.

"You need to take your clothes off, then," Leia grinned, a little triumphant that he had taken her suggestion so easily to heart. She stepped closer, raising her hands to very gently ease his glasses off his nose, setting them on the windowsill with care. "Unless you'd like to spend more time wiling away the hours as they dry?"

"Umm..." He actually had to think that over, as both options sounded equally alluring, but no, he only had one change of clothes for now. He needed them to stay as dry as possible, until he could procure more. "Wash my back and I'll wash your hair," he offered with a grin, as he yanked his shirt off and hung it on the doorknob.

"Just your back?" He couldn't see her grin as he pulled the shirt over his head, but he would feel it. As soon as his skin came into sight, she was close against him again, teasing lips and teeth against his chest, nipping at a nipple just to torment him as her hands smoothed over his back. Shower? What shower? She was distracted yet again, and she really didn't mind how often it happened.

He groaned at the teasing, wondering if she really wanted to take a shower or if she just wanted an excuse to get at him again. She was like a drug he couldn't get enough of, or maybe he was the drug. Whatever it was, she seemed to have an insatiable appetite for sex, and though he wasn't complaining, he wondered if it was just him or if any man would do. Was he just a novelty because he was her first human or was she really starting to feel something for him? "Leia..." he said, trying to pry her away from him for half a second, not only so he could finish undressing, but because the water was still running and he didn't want to end up taking a cold shower. "The shower," he reminded her.
"Don't start none, won't be none."

Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2013, 10:26:04 AM »
Pouting, playful and impatient, she did as she was told, slipping back from him and folding her hands demurely behind her back, inwardly informing the part of her that wanted him bound to her forever that if it had any chance of getting what it wanted, it was going to have to start exercising some restraint. If only he had not laughed at her shy attempt to explain bonding; if only he hadn't rejected the idea as preposterous, he would not be plagued with those doubts. He would know, the way she did, that only he would do for her for the rest of her life. However long that might be.

He wouldn't have resisted if she'd undressed him herself, but he was in a hurry to get his pants off and get into the shower before the water turned cold. Hastily unzipping and stepping out of his jeans and shorts, he tossed them aside to hang on the doorknob, not bothering to pick them up when they landed on the floor. He hopped on one foot at a time as he tugged off his socks and tossed them aside, as well. Once his pants were off, his desire for her was unmistakable.

Violet eyes watched him as he undressed, only a little amused by the awkward hop as he removed that last pair of clothing from his body. Only a little; what was clear on her face was admiration, appreciation, tenderness, desire. All the softness of a bonding with the harsh demand that it be made whole, conflicted in a face that seemed almost unnaturally beautiful. When, at last, he was bare to her gaze, her hands twitched out from behind her back, a hopeful smile touching her lips. "May I touch you now, Jake?"

"No," he replied with a teasing grin of his own, reaching for her hand and stepping into the shower, tugging her along behind him. "Come here," he said, stepping back into the cascade of water, letting it slide down over his chest and back.

Her face lit up in a grin to match his, a quiet giggle describing her movement as he took her hand and tugged her into the smooth curve of the bathtub. She hesitated just once, glancing to the shower above his head as he stepped backward, before the temptation of his body slick with water became too much for even the most rational fear to overcome. A soft gasp broke from her lips a second time as the water spray found her skin, as she stepped up close to him beneath the gentle artificial rainfall, trembling just a little at the erotic innocence of bodies touching without purpose, even for a moment. "I do not know which amazes me more," she murmured, daring to ease her arms about him as the water slicked her hair down her back, revealing the delicate points on the ears that marked her out so plainly as non-human. "That the water is warm ... or that you are so wonderful."

He reached around her to pull the shower curtain closed, sealing them inside the steamy shower. He tilted his head back a moment, pushing a hand through his hair as the water soaked him, before looking back at her with a small, sad frown on his face. There she was telling him how wonderful he was again, and yet, she hardly knew him. "You're the one that's wonderful," he told her, one arm snaking around her to pull her close and press a watery kiss against her lips.

There was something softer in the way she came to him, wanting to soothe the frown from his face, to reassure him that there were no lies in her as she spoke to him. She had not lied to him once, and yet he seemed so unwilling to believe her. But still the little half-elf was happy, eager, to be drawn up against his chest, to offer her lips to his kiss and pour her increasingly willing heart into a sharing of something that was steadily becoming more than mere physical satiation on her part, at least.

As much as he didn't want to admit it, he was slowly losing his heart to her, or maybe it was quickly. Though they'd only been together a few hours, it seemed so much longer, almost as if they belonged together, as if they'd been waiting all their lives for each other. He wasn't sure he believed in love at first sight or in true love, but there was definitely something going on between him that he couldn't quite explain. But this was not the time for talk; there would presumably be time for that later. "Leia," he whispered, taking a soft breath, almost pleading with her as his heart pounded faster. He was supposed to be showing her what the shower was for, but instead, they'd become distracted yet again. She was going to be the death of him or something... or maybe he'd be the death of her. The hell with the showering. He wanted her yet again, unable to get enough.

Her hand crept from his back, rising through the steamy fall of water to curl to his cheek as he whispered to her, feeling his intake of breath cooling her lips as she breathed him into herself in return. She felt small, vulnerable, in his arms, but some part of her reveled in it, in the knowledge that here was the wish she had made all those years ago. The bond would become unbreakable within days, she knew, unless she stepped back from this precipice. But she couldn't stop herself. Her lips brushed against his as she answered him in the longing purr that he seemed to thrill to so easily, nudging the tip of her nose to his as she felt herself tremble against him. "Touch me, Jake."

He was touching her, holding her close, but somehow he knew that wasn't what she meant. She wanted him to touch her in other ways, ways that would make her tremble and moan and he was only too happy to comply. He was slowly becoming putty in her hands, wanting to please her in every way. He was close to losing his heart, and he knew if he stayed with her much longer, he would never want to leave. He wasn't the most skilled of lovers, but what he lacked in skill he more than made up for in effort. He reached for the bar of soap the motel had so kindly left for its guests, working up a lather in his hands before sliding his soapy hands over her body. Slick with soap and water, his hands slid easily over her, following the soft curves of her body, fingers plying her flesh in all the right places, studying her reactions and committing them to memory.

For once, she let him touch without touching back, savoring the warm slide of his hands over her slick skin, giving him everything he sought for and more. Purring moans spilled from her lips, gasps that told him where to linger, unexpected laughter when he found where her body was sensitive to the ticklish pass of his fingers. She gave him kisses in return each time he came within her reach, fully intending to return this tactile, earthy worship when her time came, but content to let him explore her once again in this sterile room of aquatic marvels he had shown her.

He would have been perfectly happy to touch and be touched, but something inside him dared to see just how far she'd let him go, and his fingers found not only the soft dips and curves of her body, but the places where he knew she was most sensitive, where he knew from past experience that a woman - elf or not - would be unable to resist. He found the sensitive tips of her breasts, his fingers teasing and nudging with eager interest, before moving on to an even more daring place. His touch was awkward, nervous even, trembling with desire as he tried to contain himself long enough to light her fire to a bursting flame of delighted pleasure before he thought of himself.

That patience, that startling self-control, was rewarded as she clutched at him, forcing her eyes to remain open, staring into his own; to show him not only the pure physicality of the pleasure he'd so unselfishly given her, but also the tenderness that rode it, daring to risk her heart in a glance as she shuddered and cried out for him and no one else. How could she ever prove to him that he was truth, and hope, and future to her, even if all that future held was a painful death in his absence? He would never believe her, too caught up in the now of his brief lifetime to understand the consuming connection that was forging itself as the hours went by.

If only he knew the depth of what she was feeling... but in a way he did. His soul cried out for hers, his heart aching to make a connection, his body already belonging to her. He knew no one would ever understand how he could possibly fall in love with someone he'd known for less than a day, but he knew that was exactly what was happening. There was simply no other explanation for it. He plied her flesh until he couldn't stand the torment any longer, pressing her body against the shower wall as he took her for the fourth time since they'd met. He tried to take it slow, but he could barely contain himself, nearly ready to burst before he'd hardly gotten started.

Small enough to be easily swept up and pinned back, Leia barely had breath to squeak a protest at the sudden chill against her spine, caught up in him all over again as he denied her the opportunity to return that soapy exploration of hands over flesh. Instead, she wrapped herself around him, lips finding his to demand kisses that burned as her hands clutched at his neck and shoulder, urging him on to the precipice and peak with every sound she could possible shower over him, anything to encourage and coax him to bliss in her arms.

As it happened, he needed very little coaxing, quickly rising to that peak and falling over the precipice, moaning beneath her kisses as his body trembled against her, heart pounding, feeling as though he was dying of ecstasy, but if he was dying, then at least, he was going to die happy. He broke her kisses to gasp for breath, blue eyes gazing into hers as if he was searching for something, some hint of what she was feeling, an answer to a question that was only asked with his eyes. Do you love me? He felt his chest constrict, even as the bliss pleasure of their lovemaking ebbed and flowed, pain mixed with pleasure in some sweet agony. How could he ever let her go now? How could he ever live without her?

Love was not a strong enough word for the thread that bound her to him now. It was more than love, more than a meeting of minds and hearts. It was a merging of souls, an inexorable bond that she could not prevent and would never willingly break. And it was something she could never hope to make him understand. The eyes he gazed into were soft and sad, pierced with affection deeper than love, struggling to hide the pain of despair. Her lips found his, her eyes closing, not wanting to torment him with the knowledge of her soul's growing unhappiness. He had to return to his people, he had made that very clear, and in his world, there was no place for her.

He saw the sadness in her eyes and assumed it was akin to his. Their love was doomed before it even had a chance to begin, it seemed. They were from two different worlds; she wasn't even human. How could it ever work? The only way it would work was if he was to stay here, wherever here was, but he wasn't sure he could. There were too many ifs, too many unanswered questions, and while he wanted to enjoy the time he had with her while he had the chance, he couldn't help dreading the thought of leaving her. He turned quiet again, as he had before, pulling her against him, just wanting to hold her close as the water tumbled over them both. He'd never felt like this before in all his life, and he didn't want the feeling to end.

Drawn into his arms once again, she nestled close, pillowing her cheek against his chest, drawing her arms about his waist as she breathed with him beneath the flow of water that was slowly growing cooler as the time passed them by. And finally, a thought occurred to her, the events of the past day ticking back to one pivotal moment that had sealed her fate. "How did you end up in that cell?"
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Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2013, 10:27:47 AM »
Would she notice if a few tears trickled down his face, mingled with the flow of water that was slowly turning cold? He didn't want her to see him upset, to notice that she was getting to him, that he'd opened his heart to her. Would she laugh at him if she knew, or would she welcome his love? He pulled away from her as her question broke the silence that had settled between them, shrugging his shoulders as he leaned over to turn off the water. "I don't know. I was... I was on the... Oh, sh*t!" he exclaimed, remembering suddenly that he'd left his laptop running. He pushed the shower curtain aside and grabbed a towel, before climbing out of the tub. He held the towel in front of him, leaving his backside bare, forgetting his glasses in his haste and almost tripping over his own clothes that littered the floor on his way to check on the computer he'd left running in the other room

Not for the first time, he managed to render her speechless with that unexpected escape. Leia was left standing in the bathtub, shivering as the water cooled on her skin, wondering what it was she'd said to make him suddenly run away from her. Was the answer to her question not so innocent as it might have been, or did he just not know how to tell her to mind her own business? A little disgruntled, the little woman carefully climbed down onto the floor, gathering a towel about herself to soak up the drips, and followed his course back into the bedroom, his glasses dangling from a thumb and forefinger.

When she caught up with him, he was leaning over his computer and tapping a few keys, but the thing appeared dead. No light was coming from the screen, and it wasn't making any noise. "Oh, sh*t, sh*t, sh*t!" he exclaimed, slamming the cover down on the thing and dropping into a chair, water dripping off him, the towel pooled in his lap. "What am I supposed to do now?"

"I really don't know." Her pride stinging as much as the dull ache of knowing this couldn't last anyway, Leia was not particularly sympathetic as she set his glasses down beside him at the table, passing by without touching or looking directly at him to locate her clothes. She felt unaccountably humiliated, unused to anyone's sudden interest in something else causing her any kind of hurt, and terribly ill-equipped to deal with it.

He propped his head against a hand, staring at the dead laptop and wondering how he was ever going to get home without it. He'd been using it when something had zapped him here, and he'd thought he'd need the thing in order to get back, though part of him didn't even want to go back. He hadn't meant to hurt her, didn't even know he'd hurt her. As far as he knew, the computer was his only link to home. He turned quiet, thoughtful, wondering if he was stuck here now. Would that be such a bad thing really? He'd miss his sister, his niece. The team would wonder what had happened to him, but they'd go on without him. If only he'd had a chance to say goodbye.

The room descended into an uncomfortable silence that dragged on - Jensen sitting at his dead computer, privately musing on his fate; Leia dressing herself on the other side of the room, struggling not to dwell on her hurt feelings. She had never experienced anything like this, where every little nuance of a person's behavior scratched itself into her, confusing her usually quick mind with emotional responses that seemed irrational given the circumstance. She wanted to go back to the teasing playfulness of the night, before she had realised what was happening to her. Before what had begun in fun had turned deadly serious.

He was vaguely aware of her hovering in the silence, dressing or whatever she was doing, vaguely aware that he'd hurt her somehow. They'd been having a romantic moment when he'd abandoned her. He hadn't meant to do that; he hadn't meant for any of this to happen. He was an idiot. He was falling in love with her. He knew it. Would she laugh at him if she knew it? Why couldn't he have kept it light and fun? When had it turned serious? He got up finally and wandered back to the bathroom to get dressed in silence, feeling terribly confused.

Sloti was nowhere to be seen, either still in the bag of holding, or otherwise elsewhere, proving himself to be a wise little ferret when the occasion called for it. Who would want to be in the company of a pair who couldn't even bring themselves to talk to each other about one little misunderstanding, much less the deeper issue at stake? Fully dressed, Leia turned her attention to stripping the bed back to the bottom sheet, more for something to do than for any real reason she could name. Yet more often than not, her eyes strayed toward the bathroom, wishing he would come back out. Even if he had changed his mind, she didn't want to be out of his sight too long.

Jensen stared at himself in the mirror for a long time, thinking over everything that had happened in the last day or so, weighing his options, debating whether he should go home or stay, whether he even could go home. After a while, he got dressed, leaving his feet bare, obviously not going anywhere just yet. He hung the towel and came back out, collecting his boots and retaking the chair near his laptop. He looked over at her, his heart feeling like it was breaking at the thought of leaving her. "You hungry?" he asked, breaking the silence at last.

Despite her longing for him to be near and within her sight, she was startled when he spoke, the long silence somehow having served to convince her that he didn't want to speak to her, or even acknowledge her, any longer. She lifted her eyes to his, warm and a touch relieved, her lips flickering toward something that approached her more sassy smirk. "What did you have in mind?"

"Food," he replied, stating the obvious with a hint of his usual sense of humor. He wasn't sure what she'd done to him, but he just didn't feel like being funny right now. "We need to talk. Somewhere where we won't be tempted to... you know." It seemed like a small request, but talking wasn't something either of them seemed particularly good at.

Even in the culture she had come from, those four words were dreaded by anyone who was even part way invested with their heart. We need to talk. Leia forced herself not to wince, nodding in agreement. "You're right," she told him, tucking her daggers into the back sheaths on her corset before reaching to thread her bag onto her hip and fetch her cloak. "Though you will not stop tempting me," she added, feeling the need to add this perhaps unnecessary bit of honesty. "I can swear to try not to act on it where others might see."

It was true, as much as he wanted to deny it. They needed to talk, and so long as there was a bed around, he didn't think much talking was going to get done. They both had questions and he needed to understand what she was feeling. He'd always seemed to do a lot of talking, but never seemed to say much of import. There were things he wanted her to know, needed her to know, things he needed to understand. "That's probably a good idea or we might get arrested," he replied to her comment with a small smile that was more reminiscent of his usually humorous nature. "I just need to sort some things out," he continued. "Besides I'm starving. Feel like I could eat a horse." Though he really didn't want to eat a horse. He pushed the chair out so he could put his socks and boots on, before getting to his feet to retrieve his handgun and his jacket.

"I am sure, even in a town so diverse as this, we can find you a horse to eat." Slender fingers hung her cloak comfortably at her shoulders, the pewter clasp shining in the sunlight from the window as Leia took up a comfortable lean against the bedpost to watch and wait as he made himself ready to leave the room. Her mind was whirling, trying to string together something coherent she could tell him about what would obviously ask about. She didn't want to lay the burden of her life or death on him, determining not to mention that part at all. It would be
enough, and perhaps inspiring for him, to know that no matter where he went, who he was with, how long he was gone, she would be his. At least, she hoped it would be enough. She didn't want the burden of holding him hostage from his family just for the sake of extending her living years.

He slid his glasses onto the bridge of his nose before retrieving his gun and shrugging his jacket on over his shoulders. It was becoming more and more difficult to hide his feelings behind a facade of jokes and sarcasm. He'd worn the jester's mask for so long he couldn't remember when the last time was that he'd let himself feel anything. It was probably when his mom had died. That's when it had all started, but she didn't want to hear about all that. He tucked his gun into a pocket in his jacket and chuckled a little as she took him all too seriously. "I don't really want to eat a horse, Leia. It's a figure of speech. It means I'm so hungry right now I'd eat just about anything. We don't eat horses back home. At least, I don't."

"I should hope not," she smirked a little in answer, pushing out of her lean and moving toward the door as he settled himself, ready to step out. "Where I come from, horses are too useful to be eaten, even when they're all stringy and old and have a tendency to fall asleep while pulling the plough." It was nice to indulge in a little humor, lightening the sensation of heaviness on the horizon. Her fingers wriggled as she pulled her gloves on, reaching for the door handle.

For some odd reason, he was feeling suddenly and strangely shy with her. They'd practically bared their souls to each other, and here he was feeling like a pimply teenager on his first date with the high school prom queen. God, she was so beautiful it tugged at his heartstrings. He hesitated, frowning as she turned her back to him, feeling like he was missing her already and he hadn't even left yet. Why did this have to happen? He was happy back home. Clueless. Oblivious. He'd never felt like this before. He'd always been happy on his own. He'd never needed anyone, not like this. It was an ache in his heart that was both painful and sweet all at the same time, and though it hurt like hell, he wouldn't have missed it for the world. "Horses don't pull ploughs back home. Well, in some places they do. But mostly, we have tractors for that." He sighed, adjusting his glasses nervously. Why was he talking about tractors at a time like this?

She glanced back at him, the bemusement he found so cute coloring her expression once again as she opened the door, reaching her hand back to invite him to take hers and follow along. "Trak torrs?" she repeated, testing the unfamiliar word in confusion. "You use a trak torr, whatever it is, to pull a plough? Are all your horses weak and lazy, then?"

That wasn't true. He'd been looking for love in all the wrong places for years and finding nothing but heartache and loneliness. He just didn't want to admit it. He started toward the door, frowning a little at the hand that was offered, but after a moment of hesitation, he took it at last between his own. "It's hard to explain. It would be easier to show you, but... it's like..." He sighed again as he turned to face her. "Leia, I don't want to talk about tractors."

She met his gaze with solemn eyes for a moment. "But perhaps it is safer to speak of them until we are away from here," she said quietly. "Temptation is not something I can outrun, even if you can, and I ... I do not want you to be angry with me for interrupting you again." She stepped backward through the door, drawing him with her into the gallery that overlooked the taproom below. Was she stalling? It was a possibility.
"Don't start none, won't be none."

Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2013, 10:28:17 AM »
"I could never be angry with you," he said as she drew him from the room, torn between wanting to keep her all to himself and the need for basic sustenance. One cannot live on love alone, after all. Not humans, anyway. He wanted to pull her to him, kiss her, taste her again, but he resisted, knowing if he did, they'd never leave that room. He might die of starvation, but God, he'd die happy. He dared to touch her cheek, smiling warmly, though there was a hint of sadness in his eyes.

She couldn't help the soft, sweet smile that rose on her face as he touched her, as he reassured her of something he really couldn't promise, laughing quietly at the warmth that bled from him to her. "A lofty ambition, to never be angry with me," she warned him, pulling the door closed and locking it, tucking the key snugly into the open top of her bodice. "I can be absolutely infuriating, you know."

He was unable to stop his gaze from following the tucking of that key away in what she must have deemed a safe place, though not from him. "That makes two of us then," he replied with a softer smile. He knew he wasn't the easier person to get along with, infuriating people with his inability to remain serious for long. It seemed he was setting a new record for seriousness since he'd met her, and he wondered what the hell was the matter with him. Was this what it felt like to fall in love? "I'm always pissing people off, it seems."

"You haven't pissed me off." It seemed superfluous to point it out, but she did so anyway, feeling that perhaps he needed to be reassured the way she did. Her hand, so small in his, brushed her thumb over his palm as she tugged gently, drawing him along the gallery toward the stairs. "You make me comfortable. That's rare, by the way," she added with a confidential chuckle, pulling his hand to rest against her shoulder as she led the way down the stairs, holding on even as her cheek rested against his fingers.

He snorted at the reassurance from her, knowing it was only a matter of time. "Give it time," he said, confident he'd do something to push her away from him or to make her angry at some point. He always did. He knew he'd disappointed her somehow, at the very least, but he was trying harder than he ever had before. He furrowed his brows at her as she led him along the gallery and down the stairs. The place looked different by daylight, brighter, not as gloomy, less dangerous, but that wasn't what had put a confused look on his face. "Why?" he asked, not specifying exactly which statement he was questioning.

"Why what?" she asked curiously, glancing back at him. She wasn't sure it was quite the time to explain why she was comfortable with him, or why he hadn't pissed her off. They needed to be away from the prospect of imminent privacy before she would get into that, knowing that even talking about the bond forming would raise her need for him until she could barely stand it.

"What's so different about me? I mean, I know I'm not... like you... But..." He trailed off as they reached the bottom of the stairs. This wasn't the time or the place for his questions, not until they were alone, but not too alone. They needed time to talk, to get to know each other better. They didn't even know the most basic things about each other, and yet, somehow, none of that seemed to matter. Still, she needed to know some things about him. He owed her that much. "Do you know where we're going?" he asked, not having the slightest clue where they were or where they were going.

She paused thoughtfully, eyeing him speculatively and quite deliberately not answering his first question. "I saw a place not far from here that purports to sell food," she told him, drawing on her own admittedly meager knowledge of the city to explain. "It looked like the sort of place that maybe you would know. It looked a bit like the kind of place that would have a magic water room." Yes, it was going to take a while for her to get used to the concept of a fully plumbed bathroom, but that was the joy of Rhy'Din, apparently. So many races, so many cultures, so much to do and see and learn. She drew him out onto the waterfront, into the spring sunshine, refusing to relinquish his hand even here in public.

Now that it was daylight, there were even more marvels for him to see and hear and explore. All kinds of people - human and inhuman - all the sights and sounds of a city that was a cross-section of a multitude of cultures and races. It was that mix of things modern and ancient that struck him as they emerged into the light of day. "Are you sure I'm not dreaming?" he asked as he took in the wonder of his surroundings. "It's like... I don't know... Like ComicCon crossed with a Renfaire."

Leia looked up at him, once again utterly bemused by something he'd said, violet eyes wide as she tried to comprehend it. "A what crossed with a what?" she asked, a glimmer of amusement shining through for a moment. "Is that like a cockatrice? Because those are really scary. I've only ever seen one from a distance. Well, obviously from a distance; if it had seen me, I'd be dead, but still ... Scary. This place isn't scary. Is it?" She frowned, wondering if there was something here that he had seen and she hadn't.

"A what?" he asked, furrowing his brows at her, not quite comprehending what she was talking about either. He knew what a cockatrice was, sort of, from his gamer days. They were just a myth, a story, but then, he'd never believed elves were real either. "Where are we?" he asked, not for the first time. She'd told him the name of the place, but that had told him nothing. Hadn't she said something about it being a crossroads between universes or some such thing? "Scary? No, not scary," he replied, scanning their surroundings with a confused look on his face that branded him as a newcomer. "Just... different."

"They call it Rhy'Din," Leia shrugged, knowing only a little more than he did. "I had thought it was a myth in Allansia, but it truly does exist. The old men of my father's people call it the Hub of Creation." She barely knew any more than that, setting her feet to follow the path along the waterfront toward an area that was somewhat cleaner, definitely less populated with ships' crews and their dastardly ways. If anything, it looked like a tourist trap.

"Are those pirates?" he asked, lowering his voice as he leaned toward her, glancing over at a group of unsavory-looking characters. Hey, he'd seen Pirates of the Caribbean. He knew what pirates looked like, and he knew they were dangerous, but they weren't all bad. Jack Sparrow hadn't been all bad, had he? He was a good guy deep down. "Avast ye, mateys!" he called over to the scurvy-looking fellows with a wave and a grin that marked him either crazy or naive.

Leia had been hoping they could pass the group without drawing attention to themselves, but apparently Jensen had other plans. She groaned as he called out what was possibly the worst greeting to a pirate she had ever heard, unsurprised when it was greeted with varying degrees of unsettling hostility. "What are you doing?" she hissed to her companion, slipping to stand between him and the pair who had moved away from their group to confront the naive man who'd greeted them. "Who're you tellin' to avast?"

"You!" he said, thinking he'd been offering the pirates a friendly greeting. He noted the hostility with a frown. "I was saying hello in Piratespeak. Oh, wait... I meant ahoy. Yeah, that's it. Ahoy, not avast. I got my ahoy mixed up with my avast. Sorry about that!" He smiled, hoping they'd accept his apology, but sliding a hand into his jacket to his Colt, just in case. They were pirates, after all. "You know Jack Sparrow? I'm a friend. He sends his regards and all that."

"Piratespeak?" There was a ripple of laughter from the group nearby, but the faces of the pair now looming over Jensen and Leia were stony cold. "You better be touched in the head, or you're gonna be lookin' for it in the gutter." Leia leaned back against Jensen, deliberately stepping on his foot, hoping he could at least sense quite how dangerous this little encounter was. She didn't like the way the smaller one was looking at her, either.

His reaction to her stepping on his foot was a yelp of pain and a narrowing of his eyes, but he got the message. These were real pirates, not the renfaire variety, and they'd rip his entrails out and hang them from the mainmast just for fun, or something like that. "Okay, well, nice meeting you boys. Great work you're doing. Hey..." He pointed at the ship they'd been hovering in front of. "I think your friends are taking off without you!" They weren't really, but it might give them the split second they needed to make a run for it.

The larger of the two pirates glanced over to the group that had not moved, and Leia's hands lashed out. The smaller went down from a jab of the hilt of one of her daggers to his throat; the larger let out a beautifully girlish screech as the blade of her other dagger sliced through his belt, dropping his noisome britches to his ankles. Their companions erupted in a gale of loud laughter to see their shipmates bested by an idiot and his girl, and Leia took the opportunity. She grasped Jensen by the elbow and walked him firmly away. "Don't run," she warned. "They'll chase us if we run. What were you doing, talking to pirates? They're more likely to gut you just for the hell of it than anyone else I know!"

Jensen's eyes widened as she lashed out with her daggers, downing one pirate and humiliating the other, but his amazement didn't last long before it turned to indignation as the pirate broke into laughter and she led him away, questioning him as if he was some kind of idiot, which he sort of was. He was out of his element, anyway. "I was just saying hello. I never saw a real pirate before." He scowled, looking a little like a boy who'd just been scolded by his mother. "I had it under control, you know. I could have taken them." He was a trained soldier, after all, even if he was most at home behind a keyboard.

"How was that having it under control?" she asked, genuinely unable to understand what he thought he'd been doing. Her hand released his arm as they slowed to a more comfortable pace, and only then did she sheath the daggers once more, fairly sure they weren't being followed. "You drew their attention to us without knowing anything about them; which ship they are part of, how well armed they are, anything. And who is Jack Sparrow?"

He shrugged his shoulders, having no good answer for her. He'd warned her that he'd make her angry sooner or later and it seemed it had happened much sooner than expected. "I don't know. I'm sorry. I'm an idiot," he said, frowning, feeling stupid.

She wasn't angry, though. She was just a little flabbergasted. As he apologised, her lips curved in a soft smile. "You scared me," she told him gently, pausing in the street to look up at him, meeting his eyes with warm concern. "They could so easily have hurt you." And her, for that matter, but a pirate's designs on a female were usually pretty predictable. What a pirate might do to a man who had sassed him and then objected to the designs on his woman ... they didn't bear thinking about.
"Don't start none, won't be none."

Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 10:31:27 AM »
He turned to her as she stopped in the street, still looking a little forlorn, partly because she'd scolded him and partly at his own stupidity, but bristling a little defensively at the presumed assumption that he couldn't look out for himself. "I know I look stupid, but I'm not. I'm a trained solider. I know how to take care of myself, Leia. Don't worry so much." He knew his mouth got him into trouble more often than not, but he'd always handled it before. Then again, it wasn't just about him anymore, and he didn't want to get her into trouble. "Sorry, I'm just not used to... you know, being with someone."

It was her turn to bristle at his own assumption, that she didn't think he was more than capable of looking after himself. It wasn't the situation that had scared her, after all. "That wasn't what I meant," she told him, shaking her head as she looked away for a moment. Her eyes returned to his, daring him to question what she was about to say. "The consequences if that had gone wrong would have torn me apart. I don't want you hurt. And I'm sorry I stepped in. I didn't realise you wanted to test your strength against thugs who don't play by the rules." Okay, so maybe she was a little angry, but she didn't really have cause. He didn't know what was going on here, and she really didn't want to have to tell him.

What the hell was she talking about? He furrowed his brows, anger flaring, though it quickly faded. He just wasn't usually the type to stay angry very long. "I wasn't testing my strength," he countered, a little defensively again. "I don't know what I was doing. I just got excited and... I wasn't thinking. I said I'm sorry. Can we just forget about it now?" he asked, though he wasn't going to forget about it that quickly. He really was a stranger in a strange land. He was going to have to be a lot more careful.

Leia subsided quickly as soon as she saw the flash of anger in his eyes. "I did tell you I was infuriating," she reminded him with a wry shrug of one shoulder, sighing softly as she turned back onto their course. "I am sorry. I will try not to interfere."

"Leia, stop..." he said, reaching for her arm to stop her from turning away from him so quickly. He needed to make her understand somehow that it wasn't her fault. It was his.

"No, you need to stop," she said abruptly, turning back to him, allowing the hand on her arm only because she could feel herself wanting all over again. "This place is not some curiosity set here for entertainment, and it is not a dream you will wake up from if you get yourself into trouble. This is real, Jake. I know some of how this place works; there are other areas, other districts, where you will know more than I." Her hand rose sharply, grasping hold of his collar to pull him down to her, smothering his lips in a searing kiss to soothe the instinct of fear at even the thought of injury to him. "Don't get hurt," she breathed against his lips. "Don't get killed. I need you to stay alive. Please."

Again, he felt that prickle of wounded pride as she scolded him, but then she was kissing him and confusing him further, and he realized she was scolding him because she was afraid of something, afraid of him getting hurt, but why? Was it because she loved him or because she was afraid of losing him? She hardly knew him, and yet, he was feeling the same, but maybe for different reasons. He leaned into her kiss, all the anger going out of him, eyes drifting closed behind his glasses as he lost himself to her kiss for a moment. His eyes opened slowly and he looked into her eyes, hearing the pleading in her voice, his own eyes pleading for something he couldn't bring himself to say. Tell me you love me. Just tell me you love me and I'll stay with you forever.

"We should get some breakfast before we starve to death," he told her, hoping to change the subject, though he was still feeling like an idiot for what he'd done. Okay, so it wasn't a renfaire or an amusement park. He got that now.

If he'd spoken that longing plea aloud, he would have found an answer to soothe both of them on her lips. But he didn't make the words known, and she didn't have the courage to call him out, only enough to echo the plea in her own violet gaze as they stood, locked together in the street for what felt like an eternity, and less than a heartbeat. But he brought up the purpose of their outing, and Leia smiled, relieved that he seemed to have understood what it was she was trying to say. "Yes, you must keep up your strength," she teased, unable to resist. "I am infuriatingly difficult to hold down sometimes." She winked sweetly, and took his hand once again, leading him away from the waterfront and onto a street where abruptly she was the one who seemed out of place. They could have just stepped into any upbeat riverside district in any of the towns he knew.

He smiled, unable to stay angry or hurt in the wake of her teasing. "Sorry. I'm only human. I do need to come up for air now and then." He gasped when he turned the corner and the scenery changed drastically. It could have been Anytown, USA, or at least any handful of them. It even reminded him a little of his hometown back in Boston, in some ways. "Now, this is more like it," he said, taking the lead and tugging her along in search of some place that was still serving breakfast.

"Just air?" Leia laughed, unable to resist the urge to tease more, anything to see him smile again. "What are we doing looking for food if all you need is air?" Her laugh was decidedly suggestive as he took the lead, and her eyes were not behaving themselves, taking advantage of his walking ahead of her to appreciate his rear end with calculating intensity.

"Figure of speech. Maybe you don't need to eat regular meals, but if I don't get three squares a day, I'm good for s***. Two bare minimum. I mean, I've survived on less, but not by choice!" He stopped in the middle of the street and closed his eyes, taking in the smells and letting his nose in conjunction with his grumbling stomach choose for him.

"Three squares of what?" She might have come from a place named Port Blacksand, but Leia had spent a lifetime actively avoiding anything to do with ships and their terminology. Jensen was losing her in the minutiae of dialogue again. And now he was just standing there, sniffing the air. She looked around, prepared to wait for a certain amount of time, but not forever. Their surroundings were very unfamiliar to her. Something big and loud on four wheels rushed past, and she lurched away from it, her daggers drawn as a quiet yell of fright left her lips. "What is it? Kill it!"

His eyes popped open at the sound of an oncoming engine and his arm went around her waist to drag her out of the way, just as she lurched out of the way and drew her daggers. "People should watch where they're going!" he shouted at the departing vehicle, his mouth moving before he had a chance to think about what he was saying again. Fortunately, he didn't go so far as to flick his middle finger at anyone just yet. "Put those away, Leia. It's just some dumbass who doesn't know how to drive."

"That's a person?!" The incredulous disbelief on her face was comical in this calm modern street, proving the point in a way she could never have managed on her own that she was as much out of her depth here as he was. She sheathed her daggers at his request, glaring down the street at the being trundling away in a cloud of acrid smoke. Coughing as the exhaust fumes touched her nose and throat, she grimaced. "Whoever he is, he should go and see a doctor."

He broke into a fit of laughter as he realized she thought the car was a person, not the person driving it. "No, that's not..." He laughed again, the thought of that striking him funny, for some reason. That sort of thing only happened in the movies, or did it? No, couldn't be. Had to be someone driving. "Yeah, because he's got gas..." And for some reason, that remark gave him a fit of giggles again, laughing so hard he was almost crying, as he tugged at her arm and started down the street toward a bakery that was calling his name.

She was lost again. Delightful though his laughter was, she had no idea what was so very hysterical about someone breaking wind in such a foul way as they bowled people over in the street. But Jensen was laughing, and purely because of the bubbling of hilarity that she could feel from him, she giggled herself, drawn along in his wake toward somewhere that smelt vaguely like it might serve edible food.

By the time they got to the bakery, he was still trying to stifle the fit of giggles that erupted every time he thought about a car going to a doctor to have a check-up. Excuse me, doctor, I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I think I have gas. He'd been laughing so hard, he had to wipe the tears from his eyes before pushing open the door to the bakery. A little bell jingled quaintly as they stepped inside, a small group of people scattered at tables here and there. It was the smell that had drawn him here, and it was no wonder. The place smelled of fresh baked goods and freshly brewed coffee. "I think I just died and went to heaven," he told her as he took a look around.

At least it was vaguely familiar to her; most of the smells, anyway. Leia was still bemused, but smiling, as Jensen finally managed to get himself under control, softening as he looked around, clearly pleased with his choice. "Heaven?" Another word to confuse her. She sniffed curiously. "I can smell bread," she said thoughtfully, "and pastries. What is the bitter smell?"

"Coffee," he answered without hesitation. "Don't tell me you've never had coffee?" he asked, a little smugly. It was his turn to introduce her to some things she'd never experienced before, like the magic water room. "Coffee is the drink of the gods." He took hold of her hand, tugging her further inside. There were tables scattered about and a bar with stools lined one wall. Beyond that was a counter with a cash register where you placed your order, along with a glass case holding various kinds of baked goods. A menu on the wall behind the counter listed the various items for order. Carafes filled with various brews of coffee lined yet another counter, along with sugar and creamers of various flavors. He pulled her along to the counter, where he took a deep breath, filling his lungs with the with the various aromas.

"Koffy," she mused, not really in any position to resist as he drew her further inside, guiding her into the enticing array of scents and sounds that made up the little eatery. "No, I have never heard of it. Is this going to be like the magic water room again?" There was a bit of a teasing flicker in her expression as she said this; after all, he probably didn't want to repeat most of what had happened in the shower barely an hour ago in the middle of a bakery.

He chuckled, trying not to think about having sex with her until they were safely back in the privacy of the little room they'd rented. "No. Some people probably think coffee is better than sex, but I'm not one of them." He looked over the choices before stepping up to the counter, where an older woman was waiting to take their order. "What can I get for you?" she asked, as she looked between the couple, who didn't look very out of the ordinary for Rhy'Din. An elf and a human. Big deal. She didn't even bat an eye.
"Don't start none, won't be none."

Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 10:32:02 AM »
"Nothing could be better than sex with you." And there was an endearingly embarrassing trait he was just going to have to get used to. Leia was completely shameless, and she didn't really care who overheard her complimenting him so bluntly. She was still at a loss, however, when he drew her to the counter, peering curiously at the wares on display with only a shaky idea that they might mostly be bread-based. "Um ..." She offered the woman behind the counter a confident smile, and tightened her hand in Jensen's. He was going to have to order for them.

He had no idea what she was accustomed to eating, and it hadn't occurred to him that her diet might be restrictive in any way. He wasn't a vegetarian or a vegan and ate what he wanted whenever he wanted it. "Um, I'll take the Eggs Benedict with an cheese danish on the side, and coffee black." The woman jotted down his order, and looked to Leia, since Jensen had assumed she was ordering for herself. Paying for the meal might be a problem, but that thought hadn't occurred to him yet.

Violet eyes blinked back at the enquiring gaze, acquiring something of a deer in headlights look under the weight of expectation. She was going to have to say something. She struck out for something that she knew bakeries sold, knowing it was likely to sound ridiculous, given the order he had just made. "Uh ... bread and butter?" she asked uncertainly. "And water?"

Jensen's mouth fell open. "Bread and butter? No, no, no." He held up a finger to the woman behind the counter to give them a moment. "Leia, this is a bakery. You order food here. Bread and water is what they serve inmates in prison." He sighed and glanced at the glass case that held all the goodies. "What looks good to you?" he asked, looking over the baked goods, which in his opinion all looked good.

"Bread is what they sell in bakeries," she pointed out a little defensively, blushing at her perception that she had made herself look simple in front of a complete stranger. She lowered her voice, knowing that despite her best efforts, the woman was going to hear what she was about to say to her companion anyway. "I don't know what any of these things are."

"They're baked goods!" he exclaimed, not really explaining at all, looking a little perplexed, not knowing what she might like. "May I make a suggestion?" the woman behind the counter interjected, having met a lot of bakery newbies over the years and recognizing a newcomer to Rhy'Din when she saw one. "The maple pecan danish is always a good choice," she suggested. "And coffee, with cream and sugar." He glanced at Leia and then nodded his head. Bread and butter was simply not breakfast, unless it was toasted. Then maybe. "That sounds good, thanks," he said, reaching into his jacket for his wallet and frowning as he came up empty. "s***."

The relief that poured from Leia at the helpful suggestion was palpable, recognising a professional who knew her town very well. She smiled, relaxing from her tense sense of embarrassment, and glanced up at Jensen swore. "What is it?"

"I-I left my wallet back home. I don't have any money," he said with a frown, trying to think what he had that was of enough value that he could barter it for breakfast, but all he had was the clothes on his back and a gun in his pocket. "Maybe I could do the dishes or mop the floor or something," he suggested, pushing the bridge of his glasses back onto his nose.

For some reason, this brought the confidence back into Leia. The thief was quite happy to be able to solve his problem for him with a smile as she reached into the little bag on her hip and brought out a moleskin money pouch. "I do not have your currency, but I can provide the right weight in silver," she told the woman behind the counter, opening the pouch to reveal not coins, but small ingots of pure silver.

The woman smiled back. She'd encountered this problem, too, many times in the past. "One silver will do, dear," she said, holding out a hand for the coin. Jensen frowned, a little relieved but annoyed that he couldn't do this one thing right. If he was stuck here, he was going to have to find some sort of way of supporting himself. How did one go about that in a place like this? Place an ad in the paper? He didn't want to rely solely on Leia, especially considering her line of work.

Slender fingertips lifted an ingot of silver from the pouch and placed it into the woman's hand, the pouch swiftly closed and hidden back in the mysterious bag on Leia's hip. Of course it hadn't been honestly earned, but the way she looked at life, that really didn't matter. If Jensen didn't keep an eye on her, she was going to lift any number of things as they walked through the streets, just for the sheer fun of it. She looked up at him, her smile fading in the face of his frown. "Did I do something wrong?"

To be fair, he didn't walk the straight and narrow path either, and he wasn't above pilfering a thing or two, but he didn't want her to chance getting arrested when he'd only just busted her out of prison a few hours ago. "No, I just don't like you paying for everything." The woman tilled the coin and went about filling their order. He surveyed the place again before taking her elbow and leading her toward a table in a somewhat quiet corner.

"I could give you some silver," the half-elf woman offered as she was led away, beginning to think that she was always going to be confused by this man, how he slipped from silly to serious so easily with seemingly little provocation. "It goes against my better nature, of course," she teased, trying to bring the smile to his face again, "but I would make that sacrifice for you."

"You would sacrifice some silver that wasn't even yours to begin with?" he asked, not understanding the logic in that, but maybe she really thought of her what she did as a job and what she stole the reward. "You never did tell me how you got arrested. I mean, I know you were... you know..." He darted a glance around, hoping no one was listening. He was paranoid enough and this place just made him all the more so. He pulled out a chair for her and claimed a seat for himself, sighing and leaning back. "Maybe we should start at the beginning."

Shaking her head at his lack of understanding, she lowered herself down into the chair he offered her, leaving her cloak draped over the back as she leaned forward onto the table comfortably. She could sense his confusion, and his alarm at the consideration that anyone might overhear them, wishing he could calm himself a little. It was becoming more and more difficult to concentrate on listening and talking, the stronger his presence grew in her heart and mind. She was almost too aware of him because of it. "Where is the beginning?"

"The beginning. You know... My name is and so on. Like this..." He cleared his throat, as if he was taking this all very seriously. "My name is Jake Jensen. Captain Jake Jensen, to be exact. I'm twenty-seven years old and was born in Boston, Massachusetts. I have a sister, Jessica, and a niece, Jamie. I'm single, never been married, no kids."  He didn't go into what he did for a living as it was a little complicated, especially right now while he was in between jobs, so to speak.

She listened, taking all this in with minimal confusion, though naturally his birthplace was something of an enigma for her. And when he paused, she knew it was her turn to reply in kind, able to do so with little concern for prying ears. "My name is Leia Camden. I am twenty-six years old, and I was born in Fang, a village in the north of Allansia, my home country. After my father went to Arvanaith, my mother moved us to Port Blacksand, which is where I grew up. I have no family that I know of. I ..." Here she stumbled. Single wasn't a word she thought she could use to describe herself any longer, and yet the way he used it suggested that it was important he know she wasn't beholden to anyone. "I am single, never married, and I have no children." She eyed him thoughtfully, wondering just how much of this they were likely to do.

She hadn't really told him anything he didn't know already, except maybe for the part about her parents. The places she mentioned were as foreign sounding to him as Boston was to her, but the rest of it made sense. It was, as introductions go, fairly basic. He wasn't normally one to pry. If he really wanted to know something about someone, there were other ways of obtaining information, but if they really wanted to get to know each other better, one of them was going to have to get over their fears and ask questions. "Your father... What happened to him?" he asked, folding his hands on the table as he waited for her explanation, his attention all on her.

She smiled sadly, knowing that this was likely an explanation he would not wholly understand. "He was very old," she began, fondness for her elven father thick in her voice and expression as she spoke. "He had been feeling the call to go for almost two years before I was born, but he did not have the heart to leave my mother. It was only when he told her that by staying, he was risking never being able to reach Arvanaith that she insisted he leave and follow the call to his last days. It was his time." She shrugged lightly. "My mother raised me as best she could, but in the City of Thieves, there really was only one thing I could become. I was lucky enough to be apprenticed to one of the Guild Masters, though. It was a good time." Her gaze flickered over his face, a question on her own tongue that she held in check for now, knowing he was bound to have further questions to ask her.

Thankfully for him, he'd seen Lord of the Rings and understood the concept of the Western Lands, but he wasn't sure if that equated with this Arvanaith she was talking about. "Your mother... She was human?" he asked, remembering that she'd told him she was only half-elven, assuming her other half was human, though she hadn't said so. "Do all... elves go there when they're old?" he asked, his fingers twitching, wanting to reach for her hand, but holding himself back for some reason.

"If they answer the call in time, yes," she nodded, glancing down at his twitching fingers with a half smile. "If they do not, they are denied entry. It is thought that to ignore the call is to deny your right to an immortal soul. Only the old go of their own volition, clothed in their mortal body. Those elves who die a violent or unexpected death ... their bodies do not decay as human bodies do, but their spirits go to Arvanaith, to await a time for rebirth." From the expression on her face, that to her sounded rather strange and unpleasant to consider. "But yes, my mother was human. My father saved her life, and in return, she went somewhat goblin on him and locked him in her home until he admitted that he loved her." She laughed at this anecdote, understanding a little now of why her father had resisted so long.

He arched a brow, curiousity piqued, wondering what would happen if he did that very same thing to her, not missing in the irony in their stories. Though he was no elf, he had helped her escape from prison and taken a bullet wound in the process, which she had somehow healed. "Will you go there someday?" he asked, linking his fingers together just to give his hands something to do that didn't involve reaching for hers.

"No." She shook her head. It wasn't such a wrench for her not to go to her father's afterlife; she had no understanding of how deeply the longing for it affected elven folk, after all. "Though my father's blood lengthens my lifespan and gives me certain traits that are elvish, my soul isn't an elven one. I will never see Arvanaith, and ... well, I do not think I deserve to, in any case." She chuckled a little. "What of you? Your family, your sister? She must be very close to your heart."
"Don't start none, won't be none."

Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 10:32:25 AM »
He wasn't quite sure what she meant when she said she didn't deserve to see the elven version of heaven, and though she'd asked him a direct question, he had one question more. "What will happen to your soul then? I mean, if it doesn't go to... to Aravan..." He broke off, giving up on the pronunciation. "What will happen when you... when you die?" Which he was hoping wouldn't happen for a very long time. She was young, after all, and had a longer lifespan than most, longer than him. She'd outlive him then, but he wasn't sure by how much. Another thought occurred to him before he could start to answer her questions. "What happened to your mother?"

She opened her mouth to correct his pronunciation, only to be forestalled by further questions that made her smile. "I do not really know what will happen to me when I die," she confessed. "The same that happens to all humans when they die, I suppose. I hope so. I would like to see my mother again someday." Again, the smile was sad, but it was also hopeful. "She got sick, and we could not afford to buy the services of a doctor. The medicines cost too much, and she would not let me go hungry just to keep her alive. Her last act was to apprentice me to the Thieves' Guild, so that I would at least have what I needed to survive."

"Oh," he replied with a small frown, reminded of his own mother's death, which had been similar but different. He had often wondered if she'd be proud of the path he'd chosen or if she'd be disappointed in him. It didn't much matter though since she was no longer around to tell him what she thought. "I'm sorry," he said, his gaze dropping to look at his hands for some reason.

And there was the opening, the invitation to touch because he needed her to do just that. Leia took the unspoken hint, unfolding one arm to reach over and fold her slender fingers about his own. "Tell me about your family, Jake," she asked softly. "I'd like to know about them, if you are comfortable to tell me."

He shrugged his shoulders. "There isn't much to tell really. Dad left when I was a kid. Probably for the best. All they ever did was argue. She raised us on her own after that, me and my sister. We couldn't afford college, so I joined the service." He glanced at her, unsure how much of what he was telling her she actually understood. "The military, you know? I had an affinity for electronics, computers, stuff like that. Somehow, someone higher up got wind of it, and I ended up in Special Forces. It's really... It's a boring story. I'm sure you don't want to hear about it." He hadn't really answered her question about his family, though he had mentioned them. He wasn't really sure what she wanted to know exactly.

He'd very nearly lost her at "college", but persevering produced an explanation of "service" that she could follow easily enough. Which, in turn, led her to something else she didn't have any reference for. "Eliktronik, like your pet thing that doesn't work anymore?" she asked curiously. "I am curious ... you say you are not a mage, and yet you work with forces beyond my comprehension. I know I must seem very stupid, but I truly do not know what you mean when you use these words." That could have distressed her, if she had let it. As it was, she was enjoying the feel of his hand beneath hers too much to allow much of her confusion to make itself known openly. "What happened to your mother?"

"Yeah, like that. It's not my pet though. It's not alive. It's a machine. It's... man-made," he said after a brief pause to find the right word. He was finding it difficult to explain certain things without her having any frame of reference. His expression shifted when she mentioned his mother and his gaze returned to their clasped hands, but before he could answer, their breakfast had arrived, carried out to their table on a tray by a young man who did double duty as both waiter and bus boy. He set the tray down without much ceremony and quickly departed, but Jensen was lost in thought again.

"Ah, so it is a device," she smiled, finding at least some kind of reference point in his explanation to hold onto. "It is a science, something created from the study of the natural world, rather than something created by the natural world. Yes?" Her hopeful gaze was interrupted by the arrival of their ordered food, her words of thanks to the boy who came and went left unechoed by the now silent Jensen.

He blinked out of his thoughts as she continued, pulling away from her so that he could hand her the cup of coffee and danish she'd ordered. "It was invented by science, I guess. I'm not a scientist. Everyone has computers back home, Leia. People use them to do research, to read, to communicate." To surf the web for porn, to meet girls, to hack into government agencies... And that was just for starters.

"Like spells without magic?" she asked. It was a credit to her desire to please him that she was trying so hard to find equivalents to understand what he was saying, though she was aware that his explanations were not as full as they could be. There must be a veritable plethora of information to absorb before any of this truly made sense. She looked down at the danish in front of her, sniffing warily, and was pleased to find that she was met with a sweet scent that mixed pleasantly with the smell of the roasted pecans. "What is this called, again?"

"No, like technology." He leaned forward, ready to explain as well as he could. It was better than talking about his mother. "Look, you know what a wheel is, right?" he asked, glancing briefly at the danish as she distracted him again from the subject at hand. "It's a danish. Maple pecan, I think." He picked up a fork and knife to cut into his Eggs Benedict as he tried to explain. "Someone had to have invented it, at some point."  The wheel, not the danish. "As time goes on, people invent more complex things. Gears, for example. Do you know what a clock is?"

She paused, giving her brain a chance to catch up with his flipping back and forth between answering her question and continuing his explanation, trying not to giggle at the idea that a wheel was a danish invented by someone. "I ... I know that a clock is a device for the measurement of time," she answered carefully, picking up her own cutlery and inspecting it for a moment before putting the fork back down again. "I have never heard of gears being used in one, but then, I have only ever seen a water clock in use. There are cogwheels used to operate the gates of the guild at home ... is that something similar?"

"Cogwheels, yes! Those are gears. Okay, so... Imagine someone going beyond gears, creating machines like the one you saw outside, that can take people places, that can fly in the air, that can do any number of things. My computer is a device used mainly for doing research... like a portable library. Anything I want to know is right there at my fingertips. And if you have... certain skills... people will pay you to make use of those skills. Like what I did at the..." He darted a gaze around, not wanting anyone to hear him mention that he'd broken them out of prison. "You know," he gestured with a hand in a circular motion.

She nodded slowly, still more than a little lost, but infinitely clearer than she had been before. However, there was one thing occurring to her that was making her smirk return as she cut her danish into four pieces. "What does any of this have to do with your family?" she asked gently, flickering amusement shining in her eyes as she met his gaze. That had been, after all, the original question.

He arched a brow, realizing he hadn't done a very good job of answering her question. "Nothing, I guess. I just thought I'd try to explain..." He shook his head, as if he was trying to shake himself out of some dour mood that had inexplicably come over him. "I'm sorry. I don't know what's the matter with me. I'm not usually this moody. It must be this place." Or something. Maybe it was the fact that he was falling in love with someone he wasn't sure he'd be able to be with. "I'm usually the life of the party. A laugh a minute, that's me," he said, taking the first bite of his breakfast, which was surprisingly good.

Her smile faded as he confessed to that uncertainty of temper, recognising it as being influenced by her own and feeling the guilt for setting him so wildly off-balance. "I ... I think your mood is my fault," she offered warily. "But I do not know how to explain the reason in a way that you would believe. You have already laughed at it once." Her own food was untouched, perhaps foolishly choosing to speak out before tasting the something new that sat before her on the plate.

He jerked his head up at her, not recalling having laughed at her, except for just recently when she'd thought the car was a living being. He didn't even want to think that could actually be possible here. "When did I laugh at you?" he asked, going back through his memory over the last day or so, but unable to recall that incident. He'd promised he'd never get angry with her and almost had, but laughing at her? Unless she'd said something he'd thought was a joke.

She shifted awkwardly, not intending to make him feel bad for his initial reaction to something that was so far beyond his sphere of experience as to be unbelievable. "When ... when I told you about ... about bonding," she stuttered, embarrassed enough to blush as she spoke.

"Bonding?" he asked, lowering his fork as he rummaged through his brain to try and remember what she'd said about that. He seemed to recall something, but it had been so briefly mentioned that he didn't remember much about it. "I thought you were teasing me," he admitted, looking both embarrassed and worried that he'd thoughtlessly hurt her without meaning to.

"And I let you think it," she assured him gently. "But if my uncertainty is affecting your mood, then you deserve to know why." She sighed softly, curling her hand about the heat of her cup. "Do you recall what I told you of it?"

"Your uncertainty?" he echoed, looking confused. "Uncertainty about what? I don't understand." He turned thoughtful again, trying to recall what exactly it was that she'd told him. "You said something about it linking hearts and minds... I think." He wasn't too sure, since she had only mentioned it briefly and he'd passed it off as her teasing.

"The elven people of my world do not marry," she told him, beginning again where she begun once before. "They bond. A bonding is one of the most powerful forces you could possibly imagine; it merges one soul with another, until they are impossible to extricate each from the other. I didn't think it could happen to me, with human blood mixing in my veins along with elven." She paused, looking down at her fingers wrapped about the cup. "But it has. It is. It's happening now."

Instead of looking happy about this confession of hers, he looked appalled, all the blood draining from his face. "What-what do you mean... It's happening now. Do you mean now now? Between you and me?" he asked, waving a hand between the two of them. "What? Why? How?"
"Don't start none, won't be none."

Jake Jensen

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Re: Don't Stop Believin'
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 10:35:24 AM »
"I can't answer those questions. No one knows how a bond is formed, or why it forms between the people it does. I don't know." She shook her head, dipping her head, fighting not to feel too hurt, too upset, by the horror in his reaction. "I can't stop it. I'm sorry, Jake, I have no control over it. It will happen, it will complete itself sooner or later, and when it does ... you'll be able to feel me, and know that it's my emotion you're feeling, not your own. That's why you're so confused about your mood now. It's my confusion, my uncertainty, that's influencing the way you feel."

"No, it's not, Leia!" Suddenly, he wasn't very hungry anymore. He pushed away from the table and got to his feet. "I need some air." Before she could stop him, he was heading for the door, though, in truth, they'd probably have less privacy on the street than they had in the little bakery. He didn't notice the look he was getting from the store's owner, a worried frown on her face at the young lovers' spat as she followed the drama unfolding inside her little domain.

As he stormed from the table, Leia sat perfectly still, her face pale as she felt herself buffeted by the sudden strength of feeling surging from him. Had he not listened to a word she had said? Didn't he realise that she could feel how he was feeling, the connection growing stronger no matter what she chose to do? She swallowed hard, and surged up suddenly from the chair, abandoning her cloak with an apology to the lady behind the counter, following Jensen toward the street. "You can't walk away from this," she told him, her voice pinched and tight with the unpleasantness seething in her soul. "I didn't do it on purpose. I know it's a violation of your privacy, your choices, your life, and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, but I can't change it!"

He was pacing in front of the bakery, his fingers buried in his hair, looking like he was on the verge of panic. "Why?" he asked, as he turned to face her. "Why did this happen? How did I get here? Did you bring me here? Why me? Why me, Leia? Are you... Are you playing with me?" he asked, his face as pale as hers. If she could feel anything from him, it wasn't anger, but fear. The truth was that he felt some kind of connection, too, but the connection he felt was different from hers. He was falling in love with her, and he knew it. No matter what happened now - whether he stayed or he left - she'd imprinted herself on his heart and his soul, and he'd never be the same again.

"I don't know!" She shouted it at him, stamping one foot, ignoring the curious glances of the passers' by as her distress turned to a flare of anger at his seeming inability to understand that though it might be a shock for him, it was no less a shock for her. "I ... I think a spell I cast trying to get out was twisted by the magical field of the - that place," - she remembered just in time not to say "prison", " - and pulled you in rather than me out. But I don't know why it picked you, and I didn't cast it to lure you here and trap you, if that's what you're thinking! Why would I make this up?" she demanded, hands landing hard on her hips as she glared up at him, breathless with her outburst. "My life is tied to yours now. You can walk away without a second thought, you need never think of me again, but I will have you in my heart and my mind and my soul until the day you die. Because the day you die, I die too!"

"You just don't get it, do you?" he shouted back at her, turning to face her, forgetting his promise never to get angry at her, though it wasn't really anger he was feeling, but something else he couldn't quite put his finger on. "I never asked for this. I never asked to come here, to be part of this. I wanted to help you. I did help you. And then you... I don't know what happened. I know we just met and I know it sounds crazy, but I love you, and I thought maybe..."

His voice broke and he clenched his jaw to try and get his emotions under control, his face paling further as she cast the final blow, telling him the whole truth of it. He shook his head and backed away from her, tears stinging his eyes that he didn't want her to see. "I can't. I don't want that for you. I don't want anything to happen to you because of me. I thought maybe you... maybe you felt the same. And now, you tell me that it wasn't your fault? That you don't even know how it happened. What's all this about then, Leia? What do you want from me?"

She might have been able to keep control over her own tears, if he had not suddenly been caught with the same rise in emotion, feeding into hers, forcing the drip of moisture from her eyes despite her best efforts to keep them dry. "I don't want anything from you," she cried. "I want you, you stupid man! You want to hear me say I love you, when I've already said it in a way few non-elves ever hear. I am bonding to you." She fell silent for a moment, her tearful eyes staring into his, willing him to look past the shock and upset and anger and see the warmth, the longing, the affection deeper than any love. All for him. "I am so far past love, it isn't relevant. Every breath I take, I take because I am yours, whether you want me or not. And you think that isn't good enough. I didn't realise that humans were so arrogant as to truly believe that their concept of love, of a life built on trust, was the only one that meant anything."

He was doing his best to hold the tears back, but just barely, his chest aching with the effort. Maybe it was the connection between them that softened his mood, or maybe it was her explanation. She really was like Arwen to his Aragorn, in a way, giving up so much so that she could be part of him, so that she could be with him forever, even if he was far away. How could he ever go home now when his heart would be forever here with her? "Would it... Would it be so hard to say it?" he asked, eyes shining with unshed tears looking back into hers, needing to still hear those three little words, even if she'd said it already in her own way. As soft as it was, there was a tremor in his voice, close to breaking. "Please... I need to hear it."

She stared up at him, violet eyes shining like dew on primroses as her hands fell from her hips, hanging loose, weak, at her sides. She felt drained, and still that raging knot of emotion bound itself tighter to her, growing with clarity the more they shared. When she finally spoke, it was as heartfelt as he could possibly have wished for, if a little more forceful than most men would expect. But she was not a woman who did anything by halves, it seemed. "I love you, Jake."

That was all he needed to hear, for some reason. Three little words that meant more than anything else she could have said. Three little words he'd been waiting his whole life to hear. "I love you, too, Leia," he replied, tears spilling over onto his face, droplets of liquid splashing onto his glasses. He closed the distance between them, taking her in his arms to seal those heartfelt words with a kiss that felt deeper and more impassioned than any kiss he'd ever shared with any woman before or ever would again. He knew it wasn't going to be easy. He knew there were a lot of things they needed to talk about and sort out between them, but she loved him, and at that moment, that was all that mattered. Everything else would work itself out.

((Another really long scene. Kudos to anyone who read all that. Lots of fun and many thanks to Leia's awesomefantabulous player for this scene and for encouraging me to bring Jensen to Rhy'Din. More to come. :grin:))
"Don't start none, won't be none."