Chapter 21

Love and Violation: Part III

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The pirate above her was right, although she couldn't move; Leah could feel everything that he was doing to her. She was screaming as loud as she could through the gag, but her voice grew tired quickly and all she was able to produce was a raspy coughing noise. Hope of being saved was fleeing quickly, and as the vile man laughed and touched her, all she could think of was one thing.

"Peter…"

When she called his name a second time, the pirate became furious, striking her so that her cheek was pressed against the dirt. The taste of copper filled her mouth and with her voice finally gone, she closed her eyes and waited.

Suddenly, the pirate atop of her yelped in pain as something hard struck him on the side of the head. Opening her eyes, Leah saw the man, his hand pressed to his head, blood beginning to seep through his figures, turn and look angrily at the edge of the clearing. Following his gaze Leah saw the cause of what had made him so mad. There, emerging from the shadows of the trees was Peter.

Leah was never so happy, so relieved to see him. But there was something odd about him. His whole body was tensed, poised for an oncoming battle; his hands kept clenching and unclenching by his sides. It was the expression on his face that made him almost unrecognizable. There was darkness in his eyes that she had never seen before, and wave after wave of hate seemed to roll of him. Fear sent a chill down her spine; this was not the Peter she knew.

"So, Prince Charmin' arrives." The pirate teased. Although there was caution in the man's eyes he didn't move from his position straddling Leah.

"Get away from her." Peter said, his voice dripping with malice. In response the pirate only laughed, turning his head to look at the other pirate, to share what he had found so funny.

The moment the man let his guard down and turned his eyes away from Peter, Peter struck. The force at which he barreled into the pirate sounded like two boulders colliding into one another and sent the two of them tumbling across the clearing. In the instant that Peter was able to get his footing, he pounced like a wild animal atop the disoriented man and began to pummel him with unrelenting punches. But the pirate wasn't about to give in, with agility uncommon to his size, he swept Peter's legs out from under him, and before he hit the ground, the pirate grabbed Peter by the shirtfront and slammed him against a nearby tree.

Leah watch helplessly as Peter took blow after blow from the larger man. Next to her the smaller pirate watched with great interest and amusement in his expression, but as to not lose his part in this battle, he turned his eyes upon Leah. Terror ran through her as she watched him pull a dagger from his hip, then with his free hand, grabbed her roughly off the ground and stood, pressing the dagger against her neck.

Peter felt himself beginning to lose; strength was seeping from him far quicker than he had hoped. But he couldn't give up; he had to save Leah at all costs. Dodging the pirate's punch to his head, Peter pushed his back as hard as he could against the tree and brought both his knees to his chest. Then with all the strength he could muster, he roughly kicked the pirate in the stomach. Winded, the pirate fell backwards. Without a moments hesitation Peter shoved himself off the tree, pulled the dagger from his boot, and went for the kill.

The blade inches from its target, Peter froze as he kneeled over the pirate. There was no fear in the man's eyes; rather he had the most peculiar smile upon his face.

"What are you gonna to do? Kill me? I won't be killed by a mere boy." The pirate began to laugh harder, and Peter responded by pressing the dagger harder against the man's neck, drawing blood. But the pirate didn't relent. "You ain't gonna kill me boy. You're too weak. To weak to save your friends, too weak to save you little fairy, and now, you're even too weak to save her." The pirate motioned with his head over to Leah, where she hung limp in the arms of the other pirate, dagger pressed into her neck.

Seeing this, Peter faltered, but didn't remove the dagger. All he could do was stare at Leah. Her eyes were glassy with tears and filled with fear. He wanted nothing more than to save her, but he was stuck. If he killed the pirate below him, he would never be fast enough to get to the other pirate before he killed Leah. The same frustration that consumed him earlier began to fill him again. What was he supposed to do?

Below him, the pirate continued to laugh, tormenting Peter with the knowledge that he knew Peter had no way out.

Leah watched as Peter struggled with a decision that he shouldn't have to make. All he wanted to do was protect her, and all she could do was look on powerlessly as he got himself killed. Anger began to bubble within her, along with the frustration of not being able to do anything. Slowly the anger began to replace the fear, and it was in that moment that something happened that she had been waiting hours for; her hand twitched. That was it. The pirates thought that she was a feeble little rag doll, but if she was able to move…

Peter was distracted by the emotions flickering across Leah's face, and the pirate took his chance. Grabbing the wrist that held the dagger, the pirate twisted and brought Peter's arm forcibly behind his back. The sudden movement caused Peter to drop the dagger, which the pirate quickly snagged. Wrapping his arm around Peter, preventing any movement, the pirate took Peter's own dagger and pressed it against Peter's neck.

"Too slow boy. Now, all I'm gonna let you do it watch." The pirate nodded at his companion who instantly dropped Leah to the ground and kneeled over her. He shoved the dagger into the ground by Leah's ear, so abruptly that it caused her to jump. The man paused and stared at her, his eyes widening.

Through her gag Leah smirked, and with her tied wrist and fisted hands, she hit the pirate as hard as she could across the head. Phased, the pirate stumbled away from her. Flipping to her side, Leah turned to Peter.

Her expression told him exactly what he needed to know, this was his chance. Leah's determination caused something within him to snap, and with the agility he had forgotten he had, Peter ducked out from the pirates grasp, freeing his arm in the process. The pirate didn't have time to react before Peter, using the pirate's own hand, drove the dagger deep into the man's chest.

Staring aghast at Peter, the pirate tried to say something, but all he was able to do was sputter up blood. With a horrid choking noise, the man's eyes rolled back in his head and he fell with a loud thud to the ground. Pulling the dagger from the pirate's chest, Peter turned on to his companion who had managed to pull himself up to a standing position. Launching himself at the man, Peter blind sighted him with the hilt of the dagger, causing him to go sprawling to the ground. Shocked by the blood trickling down his face, the man turned to see his companion on the ground, lying motionless. Fear leaping into his eyes, the pirate clumsily made a run for the trees, pausing to glance back at Peter, standing poised, dagger ready for another attack. Terrified, he turned away and hastened his escape.

Peter watched the pirate's retreating back until it disappeared completely into the forest. It was then that he noticed how hard he was shaking. Was it out of rage? Fear? He wasn't sure; all he could do was stare at his hands as they shook violently around the dagger that he still held. With a sound of disgust he threw the dagger as far away from his as he could and fell to his knees. Covering his face with his hands, he tried to compose himself.

Next to him, Leah shifted uncomfortably into a seated position. It was hard to move, she felt stiff, weak, as if she had been asleep for days. She watched as Peter tortured himself with thoughts that she wished to know. His head hung limp in his hands and his shoulders trembled. All she wanted to do was reach out and touch him, to let him know that they were together, but she couldn't.

Gradually Peter began to collect himself, in this situation he had to keep it together, he had to be the strong one. He picked his head up from out of his hands and turned to look at Leah. The unreadable expression on her face took him aback. Her eyes held an unknown sadness along with the expected fear. Slowly he reached up both of his hands to untie her gag, but when she flinched when his fingertips touched her, he hesitated, leaving his hands hanging in midair. His eyebrows knotted together as his eyes searched her face, and with a deep breath he gently raised his hands and untied the gag, tossing it aside.

Leah's eyes followed every move that Peter made. How after he untied the gag, he immediately dropped his gaze from her face and focused on untying her wrists. How his fingers fumbled on the simple knot. And how his hands continued to tremble around the rope before he tossed them away with the gag. She wanted him to say something, but she knew that he had no idea what to say. The way she reacted when he first touched her must have scared him. Leah stared down at her wrists and unconsciously rubbed them where they were raw, she tried not to focus on the fact that tears were once again beginning to sting her eyes. She almost jumped when a warm hand stopped her hand from continuing to rub her wrists, but when his other hand cupped her cheek, rather than being afraid, she turned her face into the warmth. His thumb gently wiped across her cheek the same way that she had always done for him.

Opening her eyes cautiously, afraid that the face that she would see wouldn't be the one that she wanted to see, her gaze fell upon Peter's worried face. A warmth spread throughout her, her heart began to pound louder in her chest, a feeling like she had never experienced before took over her and she wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. But all she could manage to do was whisper Peter's name.

Pain gripped Peter's heart from the small noise she made, and with a single fluid motion he pulled her to his chest and tucked her head under his chin. He apologized into her hair, apologized that he hadn't gotten there faster, that all he wanted to do was to protect her, to be near her, and that he had almost lost her…. It became harder and harder for him to speak as his throat became tighter with all the emotions he was trying to suppress, but he continued to whisper apologies.

In his arms, Leah finally felt safe, and slowly she was able to wrap her arms around his middle and fist her hands around his tunic. Peter squeezed her tighter to him not ever wanting to let go. He rocked her gently, waiting for the shaking that had taken over her entire body to subside. They stayed together like that as minutes passed by unnoticed, the forest around them growing increasingly silent.

It was only when a gunshot rang off in the distance, that Peter and Leah moved, the sudden noise causing them to jump back into reality. Peter was immediately protective of Leah and alert to the world that surrounded them.

"We should get out of here." Peter said softly and Leah managed a small nod. Taking the encouragement, Peter scooped her up from the ground and continuing to press her into his chest, took off into the darkened forest. Leah could hear Peter's heart where her ear lay against his chest and without realizing at the moment, something began to blossom in her own heart.

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Star and Glade

25/02/2008