A/N: Here it is, the final chapter! Sorry for being a day late, school's been a real hassle.
And for those of you of age and interested, this is the edited version. The unedited is at my website, which you can find by going to my profile.
Thanks to jewelofbeauty, Urufu, The Messenger of Glory, and dbzfan82 for reviewing!
Chapter 4: The End
Being pinned to the wall of a cave by a male with sexual intentions wasn't Meryl's idea of a good time. The rocks were rough and unforgiving and Knives' body was hard. The hands on her shoulders bit into her soft flesh and she squirmed in discomfort and a futile attempt to escape him.
Focusing on his face, she looked for a sign of the Knives she knew beneath the creature holding her. Her last chance might be to reach him. If she was unable to...
She gasped as the rigid part of his anatomy pressed into her belly, telling her exactly what would happen should she fail.
The plant gave her a wolfish grin, the light catching on one elongated canine, and ground himself against her.
Fear caused her to call out to him, "Knives!"
The creature didn't even blink, but other parts of him did move. One hand left her shoulder and slid slowly across her neck, gently cupping her chin and forcing her head upward so that she faced the ceiling. A warm mouth descended upon her neck, pressing long, sensuous kisses against the sensitive flesh.
Meryl took a large gulp of air as his teeth bit softly, pulling on her skin just shy of being painful. His tongue followed, soothing over the abused area.
The same hand on her chin crept downward, teasing her skin with light touches on her throat, collar bone, until finally settling right above her partially exposed breast. It held there for a few seconds before continuing on, grazing over her still budded nipple and sending sparks of pleasure shuddering through her body. His large hand cupped the underside of her breast through her bra. He slid his large hand upward just a tiny bit and covered her, pressing his fingers into her soft skin.
He groaned and gave her globe another squeeze.
Meryl grasped onto a thread of sanity through the pleasurable haze created by his mouth and hand. Her loose arm came up and ineffectually pushed against his shoulder.
The movement of her throat caused his mouth to deepen the caresses on her neck with his lips, tongue and teeth. Her voice was breathless, and she cleared her throat and tried again.
"Wake up, Knives. You really don't want to do this." His hardness pulsed against her, as if to deny her words.
His lips blazed a trail to her ear where his teeth gently nipped at the lobe. The hand cupping her began to move, pressing and squeezing her. His other hand left her shoulder as well, traveling downward. Knuckles tickled her side, past her waist and hip, where his hand settled on her bare thigh, right where her skirt ended.
Meryl's breath came in short pants and she felt her skin warm. His touch sent delicious tingles spiraling through her body, centered at her womanly core, which pulsed and quivered. Her arm felt heavy as she lifted it and brought it to join its mate on his shoulders. His flesh was feverish to the touch and flexed and shuddered beneath her fingertips.
Unconsciously her grip tightened on him, kneading his tense muscles. He moaned into her ear and she shuddered at the sound. His face moved away from her and she found herself nose to nose with him. His bright eyes, filled only with a blue light made even more noticeable in the gloom, knocked her from the pleasure filled spell that she'd fallen into.
"Knives, I'm human, remember?"
The word 'human' had an immediate effect upon him. His eyes dimmed and his grip on her slackened slightly. Pushing her advantage, she said, "You hate humans. You told me that many times. Don't forget that!"
His eyes closed and a frown appeared on his forehead, as if he was in great pain. His breathing became labored and Meryl had the impression that a battle was being waged within him. Barely leashed energy brimmed beneath her hands.
All of a sudden a loud groan ripped from his throat and his head fell forward, resting in the crook of her neck. The rest of his body followed suit, resting heavily on her small form. His hot breaths puffed against her skin and she squirmed against him. His hands planted themselves on the rock wall behind and to the side of her. He pushed himself slightly off of her, just enough so they could see one another.
Meryl was relieved to see that his eyes were no longer glowing, though there was still something wrong with them. His normal blue eyes stared back at her, but they appeared to sparkle with an inner light.
"...Knives?" she called hesitantly.
"Meryl," he echoed back, a secret smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
Treading delicately, she asked, "Are you...alright now?"
The smile grew, "Never better."
She blinked. He was sure acting strange. "Then could you let me down?"
"No," he said, pressing even more closely against her. It was with his body brushing hers that she felt him again. His arousal was heavy and full, standing rigidly between them.
"You didn't honestly think I'd let you go, did you?"
"But I thought-"
His deep chuckle interrupted her. "I'm afraid that you've got everything wrong, Ms. Stryfe." His head leaned forward, their noses brushing. She tried to lean farther back but the unforgivingly hard wall prevented any backward movement. "The beast may no longer be in charge," he continued, "but that doesn't mean that the urge isn't still there."
"But...you don't even like me. And I'm human!" she pointed out.
His rich laughter rolled over her again and with his chest pressed into hers she felt ever vibration. "Yes, you are human, but," his gaze became heavy lidded and she saw his nostrils flare. "a very desirable one."
His lust was a palpable thing, practically oozing off of his body in waves. Despite herself, she felt her own flesh react. Her nipples, already taut, became pebble hard, aching in a needy sort of way. She knew he could feel it against his own bare chest, covered with a fur pelt of light blond hairs.
"I know you want this, Meryl." His hands crept down the cave wall beside her and settled on her hips. "I can hear your heart beating...so fast." Said heart skipped a beat. "Your eyes are dilated with excitement and," he moved his mouth to one ear, his voice low and intimate, "anticipation."
She shivered and felt him smile against her skin. He drew back and looked at her, arrogance written all over his face. Meryl felt a spark of anger at him and herself. Him for seducing her and herself for allowing her body to take control over her common sense.
With a growl she used all of her paltry strength and shoved at his shoulders. Surprised by her sudden and forceful assault, he let her drop to the floor and retreated a few steps.
Panting, her body still very much aroused, Meryl eyed him, looking for all the world like a cornered lioness.
"Don't touch me!" she spat at him.
Knives seemed to tower over her, even from the distance of a few yarzs. His presence filled the cave, choking the air with a wrathful aura. Energy flickering here and there through the air, creating blue streaks of lightening.
Ooh, was he angry at her. Whether it was her rejection to have sex with him or that he didn't like to be shoved around, she had no idea. What mattered was what he was going to do about it and how she was going to get out of it.
She took one step to the right, feeling Knives out and...ran right into a wall of energy. The sensation was just shy of being painful, but it rocked Meryl to her very bones. She didn't try to her left, one look at the smug satisfaction on his face and she knew that she was cornered. His anger, and the blue lights, had disappeared altogether.
He took his time advancing on her, his gait prowling and unhurried; like a cat savoring the final victory. When he was within arms length of her, he reached out and smoothed a hand over her cheek. Meryl cringed and shrank away, feeling very afraid for herself. Knives, she knew, could and had been on numerous occasions a very cruel person. She couldn't imagine his lovemaking being any different.
"Meryl, I'm not going to hurt you," he soothed. "Don't you think that I would have by now, if I was going to?"
"I don't believe you," she fired back.
He smiled at her. "Yes, I suppose my past deeds are against me, but I can assure you that this will be different."
For him that seemed to be enough conversation as he curled his body around hers, his intentions clear. Her breath accelerated as he filled her vision. His hands rested on her body, the right on her hip and other higher, above her waist. They gently smoothed over her skin in soothing motions, meant to calm her, pleasure her...seduce her. Her own hands covered his, but whether to stop or encourage, she couldn't tell.
To admit that she didn't like it would be a complete lie. She didn't know where he'd learned the art of seduction, but he was a master at it. Already her body was responding to his silent call, a flush colored her cheeks and her breasts fell heavy, the nipples tight and aching.
He brushed his body against hers, just enough to ignite the blood in her veins, turning it into molten lava. The small gasps issuing from her throat urged him on, making his strokes bolder. Their eyes met, blue and violet. The hand near her breast slid upward with agonizing slowness until it cupped the heavy weight of her, the thumb sliding over her nipple, through her bra, and sending sparks of pleasure through her chest.
She wasn't the only one effected by his touch. A delicate tinge of pink had appeared on his cheeks, as well. His breathing was as labored as hers, puffing against her in pants. His body quivered with barely suppressed lust which brightened his eyes, making the usually cool orbs warm and caressing.
He bent his head and their lips met marginally, giving each of them a taste of the other. She sighed against his mouth and he groaned, arms suddenly wrapping around her and crushing her to him. His lips crashed against hers, no longer gentle but bruising and demanding.
And she lost herself in him for the rest of the night.
When morning came, Meryl stirred slowly from her slumber and stretched luxuriously on the soft bed of feathers. Expecting a warm body next to her, where it had been all night, she was surprised to discover that she was alone in the nest.
She sat up gingerly, aware of new aches and pains in her body that she'd never had before. Looking around the cave, she found Knives standing at the entrance, his gaze set out into the forest. She called out to him softly.
A cold voice, "Don't make too much of it."
There was her answer. Tears stung her eyes. She felt her heart shatter and break into a million pieces under his words. The need to sob warred with her injured pride and she hastily searched for her clothing, distracting herself with dressing. He didn't say a word, didn't even look at her or acknowledge her in any way.
It didn't take her long to find her outfit and she forced herself to put them on slowly. When she was done, Meryl lifted herself to her feet, only swaying for a moment when her body protested the movement.
She brushed the pain aside as minimal compared to the pain of her broken heart, though she blamed no one but herself. Knives had made no promises. She was the one who had foolishly hoped for more. Even so, Meryl knew that she couldn't stay near him, she had to get away. Yes, leaving sounded like a good idea. It might be cowardly, but staying would only result in a complete break down right in front of him. And that would simply not happen, not if she had any say in the matter.
The distraught woman took a few steps forward, toward the mouth of the cave and Knives. When he didn't even twitch, she walked on and past him, keeping her stride casual, as if she wasn't walking away with a hole where her heart used to be.
Knives silently watched her as she disappeared into the tree line. What an annoying woman...
Even without looking at her, he'd known her reaction to his words. Served her right, expecting more to come out of a one-night stand. And it would go no farther than that, he told himself as images of their time together surfaced in his mind. His traitorous body reacted without permission and he ruthlessly squelched the inappropriate urges.
The heartless plant stood there for a few minutes, contemplating what he'd done. When the woman had called out to him, he'd slowly regained control of himself. But even then, he'd felt the urge to have her. And not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, or in this case, human, he'd allowed his urges full reign.
It had been nothing more than a satisfying of his base urges, he told himself. And it would NOT be repeated.
He unfolded his arms from his chest and took off in the opposite direction of Meryl, intent on finding his brother.
Vash, as it turned out, was on the opposite side of the lake from the cave. When Knives found him, he wasn't alone. The large human female was sitting in his lap, sleeping peacefully. As he approached the couple, his sibling called his wings and folded them around their nude forms.
When Knives stopped in front of them, Vash asked him, "Where's Meryl?"
"She is gone," he told him, as if it was no big deal. And for him it wasn't.
But his brother was a different story. "Gone! What do you mean gone!"
The short-haired twin gave him a scornful look. "What I mean is that she has left."
Vash fell back against the tree behind him, staring at his brother in disbelief. "You let her go, didn't you?"
Knives frowned. "And why shouldn't I have?"
Millie shifted slightly and Vash glanced down at her and hushed her in a soft voice that sickened his brother.
"I know that you two spent the night together," he said to Knives. He lifted his head, sadness reflected in his eyes. "You drove her away."
The standing twin slashed his arm through the air furiously. "And why would I want to saddle myself with a pathetic human! You might love these creatures," he indicated Millie, "but I have no such feelings for them."
"You do this, Knives," Vash warned, "and you'll lose your best chance at happiness."
"Are you actually implying that I would be happy with that woman!" he asked, incredulous. "She is the perfect example of her kind; arrogant, demanding, narrow minded-"
"Kind, compassionate, forgiving," his brother finished, a small smile on his face.
Knives growled and turned his back to Vash. "I have never asked for forgiveness," he pointed out gruffly.
"But you want it, nonetheless." He heard his brother sigh. "She could heal you, Knives. If only you would let her."
"There is nothing to heal," he corrected. "And how could she?" he inquired. "Her life will end and mine will continue." The plant faced his brother. "We will both outlive them, brother. How can she 'heal me' if she can't even be with me!"
The young woman in Vash's arms moved again at all of the noise and he sent his brother a warning glare.
"You haven't been listening to our sisters lately, have you?"
Knives frowned and stood straight. He didn't answer him, but closed his eyes and heard the other plant's voices, calling as one.
:Yours, they are yours. But one mate you shall have and only one you shall need, for they will live as you:
His blue eyes snapped open and he stared sightlessly at the trees.
He didn't answer his brother. Instead, Knives turned and walked back into the forest. Of their own accord, his feet followed a path only they knew. He let them as he mulled over his sister's and Vash's words.
The woman was now like him and Vash, and would live well beyond a human. That in itself was a startling revelation, one he wasn't sure what to think about. And the part about being 'mates', that sounded ominous to him. That a human, even a former one, could be tied to him in any way was revolting.
How could any of this ever happened, anyway? Forty-eight hours ago his life had been relatively normal. He was with two humans and his brother, but the situation had been tolerable. Now, now everything had turned upside down. His relationship with the tiny human had grown exponentially, which couldn't be a good thing. No, he corrected himself, it wasn't a good thing.
For a long while he was like that, thinking and walking. It was only when he heard a small sniffle that he realized that he'd run into the very person his thoughts had been revolving around.
Over the year or so that he'd known and lived with Meryl, he'd seen her in all kinds of moods; ranging from anger to quiet contemplation, but he could never, ever remember her sad and weepy. She was a mountain of strength for others to lean upon.
She glanced up sharply and he watched her face blanch. The young woman didn't move, just sat on her rock and looked at him, wearing the most heartbreaking face he'd ever seen. And he'd seen a lot in his long life.
As he stood there, he watched her demeanor transform from scared to determined. A glower formed and the tears stopped.
"What do you want, Knives? You've made your point perfectly clear. And I've decided on the best course of action," she said decisively.
He was suspicious. "And that is...?"
"I'm leaving." She slid off of the rock and turned her back to him, hiding her pain and, in a way, ignoring his presence. "You said yourself that you didn't want anything to come of our...time together. So in a few days I'll go to Bernardelli and ask for a reassignment. It's not like Vash needs two people watching him anyway," she laughed, the sound hollow to his ears.
A large part of Knives rallied against her going anywhere but into his arms. She was his, dammit! And he wouldn't let her go!
Ruthlessly he stamped down on these thoughts. As he'd told Vash, the last thing he needed was a human tagging along behind him. They were useless creatures, even if she now had his life span.
Unbidden memories of last night, when she been anything but unwanted, surfaced. The feel of her soft body as he'd laid beside him had been more than pleasurable. He'd felt completed. Her hair blew lightly around her and he remembered how soft it'd been, especially when he'd had his hands wrapped in those strands as she pleasured him with that tempting mouth...
The strain against the denim of his pants alerted him to what those type of thoughts were doing to him physically. His body wanted her, with an urge bordering on addiction.
What was he doing here, she'd asked him. He couldn't fathom why his feet had led him here.
"Knives," she sighed, sounding as old as he was. Her shoulders drooped wearily. "If you don't have anything to say, could you please leave?"
Something primitive and wild within him awoke and roared it's fury. She would dismiss him! As if he hadn't pleasured her to exhaustion last night; made her scream and writhe beneath him in complete abandon! Oh, no. She wasn't going to toss away everything they'd shared last night. He'd make sure of it.
It suddenly didn't matter that she'd been human and that he hadn't wanted her. His long legs ate up the distance between them and she squeaked in surprise as he whipped her around and crushed her lips to his.
She didn't respond, but neither did she push him away.
"Why are you doing this?" she agonizingly whispered.
His tone and answer were simple. "Because you're mine."
She stiffened against him and glared. "So now I'm a possession?"
"I don't know what you are," he answered truthfully. "But, I do know that I want you, here, with me." He looked confused at his own words, a frown marring his handsome features.
Meryl didn't say anything, simply looked into his blue eyes as if searching for something. He tightened his arms around her, fearing that she would try to leave him. He'd never really thought about what it would be like if she left, went on with her life somewhere else, without him.
She wouldn't be there in the morning when he woke up, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other. The arguments that they'd always had and he'd always enjoyed, in a perverse kind of way, would go with her. There were other reasons why he would miss her and wanted her to stay, but they involved emotions he wasn't willing to deal with at the moment. Maybe some other time, after he'd made sure she was staying. And she would stay, even if he had to tie her to his bed. Which wouldn't be such a bad thing...
The young woman in his arms sighed softly, snapping him out of his daydreams and back into reality, and the very real fact that she might try to leave him.
"Knives, I'm going to ask you this only once, why did you come here?"
Even though her tone was light and inquisitive, Knives felt that her question contained another, deeper meaning. That if he were to answer wrong, she would leave him and, in some way or form, she would no longer be his for the taking.
He cleared his throat nervously, debating on what answer to give her. But he finally told himself that he'd might as well give her the truth. She'd probably see right through any lies he might conjure up, anyway.
"I wanted to be here."
She blinked and he waited, breath held.
Then, a dazzling smile lit up her entire face and he expelled all of his doubts in a puff of air.
"I guess that will do, for now," she told him, still smiling.
He had no idea what she meant, but pushed it aside for later. It wasn't important right now, because she was staying right here, with him.
And as he kissed her again, long and deep, Knives knew that though this had been completely unexpected, it was not unwanted.