Revised with my beta.
A lithe hand twisted itself in the hair of the man sleeping. Silently, it winnowed itself between the dark strands,, brushing them away from the man's dreaming face. He stirred slightly, giving a light grunt and slowly his eyes opened, facing the woman who lay next to him. He observed her somnolent face next to his, savouring her gentle breathing against his skin. A smile slowly unfurled, emphasising the faint lines which were beginning to become engraved within his weathered skin. The woman returned it and kissed his lips. His lips were chapped and calloused from the many days spent in the cold – but that was just how she liked them.
"I didn't mean to wake you," she murmured, pausing in the combing of his hair.
"I wasn't asleep," he replied quietly. He took her hand away from his hair and cupped it in his own, kissing the thin skin on her wrist. He then nestled it close to his chest; keeping such a delicate thing within his grasp was a treasure to him.
"Your hands are cold," said the man.
"Then I bid thee good sir Stephen McKenna, to warm them up," the woman grinned. The man named Stephen didn't need telling twice. He slowly reached for her other hand and placed them both against the warmth of his chest, which was dusted with flecks of dark hair. The woman gave a long sigh of pleasure and snuggled closer to him, engrossing herself in his emanating heat.
"Mmm, that's better," she replied, draping one arm around him. She gave a small laugh. "I can feel your heart beating, your warrior heart."
"Oh, my warrior heart now?" Stephen repeated, humour thick in his tone. "Call me a soppy old fool, but you, Meghan Mckenna turn me soft!",
"Would you rather me love a beast for a man? Perhaps one who sleeps in his own drunken dreams every night?" Meghan teased, quiet laughter cracking her serene tone. "Swaying into the hut from too much ale? Hmm?"
"Twice that has happened," Stephen chuckled sheepishly, giving Meghan a playful poke in the ribs, "and did you ever complain?" His face faltered into a blank look. "Did you? I can't remember … "
"Too right you were," Meghan laughed, "I was muttering constantly under my breath and the only response I got from you was, 'Calm thee down woman and help me get my boots off.' I said to you, 'I wouldn't touch those filthy things with a ten foot pole,' and then what did you go and do …?" She paused as a dry reminiscent smile angled her lips, "…Fell asleep from where you sat in your chair. So I left you to it, though your bloody loud snores echoed throughout the whole night. Kept Logan and I up."
Meghan gave a sharp exasperated sigh. There was a moment's silence, when they both simply looked at each other, their faces taut from threatening laughter.
It then exploded a second later and they hastily attempted to stifle their sniggers, lest they disturbed the dreaming child who lay across the room.
They both wriggled around restlessly like children as they clamped each other's hands over their mouths to stem the laughter.
"You'll wake him," hissed Meghan playfully. She propped herself up on her pillow and studied Stephen. He faced her, while lying on his side.
She could see his nipples folded up against one another, poking up from the folds of the threadbare sheets of the bed ... everything about him was perfect. She loved him: from every scar sinuously drawn into his skin, to every crevassed line dimpling his goofy smile. The threat of sentimentality began to stab at her mind and Meghan tried to shove it in the back of her thoughts. She failed.
She put a hand to her face to push back her hair as she felt Stephen stare at her. Look away you silly man! Don't make me push you off this bed …
It always amused him that his Meghan became so embarrassed in intense moments such as this, and just as he expected, he saw a flush begin to glow in her cheeks. It clashed with her hair, but he cared not.
He reached out his hand and placed Meghan's in one of his own. With the other he traced the angle of her small cheek with a calloused finger and slowly brought her face to his. He felt her press her lips to his own, lingering momentarily on his bottom lip, nibbling it gently.
Stephen slid his hand around her waist and pulled her to him, pleasantly surprised when she did not object to the rough handling. She met his gaze with one of similar need, the corner of her full lips crooking into a smile of encouragement as well as anticipation. The heat of their skin between them created a delicious friction and finally Stephen could bear it no more and captured her mouth in a kiss of intense passion. Her lips opened beneath him as he began exploring her mouth, enjoying it more when her hands wrapped around his neck and pulled him closer to her. Her soft body molded perfectly to his own as he plundered her, his tongue dueling lustily with her own.
For her seemingly delicate disposition, she matched him with each thrust and parry of this sensuous combat, until a kiss had so much power over him he could barely breathe. He allowed his hands to ind the shape of her breast and began kneading. A small sound escaped her and he knew it was not pain. The soft, round flesh of her breast beneath his fingers made him growl under his breath, as he began to gently envelope her body with showers of kisses. Meghan's breaths came in short pleasurable gasps -
"NOOO!! NO! NOT MY CHILD!! Don't drag him away! No! No! NO!!"
A high-pitched, wild scream ripped through the air with the force of an axe hitting stone. Stephan and Meghan started violently in surprise, both nearly banging their heads together from within their tight embrace.
Meghan turned a wild-eyed face to Stephen.
"What …?" she gasped, her jaw hanging open.
"God Almighty," said Stephen in dismay.
"What's going on?" Meghan's voice was barely more than a whisper, "…a child's in danger?"
The cry of the woman had sparked fresh fears inside of Meghan's head. Instinctively, she bolted out of the bed and raced across the room, only to find her child's bed empty!
She gave a long, distressed moan which transgressed into a sob and she sank weakly to her knees, her trembling hands covering her face. Behind her, Meghan felt Stephen get up from the bed and dash over.
"He's –" Meghan tried to say, as she peeked one eye through her fingers up at Stephen; his face was taut with panic and fear. They both started again as another shrill scream shattered the night and suddenly the ground started shake with the pummel of hooves.
"Get back and stay in the hut," Stephen said quickly, trying in vain to keep his voice steady. "I'm going to look for him."
"It's the English," Meghan gasped, as tears began to trickle down her cheeks. "He's out there, all alone, why – why – my child – my boy" She began to sob violently into her hands, rocking herself back and forth as she knelt on the ground.
"Meghan, don't panic," Stephan begged, as he observed his wife's distressed state with mounting fear, "I'm – I'm going to look, now please – please just stay hidden." The moment was far too terrible - strange men, brandishing metal swords and crying like wild savages into the night, and every turn you tried to take, you were faced with the sheer prospect of Death … it was no place for a child.
He briefly stroked her shoulders and he reached for his broad sword, which was propped against a table.
It glinted welcomingly in the moonlight as he held it firmly in his hand. He felt a sudden rush of determination. Soon, more screams and yells of terror began to fill the air and without a second glance Stephen disappeared through the wooden door, leaving Meghan swathed in the dark shadows of the hut.