Title: The Hunt
Title: The Hunt
Rating: Nc-17 Excuse for Smut Fic
Timeline/Spoilers: Pre Angel Pylea fic but potential spoilers for Season 2 Angel
Creation Date: October 2005
Distribution: Just Ask
Disclaimer: Joss owns everything J
Summary: 'I repeat, not a coward' – Lorne in 'Belonging'
The young Lorne seeks to avoid his lessons in hunting and gathering and ends up learning something entirely different ;-)
The team of trainee warriors was cutting a swathe through the heart of the village; early morning traders stepping to one side mid haggle over ju-ju fleece and yak blood. In the pale pink light of the twin winter suns the sharp metal blades glinted menacingly attached to belts, slung over shoulders and brandished in keen demon hands. At the head of the column their leader and trainer, a large green skinned fellow with alarming red horns and a garment made of the skins of his recent kill. He barked orders in a curious language without vowels and punctuated each phrase with a jab of his large grebble, a ceremonial axe he took with him on these lessons. Fourteen young demons shouted back his instructions with glee, curt phrases meaning, 'kill' 'mangle' or 'decapitate.' They were on their way to the woods to practice tracking that most mean and dangerous of beasts the legendary drokken.
At the back of the group lingered a slight fifteenth youth. He had been distracted by a stall selling crafts and was fingering some garish yellow beads in one hand while trying to adjust the heavy sword which lay slung across his shoulders. It kept digging in, and as he had made no kill he didn't have a cloak of thick leather or fur to protect his back. Still these beads were yellow, his favourite colour, and kind of pretty, and so was the girl who made them… he smiled at the cow slave behind the stall and she smiled back with beautiful blue eyes… he'd always had a soft spot for cows, he didn't care what his people said, they were softly spoken, if you could get them to speak and soft to the touch if you accidentally brushed against one and their auras were welcoming and warm… he dug in his pockets… if he had anything to trade he might…
'Krevlorneswrath of the Deathwok clan!' his instructor bellowed and he was immediately hit by a wave of hostility. It made him want to run in the opposite direction.
'I sense your cowardice even from here, and your strange and distasteful coveting of beads. Stop fraternising with the unseemly cows.'
Krevlorneswrath froze. The cow girl looked stricken. Her aura and her eyes urged him to go before he got into further trouble.
'Rejoin the group!' came the command from behind him.
Dropping the beads he straightened and turned back to where his schoolfellows stood in ranks jeering at him. Although he was tall they were all at least twice his breadth and kitted out in brutal weaponry. He swallowed.
'To the front!' the Instructor yelled and motioned him towards him.
'Once more you ignore the valuable lessons of your forefathers,' the instructor loomed over him, 'Once more I ask you to join us in this hunt and once more you wander to the merchandise and fill your head with pointless contemplation. Don't think I cannot sense it. I sense it always around you Krevlorneswrath, it pollutes my pure sense of violence and battle and prey. If it were not for the fact that I am so particularly well trained your simpering emotion would interfere with my mission…but I am a great deal stronger than you…' he loomed even further over Krevlorneswrath and glared down at him with his bright red eyes. 'Will you therefore comply, for the sake of your life giver and heritage and focus your energy on tracking this beast?! For the last time… open your channels and focus on the hostility it leaves behind it. Prove yourself you filthy coward.'
The instructor motioned him to go to the edge of the woods. Krevlorneswarth knew what was coming next. Oh he was in so much trouble. If he didn't track a drokken soon he'd be expelled. Everyone else had bits of drokken dangling off them as souvenirs and tokens of their hunts. Some had several. Jrefturnskall had two teeth and a pickled eye in a jar hanging from his belt. Oh what Krevlorneswrath would do for a pickled eye.
He stood in the scrub by the edge of the forest and prepared to open his mind. God he hated this. It was always so overwhelming and he didn't like hostility. He didn't like fear and anger and violence, it didn't fit right in his head and the terrifyingly strong aura these animals projected often left him in tears. Why did he have to do this? He'd never be a hunter; he wanted to live a different life. He didn't know what that different life would entail but it had to be better than this. If only there was an option. But there wasn't. He was a Deathwok and he had to embrace his culture or be cooked up for dinner by his loving mother.
He opened his mind.
Wham! The waves of hostility hit him from the forest, it was very close by, it was large and aggressive and it was headed towards them with pure destruction on its mind. Destruction and lust. It was the mating season. Behind him he could sense the others channelling in agreement, a ripple of excitement ran through the boys as they sensed their prey nearby. But Krevlorneswrath was buckling, it was too strong, he felt panicked and sweaty. He couldn't temper the aggression pouring from the drokken, it was becoming too much… he had to hang on but…
He clapped his hands to the side of his head and felt his knees give way beneath him. With a cry he fell to the forest floor, his face wet with tears. A wave of anger from behind him now and he knew he'd blown it. His instructor strode over and hauled him to his feet by his collar.
'You shame us once again!' he yelled, spittle flying into his student's face. 'I will no longer tolerate your incompetence. I will inform your life giver that you are an imbecile child fit only for consumption at the feast of Harknor,' he paused calculating dates, 'which I believe is next Thursday.'
Krevlorneswarth trembled under his grip. The Instructor turned a sicker shade of green at the sense of his fear and cowardice, it made him feel ill. He hauled him off the ground until his toes barely scrapped the weeds below and hurled him backwards into the forest where he landed which a crash in some prickly bushes.
'Students!' the instructor bellowed to his class, 'We will track the drokken. You six take the western path, the rest of us will close in from the north and east. We will leave this thing here, perhaps he will give the drokken some prey to aim for, something weak and easy to kill,' a burst of laughter and the warriors strode away.
He listened to them go and then tried to disentangle himself from the prickles. They scratched at his skin and left angry red grazes even through his thin jerkin. Still he'd rather wear a thin jerkin than a bit of dead beast still sticky from the maiming. He picked weeds out of his hair and tried to brush the dirt from his sleeves, but he got caught and snagged the material, ripping the pale brown cloth. Every time he moved it got worse until eventually he just sat there in the dirt and stared mournfully into the forest. He felt miserable and ashamed. His family hated him, it looked now like he'd been kicked out of training and he couldn't decide how to feel about it. He didn't want to do it in the first place but what else was there to do. Now he'd probably be eaten like the instructor said. Well that was one way out. He pressed his lips together without thinking and emitted a low slow hum.
Suddenly he stopped. There it was again. He kept doing that. What was that noise? When he'd first made it his mother had beaten him with sticks. He tried to put it to one side but it was like a voice in his head, a bubbling urgent voice instructing him to make that odd sound. He bit his lip and tried to resist it. The force of the sound settled in his chest and fluttered there. It must be madness, like the others said, Krevlorneswrath was mad, a mad coward who made strange noises and felt inferior emotions.
Frightened by what his mind was doing he forced himself to move from the ground. Bu he didn't want to head back to the village or to the homestead, he'd save that beating for later. Sensing that the drokken was no longer nearby he wandered further into the woods hoping to find a bit of peace and time to think. Maybe he'd find some food, of the non-killable variety of course, some berries or nuts, nothing with claws. His mother had taken to refusing to feed him unless he beheaded the thing himself and he just didn't have the stomach for it. His guts growled in hunger but he ignored them with growing expertise. Personally he couldn't figure out why the 'hunting' element of his hunting and gathering lessons was so much more important than the 'gathering.' Gathering was needed too right? A good gather was essential to quality of life. He could be useful with the gathering. But of course it didn't work that way, Deathwoks hunted, cow slaves gathered. He'd have made a better cow slave than a demon.
Krevlorneswrath stopped suddenly, aware of an aura nearby. So early in the morning it could only be one of his fellows or some beast which wanted to kill him. That made it kind harder to distinguish between the two as he was sure most of his classmates would happily kill him also. He stood still and channelled. The aura was non aggressive. Cow shaped. A cow out in the woods. He chuckled. Maybe he should ask it if it needed a hand gathering berries. He continued on his way, ready to ignore the aura and get back to brooding on what a misfit he was when he felt it change.
Krevlorneswrath glanced in the direction of the emotion and frowned.
Cow emotions were mocked and derided by his people. Deathwoks did not feel loss or pity, mercy, unhappiness or love. It was inferior. They felt only shame and triumph and aggression. Everything else had been suppressed so far for generations that an outcrop of accidental emotion was classified as madness and beaten from its victim. For Krevlorneswrath, cows offered a window on the beautiful rainbow of feeling he felt he knew existed, the rainbow he wanted so badly to believe in and have accepted in himself. He tuned in further, the sadness beyond the trees bittersweet and intoxicating. He felt its colours move and change tinged with memories and hope, fleeting glimpses of a deeper enduring feeling, affection and tenderness.
He had to move on; he was laying himself open and vulnerable. If any of his classmates wandered this way and sensed that he was experimenting with cow emotion again his punishment would be even worse than it was already. He had to leave, the taste of these illicit feelings still fresh in his mouth. He pulled back from the trees and rounded onto the path, still dazzled by the intensity, the word around speckled with bright lights and shadows so that his vision was blurred. If he stuck to the path he could make his way back to the village and face the wrath of his mother, get it over and down with. He felt dreamy and empowered by the borrowed emotion.
'Argh!!' suddenly his footing gave way and he was plummeting down an embankment to a clearing below. With each tumble he banged hard against trees and bushes, more scratches and bruises covering him, more blood seeping into his jerkin. Finally with a bang his head came to an abrupt halt against a rock and the world went black. The last thing he heard was a high pitched gasp of surprise; the last thing he felt was an aura of startled concern.
Krevlorneswrath struggled to open his eyes. That sound he had heard himself make. Now it was coming from elsewhere.
'Mmm…mmm…mmm…mmm…mmm, ' a female voice, the volume building slowly, something was going to give, an moment something was going to happen, he could feel it in her aura. He tried again to open his eyes, he wanted to see this… and then it came.
I make it alone,
When love is gone,
Still you made your mark,
Here in my heart,
One day I'll fly away…
Leave your love to yesterday,
What more can your love do for me
When will love be through with me?
He focused then, on the purity of her voice. She had her back to him, crouched over a fire, pouring water to be heated into a pan. He could sense that she had not heard him move, she didn't know he was awake, she was uninhibited. What was this? He'd never heard anything like it. Was it a spell? Slowly he sat up, his eyes still fixed on her and his breath coming in slow shallow gasps. If it was a spell he didn't want it to end, didn't care what danger he might be in.
I follow the night
Can't stand the light
When will I begin,
My life again?
One day I'll fly away…
Her voice cracked. He saw her brush the back of her hand over her cheek, heard her clear her throat, saw the ripple in her aura as she regain control of her self and busied her hands with her task. She dipped rags into the heating water and rinsed them out quickly. Krevlorneswrath pulled himself to sit up, registering faintly the interior of the hut, the blankets over his body and the ache in his neck.
She heard him move and turned to look at him.
'You're awake,' she smiled, 'I was worried you'd been badly hurt, you've been out for ages.' She approached with the warm wet rag and asked permission with her eyes to tend his scratches. Her big blue eyes.
'Don't I know you?' he asked.
'I see you every day in the market,' she said wiping the cuts on his face gently. 'Hardly anyone stops to look at the things I make, not of your kind anyway, you know… the green kind,' she added apologetically. 'I'm Keira, I work for Turnsfelltorth at the Makdar Homestead.'
'Oh,' he replied, entirely out of his depth. A cow was talking to him. He'd only ever sensed cows before, they rarely held conversations, most wouldn't even look a demon in the eyes for fear of a beating. And here this one was tending his wounds and chatting like they were old friends.
'I am Krevlorneswrath of the Deathwok clan.'
She giggled. 'That's a mouthful of a name. You guys always have such long names. Can't I call you… 'she paused, thinking, 'Lorne for short?'
'You want to shorten me?' he didn't understand.
'It's just easier to say.'
'Um… yes… OK…. Lorne,' he repeated, 'It sounds…'
'Softer,' she agreed. 'It's better for your aura. Krevlorneswrath is such a dark harsh word, Lorne is so much lighter and sunnier. It's yellow.'
'That's my favourite colour!' he exclaimed, and she nodded, she had seen that with the beads. Lorne suddenly made a realisation and rushed to question her, 'Wait you read auras? But you're a cow…'
She laughed again. 'I'm a human being, and yes some of us can read auras. I could read them back where I come from and I can read them here. Haven't you wondered why I'm not afraid of you?'
Lorne looked down, his humiliation was complete. Even cows could sense he was a coward and no threat. Not that he would wish to be a threat, he wouldn't want to make people afraid, but how was he ever going to survive Pylea if a semi psychic cow could read his feelings? The skilled warriors and psychics of his own people would never be fooled. He would be cast out or worse.
'You're not a coward,' she said reading him. She let the cloth wipe away the last traces of his blood. 'There are words in my world for creatures like you,' she said, 'Words you don't have here. Here everything is about violence and honour and death. In my world there is violence but there is also a great respect for peace. And for kindness. You are a coward to your people because you won't fight, you won't kill for the sake of killing. I've seen your instructor and I've listened to what they say about you.'
Lorne winced in shame.
'But where I come from you'd be the braver man. Because you feel, and because you listen, and because you are gentle.'
Despite himself he felt comforted. By her smooth voice and her touch. Cow skin was soft and warm and her fingers moved back and forth over his face as she worked. Now on his cheek, now his forehead, now lightly on the tips of his horns. She was close and he could smell her, the scent of the forest on her skin and in her hair, long dark curls on her shoulders falling down her back in warm waves. There was something in her aura which welcomed him.
'Why did you leave your world?' he asked at length, 'if there is a world like the one you describe, why would you leave it to come here?'
'It wasn't my choice,' she answered. 'I was pulled out of there, through a portal. I've been here a long time, and compared to some of your 'cows' as you call them I've had an easy time, I keep my head down and do my work, my bosses are among the better ones… the weaker ones your people would call them.'
'Is there a way back?' Lorne asked, 'I mean could you get back to your world? It must hurt so much to be here… I… I read your unhappiness…' he confessed shyly.
'It's OK,' she said, 'It's good that someone here can read that, it makes me feel less alone. As for getting back, I don't know, I've heard rumours of shimmering gateways in the forest but I don't know,' her face and aura was sad and then as quickly as her sorrow washed over her hope infected her aura, 'but I carry it here, always,' and she pointed to her chest, 'in my heart. One day I'll get back.'
Lorne couldn't help but giggle. 'You keep your heart in your chest?'
She laughed at him, he was rather sweet, 'I know your hearts are somewhere else entirely,' and playfully she glanced down his body and won another smile from his deep red lips. 'Do you feel OK?' she asked.
Lorne rubbed the back of his skull, 'I'll be fine. I don't know how long for, I have to go back and face my life giver, I'm in deep, I think she's going to roast me.. you know… literally on a spit,' his smile fell. Keira watched his aura shift and change.
'Stay here a while,' she suggested. 'I can make us some food.' Lorne didn't resist, he wasn't in a tremendous hurry to go home. He watched as she gathered a few things together for a meal, the hut growing steadily darker with the setting suns outside. Once again she began to hum and he latched on hard to the sound. He couldn't explain what it did to him, he felt a trickle of excitement and pleasure somewhere deep within.
'It's music,' she said, her back still to him, 'It sounds even better in my world, people there train for years to make music, their voices are perfect. I'm just singing what I can remember and that isn't much.'
'It's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard,' Lorne said, absolutely rapt. She smiled at him indulgently and shook her head.
'Why don't you try?'
'Try?' he asked alarmed. 'To make that noise? I… I mean I found myself doing something like that before… and I shouldn't… its not…' he was getting flustered. Keira came to sit by him.
'Its just music, you like how it sounds? You could make that sound and then you'd always have it with you, you'd never be alone then, that's how it works for me.'
'I can't… it's wrong.'
Keira took both his hands and sang a line, 'I make it alone… when love is gone…'
Before he knew it the he had heard her sing before words tumbled out of him; sweet tuneful words, his soft voice filling each with pure emotion. 'You made your mark… here in my heart…' Keira opened her eyes wide and he stopped suddenly afraid.
'Your voice is beautiful, your aura…' she said, 'You're beautiful.' Lorne stammered for a second and then he saw it, the wave of an emotion he had never seen before which surrounded her now. He felt her hand reach for his face, felt her eyes lock with his. 'You're beautiful,' she said again and closed her lips on his.
At first he didn't know how to react. Her touch was so soft; he could feel her pulling gently at his lower lip, trapped between hers. His eyes fluttered shut and the feeling became more intense. Now her tongue was slipping into his mouth, moist and warm, teasing him into responding in kind. And all the time her aura was reassuring him that this was no trick, whatever she was doing she meant it and it wasn't going to harm him. Her arms moved around him and he could feel her pulling him down on top of her. Their kisses were deepening and the feeling of pleasure and excitement he had felt with the music was spilling over now, flooding his body so that each nerve tingled with the anticipation of her next move.
His breathing becoming ragged he broke the kiss and turned to continue it on her neck, across her shoulder. She helped him to loosen her clothes so that her pale pink flesh was exposed. The touch of it was electric on his lips; he felt his muscles tighten as her hands removed his jerkin. She ran her palms over his taut green skin, dappled with shadow like leaves in sunlight. She followed the smooth contours of his back and pushed her hands down towards his buttocks, relishing the sensation of tension she felt there. He spasmed involuntarily as she touched his most sensitive parts and he bucked slightly towards her. Lorne made a low noise in his throat which was thick with desire. He had no idea what was happening to his body, all this sensation, this powerful sensation and yet so far from the things he had experienced up until now. He was sharing something with another being, something intimate and indistinct and yet powerful. This was safe and wanted and mutual, and he couldn't stop, he didn't want to stop and everything in Keira's aura was telling him that that was OK, he wasn't supposed to, he was supposed to lose himself in this moment, in her arms.
She held his face in her hands and pulled back to look into his eyes while below them their bodies found their own way. He entered her smoothly and felt her tighten around him. Keira bit down on her lip and he felt the pleasure rush through first her and then him. He mirrored her movements. She was gripping him hard, rocking with his rhythm, pushing her self against and around him and holding him for a moment in her world. In moments he knew it would be over but her utter acceptance of him would last, he felt it. In the final seconds his body took over and he felt himself yield completely to the sensations she offered him. He was letting go, he was letting go and she would catch him.
'Oh God,' he mumbled.
His release came hard and fast, a symphony of light dazzling him as the pleasure tore through his body and erupted in the edges of his aura. Below him he had felt Keira do the same and now her aura shimmered softly around her. He was overwhelmed, he had never dreamed of allowing these foreign emotions to wash over him so utterly. He had fought all his life to contain them, tried so hard to nurture those more befitting a Deathwok and now he came to realise through the touch of this woman that his people despised these feelings because they were afraid. Despite all the aggression and violence, these new emotions, trust, acceptance, forgiveness and love proved more of a threat to Pylea. Because he had never felt anything as strongly as this and yet he'd survived it.
'You see now don't you,' she said against his neck, 'you see now why you aren't the coward. I've been alone here so long, and you were the only one brave enough to find me, to be here in this moment,' she looked up at him and sought him out behind his eyes, 'you are the only one brave enough,' she said.