Judgment
By: Manna


xOx…

Dedication: Sardonic Kender Smile. Happy 18th Birthday (April 2nd, 2009)!


xOx…

Lust: Part I

She blushes every time she sees him, now. No matter how often she tries to chastise herself, she can't keep the tinge of red from creeping across her cheeks and tinting the edges of her ears. She tries to push away her thoughts, but it's too hard for her to do, and she has too much time on her hands, sometimes, so her mind wanders.

She tries blaming it on him. After all, he insists that she should rest and enjoy whatever time they're blessed with. An attack can happen at any time, he says. He doesn't want anyone to be unprepared. She knows he's only looking out for her as he's always done.

But time that she's not staying busy is time she has to think about him.

She knows he likes her; it's pretty obvious now, because her presence flusters him so easily. But she's certain that his thoughts are nothing like hers. She thinks the most unladylike things. If he knew, she would die from the shame.

It all started with him sparring against Sain. The sun was sinking, but there was plenty of light to see by. They were sweating, but she was only watching him, only Kent. It was the middle of summer and he didn't know she was there, that her eyes were riveted not to the match to see who would win, but to the way the sweat clung to his chest and arms, the way it dripped down his back and his neck. When the match ended with a victory on his part, she hardly noticed. She walked up to him and just stared, thinking every kind of thought that a woman should never, ever think.

How long had she loved him? Oh, a long, long time. But her thoughts hardly seemed loving to her at all, hardly seemed relevant to love or anything even remotely good. He probably doesn't think like she does, but if he knew the thoughts than had run through her head that day, he would never be able to look at her the same way again.

His hair was damp, his bangs hanging in his eyes, eyes that were startled. His face was terribly red, and she heard his lips fumble for an excuse as his hands fumbled to get his shirt.

She wanted to kiss him. No, she wanted to do so much more. Quickly but clumsily he had pulled his shirt back on and she had wanted to insist he take it back off. She found herself wanting to take it off for him. She wanted to kiss him absolutely senseless even though she had no idea how to go about doing such a thing, and she wanted to see him sweat, wanted to make him sweat.

Her mind had worked a mile a minute, if not faster, as the image of him standing before her, sweating from his sparring match, refused to leave her mind. Normally—normally—she would only be proud—so very proud—of him for winning against Sain, and she would say so in a roundabout way that still included praise for him and his abilities. He would always blush at her words, even if only the smallest bit, and long ago he had ceased refusing the praise. She knew he liked to hear it.

It was a good thing he hadn't been able to hear her thoughts that evening as she had tossed and turned and been so distracted by him and his body that she had been unable to sleep. When her eyes finally closed, she dreamed of his weight pushing down on her, crushing her in a way that she didn't mind, that made her belly and her heart feel warm. If only she could really feel that way, she remembered thinking, if only she could feel his chest pressing down on hers, his hands on her cheek, her back, her waist, her hips, her legs. If only she could do the same to him, too!

She wonders how his hands might feel like, if the calluses on his fingers would lightly scratch at her breasts, her ribcage, her stomach. What might he do if she gives into her desire to feel his own skin against hers? She knows it's different, he's different. Harder, firmer, masculine… She wants to feel more than merely what little he's let her touch, and she wants to see more than what little he's allowed her to see.

She tries to remember back to her tribe, to the women and how they acted. How had they convinced a man to want them as badly as they wanted him?

She's not quite sure, but she's a woman, as capable as any other woman, and she knows she can make him sweat as much as he had during the sparring match with Sain.

She hasn't done it. Not yet. But she knows that she can, at any given moment.

She wants to. She wants to employ every tactic she can think of to win him over, to make him act, because she knows—she knows—that he harbors feelings for her that are as strong as the feelings she harbors for him.

Her eyes are on him as he sits quietly under a tree, minding his own business, looking at the leaves above him. It's a weeping willow, and the boughs hang down low around him, almost hiding him from view. It's a beautiful scene, she thinks. He's not facing the camp, and nobody is paying him any mind. People tend to ignore him, and that upsets her.

But not her, never her. She couldn't ignore him even if she tried because he occupies every spare moment, every stray thought, every last desire and wish and hope and dream.

So she sneaks up on him, her thoughts whirling, her heart pounding. She doesn't know what she's going to do, yet, but she has to do something. She must do something.

And with the kind of grace only a woman is blessed with, she twists around and sits in his lap. He can't even move; she doesn't give him time to react. Instantly, his brown eyes widen, and she smiles at him innocently. She wants him, wants every last piece of him now. She knows it'd be easy to sneak away from all of the others; if they make it far enough away they can do anything they want and nobody will ever know about it. Not unless she tells. He'd never tell, and she knows she won't. It can be their little secret, she thinks.

She won't do that. She knows he's too honorable to even consider it, regardless as to whether he himself wants it or not.

But she wants to touch him, at least. Feel his skin under her fingers just to know what it's like, even if it's only for a little while. Nobody's looking and even if they were, she wouldn't care.

"L-Lady Lyndis…" His protest is weak. She knew it would be. It makes her heart twist and sink and soar all at the same time, partially from nervousness, partially from love, and partially from some of the thoughts she's having that she shouldn't be.

She leans against him, pressing her chest into his, so—so—glad that he's not still wearing his armor. His reaction is sharp and clear; his entire body shudders. She feels proud of herself for doing it to him. He says nothing, maybe he's scared to, and his hands stay by his side, clenching and unclenching. He's so unsure of himself; she thinks it's adorable. His eyes are on her, though, a darker brown than they were only a few minutes ago. Maybe this means that she's succeeding. She'd love nothing more than for those eyes to stay on her forever, to take her in from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.

Would he like what he saw? She thinks that he probably would, but that's for another day, another time, and a place that offers much more privacy.

She kisses the side of his jaw and works her way down to the hollow of his throat. He's so distracted that she manages to untuck his shirt. He hardly seems aware of her fingers pulling at the fabric.

"Kent," she whispers, her voice low. She wonders what he's thinking. She's never tried anything like it before; he's probably confused. Her hands find their way inside his shirt and she feels his stomach, his waist, the muscles of his back. He's tense, stiff. One of these days, she tells herself, she's going to insist on working the knots out of his back.

Her nails dig lightly into his skin; she's satisfied when he relaxes just the smallest bit, when his mouth opens slightly, wordlessly, when he swallows, and when she hears a small groan that he tries to hide.

She brings her hands back around to the front of his shirt, pressing him gently against the trunk of the tree behind him as she lets one palm rest over his heart. It's beating out a rhythm she's wanted to hear for a long, long time. She wonders if she could make it beat even faster, and immediately she knows how she could do it. She can think of a million ways to make his heart pound.

She can twist in his lap so her legs are on either side of his waist, she can reach for the buckle that keeps his pants up, she can breathe into his ear, kiss his lips, his neck, his throat, his shoulders… She knows she can make him want her more than he already does; she can make him sweat, make his heart beat so hard it hurts, make him turn things around so that he takes the initiative, so that he's pushing her against the grass, his weight heavy, in a comforting sense, against her, his lips on her skin, his hands rubbing and squeezing and stroking just as hurriedly and desperately as her own.

She wants to do all of those things and more.

But she can't—she just can't. She can't do any of them.

Because he's trembling so badly.

So she pulls her hands out of his shirt—though not without rubbing her thumbs across his nipples, down his chest, his stomach, around his navel just because she can—and resists the urge to kiss him. If she kisses him, she knows she'll want so much more than that, more than he can give her at the moment, and she doesn't want to coax him into something he's not ready for, yet, something that he has misgivings about. After all, she chides herself, if he were ready and she was not, she wouldn't want him to try to convince her to give in.

She can wait. She can wait for him until he's ready, whether it's after marriage or it's before that, whether it's in Caelin or by a creek or under a tree or on the open expanse of plains that she longs to return to with him at her side. Maybe she can show him, there, show him all of her, from the tips of her toes to the top of her head.

So instead of pressing her lips against his, instead of turning to wrap her legs around his waist, she settles for nuzzling his cheek with her nose as she threads her fingers through his auburn hair.

She smiles against his skin when she notices something. His hair, not to mention the back of his neck, is damp with sweat. She knew she could do it.


xOx…

Author Notes:

This little collection is for Kender for her birthday. Something sexy for the big 18, right? I told you I would do it!

At any rate, there's more. I stole Xirysa's idea and I'm doing the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues.

Edited May 10th, 2009: Okay, this chapter went a major editing session.