Ch 2 – The story continues from Pritkin's POV

John swung his legs off the bed and sat on the edge, rubbing his hands through his hair. He was still painfully erect. "No other options to take care of this problem," he said to himself as he pulled his penis, trying to relieve a bit of pressure. "The shower it is, then." He would finish with his fist, as usual. Was God punishing him some more? He wondered. Reminding him of what he was missing by giving him a single instance of non-lethal sex with a human? …And then denying him yet again the most basic of a man's needs. He grunted irritably and stepped under the steaming water, soaping himself from face to groin with the tiny bar of complimentary soap. He stroked himself, lightly smoothing his hand along the sensitive underside with a practiced motion, root to tip…over and over. His thoughts drifted to Cassie again, as they had for the last several weeks since he first met her. She was currently his favorite focus each time he pleasured himself. This time he had actual memories of her body to use, forming what was sure to be his preferred image in his head. He closed his eyes and again saw her lying before him with her legs splayed wide, her damp womanly parts open to his tongue. He relived the entire experience, relishing the remembered moans of pleasure she muttered as he nibbled and sucked that small exquisite bud. He breathed harder as his climax approached, one hand on the shower wall for support and the other tightly rubbing his massive erection. He arched his back and groaned as he came, heart pounding as he spurted across the shower stall. He breathed heavily as the intense shudders quieted to ripples, watching his seed wash down the drain. He grimly shampooed his hair, and then grabbed the soap again to wash the blood from his leg. Most of it was gone, having sloughed off while the water ran. He bent to finish the job, running his soapy hands over the smooth skin on his legs. Wait a minute…smooth? He looked and finally noticed a complete absence of hair on both legs, from mid-thigh to foot. "What the fuck?" he snarled. "Cassie." He vehemently uttered her name as he would a curse word, wiping out those pleasurable thoughts he had just had of her. What the hell possessed her to shave his legs? Was this her idea of a joke? God, that woman was strange. He angrily rinsed off and stepped out of the shower, lightly toweling off as he headed for the portable coffee setup. He started a pot brewing before he completed his morning routine. Dry and freshly shaved, he stood drinking his coffee as he rummaged in his clean clothing for long pants. He wouldn't be wearing running shorts or swimming trunks for a good while, he thought grimly. His mates in the Corps would not let him forget it if they ever got a look at his hairless legs. It was going to be a long, hot summer. He pulled on jeans and a tee shirt, sneakers and his various holsters and potion bandoliers, leaving his bloody boots to clean later. He grabbed his leather coat and headed out of his room, intending to get a meal at that small coffee shop a few miles from here and then find Jonas.

John walked to the public library, having finished his second breakfast of the day and after leaving a message for Jonas. No one in the Corps knew he spent so much time in the cool, quiet building surrounded by one of his favorite things…books. He could relax in relative obscurity and read the newspapers from London and New York while he waited for Jonas to get in touch with him. He was itching to get back to the Corps training compound with its gym, state-of-the-art armory and gun range; but that would have to wait until Jonas got the warrants against him canceled. The Corps compound was the best place he knew of to work off the aggression that was constantly threatening to overwhelm the barely civilized façade he maintained. Or he could go kill something. He was deeply engrossed in an article about the Human Genome Project when the comm spell got his attention, providing him with a phone number. He found a phone and called Jonas.

"Now don't get all bad-tempered on me, John. You know what a bureaucracy the Circle is. I need to solidify my position first before I can issue the orders to squash those warrants. It is irritating as all get, but it will get settled. Go back to the house in Stratford and lay low for a while. The vampires have the girl well-guarded," Jonas reminded him before he rang off.

John grumbled and quietly cursed to himself. He could, he thought, head out to the desert for some live target practice. Or he could go 'round to the demon bars and find a demon to beat up and confiscate his weapons to replenish his own supply. He opted to go shopping for potion supplies since he was still avoiding the Corps armory. "We're off to see the witches…," he sang to himself as he left the library. Maybe tonight he would stop in at a karaoke bar. His early training as a bard had left him with a passable singing voice that had deepened with age to a fine, smoky, whiskey-smooth tone. The audiences seemed to favor his renditions of ballads, and he preferred songs that told a story. "Once a bard, always a bard," he announced to the small dog sitting in the dry yard of the house he passed. The house reminded him of the dwelling with the small attic room he rented when he first arrived in Vegas. He needed to retrieve the small still he used for distilling potions. He had left it there when he abandoned the place for something safer.

"How about Dragon's Blood…do you have any of that?" John asked the witch.

She snorted derisively. "No. That comes from Faery and all my sources have left the business since the war started. And what little I did have, the war mages confiscated," she snarled.

John left the shop and stopped briefly to wipe the back of his neck. It was the same story in every shop he visited. The supply of potion ingredients had dried up. Besides the Corps armory, his old farmhouse was the only other place where he knew with certainty that supplies existed. The old root cellar made a perfect storage room for the volatile items, and he had kept it well-stocked. He needed to get out of this heat. The afternoons in Vegas in July were sweltering, and everyone simply stayed indoors in cool air-conditioning until the sun went down. He rolled his head, trying to relieve the stiffness in his neck. What the hell, he thought, I deserve some down time. He headed to a favorite cinema to sit in air-conditioned comfort while he watched a film.

That was a stupid film, John thought to himself as he left the cinema and walked out into the early evening. Who the hell believes that vampires sparkle in sunlight? Sometimes the norms had some really odd ideas. He walked back towards the hotel, his shields in place as he automatically scanned the area. He reached the lobby without incident. With MAGIC gone and the Lord Protector dead or dying, the Corps had bigger problems than chasing him down. Still, he knew it paid to be cautious. He had almost passed the dress shop that Cassie liked so much, when he stopped and looked closer. Hah! There she was…sitting right next to her vampire. That strange friend of hers was grabbing ugly clothing right and left, like some deranged contestant in a game show. John stomped into the shop to confront her.

"You shaved my legs?" he snarled at her.

The coward mumbled something about training and shifted out of there. When I resume training her, she is going to be sorry, John thought to himself. Payback's a bitch. He smiled grimly to himself as he headed to his room. It didn't take him long to throw his belongings into a duffel bag. Satisfied that he had what he needed for a week away from here, he left his room and found the nearest ley line. It was night when he arrived at his old farmhouse. It was good to be home, especially in his own body.


Author's Note:

The story "The Gift" continues where this story ended. Please review.