Disclaimer: Lost Odyssey belongs to Mistwalker, not me. I'm not making any money off of this.
Author's Notes: This is a series of short fics/vingettes chronicling little slices of Ming and Jansen's early life together. Everything from funny to romantic to steamy to melancholy, and whatever falls between. I have no idea how many there will be, but I can at least promise there will be more than one or two!
Setting the Night On Fire
The moon was well overhead by the time Ming Numara collapsed into the inviting softness of her bed. Even such a seemingly simple task as slipping out of her train and gown had proven time consuming and difficult for her. Her fingers kept shaking and slipping, she couldn't remember quite how to unravel the elaborate panels of her skirt, her train snagged on her ring…. At least the last incident was understandable, as she rarely wore rings.
You've absolutely no reason to be as skittish as a…a…. Ming rolled over onto her back and sighed, unable to come up with anything other than 'virgin bride'. Which was, despite her mental scolding, exactly what she was. But that hardly meant there was any cause to twitter and fret. She wasn't some innocent little fluff headed girl who had no idea what went on between man and maid. And it wasn't as though one truly needed a partner to experience or enjoy physical pleasure. But this was still something strange and new, despite hundreds of books and centuries of listening to handmaidens gossip and share intimate stories. Jansen had been a perfect gentleman their entire courtship, going no further than kisses and perfectly chaste caresses. Which she was both thankful for and frustrated by. It had been unspoken, that they would wait the few extra months until they were officially wed. But a few months seemed like forever after nearly two years of long looks and guarded touches.
It had been maddening. And distracting! How many long minutes had she lost, captivated by the line of Jansen's jaw or the fall of his hair across his temple? How many restless nights had she lain awake under the covers, staring at the ceiling and trying to drive from her mind the memory of his hands, how he slid them so firmly and gently along his stave…
The last month had been the worst. They had found themselves alone together whenever Ming wasn't busy with politics or wedding preparations. And Jansen had taken to Numaran fashion, which suited him beautifully. And showed off his arms. He had such appealing arms….
Well, at least she could be assured that her nervousness was nervous excitement.
What is taking him so long?
She couldn't hear anything from the bathing chamber, where Jansen had excused himself once they'd finally gotten away from the revelry. The celebration of their union was continuing in the streets of the city, and most likely would continue well into the next day. At least the palace was quiet.
Ming intended to sleep well into the next day. She was without a doubt happier than she could remember being, but she was tired. It had been a long few months and a very long day.
And Jansen's insistence on taking ridiculously long baths - and keeping her waiting! - wasn't helping. She tugged at the hem of her shimmering white shift, smoothing it over her thighs. She reclined against her pillows, her hair loose and falling in soft waves down her shoulders. Her shift was sinfully comfortable - a little white slip of a thing that shimmered and clung to her breasts and wide-set hips. The only jewelry she wore was her wedding ring.
If he isn't out here soon, I'm going to go in and get him! And she could. He was her husband now. She could walk in on him in the bath if she so chose. For gods' sake, she could ride him like an unbroken stallion until he couldn't walk if she was taken by the whim! And if she was forced to wait much longer….
She fell asleep without realizing it. Her eyes slipped closed and her hand fell limply to the covers and the world melted away.
When it returned, it was in the form of hands on her body, snapping her out of some dark dream from the long past. She reacted without thinking, fire blossoming in her hand before she had even opened her eyes. No one had any right to lay hands upon her! Least of all in her bed! With a grace and agility honed over a millennium, Ming twisted as she came fully awake.
And immediately dropped her mage-lit hand, drawing back in horror. Jansen sat on the bed, wide eyed and confused, gaping at her. Ming's breath caught in her throat and she could only gape back, horrified at how closely she had come to attacking her own husband!
"I…" She wet her lips, trying desperately to summon the words to explain. She felt like such a fool!
"I scared you, didn't I?" Jansen offered, smiling apologetically. "I'm sorry. Didn't realize you were out out."
"I didn't mean to fall asleep." She leaned forward, forehead pressing against Jansen's. "I am so very sorry."
"Hey, no harm done. And like I don't overreact now and again. Don't worry about it. I mean…let's not make a habit out of it or anything…." He chuckled, and then he kissed her, and Ming leaned into it, eager to forget the small bit of unpleasantness and go to bed with her husband….
"Mmm," she mumbled after a moment, attempting to wrench her head away. Jansen's hands were on her, holding her, and he either didn't notice her distracted attempts to disengage or didn't want to. "Jansen!" she managed, tipping her head back as he began to kiss down her neck. "I think something might be on fire."
That did it. Jansen straightened up and peered over her shoulder, then winced. Ming turned herself. though she could already smell the light smoke. A spark from her initial flare - or the flare itself, when she dropped her hand in sudden surprise - had lit the bedding.
"Oh, shit!" Jansen acted quickly, dousing the bed - and both of them in his haste - with a frantically thrown aqua.
The bedding sizzled and smoked, and Ming and Jansen simply looked at one another, dripping wet as the smell of char rose around them. Ming could feel her hair straggling down her neck, and was very aware that her white shift was now molded to her. And freezing. Jansen didn't look much better, with that one loose bit of hair now matted over his eye and the collar of his nightshirt flopping pathetically down his chest.
Ming couldn't help it. She began to laugh. She lifted her hand to cover her mouth, but she control it. Here they were, on their wedding night, and the bed was a sodden, smoldering ruin and they looked like a pair of drowned cats. At first Jansen looked away guiltily, cheeks reddening and hand going to the back of his neck to worry it. But then his shoulders began to shake and he was laughing as well, and they laughed until tears were prickling the corners of their eyes.
"Well…" Jansen finally said, after raking his wet hair out of his eyes. "I know things are supposed to get pretty hot in here tonight, but I think actually setting the bed on fire might be going overboard a little bit…"
"What are we going to do now?" Ming wiped at her eyes and attempted to smooth her hair back behind her ears. "We certainly can't use the bed, and I'm rather loathe to call for someone to clean it right now…."
"Somebody's gonna have to clean it up eventually anyway," Jansen pointed out. "Oh, that'll be fun to explain. But…yeah, I'll be honest, I don't want to deal with handmaidens or servants or whatever right now. And they probably don't wanna deal with me, cause…I've been sitting here staring at you in that little see through thing and I'm not standing up if your little maids come in."
Ming blushed this time, and instinctively raised her arms to cover herself. At Jansen's sad little noise of protest, she only blushed deeper.
"Here." Jansen did stand up, and now it was Ming's turn to take advantage of the view. But only for a moment, as he scooped her up into his arms without a word of warning. "Who needs a bed? There's plenty of room on the floor, there's that couch thing over there….and you know, the sooner we get out of these wet clothes the better….eh, think the floor'd work better than the couch. And hey, this carpet's almost as thick as a mattress…" He set her down a good distance from the bed, before the empty fire-place. He eyed it a moment, then met her gaze and they both began laughing again.
"Don't tell me you're thinking of lighting it," she teased, stretching out languidly on her back, arching slightly in invitation. "I think it's time we tended to our own flames, don't you?"
Jansen just stripped off his sodden nightshirt and joined her on the carpet.