Chapter 13

Caitlyn wiped her hand over her forehead, huffing. Healing at higher levels was tiring, though she had expected it. She hadn't expected to be wobbling on her feet though.. Sighing shakily, she longed to be home again, with a warm drink and a sweater, lounging on the couch. Her mind wandered off, and she smiled dreamily, only to be awakened by a pair of fingers snapping in front of her eyes.

"Caity! We gotta hurry, we're almost there!" Colin shouted in her face, grinning wildly. She winced, her ears ringing from his loudness.

"Fine, fine.." she said, managing a small smile. She always appreciated his happiness. He saw the tiredness in her glance, and avoided the monsters' hits a bit more, trying to make her heal him a bit less. She noticed and smiled slightly. Behind her she could hear Sam shouting complicated spells, and she wondered if Nathan used those same spells when he was fighting.

The group of three arrived in Darkon town, rather exhausted, Caitlyn most of all. They decided to stay in an inn for now, and the two boys took a room together, and gave Caitlyn the second, a more spacious one. She was quite surprised at their generosity, and grinned, patting them both on the back.

"Thanks, guys!" she said, walking to her room, eager to get in the tub and relax. She closed the door behind her carefully, and threw off her jacket hastily, dropping the rest of her outerwear on the floor. Within minutes she sank away in the warm water, sighing happily. "Ahh~" she mused, letting her mind drift off.

She had seen Nathan on and off the last few weeks, but missed the times where training didn't keep them away from each other. The longer she didn't see him, the more he seemed like a dream, mature and handsome, a mysterious stranger, the way she had seen him at the beginning. Her fingers tingled; she wanted to touch his soft skin again and see his eyes glow softly... Blushing, she sighed. He always was busy...

After a while she dropped herself on her bed, dressed in comfy pajamas. She wondered what to do, and she decided to practice some of her healing skills in the meantime.
The moment she closed her eyes and folded her hands, she felt a strong magical presence, extremely nearby, and gasped, opening her eyes to another world...

The world was tinted in gray scale, and all the sound seemed dulled somehow as she climbed off of her bed, feeling as if she was swimming under water. She stopped panicking though, when she noticed that she could breathe normally.. But there was another problem on hand. She had to get back somehow, how curious she was. She saw no visible solution though, so she walked over to the door, into the hallway that seemed longer and longer, the more she stared. A bit dizzy, she breathed in shakily, holding on to the wall.

There was a door open, a few doors further, and she could feel energy pulsating out from that room, striking her with a cold and hot sensation, her whole body tingling. Her eyes widened as she stepped into the doorway, staring straight into bright purple eyes, and the next moment she blacked out as the person called out her name.

"-lyn! Caitlyn.." a voice whispered, running warm hands over her skin. The warm voice was comforting, and distinctly familiar. Opening her eyes slowly, she reached out to the man who was speaking to her. Bright blue eyes stared into hers, and an exhausted, yet happy look appeared on his features.

"Nathan?" Caitlyn whispered, a feeling of anxiety suddenly taking hold of her. Her memory came back in lapses, and she gasped.
"I'm so sorry!" she said, rather embarrassed. She heard his accelerated breathing calm down, heard him sigh.

"..It's okay.. As long as you are.." he said with a small smile, though she could see something else in his eyes. She sat up quickly, reaching out for him, folding her arms around his neck, wanting his comfort again. He made a surprised noise, but responded immediately, folding his arms around her waist, pulling her into his lap.

"You always get caught up when I use complicated spells.. I never meant for that to happen.. But how do you manage to do it?" he said and smirked when he saw her pout. "I don't know. Maybe you should practice your magic in safer places?" she said, grinning. He blushed, and she looked around her in the meantime.

"We're in your room, right?" she asked him quietly. He nodded curtly, his long bangs fringing into his face. She had an incredible urge to brush them out of his face to reveal his beautiful eyes again, ..and he smiled, eyes half-lidded as he folded his hand around hers and touched it to his face.

"It's nice to be with you again.. We've been busy, haven't we?" he said quietly. His eyes softened, turning brown as she looked into them.

"Mm.." she mused, biting her lower lip softly. "..yeah..". She lost her words as he smiled with a soft huff, running his long fingers through her hair, ticking the skin on her neck slightly. She shivered involuntarily, suddenly very aware that she was actually in his room, on the bed he had slept in, and when she breathed in she could recognize his scent everywhere, and she blushed furiously. He chuckled when he saw her face become red.

"What are you thinking of?" he asked. "Still worried about interrupting me?"
She smirked. "Maybe." She said, leaning her forehead against his shoulder. He blinked, and smiled.
"Are you here alone?" he asked her, pressing a kiss to her cheek. It took her a moment to respond. "..nope. Sam and Colin are a few rooms down, they gave me a room to my own." she said, breathing in shakily as he pressed his lips to a spot under her ear. "Hmm." he mused, and it resounded. Her hands trembled as she wanted to pull him closer, and it only took her a moment to give in, fingers locking in his dark hair. He made a soft sound, and ran his fingers over the side of her waist. Then he suddenly stopped, seemingly realizing something.

"Ah.." he mused, sitting up. His eyes shone. Caitlyn blushed as he lifted himself on his knees, turning her face up to his. His lips parted, just barely, and she had to notice, because the next moment, they were on hers, with a comfortable pressure that set a little fire in her chest aflame. She fought back a deep sigh as his hands cupped her face, just a little bit rougher. Her hands came up to tug him closer, and he parted his lips, deepening the kiss.

A moment later she found herself on her back, lips very busy, breaths coming in little gasps. "Ahh..." she whispered against his lips, her skin tingling as his hands tickled her sides.
He groaned, pulling back for a moment, resting his forehead against hers. Light grey eyes peered into hers, half-lidded. ".. Nathan?" Caitlyn started, before his index finger was against her lips in an attempt to stop her from talking. She smiled slightly, seeing the slight blush on his cheeks. He looked different, embarrassed like that, and it made her want to tease him more by biting the finger he had on her lips. But he might be less amused by that, so she just smiled. He collapsed next to her, slowing his breathing.

"... Sorry." he said softly, running his fingers over her cheek. She frowned. What was he saying sorry for?
"Why?" she asked him, turning to face him again. He looked a bit distressed that she didn't understand, and then he smiled. "Ah.. So I just might be thinking ahead again." he said, whispered, before capturing her lips again in a soft kiss, but didn't make it more than that.
"Want to sleep over here?" he asked her, his breath warm on her lips.

"I don't think they- Sam and Colin- would notice if I did." she said, chuckling. "Okay." he said softly, cradling her to his chest, pulling the blanket up higher to keep them both warm.

"Tomorrow, I want you to train with me..." he whispered in her ear, brushing his nose against her cheek. She held her breath.
"Really?" she asked him.

"Yeah." he whispered, his voice resounding in his chest. Breathing in his scent, she smiled, and once she heard his breathing slow, she felt herself drift away as well.

Chapter 14

"Hmm..." Caitlyn mused, feeling warm and comfortable as she drifted into consciousness. It only took her a few moments to remember the previous evening, and she smiled as she felt Nathan's arms tighten slightly around her, pressing her back closer to his chest. He mumbled something she couldn't quite hear, but smiled and pressed his lips to her hair. She started to drift away again, but suddenly remembered that Colin and Sam would be looking for her soon, and that they would figure out everything if they saw them like this?

'Calm down, they don't even know you're here!' she told herself over and over again, but couldn't stop her heartbeat from accelerating quickly, causing Nathan, with his heightened senses, to wake up and whisper her name. "What's wrong?" he asked sleepily, eyes swirling, struggling to choose the right color for his mood. "Err..." she started, a bit dizzy from the stress. "Sam and Colin could be looking for me..." she said quietly. He stayed quiet for a moment, and then sighed. "..I see what you mean. You don't want to worry them, right?" he mumbled, his voice just a tad solemn. She held her breath for a moment, expecting his arms to loosen, but they didn't, and she turned to face him, noticing the strange expression on his face.

"It's not really that... If they knew, other people might find out.." she said quietly, and her heart throbbed painfully when his expression became even more sad. "Nathan." she said.
"Wouldn't it cause trouble if everyone knew about us?" she said, sitting up, her blond hair falling into her face, hiding her eyes from sight. He blinked.

"You think that?" he asked her, staring at her incredulously. She nodded, blushing slightly, feeling a bit silly. He sighed deeply, reaching for her again. He pulled her close and wrapped his blanket around her, smiling against her hair. "And I was thinking that you were embarrassed of me.." he said and sighed, leaning against her. "I don't know how people will react, but I don't really care either.." he mused. Caitlyn smiled slightly.

"Honestly?" she asked, running her fingers over the side of his neck. He felt like he was glowing again as he nodded. "..Thanks." she said, sighing in relief. He grinned, tightening his hold on her. "Honestly." he said, ignoring her embarrassed protests. His eyes glowed as he pressed a kiss to her forehead.
"I hope you're not thinking more of those things" he whispered as he let her go, though reluctantly. She smiled. "At least not as of now." she said, and he groaned, letting himself fall backwards onto the bed. She looked down at him, how his chest moved with every breath he took, how his bright eyes observed her, how his dark hair sprawled across the white blankets.. And she blushed yet again, a strange feeling stirring in her chest.

"Stay still for a moment.." she mumbled, and his eyes narrowed, though he looked curious. "Now close your eyes?" she continued, moving to hover over him. He closed his eyes, and his lips curled into a small smile, hands twitching from wanting to touch her. She smiled, leaning down to kiss him, almost carefully. It took him just a moment to kiss her back, lips moving just slightly, while she sighed against his lips, smiling as she closed her eyes.

"Can I move now?" he asked, smiling slightly, though groaning softly when she deepened the kiss, almost painfully slowly. Shivering, though barely noticeable, his hands came up to root in her hair, while he tried to keep back the emotions that were tormenting him from inside; it was taking a lot of him to keep himself in control, and she knew it, smiling wickedly. Something in her really wanted to see another side of him, that side of him with blazing eyes, aflame with passion. She wondered if it even was possible for her to get him like that, though..

The very moment she felt his hands shake, and felt his movements become more uncontrolled, the moment she felt a warm rush and then a chill down her spine, three sharp raps on the door shook them out of their moment, freezing them in their movements. Nathan sat up quickly, bumping his forehead against hers. "Ouch!" she mumbled, turning in his lap. He looked alarmed, very alarmed, and she suddenly was reminded of the fact that no one knew about them. His eyes turned a dark brown, and he stood up.

"Who's there?" he called out with a clear voice, clean of any emotion. There was some mumbling on the other side of the door, before a male voice entered.
"Are you the Guild Leader?" the voice continued, sounding rather strange. Caitlyn swallowed the lump in her throat; this sounded like someone who could harm him, at least that was what her intuition was telling her. Nathan let out a soft sigh.
"You again? I thought that the others had taken care of you." he said, rather annoyed. 'Someone who wants to challenge me the whole time..' he whispered to her. She nodded, eyes wide.
"I have no interest in talking to you." he said, hands in his pockets as he walked over to the door so he could hear the muttering.
"I'll just have to break open the door." the person said, sounding like he really meant it too. "I'll show you that there is someone who can beat you.". Nathan frowned slightly.
"Try your best. But I'll not be here." Nathan said. He turned to Caitlyn and swept her up in his arms. "Think of your room." he whispered, closing his eyes. The strong magical presence amazed her once again, and she held on to him as she pictured her room as well as she could. There was a rush of wind, a storm of colors, and she found herself back in her room, on top of her bag, with Nathan sprawled on the bed next to her. He had a content smile on his face, and she smiled slightly.

"You have many people after you." she simply said, reaching out to touch his face. He didn't open his eyes but caught her hand in his, caressing the mouse of her hand softly. "Mmhm."
"I've beat all of them, until now. But I don't have any interest in this person; he just keeps coming after me." he said, sighing, exasperated. Caitlyn patted his soft hair. "You'll have to set him straight someday though." she said carefully. "I know.. but I just want to enjoy nice things for now, not fight the whole time.." he mumbled. Smiling, Caitlyn stood up and hopped off the bed. "Don't go anywhere, I'm going to take a quick shower." she said.

Nathan nodded, and Caitlyn looked back once more at him as she entered the bathroom, feeling as if he would somehow disappear, like he had done before. She hoped, with her whole heart, that this time he wouldn't.
She finished in just a few minutes, and she returned to a very panicked young Elementor, who was pacing around the room anxiously. Wide-eyed, she asked him what was wrong.
"Nathan? Why are you pacing around like this?" she asked, stopping him by putting her hands on his shoulders. "Your friends." he said, pointing at the door. And when she focused, she could hear two voices faintly calling out her name. "They're planning to come get you to continue training, and they're coming here in a few minutes."
"Oh.. That's true." she said, sighing. "I guess I'll see you later, then?" she said, sadly, as she reached up around his neck to hug him, and his arms circled around her waist to hold her close. She felt his heartbeat, and he smiled as he breathed in the scent of soap and shampoo. It was kind of nice.

"... Caitlyn?"
A voice came from the door. "Ohh..." raced through her mind as she let the Elementor go, who stared at the dark-haired magician in the doorway with a confused expression on his face. "Is this...?" he asked, before an energetic Colin pushed him aside to barge into the room. "Caity?" he asked after a few moments of silence, regarding the majestic man next to her.

"Err..." she started, before her brain decided to short-circuit, and she passed out, barely caught up by Nathan, who was stared at by two pairs of eyes, and wondered how long it would take to explain this.