A/N: Hey so, yeah, this is a story of my very own creation. How did you like chapter one? I, personally, like how Thorn and Ash are already together. And what about Thorn's past? Curios yet? I would like to send a huge shout out to lunalucy for adding this to her favorites. Thank you, because you're the only reason that I'm adding this second chapter. Please read and review! I want to know that some people are reading this, and I want feedback! Criticisms and compliments are both welcome. Ok, I'll let your get to reading now. Enjoy!
The princeling was coming around again. Great.
He moaned and rolled over so his head was on my feet. I rolled my eyes in annoyance and jerked my feet up, flipping his head back onto the uneven surface of the wagon.
"Don't damage the bag, Thorn," Guenther called from the front.
"Oh, he's fine," I said. Ash shook his head with a little smirk on his face, which I don't really understand 'cause the prince was fine, if a little bruised up…and slightly frazzled from being jolted with power from George's contraption every time he tried to speak. This was the fourth time he had regained consciousness of the trip. We had only been in the wagon for six hours.
"Tea and biscuits please," came the prince's voice from the floor. Huh, maybe I shouldn't have shocked him that third time? I don't think that Richard would be happy with a looney bag.
"No tea or biscuits here, Princey. Besides, you slept through the mid-day meal. You'll just have to wait 'til we stop again fer you to get any food," Ash told the semi-conscious prince.
Oh yeah, we're gonna have to feed him sometime. Richard's business rule number five: They pay more for a well nourished healthy hostage than they do for a starving, half dead one.
"Maybe we should give him some food now? He probably hasn't eaten in a while," I proposed. Ash looked at me and raised his eyebrows. That was his way of saying, Whoa, what? Thorn wants to be nice to the bag? To this look I responded by sticking my tongue out at him. "Rule number five, Ash."
Ash put on a fake contemplating face. Or it might not have been fake; he never paid much attention to Richard's rules.
"Number five, say you? Hmm," he adopted a philosopher pose, crossing his arms and tapping his index finger on his chin. "Number five…oh, yes! Yes, number five!... Nope, still don't know it."
I laughed and rolled my eyes at his antics. "Number five, silly cove. The better the merchandise, the better the price? Ringing any bells?"
I swear I saw the light go on in his head. "Oh yeah, number five. I was thinking of twenty-seven or thirteen, or maybe it was eight?" He said. "Yep, I'm pretty sure I was thinking of rule number eight," he looked at me and winked.
I smiled. Rule number eight was keep the business trips business only. No "extra curricular" activities allowed. I'm pretty sure that Richard made up this rule just for me and Ash. He knew that we were one of the best teams for a grab-and-go, but he also knew that we were the most unprofessional, youngest, and reckless team he has. Not to mention that we had been "courting" for almost six years now. I use the term "courting" in the loosest way possible, because we aren't in court and we definitely aren't going through with the whole "proper behavior" process. Anyway, the rule was instated when we almost let a bag get away while Ash and I were…getting to know each other better.
"You're always thinking about number eight," I said as I leaned in and our lips met. His lips were soft and strong and familiar and comforting, the same thing I felt every time we kissed, but I never got tired of those feelings. He always made butterflies flutter in my stomach. Our kissed deepened, and I let myself let go of my control a bit and I started to kiss him a bit more desperately, needing to make sure that he was there, that he wasn't going to leave me.
Just as I was twining my hands in his hair, trying to deepen our kiss more, there came the sound of a throat clearing from the floor of the wagon.
I broke the kiss and leaned my forehead against his and sighed. I turned and looked at the bound prince. He was looking anywhere but at Ash and me, and his ears were turning a bright red. Huh, looks like we got ourselves a prudish prince.
"Yes, Prince Darius?" I asked in a slightly annoyed voice. Ok, it might have been more than slightly annoyed, but you can't blame me. Ash is a really good kisser.
"I was just going to inquire as to what you lot of ruffians were planning on doing with me? You can't honestly believe that you could kidnap me and get away with it? My father is king of Torell, and he will not rest until I am back with him. He will send out all of the mighty army of Torell to rescue me, that is, if I haven't already freed myself from you vagabonds. You cannot get away with this, so abandon the mission now and set me free and I swear I will make sure that you receive a fair trial." He was trying to sound confident and maybe imposing but instead he just sounded worried and slightly embarrassed. Which isn't entirely unreasonable, after all, he was knocked out and carted off by two kids who weren't even of age yet and an old man. Well, to be fair, we weren't really kids. I was just passed my seventeenth name day and Ash was nearing his eighteenth.
I shared a look with Ash and we rolled our eyes. This was part two of a five part sequence. He already went through part one, reasoning (which, in my opinion is the most annoying). Now he was onto part two, bargaining. They always used the same bargains too. "I'll make sure you get a fair trial", "I won't tell anyone" blah, blah, blah. When they find that we don't take the bargains they move onto threatening, then play-acting, and then acceptance. It gets boring after awhile.
Guenther scoffed from the driver's bench. "Boy, yer pa ain't gonna send out the whole army after ya, that'd leave yer whole country open to attack, plus yer pa don't even know yer missin' yet. Yer country, Torell, is a whole two days ride from that tower an' we've only been cartin' ya aroun' for six hours, yer parents won't realize yer gone for another three days, and by that time I'm sure Richard will 'ave already sent the ransom note. Even if yer parents do try ta rescue ya, ya'll already be hidden an' ya won't be found til' the ransom's paid."
I stifled a laugh at the prince's expression. I guess he hadn't thought that far ahead yet.
"'Sides, we don't want any "fair trial" of yers, Princey. You may not think it but we're smart enough not to take any deals. And ya might as well keep quiet and just enjoy the ride, 'cause we ain't gonna listen to any of your sweet talkin' either," Ash informed him.
Prince Darius looked skeptical about us being smart, but he did shut his gob. Thank the Lord, too. I was bought ready to shock him again. Have I mentioned that captive's ramblings are so annoying? That's why normal kidnappers use gags on there marks, so that they don't kill 'em for they get the ransom money. Unfortunately, Richard has standards, and he believes that we should be "civilized" to our "guests". He is the quirkiest leader of a gang there ever was, but I will bet good money that he's also the most successful.
I sighed and leaned against Ash letting my head rest on his shoulder. He put his arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer to him. I snuggled into his side and just looked at the scenery. It was really beautiful. It was almost sun down and the sky was tinged red, well the bit of sky I could see through the canopy of leaves. The forest was quieting down now but I knew that soon it would become alive again with night sounds. The wagon was on a hidden trail just wide enough for it. The trail was winding and doubled back on itself several times and took long detours, so that we could make sure that no one could follow us.
We rolled along in silence; the only sound was the wagon crunching some sticks and the horses snorting occasionally. I listened to the birds sing the night songs, as they got ready to bed down in their nests, or making last minute runs to find food for their growing chicks. A squirrel chattered in a nearby tree and I heard the answer from its mate. A badger was snuffling at the roots of a tree, but ran off when the horses passed it. As the hot summer day started to cool down marginally, and night fell on the forest I heard the distant sound of a waterfall.
The horses pricked up their ears, and started to trot at a faster pace. I smiled drowsily at their eagerness to get to the waterfall. They knew that they would get fed and be bedded in fresh straw. The prince was snoring softly on the floor boards. That was good, it meant that I didn't have to knock him out again, as long as he didn't wake up before we reached the waterfall.
"We're almost home," I felt the whisper more than heard it. I turned my head and looked into Ash's hazel eyes. They were more green than brown, and they had some gold flecks in them. I loved those eyes. I loved his sandy hair, his chisled features, and toned and sculpted body that eighteen years of hardwork had given him. I loved his humor. I love how he can look at me and tell me everything that he was thinking in that look. I nodded and snuggled closer to him.
I smiled to myself. I had come a long way since I was that scared, dirty little girl in the alleyway. I have a home now, I have a family who would do anything for me and I for them, and I had Ash. I wasn't whole, I don't think I ever will be, but I was happy. I leaned in and kissed Ash. He kissed me back and took my hand. We just sat like that for a few minutes, only breaking our kiss when one of needed air.
I smiled against his lips, as we rounded a bend in the road and came into a clearing. The moon, which was now high in the night sky, shone down on the clearing, reflecting itself in the river that cut the clearing in half before disappearing into the woods, and making the mist and steam from the waterfall seem silver. The roar of the fall was loud but it was comforting, familiar.
The wagon came to a stop, and Guenther got down and unhooked the horses, allowing them to graze for a bit and to drink from the water. Ash broke away from me and leaped off the side of the wagon onto the ground. He looked back up at me, the moon reflecting in his eyes. I stood, in that wagon with an unconscious prince at my feet, watching as men came out from behind the waterfall, quietly greeting Guenther and coming over to the wagon to help get the prince inside. I smiled to myself again. I was home.
A/N: How'd you like it? Please review! I'll add a new chapter if you do, otherwise I might just leave it. K thanks for reading!