I've just discovered the Wheel of Time books, and Lan kind of set off all my dominant male buzzers. The fact that there are so many strong women to play with in this fandom is wonderful.
I'm only on book three, so maybe my Lan/Nynaeve story line will proceed as I progress through the books. Though, I'm thinking of playing with Lanfear a bit. I think Lanfear/Lan could spark some fireworks. If you enjoy this fandom and would like me write something for you, send me a line.
I'm not sure how graphic this story is going to get, but it will probably only have one or two more chapters before it's complete. I feel like I want to explore developing UST, but my inclination is always to dive right into the sex.
This takes place the night that Lan gave Nynaeve his ring.
I did an illustration of Lan in the baths. Check out my profile for the link to the artwork.
Nynaeve dipped a foot into the hot water and nearly sighed as the the heat radiated up her leg. She'd been longing for this bath all day, as much for the cleansing as for the privacy that the midnight ritual offered. It had become Nynaeve's habit to visit the communal baths in the middle of the night when they were sure to be empty: the idea of sharing one of the large, steaming pools with one of the boys she'd helped to raise – or even worse, one of the strange men of the Shienar – was too offensive to her Two Rivers sensibilities. Modesty had been woven into her nature since birth, and Wisdom or not, there were certain experiences she'd gladly avoid, even if doing so earned her a chorus of curious whispers from the brazen women of the Shienar.
And since the quiet looks she'd been exchanging with the warder had already become an annoying staple of conversation amongst Lady Amalisa's attendants, Nynaeve couldn't exactly throw herself into a corner and ruminate on what he'd said as she was wont to do. If she were seen moping around like a lovesick fool, the gossips would take that as truth set in stone that Lan had rejected her. No, it had been better to mask her confusion with a gruff tone and off-putting gaze until she was assured a bit of privacy.
But Lan hadn't rejected her, had he? The ring that hung on a soft leather cord around her neck, the heavy metal resting between her breasts, was testament to his true feelings. Masharia he'd called her, beloved of heart. Still, the gold was cold comfort, not coming close to satisfying the need that the warder inspired – a need that she almost wished had never been ignited.
Even though she'd thump anyone who even thought of saying it, Nynaeve knew she'd gone from child to Wisdom much too quickly, growing up so fast that it was easy to forget that she'd become a woman along the way. Not that the men of Emond's Field were much of a reminder, what with having to constantly baby them over colds, or fight with them over some wool-headed decision at council, or listen to their wives and mothers and sisters complain about their bad habits. Not one of them had ever set Nynaeve's heart to racing the way Lan had the first time his gaze fell upon her, his blue eyes stirring up depths of emotions that might have lain dormant forever. That he felt the same way but was duty bound to forsake his desires was a twist of fate too cruel to fathom.
Nynaeve frowned, clutching her towel tight to her breast. The pitch of the vaulted ceilings absorbed the meager glow cast by the candles she'd left near the door, which meant the far end of the pool was still cloaked in shadow. It was unlikely that a Shienaran would be bathing in the dark – they had no shame about revealing their flesh, and would probably view the dim light as a hindrance to proper bathing. Eyes straining to detect any movement, it was only after the assurance of several quiet, undisturbed moments that Nynaeve relinquished her towel to the tiled floor and stepped into the pool.
Not bothering to loose her braid, Nynaeve took a deep breath and sunk down into the water until her head was completely submerged. The luxurious heat enveloped her skin, seeping into her flesh and banishing the chill from her bones. Worry-tightened muscles relaxed as the hot water worked its magic, and for the first time since Lan had thrust his ring into her hand, all thought of the warder ceased, the heat demanding her full attention. So welcome was the diversion from thought that she stayed under water until her chest was burning and her head felt fit to burst.
Nynaeve broke clear of the surface with a gasp, her lungs desperate for a fresh breath. Wiping the water from her eyes, she blinked against the flecks of light tingeing her vision, the result of having held her breath for too long. Poised to take in another lungful of air, Nynaeve froze, mouth hanging open, as her gaze snagged on the outline of a lone figure leaning against the far wall of the pool, his form all-but obscured by shadow. Though the light was too dim to make out who it was, she could tell by the muscular arms stretching out along the lip of the bath that it was a man.
A thrill of fear raced along Nynaeve's skin, goosing her flesh and making her painfully aware of her exposed breasts. Sinking down until the water lapped her shoulders, she took in a steadying breath; it wouldn't do to let a shaking voice betray her vulnerability.
"Do you make it a habit of lurking in shadow when women come in to bathe? Come now, show yourself. That is, if you're not some perverted coward who delights in spying on naked women."
Nynaeve held her breath as the man stood up, but she didn't need to hear the familiar, deep rumble of his voice to know who it was. Even in the Shienar, there were few men who could rival his height.
"Do you ever sheath that sharp tongue of yours?" Lan said as he stepped forward, a slight smile pulling up the edges of his lips. "It's a wonder you don't cut yourself."
His dark hair was slicked back from his face, as if he'd just come up from under water, the effect highlighting the hard line of his jaw and the hollows beneath his cheekbones. Rivulets of water sluiced off well-muscled shoulders, running down his chest and belly and drawing Nynaeve's eye along the ridges of his pelvis. It suddenly felt as if the air had grown denser and hotter, and she was thankful for the dim light that hid her burning cheeks.
The flickering candlelight danced upon his wet skin as he slowly advanced, his fingers trailing through the water and creating thin ripples. Nynaeve didn't realize that she was moving backwards until she hit the front wall of the pool, the sudden sensation breaking her from her trance.
To be continued …