Author's Note: Happy St. Patrick's Day! Be it known to those of you sober enough to be reading this (lol not me, for one) that this fic be a commission for the bonnie lass BatPhace, OH EM IRISH GEE, Batty commissioning me again? Yes. Yes again. 8D
I hope y'all like this mythically-influenced ficcy of pronz and fluff. Oh and I gives you a helpful little Mini Gaelic Phrase Book* here as well, because Google translate will probably just confuse you for most of these wee phrases. All love to Google, but really, it's basically an advanced dictionary, and a dictionary doesn't always accurately reflect spoken language, so I went to a more native source for these phrases. :3 P.S. – Read (AkuRoku), drink (Guinness), and be merry! *snogs you*
*Mini Gaelic Phrase Book:
Maimeό – grandmother
Mé a bheith roghnaithe ag – I have chosen
a stóirín – my little darling
a thaisce – my treasure
Fáilte abhaile – welcome home
a ghrá – my love
The old ones tell a story – a warning to the children. Beware, beware the kelpie. Beware the water horse who walks on land. Flee, and never touch his soft skin or his dripping mane, for the foolish children who touch the kelpie will be enchanted, and carried away on his back, and dragged beneath the sea to be eaten.
Do not touch a kelpie, no matter how lovely he seems, for if you touch the monster once, you can never, never let go.
The Rathlin Island ferry docked in Church Bay on a sunny but cool day in late Spring. Roxas disembarked with his luggage, heading toward McCuaig's – his grandmother had promised to meet him there in her letter. It had been years since he'd been to the island, but now that he was doing his graduate work at Trinity College, his holidays gave him the perfect opportunity to visit. And, though Roxas would always tell his grandmother that he came to see her, the remote northern island provided a welcome change from Dublin.
Although it had been a long time since Roxas' last visit – and he had never been to McCuaig's on his own – it was easy to find the place. The small cluster of buildings around the harbor didn't quite call itself a "town," and the weather-beaten sign for the bar was easy to spot. Roxas pushed open the heavy wooden door and spotted his grandmother almost immediately. The white-haired old woman was seated at the bar, surrounded by some of the other elderly island residents, and the pint in front of her was nearly empty. Knowing his grandmother, it wouldn't have been her first, either. Roxas sighed, shook his head, and stepped forward, smiling as the old woman spotted him.
"Ah, Roxas. Welcome, my boy." She creaked to her feet and Roxas leaned down to hug her.
"Maimeό, it's good to see you." Roxas received a kiss on the cheek – which he returned – and a gentle pinch in the same spot.
"Well, you have grown. Come – to the house. Good day, Seamus," she added over her shoulder to the graying man behind the bar. He nodded, as did several of the other regulars, and Coleen O'Donnell led her grandson out of the bar.
Roxas' grandmother lived in a little cottage on the outskirts of the harbor settlement. It was not a far walk, but the old lady still handled the distance with surprising liveliness. Dragging his luggage, Roxas found it a little tiring to keep up with her. Especially since she grilled him with questions about university and his family the entire way.
Once inside the old stone cottage, however, Roxas had a chance to catch his breath. In fact, he was forced to. His grandmother sat him down and started cooking, and she wouldn't hear of him helping or getting up. Roxas was fed until he was stuffed and sleepy. Then he was shooed out of the kitchen, in spite of his offers to clean up. "Nonsense! Go for a walk, get some air, that's a good boy." She didn't say so, but Roxas guessed that his grandmother just didn't want anyone touching anything in her kitchen. She could be a little strange that way.
So Roxas headed out for an easy stroll along the footpaths nearest to the cottage. The hills were green, with few trees, and in places the earth was worn away, leaving patches of rock exposed for lichen to grow on. Roxas remembered how, as a child, he'd tried to hop from one rock to another, imagining the grass between was a billowing green sea. He smiled at the memory as he strolled along the path, letting his dinner settle and enjoying the sea breeze and the cry of the gulls.
He reached the top of one of the higher hillocks and paused a moment to let his eyes wander over the island in the fading evening light. Tomorrow, most likely, he would walk down to the lighthouse on Rue Point, at the southern tip of the island. Or maybe he'd borrow his grandmother's bicycle first and ride from the eastern end of the island to the west. It had been a long time since he'd stood on the northern cliffs and looked out to sea.
As Roxas was turning back toward the cottage, still lazily considering his options, a sudden sound drew his attention for a moment. He turned back, eyes roaming the darkening horizon for the source. A flash of color caught his eye, and Roxas squinted. Is that…a horse? It looked like a horse galloping in the distance, but the coloring was…unusual to say the least. The creature was pale – almost white. Roxas would have suspected an albino if not for the impossibly bright red color of the horse's mane. Without saddle or bridle, the horse galloped over the rolling hills, following no paths as it swept inland from the sea. As the creature passed the fringes of the settlement, it came near enough for Roxas to get a better view.
Is he…? Roxas squinted in the gathering dusk. That horse looks wet. Soaked, actually. And how is that mane color natural? It can't be…
But even as Roxas noticed these things, the horse was galloping onward, away into the hills. He disappeared from Roxas' sight when the rolling land came between them, yet Roxas lingered a while longer, watching the place where the horse had vanished, wondering if he would reappear. When he didn't, Roxas finally turned his steps toward home.
There was nothing particularly special about the sight. It was a little unusual, a little strange, but nothing more. Yet Roxas kept thinking of the wild horse as he returned to the cottage. The image of the dripping wet beast flying over the hills seemed to have enchanted his imagination – plans for the holiday were all but forgotten. Even after he had kissed his grandmother goodnight and climbed the creaky old stairs to his bedroom, he couldn't shake the memory of the wild horse – nor escape the lingering feeling of something eerie about it.
In the bedroom, the ceiling slanted under the low rafters, and the draft seeped in around the rickety old glass-paned window, chilling the room. Roxas quickly climbed under the pile of homemade quilts heaped on his bed, shivering a little while he waited for the blankets to warm up. As he fell asleep, he listened to the whistling wind outside and the distant sound of the sea, and he imagined the mysterious horse still galloping through the night, wilder than wind or sea…and strangely beautiful.
The first morning of Roxas' holiday was unseasonably cold. He spent the first part of the day with his grandmother, helping her around the house by lifting and carrying things she couldn't handle. When early afternoon arrived and the sun had warmed the island as much as it was likely to, Coleen O'Donnell insisted on going "into town." Roxas walked her to McCuaig's, where she was greeted by the regulars, then he mounted her bike and headed back out of town. Due to the cold, he ended up taking the path south to Rue Point – the distance was shorter and the wind gentler on this route.
It was a pleasant afternoon and a lovely ride, and the scenery was even more beautiful than Roxas remembered. He spent much of the ride looking out to sea, or admiring the rustic buildings here and there and the occasional ancient stone wall or worn, forgotten standing stone. And his eyes were constantly scanning over the hills, but he never saw a flash of brilliant red. He didn't see any horses at all, let alone a pale wild one. He lingered on the way back, reluctant to return without finding the horse…but he had no luck.
And though he walked the same paths after dinner that he had walked the night before – even wandering a little further this time – he still did not catch sight of the creature.
But in his dreams, Roxas saw the horse again and again, galloping toward the sea.
The next day was warmer, and Roxas decided he would try riding the length of the island from east to west. His grandmother sent him off with a sandwich of last night's corned beef, and Roxas started steadily pedaling toward the eastern light. For the first stretch, it was a beautiful ride. The gusting wind drove big, puffy clouds across the sky. It also made the going a little tougher whenever the path turned so that Roxas was facing into the wind, but Roxas was far from tired already. He reached Altacarry Head and circled around, seeing the lighthouse but not stopping. Then he started across the island, the sea wind at his back for a while, urging him forward.
Soon the northern cliffs and the sea on his right and the empty, rolling land on his left were all Roxas could see. As he rode, the clouds gathered more thickly in the sky. Occasionally, he would happen upon hikers or bird watchers in small clusters, but most of the time, Roxas was alone with his thoughts, the sky, and the sea. Perfect. Peace and quiet. Just what Dublin is desperately lacking.
As the northern cliffs slipped by, the clouds thickened overhead. Most of the sunlight was obscured, and Roxas eyed the sky warily. Should I turn back? If it starts to rain…
Out of the corner of his eye, Roxas noticed a flash of something bright against the dark green backdrop of the sea. He turned to see what it was – and his breath caught in his throat. Red…
It was the wild horse.
Appearing from one of the narrow paths that led the way down the cliffs to the sea, the horse trotted a short distance until he reached the top of a hillock. Without even thinking, Roxas pedaled harder, pushing toward the hill where the horse stood, sniffing the air. He got close enough to see water streaming from the blood-red mane – the horse must have just come out of the sea.
Slowing down, Roxas dismounted and lay his bike on the path. The horse turned and looked at him. Up close, he was…breathtaking. Vivid, burning green eyes fixed on him. From here, Roxas could see that the pale, creamy coat had markings after all, though only two – a dark slash down each cheek.
Stepping forward carefully, Roxas extended his hand. Murmuring softly, he tried not to startle the creature. "Hello, horsy…hello there, beauty. Nice horse, good boy…" To his complete surprise, the horse whinnied, stepped forward, and bowed its head. "Wow…you're very friendly…" Roxas smiled, petting the smooth, damp coat. Maybe he has an owner after all. But why is he allowed to run free like this? The horse nuzzled against his hand, then his shirt, and Roxas ran his hands down the creature's pale neck. The coolness of his sea-dampened and wind-chilled coat warmed under Roxas' touch. He fingered the long, red mane, expecting the usual coarseness of horsehair. Instead, the mane was so silky it was almost unreal. It felt the same way hair looked underwater – light, soft, and flowing.
"You are a beauty, aren't you?" Roxas breathed in admiration. The horse snuffled in his hair, and Roxas smiled. "Sniffing me, huh? I probably smell like sweat." The horse, on the other hand, smelled…fascinating. Not musty, like wet horse should smell, but tantalizing, like the salty sea air and the richness of grass in the sun and…something more. Before he knew it, Roxas was leaning against the horse, trying to decide what that scent was. He couldn't pin it down…but his head was spinning with the intoxicating deliciousness of it. "Nice horse…" he murmured dazedly, pressing his face against the creature's soft neck. "Pretty boy…"
With a soft neigh, the horse suddenly knelt in the grass. Roxas blinked, looking down, and the horse turned his head to look back at him with vivid, intelligent eyes. Its broad, pale back seemed to invite Roxas to sit. I guess he can't be wild, then, can he? Roxas thought vaguely. "You won't throw me, will you?" Roxas asked as he straddled the horse's broad back. The animal tossed his head as if laughing at that idea, then stood. Roxas hung on to the red mane as he was lifted quickly into the air. His knees gripped the muscled body as the horse began to walk, then trot, then canter. The wind whipped through Roxas' hair as they gathered speed. Soon, they were racing over the hills. Roxas clung to the horse, feeling the powerful body heaving beneath him. The pounding of hooves reverberated through their bodies, matching Roxas' racing heart. Soon, he couldn't tell one beat from the other – everything was blending together in a dizzying race. Wind and speed and pounding, pounding, rising and falling and heat under his hands, under his body, so close…
The ground was slipping away so fast it had become a blur, but Roxas didn't worry about the speed. He wasn't thinking about safety, and he wasn't afraid. He gripped the horse's body with his legs and hands and just…felt. The intoxicating scent was all around him and the horse's heaving breaths were loud in his ears, and a wild, intense pulsing was coursing through him. Roxas felt weak…hot…wanting. Being carried by this creature was all that mattered, and he wanted to go on being carried away forever. He clutched the solid heat beneath him and gasped softly, glazed eyes ignoring the coastline as it sped by. He pressed his face against the horse's neck and drank in his scent, closing his eyes to shut out everything else. I want you for my own… Roxas thought dreamily. I want to keep you forever.
The speed lessened, but Roxas didn't notice. The horse slowed to a trot, then a walk, finally stopping at the edge of a cliff that looked out to sea. The waves crashed against the rocks below, but Roxas didn't stir. The horse pranced restlessly in place for a moment, lifting his head to test the scent of the air…then he slowly lowered to his knees again.
Vague awareness returned to Roxas as he slipped off the horse's back, crumpling limply to the ground. He couldn't summon the strength to move, so he just lay in the soft grass and blinked up at the horse. Brilliant green eyes gazed down at him for a long moment. Roxas didn't understand the look in those eyes, but he moaned softly, without thinking, "Stay…" Be mine. I want…
The next moment, the horse rose with a sudden burst of power…and was gone. The pounding of galloping hooves faded quickly and then abruptly stopped, and Roxas managed to lift his head and look around. There was no sign of the creature. The edge of the cliff was only a short distance away… Did he jump off? In a panic, Roxas scrabbled to his knees and hurried to the edge. A narrow path led downward, and a small, sandy ledge with a dusting of sea grass was visible before the rocks dropped away again to the churning sea – but no horse.
Dazed and confused, Roxas slowly found his feet. He looked around, trying to get his bearings. Frowning, he thought he recognized some landmarks…but if he was right, they'd crossed more than half the island. How long was I riding him?
Still a little overwhelmed by the memories, Roxas turned back. Rathlin was not a large island, but biking the length of it took several hours. Walking the rest of the way to the western lighthouse and then walking most of the island back to where he'd left his bike would take far too long. He had enough time to get home before dinner, however, if he headed straight back.
For the rest of the day, Roxas made his way home, noticing very little around him the entire way. The sensations of that wild ride filled his mind, until all Roxas could think about was finding that horse again.
The next day, Roxas rose before dawn and set out. He told his grandmother that he was going "exploring" and he hopped on his bike and rode as fast as he could to where he'd first found the horse the day before. Dawn broke by the time he reached the spot. Roxas searched the area by the early morning light, but the calm sea and the gentle breeze were all he found. No wild horse.
Without a second thought, he turned and began to follow the paths westward. His eyes constantly scanned the coast to his right, but the distance slipped by without a sign of the creature. Giving up, however, never entered Roxas' mind. He was determined to search every inch of the island until he found the beautiful horse with the soft red mane. After that…Roxas didn't know. It didn't seem important. He just needed to find him.
By the time he reached the cliff where the horse had vanished the day before, Roxas was beginning to worry that he'd missed something. He slowed down as he passed the cliff, searching. Green grass, pale blue sky, sparkling sea – no flash of brilliant red. Roxas sighed, beginning to take the path further – then caught his breath as a high-pitched sound cut through the rumbling breakers. A horse's whinny. It was unmistakable.
The bike screeched to a halt and Roxas jumped off, leaving it on its side by the path. He jogged to the edge of the cliff and looked down, eyes darting over the rocks, the waves… There! On the little ledge of sand… Oh. His heart had leapt when he caught sight of the bright spot of red, but it sank again almost at once – it wasn't the horse. It was…a person. A man.
Roxas swallowed, sinking to his knees in the grass and peeking over the cliff's edge. The man had hair as red as the horse's beautiful mane had been, and his skin was just as pale…and a lot of it was showing. The man was only wearing a worn pair of jeans, cut off at the knee. If he hadn't been so pale, Roxas would have assumed he was a local fisherman or something – but no one who lived on the island and worked under the sun could avoid a dark tan…or so many freckles that they may as well have been tanned. This man's skin looked like it never saw the sun. And Roxas couldn't look away.
The man was just lying on his back, bright hair spread out over the sand, but something about him seemed to be beckoning to Roxas. For the first time since he'd seen the wild horse, Roxas forgot about the creature entirely. Ever since the whirlwind ride the day before, he'd been driven by a mad urge to find the magnificent creature, but now, seeing this stranger…suddenly, Roxas wanted something else.
He wanted to know if this man's hair was as soft as the horse's silky red mane.
Stepping quietly, Roxas started down the narrow path, picking his way along the rocks toward the sandy ledge. His heart sped up, as did his breathing. When he was still several feet above the ledge, the man turned his head and looked up at him.
Roxas froze. Those eyes were the same piercing, intelligent green as the wild horse's…and his face was marked beneath each one with a dark slash. Roxas felt a shiver run over his body, prickling his skin. The horse had been…a beautiful animal. But this man…
"Hello…" Roxas gasped lamely, his mind scrambling for some excuse to explain his presence.
Instead of answering him, the stranger just smiled, rolling over and rising to his knees. With one hand, he waved Roxas forward. Roxas' feet obeyed, almost without him realizing it, and soon he was standing on the ledge, barely more than an arm's length away from the man.
Another smile – one so beautiful it made Roxas swallow, hard – and the man finally spoke. "Sit…sit down. Join me." And he turned and sank back into the sea grass.
Roxas shivered and did the same, sitting in the sand and trying to think of something to say – some question for the man to answer so that Roxas could hear that enchanting voice again. It was deep and strong, but the expression had a lightness to it – it sounded magical, like the man could summon the sea and the wind just by naming them. Or like he could rule Roxas, if he spoke his name…
"Ah…I'm Roxas." His voice sounded weak as he spoke over the sound of breakers below. The man smiled and glanced over, and Roxas couldn't tear his eyes away from his face.
"Oh…" The word was nearly a sigh, breathed out as his eyes trailed over the long, red hair in admiration…and his hands trembled with the desire to touch, to find out if it was as unbelievably soft as…
Without thinking, Roxas was reaching across the space between them. The man wasn't looking at him, so a distant corner of Roxas' mind told him it wouldn't be noticed if he just…just a strand, with the tips of his fingers…
Light, flowing satin – exactly like the horse's beautiful mane. Axel's hair felt the same, so incredibly soft…and before Roxas could blink, his hand was buried in the softness, strands of it running between his fingers, caressing his palm, the backs of his knuckles, like a kiss from the morning breeze…
Green eyes locked with his adoring gaze silently, and Roxas shuddered. The next moment, he had both hands buried in the man's hair, clutching and caressing, and he couldn't let go. He couldn't explain his behavior either, but nothing Axel could say in that moment would make him release that softness – nothing could have snapped him out of the haze of want he was lost in. And Axel said…nothing. Silently, as smooth as water, he moved – rising, hands encircling Roxas' waist, pressing him down into the sand…lips meeting lips. A tongue slipping into an unresisting mouth. A taste filling Roxas' senses – as wild and addicting as the scent of the horse. And Axel's scent…
He gasped. His lips were released, but Roxas still didn't let go of the other man's hair. Green eyes stared at him, seeming to penetrate his soul without the slightest effort. "You're…him," Roxas whispered, dazed.
The sea-deep voice purred against his lips, answering, "You wished for me. I'm yours. But…" A curled finger touched under his chin, lifting slightly so that green eyes were level with blue. "Be certain of your wish…Roxas."
The sound of his name made him shudder. Axel's voice was a commanding growl, and Roxas didn't hesitate. "Yes…yes! I wish it – be mine." As he spoke, Roxas knew what it meant. He seemed to be aware of things beyond what his mind understood. He knew the man he spoke with wasn't human, and he knew that, in this very moment, he was enchanted in some magical trap. Whatever Axel was offering, whatever Roxas was demanding – it was forever, and it was far from safe.
I don't care.
Spells and danger were meaningless. Perhaps that was what it meant to be enchanted – Roxas didn't know. All he knew was that he couldn't let go of Axel, didn't even want to try – no matter what came next.
"Mé a bheith roghnaithe ag Roxas." The murmured words washed over Roxas, mingling with the sound of the breakers, and the final purr of his name was pushed into his mouth along with Axel's warm, wet tongue. Their lips sealed together as Roxas surrendered, his body burning and his mind blank. He could sense that this was some kind of claim, and he welcomed it. Axel could take whatever he wanted – Roxas didn't want to resist.
Hands slipped under his clothing, and Roxas groaned in delight. The feeling of skin on skin was perfect – exactly what he wanted. And Axel's skin… Roxas sighed as his arms wrapped around the bare shoulders above him. His hands caressed skin that felt as smooth as warm water. Axel's tongue moved in his mouth, thrusting slowly in and out, surging like the tides as he undressed Roxas. The hands removing his clothes were so gentle and confident that Roxas barely noticed the process – he couldn't spare much thought for anything beyond Axel's kiss.
The breeze from the sea soon caressed his heated body directly, and Roxas shuddered. He felt like Axel's touch was enveloping him completely, brushing with teasing softness over every inch of him at once. His lips were released and he gasped as Axel moved his kisses over Roxas' throat. Sucking pressure traveled over the sensitive flesh, exploring, and Roxas moaned involuntarily when Axel licked over the edge of his ear. "Please," Roxas whispered, tugging at soft strands of red. "Please…"
For an answer, Axel released his neck…and moved down his body. Warm lips encircled a nipple and Roxas tensed, startled by the sudden tingle of sensation. Then, as a probing tongue continued to tease the spot, Roxas found himself arching up off the sand, pressing the front of his body against the man braced over him. His bare groin touched rough denim, and Roxas felt a flash of heat race through him. Sweat broke out over his body at the slight friction, and he couldn't help himself – his hips rolled up against Axel again and again, pushing harder to get more of that delicious sensation.
Bearing downward with his body, Axel pressed Roxas into the sand…and firmly cupped his groin.
Roxas was far too aroused to feel embarrassed. Even if he hadn't been, Axel didn't give him time to shy away. After a few quick strokes of his large hand, Roxas felt an even warmer touch. He twisted to look, and caught a glimpse of green eyes watching him intently as Axel licked and kissed his erection. The moment he looked, mischief flickered in Axel's gaze – and the man immediately parted his lips and took Roxas into his mouth fully.
Fingers scrabbling in the sand for something to hold onto, Roxas struggled to maintain control – an almost impossible task. He had not known pleasure like this existed – the pressure and movement of Axel's tongue was already driving him crazy. The man's mouth encased him in blissful heat, and Roxas' body ached to thrust, to feel the slippery glide of moving in and out… But he couldn't seem to move, couldn't plant his feet and lift his hips. He felt weak all over, barely able to writhe in response to the building tension in his body.
A soft touch brushed the inside of each thigh, and they opened wider at once. In an aroused haze, Roxas could feel the light touches trace between his legs – ghosting around the base of his member as if framing it, then traveling lightly over his sac. Enough touch to make him quiver; not enough to give him release. Then lower over soft, sensitive skin, until Roxas felt a slick and dripping pressure caress the wrinkled ring of skin – a place he'd never before thought of as an opening, but now the realization struck him – This is where he'll take me.
Axel purred, the vibrations rumbling around Roxas' erection…then he pulled off. Wet fingers continued to circle the tight ring, pressing in but not entering, and Roxas could hear a low, pleasure-soaked growl, "Pure. You are sweet and untainted here, a stóirín. Perfect."
Something in the sound of those words soothed Roxas. He didn't know why, but it was as if a hovering feeling of uncertainty had suddenly lifted from him, leaving him at peace – and ready.
With a slick glide, Roxas felt something enter him. He gasped, but didn't tense against it. The intrusion was warm, slippery, and gentle. It didn't hurt; in fact, it tingled pleasantly, both inside and out, and Roxas relaxed without thinking, enjoying the strange new feeling. Axel's touch moved slowly, easing in and out. On each inward push, Roxas felt stretched – but still nothing hurt. The warm, tingling pleasure radiated through him, masking over everything else. The feeling built, intensifying gradually, and Roxas moaned breathily when he felt Axel's mouth on his arousal again. Teasing little laps of the man's tongue traced up the length and down again, adding slight suction over the curve of his sac. Roxas felt his legs tremble involuntarily. It was too good – he couldn't take much more of this…but at the same time, he needed more. A lot more of this, and fast. Now.
Then, without warning, everything stopped. Roxas opened his eyes – he had no idea when he'd closed them – and saw Axel sitting up. Roxas' eyes dropped instantly – the only clothing Axel had been wearing was gone, and his erection stood out from his firm, slender body, shining wetly in the sunlight. Roxas swallowed. Hung like a…well, like a horse. God, yes. Axel rose up on his knees and looked down at Roxas, and the pull of his burning eyes drew Roxas' gaze back up. He stared into that unbearably beautiful face, surrounded by red fire, and knew Axel was waiting for something. For Roxas.
The haze lifted, and the tingling faded, and Roxas sensed that, for this moment, Axel had lifted any magical influence or touch of enchantment, leaving him…free. Free to choose for himself, to find his own words. Roxas wasn't certain that his choice would change anything, but he understood that Axel was still giving him the freedom to decide and the chance to voice his wishes.
Roxas didn't hesitate. Even without the dreamy, irresistible lure of enchantment, he only wanted one thing, and his voice was a moan of desire as he met Axel's fierce gaze. "Take me." He reached for the man, hands outstretched to touch, if only Axel would come a little closer, and begged, "Please, please take me…hurry."
Axel nodded once, his face breaking into an approving smile, and he bent down, arms bracing himself over Roxas. Axel's eyes flickered with wild delight as Roxas wrapped his arms around powerful shoulders. Heat touched him…pressed against him…and then entered him with one smooth, powerful thrust.
Roxas screamed. Pain pierced him, and his body locked up in shock. He choked in surprise at the burning sting, gasping for breath. His fingers clawed at a smooth back, tears slipping from his eyes. He hadn't expected this to be so painful…
But it only lasted a moment. Almost at once, the warm tingle began to come back. Fingers brushed his face softly, and Roxas opened his eyes a hesitant crack. Axel's gaze had gentled, and his voice reassured Roxas, murmuring, "Hush, a thaisce, relax. It's over now." The warm tingle increased, the pain evaporating. Roxas felt the haze of pleasure wrapping around him again, softening everything. He sighed. Axel brushed his hair back soothingly, his voice washing over Roxas like gentle waves. "You will feel only pleasure now. It was necessary. The pain is proof. Your purity is taken; you are now mine."
Dizzy with relief, Roxas moaned. His legs lifted to wrap around Axel's hips, drawing him deeper, and pleasure radiated from the place where they were joined. More…more… Roxas felt Axel kiss him, and he eagerly responded to the touch, pressing hungrily into the other man's mouth. Axel moved, drawing his hips back and then driving in again…deep. Roxas gasped as his body throbbed in response, wanting more, again – needing Axel to move, to take him harder, faster…
And he did. With a low growl, Axel thrust again, hard, and he didn't pause any more. He took Roxas relentlessly, bracing himself and holding Roxas close as each powerful thrust made him writhe. Their bodies heaved together in unison, their passion mounting with every forceful penetration. Roxas could barely breathe – every pounding thrust inside him was making him frantic, desperate for release. The heat was unbearable, wonderful – his hands slipped over skin as drenched with sweat as his own body. He felt like he was drowning, overpowered by surging waves of desire every time Axel thrust, because every thrust was a claim, and every claim made him Axel's…but also made Axel his. And he wanted Axel to be his, all his, only his forever, and he wanted Axel to fill him, possess him, and at the same time give himself to Roxas completely.
"Axel, Axel, ahhh Axel!" Fire flashed through his body as he cried out, his release exploding without warning. His body trembled, clenching around Axel as Roxas' climax shook him. Then, the moment it began to fade – and the moment Roxas began to ache for Axel to reach completion too – Axel tightened his grip around Roxas and growled, thrusting rapidly a few more times…and releasing. Roxas couldn't suppress his moan of ecstasy as he felt liquid heat spurting inside him, burning the final seal of Axel's claim into his body. And, in return, Roxas knew that Axel belonged to him, and he accepted the man as he gave himself, to the last drop.
Before their bodies even separated, their mouths found each other, joining in a deep, sultry kiss that went on and on, as the throbbing heat slowly faded in Roxas' body, as exhaustion flooded him in its place…and as the world drifted away, Axel's voice murmuring things he couldn't quite hear – a lullaby that pushed him into the arms of sleep.
Roxas opened his eyes slowly, registering late afternoon shadows instead of the bright light of morning. He shifted to sit up, but stopped immediately – his whole body ached at the movement. Groaning, Roxas rubbed at his eyes – then froze as he felt movement behind him. Something large and warm shifted and rose. Roxas carefully rolled himself onto his back, and when he turned his head, he expected to see a white horse with a red mane looking down at him…
He blinked, surprised. Axel knelt beside him, gazing down at him affectionately. His body was human, every inch – and still every bit as bare as it had been when they made love. Roxas realized at the same moment that he was naked too, but his nudity didn't bother him, even for a moment. Instead, he relaxed, a warm feeling of peace filling him – it wasn't a dream or a delusion. His encounter with Axel had happened, and it was as real and obvious now as it had been when they did it.
Axel leaned down and kissed him, and they gave themselves to each other again in the kiss – a reminder of their lovemaking, a recognition by each one of whom he now belonged to. Roxas felt Axel's hands on his body, tracing over his skin. One hand came to rest on his hip, right beside his groin, and as the kiss ended, Roxas felt a strange burning sensation there. He blinked into Axel's eyes, then yelped in surprise as the heat suddenly flared into a sharp pain…then faded to a dull throb. "What was…?"
"Shh." Lips brushed his own, then Axel drew back, removing his hand and letting Roxas look. There was a mark left where Axel's hand had been – a blue-green design like a Celtic knot, but parts of it looked like a horse, and parts of it looked like a fish. "This is your mark," Axel explained quietly. "Because you are mine. It is for your protection."
Roxas frowned at the mark. It sort of resembled a tattoo – a very intricate, beautiful one. He liked it, and the lingering pain didn't bother him, but Axel's words confused him. "Protection? From what?"
Gently lifting one of his hands, Axel answered, playing with Roxas' fingers as he spoke. "We are not friends to humans. When we take a human this way, it is dangerous. If they find out, your kind will hate you because of me. This is to keep them from noticing my claim on you. It is also to protect you from others of my kind, so they will not devour you."
Touching the mark gingerly, Roxas wondered aloud, "There are more like you?"
"Not as many as in the past, but yes."
"And they would…devour me?"
A nod. "They would."
He looked up into green eyes. "You won't, though. Will you?"
A slow smile spread over Axel's face. "You know I won't. Not now. I might have, though." He leaned closer, drawing Roxas into his arms. "I wasn't sure myself, at first. But it would have been a waste to devour you in your purity…and we do not go back on our claims. You are mine now."
Roxas leaned his head against Axel's chest and relaxed. "And you are mine?"
A deep chuckle resonated from the man's chest. "Not in the same way. You are not the first for me, as I am the first for you. Our years are longer than your kind. I once entrapped a young prince of the Dal Riata on these shores. I have met many children of men, eaten many, possessed many, and lived for a time too long to remember. But…" He looked down, lifting Roxas' chin so that their eyes met, and sincerity filled his green eyes as he studied Roxas' face. "…I have never before seen eyes that put the sea itself to shame."
There was a silent pause as they simply looked at each other. Then, Axel bent to place a sweet kiss on Roxas' lips. "However," he finished gently, "from this moment until you are no more, I am only yours."
And Roxas knew it was true, and that was enough.
He was late getting home. Leaving the sandy ledge and the warm circle of Axel's arms proved extremely difficult, but eventually Roxas had to go. His grandmother greeted him with relief and a late dinner. Roxas found that he was ravenously hungry, and he ate while his grandmother asked about his explorations. He answered easily and did not notice the narrowed, ancient eyes watching him closely. Coleen O'Donnell didn't say anything about it, but…she felt. She was old, and had learned from the old ones when she was a child, as they had learned when they were young – passing down knowledge older than memory, generation to generation.
Coleen O'Donnell felt a presence around her grandson – something invisible, alien. Something that had not been there a day ago. It worried her, but she remained silent. She knew what danger and the shadow of death felt like, and this was not that heavy, black feeling.
Even so, she sat up all night, rocking in her rocking chair while her grandson slept, listening for the screeching wail of the banshee. She heard nothing. Dawn finally broke over the island, and Coleen said her rosary, muttering the prayer over the beads, and added a wish for her grandson onto the end:
"And may any creature who afflict ye
Be cursed by land, by air and sea."
Then she put away her rosary and went to her kitchen to make potato bread, eggs, and sausage for breakfast.
Roxas went to the little sandy ledge every day after that. Axel was always waiting. They made love over and over, forgetting time in each other's embrace. Afterward, they would talk for hours, or sometimes just sit silently, resting in each other's company. They played with each other in the sunlight, teasing each other's bodies with intimate sensations. They held each other tenderly and made love with agonizing slowness as the sun set. They rutted like feral beasts when the sea was whipped with rain, hot with lust in spite of the cold. On more than one night, Roxas snuck out of bed and crossed the island with a flashlight so that they could embrace each other under the stars.
The holiday passed Roxas in a blur of hot passion, and before Roxas knew it, he was on the ferry, returning to Ballycastle, on his way back to Dublin. He watched Rathlin Island slip out of sight bit by bit, until he couldn't see the island anymore. He wondered how long it would be before he could come back. His grandmother, though happy to have him, might wonder about it if Roxas asked to visit again in two months, on his next holiday. But even if people thought he was strange, Roxas knew he would be back. His heart and body already ached with missing Axel. If he had to leave grad school to become a fisherman and a hermit and be called crazy for the rest of his life, he wouldn't care. Blame it on being enchanted, in love, whatever – he just wanted to see Axel again.
Two girls, a blonde and a brunette, sat chatting in the JCR – the campus café of Trinity College. They smiled and waved at a guy passing them on his way out – one of their friends, who also shared a seminar with the blonde. When he left, the brunette eyed her friend closely, then just spat out her question. "So I haven't asked yet – how are things with you and Roxas lately?"
Blinking, the blonde girl glanced after the disappearing guy, then hummed thoughtfully. "I dunna…I think we're just friends after all."
"I thought you were going to ask him out this term," her friend reminded her.
"I know…" The girl stirred her tea. "I guess I don't like him as much as I thought. It just hasn't been the same since we got back from holiday."
"Huh," the brunette frowned. "He seems the same to me…"
"Oh he is," the girl quickly corrected. "I mean, he's still totally hot, exactly my type, and the nicest guy ever. Completely attractive. And we're still friends. It's just…I dunna. He's…" She stared in the direction the guy had vanished, thinking. Finally, she simply shrugged. "He's not…for me."
"Yeah," her friend hummed. "I guess."
"So are you going to ask him out, then?" The blonde asked, winking. She had been ordered to make a move on Roxas before a certain someone else beat her to it, after all.
But the brunette just shook her head. "Nah…I think you're right. He's not for me, either."
And that settled it.
Roxas unlocked the door to his flat and entered, hanging his keys on their hook and dropping his bag on the settee. The term had just gotten started, but he already felt like he'd been away from Rathlin Island for years.
He missed Axel.
He sighed and headed to his bedroom, pulling off his shirt as he went – Spring was already turning warm, and the upstairs level of Roxas' flat tended to get uncomfortably hot, but he couldn't afford to leave the cooling unit running when he wasn't home. He'd just have to deal with it for a half hour or so…
Roxas froze in his doorway, eyes wide and staring at the man lounging comfortably on his bed. Green eyes flicked up to smile at him wickedly – an expression that felt all the more daring thanks to the man's total nudity. "Fáilte abhaile, Roxas."
"Axel!" He gasped in shock. "How did you…? I mean, you're…" His mouth worked uselessly, searching for words, but his mind was blank with surprise…and his eyes were devouring every familiar inch of the man's body. It was…distracting.
But Axel ignored his questions, instead beckoning Roxas forward with a wave of his hand. Roxas crossed the room without thinking. He reached the edge of the bed and wasn't even startled when Axel grabbed him and tossed him onto the blankets, rolling onto him immediately. "Did you think I could not follow you here, or anywhere you went?" His eyes laughed at Roxas, and one hand wandered down the front of Roxas' body to rest over the place where his mark was hidden by his jeans. "Did you really think I could not find my own? You are for me, now. You can go to the ends of the earth, but you cannot go where I will not follow you."
Suddenly, all Roxas' fears seemed silly. Of course Axel could leave Rathlin Island. Of course he would follow Roxas everywhere. Axel was his – he'd promised that they would belong to each other for always. Swallowing back tears of happiness, Roxas wrapped his arms around Axel's bare torso, kissing him passionately. And he didn't let go until his lungs were screaming for air.
"Good," he gasped when they parted. "Good. Follow me. Always stay with me. Always be mine."
Axel smiled, and kissed him, and promised. "Of course, a ghrá."
Note to readers! Hey guys! If you read this because you're into Axel and Roxas and that's pretty much it, well...thanks! I hope you liked it! :D But if you also wonder if this Kurosora1984 lady has anything else to entertain you, and if you are even a little interested in other guys getting their sexy romance on, check out my current original story on FP! Links in my profile! Thank you, dears! :D