As the typical disclaimer for all of my fics, this one is entirely Kitten Kisses' fault. She locked me in a cellar and made me do it. Or maybe it was her birthday. Either way, fandom could use another M-rated KentxLyn. I just didn't think I'd be the one to write it. I guess this is my cue to put on sunglasses and tell you to deal with it.


Fear

The battle had been a slaughter. Kent struggled onward, hoisting Dorcas higher onto his back, feeling the axeman's blood trickle down his gorget.

He was no stranger to fear; as a knight he had grown up mastering the feeling. Fear of pain, fear of death, fear of dishonour, fear of losing Sain, fear of failing Lord Hausen, and he especially knew that such fears were not conquered, merely dealt with. Lately his greatest fear had involved Lyn. Of late she had been making it worse.

Their first kiss had been in Caelin. "You said you'd always stay by my side," she'd said, "but I wonder if I didn't hear the words the way you meant them." He'd kissed her then, in the dark by the armory, and she said she'd waited long for that. He wasn't sure they had waited long enough.

Everything had to be a secret, once he had committed this treason. Lord Hausen was kindly but unwaveringly just, and the punishment for claiming her lips before her future lord husband was death. He couldn't help but steal kisses anyway, and she stole from him twice as often. The fear pushed his blood through his veins harder, excited him faster.

War had come like a whirlwind, beginning with Lord Eliwood and Lord Hector storming to Lyn's aid and resulting in something much bigger, something concocted by an utter madman. Nergal was on Kent's list of fears.

Jerme had recently made the list. They had just won the battle against him, but only barely. Kent had watched him cut open Guy's throat like an overripe tomato, sending blood flying in all directions. Lowen had been overtaken, and crushed to death as his horse tripped and fell on him. It was lucky that Kent had survived when his horse had fallen, gored by an enemy spear.

Lyn had come to him in the night a couple months after the war had started. The tent he shared with Sain was empty, as Sain was spending the night in the healer's tent after an enemy had thrown a handaxe into his back. It was a miracle nothing touched his spine. Lyn slipped into Kent's bedroll and kissed him all night, taking his hand and placing it onto her breast. She had to move his hand up twice more, in later days, but after that he had the confidence to feel her wherever he pleased.

Making love, they understood, was impossible. He never once brought the subject up, and once she whispered to him that she loved him all the more for his understanding, but it wasn't understanding so much as pragmatics. The pressure was something neither of them needed. Still, that did not stop her from finding him bathing, late in the evening after their last battle, and making him understand with her hands what it would feel like. He'd put his hands on her as well, explored between her legs, grateful for the first time that none of the other men shared his fear of illness and bathed as often as he did. When she had to scream she ducked her head under the water.

Please don't let her be the one to face Jerme, Kent begged Elimine as he struggled with Dorcas. They were at the edge of the battlefield and a sliver of forest hid their camp from view. He'd had to leave just as the army began to gain the upper hand, for his old comrade had fallen beside him and he was determined to get him to safety.

"We just have to get through the trees; hold on, Dorcas."

What answered him was a death rattle. Dismayed, Kent slid the axeman off of his back and onto the ground, pressing his wrists and putting his ear to his lips. There was no pulse; no breath.

For a moment he considered going back into the fray, but it looked as if most of the enemy had routed, and he'd be little use without a horse. He picked Dorcas's body up and staggered back to camp, hoping to find a new steed. When he arrived Serra told him to stay; Erk had sent up a fiery flare that told her the battle had ended.

People straggled back in small groups, assisting wounded, carrying dead. The casualties were greater than Kent had ever seen them. Besides Dorcas, Lowen, and Guy, he saw Serra close the eyes of Raven, Oswin, Heath, and Florina.

Elimine! Florina! He wanted to go to her corpse and stroke her purple hair back, thank her for her friendship, but perhaps even in death she would have preferred not to have a man be so close. Instead he kissed his fingertips and let them graze her hand as he passed by, beginning a desperate prowl around the camp's perimeters. Where is Sain. Where is Lyn!

An hour passed before Sain arrived with Priscilla.

"That's everyone," she said.

"It can't be," snapped Kent, which made Sain look at him. "Lady Lyndis isn't back yet!"

Priscilla looked horrified. "But…we didn't see anyone else."

Kent thought he might have gone mad on the spot until Sain, pale, sputtered, "But we saw no other bodies, either."

The pacing continued. After a while Serra mentioned that Lucius had not returned, either. A while longer and Eliwood asked for Marcus. Kent made three more rounds around the camp, overhearing Eliwood and Hector lower their voices every time anyone passed. He still knew what they were talking about. This battle had taken far more than they had to give. Their army was small to begin with, and now greatly reduced. And the three lords leading it…how would they continue, if that number were down to two?

His scalp stung, and when he raised his hand to it he saw that he already had strands of red hair between his fingers. He had been pulling it out.

"I'm going to look for her," he said once, but Sain had grabbed his arm so hard he almost twisted it.

"No! You can't go back there alone! At least wait for the injured to be healed, first, so we can make a party!"

"How dare you! You of all people! She's your liege!"

"And I know she would order us to wait. Just for a while longer."

Kent's fingers clutched hard at his hair again. For the next hour, a longer hour, everything hurt to think about. Finding her body. Burying her. Telling Lord Hausen. Living the rest of his life without her. He would never hold her again, never kiss her lips, never see Sacae as she had wanted him to. What would his life be? What would anything mean? For months he had planned his entire future around this woman. So foolishly.

Tears stung his eyes when he finally saw her emerge from the trees, straggling in with Lucius and Marcus. The former was limping; the latter sagged in the saddle. He met her gaze. She did not speak to him but quickened her stride, pulling her gloves off, clasping Hector's arm as people came to meet her, accepting Eliwood's kiss on the cheek, the old-fashioned Lycian greeting for men and women alike that most lords had quit. They exchanged hurried words before ducking into the healer's tent and sending the onlookers off to sleep. After a moment Eliwood and Hector made for their own tents. Lyn walked back the way she had come, to the trees, without a backward glance. Kent knew she meant for him to follow her, and he did.

They were alone. Raindrops dripped from the canopy and moss squelched under his boots. She leaned against a tree, bleeding.

"Lyndis," he said.

"Oh, Kent, Father Sky, Kent," and she threw herself at him, her arms around his neck. Blood oozed from her shoulder.

"You're wounded."

"It's nothing."

Her mouth pressed against his, hot and hard. His arms enclosed her, one around her waist, the other hand on the back of her head, grasping at her hair. A sound of pain flooded his mouth.

"I'm sorry," he gasped, breaking free of the kiss. "I'll be—gentler—"

"No." She grabbed his hair in turn and pulled his face back to hers.

He couldn't get enough of her. He ran his tongue over hers, bit her lips, kissed her brow and eyelids and cheeks, devoured her neck. She'd told him not to kiss her there before, afraid of the marks he might leave, but she said nothing now. He couldn't stop in any case.

"Lyndis," he cried to her skin between kisses, whenever he drew breath, "I thought I'd lost you."

"Me too. I thought you—oh." He'd pulled her collar down to flick his tongue against the juncture of her neck and shoulder; she sagged in his arms. "So many died, I thought you must be one of them. It would be too kind of the gods, otherwise."

He returned to her lips, holding her chin. She was here. Alive. Alive.

She kept trying to speak past his kisses. "All I could think of were the times we'd never have."

His hands rubbed up and down her back, explored all of her curves, memorized her shape.

"Kent, nothing in Caelin, nothing in Sacae." Her fingers tugged at his shirt, untucking it, and he gasped as she spread her fingers underneath it, against his stomach. "All the things we'd never do."

He groaned when her fingers slipped beneath his belt. She worked furiously at the buckle until she could slide her hand into his breeches and grab him.

"L-Lyn!" He hadn't meant to speak the word but it burst from his lips.

"You'd never feel my breasts again. Do it now."

He obeyed immediately, clutching at her. They both fell back against the tree. The sensation of her hand was so sweet, so white-hot, that it hurt. She moaned as he pinched a nipple through her shirt.

"Oh, Kent…I could never feel you like this again. Let me. Please let me." She was unlacing his breeches, whispering, "We've never made love."

"If you had died—" he began, but as she began to pump her hand up and down the length of him, his words faded to a gasp, escalated to her name. He drew her down with him; the ground was wet and cold but neither cared. She yanked the entirety of his shirt out of his waistband and unbuckled his breastplate. It made little sound as it tumbled off.

He was on top of her, kissing her as she moaned into his mouth, grabbing a breast hard, pressing his hips into hers over and over. He'd never been this forward before. He fingered the edge of her skirt, high up at her hip. She arched herself into him.

Neither could speak. Every motion of her body was a command; every command she gave he was sworn to obey. He slipped his fingers between her legs and stroked her as he had only once before, just days ago, days that felt like years. The way she'd cried out beneath the water had made him shiver every time he thought about it. She clasped her hands over her mouth, this time. He removed them to kiss her and she screamed into his mouth. She hadn't even come yet, he knew she hadn't, but he was sure her nerves were as raw as his, sure she felt every touch like a lick of flame, painfully strong.

She began to arch her back, thrust her hips. Another moan escaped him. He wanted her to feel that release, here, alone with him, away from camp, alive; she pushed him away, tugged his breeches down over his hips. He had to grit his teeth to keep from crying out as she wriggled low beneath him and took him in her mouth.

His first instinct was to thrust with all his might but he was afraid to choke her. To hold still while she pleasured him was agony. Then her mouth was gone, she slid her face up to his and kissed him well, and took his hand to guide it back between her legs. He moved the flap of her skirt aside and mounted her again, with her legs on either side of him. His fingertips found her soaking wet; she whimpered as she tried to pull his breeches off but couldn't keep a tight enough grip on him with the way he was touching her. She'd probably forgotten that he was still wearing his boots anyway.

He pressed the length of his member against her groin. He wouldn't take her, not his liege, not his Lyndis, but he wanted to be as close as he could be, wanted to savour every part of the lover he'd almost lost.

There was no pause for thought, no moment of consent, merely a shared look, and sharp memories of that afternoon. She took him in her hands and guided him to where she opened; he thrust hard.

She cried out and clenched her eyes shut. He stayed still, lowering his lips to her ear, whispering sweetnesses to her, his beautiful lady, his future marchioness, so strong, so wet, so desperate.

"We can stop. We should."

"Don't."

She relaxed, moved her hips, and he responded to her invitation. There was no time to share it slowly; her wound still bled and someone could come for them any minute. He moved frantically, feeling her fingernails dig scratches into his back, his pleasure mounting every second. With the pleasure came doubt. Fear. What am I doing to her? We said that we wouldn't!

"I can't believe—"

"Don't think about it, Kent!"

"Lady Lyndis, we should stop—"

She grabbed his hips and stopped him from pulling out, changing the angle, which made her gasp. He stayed there and kept going. Her breath warmed his ear, each paired with a tiny moan, deep in her throat. He was grateful for the darkness. He wished they'd had more time so she could tell him what felt best, what she wished he would do. Instead she only urged him, deep and breathy, "Don't stop, don't stop," and he obeyed. Coming inside of her was like stepping out of the dark and into noon sun; a wave of white light blinded his mind. He could have stayed there, atop her, gasping for breath, forever. Clutching her shoulders, kissing her breasts, nuzzling her neck. Alive.

She would have none of it. Her hips kept moving; her moans now pleading. He withdrew from her, gasping at the sensation, and she rolled him over and began to rub herself against him like a cat in heat. Despite the new relief in his bones, relief so complete it was akin to exhaustion, her desire made him want to be aroused again, immediately. He thrust his fingers inside of her and she smiled at that for a minute before taking his hand and placing him just outside of her. He stroked her as he had before, until she clutched at him and wept, until he knew she'd felt a climax as strong as he'd felt.

She sighed and touched his face, afterward. "Kent, what's the matter?"

"Why are you crying?"

"I don't know. There are a lot of reasons."

She pushed herself away from him and rearranged her skirt. He did the same, pulling his breeches up and re-buckling his belt and his breastplate. Her hair was a mess; she took out her hair band so she could fix it and he watched the green locks bounce down her back.

I can't believe we just did that. I know we were desperate, but… He drew up his knees and buried his face in his hands. Now there's no going back. "Damn it."

"Kent?"

She was kneeling before him now; he knew when she took his hands away from his face. His first instinct was to try and scramble away, it was so hard to look her in the eyes. "Damn, damn, damn." He stopped right away when his back hit a tree. "What have we done?"

"What we wanted to. Didn't we?"

"Lyn, this isn't the time or the place—"

"At least I'm Lyn, now. When you were inside of me you called me Lady Lyndis."

His face felt so hot. "I…I didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't prepared but you were so sure."

"I didn't want to lose the opportunity. If you died tomorrow, I wanted that memory to hold on to. I wanted the knowledge that I had you first, and you had me, and it was my idea."

There was a silence. The look she gave was quizzical. The words were hard to choke out, but he made himself: "I didn't want our first time to be because of fear."

"Oh, Kent," she said, her voice newly tender as she kissed his brow. "It wasn't fear; it was relief. I have you back, and I will never waste another opportunity to show you I love you."

"You must be sure."

"I am sure. Are you?"

He was ashamed, but he needed a moment to think about it. He had been so afraid…and yet, when she was before him, the fear had gone. It had only been Lyn, and joy, and love for her.

"I am sure. I wasn't afraid, I was…happy."

"Me, too. Are you still?"

"I don't know. It was so fast and—"

"I'm confused too. But I know I was meant for you, and I regret nothing." She stood and offered a hand to him, and he allowed her to pull him to his feet.

"I am honoured," he said. She slid her arms around his waist and he held her in turn, telling her, "You're the first—you're the only woman I ever—"

"We still don't have much time," she interrupted with a sad murmur, and lightly kissed his mouth. "We must get back to camp. I don't know how long we've been missing, but if they notice…"

She trailed off but he knew her thoughts. Their love was forbidden in Lycia. He was beneath her station. But if they kept it a secret until they could make it to Sacae, everything would be all right.

If they survived this war.

He pulled her tight against him and hissed into her ear, "Be careful, Lyndis."

"You worry too much."

"I'm not the one who brought you out here with the idea of making love because I was so worried that you had died." He pressed his face into her hair as he added, "But…it was a good idea."

"Nothing will be the same now," she whispered. "I'll never be able to stop thinking of this."

"Nor I."

"It will just be harder to stay away from you."

"Infinitely."

"But we must."

"I will always do as my lady says."

There was too much to think about: if they had done it too soon, if it would change their love, if he'd even be able to sleep this night, if he could have gotten her with child. He would never stop being afraid of this or of any time after, as long as they fought in this war. But it was a different sort of fear than the one he had felt until now.

She gave him one last kiss and they made their way back to camp by separate ways.