Pre-story A/N: So this series of one-shots basically spawned from an idea a reviewer gave me when they suggested I post a chapter from Lydia's perspective and I thought "Why just one chapter?" But then writing it in the context of The Line Begins to Blur fucked with the overall story flow so I made it a separate entity. The reason there are two titles is simply that I couldn't decide between the two. I'm Your Problem Now is a song by Mindless Self Indulgence and Ripple Effect is by Phutureprimitive, so they get credit for that while I get to admit to being an unoriginal bastard.

A voice on the wind drew her attention to the sky overhead. Lydia had never heard her Thane use his voice as the Dragonborn was said to. She wondered often if it was due to lack of will or skill that he did not use his gift. She shook her head in an effort to put off such thoughts. It was not proper to think ill of her Thane.

He was the first Argonian Lydia had ever met, and so when she had met him her opinion was coloured with preconceptions rather than experience. She had heard descriptions of them as ugly, slithery reptiles from some of the other guards; that they spoke venomous words in a constant rasping hiss. her father had always spoken of them as being little more than "beasts trying to imitate men".

It had taken a few days for the truth of the matter to break through the mere idea she had put in its place. When he spoke his voice was clear, quite lacking the sibilance she had been told would be lacing it. He was not some lying, cheating snake. His words were often joking and sincere, if rather vague when concerning any matter he deemed personal.

From the way other people had described Argonians Lydia had assumed they were repulsive to behold, like some slimy creature that had just crawled out of a swamp. Instead...some heat rose to her face as she considered her Thane's appearance. There was no denying his physique. His body looked as though it had been carved from a block of granite. Sharp lines cut through hard muscle that his scales looked strained to contain. Pale lines and dots of scars covered his body, each a clear testament to what he could withstand. Even the trio of slashes running down his face served only to add a ferocious charm to him.

Lydia had accepted that she found her Thane, an Argonian, attractive right about the time she began to think of him as a person and not a beast. The first time she saw his naked body she knew that everything she had been told about their race was false. It took every bit of willpower she had not to trace her eyes across every inch of black and grey scale, especially to parts even someone so shameless as he likely considered private. It was a shocking thrill to be naked with him and she had spent several nights wondering if he thought humans appealing. His flirtatious jokes were easy to misconstrue, though she had to admit that it was quite fun to play along with them.

The woman shook her head and turned her eyes back to the path ahead. Getting distracted thinking about her Thane was going to get her killed, if she wasn't careful. There were various beasts in the area and she knew she could be ambushed at any moment by some hungry predator. The encounter with the sabre cat had proven that well enough.

A low groan escaped her lips as her thoughts once again found themselves focused on him. The housecarl had watched her Thane fight a sabre cat, of all animals, unarmed and unarmoured. He had not escaped injury but the simple fact that he had bested the beast was proof enough of his skill and strength. She had given him his sword but part of her doubted that he even needed it, had he remembered his magic. Instinct would have driven him to using it without thought, of that Lydia was certain.

She allowed herself a small smile as she entertained the slight fantasy of him besting the beast without even that. She imagined him standing over the defeated sabre cat in all his naked glory, water and blood dripping from him. He would be injured, but what would be nearly lethal to most anyone else wouldn't even cause him to flinch and he would simply heal from it in a matter of days. She had seen firsthand the regenerative capabilities of the Argonian

It occurred to her that she was like a child with a crush and she had to laugh out loud at her own ridiculousness. She could only imagine what Kailev-Tel would say if he knew she thought of him so. She could imagine him donning what she could only take as an arrogant smirk and making some comment about how terrible it was for women to constantly fall for him. "Ugh. You, too? I thought I was safe from humans..." he would say with a dramatic sigh and a chuckle that nearly had Lydia biting her lip every time she heard it.

She stopped in her laughter when she realized that she had actually thought of him as "Kailev-Tel" rather than simply "her Thane". She had never once used his name, or even his preferred short form. It seemed disrespectful to refer to him as anything other than his proper title. Not that he likely thought so.

It also struck her that she was thinking of him as though he were a Nord man. Physical strength, skill and a sense of duty and honour were supposed to be the most attractive qualities of a man. She wondered briefly if it was the same for Argonians. Regardless of what Argonian standards were Lydia had little doubt that he more than lived up to them.

Lydia eventually broke out of her thoughts to realize she had made her way back to Ivarstead. Most of her time in the town had been spent simply wandering around, enjoying the peaceful nature the secluded place held. Without Kailev-Tel around to drag her along some foolish adventure things were actually rather...dull. As much as she didn't approve of some of his ideas she couldn't deny that they could be fun, if quite reckless. He was an entertaining travelling companion.

The somewhat lonely woman made her way back to the inn. It was late in the afternoon and dusk couldn't have been more than an hour off, so it seemed as good a time to start settling down as any. Kailev-Tel had several books tucked in his pack that had actually proven interesting to read. She stripped off her armour and sat on the edge of the bed, glad the warmth of the inn's hearth allowed her the simple comfort of being in nought but her underclothes.

There was just enough light from the candle beside her bed to read by, though she only got through a couple pages before her mind began wandering again. She was becoming quite easily distracted by thoughts of that damned Argonian, Lydia realized with a quiet laugh. There were worse things to be distracted by, though.

She set the book down on a bedside table and decided that there was no harm in simply indulging in her distracting thoughts and fantasies. Her mind had been scattered the whole day; surely it would do some good to finally focus on something. Even if that something was what had been scattering her thoughts. She pushed the paradoxical thought from her mind.

Her mind wandered to the Thane she had been rather obsessively fixated on since his departure. She could almost hear his voice jokingly teasing her. "You're actually kinda pretty, for a human," he'd say and laugh in his deep, rough voice. "I mean, I'm sure I could do much worse." He'd grin at her with a mouth full of gleaming white teeth and then finally give into her desires and kiss her.

She didn't much wonder about how his mouth would fit against hers. She wondered only at how it would feel. As she lay in the inn's bed, her fingers tracing phantom lines across her skin, she imagined the slick heat of his tongue pushing between her lips. Her own tongue swept across her lips unconsciously in a futile effort to capture his taste.

A low groan slipped through her lips as her fingers dug into the flesh of her breast. It wasn't hard for her to imagine the hand there was just a bit bigger, a bit rougher and much stronger. The thought of her Thane's touch made the smouldering embers of her lust flare into a bright flame. Within moments she had divested herself of her remaining garments and lay stretched across the fur blankets. There was no preamble in her movements. One hand moved to her breast while the other dipped between her thighs.

A finger slid along her slick folds. She enjoyed the feeling of simply being touched, even if she had to close her eyes and envision the one she wanted to do the touching. Part of her truly couldn't fathom finding Kailev-Tel as ugly as she had heard his race proclaimed. His pale blue, slit-pupil eyes nearly shone against the black and red scales of his face. When he grinned and laughed at one of his own stupid jokes she could see his mirth dancing in them like a sparkling light. Eyes like his couldn't belong to anything ugly.

She imagined the way his eyes would look now, how they'd darken to steely flecks with his lust. She imagined the way his muscles would twitch as his finger plunged into her. She imagined the way his tongue would drag along her neck, tasting her sweat and feeding off her pleasure. She imagined the way his rough palm would scrape along her hard nipple.

Her throat shook with a small moan as a second finger pushed into her. She felt herself almost flowing around her soaking digits while they slipped in and out of her sex. Her other hand left her breast to rub tight, hard circles around her clitoris. Despite the wetness coating her fingers she could only think of how it would feel while her Thane would nip and bite at her neck while he pleasured her.

She could almost hear his voice muttering filthy words in her ear, because she couldn't imagine him keeping his mouth shut for even this. So she would occupy it with her own, feeling vindicated that she had finally managed to shut him up. The fact that the thought of his lips on hers spurred her fingers to faster movements only sweetened the deal. She thought of how his tongue would push into her mouth in time with his fingers, quite happily demonstrating what he was planning to do when he was ready to.

Her orgasm was sudden. A choked scream caught in her throat as her sex clenched around her fingers. She automatically rolled over and pressed her face to the bed, letting her moans and cries be absorbed by the thick fur beneath her. When the waves of her climax had stopped crashing over her her body went limp against the soft bed. She flinched slightly as her sticky fingers withdrew from her sensitive passage.

She shivered slightly as a cold wind brushed over her sweat-slicked skin. Quite unwilling to abandon the bed or even find some kind of clothing, she opted to simply wrap herself in the blankets and stay put. A contented smile touched on her face. She wondered what Kailev-Tel would say if he could see her now, her flushed skin damp with post-masturbation sweat. Maybe he would actually be struck speechless. Or maybe he would show her how close her imagination got to the real thing. She bit her lip as a new wave of desire threatened to start the whole cycle over again.

A/N: It feels bizarre to write in third person, but writing this from first person was worse. This is going to run parallel to The Line Begins to Blur, told from the perspective of Kai's various travelling companions. Sorry it's so terribly short. I tried to write a second half but I couldn't figure out exactly what to write without it getting boring and/or sappy. Or just involving more masturbation, but it ended up feeling shoe-horned in and that hurt the quality. So it ends here. If you have anything to say about it, don't hesitate to let me know.