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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Matalina

Tainted Love (attn Merdyn)

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That hasn't gone as he'd thought it would.  The anxiety built up as he walked to his house.  His breathing was rapid and his heart was beating into his chest.  Nox wasn't sure this was a great idea.  But it was the only one he had.  Merdyn would be by.  Maybe.  He hoped.  The paranoia played out in his head, all the bad things that would happen.  He could see them playing out in his mind.  He hated the paranoia. Hated the anxiety.  Hated feeling worthless.

 

Nox opened the door to his house and he waved his hand all the candle lights lit.  It wasn't a romantic scene he was setting thought it was an interesting scenario that Nox tried to focus on as he sat down on his bed and tugged off his black boots.  He unbutton each button on his black coat slowly and methodically before folding it carefully and setting it on the bench next to his bed.  Nox tugged on a black tunic that hung open half way down his chest.   

 

Waiting was going to be hell.  Nox tried to focus on other things, but he kept coming back to all the things that could happen.  The worst fear was Merdyn would come in laugh at him, make him aware that he liked men.  And laugh because he did.  Every childhood fear, every john who treated him like a waste of space.  Every kid who beat him.  Nox waited... and his mind fell farther.

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                The Sun seemed to be shinning for Merdyn and Merdyn only. Birds were singing in the trees, not a cloud floated by in the sky, and everyone that he passed wore a smile; those that were smiling were most definitely perverts. He recognized each of them from the Training Yard.

 

                “Hope you all enjoyed the free show! It won’t be happening again!” Merdyn called out to a few of them, completely good-natured, “Go get a hobby!”

 

                Merdyn was wearing the same smile he wore when leaving the Training Yard. The M’Hael thought it strange at first, Merdyn’s face barely altering an inch, but he probably owed it to the fact that Merdyn had obtained the second pin today! He wasn’t wrong. That had definitely played a role into Merdyn’s current mood, but the bulk of it was thanks to Nox.

 

                Not caring who saw, for everyone had seen almost every inch of Merdyn after that afternoon, he did a bit of a jig and caper as he made that last few steps to Nox’s house. Running up to the door, Merdyn took a moment to compose himself. Straighten his hair, taking the coat off, and straightening his under-shirt, which was of a fine weave; the under-shirt was more than acceptable attire for this little meeting with who he hoped was his new lover. Part of Merdyn thought that that kiss earlier was just a trick… But no… Merdyn didn’t need to win the duel to ascend to Asha’man… No. That had to be genuine.

 

                Merdyn was just too anxious. He opened the door slowly, sticking his head in. Nox was on the bed, wearing a half-done black tunic. It was the first time he had seen Nox in anything but a coat. Merdyn had to strain not to give the other man the up and down with his eyes, but he couldn't help to notice that the tunic dipped down quite low. It was more of Nox's skin that Merdyn had ever seen before. Blood rushed to his cheeks and he knew it, but he couldn't hide it without leaving; which was the last thing he had wanted to do.

 

                “Hey,” Merdyn said with a smile, “The invitation still on the table?”

Edited by Oddpositions

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Nox heard the door open he couldn't bear to look up.  Merdyn had come.  Nox didn't want to see the laughter on his face, the pointing fingers and the smirks.  He spoke low, fighting back the fear and the anxiety.  The darkness he'd fallen into.  "Yes."  The word still came out broken.  He was broken.  He'd always been broken.  The life he'd lived had been hard, and life at the Farm only made that difference so much more dramatic.  

 

The only person who really saw him, saw past the happy smile, and the facade he put on outside those doors was Adrim.  Merdyn had seen him at low points, had been with him a time or two when he'd fallen into despair it had been part of the reason Nox liked the man.  What made it hard...

 

Nox looked up and while he hadn't been crying the fear had to be etched in his face.  He didn't want pity or sympathy he wanted Merdyn to know that life wasn't going to be easy if he stepped past the door.  If what he wanted was more than a quick roll in the hay.  Nox could do that, could give him himself physically, but it wasn't what he wanted.  At least it wasn't all he wanted.  

 

Nox patted the bed next to him and pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped his long arms around him and hugged his legs to his chest and rested his head on knees.  "What rumors have you heard about me?  About my past, about now, about Adrim. Or others."  There had been others he'd dallied with, no one of importance, but there had been, and there were women from town, and men too.  Nothing was serious and it was only about physical release.  This was different.  Merdyn hadn't run yet.  Nox didn't dare hope he wouldn't run now.

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                Nox looked up at Merdyn, there was something darker in his eyes. Something that reminded Merdyn of that day at the Medic Tent and the day with Lillian Sedai. Those days started out great, but they had ended sourly. Both cases Nox shut down almost completely and Merdyn had set to comfort him each time. Nox inevitably pulled out of those moods, but Merdyn couldn’t be sure he had been the reason for Nox’s recovery. Worry passed Merdyn’s face.

 

                The other man patted on the bed, to the spot next to him. Merdyn wasted no time in stepping past the door, into the room, and down on to the bed. He sat with his legs spread and feet planted on the floor, torso hunched forward, elbows resting on his knees, and eyes only for Nox. The other man assumed a position that looked much like an upright fetal pose. He didn’t look at Merdyn when he began speaking. Merdyn almost moved to encircle Nox into his arms, the man looked hurt, damaged, and scared. He had never seen Nox in such a mood, he was always so strong, so silent.

 

                No. Merdyn waited to comfort Nox. Despite the almost-fetal position, Nox was speaking, asking questions of Merdyn. He wasn’t shutting down like last time. This wasn’t good, but it was better than before if anything. Merdyn paused to contemplate an answer, still staring directly at Nox.

 

                “Nox, you know I don’t hang around anyone else besides you and Ful. People don’t really talk to me much lately, they assume I’m some rich snob missing Daddy’s money… I mean, there were whispers I had heard when I first came to the Farm. I’ve never been one to gossip, though. I didn’t ever repeat or really entertain…” Merdyn said, but it was apparent that Nox was serious about the question.

 

                Merdyn sighed, “I’ve heard that you’ve ‘been around market’, so to speak. Whether or not that is true, it is nobody’s business but your own; and anyone you choose to share it with,” He tried giving Nox an understanding smile, “That’s about it, honestly. You mentioned a few months ago that you didn’t want people thinking I slept my way to the top… Is that what you were talking about? No one ever… Not when I was around…”

 

                “I know that you arrived here before the Lord Dragon cleansed the Taint; therefore you may have been affected by all of that. Don’t matter much to me, so long as you don’t try to kill me for a laugh,” He tried to chuckle to lighten the mood, “Honestly, I’ve probably heard less than you think. Most of the men at the Soup Kitchen are volunteers from the Village; they don’t gossip around me, for obvious reasons. No. There was only one time that I actually sought out information about you… And Adrim. Never turned anything up though, no one talked about it.”

 

                Merdyn was quiet for a moment, contemplative. He looked down at the ground, at his hands dangling in the wide spot between his spread legs. With a sigh, Merdyn went on, “At the time, I was asking because I was curious. You never talked about the past, or relationships, or anything… At the time, I thought I just wanted to know; wanted to see a little behind that veneer you show the world. I didn’t know at the time that I,” Merdyn almost admitted to having feelings for Nox, but he’d wait another moment for that. It was clear that this was not the time, not until Nox said what he had to say, “I- uh… Adrim gave me a weird look after we Skimmed back to that spot where the damsels crashed their carriage. I didn’t think much of it at the time… But, uh… Now I know that I was asking because I wanted to know if I had a chance with you. I still want to know if I do… If Adrim and you are a thing, though… Well, I can leave the Farm if that would make things easier… But I don’t want to, Nox. I’d rather be here. With you,” Merdyn paused again, “If you’ll have me.”

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Nox smiled at the last bits.  It wasn't what he expected to hear, but he was glad he'd said it.  "I don't want you to go."  Nox leaned his legs against Merdyn's arm.  His voice was quiet as he continued.  "Adrim was a john when I meant him.  He'd come into the brothel I worked and chose me.  Took me to his room in an fancy inn in a good part of the city. He treated me better than anyone I'd ever been with.  I stayed longer than I was paid for.  I fell asleep in his bed and he didn't kick me out.  That was when I channeled for the first time.  I had woken up in a strange place, a strange bed and the fear sparked fire.  The bedding caught fire, and my legs with it.  I screamed.  Adrim came in put the fire out and I was already passing out.  I woke up here at the Farm.  Adrim set down rules.  What happened the night before would never happen again so long as we were here.  He meant as long as he and I were Asha'man.  He does not fraternize within in the walls of the Farm.  Those are his rules."

 

Nox sighed as he continued.  "It hurt.  At first.  I know Adrim cares.  I know I mean more than the other's he's trained, but he's an honorable man, and he won't break his rules.  You don't need to worry about him.  But he will always be someone I trust implicitly.  He saved me."

 

Opening up was hard to do.  Nox let go of his legs and shifted forward so his feet were on the ground and his leg pressed against Merdyn's.  "The taint makes all my natural born issues worse.  I'm broken.  What you see outside those doors is just covering it.  Years of playing the good little whore.  Faking it because I had to.  This is where I break. If you do this, stay on this side of the door you can't ever think it's you, even if I yell at you and blame you.  It's paranoia, anxiety and depression speaking.  I'm not violent.  But I break easily."

 

Nox leaned against his shoulder with a half smile. "I want you to be okay with it all, but I understand if I ever get too much."

Edited by Matalina

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                Merdyn would have never had guessed. Maybe that first day, when he showed up with a hangover to his first lesson with Nox. Oh, the other man had been quite upset with him. At the time, Merdyn figured it was the tardiness, but now that he thought about it… Must have been the drink. Men who frequented Pleasure Houses were typically intoxicated at the time, and if they weren’t, the men quickly became so around their ‘purchase’ for the night. Merdyn knew that because he had been one of those men before. It had been a way to dampen the pain at losing Kyllian, but the taste of purchased flesh quickly grew sour. Merdyn would leave that part of his past out… For now.

 

                Nox pressed closely to Merdyn, clearly relaxing. That made Merdyn relax a bit more. He straightened his torso and slipped an arm around Nox’s shoulder, pulling him in tight. Merdyn’s body was hard and so was his resolve. He would be strong enough for the both of them. There was no taint on his own mind and his past had its demons, but Merdyn had learned to let go. He had his bad days, but those happened less and less. He figured they wouldn’t happen anymore… Not with Nox next to him. Merdyn kissed the top of Nox’s head, resting his cheek against the other man’s chestnut hair.

 

                The pieces started to fit together as Nox spoke. Merdyn wasn’t exactly shocked by any of it; he had heard worse stories out in the world. The people telling them were all damaged to a varying extent. You couldn’t be alive in this world without having some sort of trauma. How you dealt with it was another thing. Nox was opening himself up to completely to Merdyn and it only strengthened the emotions Merdyn was now feeling for the other man. He wanted to protect him.

 

                “Good, cause now you’re not gonna be able to get rid of me,” he chuckled lightly despite the mood. Merdyn had figured that the Pattern had brought him here to help with the Last Battle, and maybe it had, but he was starting to think that everything that had happened in his life up until that point was the Pattern’s way of pushing Merdyn to meet Nox. Oh, it was too soon to tell, but Merdyn hadn’t felt like this in years, not since Kyllian.

 

                “My life has been very different from yours, but not without its own hurts; I can’t claim to understand everything you’ve gone through, Nox, but I will do everything I can to make sure nothing like that happens to you ever again. You’ve got two people ready to catch you should you ever stumble; and I’m sure Ful wouldn’t be too far behind Adrim and me.” Merdyn lifted his cheek from Nox’s head and brought a hand to cup the other man’s chin, turning him so that he was looking at Merdyn, “You don’t have to fake it with me. I’ve put up with a lot of crap with my own family, but the difference being that I was just a means to an end for them. I’ve only ever felt like I was loved once or twice in my life. You gotta grow a thick skin with a family like mine… I can take it, Nox. You can scream at me, hit me, throw things at me, but I won’t go anywhere. Not until you straight up tell me you want me gone and this is over… Even then… I don’t think I’d go. I’ve already lost one important person in my life and that is not an experience I am eager to repeat…”

 

                Merdyn looked deeply into Nox’s brown eyes, searching for something, “Do you have feelings for me too Nox? I look at you right now and I get this warm feeling in my chest… Something like butterflies in my stomach… Haven’t felt this way in years… I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m stickin’ with you, Nox. I want to be your rock, your safety. I want to be with you.”

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Nox felt safe under Merdyn's arm.  It was comforting and not judgmental which followed with Merdyn's words too.  But he didn't know what love was.  Love was never something he felt.  Feeling yes, of course.  But was it like what Merdyn described, he didn't know.  Nox didn't want to hurt his feelings again with the wrong words so Nox did the only other thing he could think of to convey the meaning to him.

 

Nox tugged the tunic over his head and moved quickly as he sat down facing Merdyn in his lap and pressed his lips to the other man's tentatively.  The only other person who'd seen this much skin short of someone catching him bathing or other mundane things had been Adrim, And the men in the Infirmary, that was not so mundane, but it was necessary.  None by his choice, until Merdyn.  

 

Nox was not built like Merdyn, but neither was he just a stick.  He worked just as hard as everyone else he just choose to hide the definition of his body behind clothes a size too big.  It had been habit when he was a child, and it had been something to hide when he wasn't in the brothel, so no one got a free look.  Now it was just him, he'd done it so long, it was part of him.  He wasn't ashamed of his body.  The scars that he had, nothing would compare to the scars in his soul, but he didn't care right now.  Nox echoed the words "My rock." 

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                Merdyn did not shy away from looking any longer; how could he? Nox had removed the black tunic and tossed it aside like it was nothing. He moved in a blur, straddling Merdyn without warning. They kissed and everything else seemed to melt away for him. He didn’t need words from Nox. The other man clearly felt something for him, whether he wanted to say it outright or not. It didn’t matter, Merdyn knew Nox wasn’t the most forthcoming, and he hadn’t expected a response despite the question. He would have been more shocked if Nox had responded.

 

                Merdyn was beginning to piece together the puzzle that was Nox; now that he had begun to open his mouth, fitting the different pieces together became a little easier. Oh, he did not have a complete picture of the other, but he had enough to know that this was right. Merdyn was meant to be here in this moment and Nox was the one meant to share it with him. All was right in the Pattern.

 

                Was this love? Merdyn wasn’t sure, despite the thumping in his chest and the butterflies roiling about his stomach. He thought it was. This was how it felt with Kyllian and that was all he had to compare it to. He made it a point not to tell Nox that he loved him, those were serious words. Even if Merdyn had felt it beyond the shadow of a doubt, he still wouldn’t have said the words. Not yet. It was too soon. He didn’t want to frighten Nox off or put too much pressure on him. There would be a time to say it later, once Merdyn knew for sure and once Nox had grown more comfortable in their budding relationship. Light, but he did want to say it the more he analyzed it.

 

                There were no scars from the Trolloc attack. Merdyn ran his hands up Nox’s torso just to be sure; his eyes didn’t see any, but he had to be sure. If there were scars…

 

                Merdyn finally let go of that and all the worries it entailed. The guilt from the first lesson… But that had been the start for Merdyn, his feelings for Nox. He should have known then… Merdyn pulled Nox closer, their kiss growing more passionate. He longed to be one with Nox, longed to share this moment with him completely. The man was perfection.

 

                Although he had worn looser clothing, Nox’s physique was impressive; of course, it would be. A well-defined chest and abdominal muscles sculpted by the Creator himself. Nox was a beauty in his own right; Merdyn wished he had some skill in drawing or painting to capture his lover on the page, stealing this moment to look back on it later. This was the man that had guided Merdyn through the perils of Saidin and had weathered countless storms, both personal and physical. Nox could proclaim to be broken all he wanted and Merdyn would listen to him, but the fact of the matter was that Nox was one of the strongest people Merdyn had ever met. He had been to the Void and back, but still kept fighting. Merdyn would be his rock, the one person Nox could lean on in this world. Yet, someday, he hoped to show Nox just what power lay within him.

 

                Nox affectionately referred to Merdyn as his rock and all self-control fled. The rest of their clothing seemed to flee as Nox mumbled the words. Merdyn kissed him deeper, all thoughts leaving him, two becoming one.

 

                “Give it all to me, love. I can take it. It’s us now. You’re not alone. I can take it,” Merdyn whispered.

Edited by Oddpositions

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It was almost too frenzied.  But not want going to complain.  He hadn't been with anyone in a personal level in a long time.  He took his time. They enjoyed each other's body.  

 

It was a long slow session and nox was exhausted by the end of the night. It was unusual that nox stayed with his John's so lying naked in merdyns arms was new.  "I like this." Nox nuzzled against his lovers neck.  "Don't leave.". He curled around merdyns body possessively.

 

(( Sorry so short on my phone at a kid's birthday party. ))

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                Savage was how it started, all those wasted months and denial of feelings and pleasures. It was worth the wait. Merdyn had almost forgotten that he had attained the second pin earlier that day, if he hadn’t he wouldn’t be locked in Nox’s embrace. It was never like this with Kyllian. Oh, it was nice, but with Nox things just seemed to fit together. They eventually fell into a rhythm, slowing down and taking the time to truly enjoy and explore one another. It wasn’t a romp or a one-night stand, this was what the poets referred to when they said ‘making love.’ So many new experiences he owed to Nox and the future held even more of them.

 

                By the end of it all, they only had a few precious hours remaining until sun up. Merdyn was propped up by a few pillows, a long pipe hanging from his lip; blue smoke rose steadily from the bowl of the pipe and Merdyn blew a few smoke rings every now and then. Nox was nestled against him, Merdyn’s arm slung over his naked back, holding him tightly. He nuzzled into Merdyn’s neck, causing gooseflesh to rise from head to toe. Merdyn’s weak spot was his neck… and his ears… Nox’s grip tightened possessively on Merdyn.

 

                Merdyn channeled, weaving together water and air; forming them into a rose. The water hardened into ice and he wove another flow over the memento, a keeping weave. The ice rose fell into his palm and he offered it to Nox, “It won’t melt and it will never shatter. Something to remember this day by… And don’t worry Nox… I’m not going anywhere. I was gonna ask… Would you mind if we shared a bed again tonight? And maybe tomorrow night? And the night after that? Light, we could stay here like this for the rest of our days and I would be happy. We can channel flows of air to bring us food and water. Maybe empty a chamber pot or two, but I don’t see why this can’t be our reality… We’ve waited so long. You deserve to be happy, love. We both do.”

 

                Merdyn kissed Nox again. He liked doing that. “Thank you,” Merdyn murmured.

 

 

[[ooc: staaaahp. you're fine.]]

Edited by Oddpositions

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Nox had never been given a gift before.  And especially not one made with the One Power, with Saidin itself.  The rose was beautiful and it made Nox's heart melt.  As if the man lying next to him need to do anything more than exist to make him happy.  He took the offering and tucked it up against his chest.  The cool ice made him shiver but that was alright.  It was a temporary location, Nox would find a whole for it somewhere he could see it all the time.

 

Merdyn asked to stay again and several more times after that.  Nox couldn't help but grin.  "You can stay as long as you like.  But won't you miss your own things?"  Nox thought about offering to spend the night in Merdy's bed,  but he knew that was a bad idea.  He needed his bed, his space.  But Merdyn was welcome to stay and make it his home if he so choose.  It was fast but it had been there for months, maybe not since the first days but each passing one afterwards.  At first Nox had thought it was just his imagination and Merdyn's guilt over Nox's injuries.  As if he were the one to have shattered the trolloc.  It was Nox's fault.  He could have shielded, he made an assumption he wouldn't do again.  Not that Merdyn would make the mistake again.  It wasn't about Merdyn, just other soldiers new to the team work thing.

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                Merdyn considered the question for a moment, “Eh, it’s not that far away. Might not be a bad idea to bring one of my chests over, though. I don’t exactly fancy wearing the same set of small clothes and coat day in and day out, even if I clean them with the One Power. Not my style,” he said grinning into Nox’s hair. Merdyn inhaled deeply, taking in his lover’s scent. It was warm and comforting. He pulled Nox in tighter if that was possible. He longed to be one with the man again, but he didn’t have the energy.

 

                His mind wandered a bit, Merdyn thought back on everything that the two of them had gone through. He would never have guessed back during that first day that he would end up here, locked in Nox’s embrace. Merdyn had been so sure that Nox hated him from the start. That might have been true, Merdyn wouldn’t ever know and he didn’t care. What mattered was the here and now.

 

                He remembered the day with Lillian Sedai and Nox’s breakdown. Rushing back here with the man in his arms. That was the first time Merdyn had lain in this bed, but for very different reasons. Lillian made him think of the Sisters and their Warders. He would let Nox Bond him if he wanted to, part of him almost wanted to offer. He wasn’t sure if Nox would like that, but if Merdyn was to be his rock, it only made sense. They’d always be able to find each other, Nox could draw literal strength from Merdyn when he needed it. Nox seemed to stiffen a little and Merdyn realized he had been speaking out loud.

 

                Merdyn then surprised himself and said something he promised he wouldn’t say. Not this soon. But then, the words were coming out of his mouth before he could stop them.

 

                “I love you, Nox.”

Edited by Oddpositions

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Merdyn said he'd bring some things over.  Which was more than fine with Nox.  But then all of a sudden through the haze of lust and comfort and coming out of that happy place Merdyn said a few words that made Nox stiffen.  Followed by words that made his heart race.  Nox pressed his face against Merdyn's neck and held him close.  It was not so much for the loving gesture but to seek comfort in his rock.  

 

He couldn't help the feeling of dread.  To be bound to someone for life.  To have that... To have them in his head.  It scared him and thrilled him to never have to explain himself to him again.  It made him anxious and happy all at the same time and for Nox that was such a strange thing to behold.  But there was fear and anxiety and ...

 

Nox spoke but never moved from Merdyn's neck, his voice caressing his lovers skin.  "I think.  I'd like that, but I think you need to see more of me outside that facade."  Nox pulled away reluctant to be away from the comforting scent strong in his nostrils.  It was safe and it was what he wanted.  "The answer is yes.  But not now. Tomorrow or the next day I'm going to be freaking about about you, in my space, in my life.  Everywhere.  Not because I'm upset you are here, but because it's new.  It's different.  And when that's done.  We can talk about more.  Slowly, we have to do this slowly.  If you throw it all at me I could break and you won't be able to pull me out."

 

He knew it was a lot.  He was a lot.  this was a lot.  Nox looked at Merdyn and gave him a half smile.  "I don't want to say those three little words back.  I don't know what it means.  I care for you.  I want you here.  I find safety in your arms, in your voice, in your scent.  I find comfort with you.  I think I find home with you.  Wherever you are, I can be home, but it's new.  I'm afraid.  Being close isn't something I'm good at."

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                Merdyn felt his heart racing. He didn’t mean to say any of that at all. Not yet, at least. He was terrified that he had ruined everything. Nox was delicate. Merdyn had promised himself to be careful when handling his lover, but he was so comfortable laying there with Nox; his mouth just ran away on him. He made another promise to not do that again.

 

                But then, Nox didn’t push away or retreat inside of himself. Instead, he seemed receptive to the idea. Merdyn’s felt gooseflesh rise across his entire body once more as the other man buried his face in Merdyn’s neck.

 

                “I understand, Nox. I didn’t mean to… I mean, I did, but…” Merdyn sighed and relaxed a little, finding the right words, “It was just a thought that I didn’t mean to voice quite yet. I did mean it though. You’re mine now, I don’t want to lose you so quickly. Light… I can be patient. And if you think I’m moving too fast, feel free to tell me to stop. I’m just so happy, Nox. It’s hard to restrain myself, especially with you there looking so delicious…”

 

                All of that was true. Merdyn had let go of his hurts and wounds leftover from Kyllian. Still. He couldn’t help but be worried that something might happen or someone might come along and take Nox from Merdyn. He couldn’t handle that. Not a second heartbreak.

 

                Merdyn looked into Nox’s deep brown eyes and went on, “I can wait. And yes, I agree. It was stupid that I said it so quickly. I’m just so excited, but you’re right, let’s ease into that. Just know that you only have the say the word and I am your Warder.” He kissed him deeply then.

 

                “I’ll show more restraint. I don’t ever want to overwhelm you, love. Ever. I wouldn’t be a very good rock if I did that, now would I?” Merdyn pulled Nox back into another embrace, “You don’t have to say it… I didn’t mean to say that so quickly either. I was worried for a moment that I had just scared you away. You don’t ever have to say it to me if you don’t want to, but I meant those words too. What you just said sounds a lot like love, though. We can figure it out together. I hear Channelers live a very long time, so there’s no rush…”

 

                Despite what he said, Nox was very good at being close. He just didn’t know it yet.

Edited by Oddpositions

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