It's been a while since I dusted of Demon, but I couldn't leave our boys dissolving in fire any longer.
Panic grips me. What have I done? It seemed so simple, vital. Walk into the flames. Take Tian with me. Together. What a fool. And now we burn.
My heartbeat slows and it sinks in to my terrified mind that I am not, in fact, burning, and neither is Tian. I reach for his hand, but realize I no longer have hands. Neither does he. We are no longer Castien and Tian. We are nothing. We are no one. We are one.
For what seems like an age, I float, bodiless. I am safer than I have ever been, calmer, stronger. Peace surrounds me and I surrender willingly, allowing my consciousness to float away, to become one with the flame.
“Castien.” The voice startles me into opening my eyes. Wait. I have eyes. I see nothing but flickering orange and yellow flame, although it seems almost as if I am floating in liquid, not fire.
“Soon. For now, you must listen. When you leave the flames, you will be forever changed. You will no longer be Castien, prince of The Kingdom, subject to the rules and limitations of earthly alliances. There is no rule of creation that applies to you now.” The voice chuckles. “Not even the very rules of creation itself. None such as you have ever lived before, or will again.”
“What of Tian?” For all her talk of freedom from rules, the only think my numbed mind can really hold on to is my love; my Tian. “Where is he?”
“I am here.”
If I had a body I would have been close to fainting with relief. “Will Tian be like me?”
“Tian will be you, and you him, twin stars burning in a night that will only get darker before dawn.”
“I don’t understand.” The voice was mine and not mine. Untouched by larynx or fuelled by air, the words float away – mine and his. Is this what she meant? Are we one entity now? Forever combined? Alone?
“Never.” Tian’s caress is fleeting and false, but a salve to my fluttering spirit nevertheless. I am still as prone to fear as I ever was; still a coward. “Never,” Tian whispers again and the fear dissolves.
“Listen, for our time is short. The power involved in holding you here is enormous and not inexhaustible. There is little I can tell you of what will transpire when you leave the flames; of what you have become, or will become. I cannot teach you. You must learn yourselves. All I can say is that anything is possible if you believe it is possible and you work together. Do not let yourselves be controlled by anyone for no one has power over you now. Trust. Believe. Learn. The time will come when your lands will be consumed by darkness and you will be the only light. Keep faith. You have nothing to fear.”
“I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
Silence engulfs me and I know the voice has gone. I am filled with questions, as confused as I ever was. The perfect clarity that was afforded me while I was one with the flame has clouded and I am sure of nothing, save that I am whole again. I have a body, and my hand clasps the warm flesh of another. I turn to Tian and his smile is brighter than any flame could be.
“I thought I’d lost you,” he murmurs.
“I thought I’d become you,” I say with a smile. “I was afraid I wouldn’t like you half so well without strong arms to hold me, warm lips to kiss me and your beautiful smile to remind me what’s important in my life.”
“And what is that?” Tian asks as he takes me in his arms, his breath ghosting against the over-sensitized skin of my shoulder.
“You,” I breathe, turning my head to rest my cheek against his honey-coloured skin. He kisses the top of my head and makes me shiver. I realize that my entire body is on fire with sensation. Every touch, every breath is bliss and torment. When Tian runs his hands over my back I whimper into his shoulder.
“I know,” he says. “It’s…wonderful.”
“I don’t believe I like it. It’s…too much.”
“Ssh. Relax. Remember how it felt to be bodiless. Surrender to me.”
I try my best to do as he says and the sensations sharpen and focus. Fire surrounds us, but it’s nothing compared to the flames that burn within me. I can’t bear the ecstasy and cry out. Tian pulled me close and kisses me, his mouth swallowing my cries. I respond greedily, and although part of my mind tells me it is time to go, that such things can wait, I am helpless in his arms, needing this moment, this closeness.
When’s Tian’s caresses become more intimate, I match them with my own. We drink eagerly of each other’s breath, our moans, our cries, while our hands explore bodies that are achingly familiar, yet somehow subtly different; new.
Tian releases my mouth, his kisses trailing down my throat to my shoulder. The skin is still as sensitive as it was before but it’s bearable now. No, not bearable, wonderful, amazing, incredible, breathtaking. Oh Gods.
For a time, the ability to think coherent thoughts deserts me. Still floating in fire, Tian kisses every part of me while my mind teeters on the brink of consciousness, of sanity. When I can bear it no longer, I break away and return the favour. Tian is quickly reduced to a whimpering, shaking mess, his penis painfully hard and leaking. Mine, too, stands hard and throbbing before me and I know that if I rub it against him one more time I will lose control, and I don’t want that.
“Take me,” I gasp. “Here. Now. Take me and complete the bonding.”
“The bonding was complete long ago.”