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Bad Form: Sapien Saga. *COMPLETE* +Epilogue


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So, I had posted out in the main Obs/Stories/Art area how I was looking for some inspiration.  I had a list of story ideas I've been jotting down as I am out and about in the world, but hadn't started any of them.  I asked if people wanted to contribute a line or two to help kick off a story. 

I've gotten some GREAT replies!  :thumbup:  Started several new stories from that thread.   

My prompt was "wild man / shifter / vampire is caged and sick."   Got this first bit from @Juto and here's the result!  :razz:  

--- --- ---

Bad Form

Part 1 - Sight

One thing you could say about Draven Phoenix was that he never showed even a shadow of empathy for any of the monsters people paid him good money to capture or kill.  

He was a top-class Hunter: forged in the field with a magma-blackened soul that matched his obsidian eyes.  He had been bitten, scratched, and mutilated within an inch of his life, but his genetically-enhanced regenerative powers and finely honed predatory patience always got him his prey.  An icy chunk of frozen rage toward all non-human sapiens sat in his chest where his heart used to be, cold hatred toward unnatural creatures like the vampires that had killed his mother and sister.  They were all ungodly abominations that brought only madness and misery to countless numbers of innocent people. They all deserved to die.

Draven never spared them even a flicker of mercy.

And yet…

Something about the ripples of delicate shivers that flowed like ringlets over his newly-caged shapeshifter had him oddly transfixed.  He’d yet to discover the shifter’s true form, but the way the changing lines and curving angles continued to stutter and spasm told him the creature was fighting against a change, and probably couldn’t hold out for long.  

They made him unable to look away.

The shape it had chosen was tall, elongated, with an almost-elven slenderness and androgynous features.  Willowy shoulders and neck, delicately curved hips, but with chiseled chest and muscular legs.  It didn’t seem very old - somewhere between 25 and 30 if he had to guess - but you never knew with shifters.  That was kind of the whole point.

But Draven knew enough about the species to know how their bodies moved at each stage of life.  The more a shifter changed, the more of a toll it took on the body. Older shifters remained in the same form for months at a time because of the strain it took to change.  They moved more carefully, almost arthritic.

This one was young enough to still move fluidly, if a little bit sluggish.  It looked tired, wan.  Sick.

Are you going to let me out, or do I have to kill you? It chittered in his mind, sibilant yet silken.  

So not only a shifter, but a telepath as well.  Damn.  He hated telepaths…

Settling his weight back on one leg, Draven crossed thick arms over his broad chest, feeling the pull of some healing cuts on one muscular bicep.  He narrowed his black gaze, watching as another shiver crested over the silvery skin like a wave.  The creature must be cold. 

To have a combination of two mutated abilities was extremely rare.  Some species had innate characteristics like the vampires’ compulsion or werewolves’ speed and strength.  But telepathy was scarce across every branch of the sapien tree. Draven toyed idly with the amulet on the leather cord around his neck that protected him from compulsion and any kind of mental manipulation.  The shifter would be able to talk to him, but not able to take over his mind and force him to unlock the cage.

Or shoot himself.


His eyes snapped back to the creature, black gaze razor sharp and unflinching.  It glared back at him, eyes a vibrant blue, but upon closer inspection seemed a little swollen and red-rimmed.  And fluttering.

“Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... ehhh-jddsh!  ahhjZZddsh’ht!”

Draven froze, shock rippling through him from head to toe.  Because of the telepathic connection, he had felt the pressure-gasp-release-misery from each tightly contained sneeze, the desperation followed by split-second relief.   The silvery form had flickered with each wretched sneeze that wrecked the shifter's frame, threatening to make the false form disappear.

It had been so long since Draven had felt anything like it... anything at all, really.

When finished, the shifter raised one long-fingered hand to saw back and forth across the center of its face.  There wasn’t a nose per-se, but a darker flush to the area suggested that whatever would be there on its birth-form was rubbed raw.

“Something bothering you?” Draven rasped, the question hanging in the air before he could stop himself.  He swallowed hard down a suddenly dry throat.

It opened its mouth as if to answer audibly, but at the last second turned to one side, its face snapping into cupped hands.

“Ah!-  tdsschht!-tdjsscchh!... ehh?-- hih’JDRrsscht! -oo”  Once again, each wet sneeze produced echo-sensations through Draven's body, causing him to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from showing any reaction.

“Bless you.”

Draven didn’t know why he said that.  He didn’t think he’d ever strung those two words together in his life.  

“Fugk you,” the sharp response was horribly congested, far too much so to determine a gender. Unlike the sibilant voice in his mind, the creature’s physical voice was rough and croaky, grating out from behind the long palm that was swiping desperately upwards.  Draven thought he could see the red tip of a painfully chapped nose peeking from under the silvery hand, more evidence that the shifter was about to completely lose it. Wet, chesty coughs punched up from its chest.

“Sounds like a bad cold,” Draven mused, wanting to hear that wrecked voice again.

“Whad do you cgare?” it barked, knuckles pressed urgently to its twitching face.

That long-fingered hand went back to sawing at the center.  The rubbing turned to harsh scrubbing, punctuated with frustrated sniffles.  Those blue-blue eyes went distant, the ripples continuing to pulse along the length of its frame as its breath hitched and scissored dangerously.

Draven stared, unabashed.  He was sure there were only seconds before the shifter would lose control of the glamour, reverting helplessly to its birth form as its body went haywire.

“Ehh... hhh…” it panted, eyes rolling under heavy lids, casting about frantically as if looking for something - anything - to catch the oncoming sneeze.

“Need something?” Draven drawled, thinking about the black bandana he always kept tucked into his back pocket for emergencies.  Usually those ‘emergencies’ were along the lines of sopping up blood, but Draven didn’t think the shifter was going to quibble about technicalities.

Most shifters didn’t bother wearing clothes.  They could make their body look like clothes if they wanted, so unless it was raining or snowing there wasn’t a reason to be encumbered by unnecessary items that might clash with whatever change they needed to make in a hurry.  But that meant that this particular captive had no sleeves or collar or anything to deal with what looked like was quickly becoming a messy situation.

Draven waited.

The ripples skittering across the silver skin started coming faster, the panting breaths echoing against the stone walls.  The hunter could tell that the shifter was desperately fighting against it… and just as desperately losing.

“N’y’ niehh… hihihihiHH!HHhhhuuuh… huhng… ehhehhehh??... hyehhhuh… heh-heh-HEH!...”

The gasps of air began climbing in pitch, twirling and careening to a devastating height.  Draven felt all the muscles in his body clench tighter and tighter with each wavering inhale, waves of defied urgency thrumming along the telepathic link and sending heat scorching through every nerve ending he had.

Finally, the creature surrendered.  


Its entire being folded in on itself, silver skin melting away to reveal the true form beneath.  Draven had been right about the age: late twenties, human in appearance. It probably had human parents; shifters were often a product of mutation.  Draven would guess that it once claimed the gender of male based on the loose boxer shorts and flat pectoral muscles, although it was a delicate one. Shorter than Draven by over a head, the once-silver skin was now a light tan, dark brown hair curling wildly over its forehead and around the shells of its ears.

The one true thing was that its eyes were still vibrantly blue, now shining with irritated tears as it continued to sneeze.

“Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... Ah!-  tdsschht!-tdjsscchh!... ehh?-- hih’JDRrsscht! -oo- ehhjddsh!  ahhjZZddsh’ht!... heHH-DJSsshhtt’oo! … ahkksht-kssht-shhht!... kshhtT!... eh-HEH-gkk’ZZZDjjsshhiiooo...”

Oh, this creature had such a cold!  Defined collarbones tented the smooth skin as it hunched again and again, hard abs rippling with each crunch.  There was indeed a nose in the center of its face: a good-sized, squarish one with large, painfully crimson nostrils that widened into perfectly round o’s as they flared with need.  It was trying to hold back, working its face frantically between reluctant eruptions. Those red-rimmed azure eyes squinted and blinked, scarlet nostrils flaring restlessly, trying to sniffle, clearly unrelieved despite the repeated outbursts.  It kept its hands cupped together a few inches from its face, misting them continuously with thick spray as its expression opened and crumpled and opened again and again.

Draven couldn’t help it: he stared, mouth dry, hands clenched into fists, skin stretched over muscles strung tighter than a drum.  Every inch of him was rock hard, completely transfixed.

Finally, there was a pause.  The shifter’s face slowly tilted back, eyes closed, nostrils still flared round as manhole covers.   The rims of them shivered like its skin had done when it was fighting not to change, the dark caverns glimmering with heavy moisture threatening to be expelled. Its lips were parted, tongue hovering delicately, chin quivering.   One fat, glistening tear squeezed out between shining lashes to drip down the flushed cheek. 

 It curled a drenched hand into a fist, pressing hard to the damp skin beneath its nose trying to quell the lingering itch.  The cherry red wings of its nostrils wrinkled despite the firm pressure, brow furrowed in an uncomfortable wince.

The shifter’s shoulders started to relax, its watery eyes fluttering open to reveal bleary cerulean slits.  It almost began to sigh with relief.

Then, those eyes flashed with a dawning realization of helplessness, of panic…

“HIEH!--hk’GYEITSSSCHHT-’yiEh-huh!-GDJTSSCHHttt!!  -oh...”

One hand clapped to its nose and mouth after that last wrenching double, teary blue eyes peeking over the rim of its thumb.  Slim shoulders shook with more coughs, then bounced repeatedly with congested sniffles as it attempted to contain the aftermath.  

Draven could have cried.  He felt something...  The ferocious, thoroughly relieved sneezes had quaked along the telepathic link, causing Draven to nearly fall to his knees with crippling pleasure.  It had been so long since he had felt anything so good...  Heat roiled up from his belly to curl warm and soft in his chest, causing an ache he couldn’t rub away.  Watching the smaller, seemingly-human young creature so desperately helpless, so in need…

Draven wanted. For the first time in years, he craved so keenly and so achingly he thought he might rip those bars apart with his bare hands to get to the thing he desired.

But the damndest part was… he had no idea exactly what it was he wanted so desperately.  

Moving slowly, like a panther approaching its prey, breathing shallow as he maintained the barest fingernail-grip on his self-control, Draven glided up to the iron bars.  The shifter watched his every move, blinking through damp, wary eyes.

Slowly… Draven drew the bandana from his back pocket.  The shifter’s gaze flicked to it briefly before piercing Draven’s once more.  The hunter had seen the quick flash of longing when the creature had recognized what it was, but clearly didn’t trust Draven any more than he trusted it.

What kind of game are you playing? 

The silken voice threaded through his mind, but the hunter didn't even blink.  Keeping his black eyes locked on shimmering blue, Draven extended his muscular arm through the bars.


The shifter only hesitated a fraction of a second, calculating, before snatching the proffered cloth and taking a step back.  Moving so fast it made Draven flinch.

Draven never flinched.

Tucking the now-visible and thoroughly abused nose into the soft, over-washed fabric, it curled its shoulders with several gurgling, drenchingly wet blows.  It half turned away, and the hunter could see its slim body still trembling slightly with small shivers as it attempted to relieve its body of the suffocating congestion.  

Draven's mind lit up with a random flash of an image: this young shifter wrapped shoulder-to-toe in a large, warm blanket, held securely in Draven’s thick, muscular arms…

And sneezing.

Where in the fuck-all fires of hell did THAT come from?!

Because of the telepathic link, the hunter couldn't be sure which of them had produced the fantasy.  Draven punched the bars, growling and baring his teeth.  Anger was always his first line of defense.

The shifter spun and fell backward, landing on its arse, catching itself with both hands.  One hand canted behind still held the makeshift-hanky, exposing the raw, inflamed center of its cold-ridden face.  The slim chest heaved, eyes wary but still defiant.  It was sexy as hell.

Which just made Draven even more angry.

He was supposed to deliver the heart of this particular shifter to his client tomorrow afternoon.  Shifter’s hearts were blue - as blue as this one's eyes - and the only real proof that a shifter had indeed been killed.  It was understandably hard to track a particular shifter: he’d been after this one for nearly six weeks.  

But now that he had it… he wasn’t sure he could do it.

He wasn’t sure of anything anymore...

Edited by starpollen
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Your writing is so beautiful and elegant! Your world building is excellent and is put in at just the right moment to keep the story smoothe. You explain enough just to go along with what’s happening to the point that it matches with his thoughts at the time. Your descriptions are drool-worthy and I’m right in the room with them and seeing it tremble trying to hold back his true form. I love how you....let me just give an example. When you say chitter instead of spoke.  Making choices like that makes me shiver because I can just imagine a thousands centipedes with all their legs chittering down my back instead of wind from a whisper. I loved how Draven could feel it’s sneezes and his reaction to them. And It’s so interesting that either could have had that thought with the blanket. 

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Oh my gosh Star!!

First of all, I'm still amazed at your writing speed :lol: with just the small prompt you were able to build the world, establish characters, skills, and make traits and goals ten times deeper than I had imagined when I wrote the prompt. :notworthy: 

Second, I love how you make the story flow so smoothly, like Reader said, your choice of words and your phrases make the text come alive and the way you present significant details at just the right moment makes the story feel a lot more whole and well put together. 

If I didn't know better I'd say you'd been working on this for way longer :lol: 

Third, your sneeze descriptions and build ups are to die for. :drool: and he fact that you were able to describe sickness on a being without any visible give-aways like a nose is even more amazing. 

BUT THIS!!!!! 

16 hours ago, starpollen said:

Draven's mind lit up with a random flash of an image: this young shifter wrapped shoulder-to-toe in a large, warm blanket, held securely in Draven’s thick, muscular arms…

And sneezing.

Where in the fuck-all fires of hell did THAT come from?!

Because of the telepathic link, the hunter couldn't be sure which of them had produced the fantasy.  Draven punched the bars, growling and baring his teeth.  Anger was always his first line of defense.

This was a great spin on their telepathic link and one I SINCERELY hope you intend to explore a lot more. I believe it could lead to some very interesting and mind blowing scenarios :yes: 

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Oh wow :drool:

I love how the shifter struggles to keep his other form and ultimately fails due to his illness. And how Draven's feelings about the shifter (and his sneezes) change throughout the fic even though he tries to hold on to his initial hate for any non-human sapiens. Also, just that expression "non-human sapiens" opens up a whole lot of possibilities to build on this world and fic. I find myself wondering where the line is drawn to make something (someone) non-human since Draven also has regenerative powers and black eyes. This is great as a one-shot, but there are so many possibilities to make it into a longer story. I would love for you to explore this world more!

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It's seeming to become rare that I'm surprised by how interesting a story is, but here we are! I had no idea your story would be this good. I would love for you to continue!

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You...I...GAHHHH. This is amazing... Excuse me while I read this for a third time... :blush:  

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I'm so glad you guys like this!  :D  These kinds of fics are my favorite to write, because you literally get to make up all the rules as you go along.  I love that kind of freedom!  @PennyLane I'm especially happy to see your reply - thank you so much!  I hope I continue to deliver with this next part... 


Part 2 - Sound

One Year Later…

The door banged open and Draven exploded into the apartment with violently muttered curses.  He began removing and tossing various weapons onto the battered old table, exhibiting a rare recklessness suffused with barely-contained rage.

It was supposed to have been a standard, run-of-the-mill stab-and-grab: some Frankenstein wanna-be had set up shop in the meatpacking district (talk about cliché) and happened to have chosen to dig up the mayor’s son who’d been killed last week in a drunk driving accident.  Draven had been hired to ‘86’ the nut-job and snatch the corpse, which should have been a walk in the park.

Until the nest of vampires that happened to be squatting in the warehouse’s cellar got a whiff of said nut-job’s newly-ventilated chest.

“Fucking vampire…” a crossbow clunked “piece of shit...” throwing stars clinked “mother-fucking…” AK thwacked “cunt-scum!...” K bar hit the table with a loud clatter.


Draven froze, hands stilling halfway through the jerky motion of removing the half-empty bandolier.  Fuck.  He’d completely forgotten.

“Yeah,” he rumbled, turning his head but otherwise still.

“...tibe ‘zit?”

Draven’s voice was low, flat. “It’s late,” still inwardly cursing himself for his carelessness. “Go back to sleep.”

A rustling of fabric whispered through the air from the adjoining bedroom, and Draven heaved a frustrated sigh.  Of course the little shit wouldn’t do as it was told. Never-fucking-had, never-fucking-will...

Sure enough, a second later Alyc appeared in the doorway, rubbing boyishly at its eyes and sagging against the frame for support.  The brown curls were sweat-matted and pillow-mussed, crimson nostrils practically glowing in the center of a milk-pale face. “Y’said... wouldd’t be bagk ‘till bordig.”  Draven winced, and not just at the ruined, threadbare voice.

Yes, he had said that.  Right after dosing Alyc with a hefty cap of nighttime cold & flu syrup - one of the few medications they’d found that kind of worked - tucking the shivery body into their bed and murmuring that the sick shifter would have all night to sleep completely uninterrupted.  

Fucking vampires...

Alyc stopped rubbing and blinked at Draven.  Those usually piercing sapphire-blue eyes were bleary and bloodshot from fitful half-sleep.  The young shifter had come down with a nasty cold - almost an exact copy of the one it’d had the first day they’d met - and hadn’t been able to sleep for days.

One thing Draven hadn’t known about shifters was that the reason they were able to go without clothes so much was because they could regulate their own body temperature at will.  Unless they were sick.

If sick or hurt, their internal thermometers went haywire, experiencing frightening phases of dysautonomia.  That, ultimately, had been one of the reasons Draven had ended up not turning Alyc over to the client who’d wanted it dead.  The poor kid had been a complete mess: teeth chattering one minute, dripping with sweat the next. Between that and the paroxysms of sneezing that kept skittering pulses down the telepathic link and driving the hunter to distraction… Draven had ended up breaking every single one of his own rules.  

  1. Don’t touch them unless you are maiming or killing them.

  2. Don’t speak to them unless you are threatening their life.

  3. Don’t think of them as people.

  4. Don’t let them think you are weak.

  5. Don’t - for one second - give a damn about what happens to them.

“Did you get any sleep?” the hunter asked, finishing the movement with the bandolier and setting it on the table very gently.  

Glancing over, he saw the slim shoulder give a weary shrug.  Which meant, Yes, I was sleeping and then you woke me up, but I don’t want you to feel bad so I’m not going to tell you.

Blowing a harsh breath out his nose, Draven swallowed the curse he wanted to utter.  

Rule number 3 had been the first to go, as soon as the shifter had lost control of its glamour in the cage with that crippling sneezing fit.   Once Draven had seen its birth form - that slight figure, those brown curls - he’d been unable to see it as anything else.  

He finished de-weaponizing himself and peeled out of his blood-streaked leather jacket and ruined T-shirt.  He’d taken a few hits during the melee, mostly minor cuts that healed within seconds, but one of the fanged fuckers had managed to stab him deeply in his left side.  He knew instinctively that it hadn’t hit any major organs, but it would take a couple of hours to fully close.

“You’re... *sdrff*... bleedig.”

The older man bent and began to organize the jumble of weapons. “Occupational hazard.”

“The bad sciedtist did thad?”  Alyc’s tattered voice was dubious.  The young shifter knew Draven’s skills first-hand, knew that some pathetic zombie-loving poser would never have been able to touch him.  And knowing that Alyc knew that... knew him so well, believed so profoundly in his strength and abilities and skill…  made one side of Draven’s mouth curve in a half-smile, a warm feeling curling in his chest and purring like a kitten.  


“Whad thed?  You stab yourself by accidedt?”

“Funny,” he muttered, the half-smile sinking into a scowl.  “Vampires.”

“Oh.”  Alyc knew how Draven felt about vampires, and wisely didn’t offer any smart-ass remark. “*sdrff… sdff-sdrfflllll... *

“Blow your nose, kid.”

Draven wasn’t looking, but he heard the congested, frustrated sigh and knew the shifter was rolling its mountain-lake eyes at his back.  “Id’ll jusd bake be sdeeze bore,” the creature grumbled.

“Better out than in,” Draven’s black gaze scrutinized the crossbow: he’d nicked the handle when he’d flung it.  Damn.

Well, that’s what you get for having a pissy-fit…

Behind him, he heard Alyc sigh again, dissolving into a long fit of croupy, rattling coughs that made Draven’s brow furrow with worry.  When the kid got sick, it got it bad. The mucus in the slim chest sounded heavy, suffocating, clearly resisting the violent attempts made to eject it from thickly clogged passages.  

Finally the ugly coughs stuttered to a puttering stop and the hunter’s ears picked up the soft whisk of two tissues being plucked from the box on the coffee table.  The shifter drew a long, wheezy inhale, then unleashed a gurgling cascade of torrential congestion.

Ugh…” the creature groaned in between muculent blows, vigorously scrubbing at irritated nostrils and producing wet, squelching sounds.  “I jusd wadt this to stobp…”

The older man’s black eyes closed, head bowed.  “I know.”

All his life, Draven had been a ‘fixer.’  His brain craved the direct connection between problem and solution: Werewolf? Shoot it. Vampire? Stake it. Witch? Burn it. But when Alyc got sick there wasn’t a goddamned thing Draven could do about it.   This illness wasn’t a creature he could annihilate with his bare hands, and pretty much every medicinal weapon at his disposal was worthless.  

His gut burned; he couldn’t fix this.  

Suddenly, smaller hands slipped around his waist, a shorter shivering body pressed against him from behind, sweaty head coming to rest between his shoulder blades.  

“Wish I could have cobe,” hot breath ghosted over bare skin. “I could have shifted idto a gorgod ad turded theb all to stode or sobethig…”

“You can’t shift into a gorgon,” Draven rumbled, settling one warm hand over both of the two cold ones clasped loosely together on his stomach.

*sdrff*  I cad try… *ssdrfflll*”

In the past year, Draven had seen Alyc shift into some pretty incredible forms, so he knew the kid would try it the second it felt well enough.  Draven noticed that Alyc tended to take on forms that were larger than its natural birth shape: something about not liking to appear weak and vulnerable, which Draven understood all too well.  A year ago, the stubborn shit had actually tried to take another form shortly after Draven gave it the bandana, tried to shift into a massive, hulking half-dragon-type thing in an attempt to bust out of the cage.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you looked at it) it hadn’t been able to hold onto that form for more than a couple of seconds before it started sneezing again.


A Year Ago…

The shifter lay on its arse, hands canted behind, defiant expression daring Draven to come through the bars.   Its face was pale, blue eyes piercing, swollen nose practically phosphorescent.  

Still, it hauled itself up and the human-like skin began to ripple, limbs elongating and surface darkening to scaly black.  Its neck stretched, eyes morphing from round to oval, the pupil in the center flowing vertical and cat-like.  The color didn't change, though - stayed vividly summer-sky - and Draven wondered if this particular shifter wasn't able to change the color of its eyes, if he would always know it by those stunning azure pools.  Its chest began to expand, body growing to form something large and dangerous... 

But halfway into the change, it froze.  Face screwed up, nose buckling, forehead creased with desperation...

"ahhjZZddsh’ht!”  The sneeze snapped the shifter back to its birth-form with the violence of a mousetrap, causing it to stagger to one side and collapse, legs folding underneath it like a paper fan.  "Hihh!--..." it managed to lurch to a sitting position, violently spasming into the bandana with the rest. "...hyieESSHHt!-HEhhsshtt!-hiYEIISSHHtt!..."   Eyes flickered beneath bruised lids, tears of irritation sparkling in its lashes.  Its fingers pressed achingly against the fabric, drilling it to the sides of raw nostrils. "Hiih-Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... iihh-IHhihIIH!-- "  Harsh breath cartwheeled out of pitch, features kneading and pinched.  "hyie'GZDjjTSCHiiooo!!" the sound was many-layered, sodden with moisture, but finally brought relief.  Draven could feel it shimmering along the link, a rippling flutter like the caress of a thousand fingers down his spine.  The hunter shuddered, flush with desire.

Rule 2 vanished.  

"How old are you?"

The shifter glanced at him, eyes glassy, and ignored the question.  It took the bandana away from its throbbingly inflamed nose and began turning it around in its hands, studying it, looking for any dry spot that remained.   There wasn't one. 

“I’m guessing 25, 26...” Draven mused, satisfied when the creature glared at him with a petulant annoyance that confirmed his guess. “How long you had this cold?”

The shifter coughed, an ugly sound like wet fabric being torn in half.  "*sdrff… sdff-sdrfflllll*  Whuhh… why?-- Azure eyes narrowed, florid nostrils beginning to stretch into familiar o’s.  It rolled those mountain-lake eyes, an expression of resigned dread painting its deceptively-human features. It whipped the bandana to its face to smother the ticklish sneezes. “ehh?-- hih’JDRrsschmpt!  td’scchhmp-dj’ssshhmt... HEzzjdrrrsssh’oooMPt'huh… ugh...”  A vague thread of discomfort, of need, was vibrating along the telepathic link, causing Draven’s extremities to tingle.

“Just curious.”

Uhbhh’hhuh…” the shifter’s eyelids were fluttering, both hands holding the ruined bandana around its nose and scrubbing hard at the lingering tickle.  “*sdrff*I guehh… guess sidceuhh-hH!--... uhb, sihhhyieh… *cough-cough-cough*... sidce last weegk...”  The creature slowly hauled itself to its feet, rubbing its chest as if it ached.

“Can you take anything for it?”

Dragging the damp cloth upwards like it was trying to shave its nose off, the shifter gave in to another hard shiver and glared through the bars.  “Dnothig worgks. Happy dow?”

No, it did not make Draven happy, actually.  And that was part of his problem.

Draven knew that for most sapiens, human medicine was pretty much useless.  However, as more shivers began to cascade across the shifter's deceptively-human skin, teeth chattering audibly, the hunter found himself wishing it wasn’t.  The poor creature looked… breakable. It started trembling violently, convulsing, suddenly too cold to do anything but shake…


And sneeze…

The shifter stumbled until its back was against the far wall, slowly sliding down to sit with its knees up to its chest, making itself smaller to conserve heat.  Its breath continued to huff and pant and hitch as it shook, those mountain-lake eyes squinting and blinking, scarlet nostrils flaring restlessly.  Despite being thoroughly clogged, it kept trying to sniffle back the flood.  The shifter's head drifted back to rest against the wall, tucking its nose into the bandanna and massaging intently. The fit was winding down, but the tickle seemed to be refusing to withdraw without one helluva fight.

“N’y’ niehh… Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... ...  ... huhng… ... ehhehhehh??... ... ahhjZZddsh’ht!... hyehhhuh… ... heh-heh-HEH!.. ... . ehhh-jddsht! …”

Between each tired sneeze those vibrant blue eyes would sliver open, checking to see if Draven was still there, still watching.  Then they’d clench tight with a wet explosion, the slim shoulders jerking hard, then open again.

Draven stayed.  Draven watched.

When the fit finally stopped, the sick creature balled the cloth up in one fist and crossed its arms over its knees, laying its head down with a low, miserable moan.  

He felt Rule 5 begin to disintegrate.

“What’s your name?”

...why?... The sibilant voice was barely a whisper in his head.

“Don’t do that,” he snapped.  He suddenly and intensely hated the sound of that voice in his mind. 

Talking hurts.

A long pause.  So long that Draven almost gave up.   Then...

"...Alyc.  By d-dabe is... Alyc." 

And there it was.  The creature was curled on the floor, shaking so hard the hunter was sure he could hear its bones clacking together, sniffling miserably.  And Draven’s hands were reaching for the lock.


A Year Later...

“*sdff*… Ehh... hhh…” Alyc pressed a twitching face into Draven’s back and began moving it from side to side, using the taller man’s ripped muscles to rub at its damp, itchy nose. “*sdrff*… hyehh!-- *sdrfllflflfl*… gyheihhhh!...”


“Ah!-  AH--tdsschht!-tdjsscchh!...” Alyc turned at the last second, aiming off to one side.  The older man felt the shifter’s arms convulse with each wet sneeze, a light kiss of spray misting his tricep. “ehh?-- h’KShht-kshht-ehhKGshht!... hyieh… hih’JZDrsscht! -ooughh… how’d you dow? *sdrff*   I hadd’t sdeezed yed.  I bight have *sdfl* held id off.

Draven set the crossbow down and turned, wrapping both arms around the smaller being’s shivering shoulders.  Tucking the sweat-slick face into his chest, he rested his chin on top of the grimy, matted curls.  “You couldn’t. I always know.”

Alyc burrowed close, as if trying to climb inside Draven’s skin for warmth, jerking repeatedly with convulsive, wet sniffles as the fluid threatened to overspill chapped rims of aching nostrils.  

“Still cold?”

A soft grunt, a hard shiver. "*sdff-sdrfflllll* "

“Come on, then," a quick kiss pressed to the top of a fevered head. "We both could use a hot shower.”

Edited by starpollen
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On 4/20/2018 at 3:29 AM, starpollen said:

how’d you dow? *sdrff*   I hadd’t sdeezed yed.  I bight have *sdfl* held id off.

Draven set the crossbow down and turned, wrapping both arms around the smaller being’s shivering shoulders.  Tucking the sweat-slick face into his chest, he rested his chin on top of the grimy, matted curls.  “You couldn’t. I always know.”

Awww this made me melt! Great continuation!

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On 20-4-2018 at 10:29 AM, starpollen said:

These kinds of fics are my favorite to write, because you literally get to make up all the rules as you go along.  I love that kind of freedom!

These kinds of fics are my favourite to read too since you can never be quite sure what will happen. I love stories set in worlds similar to our own but that don't follow the same rules. 

The name Alyc is beautiful! This story is beautiful! I want so much more of this world and this couple. I'm left with so many questions that I would love to find out the answers to :heart:

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On 20/4/2018 at 10:29 AM, starpollen said:

hyie'GZDjjTSCHiiooo!!" the sound was many-layered, sodden with moisture, but finally brought relief.  Draven could feel it shimmering along the link, a rippling flutter like the caress of a thousand fingers down his spine.  The hunter shuddered, flush with desire.

I am absolutely loving this telepathic link they have!! thanks for adding more to that. 

Also, Alyc's such a sweetie with its childlike stubbornness when wanting to protect Draven with its shifting!! 

Edited by Juto
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Part 3 - Smell

18 months


Look out!

Draven ducked without question, and Alyc’s dragon-form roiled fire through the air where his head had just been.  He smelled the acrid smoke, the hair on his arms singed.

The hunter spun and fired, the crossbow bolt slamming into the werewolf’s chest with a hard ‘thunk.’  The creature sucked a startled yelp, its long fangs bared, claws curled into fists as it dropped. But the rest of the pack was still coming, one or two pausing to glance at their fallen brother (sister?) before bounding forward.

Alyc spread its midnight wings, whipping the long serpentine tail and catching a furry body with the barbed point.  This magnificent form was as tall as the trees, its scaly hide nearly impenetrable.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for its arched nostrils.

“ehg-KSHttt!” A jet of flame accompanied the itchy outburst.

“Not now!” Draven roared, whipping a long knife from his belt and sinking it into the large ‘were that was currently trying to bite his arm off.  The creature’s dense weight twitched and writhed before going still in death. The man shoved it off him, catching the musty odor of wet dog as he drew another arrow from the quiver at his back and jammed it into the crossbow shaft. 

I’m not doing it on purpose.

The shifter curved its long neck, turning vertical pupils toward a pair of ‘weres that leapt at Draven’s back.  Its massive jaws descended, teeth snapping through one’s neck with a loud crunch while its claws batted the other away before either could touch the hunter.

"Hyieh-... ehkksht-kshht-shht!... "

Three fireballs caught another ‘were in its gaping maw, knocking it back before Draven could even pull the trigger.

“Stop getting your face so close to them!”  Having Alyc sneezing through the telepathic link was not a distraction either of them could afford right now.

Most people just say ‘thank-you.'

“Fucking stubborn…” Draven dropped the crossbow and pulled the glock from his shoulder holster.  “... little shit…” Firing rapidly, he took out three more with silver-tipped bullets. “...shifter…”  The whole clearing now smelled strongly of dirty, dusty dog.  

I love you, too.

The leader of the pack had stayed on top of the ridge, its inhuman eyes surveying the massacre below.  That werewolf was bigger than any of the others by at least two hundred kilos, older, and likely was the one responsible for this particular pack growing in number over the past several months.  The Alpha.

The one Draven had been hired to take out.

“I’m going after it,” he called to Alyc, who was playing cat-and-mouse with the last ‘were, herding it into a natural corner made by a large fall of rocks.  


Draven didn’t wait, snatching up the crossbow and sprinting toward the ridgeline.

Dog and blood. Sweat. Gunpowder and hot metal.  The scents of battle mingled in the night air, filling Draven’s nose with comfortable familiarity.  A cool breeze cut across the hunter’s sweaty body from the east, and with it came another scent.


Glancing up, Draven watched as the shifter’s dragon form blotted out the moon, the creature winging gracefully to where the Alpha waited.  Alyc could fly faster than Draven could run, and it clearly would reach the werewolf first.

“That one’s mine!” Draven growled, knowing Alyc couldn’t hear him from that dizzying height.

Little shit never fucking listened anyway.

By the time Draven hauled himself to the top of the ridge, Alyc and the Alpha were locked together in a fierce wrestling match, a tangle of scales and fur and two types of fangs and claws, growls and hisses and grunts of pain in two different octaves.

The Alpha had shredded Alyc’s left wing.  Alyc had torn open the ‘were’s belly. Both jaws were snapping at any exposed limb they could reach.  The coppery tang of blood hit the back of Draven’s throat.

Raising the crossbow, Draven struggled to find a safe aim, to hit the Alpha but not his shifter.

But there just wasn’t one.

So, black eyes narrowing, Draven swallowed hard and fired.  The bolt leapt from the bow, streaking across the clearing and finding its mark.

Through Alyc’s wing.  Into the Alpha’s eye.

Fuuuuuuuuck... the shifter ground out a growl between fangs clenched tight, its dragon-stretched vocal cords rumbling low and gravelly in wordless cries of pain.  You didn’t have to... do that… It was panting, and Draven's chest ached. I... had this...

“Your left wing says otherwise.”  The hunter stalked to where the pair lay on the ground, grabbing the bolt by its exposed shaft and yanking hard.  Part of the ‘were’s eyeball came with it.

Alyc roared, losing control of the dragon and snapping back to its birth-form with terrifying speed.  Draven knelt to survey the damage: long gashes dripped blood down the slender back, other cuts and bruises marring the lightly tanned skin.  The good thing about being a shifter, though, was that the thick dragon skin meant minimal damage. But a genetic advantage couldn't protect the shifter completely: Alyc’s cheek was already darkening, having taken a hit at some point in the melee. Nothing was broken, but his kid wasn't completely okay.

Swallowing thickly, Draven forced himself to regroup, drawing a deep, shuddering breath.. All in all, he considered this a successful kill.

The shifter brought a fist up to rub at one itchy, swollen eye, nostrils beginning to flare in those telling little ‘o’s.  It was still practically in the wolf’s lap, the bristling, dander-ridden fur brushing against the shifter’s face, which was collapsing into a sneezy expression that fairly screamed 'allergic.'

“Ah!-  tdsschht!-tdjsscchh!... ehh?-- hih’JDRrsscht! -oo”

Draven groaned.  Once the kid started up, it wouldn’t be able to stop for hours...  “Let’s get you away from all this nappy dog shit.”

Reaching down, Draven helped Alyc to wobbly feet, careful not to touch any of the open wounds.  Alyc’s hand came up to scrub at itchy nostrils, breath still hitching.

You didn’t have to shoot me.  

“Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... ehhh-jddsh!  ahhjZZddsh’ht!”

I thought we were friends.

They had an agreement: the shifter would only use telepathy when it was in a form that made human speech impossible, or in a life-threatening situation.  But Draven knew why Alyc was using it now: the kid was sneezing too much to talk.   The hunter hated that sibiliant mind-voice, even as he bit the inside of his cheek at the rippling sensation that traveled down the link with each wet sneeze.   Shrugging out of his coat, he draped it around the kid’s slim shoulders, not even blinking when Alyc brought one sleeve up to press against twitching, dripping nostrils.

“ehh?-- h’KShht-kshht-ehhKGshht!... hyieh… hih’JZDrsscht! -oo…”

Draven hummed lightly in the back of his throat, feeling every nerve ending he had sizzle with the echoed need-relief-need that shivered through the link.  

“Stop,” the older man caught a sneaky hand that was climbing up to scrub at red-rimmed, watery eyes.  “You'll make it worse. That shit is all over your hands.” Alyc broke the link. Draven felt the sharp pang of loss.

“I’b ihh- itchy...  yiEh-huh!-GDJTSSCHHttt!! …*sdff*”  Alyc’s hand changed course to pinch and rub its nose, which was now visibly running and twitching like mad. “Fuhhhahkksht-kssht-shhht!... kshhtT!... Ugghhhh… fuhhckig d-hh!... dYAHHtshooo!...  dogs... hhih’GXSCHT-hyieuu!!”  He blinked, sniffling wetly.  "HIEH!--hk’GYEITSSSCHHT-heHH-DJSsshhtt’oo!-AAH'DZZSChh'uu!" 

Draven got them home, dropping all the weapons just inside the door and steering the sneezy, sniffly creature into their shower.  The scent of beef stew permeated the apartment, Alyc having loaded the crock pot before they’d headed out on the hunt. It made Draven’s stomach growl and his mouth water.

But, first things first.

N’y’ niehh…  hah--KTSCHooo… heh-heh-HEH!... hyeh-YITSCHiie… huhng…  AhhHH-DJSHHhttt!! hh?-- hih’JDRrsscht!”

The kid was sneezing harder now, less of the itchy, just-exposed, blast-the-dander-out fits and more of the longer, irritated, allergic-body-reacting-needlessly-forever kind. Its eyes were swollen nearly-shut, red-rimmed, puffy and watering.  Its nose was in perpetual flare, round nostrils poised precariously on the eternal edge of the next sneeze. The damp rims quivered, rippling with dander-induced tickles. Slim hands hovered helplessly, cupped in front of the sneezy face to catch each desperate release, sniffling wetly between. 

“*sdrffll-sdff* ... hyehhhuh… … eh-HEH-gkk’ZZZDjjsshhiiooo… *snffl* ... -tschu-tschu-TSCHEU’uu!”

“Here,” Draven tugged his sneeze-drenched coat from Alyc’s quaking body, not minding when another wet explosion misted his arm.  He peeled his own blood-and-sweat-streaked clothes off, dropping everything in a pile just outside the bathroom door. The shifter sprayed another pink-nosed sneeze into the air, the droplets twinkling in the light, before pressing the heel of one hand under its itchy nose and rubbing hard.  

“ ehhehhehh??...”

“Bless you.”

"...hyieESSHHt!-HEhhsshtt!-hiYEIISSHHtt!..."  Alyc dragged the back of its hand across both watery, bloodshot eyes, sucking another wet sniffle. 

The hunter wet a washcloth in the sink, using his big palm to press it over the shifter’s whole splotchy face.

ehh?-- hih’JDRrsschmpt!  ugh... td’scchhmp-dj’ssshhmt... HEzzjdrrrsssh’oooMPt'huh… ”  Alyc sneezed into the cloth, still sniffling.  The telepathic link clicked home, and Draven could breathe again. I’m getting really tired of this.  “dj’SHIeww!--hyeii’GKdzttschhh!...”

“I know, kid,” Draven murmured, wiping the damp rag down the running face, cleaning up as much as he could.  Both hands bracketed the curly brown head, pulling it close to rest against his broad chest. The prickly, tickly feeling shimmered across the link, allowing Draven to feel a shadow of what was going on in the younger creature’s irritated tissues.

“N’y’ niehh… Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... ...  ... huhng… ... ehhehhehh??... ... ahhjZZddsh’ht!... hyehhhuh… ... heh-heh-HEH!.. ... . ehhh-jddsht! …”

Each sneeze sent electric sparks dancing down Draven’s spine, settling low in his belly and causing a deep ache of want throbbing through his bones.  Before he ended up making a mess himself, Draven shuffled them both into the shower.  

The light, spicy scent of shampoo slowly rinsed the blood/metal/dog from their skin, and Draven leaned Alyc against the tiled wall so he could look at the kid’s torn back.  After the blood was washed off, they didn’t look too bad. The hunter kept a med kit on the same shelf as the soap and shampoo, and was able to clean them with some antiseptic.  

The sharp scent of the liquid pricked the back of his own nose, and he flinched to the side with a tightly bottled, “Ngxt! -ah”

Alyc turned its head, wet curls plastered to the furrowed forehead.  “Dihh... hyie'hhITSCHHuuu!  Did you just sneeze?

“Yeah,” the hunter gave a sharp sniff.

The shifter smiled around an oncoming sneeze, one side of its upper lip higher than the other.   I don’t think I’ve... ever… “Ittscchiiewww…” heard  “tdscchu-tdschuu-tDZZschhiieeww…” ...you sneeze before.

“Well, now you have.”  The older man washed the kid’s hair for it, to distract himself from the intense, shivery pleasure those wet, incredibly ticklish sneezes had buzzed down the link through his body.

When they were both clean and dried off, Alyc’s wounds bandaged, he settled the shifter on the couch with a box of tissues and spooned them both two big bowls of stew.  The allergic reaction was dying down, the shifter’s face slowly fading to its normal color even if its nose and eyes were still flushed crimson, thoroughly irritated.

“Next time, no werewolves,” Draven rumbled around a mouthful of carrot, the aroma of perfectly-stewed beef and veg and spices lulling him into a relaxed slouch.

Alyc pressed a tissue to red, tender nostrils, sniffling wetly.  “I wadt to help.”  Its voice was scraped raw from all the sneezing.

“I know,” Draven cracked open a beer, the hoppy-bitter scent drifting up from the can.  He canted a soft smile at his shifter. “And, just for the record… you do.”

Edited by starpollen
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On 26/4/2018 at 5:25 AM, starpollen said:

Most people just say ‘thank-you.'

“Fucking stubborn…” Draven dropped the crossbow and pulled the glock from his shoulder holster.  “... little shit…” Firing rapidly, he took out three more with silver-tipped bullets. “...shifter…”  The whole clearing now smelled strongly of dirty, dusty dog.  

I love you, too.

Loving this!!! Their snark, even mid-mission, is perfect. 

Soooo many nice feels through the link in this one with all of Alyc's cute, ticklish sneezes!! Thank you thank you :heart:

I wonder, does Alyc know what Draven feels? What it's doing to him every time it sneezes?. 

Edited by Juto
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I love this fic so so much! I love the whole enemies to lovers concept, and I also love your descriptions. They're so intense and lovely and great! You write so well! I also love how you themed each chapter around the five senses, so it feels even more like you're experiencing it. Your writing is so great and incredibly descriptive. I love it. I cannot wait for more! I also wonder if Alyc notices how Draven feels, since it seems to be linked. I also wonder what would happen if it were reversed. Not to mention I bet Alyc would be interested in hearing more of Draven's sneezes. Thank you very much for writing this

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This is brilliant. I am in love with this world! These two are adorable!

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On 4/25/2018 at 11:25 PM, starpollen said:

Once the kid started up, it wouldn’t be able to stop for hours...

So Draven has seen Alyc with allergy attacks before... and they’re doozies, just like the colds. ^_^

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On 5/6/2018 at 11:02 PM, queenie said:

So Draven has seen Alyc with allergy attacks before... and they’re doozies, just like the colds. ^_^

Yes, it’s 18 months after Draven captured Alyc by this point (Part 3) so in that time he’s seen quite a bit of what the shifter can (and can’t) do. ;)

Edited by starpollen
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  • 2 years later...

Part 4 - Touch

6 months


One thing Draven loved about Alyc was its skin. 

The shifter’s skin was like nothing the hunter had ever felt before: a mixture of luxurious silk and velvet blended with warm, clean water.  

Although even that description was a woeful understatement.

Laying in their bed, the older man stroked light fingers from the kid’s pale shoulder down to its wrist and back again, revelling in the sensation.  The owner of said skin was fast asleep on Draven’s chest, snoring softly, and the hunter had learned over the past six months that nothing short of cannon fire would wake Alyc when it was out like this. 

They’d had a remarkably normal day, for once.  Well, normal by conventional standards.  Alyc had woken Draven early that morning by pouncing on him like a puppy… and only like a puppy, not as an actual puppy. 

“D!” the shifter had pipped with excitement glowing from its too-blue mountain-lake eyes. “Wake up! I made pancakes!” before careening out of the room with joyous abandon, brown curls flying.

The hunter had rolled onto his back, feeling the soft slip of high-thread-count sheets against his skin, stretching out the kinks in his muscles and joints with a jaw-cracking yawn.  Rumbling in the back of his throat, he had scratched from chest to groin and back, his claw-like nails dragging light furrows in their wake.  Heaving a long-suffering sigh, he dragged himself upright.  If it had been anybody else - any of his previous partners - he would have mumbled, “Fuck you,” and rolled over to go back to sleep. 

Actually, any of his previous partners wouldn’t have dared to wake him. 

But Alyc - the little shit - never listened, never cared how many foul things Draven said or called it upon first waking, only chittered and chirped happily as it went about making breakfast.  Definitely a morning creature. 

The pancakes had been worth it, though - thick, fluffy discs smothered in a homemade banana-caramel sauce and topped with toasted coconut.  The kid was definitely getting better in the kitchen, the hours glued to Food Network while Draven was out on hunts put to good use. 

After breakfast, they had gone grocery shopping, an exercise Draven liked to refer to as ‘Refereeing.’

“No.  Put it back.”

“But D--”

“No.  We bought those last time and you never got around to cooking them and when they rotted in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator it stunk up the kitchen for days.”

For the excursion, the shapeshifter had morphed into a tall, striking, and utterly intimidating African-American woman, one that looked perfect on Draven’s large, dark arm.  But - no matter how different Alyc looked - the facial expressions and mannerisms were the same.  A lower lip trembled, starting to jut out in a familiar pout.

“Don’t even bother pulling that face. You know it doesn’t work on me.”

Two aisles later, a sneaky hand tried to slip a box under the bag of grapes. 


“Aww, D--”

“Strawberries give you hives, remember?”

“... but I like them…”

“And, if your body actually absorbed the Benadryl that makes the hives go away, maybe we could have some.  But it doesn’t, so we can’t.”

“You’re mean.”

“I’m protective.  There’s a difference.”

“Oooh!  Balloons!...”

“What are you, five?”

“You’re no fun.”

But, unlike the strawberries, the balloon had ended up coming home with them, tied to Alyc’s dark slender wrist very much as though it were five.  The shiny mylar object shaped like a triceratops bounced happily off the interior roof of Draven’s black Hummer, while its owner - back to original puny pale form - prattling on about their purchases.

“Ina Garten has this amazing recipe for whole roast chicken.  So, that’s tomorrow.  I think I want to do more roasting - chicken, fish, veggies...  Did you know that you can roast fruit??

Draven fought to suppress a smile: the kid was practically glowing. 

One of the things that had drawn Draven to the shapeshifter was its boundless determination and energy.  Even when they’d first met - when his trap had snapped shut and the cage dropped down to confine his prey, when Alyc had been in the grip of a truly terrible cold - the kid had shown a unique spiky spunk, sparking the hunter’s interest.  The past six months had only allowed the older man to become more enraptured with his new mate.

After helping to put away the groceries and tying the balloon to a bedside lamp, the shifter began begging. 

“Pleeeeease can we go to the park?  We bought stuff, I can pack a picnic... I haven’t been outside in foreeeever…”

Draven was settled at the kitchen table with a collection of knives and a whetstone. “We just came from outside.”  He straightened each weapon, feeling the cool smoothness of the metal.

“You know what I mean.  I’ve been cooped up in your apartment for months!  You never let us go to the mall or the movies or the bowling alley...”

“That’s because,” Draven picked up the stone, its porous edge digging into his fingertips. “Someone wants you dead, remember?  They hired me to kill you.”

A disgruntled huff. 

The skittering scrape of stone on metal sent shivers dancing up Draven’s metacarpals, a distinctly disagreeable sensation only mitigated by repetition; the hunter had sharpened blades tens of thousands of times, so his nerve endings were accustomed to it. 

“... So… you think this person will be at the park… just randomly?”

Draven’s fingers stilled, feeling the bite of the rock as his grip tightened.  “Is it worth the risk if he is?”

“Don’t you know what he looks like?  You said he hired you…”

“Everything was arranged by proxies.  I never saw his face.” Another scraping pass of the stone across the edge of the blade.  And another.

“But you’ve gone to a lot of trouble to hide me, and it’s worked.  Nobody knows where I am.  Plus, I am a shapeshifter.  I’ll just take a new form.  Pleeeeeaaaase.”

Testing the progress of the knife’s sharpness, the hunter focused on the sensation of the thin metal edge scraping over the ridges of his thumbprint.  Hm.  Needs a few more passes…


The sudden punch of sound so close to his ear caused the blade to bite, and Draven cursed when a starburst of pain exploded under his skin.  

“Goddammit, kid.” Draven gently lowered the knife to the table, feeling the disparate sensation of cool metal and warm wood. 

“S-sorry!… sorry…” And then Alyc was wrapping a paper towel around the older man’s thumb, pressing hard to stop the bleeding.  The action stabbed, then ached, then faded. 

“It’s just a scratch,” Draven insisted, wrapping an arm around Alyc’s lean waist and pulling the kid down to sit in his lap.  “No need to fuss.”  His other hand skimmed under the shifter’s t-shirt and began stroking up its back, feeling that seductive silken skin stretched over light bones, like an expensive Chinese kite.

Alyc’s eyes were wide, deep azure pools that Draven fell into.  “I’m sorry,” came the small, cracked whisper. 

Draven closed his eyes, leaning his forehead against the shifter’s bony chest, feeling the dull thump-thump-thump of that blue heart nudging at his left eyebrow. 

“Okay.  We’ll go to the park.”

Which is how the biggest, most bad-assed hunter in 5 time zones ended up cross-legged on a picnic blanket under a tree, biting into a ham and cheese sandwich.  The soft, springy texture of white plastic bread gave under his strong fingers. 

“... should have been peanut butter and jelly…” Alyc groused, finishing off its own triangle of sandwich.  As stated, the shifter had taken a new form: bigger (as usual), looking like a college football linebacker.  ‘His’ hair was straight, blond, parted in the middle and brushing the tops of the ears.  Those sapphire eyes were still there, though, glancing up to spear the older man with a pointed look.

“You can’t have peanut butter.  It--”

“...gives me hives, I know.”  The shifter’s bright eyes rolled in annoyance,  A larger-than-usual hand rose to scrub back-and-forth under a larger-than-usual nose. 

“You ok?”  Draven rumbled, lowering his triangle of sandwich. 

“I’m... fine.” Alyc’s eyes started blinking rapidly, nose twitching.  

“You’re gonna sneeze, aren’t you.”  It wasn’t a question. 

“I’m fine,” Alyc ground out through clenched teeth, its brows drawing together in anger even as it brought the heel of a broad hand to swipe upwards at still-twitching nostrils.  That was all the proof Draven needed that the little shit wasn’t ‘fine.’  

“So, what is it?” the hunter pressed, dropping the half-eaten sandwich back into the Tupperware and leaning back, the rough bark biting through his thin t-shirt.  “Trees?  Grass?  Flowers?”

This was the first time they’d been out in nature together, but - given the shifter’s range of food and detergent allergies - Draven had already predicted that they would face some problems of the nasal variety before too long.  A few weeks ago he’d even tucked a couple of packets of travel tissues into the pockets of his black trenchcoat, just in case.

“Nuh-- nothing.” Alyc stammered stubbornly, jutting its chin.  Those mountain-lake eyes were still blinking, though, starting to look a little watery.

“You may as well tell me the whole list,” Draven sighed, stretching his long legs out and linking fingers together over his lean stomach  The bite of the bark at his back and the coolness of the light breeze brushing his skin didn’t have much to do with the sudden heat that coursed through his body as he watched the shifter’s nostrils flare into round ‘o’s.  “We’ve got your food allergies taped to the refrigerator.  I can put another list next to the bathroom mirror.”

While he drawled, Draven reached for the telepathic link that Alyc always naturally kept available, sort of like a door left ajar.  Most of the time Draven didn’t want the kid’s silvery sibilance snaking through his head, but if what he thought was about to happen was about to happen… well.  He wanted that connection to experience it fully.  By talking at the kid during the reach, he was hoping to keep Alyc from noticing.

It seemed to work: between the distraction of the reaction happening in the shifter’s sinuses and Draven’s poking questions, the link attached without perception. 

Draven could feel through the link, could feel the tingling twinges skittering through the younger being’s awareness, could feel when the kid took a knuckle to its nose, trying to rub the tickle away.  Could feel when Alyc began to sniffle, passages suddenly slick with fluid.  

“If you start sneezing, you’re gonna lose your form,” Draven reminded unnecessarily, teeth biting into his lower lip as he gazed at the shifter’s contorting All-American face. 

“I’m. Fine.” Alyc bit out, even as long fingers reached for a napkin, bringing it up to massage pinkening nostrils. “Not gonna loo’h--... losemyform…” Its voice was thin, stretched, becoming high and choked as it rushed to get the last words out. 

Reaching over and plucking a blade of grass, Draven ran the prickly length across the back of his arm, noticing how the sensation was similar to what he was receiving from Alyc through the link: light itching, teasing, tiny prickles in tender tissues. 

Alyc’s brows rose, lips parted, corners of its new mouth drawn down in expectation.  The hand holding the napkin hovered just in front of its borrowed face. 

Eh??--... kksht-kshht-shht!...” 

The opening volley, just the way the kid always started when it began a sneezing fit.  Light, airy bursts that did nothing to dispel the tickle, simply the shifter’s body winding up for more. Draven felt them shimmering along the link, a rippling flutter like the caress of a thousand blades of grass across every nerve ending he had.  The hunter shuddered, flush with desire, and closed his eyes for a brief moment.  “Time to go,” he ground out through clenched teeth, leaning forward as if to stand.

“No, D,” Alyc pinched the napkin around its nose and rubbed in little circles.  “It’s ok, I won’t lose my form.  It’s just … pollen.”  That last word was mumbled, ducking its head and pulling the tissue away with a liquid sniffle and a light clearing of its throat. 

Just pollen, my ass, Draven thought. Glancing around, he could almost see the microscopic culprits shimmering in the air: a pale golden cloud drifting down from the trees and up from the grass carried on the wind right into his kid’s sensitive system.  

“Is this going to be like the dryer sheet episode?” The hunter tilted his head, black eyes narrowing.  If this was going to be anything like the dryer sheet episode, he needed to get the kid home fast. 

“No,” Alyc huffed on a long sigh, moving so that it could sit next to Draven against the tree, leaning the now-golden head on the bigger man’s shoulder.  Draven felt the weight settle on his bones, shifting his hips on the picnic blanket to accommodate the imbalance.  There was suddenly the hard press of a root under his left thigh. 

“You sure?” Draven ducked his head down, feeling the soft feathering of the shifter’s hair against his lips as he pressed a kiss to the top of the younger being’s head. 

“Uh huh,” Then a slurpy-sniffle, fist bringing the tissue ball up for another swipe. 

“So, the list?” Draven pressed, needing to hear Alyc talk as the allergy attack gathered strength.

“Well, um,” another light throat-clearing, maybe because even its throat was itchy?... “Pretty much every pollen known to man.  Ragweed is pretty bad, although I think tree pollehh-- pollen is worse…” Knuckles scrubbing now, an increasingly itchy needy pressure building through the link. “Hyeh… Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... ehhh-jddsht!”  Oh, it was coming.  Draven felt each of those ticklish explosions shuddering through the link, made even stronger by the quaking of the warm body pressed against him.  “Ugh, ‘scuse me…”  Alyc leaned forward, palming a stack of napkins and bringing them to its lap as the list continued.  “In early spring when the trees all… ah-- kgm… all let go, I’m a mess.” Knuckles digging into itchy eyes now, and Draven could feel that, too.  Itch-need-rub-relief-burn-repeat.  "Right now it's probably grass." Unfurling a napkin and stretching it between two hands, the kid kept it in its lap, anticipating. “And then there’s animals.”  Draven could almost hear the kid rolling its azure eyes.  “If it has fur, I sneh-h!-” 

“Bless you.”

“Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... Ah!-  tdsschht!-tdjssccht!... ehh?-- hih’JDRrsscht! -oo”

Alyc had leaned away from Draven, hunching over its lap as it sneezed repeatedly into the waiting napkin.  The older man’s wide palm sneaked under its shirt, spreading across the shifter’s silken back as it spasmed helplessly.

“Hnn,” Alyc grunted when it could, tenting both hands prayer-style to rub its nose with the napkin in tall circles.  “I sneeze,” it finished unnecessarily, letting loose with a damp blow.  “And all the plants that happen at Christmas… trees, poinsettias, lilies…”

“Okay. Pollen, dander, Christmas,” Draven rumbled, cataloguing.  “Mold?”

The younger being let out a bark of a laugh.  “Probably.  I haven’t had a specific encounter that I remember off the top of my head, but knowi-h!-- knowingme… ehhjddsh!  ahhjZZddsh’ht!... heHH-DJSsshhtt’oo! …”


“N-hH!-...notdone!... ahkksht-kssht-kshhht!... kshhtT!... eh-HEH-gkk’ZZZDjjsshhiiooo...Ah!-  tdsschht!-tdjsscchh!... ehh? n’y’ niehh… hhuhnng… hyeii’GKdzttschhh!”

Draven’s eyes slipped shut, breath held in his massive chest, every muscle locked tight as he reveled in the sensations coming through the link.  It was like crackles of lightning sparking into expansive webs under his skin, the craving so keen and the ache so intense that he nearly bit through his lower lip.  His jeans were suddenly way too tight…


He’d been so blissed out that he hadn’t realized the kid was asking him a question. 

“Sorry, what?” 

“I asked if we had any bore napkids,” Congestion was just starting to muddle the consonants.  Alyc gestured down to where a pile of used napkin balls were collected in its lap.

Chuckling affectionately, Draven wrapped strong arms around his shifter and pulled it back against his chest, feeling the light bones and silken skin through the glamour.  Leaving a trail of feathery kisses from Alyc’s jaw to his ear, Draven whispered, “I got you,” before reaching for the trenchcoat carelessly flung off to the side.  One of the hunter’s arms stayed wrapped around Alyc’s shoulder and chest, trapping it securely even as the shifter’s body snapped forward, misting the hunter’s muscled arm.

“ehh?-- h’KShht-kshht-ehhKGshht!... hyieh… hih’JZDrsscht!-oo… ugh, sorry...”

Draven sucked an uneven breath, feeling every raw nerve ending he had sizzle with the echoed need-relief-need that shivered through the link.  

“Here,” he tucked the travel tissue pack into cupped hands.

“Were you anticipatig this?” Alyc asked, a wry smile curving its borrowed features even as it tore into the package. 


“This is why I lo-hh!... loveyou… hhhahkksht-kssht-shhht!... kshhtT!... Ugghhhh… fuhhckig p-hh!... pYAHKtshooo!...  polled... hhih’GXSCHT-hyieuu!!”

Wrapped in the hunters arms, Draven felt the shiver-shimmers along Alyc’s skin that were the sign the creature was struggling to maintain its form.  Giving the body in his arms a quick squeeze and a kiss to the back of its velvet neck, Draven got up and quickly packed away the picnic.  Popping a stray grape into his mouth, he felt his cheeks cave in at the sudden citrus sourness. 

Alyc had pulled its knees up, arms resting on them, sneezing raggedly into tissue-clad hands. “-y’ niehh…  hah--KTSCHooo… heh-heh-HEH!... hyeh-YITSCHiie… kshht-e’h! -ehh?-- hih’JDRrsschmpt!  Ugh… *sdfl*”

“On your feet, soldier,” Draven reached down to help pull the convulsing creature to its feet.  Heaving the picnic-laden backpack onto one shoulder and tucking his trenchcoat under that arm, he wrapped the other around the smaller being’s shuddering self.  “Let’s take you home.”

The drive was short, Draven’s hands clenching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel every time Alyc telegraphed another sneeze over the link. 


Once inside the door, Draven pounced. 

Trenchcoat and backpack dropped, the bigger man caging his shifter’s face in both hands and plundering its mouth with a punishing kiss.  Draven’s fingertips felt the ripples that danced across the silken skin of Alyc’s cheeks as the shifter released its borrowed form, suddenly becoming smaller and more delicate in the hunter’s hands. 

Alyc wrapped its arms around Draven’s thick neck, moaning into the hunter’s greedy mouth.

“I’b gudda…” the kid panted between kisses, damp nostrils writhing against Draven’s stubbled cheek. “...sdeezeodyou…”  Draven answered with a growl, hauling the smaller body flush against his.  Alyc’s moans turned into whimpers, its sniffly nostrils pulsing incessantly. “mmmmm… heh?-- Ehkksht-kshht-shht!...”  Alyc ducked its head, a cool mist landing on Draven’s collarbone, and the hunter’s hand was reaching for the hem of the shifter’s light sweater.  The creature had 3 seconds to sneeze convulsively inside it as the garment was roughly dragged over its head.

The mop of brown curls emerged, the kid’s eyes squinting, nostrils distended, glisteningly allergic. It was then that Draven noticed the light golden dusting of pollen in its hair. 

“Shower,” he ground out, diving into the slender neck and brushing his lips across sweet, warm-water skin.  The big hunter used the momentum to begin steering them both towards the bathroom. Alyc nuzzled Draven’s shoulder, using the muscled mass to rub at the itch-ridden center of its face, snuffling through another hitching moan. 

... huhng… ... ehhehhehh??... ... ahhjZZddsh’ht!... hyehhhuh… ... heh-heh-HEH!.. ... . ehhh-jddsht!-jddsht!-KDJssht! …”

Ohhhh gods the sensations coming through the telepathic link were almost pornographic. Dravens fingers dug into Alyc’s bare hip, scooping around to palm a bit of its rounded ass.

Clothes dropped in puddles, were flung like paint, spinning in the air like a typhoon until both bare bodies slammed into the shower wall. 

What came next was… dirty.

After, both slumped under the hot spray, letting the water wick away pollen and sweat and spit and snot and all manner of bodily byproducts. Panting, Draven reached for the shampoo and soaped his shifter’s head, not bothering with his own shaved dark dome.  Alyc continued to snuffle and sneeze, tiredly now, the attack almost petered out. 

“hh!-... hyiehhITSCHieuuu!”  

“Bless,” Draven combed through the thick mass of wet hair, loving how it tried to wrap around his fingers, as if every part of his kid was trying to hold onto him. 

“Unnn,” Alyc groaned, scrubbing petulantly at its now-scarlet nostrils.  

“You’ve tried pills and stuff?” Draven frowned, using a hand to shield the kid’s eyes as he rinsed the suds away. 

“Sobe.  Dot bady. *sdrfl*  Sidce cold bedicide doesd’t work I figured I didd’t deed… deed to- hH!- wastethebodey… h’KSHt-h’KSHt-h’KSHtt--HA’KTschieu!”

“Well, money doesn’t matter anymore so we’ll try some.  Maybe we’ll get lucky.” Both beings now clean, Draven cranked the temperature as high as it would go and pulled Alyc away from the soon-to-be-steaming-hot water.  Folding the smaller creature into a snug embrace, Draven let his hands wander across the ethereal expanse of skin.

Alyc pushed its face into Draven’s hard chest, muffling the next set of ticklish sneezes. ehh?-- hih’JDRrschMPt!  uh... hehBMPtzzjrrsssh'uh… sorry…”

The apology was for the muculent mess the shifter had just ejected from its nose, right onto Draven’s pec.  Chuckling deep in his throat, the older man simply reached for the washcloth that was draped on the shelf, wiping it away and then rinsing the cloth in the stinging spray before bringing it to the kid’s face. 


Alyc did, long and wet.  Draven repeated the process a couple more times, and between that and the steam the shifter was finally able to stop sneezing, to breathe.  The whole ordeal wrung it out, though, its smaller body sagging in the older man’s arms.

Which is how they’d ended up in bed, the older man stroking light fingers from the kid’s pale shoulder down to its wrist and back again, revelling in the sensation, and the owner of said skin snoring softly on Draven’s chest. In very little time, the hunter himself soon drifted off to sleep.

Edited by starpollen
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Wow! Can’t believe I’ve never read this story before - the world and relationship you’ve created are amazing, and the descriptions are perfect!

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  • 1 year later...

Hey y'all.  I was going through my Google Drive yesterday looking for a document for work and I stumbled across this old story.  I realized I hadn't finished what I wanted to do with it, and got some inspiration.  There is 1 more chapter after this one for this couple (the 'sense' will hopefully be a surprise :winkkiss:) and then I might expand the Sapien Saga to other creature pairings. Draven and Alyc are Hunter/Shapeshifter. If you've got any ideas, I welcome them!  

Hope you enjoy! :biggrinsmiley:

---  ---   ---

Part 5 - Taste

24 months


“Hey, D?”


“Cad you cobe id the kidched for a bidute?”

It took Draven an extra second or two to translate what Alyc had said. 


True to form - 2 years to the day after Draven had taken Alyc from his cage trap and into his stark one-bedroom apartment - the kid had a cold.  Stubborn inquiry on the older man’s part had revealed that this was a fairly regular occurrence: at approximately the same time each year, when the weather outside turned icy and wet and the wind screamed its chill through the city, the shifter would succumb to a nasty monster of a cold that lasted 8 to 10 days.  A cold that began the first day with some light throat-clearing and a pinched headache, but within 36 hours would morph into suffocating sinus congestion, wetly incessant sneezing, chest-rattling coughs, bone-wracking shivers, and a steady fever that hovered around 100-101.  Just enough to make the kid miserable, not bad enough to need a doctor.

Which, Draven mused, was the only good thing about it.  Neither of them were big fans of doctors.  

Stepping into the galley kitchen, the bigger man leaned a muscled shoulder against the jamb. “What’s up, love?”

“I deed you to taste this.”

Slender fingers held a spoon out, the other hand cupped beneath to catch any drips.  Alyc’s face was paler than usual, the few freckles scattered across its squarish, red-chapped nose standing out more prominently as a result. Ear-length brown curls were mussed and matted, sweat-darkened in places. Normally bright blue eyes were haggard: dull and red-rimmed with purple smudges underneath that telegraphed tiredness.  Whenever Alyc got one of these heavy colds, it had a hard time sleeping. Which is why it was in the kitchen at 1:00 in the morning.

Draven never slept without Alyc.  If the kid was up, he was, too.

Leaning forward, Draven took the proffered spoon into his mouth, lips closing around the smooth metal surface. An explosion of flavor rocketed from it: salty and savoury with a kiss of sweet-sour that sent him salivating. Obsidian eyes fluttered closed, a deep growling moan rumbling up from his chest. 

“S’it good?”

Mmmmm,” the taller man affirmed, swallowing. “God, kid, that’s incredible.”

“Oh, good,” Alyc raised a wrist and swiped at the center of its face with a congested sniffle, giving the pot another stir.  

“What is it?”

“It’s a versiod of a Fredch sauce - I dod’t dow if you’ll be able to udderstad be right dow - Espagdole.  I’ve beed workig od the 5 bother sauces.  Bechabel.  Veloute--...”

Interrupting, the hunter gave a low chuckle. “Okay, you’re right. I can’t understand you right now.  Is that even English?”

“Fredch.” Alyc gave another wrist swipe to its sore-looking nose before continuing. “I followed the idstructiods but…” A pair of deeper snorfling sniffles punctuated how blocked up those tortured sinuses were.  “I cad’t taste adythig.”

“Probably because you can’t smell anything, love,” Draven rumbled, stepping behind his kid to slip strong arms around its trim waist.  Dropping a soft kiss into the matted brown curls, his large arms gave a gentle squeeze. 

Alyc huffed a frustrated sigh, leaning back into the older man’s chest.  “I dow.” 

“Did you try that new stuff?”  Draven had seen an ad for a new cold medicine on the side of a bus the other day, and had immediately stopped by the drug store to pick it up.  For 2 years they had been trying every cold and allergy medicine on the market - and a few from the black market - to see if anything would make a dent in the shifter’s supernatural system.  So far, they’d had limited success.  But Draven was willing to take any improvement, no matter how small, if it made his kid feel even the slightest bit better.

“Yeah,” Alyc breathed on a long sigh, setting the tasting spoon off to the side.  “It hasd’t helped be breathe, but I’b dot coughig adybore.”

Another kiss, this time to the back of the shifter’s warm neck, lips lingering. “Think it took your fever down, too,” Draven’s deep voice reverberated against the smaller being’s skin, his nose nuzzling the crook of Alyc’s neck. His tongue darted out for a quick taste: salty, musky, fever-sweet Alyc.

The result was a full-body shiver.  “F-ffuck, D, dod’t do that…”

Draven pressed open lips to the sensitive spot behind Alyc’s ear, pulling them closed and suckling slightly. A burst of citrus, acidic, on his tongue.  “Don’t do… this?...” he murmured, teeth nipping lightly at the younger being’s earlobe. Soft and slightly furred, like a peach.

“Uggggghhh,” the shifter gave a thick, congested groan, hands gripping Draven’s wrists where they crossed over lean hips.  “I’b…” it gasped, sucking in a slightly wheezy breath.  “I’b tryig to--...”

Draven’s lips worked their way down Alyc’s jaw.  Unlike the older man, the shifter didn’t need to shave, the velvety skin on its face and chest naturally smooth.  “Trying to…?” the hunter rumbled between nipping kisses.  One huge hand turned off the stove, the other skated down Alyc’s body, aiming for the juncture between its thighs.

Before he could reach his destination, however, Alyc broke away. 

“The fuck--...” Draven growled, already reaching for his shifter. 

But Alyc’s breath was hitching, “N’y’ niehh… ehhehhehh??... hyehhhuh…” slim shoulders bouncing as the curly head swung back and forth as if looking, desperately, for something.

Reaching into his back pocket, Draven palmed the black bandana he always kept there for emergencies - what was once defined as 'mopping up blood' but now was only ‘Alyc’ - flicking his wrist to snap it open and turning the shifter to face him. Those red-rimmed azure eyes were squinting and blinking rapidly, scarlet nostrils twitching as glittering moisture gathered at their rims, dusky, chapped lips quivering with each stuttering inhale.  

Draven’s mind leapt to connect the telepathic link between them, feeling simultaneous crackles of energy as well as a washing wave of calm as it snapped into place.  His big body shuddered, uncaring whether Alyc noticed that he’d done it or not.

Ignoring the pale fingers rising to take the cloth from him, the hunter cupped one big hand to the back of his kid’s skull, fingers threading through the sweaty curls, and tucked the red nose into the fabric.

Just in time. 

ehh?-- hih’JDRrsschmpt!  td’scchhmp-dj’ssshhmt... HEzzjdrrrsssh’oooMPt'huh…” Each muffled sneeze sent shockwaves down the link, crackling electric currents that blazed through the older man’s brain.  Each aftershock was echoed by ripples that traveled from Alyc’s nose through Draven’s palm and down his arm bones into his chest, thundering through his groin. 

And it kept going.

“Ehkksht-kshht-shht!... Ah!-  tdsschht!-tdjsscchh!... ehh?-- hih’JDRrsscht! -oo- ehhjddsh’t!  eh-HEH-gkk’ZZZDjjsshhiiooo...” 

Somehow, by the time the shifter had finished the drenching last sneeze, the hand that had been cradling the back of its head had ghosted down to splay across its ribs, jerking the smaller body against his big, hard chest.  Draven’s mouth was plundering Alyc’s neck, its collarbones, his huge hand sliding all over the smaller being’s hips and arse, fingers squeezing convulsively.

“God, baby, you have no idea what you do to me,” the tall hunter ground out between clenched teeth, dragging his tongue across salty, fever-sweat-skimmed skin stretched tight over marbles of vertebrae that rolled down to disappear under the shifter’s t-shirt collar. 

The taste of the sapien was intoxicating, better than top-shelf whiskey.

Alyc took only a second to press its nose further into the cloth for a hard, damp blow - one that finally shifted something in its sinuses - before slender fingers were suddenly caging either side of Draven’s face, jerking the taller man down and capturing his lips. 

“I do dow,” the shifter murmured into Draven’s mouth.  “I feel it, too.”

A riot of flavors swirled in the hunter’s mouth: salty savoury sweet-sour from Alyc’s own attempt to taste the sauce, minty bitterness from a mixture of mouthwash and cough syrup, and an underlying earthy meatiness - what Alyc had taught him was called umami - that was the essence of the shifter itself.

Vaguely, Draven thought that the combination should probably be disgusting.  But it wasn’t. 

It was delicious

The older man’s huge hands slipped under smaller thighs, hoisting Alyc until their stomachs were aligned.  The shifter wrapped its arms around his neck and its legs around Draven’s waist and - without taking their mouths from each other’s - the dark hunter walked them both back to the bedroom.

“You-… feel it-… too?” Draven growled between starved, spiced kisses.

“It-- hHheh!?” Alyc turned to spray a pink-nosed sneeze over the older man’s shoulder. “hh-ehhKGshht!...” This time just the one.  “...sddrfl … It goes both ways.”

Well, now. That was something he’d have to pursue more closely at a later date.

Reaching the bedroom, clothes were peeled away and Draven took his time tasting every inch of his shifter’s luscious, delectable, succulent skin.  The link continued to flare like the 4th of July with each one of the sick shifter's juicy, crisp, cold-induced sneezes. 

ahhjZZddsh’ht!... heHH-DJSsshhtt’oo! … ahkksht-kssht-shhht!... kshhtT!... ahhjZZddsh’ht!” 

And between Draven’s greedy tongue, Alyc’s deft hands, and the sparklers popping through the link… they both shattered.

After, as they lay panting in the sheets - Draven on his stomach and Alyc on his back, hands touching - a dark chuckle floated on the air. 

“It goes both ways, huh?”

The prickly, tickly sensation shimmered across the link.

“N’y’ niehh… Ehkksht-kshht-shht!...  hyehhhuh… ... ehhh-jddsht! …” the shifter misted the air above them, tiny cool droplets raining down to kiss sweat-sheened skin.

Alyc turned to Draven, red-rimmed nostrils gleaming with wetness, kiss-swollen mouth curved in a wicked grin. 

“It always has.”


Edited by starpollen
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Oh… this is really hot. I’ve never seen this before now. I love the dynamics of Alyc being something that Draven is supposed to hate—supposed to kill, but Draven is helpless to his charm (or you know, sneeziness). I can’t wait to read more about them, and would be very interested in seeing other relationships, too. 

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