Fiction~~Ice Wind's Bride~~Ch. 1
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Chapter 1 - Ice Wind's Bride
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Silva woke up with the worst hangover he could remember since he’d first tasted alcohol. Squinting at the sunlight-speared ceiling, he struggled to recall exactly what he’d done to merit the shattering pain engulfing his head. He’d been at the Captain’s wedding, he could remember that. Then he’d seen Bey at the festivities afterwards, been challenged to a beer swilling contest, and then…
What had happened after he’d tried to outdo Bey? Had he even won? Silva's ability to think collided with a wall of pain almost before he finished the thought. He even heard the collision: a rather squelching, sickening thud that made his stomach roil. Or perhaps that was just the hangover.
In either case, it just wasn’t worth it to try and recall last night. He’d find out what had happened when Bey started ribbing him about it, anyway.
Silva closed one eye, his face twisting with concentration until he finally recognized the familiar ceiling beam riddled with dart holes. He was in his own room, then. So, whatever he’d done, he wasn’t lying in some alley with his possessions and his gold just a memory. Considering that he’d ended up in just such a situation the last time he’d woke feeling this bad, Silva thought some concern was justified. He smiled through the pain as he remembered. The thieves who had rolled him in the gutter that time hadn’t lived long enough to enjoy his unwilling generosity. The guardsman who’d accosted him after he’d dispatched the bastards had completely agreed with his reasoning. Actually, Bey had invited him to join the Varlan city-state’s guards at that point, if Silva remembered right.
But that had been, eh, two years ago? Had it really been that long since he’d been this drunk? Surprising, considering how often Bey and he went out drinking. He sat up slowly, the soft sheet slipping from his naked body, then gripped his head with both hands as it threatened to roll off his shoulders and take the rest of him with it. Deep breaths, that usually did it. A few deep breaths and then one big heave off the bed to get him started for the day. With a last shaky inhalation, Silva swung his legs over the wooden framed mattress and let himself flop gracelessly to the floor onto his hands and knees. He braced himself as the room spun around him, his head hanging down, his eyes closed.
“Do not vomit. Do not vomit. You’ll only have to clean it up because Bey would rather die than clean anything, let alone that. Do NOT vomit!” Silva repeated his mantra as he somehow managed to push to his feet and drag himself across the floor. As he reached the small basin and the pitcher of water he’d thankfully left from the night before, he leaned against the wall, hoping that a little more time would keep his stomach from rebelling. Pouring water into the basin, he splashed some on his face, the cold soothing his aching head. His silver hair hung in damp strands along his cheeks by the time he geared himself to look in the polished mirror he’d paid so much for. The last time he’d been sotted enough to pass out, Bey had shaved off his left eyebrow and half of his beard. Then the man had taken advantage of Silva’s hangover in the morning to hurry him out the door without once looking at himself in this very same mirror. Bey had laughed until his sides hurt over that one, the juvenile idiot.
Not for long, though. Silva figured he’d been granted an adequate revenge when the both of them had gone out that night. Bey had never seen him without his beard. He hadn’t realized that Silva’s shaven face was rather unique without its covering of hair. If Silva could recall right, Bey had called it ‘the most beautiful, girly-ass face’ he’d ever seen, and the sight of it had only made him laugh harder. He hadn’t found it quite so funny, however, when every last woman in the bar ignored Bey in favor of Silva’s newly exposed visage. Bey had sulked about it for hours before Silva had managed to cajole him out of it, and in his typical fashion, he’d decided that he was the one who’d been wronged by Silva’s shearing.
Silva’s beard had long since grown back in, but now that he’d spent the evening with Bey, drunk enough to make himself an easy target, he was wondering what had happened. It would be an honest to goodness miracle if he’d escaped last night unscathed by Bey’s humor. Taking one last, deep breath, he opened his eyes and looked into the mirror at his smoothly shaven face.
Silva sighed, running his hand over the silky skin of his jaw. “Why does he always have such a fascination with my facial hair?” Now he’d have to grow it out all over again. He hated that scruffy period when it merely looked like he’d forgotten to shave for a few days. Not that he actually enjoyed wearing a beard once it was grown in, either. Silva found the irritating thing itchy in the extreme, but it hid his face. According to his youngest brother, father was still looking for him, so he needed every advantage he could conjure up to stay hidden until the old man finally caved. His hair didn’t seem to take to dye, and he didn’t want to permanently scar himself, so he needed the damn beard!
Blowing out his cheeks, he rubbed his hand over his face again before looking up to stare glumly into the reflection of his own eyes, blue and clear above the dark tattoo under his right eye.
He didn’t have a tattoo under his right eye.
“Hasanid’s purple cock!” Trembling fingers went up to his cheek, touching the new black design embedded in his skin. “I did not do this. I did not DO THIS!” Silva rubbed furiously at the delicately rendered sword whose haft started on his cheekbone while its blade mimicked the curve of his eye as it sloped underneath it.
“This can’t be happening. Can’t be. I must be dreaming. That’s it; I’m dreaming. Dreaming, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming.” He slapped himself in the face and winced at the sting and the resulting nausea from the blow. “How could I do this?!” He splashed more water onto his face and continued scrubbing at the mark without effect.
“How could I be this much of an imbecile? I can’t –“
A pitiful groan from behind him stopped his frantic mutterings instantly. Turning with extreme care, partly due to fear and partly due to the fact that he thought he’d throw up if he moved any faster, he looked at the blanket covered lump still in his bed. The covers shifted as whoever was underneath let out another decidedly masculine groan. Swallowing heavily, Silva shuffled over, looking for anything that might be lying outside the covers to give him some clue as to who was trespassing in his bed.
It would be all right if Silva had passed out before having sex. If he’d merely had some sexual excursion, he’d survive that as well. He could shuffle his sex partner out of the room as quickly as he could and get to the nearest tattoo hut after his shift. They should have a spell to get rid of it…if he’d only had sex. He would never ask for another thing in life if the person in his bed had joined him after he’d been tattooed. That wasn’t too much to ask for, was it?
Standing by the side of the bed, he paused and looked down at his nude body quickly. Dried semen covered his cock and he grit his teeth. So, he hadn’t passed out before he’d taken a partner. Please let it be some sordid little tryst with a complete stranger, someone who had no idea what the tattoo meant. With a quick jerk, he pulled the blankets down and stared at the handsome young man lying on the bed. Nude beige limbs curled up into a tight ball at the sudden loss of warmth. Black hair tangled around the man’s shoulders and over his waist, mixing with the light sprinkling of hair across a tanned chest. One lean arm started searching vainly for something to pull back over himself, and when nothing was recovered, a familiar broad face turned from the pillow to glare up at Silva with squinting eyes as blue as his own.
“Gimme back my covers, Silva. I’m way the hell too fucked up to deal with any sort of shit today.”
Unable to move, Silva simply stared at the small black tattoo of a sword on the man’s left cheek.
“Hey. Silva. Covers, now, or I’m making you pay for the next night out.”
“You always make me pay for the next night out, cheapskate,” Silva responded automatically, finally able to look at somewhere other than that face. He couldn’t stop his eyes from skimming down broad shoulders and a slim waist until he was looking at the rather taut ass revealed by his companion’s fetal position. He felt a bit flushed as he noted the trail of something that had dried in between two round, muscular globes and along the backs of nicely formed thighs.
How could he have?
…and he’d done it with BEY!
Bey was going to kill him.
Then again, maybe not. When it came to sex, Bey never ceased to surprise him with the variety and frequency of his encounters. And Bey had flirted with him quite a bit when they’d first known each other, so maybe he wouldn’t mind? Silva ran the idea through his head as Bey grumbled to himself and finally snagged the blanket. In seconds, Bey was a brownish gray lump in Silva’s bed, still mumbling under his breath.
“Can’t believe I didn’t wake up with Gweneth. Was so sure I’d get her last night; bridesmaids are supposed to be horny, dammit. Bet you brought me here when we were going to have a go, didn’t you? Big prude, you are, Silva. “
Never mind. In this mood, Bey was much more likely to attack first and feel guilty later. Which meant they’d fight, and they’d both end up bruised and bloody. And on top of that, Silva was going to have to find some way to get these tattoos off, soon, or they were both in more trouble than he would wish on his worst enemy.
Although, if he'd ever wanted to do this on purpose, there really wasn’t anyone else in the world that he would have chosen. He simply didn’t have the option of choosing anyone right now, and still, he’d been so drunk that he’d gone and done this. Silva had to take care of it before he endangered Bey.
First, though, he had to tell Bey what it meant.
“Bey, uh, what do you remember from last night?”
The covers moved slightly, just enough for Bey’s big aqua eyes to peer over them suspiciously. “What, did you shave my eyebrow, too? Pretty pathetic, Silva. I’m not some pretty boy who can’t take a little shaved hair.” He started chortling hoarsely as the covers dropped down and revealed his broad smile. “The way you carried on, it was like I’d killed your first born. Best damn prank I ever pulled. I never knew you were so vain.”
Silva sighed. He’d never told Bey that vanity had nothing to do with it. If they couldn’t remove the two marks, though, he might not have a choice. Bey would need to know what was going on or he wouldn’t be able to protect himself adequately. “Bey, I’m quite serious. What do you recall from last evening?”
Pushing himself up slowly at Silva’s tone, Bey scrunched up his face ridiculously as he tried to remember the previous night. Silva was hard pressed not to smile, even with how serious the situation was. How Bey had made it as far as he had with such an open face was something that had puzzled him ever since he’d known the man.
“Well…I saw you at the bar after the wedding…”
“Yes, I’m aware of that.”
Bey glared. “Hey, you’re the one asking. If you already know, what’s with the questions?”
Silva sighed at his own impatience. “My apologies. You’re absolutely right. Go ahead. I’ll hold my tongue.”
Bey humphed and started chewing at a nail as he thought a bit more. He smiled suddenly and looked at Silva’s face. “I wanted you to go shave off your beard again. Looks like I talked you into it.” He started laughing his low, grumbling laugh that seemed two octaves too low for his body. “Got your girly face on again now. Although…you wanted me to do something for you before you’d do it…” Bey rubbed his temples as he tried to remember
“For me?” Silva had assumed he’d been the one seduced in their encounter, even if he had ended up on top. Had it been the other way around? Had he been the one to pursue Bey? That couldn’t be right. There was no possible way that he’d asked Bey for sex in exchange for shaving himself.
What had it been, though, if not that?
“What the hell did you ask for?” Bey’s voice was soft, rhetorical. “We had to go somewhere for it, I remember that much, but…dammit, I can’t remember anything else!” Bey squinted up at him. “So what the hell did we do?”
Silva cleared his throat. “Well, have you looked at where you are?”
Bey looked around, his face puzzled as he saw his own bed on the opposite side of the room. His eyes rounded comically as he finally realized where he’d been sleeping. Looking down at his body, he saw his relatively clean cock and started breathing in highly dramatic relieved gasps. “Oh, you so almost got me, but you’ll have to get up a bit earlier in the morning to pull the wool over my eyes. You’re learning though! Stripping me and tossing me in your bed? I’m almost proud of you.” Bey chuckled and shook his head, groaning as the movement brought back his headache.
Silva was tempted to leave it be, but Bey really needed to know this. “Bey, it isn’t a joke. And, I don’t think you’re looking at the correct, um, end. For evidence, that is.”
Bey stared at him until Silva started to flush, the rosy color vibrant against his pale skin. Silva gestured to his own cock and Bey followed the movement, staring when he saw the remnants of Silva’s previous night on his skin. Bey stared for another minute as he tried to process the information before his eyebrows rose to his hairline. He slowly reached around and ran his hands over his ass, groping himself, and winced at what he found there.
“I don’t believe it.” Bey grumbled, still touching himself intimately as though he couldn’t quite believe what he was feeling. “There is no way we were that intimate, because if we were, I would damn well top you. You did not take me in the ass, Silva!”
“I…think I did.”
“We did not get drunk and do each other last night!” The painfully loud yell had both men wincing and holding their heads.
“The evidence would seem to contradict you.” Silva finally managed to respond.
“But…how? You’ve never liked men! And I’ve never fucking bottomed! Dammit, I don’t let people in my ass, Silva! Why the hell would I let you in there?”
Silva swallowed at the shocked, angry look on Bey’s face. His mind raced. “My girly-ass face was irresistible?”
Bey stared at him in silence before he snorted out a laugh. “Bastard.”
Relieved, Silva’s muscles unwound. If Bey was laughing about it, they’d make it through this without a fight. “I’m sorry, Bey. I honestly don’t remember what happened.”
Bey waved his hand at him. “Forget it. If we were too drunk to remember it happening, then it didn’t happen. ‘Sides, what’s a little sex between friends, huh?” His lips went up in a sensuous little smirk and Silva shifted, his muscles tightening in reaction to the smile as much as the words.
“Well, there is one other thing that you need to know about…”
“Yeah?” Bey pushed off the blanket, shoving himself to his feet and stumbling over to Silva’s washbasin. Silva growled before he could stop himself.
“Bey, why are you using my water?”
“You can’t expect me to remember to fetch my own water when I’m drunk, can you? I’ll bring you in some new water tonight.”
“That’s what you always say.” Silva shook his head in irritation. He watched as Bey bent over and splashed water on his face, completely oblivious to the fact that he was exposing his backside to the person who had, as best they could tell, been inside of it just hours before. Silva stared at the long tanned legs, tight flanks, and smooth slope of Bey’s back as the man’s shoulders rounded while he scrubbed. They’d been nude in front of each other on a daily basis, almost since they’d first met, yet suddenly, Silva felt uncomfortable looking at Bey’s naked body. He was seeing Bey’s face in his mind, flushed from arousal with his mouth open as he moaned. He could feel that sleek skin under his fingers as he gripped heavy thighs and thrust into something hot and gripping. He wanted it to be imaginary details, brought to mind by the thought of making love to Bey. Seeing the faintest of bruises on the inside of Bey’s thighs as he bent over again to scrub further, however, Silva didn’t think it was just a fantasy.
Which made it that much worse. He might have admired Bey’s looks, and enjoyed him greatly as a friend, but as a lover? He’d never even considered it. Bey was too much of a philanderer to take seriously that way, and Silva always took lovemaking seriously.
Bey stood and turned, grinning already as water droplets streamed down his tan throat, slid over his chest, and began to drip down the ripples of his stomach. Silva looked away and cleared his throat.
“Bey, you should look in the mirror,” he finally got out.
With bleary eyes that still somehow sparkled, Bey turned back around and peered at himself. “Huh. Is that a tattoo? I’ll be damned.” Blunt fingers poked at his cheek. “Hmmmm. A sword, eh? Never seen one like that.”
Turning his head back and forth, Bey looked at it from different angles. He raised his eyebrow in an inquiring look, furrowed his brows as though he was furious, then pursed his lips before Bey interrupted him.
“Bey, I know I’m going to regret asking, but what are you doing?”
“Just checking if it changes into anything. I’d hate to be scowling at some drunken idiot or making up to some barmaid and not realize the tattoo is changing into a cock or a tree or something.”
Silva closed his eyes to try and persuade himself that Bey was making any sense whatsoever before he stared at him again. “Bey, that’s ridiculous.”
“If you’d seen what Beryll’s tattoo looks like when he bends his arm, you’d understand. Trust me. Don’t think that’s going to be a problem with this one. Actually,” he looked at it carefully. “it looks kind of sexy.”
Bey looked back at him and finally noticed the matching mark on his cheek. “Oh, so we got matching tattoos, huh? Is that what has you wound so tightly? Don’t worry so much about it. It’s just a tattoo. Completely worth it if it got you to shave off that ugly bush of a beard, in my opinion.” Silva stared at him, not speaking, and he sighed. “Silva, it’s not an issue. I don’t care, all right? It’s not a theatrical tragedy to have tattoos. Or…sorry, is the tattoo bothering you? I suppose if you love your looks so much that a little shaving is a drama, then a tattoo is practically earth shattering, huh?” Bey smirked at him, his voice light and mocking. Silva knew he was trying, in his own emotionally challenged way, to ask how Silva was dealing with this.
“It’s not that, you delusional -”
A knock at the door interrupted him. “Hey, you two alive in there?”
“No! We’ve died and our decomposing bodies are gonna haunt your sorry ass for eternity, Shaan! Of course we’re fucking alive, idiot!” Bey yelled back.
“You were both so fucked up when you came in last night that I figured I’d better check! Your shift’s coming up. Thought I’d return the favor from the last time I drank myself into the ground!”
Bey and Silva looked at each other and started heading for their clothes. “We appreciate the gesture, Shaan. Our thanks,” Silva said smoothly.
Silva could hear Bey’s muffled voice as he pulled on the gray-green tunic with the blue Varlan crest. “Horny bastard.”
“He was just being thoughtful,” Silva said. Why Bey thought everyone and their mother was attempting to flirt with one or the other of them, he could never figure out. Sometimes he wondered if Bey had some special place in his brain that was solely concerned with intercourse, twenty four hours a day. He couldn’t think of how Bey still functioned and came up with so many sexual scenarios, otherwise.
Pulling his head all the way through the tunic, Bey looked at Silva as he grabbed for the heavy breeches they both wore for the cooler autumn temperatures. He smirked again before he spoke. “How do you know I wasn’t referring to you, with that prissy little thank you?”
“I know you would never refer that way to the person who might purchase you a meat pie on the way to West Gate, considering we’ve already missed breakfast.”
Bey went a little green, making Silva really think about the rich tasting, greasy dumplings they often ate, and he felt a little green himself.
“That’s all right. Keep your generosity today, Silva. Really.”
“Um, yes. Let’s skip it today. A little water sounds just perfect.”
Bey finished pulling on his leather reinforced vest and tapped his foot as he waited for Silva to finish braiding his hair. He opened the door, and as Silva walked ahead of him, Bey’s hand snuck out and slapped his bottom. Silva startled, tripped his way out the door, and only just managed to catch himself on the other side of the hallway before his head cracked into it. Bey walked by him with a laugh.
“C’mon, lover boy. If we’re late, you know the damn captain will nail our hides to the wall this time. He won’t care if we spent the night exchanging fluids or not.”
Silva looked at his retreating back and blinked. Bey was awfully pleased with himself for someone who’d found out he’d played the bottom for the first time in his life. His reaction to their intimacy had gone so much better than Silva had expected, it made him regret that Shaan had interrupted him, honestly. Perhaps things would have gone just as well once he’d told Bey what the tattoos actually meant, if he could have continued while Bey was in such a good mood. Now Silva was going to have to bring it up later, and there was no guarantee that Bey would respond so calmly to a second surprise; there was actually a good possibility that Bey would be…extremely ticked off.
Perhaps Silva should make sure they found someplace isolated before he let him know they were married.
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