Fiction~~The Last Pure Human~~Ch. 39
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Chapter 39 - The King and I
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Leero usually woke immediately to the slightest alteration in his
surroundings. One minute there was nothing but the dark edge of sleep
and the next, he was fully aware of whether he was in his own room, a
new lover’s bed, or some patch of ground where he’d camped down after
hiking around the mountain. It was a useful skill, not only in his
day-to-day work but also in avoiding Kasan pranking him when the
Prince’s brothers weren’t available to torment.
So he was having a difficult time understanding why this time, his mind and body were failing him. He couldn’t wake fully, trapped in a hazy half-sleep that was both comforting and irritating. And he had no idea where he was. His mind wouldn’t settle on one point of sensory input, skipping from the sound of someone breathing to the scent of sweat and cleaning oil to the feeling of languor in every muscle. His eyes remained firmly closed no matter what he did.
He couldn’t remember falling asleep. The last time he had awareness he’d been in the Haven looking for Max. There’d been fighting in the hallways, a group coming from either end of the hallway. Leero had been working desperately to keep the Lord King from getting skewered because every last man attacking them seemed determined to get to him, as though killing Kyoru would make the Purist cause succeed.
Nothing. Nothing until this moment. What the hell happened to Max? And Kasan? And the Lord King?
Throwing his mind back frantically now, one memory bobbed to the surface: the soft, masculine voice of Kyoru murmuring into his ear that Kasan had found Max and they were both safe. Oh thank god. Max safe, Kasan safe, and if Kyoru knew about it, he and Leero must have made it back to the Citadel, so the Lord King was safe, too.
It was strange that the sheer relief over that actually made it easier to wake himself up a little more. Enough so that he realized something else just as important: his body no longer burned. As he wasn’t dead, that could mean only one thing. His heat had ended.
He had a consort now. The breathing next to him suddenly made sense. And cataloguing the new sensations he was becoming aware of, he realized that he was also naked, with the soft pressure of service’s collar still around his neck and an unfamiliar velvety blanket underneath his body…except the feel of the mattress underneath that wasn’t completely unfamiliar. He knew it. He simply couldn’t remember where he knew if from.
With what felt like a monumental effort, Leero finally opened his eyes, staring at the far wall. It showed nothing more than a typical residential quarters, although larger than most, with a wall hanging made up to resemble a sunset above a few inset shelves. Leero recognized that hanging. That particular swirl of orange and crimson in the corner, the one that resembled a set of fangs, was unforgettable. So why couldn’t he match it up with a particular person? It should be simple. He’d seen this, and he’d seen it in a particular room. And that room belonged to…?
His mind refused to knock down the wall of mist between him and the information.
Although he could remember that this hanging did not exist in Aosh and Zonta’s room. Which meant he wasn’t lying next to Aosh or Zonta after having mated them. Thank God that disaster had been avoided.
Leero shifted, looking down at the russet fur underneath him. He spread his hand over it, petting. The blanket was so soft and silky that once he started touching it, his fingers couldn’t seem to stop. He rubbed his face against it and his nose twitched. It reeked of another male, of Leero, and of sex. And while the man’s scent was another familiar smell, he couldn’t identify it, either. It was right at the edge of his mind, like a word he couldn’t quite remember.
He couldn’t remember! This was the man he’d been spending the next couple of decades with, and he couldn’t even recall his name. Leero’s shoulders tensed up as he was reminded that the man was still there, too. Leero could feel the slight dip in the bed next to him, and the slow, steady breathing behind his head.
He had just claimed a person he didn’t even know, might not even like, let alone care about. Leero swallowed his disappointment. Yes, so he wasn’t going to have some grand romance like Kasan was. Or like Tisu and Roto. Or Nolluz and Neera. Or probably like Aosh and Zonta and their consorts, because the entire family seemed unfairly blessed in their choice of consorts.
It didn’t matter. It wasn’t even unusual; a lot of couples started out their mating previously unknown to each other, or near enough. It wasn’t the end of the world. Finding someone Leero would be willing to join with after their mating hadn’t been a practical wish. Or even likely. He’d live through his heats, his consort would live, and that was, after all, the important part.
Leero lay still, swallowing painfully, because while being alive was the goal, he’d harbored a small, faint hope that he could be alive and damn well happy with a partner who he’d connected with. The chances of that happening now, with a stranger…
He shoved aside that type of thinking; it wasn’t as though it would change anything. He had a consort, so he’d learn to coexist with him.
Maybe it would be best if he could at least remember a little of last night. Starting out one’s mated life by admitting that you have no memory of the event might not be the best way to go about it.
Leero blinked slowly and worked through what he did remember. He and Kyoru had been in the Haven, searching for Max. That was the clearest memory he had. He remembered fighting in hallway after hallway, running and stumbling into battles that never seemed to end as Purists crawled out of the woodwork to attack in endless swarms.
They’d been separated from the others; he remembered that, too. It had been so damned hard to keep Kyoru from getting skewered. Leero’s heat had been raging, worse after every attack until he was more a liability to the Lord King than a comrade in arms.
There’d been one last attack. Leero remembered standing in the hallway, covered in blood that didn’t belong to him, burning, falling to his knees. He’d spiked, badly and early. But what happened next?
Kyoru talking to him? Helping him to his feet, he thought he remembered that, and Kyoru asking him where he’d been hurt. The rest was a blur. He knew he’d completed his heat, but he couldn’t remember with whom. He couldn’t remember making it back into the Citadel. He couldn’t even remember the sex…
No, actually, that wasn’t quite true. Leero flushed, staring at the wall and remembering, yes, a definite feeling of lips against his mouth and eyes that were so dark brown they were almost black. He remembered how frantic he’d felt, desperate for a release.
And with that, he stopped worrying about who his consort was and began to worry about exactly what his mating had been like.
How many times had Leero heard stories of the quick matings that happened in the middle of some catastrophe or battle? They were generally rougher, sometimes violent. Extremely violent. It wasn’t unheard of for a consort to be injured.
What if he’d hurt his consort? God, what if he’d jumped some barely-ripe kitling? Even if his consort could forgive the poor beginning, Leero had a hard time imagining life with someone young and sweet who needed coddling. Leero didn’t coddle, which is why Kasan should have known to keep Max-who-needed-coddling away from Leero before the Greeting in the first place.
Leero had hoped for someone who could offer support when the burden of being the alternate War Leader grew heavy. He wanted someone who could match him, who wasn’t intimidated when Leero was furious and lashing out. He wanted to have something to offer his consort, as well, and he didn’t think he had anything to give to someone, well, someone like Max. What could Leero give to someone that needy? It wasn’t a responsibility he wanted to take on.
But what if he had?
Leero cringed, his ears flat. Only one way to find out. With a swallow, Leero rolled over in bed to see who he was stuck with.
Kyoru stared back at him. Leero reached up and rubbed at his eyes before looking again. Leaning on one elbow, head supported on his palm and nude body sprawled elegantly beside Leero, the Lord King looked right back, with the addition of a slightly amused smile.
Leero nearly strangled on his own tongue. “Lord King?”
“Hmmm?” Kyoru reached out and brushed some hair off of Leero’s forehead.
A small shiver twisted through Leero’s body; the touch felt far more familiar than it had any right to. “I…Uh…” Leero looked around the room again. Yes, this was the Lord King’s room. The furry blanket was new. How he could have forgotten the damned wall hanging that he’d stared at while drowning in lust during his heat, however, he couldn’t even fathom. But he shouldn’t be here. His service was supposed to be postponed for at least a few days after he mated. He should be with his consort, not here.
How the hell did he find a polite way to make that clear to the Lord King?
Kyoru’s mouth quirked up higher. “I take it from your expression that you are somewhat confused as to why you’re here?”
Leero nodded carefully. “I know that Max was found-”
“I thought you were aware enough when we heard the news,” Kyoru said quietly. His hand ran over Leero’s head again and Leero suppressed the urge to fidget. Kyoru was very tactile in ways that weren’t appropriate right now at all. “Kasan sent word. He found the little one out in the forest. Max had already escaped by the time they got there. I suppose he’s just as slippery to catch in a prison as he is in a greeting Room.”
Leero managed a smile, but Kyoru’s hand had drifted over to smooth down the velvet of his collar and Leero swallowed uncomfortably. He was getting an erection and there was simply no way to hide it.
Consort. Leero should be focusing on his consort, not getting turned on by the Lord King and long fingers. “My heat…”
“You can’t remember?” Kyoru sounded far more amused by that than sympathetic.
Leero shook his head. He worked to keep from grinding his teeth. He still wore the collar; he couldn’t be too rude or demanding, as much as he very much wanted to demand that Kyoru tell him what was going on right now.
“We didn’t make it out of the Haven before your heat spiked. You went feral after the last skirmish.” Leero flinched. Kyoru said it so casually! “Although you took down four men all by yourself; it was quite impressive. Make a good tale to tell during this year’s Battle.”
“What happened?” If he went feral, he would have attacked anyone. He could have abandoned Kyoru to hunt down another to take as a consort, or even…God, had he taken one of the Purists? Was that why they weren’t together? His consort was being held somewhere?
Kyoru’s hand began to rub his ears and Leero relaxed automatically. “Don’t worry, no one was harmed. I think you’ll be the talk of the guards for a while, though. I barricaded us inside a room and the guards heard you yowling halfway across the haven. That’s how they knew where to look.” Kyoru chuckled.
The fact that Leero hadn’t abandoned his responsibilities to Kyoru lifted a huge burden Leero hadn’t even realized was on him. And guards were good. If the guards had found them, hopefully that meant that at least his consort was someone he knew. Except that still didn’t explain why he wasn’t with his consort. He knew Kyoru liked to tease, but this didn’t seem the time, so what the hell was going on?
“Wait, did I hurt my consort?” Were they with one of the healers? Only a few Kyashin went so feral, so fast, that they would attack anything that moved. Had he been that far gone? “Where is…he? Or she…is it a male or female?”
“Male,” Kyoru said. He seemed amused all over again. “And no, you definitely didn’t hurt your partner. Although you had to be held down at first. Things were a bit exciting for a while.”
Leero’s body began to sweat. He’d had to be held down during part of his mating? God, how wild had he been? He needed to know. Collar etiquette be damned. He’d deal with the Elders if Kyoru called him on it. “Please, Kyoru, where’s my consort? Do you know him?”
Kyoru leaned forward into Leero’s space and smiled slowly. His tongue darted out and licked the tip of Leero’s nose. “Right. Here.”
Leero blinked at him stupidly. Kyoru continued to grin...no, to smirk, as he continued speaking softly next to Leero’s head. “You’re quite strong, you know. It took a fair amount of effort to keep you pinned.”
Leero’s head was already beginning to shake. “No, you said the guards found us. The guards heard me. We didn’t-”
“I’m not surprised they heard you. You’re surprisingly loud when you climax, Leero. I had no idea.” Kyoru grinned again. “Although I suppose we’ll have a few years to explore that.”
Leero choked. This could not be happening. It was a joke. The Lord King was pulling one of his well-known pranks. “You would never…” Kyoru raised an eyebrow and Leero halted. “You topped during your first heat!”
“Then how do you expect me to believe that we’re, that we’re mated now? I would have to bottom for it to even work, and no one ever bottoms during their heat! I would never bottom during my heat!”
Kyoru nodded solemnly, but his eyes still twinkled and his ears didn’t match the nod at all. “The urge is usually to top, yes, but it’s not necessary, simply…a challenge to overcome. You weren’t happy about bottoming. At least until you had my cock inside you, and then I managed to change your mind.”
Leero scrambled upright, mouth agape. He didn’t believe he’d ever heard Kyoru use the term ‘cock’ in his entire life, and the sudden use of it, combined with the fact that he was talking about Leero’s ass made it all the more shocking. No and no and no again. He couldn’t have.
Leero suddenly frowned as a memory surfaced, not completely, but just enough to remember snarling, trapped on his stomach with someone on top of him as he was breached. He could feel himself arching against the large body covering his. He could almost hear the soft murmurs as he growled and fought. And he could remember how often the fighting resembled arching into the thick length pounding into him because it had felt so damned good…
“Oh my dear god.”
Kyoru laughed out loud. Leero backed up on the bed, putting some space between them.
“Calm yourself, Leero.” Kyoru sat up slowly, making no sudden moves. “I wish it had gone differently; mating like this wasn’t exactly what I’d been hoping for. But there truly was no one else. It took hours before some of the guards came and helped me get you back to my room.”
“But we- I-” The Lord King was his mate! That meant Leero was his - “I’ll make a terrible consort!”
Kyoru snorted. “And why’s that?”
“I can’t…I don’t bottom!”
Kyoru shook his head, laughing again. “I beg to differ. You bottom very well.”
Leero glared at him. “You know what I mean.” Leero didn’t like to bottom. He’d tried it when he’d ripened, almost everyone did, but he hadn’t been all that impressed. And now…every time his heat spiked he’d be bottoming!
“I do, and again, don’t worry. You enjoyed it quite a bit; the heat helps with that.”
Leero frowned. Would it really? He did seem to remember the feeling as so damn good he could barely stand it, but “This is never going to work out,” he muttered.
“I wouldn’t say that. It’s been quite a long time since I topped another male, but trust me, you have nothing to be ashamed of, Leero.”
“I’m not ashamed! The sex is not the point! I- You’re the Lord King! I’m not even a close part of the family!”
“You’ve been one of us for years, Leero. It’s just official, now.” Kyoru smiled at him so fondly that Leero swallowed what he was going to say.
Leero couldn’t express what was wrong, because it was all wrong! Not only were the physical aspect of things impossible to deal with, Kyoru was Kasan’s father. He was the Lord King. And Leero had no desire to be a consort!
Kyoru shifted closer so he could reach out and rub his hand over Leero’s head. Leero felt the touch snake down into his belly again. He shifted back and felt a residual slipperiness in between the cheeks of his ass. He couldn’t believe it when he felt heat on his face.
He was blushing? He did not damn well blush!
Kyoru smiled and licked the tip of his nose again.
“Don’t worry. This will work out just fine.”
“Jolan and the others are going to-”
“My sons can keep their opinions to themselves. They’re adults, even if they’ve been working hard not to act like it lately.” Kyoru’s voice suddenly dropped an octave into his ‘I mean business’ voice and Leero hated that his cock noticed and wholly approved of that low, deep tone.
Dammit! Leero wanted to protest how wrong this was, because of all the scenarios he’d envisioned, this had never even come close. But it probably wasn’t something Kyoru had wanted either. Trapped in a room with a feral, the only option would have been to submit or top Leero himself. And Kyoru’s nanites were already fixed from his first heat. If Kyoru had bottomed, Leero’s nanites wouldn’t have been able to connect properly with Kyoru’s. Leero would be dead.
Kyoru had made a huge sacrifice for him. Leero just wished he could feel grateful for it rather than wanting to punch Kyoru in the mouth to get rid of the wide grin on the man’s face.
Kyoru smiled again, inching closer. “We’ll do well together, Leero. Trust me.”
Leero nodded shortly. Clamping his lips over any other words, he glanced down at his chest, wondering for a moment why the sight of it struck him as wrong. “Wait…where’s my mark?” His adrenaline shot up as he searched frantically for it.
Kyoru chuckled again, closing in. Leero felt a hand clamp over his ass. “Where do you think it is, kitling?” He patted it fondly and moved toward the end of the bed. “Now, enough dawdling. Time to get up. And remember to wear something appropriately revealing. There were enough matings yesterday that we’re holding a mass Greeting this morning.”
Leero cursed out loud as he felt his face get hot again.
And Kyoru started laughing again until Leero snarled and got up to try and find the bulkiest loincloth he could, hopefully one that might cover his entire ass. Max’s use of the winter tunics was looking more and more like a good idea.
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