Hunger, Part II

"I beg your pardon?" A fortnight and a half later, Serine was sitting in her drawing room, reading a book when Tally came rushing in with the latest gossip. It was sooner than Serine had expected.

"Lord Aclesie has lost all his finances, miss!" Tally panted, her hair poking out from her hat, her large bosom heaving. Her cheeks were flushed from exertion and her hands were bunching in her skirts. "No one knows how, but he lost his great estate today. He and his family are moving in with his mother-in-law some ways away. His mother-in-law has been snarling at everyone to leave him alone. He's been in a daze and – Lady, where are you going?" Serine went running past her, snatching her cloak.

"I'll be back later!" Serine called, jerking the door open, slamming it shut behind her.

X

Gavriel was frowning down at some papers when his door was thrown open, causing him to raise his eyes mildly at the brisk female in the doorway. He felt a stirring in his groin at her disheveled appearance. It was apparent that she had hastened to come to see him. Her hair was wind-blown, her cheeks a bit pink, and her clothes were mussed up a bit. She strode to his desk, her face stern. His eyes narrowed, wondering how she could be disappointed in him. He had just brought a financial crisis upon Aclesie.

"Lady Serine," he steadily said in a cold, indifferent voice. She hesitated. "What brings you barging in on my privacy?" She turned from his desk, pacing a bit, before whipping around.

"How did you do it?" She demanded at last, moving towards his desk again. "I expected it to take a lot longer than this, but you accomplished it not even in three weeks! Three weeks!" Seeing the impression he made on her, he relaxed. So she wasn't disappointed. She was impressed. He stood, going to the door and quietly shutting it. When he turned, she was still standing at his desk, though now she looked anxious and impatient.

"I have a great many territories under my rule, Lady," he informed her, advancing towards her, step after slow step. "Powerful territories. I am the Law to them. I have power that can overrule other territories. It was a matter of taking care of Aclesie's feeble land and wiping out all the finances he had in his hands. The matter of the money he had put away was not a problem. My man of business easily took care of that. With a little bribery, we extracted the information we needed and took the last money that Aclesie had to his name." He was now only a foot away from her, but she didn't seem to notice. She appeared baffled at his explanation.

"That still should have taken longer!" She sputtered.

"I dislike stalling," he replied easily, his smile cold and seductive. Her eyebrows snapped down in suspicion and she huffed, turning from him with a thoughtful, but wary expression.

"Well. You did a good job. I should have expected so from a man like you." His mind shut down at her words, which were meant as a compliment, though he took it as an insult. His eyes darkened until they were almost black and his voice dropped to a dangerous murmur.

"A man like me?" He repeated softly. She turned to look at him, noticing the change of tone and appeared confused by his change of demeanor.

"Yes," she answered carefully, sensing the danger in provoking him. "You're deceitfully clever and very..." She made a gesture with her hand and yelped when his hand caught her wrist in a deathlike grip. It wasn't enough to snap her wrist, though. Not unless he wanted to, that is. He leaned forward and she leaned back against the desk, her breathing reduced to shallow wisps. She had been threatened, slapped, and a number of other things in her life. She was used to it. But those eyes...

"And very what, Lady Serine?" He growled out, his eyes sharp and narrow. She swallowed and his eyes flickered from her face for a moment. Something moved in his eyes that, at first glance, she hadn't been able to interpret. Another look made relief flood over her. She couldn't deal with his cold anger (whatever had upset him, anyway?) That flicker of desire, on the other hand, she could handle better. She didn't want to because he frightened her, but she would if only to keep her alive.

Hoping she wouldn't make matters worse, Serine leaned into him, making his eyes lock onto hers. She wetted her lips and raised her free, trembling hand to his shoulder, bringing her mouth up over his. For a moment, nothing. In that moment, panic seized her, until the grip on her wrist loosened and she was crushed to him and his mouth molded to hers. Her head spun at the assault on her mouth, on her senses. His tongue dove in, teasing her, taunting her. She moaned lightly, lifting her tongue in reaction, flicking at his playfully. She had never liked the games in bed she'd played with her husband. She'd never liked any games or moments in bed with any man. Until now.

Gavriel's hands glided along her hips, up her arms to bury in her soft locks, clamping down to keep her in place, to warn her not to try and escape. But escape was the last thing on Serine's mind. She wanted more of his touch. She pressed herself against his solid body, liking the warm feel of him, reveling in the feel of a male's body against hers since a long while ago when she'd last been in bed with her husband and had gotten pregnant.

One of Gavriel's hands released her hair and returned to her hip, guiding her on the desk and then slid beneath her gown to her inner thigh. He released her mouth and for once, she didn't see a coldness in his eyes, but smoldering desire. Her breath hitched briefly, seeing that in his eyes. It was a nice change to see a man actually want her. It was nice that a man wanted her not because of his duty as a husband, but because she was attractive. She let out a squeak when Gavriel nipped at the flesh of her neck with his fangs. His hand slid to the center of her legs, his thumb kneading her soft nubbin. A moan slipped from her lips and he let out a breathy, dark chuckle against her throat, his fingers exploring her throbbing womanhood. She writhed against his hand as he slid past the flimsy garment covering her, thrusting his fingers inside her wet interior.

"I am more than just a killer," he breathed in her ear. "I could show you another side of me that no one else is willing to see." Her eyelashes fluttered to meet his eyes. A flash of something crossed his eyes, but the lust smothered it.

"Yes..." She whispered as his mouth descended on hers, meeting hers hungrily. Just when he would have given her release to the beautiful pain she was feeling, a sharp knock sounded on the door. Gavriel hissed something beneath his breath.

"Lusvitz," he grumbled, drawing away from her reluctantly. She swallowed, quickly smoothing over her grown, calming her screaming nerves that were demanding her to tell him to ignore the knock. Apparently he could not ignore the person outside the door. "It appears we'll be needing to finish this another time, Lady."

"Yes...It does appear so." She slid from the desk, shame and fear washing over her. What was I thinking? This man would destroy me in a second if it suited him, if he simply felt like it. Do I really want to go to bed with a man that is capable of killing me a moment afterward? No. No! I will do no such thing, no matter what my body is telling me. "Or not at all." He glanced at her coldly.

"Oh?" He sounded bored, but she knew what that dark glitter in his eyes meant. He was getting pissed off.

"You had better attend to your visitor," Serine quickly said before fleeing, jerking the door open and shoving past a startled man. Because I won't tangle with someone like you, Lord Gavriel. Not in the bedroom, not in anything other than business.

X

Serine lay awake in bed that night, thinking of the day's events. Gavriel had successfully finished the first step in their plan. The most difficult step in their plan. The next four steps would be simple for him. Killing Aclesie's wife, daughter and son. Then, the last step, killing Aclesie would be just as easy. But why did she feel uneasy?

Because I still don't know what had set him off today, she thought, turning to her side. I didn't intend 'a man like you' to be meant as a slur. I was actually trying to compliment him. Apparently he took it differently. And then my actions today... She closed her eyes, thinking of how wantonly she had reacted. Why am I so attracted to him? I should fear him! And I do...Well, at times, I do. I know what he's capable of, but I've never actually been so frightened that I would want to run from him. She let out a sigh of frustration. "This is absolutely ridiculous!" She snapped at herself, burying her face in her pillow. I only need him for a while longer. Then our correspondence can end. With that comforting thought, she slipped into a needed slumber.

X

Lusvitz made a steeple with his fingers, hiding his dry smile, only exposing his blank, light jade eyes, following each movement that his companion made. The majority of the time, he never attended to Gavriel when he was doing one of his dirty jobs. However, he had noticed the irritation in his friend today – he rarely ever was able to sense an emotion about him – and so he went with him to keep him company. Every time that Lusvitz did watch a life being taken by Ganrion's unofficial assassin, he was never unimpressed. It was always clean and never crudely done. But it was painful. That was all that mattered for Gavriel.

"Mm. These three are done," Gavriel said at last, satisfied. He chuckled darkly at the mutilated corpses before him. Lusvitz kept his eyes fixed on his friend, afraid he'd start hurling if he looked. Gavriel wiped his hands on a dark kerchief, then wiped the instruments that he had used for his cheerful escapade. "Aclesie is all that's left." Lusvitz's emerald eyes sharpened as brief bitterness shot through Gavriel's cobalt eyes.

"Then we'd better be leaving," Lusvitz said quietly, getting to his feet, pushing his straggly hair back from his face. "I don't want to linger here." Gavriel let out a sharp, dry cackle of laughter, his eyes glinting darkly. Lusvitz shuddered at the malevolent look on his face. He knew well enough what kind of person Gavriel was, but for a moment, when he had seen those two emotions flash through him today, he had thought the glacial temperatures covering him might be melting. Apparently he'd been wrong.

"You needn't worry, Lusvitz. I'm putting a timed shield here. No one will be able to get through it, not with how powerful my Being is." He smiled coolly, stepping out of the room and flicking his hand casually, as though getting rid of something. Lusvitz felt the dark shield go up. Everyone would know who had put that shield up; and everyone would know who had killed Aclesie's family. If their minds were fast enough, they might even realize Aclesie was next. The only thing they wouldn't know is why Gavriel was suddenly singling out Aclesie.

"...Did you have to torture them like that, Gavriel? Was it necessary?"

"I was paid for a long, torturous death and that is what I will give for such a handsome price as what I was paid." Seeing the dark shadow passing over his face, Lusvitz had a feeling that Gavriel's irritated mood earlier had been because of Lady Serine.

"When was the last time you spoke to Lady Serine?" Lusvitz queried casually as they sauntered down the darkened road, heading to Gavriel's manor. They could have taken the carriage, but Gavriel hadn't wanted his carriage seen and have someone come investigate. Since Aclesie was out in one of the gaming hells, Gavriel had snagged the chance readily. He always invited Lusvitz, hoping his sadism might rub off on his world-weary friend.

"Not since the day you interrupted us," Gavriel answered in an apathetic tone, making Lusvitz's cheek twitch. He continuously reminded his friend that they had an appointment that morning. It was his own fault for choosing to seduce the woman at the wrong time. Gavriel had pointed out that it was the other way around, which Lusvitz totally disregarded and had labeled as a lie.

"...So I take it she's not coming back?"

"Obviously," he grumbled in a sullen tone. "The one chance I obtain to getting a woman in bed and it slips out of my hands. Damn it!" Lusvitz sent him an amused look, smirking. "You think it's humorous?"

"Yes," Lusvitz responded after a quick pause. He wouldn't have teased Gavriel if he had known there was a possibility of his head getting torn off. Luckily, though, it appeared Gavriel was more frustrated with Lady Serine than with Lusvitz's amusement, so he had a time to spare to act as though they were careless friends like anyone else. "You must like her quite a bit if you're getting so upset." Gavriel's lip curled in a sneer, before he fell into a passive silence, his eyes narrowed. Lusvitz smiled lightly and buried his hands in his pockets, acknowledging the silence. He had always known that Lady Serine would be something of a problem for even Gavriel, the infamous sadistic, unofficial assassin. No one would bother to screw with Gavriel, though it seemed the lady was unintentionally doing so now and in the process, getting one very powerful man wound up with sexual tension.

"I think I'll pay Lady Serine a visit," Gavriel announced in a purr, a silky smile sliding onto his lips. Lusvitz shook his head, his lips twitching upward.

"I'll see you tomorrow, then, my friend. I suspect you won't be home tonight."

"Let's hope so."

X

Serine heard a tapping at her door, but ignored it, continuing to run her brush through her hair absently. She was in her light, silk lavender nightgown that stopped above her knee and her matching silk robe. She didn't care if it was the Royalty of Ganrion outside her door. She was too absorbed in her thoughts – which were nothing if not naughty – to even care who wanted to see her. The tapping became more insistent and her light eyebrows snapped down in irritation. Setting her brush down, she slipped her dainty feet into her slippers and flung the door open. Tally was there, eyes wide with fright. "What's wrong?" Serine demanded, frowning in worry.

"G-guest...d-door..." Tally sputtered incomprehensibly. Throwing up her hands, Serine swept past her, her eyes cool. She glided down the stairs to the drawing room where the door was cracked open and the light of candles peered through. She flung the doors back, glaring at the "guest" and choked on the snarl that had risen in her throat. She was grabbed and the doors slapped shut by an invisible force.

"What in..." She trailed off, staring up in the dark, alluring face of her "business associate": Gavriel.

"I have some things to speak to you about."

Her confidence regained at hearing him speak, she angrily commanded, "Release me at once!" Her own irritation at being attracted to the latter had been grinding on her nerves. She was in no mood to be disagreed with, much less by the object of her recent exotic dreams.

"I'd rather not." Her eyes blazed and she slammed the palm of her hand into his chest, blowing power into him, jerking him back a couple feet. His eyes became two black pieces of coal. "Very well." With a flick of a finger, she went hurtling into the wall, her head knocking against the hard surface. She let out a scream of fury, whipping her arm towards him, startling him at the sheer force of the power. He flew off his feet, colliding hard with one of the tables. Glass glasses shattered on the floor. He dug his fingers into the table, his nails digging into the mahogany, snapping into it. He lifted the table and slammed it down on the ground.

"Get out!" She snarled.

"Well, I was considering it earlier," he said softly, his eyes blazing with dark fury. His face was a cold, cold mask. Serine knew whom she was playing with, but she didn't care anymore. She refused to be taken to bed simply because she had made a mistake. She refused to be controlled by a man again. She no longer gave a damn who it was that she was facing. He'd think twice about underestimating her. "Now, however, I don't think I will leave. In fact, I don't think you'll be leaving this room." He raised a hand and shot a burst of violet light towards her. She let out a frustrated scream as the light curled around her throat, choking her, lifting her up as he raised his hand inch by inch. She thrashed and then formed the same kind of nonexistent object with a white light, slashing through his energy.

He wasn't able to recover as she threw an angry gust of energy to him, slamming him against the wall. Damn it, he hissed silently. I've never known anyone strong enough to fight against me, let alone get out of the grips of my power. Serine raised her arm for another slash of power, but he held up a hand, snapping, "Stop!" She paused, glaring at him suspiciously. He got to his feet, clenching his fists. "We've already done enough damage to your drawing room, don't you think?" She didn't remove her eyes from his face, but she did lower her arm.

"Granted," she agreed reluctantly, her eyes narrowed on him. "Leave."

"Once I tell you what I need to, I will," he ground out as calmly as he could manage. He took a step towards her and she immediately was on guard again. "Relax," he drawled, "I haven't any ulterior motive."

"...Go on and tell me what you must."

"Aclesie's family is dead. He is last." Her hostile expression didn't alter at first, then it softened into the curious, delighted expression he was more accustomed to. He felt his nerves settle. For once in a long time, she had had him on edge. Her Being was strong, her power extreme. That she had survived against him and was able to throw in her own punches was proof enough that he should begin to be wary of her. She was much, much stronger than she let on to be. He suspected it was her lifestyle that had assisted in this.

"Indeed?" Serine's lips curved slightly in a half-smile. "Excellent. And they suffered?"

"In the extreme," he replied coolly.

"Excellent," she repeated, her face lit up. "So Aclesie is last."

"Yes."

"This is all you had to tell me?"

"This is all I came here for," he corrected with a cold look her way. Her face dropped at the frost in his voice and she shuffled uncomfortably, then cast him a quick, cynical look. He could tell that she was checking him to see if he was about to kill her for her actions against him. He didn't know what had set her off, but it didn't matter. This wasn't a woman he wanted to tangle with. Not when his reputation was so nicely devised. No one dared to bother him and he liked it that way.

"I apologize, then, for..." Her gaze strayed to something on his shoulder. "Oh. I'm so sorry..." He glanced at his shoulder and saw he was lightly bleeding from where glass had cut him.

"I'll be leaving now," he said dismissively.

"But – " He sent her a single, malicious look that warned her away. He passed her towards the door and she followed him to the door, saying quietly, "I overreacted and I'm sorry for it."

"Indeed," was his uninterested reply.

"...Right. Well." She shrugged and opened the door for him, her gaze lingering on his face before lowering. A stirring in him made him curse inwardly. Even after she had gone lunatic after him and he was still aroused by the sight of her. Then again, she was in her nightwear and her robe had been half torn off her petite form.

"Just what the hell set you off?" He asked neutrally. She grimaced, glancing at him.

"It doesn't matter."

"You attacked me. I think that counts it as mattering." Her head bobbed in reluctant agreement.

"I'm afraid I'll..." Her face reddened and he stared at her blankly for a moment, before a slow smirk curled his lips upward. He removed her limp hand from the doorknob and he snapped the door closed, crowding her close to the door, her back bumping against it. He curled a finger and tucked it under her chin, tilting her face up. He made a quick observation of her features and seeing that she wasn't going to go berserk again, he leaned down, kissing her softly. Then he kissed her hard, his hands sliding into her silken, mussed up curls. Her hands curled around the lapels of his coat and she leaned up into him, much shorter than he.

"Bedroom," he rumbled roughly. "Where's the damn bedroom?" She gestured vaguely and he lifted her up into his arms, following her absent gesturing. He kicked the door shut with his boot and then slid her on the bed, his hand moving up her thigh. She squeaked and his eyes glittered as he slid down.

She blinked as his hands coaxed her legs apart. She flushed when she peered down, seeing his head there. She dropped back, moaning as he kissed her there. His tongue outlined her nubbin, before plunging inside her soft interior. She arched up, pressing his head closer. He came back up, his fingers replacing his tongue, sliding into her womanhood, probing and caressing. With his other hand he slid her robes off her shoulders and eased her nightgown off, exposing her breasts. He nuzzled her nipple, his tongue darting out to tease it. A strangled sound erupted from her lips he chuckled, removing his fingers, drawing back.

Serine's eyes followed him as he leisurely removed his clothes. She watched him with her tentative curious expression, muffling the hunger in her eyes. When the last garment was tossed off with a wiggle of his hips, her cheeks reddened at the bulk between his legs. He chuckled and eased the rest of her gown off, his hands gliding beneath her buttocks, drawing her forward. She drew her hips upward eagerly, but he drew back, making her send him a petulant look. He chuckled and thrust his rigid cock inside her, lifting her legs to circle his waist.

He slammed himself into her wet, silky womanhood and buried his face in Serine's shoulder, groaning as her walls pulsed around him, as she moaned and breathed in his ear. More, a grinding voice demanded inside of him. Growling, his hastened his pace, bucking against her. She let out startled, but not displeased, cry as his head collided with her cervix. He leaned back to meet her gaze with hers, briefly, as his stomach rolled. He had never felt so alive, sexually and otherwise. With a vicious grunt, Gavriel drew his hips forward sharply, feeling the climax near. One more time and she clenched around him. He stifled his shout by kissing her as he spilled himself inside of her.

A sigh of relief and satisfaction escaped her lips when he drew away from her. She curled against him, sated, her legs tangling with his. He brushed his lips over her temple, closing his eyes as exhaustion from the night's events settled over him, lulling him to sleep.

X

"Good morning," Lusvitz greeted Gavriel as he strolled into his office. His shoulders drooped slightly, seeing the familiar cold expression on his face. Gavriel offered the slightest of smiles to him, one that he was also familiar with. Somehow, he had thought that if Gavriel had enjoyed a night with Lady Serine, that he would be different. What a foolish thought. Gavriel was what he was. He had been abused, betrayed, taunted into madness. That madness had brought destruction to innocent people. Now he was a cold husk with a bad temper that was easily provoked, a seducing body, and a sadistic mind. Nothing could change who he was. Perhaps Lusvitz had just been hoping to see the child in his friend.

"Good morning," Gavriel replied pleasantly enough, settled behind his desk. "Has an uproar begun yet?"

"There was, but it was quieted. No one would dare go against you, you know that." Gavriel steepled his fingers, peering at Lusvitz over the tips, recalling Serine's furious attack on him the night before. Granted, it led to a very pleasant ending, but that didn't mean her power didn't make him uneasy.

"No one but a certain Lady Serine," the latter responded at last in a neutral tone. Lusvitz's face transformed into a politely puzzled expression. "She attacked me last night."

"...I beg your pardon?"

"She attacked me and did it well." Gavriel's eyes narrowed slightly as he continued in a solemn tone, "Her power didn't seem like much at first, but only because she was just a bit ticked off. With her anger, though, her power increases. Her Being becomes stronger and more defiant. She managed to throw me into a table and a wall. When I tried strangling her with my energy, she slipped out of it."

"Is she as strong or stronger than you?"

"Neither. I wouldn't advise pissing her off, though, because that seems to be the only way her power increases." Lusvitz's head bobbed in understanding.

"So, besides that, what else happened?" Gavriel lowered his hands and a smile curled his lips upward.

"Whatever do you mean?"

"Don't try to act innocent, because you're far from it," Lusvitz said with a scowl. "Did you get in bed with her?" One of Gavriel's smooth eyebrows rose, his smirk fixed in place.

"Of course," he answered simply. Lusvitz gazed at him, waiting. Then he frowned, seeing that his friend wasn't going to add any further details. And that was odd. Gavriel and him had always recounted their "conquests" when they next saw each other. It was strange that, out of all the times (being a time that Lusvitz was particularly interested,) Gavriel suddenly wasn't going to tell him anything more than a simple "of course."

"I see." Lusvitz continued to frown at him and Gavriel met his gaze steadily, something other than aloofness in those eyes of his. Gavriel's mouth tightened, as though begging him to understand why he couldn't elaborate on the topic. "I apologize, my friend, but I'm not comprehending. We are open with each other, so why will you not speak?" Gavriel sat back, drumming his fingers on the desk, and then dropped his hand, leaning forward again, his arms resting on the desk.

"I can't say," he answered slowly. Then he sighed, passing a hand over his face. "Lusvitz, this woman is confounding."

"Indeed?"

"Yes."

"How so?"

"...I like her too much." There was a pause that Lusvitz stared at him in bemusement, before sputtering out words that didn't really make any sense. "Don't jump to conclusions. It's nothing like that. I want to be with her, though. She's the least annoying woman I've met in my entire existence and can deal with me adequately."

"You want to marry her?" Lusvitz managed out, his jaw dropping slightly. In all his life, Gavriel had not once been interested in a woman that way. He sneered at Lusvitz when he had married and had sneered again when Lusvitz discovered his infidelity. He had then taken to using Lusvitz's failed marriage as a reminder that marriage was ridiculous and women weren't to be trusted. But then again, Lady Serine was different than any ordinary woman. Anyone with two eyes and half a brain in their head could see that.

"I never said that. I merely said I wanted to be with her. She's interesting." Lusvitz shook his head in response, muttering something underneath his breath.

"Fine. Whatever you want. In any case, you have one last problem to deal with. Or were you tpo entranced to notice?"

"First, I was not entranced," Gavriel pointed out, holding up a finger before extending another, saying, "Second, I have not forgotten." He smirked, his fangs peeping out from beneath his lips. "I'll be taking care of that scum very soon. Very soon..."

X

Serine yawned delicately as she headed for bed. It had been a little over a week since she'd last heard from Gavriel, which was the morning she had woken up to find him beside her. She wasn't worried, nor upset that he hadn't contacted her. She liked him, certainly, for his strength, looks, and wisdom, but that didn't mean she loved him. Well, she hoped not. She wasn't sure that falling in love with the most sadistic man in the kingdoms would be a wise decision. Serine sighed as she blew out her candle and snuggled into her bedcovers.

No, she agreed silently with herself, it wouldn't be good if I loved him. He's a hard enough man to like, let alone love. She bit her lip, her heart pounding angrily in her chest. I wish I didn't feel this way about him. I made a mistake going to bed with him. I made a mistake ever paying him for killing Aclesie. I should have done it myself when I had the chance, after he killed my son. She shook her head and buried deeper in the covers. I don't know what to think anymore. What's right or wrong or anything...

X

The next day as Serine strolled down the road with Tally beside her, she saw a large, roaring crowd of people up ahead. She frowned and left her servant, lifting her skirts and hurrying forward, pushing herself through. When she saw the sight in the house - which had been vacant for a good many years – her eyes widened at the sight of what was left of Aclesie. He was some kind of thing that had been cleanly hacked away of its vital parts and of what made him recognizable. She shuddered and backed away, out of the crowds. He did a good job, she thought, moving towards where she had left Tally. I have never seen the result of Gavriel's...services...but this is something.

Glancing up, Serine frowned, seeing Tally was gone. As soon as that realization came, an arm slid around her waist and she glanced up to see Gavriel coolly observing the crowd surrounding the house. "Was that to your liking?" He queried softly in a voice that sounded bored.

"Yes," she answered quietly. "Thank you." He nodded curtly. She noticed that he was almost avoiding looking at her and she wondered what. He was acting strangely, she decided. Stranger than usual, anyway.

"Then you may do something for me."

"I paid you a sufficient – "

"Oh, I'm not forcing you into this," he interrupted, raising his eyebrows mildly, glancing to her. "It's simple. I want you as my wife." She gawked at him in surprise before letting out a shaky laugh.

"Don't be ridiculous. I don't want to marry..."

"I, on the other hand, do."

"But...it just...it doesn't work that way." He sent her a look that indicated he was getting impatient and exasperated with her. "I don't want – "

"Usually," he cut in with a hard look in his eyes, "when two people are...fond...of each other, they think of getting married."

"When you say fond..." She prodded, looking at him curiously. He frowned at her mutely, making it clear that he wasn't about to say the words. She waited a moment longer before shrugging, smiling to herself, her usual sharp demeanor erased for the time being. "I guess, if that's all I'm going to get, I'll take it."

"So...?"

"So I'll be your wife." He eyed her cynically, then his trademark smirk curved his lips upward.

"Good. I was betting on that answer. I've just won some money." Her eyes narrowed into slits and he led her away from the crowd that was beginning to get rowdy.

"So help me, if you – " He cut her off with a hard, sensual kiss on the lips that shut her up and quickly made her forget what it was that she had been about to say. When he drew away, she stumbled for a moment, before she mumbled, "Never mind." He chuckled darkly, looping his arm around her waist again.

"Good," he said for the second time that day.

"Mm hmm...Did you bribe Tally to get me alone?"

"Perhaps," Gavriel responded evasively. She sighed and shook her head slightly before leaning against him. She didn't mind what he was. True, at first she was cautious of him, but now she felt that she had seen a different side of him in bed. Not to mention, now that he knew she wasn't afraid to fight with him if she was pissed off enough, he might not be quite so willing to taunt her like he did before.

He'll still be cold, she thought, and have a bad temper, but I've dealt with both my entire life. I can certainly deal with this man. She smiled absently, adding, After all, this is the man I love.

Finis

X

Kanna-sama: Well, this didn't quite come out as I hoped, but it needed to be done because I was starting to lose the inspiration and needed to squeeze out the remains of the juice. This was more of the kind of romance that you see in books where it's all about sex, but whatever. (huggles laptop) I'm in love with my own character, Gavriel, so I'm happy. Anyway, please leave a review telling me how you liked it or whether you liked it at all. Ciao!