The Loved (epilogue)
10th August 2008
Series: The Jade Dragon
Summary: A few loose ends tied up.
Warnings: Explicit intimacy --you have been warned. And do you recognise anything?
For profiterole and stoplightgodess


They'd lost.

Vane tilted his head up toward the water pounding down from the shower, replaying the final moments in his head. It was down to the last score to win for each side, so well-matched they'd been. He'd been blocking an opposition Forward but their Centre player had managed to get by and, in what some said was sheer luck, had scored the shot that made the difference.

He sighed then turned the shower off. Wrapping a towel about his hips and towelling as he walked, he sighed again as he sat before his locker, propped his elbows on his knees, and stared through the steam at his gear on the floor. He was tired and ached but he'd done his best and he didn't think there was anything else he could have done.

"Nightroad."

His head popped up, "Yes coach?"

"You did good out there," Coach Pierson acknowledge, nodding. He patted Vane's towel-covered shoulder. "Can't do better than your best."

"Thank you, sir." Vane nodded back. With a tentative smile he offered, "Got to change our level of 'best' then, sir?"

"Damn right we well," Pierson smiled this time and with a wave went on to speak to the rest of the team.

"Hey," Nicholas murmured, flopping over next to him.

"Coach catch you yet?" Gathering his equipment, Vane wiped them off carefully and made sure everything was as clean as possible.

"I'll be last, I'm sure." Nicholas sighed, "I sucked."

"You didn't suck," Vane denied. He tugged on a set of clean clothes and pulled on his shoes as he talked, "You were only a little distracted and I barely noticed. It wasn't until you missed Marty's special three-four pass that I figured it out." He made a note to dry out a little before going outside or the winter cold would make him ill. "Other than that, you were great."

But Nicholas looked crestfallen. The rumpled, damp clothes made him looked even more morose and suddenly Vane noticed that Nick had dark circles under his eyes.

"Hey, Nicky," Vane sat down next to him, scooting close and putting an arm around him. Nicholas bent his head into the friendly embrace. "I know things aren't good at home but I'm not going to bug you on that. What I will say is that love trouble look is getting worse on you. Are you going to be okay?"

"I don't really know," came the quiet admission. "I feel like I'm getting pulled apart. And even if I know I'm whole, I don't feel like I am. Like something's always missing and… it hurts."

"You got it bad," Vane muttered.

"Guess so." Nicholas sat up and gave him a little shove. "Go get your boy, Nightroad. We'll talk another time."

"You sure?" At Nicholas' nod, "Okay then. See later, Starburn. Be good. And you know where to find me when you need to."

"Yes sir." Nicholas nodded, not bothering to attempt a smile.

"Starburn!" Coach Pierson yelled somewhere.

"Ugh," Nicholas sighed then yelled back as he got to his feet, "On my way, sir!"

Picking up his hockey stick, Vane hauled up his gear bag and made for the locker exits. Outside, amidst the quiet departing parade of his fellow students, in a corner there stood his friends. Imrad stepped forward first,

"Not bad, Nightroad."

"Thanks Imz," Vane replied, grimacing, a hand over his heart. He accepted a quick hug from Kate and a handshake-hug from Jordan. "Thanks guys."

"You were still amazing out there," Marcus barrelled into him and hugged him quickly then released him to ruffle his hair and take his hockey stick for him. "Wicked moves, I must say. Some of your moves were spectacular."

"Thanks." With a grin, "We'll be better next year. I'm still on the team for a prospective two more years."

"Tough luck on today, though, huh?" Leonora said sympathetically.

"Yeah, but we did our best." He gave Leonora a meaningful look, softening it with a big grin. "I guess the best is all you can give." Looking up, he locked gazes with Miguel and they exchanged small smiles, a bright happiness blooming in his chest.

"Let me take that," Miguel said aloud and when he was close, he whispered into Vane's ear, "I'm proud of you, my dragon. You were astonishing out there."

He and Imrad went to deposit the gear in the car, parked close with a special permit. They'd be back to wait here until the crowds dispersed. Meanwhile, Marcus drew Kate and Jordan to the front lounge saying the wait would be good for Vane who needed to get properly warm before stepping outside.

Vane smiled his thanks at his cousin then turned his attention to Leonora. They walked off toward one side of the hall and he asked softly, "You decided, huh?"

"Yea." She looked determined.

He prodded, "Did your best?"

"Yes."

"That's all I could hope for." He sighed and held up a hand when she went to speak. "I did too." She went quiet, staring at him. "I did my best. And I think my best is done. I thought about it too and I…" shaking his head, "I don't want to know your verdict."

"I see." She stilled, startled. The hand at her chest clenched then, "I respect that." She reached with both hands down under her pullover and took out his necklace, sadness flickering across her face. "Here."

It was warm in his hand from her skin and he realised the fact that she had worn it mattered only that it hadn't been around Miguel's neck first. He closed his hands around it and asked softly, "Friends?"

"Always." She smiled reassuringly. After a brief hesitation she asked, "Have you and Miguel…?" He blinked at her. "It's just that… I sort of realised soon after you gave me the necklace that Miguel… well, he's in love with you. And I sort of," she blushed, "realised a lot of things about you and how you are when I saw the way he looked at you."

"You didn't like the way he looked at me?" Vane smiled, fond and teasing, "What? You only really considered me when you saw someone else wanted me?"

Leonora shifted a little, cheeks still coloured. "Well maybe it just opened my eyes…"

"Don't worry, that's a normal reaction." Vane shrugged, "If you will recall, it was Cain and his butting in that finally got me trying to do something about you. I reacted in a similar way."

"So," she looked up at him, curious, "You and Miguel work things out?"

"Yes." That odd warmth began to expand in his chest, a kind of pride and belonging. "We had a long talk. It took a couple of fights and this whole past week to get most of the things figured out but we got there."

"Pardon me for asking," Leonora glanced quickly over her shoulder at their friends, "But did you two… get together? I mean, as in a couple-together?"

Without any intent to hide his new relationship, Vane was never the less curious, "Why do you ask?" At just that moment, he spied Miguel walking back in with Imrad. That sensation in his chest doubled and he felt a smile wanting to spread across his lips.

"Because of that," Leonora said softly. He pulled his gaze back down to her. "I ask because of that expression. I wondered if my eyes were deceiving me, we all arrived together long after you got here so I hadn't quite seen you together. But when you came off the ice just now and looked at him, you had that look on your face."

"Sorry about that," Vane muttered, embarrassed to have been caught this way. He was rather appalled by his own behaviour, chasing her then hooking up with someone else when she wasn't looking. "I should have told you something was happening but while it was I couldn't really think about much else and… geez, I'm a jerk."

"You're not a jerk if you can say that," Leonora reminded him. She frowned a little to herself, nodding. When she looked back up at him, she said with finality, "Well, that's that then."

Vane nodded. What could he say?

"I'm glad you're happy, though," Leonora murmured. "You seem happy."

Without a thought his eyes slipped over her to Miguel, meeting eyes across the short distance. That gripping in his chest made his insides shake. He wanted to move closer, to touch Miguel, and appease the aching longing to be near him. Then Miguel smiled, the expression too much like how he was feeling, as though Miguel had the very same urge. And Vane thought his heart stopped for a fraction of a second before it tripped and kept on again.

His reply slipped out on a whisper, "I am."

Shaking her head and restraining a laugh, pulling Vane's attention back to her, "God, you've got it bad. Go to him, Vane!" She slapped him on his shoulder, "But wipe that drool up before you go or you'll slobber on him."

Grinning idiotically he went and flung himself into the seat next to Miguel, both unable to take their eyes from each other. Marcus laughed outright and Imrad probably looked incredibly smug but Vane didn't really see anything past his boyfriend.

Kate giggled and Jordan teased, "Get a room!"

They didn't kiss, didn't really do anything, but they remained quiet and distracted, paying little attention to anyone but each other, eyes meeting and holding.

As to a room… in the end, climbing one more flight of stairs decided it and they stumbled down the hall to Miguel's, people in the halls whistling and hooting because through the whole walk they couldn't let go of the other's hands and were pressed so tightly together anyone could guess what they wanted some alone time to do.

The shutting of the door was the final straw and they came together in a mad kiss, arms wrapping over the other, bodies pressing flush. Vane found himself pressed up against the wall again, moaning because it was crazy how wonderful it felt to be pressed up against the wall. Miguel felt large and broad under his hands but he couldn't bring himself to be intimidated by someone so much larger than he because he trusted Miguel with this, with himself.

Finally Miguel managed to pull away to mutter, "Bed."

"Bed," Vane agreed, not wanting to let go, pushing from the wall to get them going but stumbling because Miguel was pushing up against him too hard at the same time as pulling Vane away from the wall so they could move.

They laughed together a moment, hands seeking buttons and zippers to loosen, unable to move truly enough away to get the jobs done and grinning at each other because it was just too much fun.

When they tumbled into bed, clothes loose and getting hungrier for more skin and touch, Vane lost control of his tongue, "Miguel, please. Make me yours."

When Miguel stilled, Vane blushed furiously, hiding his face in Miguel's shoulder. "Dragon, I wouldn't be able to not make you mine even if I wanted to." He cradled Vane's cheek, lifted it from where Vane hid and kissed him. "Mine," he whispered, and kissed him again.

Vane let go, let Miguel push him down, kissing until the world tilted dizzily around him, until the pull in his belly wrenched the breath from him and left him gasping, panting. He pushed Miguel's clothes away, moved accordingly to help Miguel remove his. He moaned at the feel of hot smooth skin against his own, hands stroking, grabbing at everything he could reach, learning and mapping all of Miguel that he could.

There was a moment when Miguel paused, catching sight of the necklace once more around Vane's neck. He blinked at it and Vane gave him a lopsided smile.

But that could wait.

Vane reached to touch and taste. Miguel's muscles jumped beneath his hands in certain places and he found he reacted to some very particular touches from Miguel. They repeated the little experiments and reduced the other as far to incoherency as possible before moving on, filing their lessons away to exploit again later, going on to learn more.

Reverently, Miguel's fingertips traced his tattoo for the first time. Lips following over the touches, kissing the design of it, each claw, ridge and scale as though it were another appendage. Vane watched Miguel the whole time, stomach contracting at each touch, partly because it tickled and a little because it felt too good…

An sweating and breathless eternity later, Vane groaned when Miguel dragged lube-slick fingers over his most intimate places, fingers tightening around his hardness and stroking firmly upward on him--

"Miguel!" he arched and cried out, astonished because he'd never had someone touch him so knowingly before. He relaxed, followed Miguel's whispered instructions when a long finger pressed gently at his opening. He shivered when it pressed deeply into him and moaned when it began to thrust. The oddness of it faded, pleasure arcing through his body and rushing up his spine when Miguel pressed deeply and pushed into a place that made fire sizzle up through to his brain. Only a little more of it, more fingers coming into play, Miguel's other hand still stroking his hardness, and he could barely remember his own name, the only name in the world that mattered still on his tongue, "Miguel…" another groan, "Please, I can't—" a gasp. "I can't take much more."

The touches withdrew, Vane gasping and senseless on his back. When Miguel bent over him and kissed him, Vane tried to kiss back but the heavy languid tension in him kept him from full control. He let Miguel lift his knees, be lifted half off the bed. Miguel moved under him, knees moving to prop up his hips. Then Miguel moved forward, bending over Vane and he felt the hardness press against him—

"Migs!" He arched, startled at the sensation of being stretched open, astonished at the amazing feel of it.

"Shhh, dragon," Miguel murmured, arms curling around him, hands cradling his face for a gentle kiss. His hips flexed and Vane felt him move in deeper.

"Oh God!" He thought maybe he should panic but instead he closed his arms around Miguel's shoulders, giving up control, pulling his lover down toward himself.

"Vane—" Miguel groaned as he leaned down a little more, chest coming to press against Vane's, Vane's legs now completely parted around his waist, his hips now locked flush against Vane's bottom, deeply settled.

Panting, Vane squirmed a little. Being filled certainly felt being full and he could feel the way he was stretched tightly over Miguel inside him. He moaned when his movements made that hardness shift against him inside.

"Dragon, don't move," Miguel begged, hands clenching on him. "Let me…" his words dissolved into a groan. He rocked gently, still holding Vane tightly to himself, Vane clinging just as tenaciously in return.

It was crazily perfect, awkwardly new, and Vane couldn't think, couldn't breathe, didn't know why he was moving the way he did but he just wanted more, wanted Miguel and that drove him all the way. He groaned and gasped at every sharp, sweet sensation, trembled because it was too much and not enough and he couldn't stop begging.

Miguel murmured to him, "I love you, dragon." And every time he did, something contracted in Vane's chest.

When the rhythm changed, a new focus settling on them both, Vane adjusted his grip to brace himself on Miguel, eyes meeting and watching. Miguel himself had to loose one arm to brace on the bed to thrust, harder now, deeper, angling himself and making Vane groan at almost every push into him. The coil of tension in Vane contracted and he gasped, eyelids slipping half shut.

Miguel changed his grip, his breath changing as he too began to climax, holding Vane's hips tightly and suddenly pounding into him, making him scream, the coil unwinding impossibly fast and his climax crashed over him…

Panting Vane felt the haze clear from his head and found Miguel slumped over him, knees still under his hips, still propping Vane up. He felt sticky and dirty but gloriously pleased. He lifted his arms to hug Miguel, a little startled at how his hands and arms shook, at how his body still trembled, and carded his hand through Miguel's long hair.

"You made me lose my mind," he tried to accuse but it came out full of wonderment instead.

Miguel chuckled, "Well, that's fair. You'd already stolen mine."

"I thought it was your heart I'd stolen."

"That too," Miguel agreed. "So making you lose your mind is already half my revenge." His grip tightened, "I'm out for your heart too."

Vane blushed, squeezing Miguel a moment, and admitted softly, "I think you already have it." Miguel froze. Then slowly, slowly, his head lifted, chin propping on Vane's chest to stare up at him. "I mean, I don't think it's the afterglow because it's crazy big in my chest but when I look at you, holding you like this, I can't… I've never felt…" the words slipped out from under him and Vane just stared helplessly at his lover.

Miguel's face split into a huge grin, eyes shining, his head lowering to Vane's chest again, and his hold tightened, clinging as though never intending to let go.

There was a moment Vane thought he should probably protest and insist they have a shower, but being in love and held by one's love was just too sweet to part from and so he sighed and closed his eyes. Also, he needed to give Miguel the necklace; he wanted to see Miguel belong to him, too…

And before he knew it, sleep stole him away, the most wonderful rest he could ever have, and it was wonderful because he slept in Miguel's arms, the arms of the one he loved.

Fin.


Well, that's it folks. The End.

Thanks to Qui and JtheChosen1 who were about the only people to ever review... save for Touch-of-Frost who has been mysteriously missing for many chapters hopefully working on her own fiction...

Anyway. That's now three successive stories for the Anomaly Arc I've completed in the past eight months and I'm tired. I'm going to go play in a few other story sandboxes and try to finish up my other stories as well. Thank you for your support!

Those of you who are new readers, don't forget to leave a review! I reply to most of them, especially when you have questions. Cheers!