Title: Under Lock and Key... Or Not (1/1)
Author:
ANT-chan
Rating/Genre:
Romance/Humor/R (for brief nudity, major allusions to sex and Kyris' temper... which translates to a lot of cursing.)
Summary:
They were hiding something, she knew it. A suspicious barmaid goes to investigate the cause of a distressed Gwen and gets quite a bit more than she bargained for.
Time Line:
Fall of 2467 A.S. Approximately two weeks after Of Filth...
Ages:
Sin – 467 years; Draca – 112 years; Gwen – 27 years; Kyris – 51 years


Under Lock and Key... Or Not

"The secret of having a personal life is not answering too many questions about it."


Something was definitely off. Not wrong, no, just off.

Kyris couldn't stop thinking about it, even as her hands moved on autopilot – cleaning dishes, mixing drinks, serving meals, and polishing the old, worn surface of her bar top. She'd worked as a barmaid long enough for that particular skill to take hold – which she was grateful for. Even still, the crowd was thin at this time of day – a mere handful of customers stopping in for lunch or a noon drink and conversation. The pub door was open wide to let the cooling autumn breeze into the room, accompanied by the golden light of the afternoon sun.

The flame-haired woman idly flicked a curl of crimson hair from her pale eyes. Her hands moved swiftly and precisely over the dishes she was cleaning, though her mind was a million miles away.

Something was off. They were off.

The boys had returned home about a week and a half ago from their latest joint commission on Ceyluris – a week later than had been intended. The trip was only supposed to last about three weeks, but the two of them had been gone for nearly an entire month before she'd seen them again. By the time the assassin and the thief had come home, she and Gwen were past worried. They'd returned weary and relieved, as if they had been gone for much longer than one month. Both of them had only stopped for a quick "hello" - not even pausing to answer the concerned inquiries - before retiring to their flat. Presumably, they had slept off the effects of the journey.

Sin and Draca had re-emerged the next day, energized and alert and – so she had believed – back to normal. The two of them had even shown up for dinner at her home that evening (or rather Kyris, Gwen, and Sin ate dinner while Draca sipped at a mixture of blood and wine). They'd related the tale of their journey's misfortunes to Gwen and herself (actually, Draca told the story while Sin threw in the odd comment to keep his partner on track). Kyris had been too preoccupied with the retelling of their dangerous detour through the Sanora, and how Draca had nearly starved along the way (said Vampyre had to quickly assure a worried Kitsune that he'd gotten lucky and found a stray Sand Fayth to feed on) to notice that there was something wrong.

No, not wrong – off. Different.

In hindsight – twenty/twenty as it is – Kyris concluded that they were acting strange even then. The change was subtle – something that most would miss. To all others except for Gwen and herself, it would appear that nothing had changed. But Kyris had known Sin for over half of her life, and Gwen had known him for nearly all of her life. They'd known Draca for only a little over twenty years (absolutely no time at all for an inhabitant of Viranus), but the association made it ridiculously difficult for him to conceal anything from them – luckily.

As such, the barmaid and the Kitsune had noticed it quickly. The dynamic between them had changed. There had always been a sort of obligatory distance between the Vampyre and the Fallen Angel – something strictly business – no matter how casual their partnership had become over the years. The development of Draca's attraction for Sin in the past year or so had conflicted almost violently with that - putting an unexpected strain on their casual interaction. And to both her and Gwen's frustration, the thief had done nothing in way of pursuing Sin – even when prodded by them relentlessly. The tension between them seemed to gradually build over the months, until it got to the point to where Kyris nearly cringed when watching them. Something had to give, sooner or later.

And perhaps something had. She'd come to realize over the last week. That tension, that strain between them was gone. Nearly nonexistent, in fact.

Glances seemed to linger a moment longer than necessary. There was a casual kind of familiarity that had not been there a month ago.

Yes, something had changed – and she had a sneaking suspicion as to what. Kyris only hoped that her suspicions were correct.

'It had better be right,' she thought irritably. 'I'll roast the both of them, otherwise.'

Right or not, the two were keeping quiet. When she'd asked (well, demanded, but who's judging?), Sin had merely raised an impassive brow at her and Draca had given her that damned... infuriating... smirk.

There was an ominous series of cracks that echoed around the bar room, followed by tense silence. Kyris came back to reality from her thoughts, and noticed that her few customers were gaping at her. A man who had been leaning against the wall in his chair a moment ago now crawled hesitantly out from under his table. There was a shard of glass embedded in the wall behind his seat, at head height. There were more broken shards in the bar counter, making costly gashes in the polished wood.

It was only then that she noticed her form was sparking, glowing, with flame-like energy. Almost dreading what she would find, Kyris glanced down at her hand. The glass she had been cleaning – or what was left of it, anyway – glittered mockingly up at her in the dancing light of her wild spirit.

The glass had exploded. Rather violently.

Her already escalating temper rose a few more notches, her spirit sparking all the more. The barmaid took a deep, calming breath, trying to calm her temper. Scaring her customers (any more) would be a bad thing. Kyris gave a disarming smile.

They flinched. Oops.

Perhaps not so disarming.

Not only a little embarrassed, the redhead cleared her throat, and made a hasty escape through the kitchen door – and then out through the back door of the pub. She slunk out into the little alley behind her bar, deeply inhaling the crisp afternoon air.

Gaia, she'd lost her temper in front of her daytime customers. How embarrassing! Granted, her short fuse was rather infamous in the Haven, but she still liked to keep it under wraps for her day crowd. At least the night crowd was more accustomed to her moods. They were the rowdier, regular bunch. Sometimes her often hair-trigger temper was needed. But not her day crowd, never them.

'Damn Draca. Damn Sin. Damnthem and their secrets!' Her spirit crackled dangerously, like an inferno, around her. She resisted the urge to ram her clenched fist against the wall. With the way her spirit was going out of control, there was no telling what she'd destroy – or what she'd set on fire.

Kyris was a Fayth – one inclined towards fire, to be precise. Her spirit was her weapon. And she really didn't want to destroy her bar. She'd worked so hard on it, after all.

A flash of familiar movement at the edge of her vision caused her to glance up. A swish of a white-tipped tail disappeared past the mouth of the alley. Kyris smothered the already receding embers of her temper before exiting her hiding place, not wanting to accidentally unleash it on the undeserving Kitsune.

Sure enough, it was Gwen who stumbled towards her pub. 'Stumbled?' Kyris thought with a frown. The young woman was indeed stumbling about the street, obviously distraught. She faltered before Kyris' door, her weight shifting rapidly from foot to foot. Her amethyst eyes were wide, her face an alarming shade of pink. Concern immediately replaced her ire.

"Gwen, honey?" she called softly as she neared.

The Kitsune jumped with a startled squeak – a startlingly high pitched sound. It was odd that Gwen hadn't heard her, with the girl's naturally advanced senses. "I-I didn't see a-anything, I swear!" Gwen squeaked.

Kyris stared at her. Gwen blinked back.

"What?"

The young woman turned the color of Kyris' hair. "N-Nothing!"

Oh, this was not good. Her hands came up to Gwen's shoulders, attempting to calm her. "Tell me what happened, honey."

The Kitsune twittered nervously – embarrassed beyond words. "I-I went t-to go see if S-Sin and Dra-ca-" her face darkened a few more shades, "-were going to e-eat dinner w-with us and... and..." By this time her face was so red that the barmaid feared the girl would pass out. But her garbled response sunk in a moment later.

'Oh fuck, no,' the beast that was her temper growled.

"Gwen, honey, go sit down and get yourself a drink, okay? I'll be right back."

"O-Okay." The chestnut-haired woman, in a daze of sheer embarrassment, turned and wandered into the pub. There was a clamor of greeting, a muffled squeak and a crash, followed by exclamations of concern. An exasperated sigh worked its way from her chest, but she held it in. A damage check would have to come later.

Right now, she had places to be.

Kyris set off through the streets at a brisk pace, her feet moving on autopilot on the familiar trek to Sin's flat. The man's home (now Draca's as well) was only a few blocks from her bar – which could or could not be the only reason she had ever met Sin in the first place. (Recluse as he was, Sin didn't go far from his apartment unless it was absolutely necessary.)

People on the street gave her a wide berth. Her spirit was sparking once more, judging by the unnatural heat of her skin. At the acknowledgment, the heat rose just a bit more – perhaps in shame. But it was too far out of control to rein in now. Instead it focused on her destination and the source of her ire within it. By the time Kyris got there, she'd be furious enough to set the entire housing complex ablaze.

There was no proof what Gwen had seen, but Kyris didn't need proof. She could guess. Hopes and Hellfire, she could guess.

A few seething moments later found her standing before the familiar two-story apartment. Kyris could only stare at the sturdy stone and plaster building and through its unassuming windows. Everything appeared peaceful and ordinary from the street, but Kyris new better than to believe it.

The front door was unlocked as it always was – for who would be fool enough to trespass into the home of two notorious outlaws? The fiery barmaid crept into the front sitting area as silently as possible, almost bewildered when no one came to greet her. Usually the pair was more alert than that. It was all the more incriminating. The sitting area, as well as the rarely used kitchen, was empty. A moment of utter silence confirmed that the second floor was also unoccupied. The flat was utterly silent.

Confused, frustrated, and furious, Kyris ventured silently from the doorstep, towards the half-hidden staircase that lay at the back of the room. She had just begun to contemplate burning down the flat anyway when she heard it:

A soft whimper, a whisper of rustling fabric, and a breathy chuckle – very quiet, almost inaudible, but magnified in the echoing silence of the flat.

Kyris stopped dead in the center of the sitting room, listening intently as the soft noise faded into the still air. Though quiet, the sound wasn't in the distance. It was close by. That left only one room one the ground floor:

Draca's room.

The bar mistress warily made her way down the short hallway that separated the sitting area from Draca's bedroom. The closer she got, the more frequent the faint sounds were reaching her ears. There was light spilling from the thief's room into the otherwise dark hall. The door was ajar. If Gwen had gone through the kitchen across the hall, she would have had a clear view of the room's interior.

And by the sound of it, its occupants.

There was a moment before she reached the threshold of the small bedroom that Kyris wondered if this could be considered "a good idea." But it was her temper that fueled her. She would go into that room and she would give them a piece of her mind.

At least, that had been the plan anyway.

Kyris got as far as pushing the door wide open and standing in the doorway. Beyond that, all thought processes halted.

They lay naked and intertwined upon the bed, the contrast between their skin tones stark and alluring – like bronze and pearl or honey and silk. Draca lay atop Sin, his thin body cradled between the raven-haired man's thighs and sliding slowly down his sprawled form, as he breathed open-mouthed kisses over Sin's neck.

Her mouth went completely dry. For a moment, she swore she stopped breathing. As she watched – slack-jawed and stunned – one of Draca's hands trailed from the Fallen Angel's chest to tweak a peaked nipple, drawing an arch and another of those humming whimpers from Sin. A heat that was not a product of her temper warmed her face.

'Holy shit, that's hot.'

She must have made a sound as that pale hand began drifting farther south – something between a curse and a sputter, not doubt – for Sin's eyes suddenly snapped in her direction. Those piercing ruby eyes, clouded and darkened with lust, widened at the Sight of the barmaid, and the assassin's hand darted down to stop Draca's in its path. The Vampyre made a displeased sound, but glanced up upon noticing the tension of the other's body. It was only then that Draca saw her.

The thief, the assassin, and the barmaid stared at each other.

Her mind was completely and utterly blank. Everything she'd meant to say was gone from her mind. Kyris could only stare. And they stared back. The silence seemed to stretch on for an eternity and more, until – finally – something came to her.

In her mind the statement had been, "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" followed by a lengthy rant that included keeping secrets and the potential brain damage of a certain Kitsune. But somewhere between her mouth and her brain, the sentence tripped over itself and instead became:

"It's about FUCKING TIME!"

And then Kyris went silent once more, half horrified at her own words. That hadn't been what she meant to say. Draca's head dipped until his forehead touched Sin's shoulder, his body trembling in silent laughter. Sin looked positively mortified.

It gave her enough fuel for her sadistic ire. Her temper jump started her brain, zeroing in on the assassin. "Damnit, Sin, I don't care if you're a fucking Master Assassin, learn to lock your fucking DOOR!" she all but shrieked, taking twisted glee in how the Fallen Angel squirmed under the onslaught. Kyris ignored the fact that the man was currently nude and in a very compromising position with his partner in crime (and now in bed, apparently) eager to make him suffer for her embarrassment. "When the hell did this happen? No, wait, let me guess – during your 'enlightening' trip through the Sanora, right? Sand Fayth, my ass! It just fucking figures, doesn't it? After watching the two of you dance around each other for nearly two god damned years, nearly dying is what it takes for you to admit it! Men, I swear!

"And one of you could've fucking said something, y'know! Hell, even a bit of a hint would've been nice! At least then I wouldn't have a mentally traumatized Gwen having a fucking heart attack every time something moves! Yes, Sin-" she added as Sin's expression became one of pure horror, "-she walked in on this-" the barmaid gestured at their naked forms harshly, "-about fifteen minutes ago. Congratulations. And YOU! You wipe that fucking smirk off your face, you conniving, bloodsucking, infuriating-"

"Kyris?" the Vampyre interrupted her tirade, that accursed grin never faltering.

"What?"

"Your face is the same color as your hair."

The crimson-haired Fire Fayth sputtered, finally noticing the burning heat of her cheeks. "A-And?"

Instead of answering right away, Draca placed an elbow on the linen sheets at Sin's side, all but draping himself over the man's chest propping him chin on his hand. That smirk – oh how she hated it – stretched wide, fangs slipping over his bottom lip. The devilish glimmer in those cat-like eyes promised mischief.

"Would you like to join us, Kyris?"

Kyris' mouth dropped open in shock, sure that the rising heat in her face meant it had reached an entirely new shade of crimson. Sin was faring no better than she was, staring at Draca with something between alarm and murder in his eyes as he attempted to vacate the space beneath the Vampyre.

The thief's eyes broke contact with hers, instead turning to study the struggling man. With an amused eye roll, he pinned the seraph against the mattress. Kyris went ignored – though it didn't matter, as her mind was still blank with shock – as a complacent kiss was dropped onto Sin's scarred cheek, and then the seraph's lips were captured instead. That broke the barmaid from her trance.

"Wh-Wh-Wha- NO, I DON'T WANT TO JOIN YOU!"

Draca broke the kiss with a quiet snicker, glancing over at her again. "Kyris, darling," he purred mockingly, "your spirit is starting to burn the hardwood."

"I DON'T – ARGH! You know what? I don't care what you two do, just lock the fuckin' DOOR next time you wanna fuck!" And with that final shout, Kyris turned on heel. She was sure to slam the door hard enough to shake the walls as she left the room, just for added measure. The barmaid stood outside the door for a few moments, just seething and attempting to eradicate the deeper-than-crimson flush on her face. The apartment was completely silent. And then-

"Haha... what?" Kyris' ears perked at the sound of Draca's voice in the next room.

"I can't believe you just did that," came the low hiss of Sin's voice.

"Well, it got her to leave, didn't it?" There was a chuckle in his voice that made Kyris want to run back in and kill the man. "Besides, she's too much fun to mess with. I couldn't resist. Now-" a soft rustling of sheets, "- where were we?"

She could hear Sin sputter in shock, and the sudden loud rustling of cloth told her the assassin had renewed his struggles. "You can't possibly- mmph! Mm- wait! Wait wait wait wa- nngh..."

"Hehehe... that's what I thought."

Kyris couldn't stand to listen any longer, halfway between annoyed and disgusted with both them and herself. She needed to leave, if only to get the damned images out of her head and the blush from her face. 'Men,' she internally seethed. It was no small wonder why she actually enjoyed being single. With an exasperated sigh the redhead forced herself to think about something else. Something less embarrassing and mind-boggling, as she began the slow trek back to her precious bar.

'If it's still standing.'

"The secret of having a personal life is not answering too many questions about it."

Walk on, Traveler of Worlds.


^ ^ The secret's out! Well... sorta. XD Not like they were being particularly secretive anyway. I hope Kyris came off as humorous and not as a complete bitch. U She has her moments, but she really cares about the boys. And Gwen. And Gwen's mental health. XD

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!