It was with the sharp light of sun on his eyelids and the feeling of falling that Orion was yanked into consciousness. He was ungrounded, something that occasionally happened when he slept but nothing he was too concerned about. He focussed down, pulling information from the world, but what he pulled on wasn't what he expected.

The Verge mornings came filled with the chirping of birds, generally before the sunlight even had a chance to hit his eyelids. There was no chirping and the sunlight felt far too intense to be in the early morn, if Orion had to guess, he would pick it at mid-morn time, but that couldn't be right.

Orion's mind scrapped through the wreckage of turmoil that sat there. Mid-morn, he never made it to waking at mid-morn, he thought, he was always awakened before either by Saber or Steele's noises, or sometimes Lukas' energetic desire to get in some extra training without the rest of the Horde, or sometimes it was even Samuel, his guide, poking him awake to tell him about something he'd conquered the night before.

Whatever it was that usually woke him up, it wasn't here. The realisation caused the weight of the previous night to sink his stomach into knots. He'd made a mistake; he had made a very big, very bad mistake.

His body was not yet awake enough to do anything, what having him falling alseep whilst ungrounded, and so he couldn't even open his eyes to confirm his suspicions, but he knew he didn't really need to anyway.

The glamour shimmered in his mind but the anger, the oh so magificant anger, took over before it could take hold. Fear swam around his heart but the rage gripped his mind. He wasn't quite sure what he was angry at; Cecille, himself, the Pack, himself, Ether world, himself; but it tore his mind to shreds nonetheless.

You fucking idiot! screamed his head, pounding over and over. Run off to save someone did we? Think we'd be a hero did we? Leaving all you know on a whim, on one single message, not from your sister though, from your cousin. The person who'd called you brother but then rejected you once she'd learnt you'd run from your mate. The person who had corrected others of your place over and over once it'd become common knowledge. The one who had never tried to contact you in the last seven years. The one who you would never do this to, but who never had a second care about sacrificing you and your life to save herself. You fool, Orion.

Orion felt the fool; he felt the idiocy; he felt his complacency. He'd forgotten that Ether world was not like Other world, and even more so, not like the Verge. There was no political ploys there, no dishonesty, no need to sacrifice anything. The Verge was freedom and he'd run away from it at a seconds notice to save some ruins of his past life.

The Verge... Orion's heart ached in his chest. What would mum think? What about Matthias and Balthazar, they'd be waiting for him by now; they'd be upset, thinking Orion had forgotten them

Orion wanted to shut the words out but as his mind ran over the true loss of what he'd done, his body ripped into life with one loud, aching, angry yell.

He felt the chains around his wrist and he struggled.

The heat ran over his body and he writhed amongst it.

His throat roared over and over again as his eyes finally flew open.

'Let me go! Let me go now. How dare you? How fucking dare you?! Use me as a pawn for your failures of diplomacy! Let me go!'

The words were rattling and the glamour had not one chance at overpowering the slew of emotions flaring up his veins. Anger, so much anger, and fear still there, and embarrassment at himself, but mostly sorrow; deep, agonising sorrow.

He wouldn't see Verge again, nor his parents, nor his brother or sister. He wouldn't train with Lukas or the Horde again, or teach Samuel the last of his learnings for commendation. He wouldn't give success to his cousins. He wouldn't get to finish what he started. Instead he would be mated and chained to a Pack that he hated, made to live in the place where he'd suffered through his childhood. He would be stuck, and he would like it, and he wouldn't remember why he'd loved all these things before. Ezekiel would take it all, and Orion hated him for that.

His yells hadn't gone ignored though, Ezekiel's hands clasped over his biceps, attempting to push him back down.

'It seems the shock may have worn off,' came the warm, husk of Doc.

Orion couldn't pick where he was, or even why he was in the room, all he could see was Ezekiel's worried and annoyed face above him.

'I hate you! I fucking hate you and this earthforsaken pack!'

Orion wasn't sure for how long he was yelling, but he could tell that Ezekiel's patience started to wear quite quickly as the rant continued in circles. The yelling was draining him, pushing him down into exhaustion again, and at each ragged breath he took he felt a slow slip of a few rare tears down his cheeks.

He had been free, and now he wasn't. He wanted to die.

'How could you?' was the last thing he yelled as his emotions quietened enough and his body stopped writhing to conserve at least some of his energy, 'How could you?' One quiet murmur as Ezekiel's face bore down with anger at him, his hands tightening sharply to bruise Orion before releasing him.

A layer of sweat sat thick on Orion's skin as he was able to look around and locate Doc sitting quietly on a chair at the front of the bathroom doorway.

'Good morning Orion,' said Doc softly. His voice was layered with aires of comfort and understanding, something that Orion himself knew how to do it. The aires pulled up the glamour again, enabling him to hide himself once more.

Orion was incredibly thankful he hadn't accidentally shattered it, which was sometimes done if your emotion was stronger than it, but he was happy to know that even in Ether world the essence of his Sprite magic wasn't affected.

'Morning Doc,' replied Orion, almost contentedly.

'He's gone again,' remarked Ezekiel, referring to the now unaffected appearing Orion lying almost placidly chained to the bed.

'I take it you don't feel too well this morning Orion,' remarked Doc, standing up slowly and walking round to the side of the bed where Orion still lay. Ezekiel left to the side, taking a seat on a stool near the small bar next to the fridge.

'I feel splendid,' contended Orion, his sarcasm being drowned out by the glamour neatly.

'My apologies, I assumed by the yelling that you were quite upset,' offered Doc, deciding to take a seat on the bed next to Orion.

Orion's eyes followed him carefully, watching as his hands pulled a small tray over. Needles, specimen vials and testing strips all sat present. Of course, Doc would do a check-up, had to make sure that he was healthy and not doing anything that would be considered unbecoming.

'Theatrics, you know,' replied Orion, making it try to sound calm. He didn't actually know what to say. He didn't have a problem with Doc, he didn't even really have a problem with the Pack; just Ezekiel, the rules and their stupid Council who enforced them. If it wasn't for all of them, he wouldn't be here afterall.

'Whilst I don't believe you, I also won't pry,' said Doc, smiling down at Orion, 'What I will do however is take a few samples from you if you don't mind. I'm sure you're hungry and thirsty, but they'll be easier to read without outside interference.'

Orion nodded; how could he not? He knew what Doc was doing, it was the exact same thing he was trained to do in this scenario: get all the information from the body, assess the information and then, if the body matched the external signs, give it the all clear. Orion's body wouldn't match the external signs; he'd be caught out soon enough.

'I don't like this,' offered Orion as confirmation, again receiving another smile from Doc as a condescending grunt was heard from the stool.

'I thought maybe you'd come to be a bit more appeasing of it, especially since you are a Com-Med as well now Orion,' jested Doc, giving him an almost affectionate yet sorry look. 'I never knew you were interested in the path.' Doc continued, a distracting technique but a thankful one nonetheless, Orion and needles did not mix.

'Blood first,' stated Orion as Doc slid the needle tip into his arm. The Sprite magic that coated him ensured he didn't feel anything, but that would be too obvious, so he winced.

'Then mouth swab!' exclaimed Doc as if it was a game. Orion tensed a moment, receiving a stern look, before opening his mouth slowly.

'Waste swab,' groaned Orion with a sour look as Doc shifted.

'Actually, seed sample first,' corrected Doc, looking across at Ezekiel with weighted gaze.

Orion blanched. Seed sample. He knew what came after that; a different kind of swap, an undignified swab, one that you only took if you suspected the patient of doing something they considered horrifically disrespectful. The were going to test him for self-sating.

'His heart beat is rising Zeke,' stated Doc, still obviously waiting for something.

'I know,' was the only reply given as Ezekiel stood up and again made his way over to the bed.

Shifting restlessly and in sheer embarrassment of what they were talking about, he felt the weight of chains around his ankles. This wasn't just a check-up. They suspected something; something that Orion had thought of before but never done, something that even Orion couldn't consider as reasonable in circumstance.

'I haven't done that,' stated Orion hurriedly, 'I've never done that.'

'Then a few tests shouldn't bother you right?' the words were harsh and threatening, and there it was. Orion's eyes pressed into lines; this was the Ezekiel he knew. Unfavourable, unforgiving, and grossly uncaring. He wanted to make sure Orion knew his place; knew how little he thought of him. Orion thought that he need not have tried; he already knew it all.

'They aren't just a few tests, they're intrusive and... you don't do them without due cause; reason in fact. I've told you there's nothing to be concerned with, I haven't ever done it,' tried swaying Orion, hoping that his desperation wasn't coming through to strongly.

'See, I might believe you if you hadn't been walking around all last night and just now with a lie on yourself,' growled Ezekiel.

Orion withdrew slightly at the words, wondering if everyone else had so easily seen through the glamour. If he had been in Verge with the people who knew him, they'd never have been able to tell, but here- here they had never encountered a happy, free, confident Orion, and so he couldn't fool them into thinking so.

'Zeke, we have to foster trust, remember?' the words spoke volumes about the amount of conversation that Orion had missed in his slumber. He felt overpowered and outweighed. Ether world was the land of the underhand and Orion had never worked that way; he'd assumed that some level of transparency might have developed.

'I'll trust him when he gives enough to trust us,' finished Ezekiel as Doc shuffled to make enough room for Ezekiel to sit next to him.

The heat from their two bodies was almost overwhelming for Orion. His anger at the situation was rumbling to life in his chest again with each breath he took and it was only a matter of time before he lost the glamour again, but he didn't care, because it occured to him with Ezekiel being this close that Doc did not plan of taking these samples himself: Ezekiel would.

'Don't touch me,' snarled Orion, willingly pulling down the glamour to get his point across.

'There's the Orion I know,' remarked Ezekiel with disdain.

'You never knew me so don't pretend you ever did Ezekiel,' Orion snarled again.

'Boys.' The word silenced them both, two sets of eyes turning to Doc. 'Orion, firstly, you don't have a choice, these tests are not optional for the Council to consider. Secondly, as they're not optional the only person permitted to handle you in such ways as to acquire the samples is Ezekiel, and he will touch you at my direction. Thirdly, if you've not done it, then you've nothing to worry about.'

Orion growled, his eyes slitting down on themselves in his discontent. He didn't want to be subjected to this; this was degrading, and cruel, and unnecessary. He couldn't not hate Ezekiel for this.

'Ezekiel, firstly for you, now is not the time to antagonise Orion. Secondly, you have to understand this will not be pleasant for him and I ask that you don't make it anymore so. Thirdly, you can't assert your dominance during this, doing so might actually affect the Seeding later.' Doc finished with a hard line for a mouth; he wasn't a man to be crossed when he gave instructions.

Ezekiel nodded, 'Of course Doc.'

Orion twitched; he couldn't believe this was happening, but he should have known. He would have to comply, obviously not without complaint, but to not comply would hurt more; cause more damage, and damage meant more medical treatment. It was all the very last thing Orion could ever consider wanting.

The light sheet that covered from his mid section was carefully hiked up, the mass of it sitting over his abdomen. It was one moment when Orion thanked himself for not taking off his cotton underlay, but as the slightly cooler air irritated at his lower half, he realised that everything had already been removed.

Orion choked slightly. He was laying completely naked, exposed and chained with Doc and Ezekiel free to take any time they wanted whilst examining him. Not to mention that someone had removed the last of his clothing without his knowledge or consent. The thought itself made him almost throw up in his mouth.

'Who?' was all he could croak, drawing the attention of both Doc and Ezekiel who were mid-discussion on how Ezekiel was to attend to the samples.

'Me,' replied Ezekiel without much thought.

Orion wretched then, unable to contain it. It wasn't the idea of Ezekiel seeing him naked so to speak, but the fact that he could have had all the time in the world to touch Orion in anyway he wanted to; he could have done anything and Orion would be none the wiser.

'Relax Orion, he was under my direction,' supplied Doc, realising just how far Orion's mind had over-reached on the fact.

Ezekiel took a moment to gaze down at Orion, having successfully come to the same assumption that Doc also had. A small moment of disappointment wiped over his face, but then annoyance set in. Thankfully, Orion thought, he was immune to that emotion at least.

'Okay, we're going to begin. Orion, Ezekiel is just going to raise your testicles, and insert the needle at the back. It'll be uncomfortable, as I'm sure you're aware, but once he's completed he'll release them.'

Orion nodded, of course they would stick to decorum protocol. Taking a seed sample actually worked best when the patient was aroused, and that was generally done with just some slow massaging. It was never sexual, and he'd completed it on several Warlocks himself when it came to their mateships, but these were Hellhounds; strict and unwavering. Anything with regards to that part of the body was for mating only, and was for their respective mates only. It seemed ridiculous that a Com-Med wasn't even able to do their job without interference.

Ezekiel's hands were warm and rough, a strange texture for Orion which caused him to squirm uncomfortably. His mateships binds reared up inside of him, a steady pump of, 'he's touching me,' echoing in his blood. Orion quietly prayed that the touch wouldn't have a different effect of him; he didn't think he could stand the embarrassment of becoming aroused in the middle of testing, especially when he really wasn't supposed to be aroused.

Mercifully the sharp prick of the needle and the slow draw as it made it's way through him was unpleasant and painful enough for arousal not to take hold. Orion was attempting to pull the glamour back up, with the mateship bonds were being stubborn; they didn't like it when you lied to a mate.

'Steady Zeke, good work, now just slide out,' Doc spoke, the words for both their benefit as he felt the quick motion of the needle being removed and Ezekiel's hands releasing him.

A small whimper escaped Orion; his desire for mate contact having become quite heated in the moment, and again, he found both Doc and Ezekiel looking at him.

'Shut up,' was all Orion murmured as he turned his face away from them both, instead choosing to stare at the sheers that were letting in the sunlight.

'Excellent, so now we're going to do the internal swab,' stated Doc. Orion didn't react but Ezekiel's face contorted slightly, concerned almost.

'First off, Orion, we're going to need you to separate and raise your legs a little bit more,' started Doc, speaking matter of factly. Orion winced, it was one thing to not have any clothing on, and another thing completely to expose onesself.

A few seconds ticked by and Orion was no closer to being able to comply with the request than anything else. His mind was telling him what had to be done, attempting to comfort him a little. He was a Com-Med, he knew what would happen; it was just a procedural test.

However, Orion couldn't stop the sheer embarrassment of the situation from taking hold; it pulling the glamour down slightly even as Orion tried to keep it up. More than one internal battle was enough to send Orion insane, but with his body now thrumming with mateship hormones from Ezekiel's touch, it was practically a battlefield with Orion knowing he was bound to lose.

'Orion? If you need help complying Ezekiel can assist,' offered Doc, giving Ezekiel a small nod which Ezekiel returned simply.

Orion wanted to say something, maybe yell at him to just give him a bit of time, but he was close to settling to himself again and if he did that, he'd lose it. With one big exhale his mind bowed to the facts present and he was able to shift his legs ever so slowly, twisting at the knees so that his genitals were slightly downturned but giving access to the small hole at the rear.

'Good Orion, now I'm sure you know that I need you to try to be as still as you can, we don't want to hurt you unnecessarily,' warned Doc as he handed Ezekiel the speculum and swab. The fact that Doc said this whilst handing an obviously unsure Ezekiel the equipment didn't help Orion at all, in fact, from what he could see of Ezekiel's face, he might have been just as freaked out as he was.

Orion watched as Ezekiel's back and shoulders expanded before slumping again, the sound of the low breath escaping quickly. A gush of anxiety flooded Orion's system and suddenly his mouth was moving without his consent, words forming and expelled, 'Please be gentle.'

Ezekiel paused briefly with tools in hand, looking back at Orion and giving him a deft nod, lips pursed, before returning to the task at hand. Orion's eyes slid closed and he ground his teeth into one another as he prepared both for the pain and the embarrassment of what was to come.

The gentle prodding of fingers was warm against him, rounding over the clenched, tightened flesh. Orion had no idea what Ezekiel might be thinking about, touching him there, but Orion knew it didn't matter. This wasn't about what he could do it, but what he had to do and as the gentle slide of the oily gel slicked over the hole he felt the pressure on him.

It wasn't painful at first, just uncomfortable. The speculum was small, just big enough to create a hole for the swab the get in with but with the words that Doc was saying; the words Orion couldn't make out, he felt himself tense unconsciously.

One quick yelp was all it took and his hands started to grip onto his hair, his eyes clenched closed so tightly that they felt as though they were stuck there.

'Orion.' Orion was expecting to be Doc to try and soothe him, but Ezekiel's voice was the one that found his ears. 'Orion, please relax.'

Orion wanted to, he wanted to so much, but it felt impossible now. He searched through his mind for his training; deep breaths would allow him to relax, it was too bad that he couldn't really open his mouth without some strange sound coming out.

It took a minute or two; a few agonising minutes, for Orion to gain back control, the muscles going limp but still wary; ready to tense again at any movement.

Again, Orion felt the push inside of him, it building up to his stomach in nauseousness. A soft click said the speculum was in place and open. Orion breathed as deeply as his nostrils would allow, very aware of the sound his breathing was making but too uncomfortable to care.

Warm fingers again, pressing against his inner thigh to steady themselves as the strange feeling of the swab being moved in took over. It wasn't painful, not yet, but it was trying. A small, few naivgational pushes to get the complete right angle and then Orion felt it.

'You're going to have to press in a little harder Zeke,' stated Doc, the words quickly being drowned out as Orion groaned against the instrusion.

Then Orion felt it fully, felt like he was being cut open from the inside out. It lasted for three... two... one... then the pressure left, the pain aching and ebbing up through his stomach and diaphragm till it reached his chest and made it hard for him to breath.

Seconds later and he was released, sheet back covering him as he felt the slow stabs of pain still coming from his abdomen. Orion didn't bother paying attention to what was happening, eyes still tightly closed, groaning softly still as his body pulled the closest magic it could to heal the intrusion.

'He did well Zeke, you did well too. I definitely didn't think it would go as well as it did considering,' said Doc. Orion wanted to negate that. He didn't do well and neither did Ezekiel, to do well would infer for Ezekiel to have trusted and believed him, instead of subjecting him to the condescending test.

Several more minutes passed, or at least that's what it felt like, but by the time he had centered himself again the door was closing with softly spoken goodbyes. Orions eyes opened slowly, fingers uncurling from their position trapped in his sandy, sweaty tendrils of hair.

He wanted to scream again, wanted to escape, but most of all he wanted to be able to drag the glamour up but it sat resolutely quiet in his mind, as if deciding he took too much effort to protect.

'Once the tests come back and you're confirmed to still be suitable we'll be able to go with the rest of the Pack,' said Ezekiel, his voice coming from the small kitchen station in the corner, 'But till then, we'll be eating in here. I didn't know what you liked so I just grabbed some deer.'

Orion twisted in the chains awkwardly, Ezekiel was moving slowly towards the bed and the nightstand, plate in hand topped with fresh, raw meat.

The plate was sat gingerly on the nightstand as Ezekiel pulled the stool over. 'Here,' said Ezekiel, easily grabbing Orion under his back and propping him up slightly with a pillow, 'You wouldn't be able to ah, feed yourself, but...'

Ezekiel's words trailed off as if he was unsure of himself. Orion was again reminded by his brain that Ezekiel was aware that he wasn't talking to the 18 year old Orion he knew; he was talking to the Orion that was a Com-Med, a successful and knowledgable Orion, and one who probably didn't like the idea of having to be fed.

'As long as you don't make as big a mess of me as my siblings I don't really care,' remarked Orion, the words coming out sharper than he had intended.

Ezekiel paused as he looked at him, a piece of deer already halfway to his mouth, 'Siblings?' he questioned simply.

Orion faltered a little. No glamour, he reminded himself as he felt for it in his mind. It was still there, hiding, but it of course wasn't doing anything, and it hadn't stopped anything from coming out of his mouth like it would have. Orion swallowed down; there was some information he was hoping to keep away from the Pack. He didn't trust them not try and broker a deal with him if they had all the information, and he definitely didn't want them to think they had the upper hand on him.

'Yeah, siblings,' replied Orion, knowing that he couldn't deny the information he'd given so readily, but he figured that he didn't need to provide anything further.

Ezekiel continued watching him, as if waiting for him to elaborate before sighing and popping the meat into his mouth. 'You know you've always been so ready to say that no one knows you, but I ask once for clarification and all you do is repeat the same information,' he stated.

Orion looked eagerly at the meat on the plate, his instinct to reach out almost overwhelming as the smell stole his sense from him and he was suddenly aware of just how hungry he was.

'One brother and one sister. Younger,' qualified Orion, figuring that there wasn't too much information to go on so it wouldn't really have any affect.

Ezekiel played with the next piece of meat, holding it out close enough for Orion to grab it with his teeth. Ezekiel watched in amusement as Orion rolled it back with ease, obviously used to have food shoved at his mouth.

'Do they feed you often then?' asked Ezekiel, smiling a little as Orion chewed.

Swallowing sharply Orion considered, 'Depends on what you mean by often. Probably once every three days they decide that they'd much rather feed me than eat their own food.'

'So quite young then,' confirmed Ezekiel, offering another piece of the meat to Orion.

'Something like that,' barred Orion, teeth gnawing over the juicy flesh in his mouth. He was very aware that in any other circumstance he'd be scoffed at and called a pig; speaking with one's mouth full was greatly frowned upon, but given the situation Orion figured that the normal rules of etiquette didn't apply.

The conversation pulled to stop and Orion felt a warm glow in his chest. It hadn't been like any conversation he'd had with a Hellhound before, aside from Doc of course; it was easy, almost like they were friends. Almost.

The meat depleted from the plate long before either of them were content and it annoyed Orion slightly. Were they only provided one plate? He wondered, Or had Ezekiel already eaten a plate to himself? His irritability at the situation twitched inside of him, emotions swirling annoyingly again since his hunger was mostly sated.

Ezekiel left to put the plate in the sink, grabbing a glass of water for himself. Orion attempted to stretch within the chains, needing some kind of relief, even if it was just a small one.

The horizontal laying and the almost full stomach brought back Orion's need for sleep. Orion had forgotten what it felt like to be tired; not normal tired, but needing of absolute relief tired. That was one of the benefits of Other World, it was less material in its needs. Tired? Just sit down for awhile and you'll quickly recharge. Hungry? A pint of blood and it'll tide you over till the next meal. Horny? Just lay back and imagine the thing you want most and your body will do the rest.

Ether World was different though; Ether World was demanding. It was all material. Tiredness came so much quicker and the hunger bit at the throat; you could practically forget about wanting any sexual contact if you weren't already mated, because well, it just sucked to have to deal with it yourself here. Orion had always hated that; how literal the world was. He supposed that was part of the Sprite in him; wanting the euphemism of it all to suffice; the barest minimum required to sate a need.

This need for it all to be material was part of what terrified Orion too. He'd spent years of his life researching Other World in the Academy's library. Learning all about how their Rites went and how much less demanding they were. There was no blood shared, no real pain in mating and definitely no loss of limbs for broken vows. It was metaphors and poetic circumstance. The procedures were all the same of course; they just didn't need as much force for the end to be met in Other World.

'The armour you wear, it's from Verge isn't it?' asked Ezekiel suddenly, dragging Orion out of his thoughtful stupor.

'How would you know about Verge?' was all Orion could bring himself to say, wavering slightly on the words.

'My mother's clan, they settle near Verge for years at a time. They wear the same emblem as those in Verge because of their association. I've seen it on her officiate,' provided Ezekiel, none too bothered with pointing out his mother's own lesser-than birth status.

Of course Orion already knew this. The clan he was speaking of was Woodfyre and they did indeed settle near Verge quite often. It happened to be the clan he found after escaping, once he'd worked out how to make it back to Ether World that was.

'We've got another mate from the clan actually, Cassandra. She came on a few months ago,' added Ezekiel as Orion failed to respond to the attempt at conversation.

The news perked his interest. He had heard of a few of the gypsies being mated out in recent months, but he hadn't known that any had ended up in Nox Pack. Filtering through his memory, he recalled the slight face of the young girl, though doubtfully not quite so young now. Cassie was what he'd known her as; a feisty and unpredictable girl with a sharp mouth. Orion quietly hoped that she hadn't lost those attributes and was giving at least one Hellhound some strife.

Orion felt the words on the tip of his tongue before he pulled them back. Ezekiel could know he was from Verge, he could know he marched with Warlocks and he could know that he was a Com-Med, but he didn't want to give him too much knowledge of his associations outside of that. The release of the information almost felt baiting. It wouldn't surprise Orion to find out that perhaps the Pack had known where he was those few years he spent travelling with the Woodfyres, but he didn't have to know everything even if that was the case.

'They're a good clan,' offered Orion as means of giving Ezekiel at least something, knowing all too well that if he didn't respond it would be a bigger issue than he ought to invite on.

'Yeah. Mum goes and walks with them every now and again. She says it grounds her; takes her back to her roots,' finished Ezekiel, resting back on the small lounge that sat in the corner of the room.

Orion's curiousity burned. He had known already that Ezekiel's mother Freya came from the clan, in fact it had practically been shouted at him once he'd met them. Freya the Empath. Freya the kind and considerate; the first of the clan to rise in three generations to magical commendation. She was practically legendary in the clan.

'Has your mother ever been to Verge?' questioned Orion, picking at his curiousity and attempting to find the most mundane way to figure out the answer he needed. Did Freya know his mother?

'Briefly, a few times. Mostly when she was younger; before she was mated. She still favours your Summer Solstice festival apparently, says it's best she's ever seen,' said Ezekiel, twisting so that his head fell backwards over the armrest so that he could look at Orion upside down.

Orion smiled, unmeaning to of course, 'That's true. It is the best.'

Orion's eyes swept over Ezekiel's face, a brief stab of desire emanating from his groin in the process. It was older, harder and definitely harsher, but the expressions were lighter; more understanding, less holier than thou. For a moment Orion's fantasies, usually sated in his normal life, took hold sharply.

Ezekiel over him smiling; Ezekiel leaning down to kiss him; Ezekiel doing anything to show he loved him. Ezekiel over and over again.

Orion blanched. Usually his fantasies were hidden from the world, but as he lay chained to a bed, secured in the not quite large enough for the two of them room, so close to Ezekiel, he could feel something else. He didn't know what smell he was giving off in the short few seconds of errant thought, but it was enough to quirk Ezekiel's brow and cause a sly smile to appear.

'Do not smile at me like that,' Orion warned, fidgetting in the chains and becoming warmer by the second.

Orion could already feel himself slipping to the Mateship. It had been easier to hide from when he was younger; he hadn't matured yet; but now, now he was matured and the Mateship called with strength. It wanted power; it wanted control; it wanted Orion.

Ezekiel simply shrugged and pushed forward, head pulling back over so he was facing the blank wall, unpertrubed with Orion's awkward sassiness.

Orion took that as confirmation that he could return to his resting. He still had no idea what time it was or what he should be expecting, but he didn't really care at the moment, all he wanted to do was extinguish the flame of desire that had sparked inside of him. Taking one single deep breath, he ungrounded himself and slipped into semi-consciousness.

Orion awoke to warmth. Not just sun shining on you warmth, or too much clothing warmth, but the bare heat of skin against skin. Eyes flinging open he was startled to find the left side of his body almost on fire as it pressed up against Ezekiel's back.

Moving sharply, his leg flung out kicking the Hellhound, causing a loud shout of, 'Hey!' as Orion attempted to put as much space between them as possible.

'Hey yourself! You're a fucking furnace you know that! I was already melting in the heat and you've just gone a charred my earthforsaken bones!' shouted back Orion angrily. He had thought the meditation would soothe him, alleviate some of the emotions he couldn't control; put the beasts of his fear and rage back into the cages, but he was none too lucky.

'Well you know if you were mated you wouldn't have a fucking problem with it,' barked back Ezekiel, also having woken up in a less than stellar mood.

'My apologies that I didn't allow myself to be mated prematurely just for this very cirumstance!' almost screamed Orion, giving another sharp kick to Ezekiel, trying his best to make as much impact as possible.

'That's it!' tossed Ezekiel, rolling over angrily and coming to hold himself above Orion's face, hands pressed tightly against his upper arms again, creating more bruises.

'What? What are you going to do Ezekiel? Force me to mate you right here? Remind me of where my place is? Tear me down the way you all used to do in training?' They were old assertions Orion threw at him, but they were some of the ones he'd kept locked in the back of his mind for many years. Questions, swirling round and round that he had wanted so long to yell into his face; something that appeared to now be coming true.

Ezekiel's face screwed up in annoyance and disgust, 'You know if you paid attention to something outside of yourself for one minute Orion, you wouldn't have to ask me that.'

The words were quick and covered in spite, given finale as Ezekiel rolled back over suddenly, pulling the sheet covering Orion over himself and ensuring enough space so that Orion couldn't kick him again.

Orion's bare skin chilled, goosebumps rising across him and hair standing on end. He felt cool, like he'd just jumped into a refreshing ice bath for a moment and gotten out again. There was no more sweat-inducing heat. It felt mild and temperate; it felt like Verge.

Orion swallowed back, now thoroughly embarrassed about his outburst. Ezekiel hadn't been restraining him, or dominating him, he'd been taking from him; heat, the one thing that Sprites couldn't truly stand. He had taken the heat, not just from what he caused to Orion but from the air around him as well. He had made him comfortable.

Orion felt stupid and exposed again, and so felt around his mind for the glamour but it had fallen to the wayside. Irritable, he prodded at it; he wanted it to make himself feel better, but all it did was swat back at his prying, it's soft voice whispering, 'Nothing to hide, nothing for Mateship.'

Orion hadn't thought of that one conundrum. He had assumed that glamours could be used over anyone, or maybe they could have been, if Orion's inner desires weren't desperately melding with the Mateship itself.

'Sorry,' murmured Orion sheepishly; if the glamour couldn't make him feel better, he'd have to do it himself.

'Save it Orion,' was all he got from the huddled giant who'd absconded to the other side of the bed.

Orion fell silent, not just embarrassed but angry at himself now. It wasn't anger or annoyance Ezekiel had replied with, but disappointment, yet again.

Orion groaned inwardly; he hated disappointment, it made him feel like he was five again getting scolded by his Magi. Eying Ezekiel's form Orion knew he was going to have to make an effort here. He'd been idiot, they'd been civil before and Orion didn't feel like putting up with a brooding Ezekiel for the rest of the day.

'Ezekiel,' groaned Orion, hands tangled in the sandy mass of his hair again, 'I'm sorry okay, I over-reacted. I didn't think about what I was saying and I shouldn't of said it.' The words were rehearsed; too many years of being disciplined on apologising, and they sounded flat with a lack of sincerity, even to Orion.

'You suck at apologies,' remarked Ezekiel with acid in his words, turning back over and throwing the stolen sheet back over Orion, 'And you know you're at least meant to try and make them sound sincere, right?'

Orion grimaced at the sharpness of Ezekiel's irritable gaze, ready to give whatever sarcastic retort he could think, when suddenly his mouth went dry. Ezekiel was naked, and apparently none too fazed by it, despite the fact that Orion's eyes were now wide and drinking in the warm cocoa colouring of his skin.

'You have a severe lack of etiquette and decorum. It's rude to stare Orion,' bit out Ezekiel, but the edge had left his voice, he was almost teasing now.

Orion snapped his eyes back up to Ezekiel's, licking his lips in order to get enough moisture back so he could speak, 'Why are you, ah... Why are you... Why- why are you...' tried Orion, the words not seeming to make it all the way out of his mouth.

'Why am I naked? Well, it's my bed, I'm hot too and it's more comfortable this way,' rebuked Ezekiel, more and more teasing tones coating his voice that sent involuntary shivers down Orion's spine.

This was already becoming too much like the last time he'd alone in this room with Ezekiel: the containment. Of course, they'd been younger then; Orion a lot less confident and Ezekiel a lot more pompous; but the teasing, that was something that was definitely familiar. Orion cursed at himself, he wasn't going to do this again, he wasn't going to fall into it. He'd made a deal with himself years ago that he could love Ezekiel, he could want and he could have whatever fantasies kept him going, but this; this was forbidden. This was dangerous.

'Why do you do that?' asked Ezekiel, ignoring Orion's lack of response and instead putting in his own curiousity.

Orion flinched slightly, 'Do what?'

'Pull back. I can feel it you know. You get all warm and connected and you smell like...' Ezekiel paused for a moment to think, creasing his brow as he tired to find the word, 'You smell like all the favourite things in the world.'

'That sounds like something a five year old would say,' stated Orion condescendingly, giving Ezekiel a look that showed how little he cared for the lame simile.

'But that is what it smells like,' shrugged Ezekiel.

'You never finished what you were going to say,' returned Orion, now wanting to know how Ezekiel experienced the interactions.

'You cut me off,' pointed out Ezekiel, rolling his eyes before sighing, 'Anyway, you get connected and then you break off, somehow, and you seem to do it willingly because it's in spite of the fact that I can feel your desire.'

Orion tensed. If he had the use of his arms they'd be crossed obstinately over his chest, but alas, they had to stay tangled in his hair.

'I don't break it off, I ground myself,' shot back Orion, 'You know, that thing that Sprites are known for doing quite often, the thing that keeps them mostly sane.'

'Only mostly sane aye?' teased Ezekiel.

'Well we can't all have great mental health can we?' flared back Orion, realising after he spoke that he was starting to tease Ezekiel back.

'I hope you're not asserting that to me,' laughed Ezekiel. The sound was hearty and warm and full of life, and it tore into Orion's chest with a long forgotten form of happiness. He'd made Ezekiel laugh.

'Well considering that made you laugh then I'm probably going to say that great mental health is definitely off the cards,' prodded Orion jokingly.

'Yeah well, I'm still naked,' taunted Ezekiel, laughing even more as he watched Orion's cheeks tinge and his lip curl awkwardly.

'Unfair rules,' remarked Orion, embarrased and a little defensive.

'Orion,' started Ezekiel, pausing for affect, 'You're naked too don't forget, and I might remind you, you were naked first. It would have been unfair for me not to be naked.'

The heat grew in Orion's cheeks as he acknowledged the statement; he might have forgotten, just for a moment, that he was naked. He'd been too happy with the way it was keeping his body cool to consider it from any other perspective, however he had noted the necessity of it, considering he had a track stuck into his bladder to eleviate that need at least.

The brief pause in the teasing gave way to a settling of the conversation. Ezekiel's eyes had darkened a little and his face had turned into a solemn look. He looked as though he were about to admit to murder.

Ezekiel cleared his throat awkwardly as Orion twiddled his fingers in the chains, the sound keeping his mind from the naked form of Ezekiel in front of him.

'I am sorry though,' tacked on Orion lamely, remembering what had started the conversation in this first place. 'I've never been very good at not saying the wrong thing I guess.'

'You're a dickhead Orion,' was all the response Ezekiel gave before he shuffled lightly and closed his eyes.