Pain pricked his entire body. Surely, he was alive if he hurt so much. Eyes flickered open and Nyxen glanced around to see Aria asleep beside him. She was curled on her side, a hand tucked beneath her face. A picture of serenity. His angel. No, she'd been a warrior. Braver than any man he'd seen in battle.

In that moment with Vasha's sword coming down on him, he thought it'd been the end – that the gates of death would open for him once and for all. Time had slowed, pain had become nothing and all but regrets had surfaced in his mind. Regret he hadn't been able to save Aria, to see to her safety. Regret that he wasn't going to be able to fulfil his promise to her – to protect her, to stay by her side in sickness and in health. Then Aria'd come charging, throwing herself in harm's way in efforts to save him. She'd been the one to protect him.

He realised it now, that Aria was no damsel in distress – had never been. His stubborn attempts to keep her locked here, safe and away from dangers were meaningless. From the time she'd chosen to battle Vasha in attempts for her own freedom, to stepping in to save his life, Aria had shown she could hold her own. All he'd needed to do was trust her – learn to trust her and accept that she didn't belong in the constricted boundaries he'd forced her into. Nyxen was so used to protecting, to demanding control over others, but Aria was different. She was his equal.

Aria stirred and her eyes settled on him. She scrambled to her hands. "You're awake!"

"Deja vu, don't you think?"

Her brows creased. "I don't ever want to have to go through this again."

Nyxen winced through the pain as he reached an arm toward Aria, cupping her face as if needing to confirm she was truly there. Alive and well. "Did he hurt you?"

Aria shook her head. "I managed to keep him at bay."

"Good girl. You did well, getting us both out of there."

Tears shone bright in Aria's eyes and her brows furrowed once more. "You nearly gave me a heart attack. I was terrified he'd really take your life! Don't you ever do something so silly again and try to sacrifice your life for me! What would I have done if I'd lost you?"

"I could say the same about you. Jumping to attack Vasha like that -"

"If I hadn't, he would have taken your life!

"Aria, we're the same. You said it yourself. I'd just as soon jump to the gate's of death for you as you would for me. Neither of us can deny that nor try to stop the other."

Aria sniffed. "Fine. We're even then."

Nyxen grinned and pulled Aria down. She came willingly, resting her head against his shoulder. For some moments, they stayed like that, neither saying anything, just being content in each other's company, in each other's arms. He closed his eyes and breathed in her scent, relishing in the feel of her, the smell of her. She was truly in his arms once more. For good this time.

Gentle touches caressed the side of his torso. It was ticklish almost, but more than that, it made his cock stir, whether Aria realised what she was doing or not.

"How do you feel?" she asked.

"I've seen better days, but it's good to be alive."

"The healer provided you some herbal remedy. I'll have one of the maids go prepare it."

Nyxen was reluctant to let her go. He'd rather have had Aria in his arms, touching him – in other places too. It'd been too long since he'd had her.

When Aria returned with a tray of medicine and helped him up, pain roared across his torso, causing Aria to apologise profusely.

"You say that an awful lot around me," he murmured and Aria pursed her lips, apology written across her features. "How do you plan to make it up to me this time?"

"I – I'll do anything to make things easier for you."

"Feed me. With your mouth."

Aria's lips parted and she stared at him wordlessly.

"Too much to ask from a wounded husband?"

Pink blossomed across her cheeks. "N-no!"

Aria brought the bowl to her mouth then leaned over, cupped his face with both hands and pressed her lips to his. Nyxen's mouth opened to the kiss and warm, bitter liquid flooded in. He swallowed, eyed Verity pulling back and brought his hand to the back of her head, keeping her still. Surprised eyes met his and he smiled through the kiss, nibbling her lower lip, prolonging the kiss. Hand delved in her hair, gripping her tighter and he slanted his lips across Aria's, swallowing her. A soft, delicate hand touched his neck before gripping his hair. Aria's mouth opened beneath his, allowing his tongue to delve inside, taste her. Nyxen opened his eyes to a whimper, pulling back to lean his forehead on Aria's.

"It's been too long," he murmured, enjoying the colour blossoming across her cheeks. "I want you. Want to make long, passionate love to you."

"Y-you're hurt."

Nyxen grabbed Aria's hand and placed it over his straining cock. "Feel what you do to me? You said you'd do anything to make things easier for me."

"Nyxen..." she said, her voice breathy. Ah, she was aroused.

"Won't you put it out of misery?"

"I can... Make it better if you like, without, um, you know..."

"But I want to be inside you. And I know a perfect way to make it work."

Aria's breath hitched and her eyes widened. "H-how?"

He kissed her again, seducing her with his lips. Until she was mindless with him. Nyxen urged her onto her knees, caressed her torso, her waist, her hips, then slid her skirt down. On a startled gasp, it pooled on the bed, revealing a beautiful bare Aria. Heavens, how he wanted her. And his cock was straining with uncontrolled desire. Working quickly, he untied his loincloth, letting it drape on either side to free his throbbing cock. "Straddle me. Put your knees on either side of my legs."

Aria glanced at him with that shy, uncertain look that spurt desire straight to his groin. Ah, he'd miss the day she stopped blushing at their love-making. As Aria climbed forward, he palmed the lush curves of her behind, helping Aria straddle him. He reached out, fingered the juncture of her thighs and was met with wet, warm heat.

Aria gasped and grasped his shoulders. "Nyxen!"

"I can't hold back, Aria, I want you." He waited, searching for an answer, for permission to take her hard and quick the way he wanted.

Her breath hitched as she stared into his eyes. "A-are you sure this is going to be okay? You shouldn't be moving with your wounds."

His lips curled into a smile. "Aria, my sweet. You'll be the one doing all the moving this time."

He caught a brief moment of confusion before he leaned forward to swallow her lips. Without breaking the kiss, he parted her swollen folds, groaning at the thick pool of moisture at her entrance. "I love when you're wet for me like this. I want you to touch yourself. Open yourself to me."

Aria pulled back to look at him. "Wh-what?"

Nyxen gripped her behind, drawing her close so the tip of his cock touched her centre. A jolt of pleasure seized him. "I can't wait, Aria. I want you. Open yourself to me."

Aria sucked in a shaky breath, gripped his shoulder tight with one hand while reaching for herself with the other. She touched the thatch of hair, slid her fingers down and Nyxen knew the exact moment she found her entrance. Desire shadowed her eyes and her lips parted with a light expel of air. Heavens, watching his innocent wife touch herself and explore her own body had to be the single most arousing sight.

"Open yourself, my sweet, feel that part where I enter you."

Aria let out a shaky breath, staring at him for support as her hand delved further.

"Now guide me inside you."

Aria's gaze fell to his cock. A single touch, a single grasp had Nyxen's eyelids fluttering closed. His body shuddered, as if jolted by lightening. Grating his teeth, he told himself to be patient as Aria explored, discovered how to fit him inside her.

"Are you sure this will work?"

Nyxen barked a desperate laugh. "Aria, my sweet, trust me. I would know."

Brows furrowed and she eased down again, swallowing the tip of his cock and more into her warm sheath. A groan escaped him as his head fell back. "Keep going, all the way."

In one swift motion, Aria swallowed him hole. Nyxen hissed, hips surging to meet Aria's in a jolt of electric pleasure.

"You will be the death of me, woman."

"Nyxen," Aria gasped, wrapping her hands around his neck. Their foreheads met and they stayed liked that for some moments, staring at each other, relishing in the feel of each other. If either of them moved, even just a little, he'd surely spurt his seed. Cupping Aria's face with one hand, he brought their lips together once more. Their kiss was slow, sensual, a juxtaposition to the heated inferno between them. The mad dance that he knew would ensue.

"Take your bandetta off," he whispered against her lips.

Her eyes fluttered open, showcasing a haze of desire.

"Give me your breasts."

He took advantage of her stilled lips as she reached up to undo the knot of her bandetta. He teased her, nipping her bottom lip, drawing it between his teeth and biting. A sign of his ferocious hunger.

Nyxen cupped the bottom of her breasts, impatient for the bandetta to disappear. And when it did, his carnal desires unleashed. One look was all it took. One look at the perfect, pert mounds. Dusky nipples, pointed and begging for his mouth. He latched on, drawing a keening moan from Aria.

Her back arched at the same time her inner muscles contracted. His cock throbbed and an uncontrollable groan spilled from him.

"Please, Nyxen," Aria whimpered, drawing his gaze to her face. Heavens. Aria was a Sex Godess. She shook him with her flushed cheeks and drawn brows of desperation. And those lips, slightly parted, were swollen from kissing. Love and lust burst through him, so strong, he couldn't hold back.

"Ride me," he growled. "Move your hips."

Aria rolled her hips in a slow, experimental move and Nyxen grated his teeth. Eyes stayed glued to Aria, as if he needed something to ground himself from the agonising torture of her slow movements. Heaven or Hell – Nyxen could no longer decide. Could only sit there, gripping Aria's hips, letting Aria continue to experiment. She took her time, movements unpredictable, but each time, wave after wave of pleasure flooded him. And slowly, she found her rhythm.

Nyxen placed a hand on her hip and let his head fall back, fell prey to the onslaught of desires and pleasure. And for the first time, he realised, he was admonishing his control to someone else. He gave it gladly, letting Aria take the reins. She brought him high up over the edge, higher than he'd ever thought he could go.

Watching her through lidded eyes only brought him higher still. Aria was a wet dream coming alive. Back arched, breasts thrust forward and bobbing with her thrusts, Nyxen thought he'd go insane watching his innocent little wife finding her pleasure, seeking it, working for it. Her face was an expression of complete pleasure. Heady moans spilled from her lips and a dusky haze of desire coated her eyes. Nyxen almost regretted looking away to suckle her breasts.

"Ooh, Nyxen," Aria moaned, wrapping her hands around his neck and pressing him close. She leaned forward, spilling more breathy moans at the new angle. Her hips ground down, undulating. Once, twice, then she was thrusting. Backwards and forwards. Short, sharp movements. "Nyxen, Nyxen."

Heavens, he was going to lose it. He could feel it. His hips thrust forward to meet Aria's. Again and again. Thrust after thrust. He pumped into her. Harder and harder. His balls seized. His cock grew impossibly hard. And then he lost it. Their simultaneous moans filled the air. Aria's muscles contracted, rippling around his cock, milking him. And he continued thrusting, pumping his seed inside her, even as she stilled, frozen in mid-release. Euphoria consumed him. He grunted as the last of his seed seeped from him.

A/N: You know when you read something so many times that it no longer makes sense? That's what happened when I was editing this chapter! I have tried to edit this chapter to the best of my ability but it was driving me bonkers! Hopefully, you still enjoy the Nyxen-Aria time together :)