Mind Games was coded in a computer that used the fonts Mistral and Arial. I suggest that you for ease of reading use another sans serif as your default font, if you do not have Arial on your system. Feel welcome to suggest to me other fonts that could be put in as alternatives, I have no idea what Mac fonts, for example, are called.
Last Warning!
This story contains material that may by some be considered 
objectionable, do not read if you are offended by m/m 
relationships and mostly implied m/m sex. 



I mean it.



...



Seriously. That's what you have the 'back' button for.



Thank you. 


Main Page ~ Paladin's Haven ~ Contact the Author!


Mind Games by Alexandra Herakai

If I don't get warmth and sleep soon, I'm going to end up passing out right here on the Border, Shadowrose thought, and tugged at the fur-lined cloak to wrap it tighter around himself. Of course moving Haven had to go awkward in the winter of all times. I don't have a thing against Eastern summer, but the winter's pretty awful. Cold.

His cream paws sank through the crust of snow, and he growled irritably. He knew one Paladin that was going to get scratched skin if he didn't show up soon. Wind had picked up since he went out, blowing sharp snowflakes into his face, and somehow finding a way to get in under both the layers of clothing and his thick, supposedly isolating pelt. And ice kept forming between his toes. He'd be bleeding by the time he got back, if the next guard was going to be later than he dared fear. Which was a lot earlier than he really expected. He couldn't quite grasp how one could miss half a guard that way, though. Which was about as long as Spike took before he showed up, dressed only marginally warmer than usual. As he worked his way through the drifts, Shadowrose found himself envying the Fire Paladin's powers. It was quite a nice trick to keep oneself warm by magic without being drained. He wouldn't mind, really, he wouldn't.

If I know C'ix right, there's something just as magic to defrost me once I get home. Of course, that's assuming I won't be more than half dead when I get there. Though that's quite another kind of magic.

Blush crept up his cheeks under the black fur, to think that he would have his mind on such.

Whatever keeps me going and chases the chill from my heart, if not my bones.

It took him at least twice the time it should have taken to get from the Border and to the southmost building in the Heart. And his predictions about the state his feet would be in had not only been true, they'd been seriously understated. Lumps of ice between his toes, chafing, cuts from the snowcrust on the pads of his paws, and so cold, he could have been walking with two blocks of ice, and would not have noticed.

Except that ice probably is warmer than my feet.

Couldn't get through the door, into the warmth, soon enough. Gloved hands grasped the doorknob and tried to get it to unlatch. It was stubborn at times, nothing to do about. What Shadowrose hadn't expected was that when he finally got that part of the problem solved, the door still wouldn't bulge a hair. He tugged harder at it, and then pushed it with his shoulder. The advantage of having a door opening both ways, it was damn hard to block. But this time, no such luck. The door would not open any more than it would start singing sappy ballads. Oh, right, so if it had been able to sing sappy ballads it better not do it when he was within hearing distance, and definitely not now, when he was chilled to the bone and very frustrated by its uncoopreative behaviour. Just a nice way to end his life, frozen to death just outside his own front door, when it was not even locked. In a fit of desperate anger he pounded the door violently, once, twice, trice, his fists hit the cold boards, before his knees gave way under him and he sagged to the ground, still leaning against the door, so close to the warmth and yet so far away. He didn't even notice the tears starting to run from his eyes and turn into crystal beads in his eyelashes and fur as he dozed off, cold taking him and an inner warmth and darkness embracing him. No stinging snowflakes blowing around could reach him there, and he contently lay back in the dark, no more as cold.


The world shook. Under and around him, the darkness crumbled, a swirl of warm air carrying him away from it like a leaf by a gust of wind. And he sleepily fumbled in another kind of darkness, a darkness that made him feel lost, for something he could recognize as his. He felt lips on his, softly, as his lungs were filled with breath not his own. He was cold, so cold. Confused, since those lips on his, that butterfly's kiss, were definitely not his lover's. He tried to open his eyes, but found himself unable to do so. His skin burned where it was in contact, however brief, with whoever was holding him. Normally, he would have welcomed the warmth, would before, was it an hour ago, or just a fraction of a moment? Now it was agony, too hot, and he tried to tell his heavy, rag-doll-limp limbs to move him away. It didn't result in more than a brief flexing of his toe-claws and the sharp ice stuck on them chafing and drawing blood. Whoever was holding him must have noticed his movement, though, for he felt the slight shuffle of his rescuer like a lurch in his stomach, comparable to if someone had suddenly pulled away the world under him. A gentle hand on his forehead, brushing red locks aside, covering his eye for a moment, seemingly scalding hot. When the hand was removed, he could acctually work his eye open, a green slit in the black fur. That black-and-white equine head and straw yellow mane seemed familiar, but it took him a long moment to connect it to a person he knew, and another moment to connect a name to that person.

"Wake now?" Colone murmured.

The pegasi cradled him closer to his chest and mantled his wings over him. The flickering lamplight made it seem to his eyes that his friend, for all that his vision was far from sharp, had a halo of light surrounding him. Like one of the angels he vaguely remembered his mother believeing in. She'd said everyone has their own angel, or something like that. Memories faded in and out, blending with his blurry vision, but he was too tired to care. And cold, terribly cold.

"There, there, we'll get you warm again..."

As Colone gently cooed and cradled him closer to his chest, he relaxed and closed his eye again, ears drooping as he snuggled into the equine's chest and coming to rest with his body twisted in a quite impossible angle, leaning heavily on the pegasi. He was still cold, but otherwise, the contact and attention felt good. He was almost asleep when Colone shook him.

"Try to stay awake, young stallion. You're still a lot colder than I like you."

So what? That was his intial thought, but as he looked up, again twisting his body in a way that made Colone wince, and saw the genuine worry on the pegasi's face, he found himself unable to not care. With a lot of help he managed to sit up in the pegasi's lap, leaning his head on Colone's neck, nuzzling sleepily. It felt good to have those strong arms embracing him and wings softly mantled around them both.

"C'l?"

Oh, great, now what was his tongue doing?

"What? Want me to get 'Ix down here for you?"

He thought about that for a moment. A very long moment. He'd almost forgotten the question when he slowly shook his head. No reason to have Ceix worried. He was content where he was, knew Colone would take care of him, and trusted the pegasi to know when it was safe to go up to his room and sleep there, with Petal on his feet and Ceix by his side, as if nothing had happened. Well, except for the fact his feet hurt. More now, when both they and his brain were warming up a bit, the cold having numbed them before.

"How do you feel now?" Colone asked, probably mostly to see if he was dozing off again.

"Frrsin? 'Urt." he supplied, his tongue still not cooperating.

"At least you're warming up." Colone blew warm air at his nose, and he sneezed at the strong smell of hay and, well, horse.

He relaxed, or tried to relax, fighting the shivers spreading through his body. Even as Colone assured him it was the way it was supposed to be, he was not ready to accept it, made him feel helpless. He didn't want to be helpless, he could take care of himself, depending on others led to being used. With a force Colone could easily have resisted he wringed loose and stood up, swaying for a moment before his brain registered the pain shooting up his legs from cut feet. It was enough to make him lose his balance, and be caught back in Colone's arms.

"Rest," Colone ordered sternly. "No more foolish attempts to take care of yourself, because you are in no condition to."

He was lost two words or so into the second sentence. Without a word Colone sat him down on the worn couch and reached for one of two mugs that stood on the table. It hurt when Colone seemingly ignored him, sipping at the tea. It was an eternity and some before the pegasi slowly sat his mug down, and then returned to his seat in the sofa, gently scooping Shadowrose back in his arms. Even with his usually keen mind so slowed down, the panther had taken the hint. Refusing help would hurt Colone, and if there was something he didn't want to do, it was to hurt the few chosen who stood him near.

"I- I- c-can I..." he stuttered, words cut off by the clatter of his teeth as he shivered. "C-cold..."

Colone reached for the second mug, and the bottle that stood next to it on the stable. After a little trouble opening it, the pegasi poured a good five spoonfuls of the thick liquid into the tea, before replacing the cap and idly licking a drop of syrup off his hand. With all the patience a parent might have with a sickly child, he put the mug in Shadowrose's hands, steadying him when it seemed he would drop it and spill tea all over both himself and Colone. He moved the mug to his lips, slowly, grimacing at the heavy sweet smell.

"Don't."

He paused, mouth halfway open. What now?

"Hold it until it doesn't feel warm anymore, then drink. You'll just hurt yourself heating up too quickly."

He obeyed, or, at least he tried to. His hands were shaking even more, now when they had a burden in them, and he was too exhausted to be able to fully surpress the shivers. Painfully slowly he saw some of the still quite hot tea be sent over the edge and splash down on his legs, a moment before he felt its scalding kiss. Surprised he yelped, spilling more of the drink over both himself and Colone. The pegasi stiffened for a moment, before Screaming, making his head resound of thirteen shades of pain and fear, sharp and edgy. Then, as suddenly as he'd tensed up, Colone gathered himself, relaxed, gently took the mug from his hands, and held him close, so close, as he sobbed in fatigue, pain and helplessness.

It took another several hours, and another several mugs of syrup with tea (which Shadowrose under any normal conditions would have quite pointedly said no to), before both sobbing and shivering ceased. Only then did Colone pick him up and carry him up the stairs to the room he and his boyfriend shared with the pegasi, both of them now with a fresh smell of mint and raspberry on their breath.


"Whu?" Ceix muttered sleepily, pushing Petal off his chest as he woke up.

"You neglected telling someone about the dangers of winter," Colone said pointedly, the precense of the half-sleeping man in his arms making clear just whom he meant. "And he could have died. Is that how much you care, hmm?"

"What happen'd?"

"I heard him by the door, and opened it. It had gotten stuck from the cold. He was just about dead by then. You must've heard something."

Ceix was on his legs before Colone had finished the sentence, and surprisingly gently helped ease his lover down on the bed, before slipping in under the double comforters himself and taking Shadowrose in his arms, mind drifting as they both dozed off, the panther curled up with his back against his lover's chest and stomach. Finally warm.


The first thing he came aware of was sound. Ceix was breathing heavily, in a way that the brunette just did during sex. Which was strange, since he knew for a fact he'd never fall asleep...

The next sensation that struck his mind was taste. A taste he recognized all too well, but had avoided because of bad associations. He was not the man to willingly taste even his lover, after the childhood he'd had. So why in all the hells...

His sense of smell reminded him of its existance, pine assaulting his nose, the scent familiar but unsettling given what his other senses had told him. An inkling of a suspicion...

Then he suddenly was all in control of himself, the slick feeling of oil on his hands, the sight of his lover trembling in pleasure and need, his own desire, all came rushing down on him as if he'd been doused with a bucket of ice-cold water. Ceix whimpered as he withdrew the two oil-covered fingers from where they'd been, teasing, preparing. It may be he lacked own experience, but he'd had it done to him enough times. He knew.

So what was he doing? Closing his eyes for a brief moment, he could recognize a tiny "echo" of another's mind, and looking Ceix in the eyes, he no longer had any doubts as to just whose mind that was.

"Get out of my head!" he snapped in the same instant he got to his feet and scrambled backwards, dangerously close to panic.

"What?" Ceix asked, dumbfounded, his voice slow and a tiny bit deeper in his throat than usual.

"Just what are you, you almost made me..."

"Calm down, 'Rose..."

"Don't call me that! Using me, are you!?"

The pather hissed and half-emptied the pitcher into the low, wide bowl for washing, rubbing soft soap into his fur with his fingertips, hard enough that his claw-like nails scratched his skin, angry enough not to notice. It was perhaps not so much what had happened as how, that instead of asking Ceix had just gone ahead and pushed his body to do things he did not agree with.

"Please, 'Rose, I do'dn't mean... I be'd naught even aware I be'd..."

"Do. Not. Call. Me. Rose. Rose is dead, Ceix. Shadowrose took his place, and Shadowrose isn't taking this. From anyone."

"Look, I'm sorry, I will'd naught have... I be'd half asleep, be'dn't thinking..."

"Damn straight. I love you, but I damn well don't want you in my head! 'Tis crowded enough between Zvee, Col, and all the nasty voices!"

"Sorry..."

Shadowrose growled, scrubbing his wrists bloody trying to wash the smell out of his pelt. Then he turned around, looked at his lover in something uncomfortably close to disgust, and limped towards the door. He paused a few moments to read the note stuck on it, dechiphering Colone's unmistakeable pothooks, uneven crow's dance across the paper. "Talking to Spike". That was to be expected.

"I'm about to see if the couch downstairs is as comfortable as 'Rinzo says. You better not follow. And," he nodded towards the quite obvious bulge in the blanket Ceix had covered himself up with, presumably against the cool air. The look on his face hinted that had he not been indoors, he would have spat in distaste. "You better take care of that yourself."


Mind Games and the characters in it are ┬ęCopyright Alexandra Herakai. Permission for use of characters in fanfiction is granted by default, long as you stay somewhat in character. You are welcome to email the author or use the Erigineea community at LiveJournal if you want to ask any questions. This story may not be reposted and/or arcieved without my permission.


Main Page ~ Paladin's Haven ~ Contact the Author!