Shadow felt the steady rhythm of his gray mount move underneath him, almost calming him. Shadow had come to enjoy riding and his grey mount, simply called Grey, had formed a bond that Shadow now pulled on as he rode back to camp at a slow pace. The animal knew nothing of his problems yet seemed to almost understand that his rider was disturbed, and seemed to make the ride smoother for the troubled boy.
Shadow knew that he couldn’t stay forever on the bank of the stream and had finally mounted up to ride back to camp. He didn’t know what to say to Sunhawk, or even what to do. The young priest felt exhausted, yet he also felt more than anything that he needed to deal with the problem at hand. Sleep, no matter how tired he was, just seemed like an escape to the him and he wanted to face his problems head one.
Shadow looked up in surprise as he heard the pounding of horse hooves. He saw a figure approached at a high speed, slowing as it neared him. It didn’t take him long to recognized Marissa’s flying brown braid and worried face fast approaching. Guiltily he realized that he had left no note for Kelas and the healer must have been worried about him.
“Shadow, are you all right?” Marissa asked as she stopped her horse next to Shadow’s.
Shadow smiled weakly at the worried woman. “I am fine. I am sorry I worried you and Kelas, I wasn’t thinking very well when I left.”
Marissa put a hand out to gently touching Shadow’s knee. ” It’s ok. I wouldn’t be thinking straight either. I am just glad that you aren’t hurt.”
“No, I needed to talk to Mith. I couldn’t do it with all of the noise of the camp,” Shadow said, starting his horse moving again.
“Did she answer?”
“Yes, she gave me a lot to think about. I need to talk to Sunhawk,” Shadow said.
“Um, Shadow right now Sunhawk is a little busy. You know, Ariel being laid up and all,” Marissa said hesitantly.
“I totally forgot. I should go check up on him,” Shadow exclaimed, somewhat embarrassed he had forgoten about the man.
“Ariel will be fine, but what about you? I didn’t think you would want to see Sunhawk so soon after. . . ” Marissa started, but was unsure of whether to continue on that line of thought.
“It’s ok Marissa. Mith pointed out some things to me along with comforting me. If I want to be honest I’m not ok, but I don’t want to run away from the problem either,” Shadow said shaking his head. “I will just go back to the tent and wait for him.”
“Shadow I don’t want to interfere but. . . ” Marissa stopped, not wanting to sound cruel but also knowing that as a member of Tthe Hawks she needed to say something.
Shadow looked over at the hesitating woman, wondering what she was trying to tell him.
“Marissa just say it,” Shadow said tiredly after several minutes had passed.
“Sunhawk needs to focus on his job Shadow. I’m sorry, it sounds cruel but if you go back to the tent now Sunhawk isn’t going to be able to concentrate. I saw him this morning, he looked haggard but he was totally into getting the job done. Looking back on it I am sure it is the only way he can function is to throw himself into his work and not to think. If Ariel wasn’t wounded I wouldn’t say anything but right now Sunhawk is the only leader we have,” Marissa said miserably, hating to say the words to the boy.
Shadow looked down at Grey’s mane for a moment. He knew Marissa was right even though he hated the fact. With a sigh he wondered what he should do. His thoughts were interrupted by another horse approaching at a fast pace, if a little slower than what Marissa had.
“That must be Kelas. He was going to check with all the sentries first before taking off. I just had a feeling you would come down the river, so I went out ahead of him,” Marissa explained as Kelas approached them.
“Shadow you’re ok,” Kelas said with relief in his open face. “I would have never forgiven myself if something had happened to you.”
“Sorry Kelas,” Shadow said, focusing on the gray mane in front of him.
“No, no. It’s ok,” Kelas stammered, realizing that the last thing Shadow needed was to feel any worse.
“He wants to see Sunhawk,” Marissa said quietly. “But with Ariel out…”
“Yes, not only that Shadow you need sleep,” Kelas said, stopping any protest with an up- held hand. “No Shadow, you are exhausted. No matter how hard you try you are not going to be able to think clearly like that. You need to rest your body and mind;, you of all people should know that as an healer.”
“I knew Sunhawk would be busy so I thought I would just sleep in the tent until he was done for the day,” Shadow replied looking up.
“See, you aren’t thinking Shadow. Sunhawk’s tent is the command tent, he will be using it off and on all day,” Kelas said firmly.
“Hey I have an idea,” Marissa said, her face brightening. “Shadow, why don’t you sleep in my tent. Both Garth and I have a lot to do today so we will not need it, and no one will bother you. Kelas needs to sleep as well and he really needs his own cot. Not only that as head healer he could be interrupted. Later on tonight I will bring you some food and tell you when Sunhawk should be done with his work. How’s that?”
Shadow nodded reluctantly. He really just wanted to go home, but the way things were right now he knew Marissa and Kelas were right. Tears started leaking out of his eyes as he started his mount forward.
“Shadow?” Marissa said quietly as she matched her horse’s pace to Grey’s slow amble as Kelas moved to his other side.
“It’s all right.”
Marissa reached out to stop Grey and dismounted from her own chestnut gelding. Putting her hands around Shadow’s thin waist she effortlessly lifted the boy off of the horse, wrapping her muscular arms around the boy.
Marissa’s firm but gentle arms, similar to Mith’s yet totally different and real, undid Shadow as he cried into her ample chest. He vaguely felt Kelas’s delicate hands rubbing his back as both of his friends comforted him, saying nothing but lending him their strength and support.
“Hey Shadow,” Marissa said strolling into the tent, her hands full with a large tray of food. “Don’t tell me you didn’t sleep?”
“I just woke up. I didn’t think I would be able to sleep but before I knew it I was out. I am still tired but I had a feeling you might be coming.” Shadow said as he took the tray from her and started in on the food, feeling ravenous.
“Yeah, Sunhawk is pretty much done for the day. Right now he is at the mess area eating dinner. If you want you could go over as soon as you are done eating,” Marissa said, looking at the boy who was concentrating on the food in front of him. “Shadow, are you sure? I mean I know you love him and all, but you haven’t taken a lot of time to come to terms with what has happened.”
Shadow looked up from the food, a small frown on his face. Shaking his head he looked at the warrior in front of him, thinking of how to explain it to her.
“I can’t just stay away from him Marissa. I need him. For me Sunhawk is home now, and I know without a doubt Sunhawk is in pain right now, so am I. The only way to stop it is for us to try and solve our problems,” Shadow said quietly, almost to himself
“Shadow you are a braver person than I,” Marissa said ruffling his hair.
Shadow smiled weakly before attacking the food again. It wasn’t long before he had inhaled all of the food and stood up.
“I’m going back now. Thank you Marissa,” Shadow said, leaning down to woman in the chair and giving the woman a quick hug.
“I’m here for you whenever you need me, little one,” Marissa said looking up into the tired, worried face of the young priest.
Shadow nodded with a smile and left hurrying to his own tent. When he entered he was surprised to find it empty. Sunhawk usually didn’t spend a lot of time eating and Shadow had expected to find him already in the tent. Trying to let go of the tension that had built up in him he went in to change out of Kelas’s big baggy clothes and into his own. Lighting some candles he sat down on the makeshift bed, wondering when Sunhawk would return. It wasn’t long before he lay down, feeling the residual tiredness overcome him.
Struggling to keep his eyes open it wasn’t long before his body won out over his mind as he found himself drifting into sleep.
Sunhawk looked up at the full moon hanging over head with a sigh. He didn’t want to go back to his now empty tent. Without anything to distract him his thoughts would overwhelm him, and sitting in the empty tent that should be filled with the boy he had come to love was the last thing he wanted to do. Yet it was late and everyone had retired to their own tents.
Sunhawk had tried to go to Kelas’s tent late in the afternoon, to be turned away by a frightened junior healer. The man had sat outside Kelas’s tent on a folding chair reading a tattered book on healing. When Sunhawk had approached he could see the freckled face pale as the boy dropped his book and stood up, stammering that he had been left orders not to let Sunhawk in the tent.
Sunhawk could have very easily push the boy aside and gone in, but guilt about his own actions had overwhelmed him. In an instant he knew that even though he wanted to see Shadow more than anything he couldn’t bear to see the hatred in the boy’s silver eyes that surely must be there. As long as he stayed away he could pretend that there was still a chance the Shadow loved him, and didn’t hate him.
When Sunhawk reached his tent he hesitated outside, unable to walk into the empty tent. Shutting his eyes he steeled himself, realizing that he now had to become used to the empty tent, for he doubted that Shadow would ever be back. Walking slowly in he was surprised to find candles lit; looking around wildly he saw his love asleep on their bed.
Stumbling over to the edge of the bed he fell to his knees in front of it, looking at the boy that had curled himself into a tight ball on the bed. Sunhawk felt hot tears slide down his cheeks at the posture. Shadow always sprawled out on an empty bed, but now it was as if he were even in his sleep trying to protect himself. Sunhawk hesitantly reached out as if to touch the sleeping form but pulled his hand away as if it were burned, afraid to touch his lover. Closing his eyes he hoped the boy laying in his bed wasn’t a dream that would vanish in a blink of the eye.
Sunhawk felt a soft hand caress his face and his eyes flew open to meet amazing bright silver eyes. “Come on Sunhawk, get into bed,” Shadow whispered softly, his hand still on Sunhawk’s check.
“But… ” Sunhawk said hesitantly.
“Please, Sunhawk,” Shadow asked looking him straight into the eye.
Sunhawk hesitantly slide onto the bed only to feel Shadow’s warm body wrap around his own, as the boy buried his face into Sunhawk’s chest, trembling. Instinctively Sunhawk stroked the boy’s hair as his other arm wrapped around the thin boy tightly.
“Tighter Sunhawk, please hold me tighter,” Shadow whispered.
Sunhawk pulled Shadow closer to him feeling the boy’s trembling decrease slightly even as he felt the hot tears penetrate through his clothing.
“I’m so sorry,” Sunhawk whispered, knowing it was totally inadequate.
“So am I,” Shadow cried.
“You have nothing to be sorry for. Nothing,” Sunhawk said firmly squeezing the boy.
Shadow remained silent as Sunhawk continued to hold him. Eventually Shadow stopped trembling and pulled slightly away from their embrace to look into Sunhawk’s face. So filled with sadness it almost took Shadow’s breath away. Reaching out to touching the face that was so familiar, the face of the man he had come to love.
“I need to know you Sunhawk,” Shadow whispered. “Truly know you.”
Sunhawk looked at the young man surprised and not having a clue of what he meant. “What do you mean? You know me better than anyone.”
“I only know part of you Sunhawk. I only know this Sunhawk, but I need to know the one that came into the tent last night,” Shadow said shaking his head.
Sunhawk leapt out of the bed wrapping his arms around himself as he started pacing.
“No, absolutely not. I don’t ever want you to see him again. Maybe you should stay at Wintermoon during the summer. Study with Corrin,” Sunhawk replied, visibly upset.
Shadow got out of the bed and walked over to the pacing man. He hadn’t expected this reaction from the Captain, but he knew Sunhawk’s solution was not going to work on many levels.
“Sunhawk, I’m not going to be parted with you for months at a time. You know that. I need to see you, Sunhawk, all of you,” Shadow said gently
“You did and look what happened,” Sunhawk said turning his back on Shadow, a slight tremble running up his back.
Shadow walked up to the man and wrapped his slight arms around him, pressing up against his tense back. “Yes, but that is because I didn’t know the man that walked into our tent last night. I need to know him Sunhawk. He is a part of you, a part of the man I love.”
Sunhawk pulled away and walked a little distance before turning, his eyes almost glowing in unspoken pain. “You can never love that man. Nobody does; they all flee from him with good reason. He is a monster,” Sunhawk said bitterly.
“Maybe he is. I am terrified of him, but it doesn’t change the fact he is a part of you. He’s name is Sunhawk just as like yours. I need to know him Sunhawk, I have to accept him,” Shadow said in a trembling voice as he looked as his lover.
“No, I don’t want to ever hurt you again. I don’t want to ever wake up to your unconscious bloody body on the floor again. I can’t live with myself now, how could I ever . . .”
Sunhawk’s words were stopped with a powerful kiss as Shadow arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him down to the boy. Shadow released him and stepped back to look up at the confused man.
“Sunhawk that is the reason I have to know all of you. If I had known that part of you, truly known that part, I wouldn’t have been afraid. You wouldn’t have been able to rape me because I would have loved you and wanted your touch. Sunhawk, you didn’t beat me last night, you didn’t hurt me physically despite being different. Some part of the you now remained in him, enough to not hurt me. That is all we both need. But I can’t run away anymore Sunhawk, and neither can you. ”
“Shadow, I can’t. . . ” Sunhawk started then stopped, looking into the determined silver eyes. “What do you want me to do?”
“Come home to me, that’s all. You are a brandished sword, come home to your sheath,” Shadow said, once again wrapping his arms around Sunhawk.
“Shadow,” Sunhawk said holding the boy tight, afraid at that moment of what the boy asked of him.
“Promise me. Promise Sunhawk, ” Shadow said trembling, afraid as well of what he asked, but knew that it was the only answer if he wanted these strong arms to continue to surround him for the rest of his life.
“Very well, but you know that I am not in control then. I don’t know what my other half will do,” Sunhawk agreed hesitantly.
Shadow nodded into Sunhawk’s chest, very much afraid but also determined as well to face the other Sunhawk. He knew that it was the right decision, that they would both make it throughthru this if they both were willing to try.
“Sunhawk I need you tonight,” Shadow whispered.
“Shadow are you sure?” Sunhawk said hesitantly, not sure he was understanding right.
“Yes,” Shadow said looking up at Sunhawk as his hand reached up to the man’s face, tracing the scar on it. “I want to feel your gentleness tonight. I have been waiting for you to return to me for a long time now.”
Sunhawk leaned down and hesitantly kissed the young man, very much afraid that he would hurt him. He felt small hands slowly undo his clothing, exposing his skin as he loosely held Shadow. It wasn’t long before Shadow had removed not only the Captain’s clothing but his own. Shadow pulled the still hesitant Sunhawk over to the bed, his silver eyes glowing at the sight of his naked lover.
Shadow grabbed Sunhawk’s large hand and guided it down to his aching organ, in need of attention. He pressed his lips against Sunhawk’s, his tongue demanding entrance into the Captain’s mouth as his hands moved over the golden skin of his lover.
Slowly Sunhawk began to respond to Shadow’s aggressive behavior as lust began to overtake the guilt that had overwhelmed him. Shadow’s body felt so incredibly soft underneath his own and he could feel the barely contained desire boiling out of the boy. Sunhawk began to move down Shadow’s young body, gently kissing and caressing the sensitive areas that he had found over the course of the months of being with the boy. He heard Shadow’s sensual moans of pleasure as the body moved under his calloused hands. When he finally made his way down to the rigid member he wasted little time exploring the leaking member with his inquisitive tongue. Flicking over the hot length, enjoying the taste of his lover that he had almost forgotten what his touch was like. Licking and caressing the shaft he soon couldn’t stop himself from moving lower, to the boy’s waiting opening. His tongue attacked the vulnerable portal as Shadow began to writhe on the bed, pushing himself onto the tongue exploring him.
“Now Sunhawk, please. I want to be connected to you,” Shadow gasped, almost breathless with his desire.
Sunhawk lifted the boy’s legs. resting the small feet on his chest as he slowly entered the tight portal. Sunhawk couldn’t contain his growl of pleasure at the vice-like grip of Shadow’s inner passage, and Shadow gave a loud moan of pleasure at Sunhawk’s entrance into him. Slowly at first the large Captain worked his way inside of the moaning boy. When he felt Shadow buck up against him trying to impale himself deeper on Sunhawk’s invading organ the man began to move faster and deeper into the anxious boy. His large hand encircled Shadow’s hot shaft, working it, and wassurprised to see the boy almost instantly cry out his orgasm at Sunhawk’s touch. Sunhawk thrust deeper into the boy, letting go of his own tenuous control to empty his desire deep into his lover’s tight depth.
Careful not to hurt the boy Sunhawk started to move off of Shadow only to feel the boy’s arms wrap around him, pulling Sunhawk down on top of him. Sunhawk kissed the boy gently for a moment, enjoying the contact between them, something he missed from winter camp. He felt Shadow’s arms loosen slightly and he moved off of the boy to find that Shadow had fallen asleep. Gently moving the boy into his arms he rested Shadow’s head next to his heart and sought sleep as well.