“It’s still damp,” Shadow said looking down at his loose hair as Sunhawk finished putting on his boots.
“Just leave it down. It’s not like we’ll being doing anything where it is going to get in the way,” Sunhawk advised as he got up and wrapped his arms around Shadow from behind, kissing his neck.
“I guess you’re right. I’m just so used to tying it up,” Shadow remarked, turning in the captain’s arms looking up at him. “Come on let’s go, I’m starved.”
Sunhawk laughed as he turned loose of the boy and walked to the door. As they strolled down the walkway he felt Shadow’s cool hand find his.
“I can’t wait to see Corrin again, I have so much to talk to him about,” Shadow commented as they walked, the light breeze catching his hair as he tried to push it back behind his ears.
“Why don’t you take tomorrow and spend the day with him? I can cover your duties while Justin and I go over everything tomorrow,” Sunhawk offered, knowing that Shadow needed to spend some time with his friend and healer.
“Really?! Thank you Sunhawk,” Shadow said excitedly, looking up with Sunhawk with a smile.
“It will be good for you, and I know Corrin would like it as well,” Sunhawk replied, glad that he had offered when he saw how excited Shadow was.
They arrived at the large dinning hall to see many of the men already there, spread out in small groups along the long tables and benches. They headed to the serving tables where the heavy aroma of roast pork quickened Shadow’s pace. After getting their food they looked around to find the table containing Gretch and Justin over by the gigantic fireplace.
“What are you doing out here? I thought you never left the kitchen during meal time, something about chaos ensuing every time you turn your back,” Sunhawk asked with a grin as he sat down across from the couple.
“I have a new girl that is shaping up to be a very good assistant. I wanted to see how she handled things and tonight is a perfect opportunity with less than half of the men here,” Gretch said tartly. “I’m getting older now and would like to enjoy my golden years a little more.”
“You aren’t old,” Shadow protested.
“That’s nice of you to say, but my old bones tell me a different story,” Gretch smiled. “Did you enjoy the hot springs?’
Shadow blushed crimson and looked down at his plate whispering a quiet yes as Sunhawk chuckled.
“Oh, I see,” Gretch said with a twinkle in her eye as she looked at the two.
Justin coughed a little. “How was the campaign season this year?” he asked, changing the subject.
“Not the best; the Soothbay job ended up being a nightmare, that’s part of the reason we’re back so soon. We had to clear the entire city,” Sunhawk said darkly.
“Oh dear,” Gretch gasped as she looked shocked at Sunhawk.
“I filed a report with the guild, although it probably won’t do a lot of good. War isn’t pretty, yet I hate the thought of being tricked like I was. Rathgar was more than a little irate with me,” Sunhawk said.
“Picking fights again are we?” Corrin asked from behind them as he moved over to set his plate down.
Shadow turned to see the withered old healer grinning at Sunhawk and promptly launched himself at the man, hugging him.
“Welcome back,” Corrin said chuckling as he patted the boy’s back.
“I missed you,” Shadow said after a few moments.
Pulling away from Corrin he became aware of a man standing behind him. Shadow paled slightly then blushed a deep red as realized it was the man that had interrupted him and Sunhawk earlier in the hot springs. The man looked at Shadow with a small smile on his lips, his dark brown eyes gazing at him.
“Oh this is your new teacher, the one I was hoping to get for you. Teal is actually a wandering priest of the God Keilth, so I’m sure you two will have a lot to talk about. Teal, this is Shadow, your new pupil,” Corrin said, introducing the two of them to each other.
“Shadow what’s wrong? You’re really red.”
“Ah maybe it is because he has never seen a man with such dark skin,” Teal said smoothly stepping forward. “It happens quite often surprisingly. I’m a long way from home. Corrin has told me so much about you Shadow, I’m really looking forward to working with you in a number of areas.” Teal said, his soft voice slightly accented.
“Another priest?” Sunhawk said with an arched brow. “Maybe we should start a monastery.”
“Sunhawk,” Shadow said disapprovingly, looking over his shoulder at the grinning man.
“I think not. My stay here will be limited, I disapprove of mercenaries as a whole but Corrin convinced me that both the Hawks and Shadow were unique enough that I was willing to come here,” Teal said, his smile fading as he looked past Shadow to the large mercenary.
“Well, don’t force yourself. We don’t need someone who disapproves of us here,” Sunhawk replied coolly, his smile disappearing at the man’s condescending tone and the brief flash in his dark brown eyes that reminded Sunhawk not of a healer, but an enemy.
“You two stop it,” Corrin said with exasperation. “You two are grown men, act like it. Teal, you’re a guest here and if I remember right you agreed to leave your prejudices at the door. Sunhawk, Teal has agreed to do us a favor and stay the winter here to teach Shadow even though he rarely stays anywhere longer than a few weeks, be grateful.” Corrin scolded, looking between the two men with a frown.
“Of course my apologies Captain Sunhawk. I meant no disrespect to the Hawks personally, I have just not had the best of luck dealing with mercenaries,” Teal apologized with a slight bow to Sunhawk.
Sunhawk looked at the man standing before him, disliking him despite his apology. There was something about the smooth accented voice and the way he looked at Shadow that irritated Sunhawk. He didn’t trust the man despite Corrin’s recommendation of him; his instincts where roaring inside of him that this man was trouble. Still, with all eyes now on him he knew now was not the time to make an ass out of himself.
“Don’t worry about it, I started it,” Sunhawk said with a calm that he was far from feeling.
“Come on lets eat,” Shadow suggested as he sat back down at the table.
“So tell us what went on this summer,” Corrin said after they all were seated.
Sunhawk took the lead on the conversation as the tension began to fade. He was discussing the similarities between the plains battle and one from a former campaign with Justin and Corrin when he saw Shadow get up and motion for Teal to follow him. Out of the corner of his eye he watched the two of them move further down the table and begin talking.
He couldn’t help be wonder what they were talking about by themselves as he glanced over at them from time to time. His mind began to focus more and more on the two instead of the conversation at hand until he felt Corrin poke him in the ribs.
“Hey that hurt,” Sunhawk said looking over at the man.
“They’re just getting to know each other. It’s a perfect time since you know neither Shadow nor Teal are really interested in war talk,” Corrin whispered at Sunhawk, looking at him knowingly.
“I know that,” Sunhawk whispered back defensively.
“What’s going on you two?” asked Justin as he looked at the two whispering men.
“Nothing,” Sunhawk replied shaking his head. “It will be just you and me tomorrow going over everything.” Sunhawk said quickly, changing the subject.
“What about Shadow? He’s our secretary now, we’ll need him,” Justin said, lighting a pipe he pulled out of his pocket.
“I’ll take care of his work. He needs to spend some time getting caught up with Corrin,” Sunhawk replied, glancing over at the young priest for a moment, a slight frown appearing on his face.
“He’ll have all winter to catch up, but we have a huge pile of work to go through. I don’t relish going through it all with just the two of us,” Justin countered.
Sunhawk frowned, looking at Justin, not wanting to say too much about why he wanted Shadow to spend some time with the old healer. Shaking his head he looked over at Shadow again, his frown deepening. Shadow seemed to be in a very animated conversation with his new teacher. The last few months had not been pleasant for either of them and now this man had shown up. An intense feeling of jealously mixed with worry welled up inside of him as he looked at the two of them together. The two seemed to have so much in common, magic, healing and even priesthood. They had more in common than he did with Shadow.
“Hey Sunhawk?” Justin asked.
“What? Sorry Justin I seem to be more tired than I thought,” Sunhawk replied, turning his attention away from the two.
“Hey, Shadow, I think its time to take him home,” Corrin called over to Shadow.
“Corrin, I’m not an old man,” Sunhawk growled as he watched Shadow get up and come over to him, a smile spread across his face.
“Sunhawk, about tomorrow?” Justin asked.
“We can handle it. Shadow needs to spend time with Corrin,” Sunhawk said firmly as Shadow put a hand on his shoulder.
“Are you sure? I don’t have…” Shadow started.
“Definitely,” Sunhawk said.
“Oh, so you will be spending the day at the healing hall? Good, we can begin some of your lessons,” Teal said as he looked at Shadow.
Sunhawk opened his mouth to reply but was surprised to hear Shadow beat him to it.
“I’m sorry Teal, but not tomorrow. For the next two weeks I’m off work. The summer has been a long one and this winter will be filled with training. So the next two weeks are for me to spend time with Sunhawk and my friends,” Shadow replied with a smile as he looked up at the black man.
“Ah, I thought perhaps we could work on the new healing technique I was talking about,” Teal said with disappointment.
“We will have plenty of time this winter. I’m really looking forward to it, but right now there are other things I need to do. I hope you understand?” Shadow said, taking the man’s hand in his own.
“Of course. It has just been so long since I had a partner in healing,” Teal replied, the sadness clearing from his face.
“I’ll be glad to spend the day with you tomorrow,” Corrin said, jumping into the conversation as he looked at Sunhawk’s brooding face. “But I think its time for bed.”
“I think you’re right,” Gretch agreed, looking between Teal and Sunhawk.
“Teal, it was a pleasure to meet you. I will be looking forward to learning from you,” Shadow said as Sunhawk got up, putting his arm protectively around the boy.
“Of course. I will be heading back into town since you will not need me for the next two weeks,” Teal replied, looking at Sunhawk for a moment, his brown eyes shifting to a darker color as his eyes met Sunhawk’s.
Sunhawk watched the two of them and resisted the urge to pull Shadow out the door and away from the man. With a mental shake he berated himself for his over protectiveness. It was obvious that Shadow liked this new stranger, but he loved Sunhawk. Despite the troubles they had the young man had always stayed at his side, even though he knew that he didn’t deserve it. To be jealous over this new exotic man was absurd and Sunhawk knew it. He just wished he could shake his feeling of uneasiness about this Teal.
As they walked home they both remained quiet, enjoying the cool autumn breeze and the beautiful full moon overhead. When they reached their small white home Sunhawk sat down on the stone bench outside their house and pulled Shadow onto his lap. Shadow smiled, leaning against Sunhawk’s chest as they booth looked up at the stars.
“What’s wrong Sunhawk?” Shadow asked after a while.
“Nothing,” Sunhawk replied quietly.
Shadow remained silent, not pressing the issue as he rested his head against Sunhawk’s shoulder. He didn’t know what was bothering Sunhawk, but he didn’t want to press the man. It was their first day back after a grueling summer. He wanted to relax and enjoy the next two weeks without any problems. He rather selfishly wanted to enjoy this time and was determined to make Sunhawk forget about whatever was bothering him.
Shadow began to nibble a little on the exposed neck of the captain, knowing it was one of his favorite spots as he felt Sunhawk’s hands stoke his hair. He was rather surprised when Sunhawk didn’t start exploring his body or take him inside the house. With a sigh he realized something was really bothering the man.
“What are you thinking about?” Shadow questioned again as his hand traced the golden hawk necklace sparkling on Sunhawk’s chest.
“You’re new teacher,” Sunhawk replied, surprising Shadow.
“Teal?” Shadow asked, turning in Sunhawk’s lap to face him and straddling his lap.
“Yes, he has a lot in common with you,” Sunhawk observed.
“I guess, I don’t know him very well yet. He seems really intelligent and friendly. I think we’re going to get along very well. I can’t believe the first time he saw me was when…well… you know,” Shadow stammered, rather mortified at his memories.
Suddenly Sunhawk kissed him fiercely, his hand moving under Shadow’s loose shirt up his back. Although he couldn’t help but wonder at Sunhawk’s strange mood, Shadow was not about to complain at the cool hands that caressed his skin. Wrapping his arms around his partner Shadow molded himself against the man’s body as he deepened their kiss. His tongue darted into Sunhawk’s mouth, exploring.
He felt Sunhawk rise and he wrapped his legs around the captain’s waist tightly as he was carried to the door, where Sunhawk fumbled with the latch before getting inside to carry him to their room. Sunhawk threw him to the bed before joining him, his hands at first fumbling with the buttons on Shadow’s thin white shirt. Shadow watched in surprise as Sunhawk gave up on unbuttoning the shirt and simply tore the thin cloth off of him and attacked his exposed nipples with his mouth. His protest died on his lips as Sunhawk’s mouth and hands worked aggressively on his body, making his torn shirt seem unimportant.
Shadow was amazed at the passion coming from the man covering him as his body tingled at the feelings Sunhawk was creating in him. They had played all afternoon in this bed and Shadow couldn’t help but be surprised at Sunhawk’s fierce desire. The large captain seemed determined to hit every special area on his body, setting him on fire. He quickly unlaced his pants, helping Sunhawk to completely expose his body for the man’s pleasure, as Sunhawk moved quickly down his thin torso.
All thoughts left him as Sunhawk’s mouth attacked his already aroused member. Shadow couldn’t help but cry out, arching a little as he felt his partner suck his aching erection with his hot mouth as his fingers caressed Shadow’s tight opening. He felt Sunhawk’s wet fingers enter him, working deep inside him as he felt himself explode within Sunhawk’s mouth without meaning to.
Sunhawk moved up his body as Shadow lay panting, amazed that Sunhawk had been able to make him come so fast after all they had done just hours before. Sunhawk’s lips met his and he tasted himself on the man’s lips. Shadow wrapped his arms around Sunhawk as the man’s tongue entered his mouth once again.
“Let me pleasure you,” Shadow murmured, pulling away from Sunhawk a little when he felt the man’s hands slide back down to his limp member.
“No, I want you tonight, all of you,” Sunhawk replied, looking down at Shadow, his eyes glowing with a look Shadow had never seen before.
Shadow once again wondered what was going on in Sunhawk’s mind. It seemed as if Sunhawk wanted to devour him. There was an aggressiveness in the man Shadow had never seen before as he felt Sunhawk’s tongue attack his portal, flicking around the sensitive nerves of the opening. It wasn’t long before the second wave of pleasure washed over Shadow, making concentrating on Sunhawk’s odd behavior impossible.
When Shadow started to writhe on the bed, almost unable to bear the overwhelming pleasure Sunhawk was creating in him, he felt Sunhawk pull away from him. Shadow looked up to see Sunhawk expose his scarred, muscled body that had become so dear to Shadow. His gaze traveled down the golden chest to the hard erection that Sunhawk had exposed. Turning to get on his knees Shadow was once again surprised to find Sunhawk pinning him down on the bed.
“No, I want to see you Shadow,” Sunhawk whispered as he looked down at the boy.
Shadow felt Sunhawk thrust hard into him as his golden eyes pierced him. Shadow gasped as he felt the hard organ invade him, his eyes widening. Sunhawk slowed his pace a little as he leaned over kissing Shadow for a moment. He felt himself relax at the gentle lips that brushed against his as hot hands caressed his legs. Sunhawk slowed his pace, his hands moving over Shadow’s smooth skin as the captain continued his acquisition of his body.
When Shadow began to move against the shaft piercing him, Sunhawk started to increase his pace. The young man couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by Sunhawk’s desire as he looked up into glowing eyes staring at him, and he gasped at the pleasure the large man was causing in him. It didn’t take long for both of them to feel the pleasure of their bodies surging through them. Shadow felt the large body above him tense in pleasure, as he lost himself for a moment in the onrush of his own climax.
Sunhawk collapsed on the bed next to Shadow and gathered him up in his arms. Shadow snuggled next to Sunhawk, resting his head on the warm chest, trying to put his thoughts in some semblance of order.
“I love you Shadow,” Sunhawk whispered softly as he closed his eyes.
Shadow’s eyes opened wide for a moment as he lay very still, knowing something was wrong. Sunhawk very seldom said those words to him, and usually only when something was going wrong. Shadow knew that it was hard for the solitary man who had been alone for so long to speak of his feelings.
Thinking back at the events of the evening he wondered what could have caused such a change in mood in his partner. Bitting his lip a little Shadow wondered if Sunhawk was troubled by Teal. Sunhawk had been thinking about the strange new teacher before Sunhawk had kissed him. It seemed impossible for Sunhawk to be bothered by a stranger that Shadow hardly even knew. Sensing now was not the time to talk about such things Shadow decided to not to question Sunhawk, hoping the strange mood would pass.
“I love you too,” Shadow said, moving up to kiss the now sleeping Captain, wondering what the new day would bring.