Shadow tried yet again to empty his mind as Corrin had taught him, only to have yet another day’s frustrating training with the sword come into it. Shaking his head he admitted defeat as he opened his eyes to find Corrin staring at him.
“Not having luck meditating today?”
“Is anything bothering you?” Corrin asked, looking down at the boy, noticing he had been having trouble a lot lately.
Shadow shook his head but avoided Corrin’s eyes. Corrin wondered what could be bothering the boy, but decided to let it alone for the time being, knowing Shadow would tell him eventually.
“Well you are new to this. It takes time. Eventually, you will be able to do it in a instant.”
“But it isn’t new. I did it as a priest everyday.” Shadow said, frustrated.
“Ah, but that is very different. Whether you realized it or not, all you priests have Mith helping you for that. Also, those meditations were just to become one with your goddess, not to do anything other than that. A meditation of being, if you will. Now you are trying to focus your mind and magic together, something that is very difficult. You have determination to help you do this, it just takes practice. You have come a long way in the three months since you got here.”
“I know, but I hate to fail at something. I want to get it right.”
“Well, if you get yourself worked up about it you will fail.” Corrin said as he sat down on a stool a crossed from the boy.
“Tomorrow’s day off will do you some good, I think. Don’t try to meditate tonight, just enjoy some free time. I imagine it will help in the long run. What are you two love birds doing tomorrow?.”
“We are going into Wintermoon. The incense I ordered has been made, other than that I don’t know.”
“Well, at least you two will not be staying in bed all day again,.” Corrin said with a grin as Shadow blushed red. “Well go on home for today. You have worked hard enough this week; you deserve a little extra break. I promise to work you even harder when you come back, ok?”
“Thank you Corrin,” Shadow said as he got up.
“Your welcome now get,” the old man said with a wave.
Shadow laughed and walked out of the workroom. He decided to head toward the hot springs since he knew Sunhawk would still be training, and he knew that they would probably be empty right now. Before long he was up to his neck in hot water. With a sigh his body began to relax, even though his mind did not. He couldn’t understand why he was having so much trouble in sword practice. His mind knew what to do, but his body would not respond the way it should. No matter what he tried he continued to fail. He didn’t want to disappoint Sunhawk and it irritated him that his body wouldn’t obey him.
He felt his muscles begin to tense at his frustrating thoughts and he remembered what Corrin had said. Obsessing about it wouldn’t help, so he tried to think of something else. His mind enviably wondered to Sunhawk. Shadow tried to build an image of the golden Captain in his mind as he felt his muscles relax and a stirring in his lower body. He let his mind wonder over his lover’s body as his hand began to encourage the growing erection under the warm spring water. Slowly at first, but gradually with more speed and pressure, Shadow pleasured his now throbbing cock as he thought of Sunhawk’s voice and body. His mind moved from the static form to the thoughts of his many nights in Sunhawk’s bed. Before long Shadow let out a gasp of pleasure as he spent himself in the warm waters. Closing his eyes, he blushed red at thoughts of what he had just done in a public area, although he could now say that his training problems were far from his thoughts. He got out of the water and dried off completely before getting dressed, deciding to head for the kitchens and visit Gretch.
It was freezing out as he hurried on to the kitchens, huddling inside his thick coat and hood. So intent on reaching the warmth of the kitchen he bumped into a very large, muscular man. Shadow looked up to apologize when he felt a large hand roughly grab his shoulder. The completely bald man looked angry as he gazed down at Shadow.
“Ah, it’s the Captain’s little toy. I wonder if your little ass has dulled Sunhawk’s wits. I have never heard of a real leader that likes to play around with little boys,” snarled the man, his hands bruising Shadow through his thick coat.
“Let him go Var. Now!” Barked Sunhawk’s voice behind the man.
The bald man let go of Shadow and turned to face the angry Sunhawk. Shadow backed away from the man and looked around him to see Sunhawk firmly standing not ten feet away in the blowing snow, not far from the kitchen door.
“Shadow has nothing to do with my decision, Var. If you had come to the Hawks last year my answer would be the same. Ariel is my second. It doesn’t matter how many years you served with the Rose band as a second, I still wouldn’t put you in that position. My men don’t know or trust you yet, and neither do I. Assaulting a noncombatant only strengthens my resolve in this issue.”
“What, because I touched your little whore? What? You’re going kick me out? We both know you can’t beat me up.” the man sneered.
By now a crowd had formed around the two and Shadow found Ariel next to him. Var’s words to Shadow quickly spread around the crowd, and bets began to be set on how much of Var would be left after Sunhawk was through with him.
Shadow made to go to Sunhawk, but Ariel’s light touch stopped him. Ariel leaned down next to Shadow.
“You can’t stop it. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with discipline and order. Sunhawk must maintain the respect of the men.” Ariel whispered in Shadow’s ear.
“Draw your sword Var. It is lesson time.” Sunhawk said coldly, his eyes hard and uncompromising.
Shadow closed his eyes but could not close his ears to the clanging of the swords as they met, or the talk of the crowd.
“Get up Var,” barked Sunhawk.
Shadow opened his eyes to see the man on the ground, blood soaking through his arm sleeve. The man rose with a jump, attacking Sunhawk at full force. Sunhawk quickly blocked, and before Shadow could even register what had happened Var lay in the snow. Again and again Sunhawk put the now panting man down, only to demand he get back up again.
Shadow wanted nothing more than to run away from the sight before him. Sunhawk seemed almost a different man, with a cold voice that ripped through Shadow’s mind and the eyes of a predator. This was the part of Sunhawk he had yet to see, the face of the mercenary captain who killed for a living. Logically, Shadow had known this, but watching this side of the man he loved rocked Shadow. He now realized there was a part of Sunhawk that he could never know, or even understand.
“Kelas,” Sunhawk said in a cold voice that cut through the crowd, once it was obvious that Var was unable to get up anymore.
Kelas walked over to the man bleeding in the snow. After a quick look at him Kelas looked up at Sunhawk.
“He will live. Hey Joel come over here and help me carry him back to the enclave.”
Sunhawk nodded and looked up at the crowd. Suddenly the men began to leave, realizing that the show was over and not wanting to attract the attention of the irate Captain. When only Shadow and Ariel remained, Sunhawk walked over to them.
“Are you alright?” Sunhawk asked in a cool voice.
Shadow nodded, not looking up into Sunhawk’s eyes.
“Well let’s get inside, it is freezing out here and standing around doing nothing while you fight does nothing to warm a man. Ariel said lightly, walking towards the mess hall.
Shadow stood still, looking at the bloody snow until he felt a hand on his shoulder. Looking up he saw a cold mask covering Sunhawk’s face, and for a moment Shadow didn’t recognize the man before him.
“Go inside and get something to eat. I will see you at home in a little bit.”
Before Shadow could answer Sunhawk walked away, leaving him standing in the snow. Shadow walked into the kitchen to be enveloped in Gretch’s wide embrace.
“You ok? Did Var hurt you? It is a good thing Sunhawk was looking for you, since Kelas told him you had left your lessons early. Come on in, I have some of those meat pastries you like.” Gretch babbled as she led Shadow over to an empty work tables by the fire.
Shadow sat by the fire shivering from the cold of being outside after a hot bath, but also from the cold of Sunhawk’s eyes. Before long, Gretch had set a plate of food and a large mug of tea before Shadow, but when the boy didn’t eat she looked closely at him. Sitting down across from Shadow she sighed.
“That is the first time you’ve seen Sunhawk really fight, isn’t it? You met up with him after the last campaign was over. I always wondered how a priest of Mith could ever be with a mercenary,.” Gretch said as she looked at the unusually quiet boy.
“No I have never seen him fight, but it isn’t the fact he was hurting Var. He seemed different than normal, changed somehow. Cold. Hard.” Shadow said quietly after a while, still not looking up.
“Of course he changes when he fights. He has to. Think about it; he kills for a living. Most of the time they are soldiers like Var, but sometimes they are just citizens that get in the way. Sunhawk doesn’t usually take jobs where they have to kill a lot of women and children, but in war that happens no matter how hard you try. The very best learn that emotions have no place on the battlefield, they can get you killed. Every time he picks up a sword or is in a campaign he has to bury his emotions so he can do his job.
“That cold hardness you see protects him and lets him do his job right. Sunhawk is unusual in the fact that he isn’t like that all the time, only when he fights. Most mercenariesy that have been in as long as Sunhawk are like that all the time, their humanity is all but gone. They are respected, but not loved by their men. That is what makes Sunhawk different, because he still has his humanity. If he didn’t, he would be like Var. That is what makes the Hawks so unique. It is also what makes him able to love you.”
“That part of him I will never be able to understand Gretch. That worries me.”
“Just like Sunhawk’s fear of your magic,” Gretch said with a knowing look.
“How did you know…?”
“Everyone knows about Sunhawk’s dislike of magic and religion.”
“You are right Gretch, both of us have parts that are incomprehensible to the other. Now I know a little of what Sunhawk must feel each time I use my magic. I guess it is something we both must learn to accept about each other.”
“Eat now Shadow, and then go home, Sunhawk will be waiting for you.,” Gretch said as she patted Shadow’s hand. “You two will work through it, I know you will.”
“Thank you Gretch.”
“You’re welcome, now eat, before it get’s cold.”
Shadow nodded, and before long he had inhaled all the food set before him. He left the kitchen with a wave to Gretch and headed for home. Despite Gretch’s words Shadow was worried. If Sunhawk was still changed into the cold hard mercenary, he didn’t know what to do. It was a part of Sunhawk that he still needed to come to terms with, but didn’t know how to deal with. Offering up a prayer to Mith, he entered the house to find Sunhawk sitting by the fire, carving his statue. When he looked up, Shadow was relieved to see the same old Sunhawk looking at him.
“What, did Gretch stuff you completely? I was wondering if I would have to go looking for you again.” Sunhawk said as he rose and embraced Shadow.
Shadow pulled Sunhawk closer to him and buried his face into Sunhawk’s chest, shaking a little. So many things seemed to be going wrong lately. The stress of his failing sword work, his now inability to meditate, and now Sunhawk’s other personality were just too much for Shadow. Looking up at Sunhawk for a moment he pulled the large man down to kiss him.
Looking into the watery silver eyes he knew for certain now that Shadow wasn’t ok, but was unsure of what to do to help him. Shadow had seen the part of him that always made him stay away from relationships. Yet he knew he couldn’t change that part of him unless he quit being a mercenary, and even then it would still be a part of who he was, just not an active part.
“Love me,” Shadow whispered softly in Sunhawk’s ear.
Sunhawk continued to kiss Shadow, gently undressing the boy, sensing above all else the boy needed a soft touch. Sunhawk led the boy to the bedroom, where he continued to softly kiss and run his hands over Shadow’s body. His mouth trailed gentle kisses down the boy’s soft chest until he reached the erect manhood waiting for attention. Teasingly he licked the slim organ as it twitched before he engulfed the boy entirely in his mouth.
“Yes, please Sunhawk, make me come,” gasped Shadow as his fingers tangled into Sunhawk’s golden hair. His slim hips thrusting slightly into the Captain’s hot mouth.
Sunhawk increased his sucking, and moving his tongue against the boy soon brought him over the edge filling the Captains’s mouth full.
Sunhawk released Shadow and moved up to lay next to him, feeling unwilling to demand any attention for his own throbbing organ. Shadow looked over at his partner and gently pushed him to his back. Without a word he climbed onto Sunhawk and buried the hard organ deep inside of him.
“Shadow, yes,” Sunhawk hissed at the pleasure that engulfed him.
Sunhawk looked up at Shadow as he slowly rocked on the hard Captain. Sunhawk put his hands on the boys’s hips, gently guiding him as Shadow looked down at him, his silver eyes no longer filled with tears. Sunhawk became trapped once again by his eyes and lost himself within the pleasure coursing through him.
“Come for me, love,” Shadow said as he continued to look into the Captain’s eyes.
As if on command Sunhawk growled out his release, gripping Shadow’s hips tightly as he thrust up into the hot tunnel gripping him. Shadow leaned down to nibble on the panting Captain’s exposed throat before finally laying curled up next to him.
Both men remained quiet for a time, not knowing what to say to each other. Sunhawk picked up the end of Shadow’s braid and began to undo it, wanting to see his hair unbound.
“I am sorry about today, but …” Sunhawk stopped, unsure of how to continue.
“It is ok sort of. Gretch pointed out to me that you feel the same way about my magic. That both of us have parts that the other doesn’t understand. It is just, I guess it just hit me I have been having trouble meditating and …. I am sorry I didn’t tell you, but I have been having trouble in sword practice. I just don’t want to disappoint you. But I just feel right now everything is going wrong,.” Shadow said, depressed.
“Shadow you are good at defense, way better than any beginner. You are better than Kelas and Trent both. If it weren’t for this feeling that you need to know more you would be fine. I don’t know, maybe it is because I am paranoid that I might lose you. Ariel and I have talked; you just need to work on your defense so it is as good as you can get it for right now. I just don’t want anything to happen to you.
“Everyone goes through times where nothing goes right, but eventually things will work themselves out,.” Sunhawk said, trying to cheer Shadow up.
“I guess you are right, but I don’t like to fail, Sunhawk. I also do not want to disappoint you either.”
“You are not, Shadow. Believe me I know you are trying your hardest and that is all I can ask of you.”
Sunhawk stroked Shadow’s unbound hair as both men remained quiet. Both of them leaving unsaid the problems of magic and personality shifts that bothered both of them.