Friday, November 23, 2018

Ficbit - Diving Lessons (The Heart of the Lost Star

For Queenwicky009, in thanks for all the lovely art 💖💖💖

*****


"Papa! Come look!"

"No, thank you, I'm perfectly happy right here," Kamir said.

"But it's so high!" Chiri said.

Kamir had to close his eyes to keep from demanding she get away from the edge of the cliff right now. Jader was right there with them, as well as a few of his brothers—all of them grinning like absolute brats at the way Chiri and Chara were excited, while Kamir was firmly of the mind that cliffs were not meant for standing at the edge of.

He should have stayed in the village, but there'd been no arguing with Jader's mother when she'd taken Taliana and ordered him to go have fun. Considering they were both still abysmal with one another's languages, she could be impressively clear about her orders.

"It's really high," Chara said, sounding not quite as impressed as his sister. Well at least one of his children had sense. "Do you really jump from here?" He looked up at Jader, as adoring as always. Both of them had been ecstatic to hear that Kamir and Jader were getting married, but it was Chara who had shown uncharacteristic boldness when he'd asked what the island word for 'papa' was and could they call Jader that?

Jader, of course, had not stopped preening all week.

His familiar laughter carried on the wind, accompanied by the chuckles of his brothers. "This isn't even the highest cliff we dive from, but I think your father will have some rude words for me if I take you to Bird's Eye Cliff."

"I do not like that name even a little," Kamir said. "I would indeed have some rude words for you."

Jader grinned at him. "Never fear, sunshine, I know very well to wait until you're asleep."

Kamir narrowed his eyes. "I bet if I ask nicely, your brothers will shove you off that cliff."

"You don't even have to ask nicely," said Jende, one of Jader's elder brothers and the one translating for the others so Jader could have a break from doing so. "Mother said we're to listen to you, so if you want him pushed, off he goes."

"I have some rude words for you," Jader retorted.

Chiri in the meantime had crept even closer, giving Kamir palpitations. He moaned and covered his eyes again. "Why are we doing this?"

"Because it's fun," Jader said, grinning shamelessly like the absolute wretch he was as he gently tugged Kamir's hands away and kissed him. "Are you sure you don't want to try it?"

"No, thank you. Wading about the beach is all that interests me. You're sure they're not too small?" He glanced past Jader to where Chiri and Chara were quizzing the brothers at a rapid pace, determined to know everything they possibly could. Kamir had the feeling there was going to be a great deal of protesting when they had to return home at the end of the month.

"I promise," Jader replied, holding his hands firmly, but gently. His poor skin was already looking pink, despite the special lotion he'd rubbed thoroughly into it. His nose was definitely burned. Wearing nothing but the loose, bright blue pants that ended right above his knees, a simple leather cord around his neck with coral charms shaped like fish, all his tattoos fully on display, he was breathtakingly beautiful, sunburn and all. "I was younger than this when I started diving, and I'm fairly certain Jende was diving before he could walk. Mother complained all the time about having to go into the water and drag him out. She used to say it was easier hauling in the fishing nets when they're overfull.

Kamir gave him a look. "I'm sure you caused your poor mother no trouble whatsoever."

Jader just grinned and kissed him again.

Kamir should be used to it by now, surely, and yet every time Jader kissed him like this, smiled at him with so much open adoration and affection, it took his breath away. "I love you."

"That's good," Jader said. "Otherwise you might not let me teach your children to jump off a cliff into the ocean."

"Never mind, I take it back," Kamir said, jabbing a finger in his stomach. "I hate you."

"Lies, lies, lies," Jader said, wrapping his arms around Kamir's shoulders and kissing him far more thoroughly than he really should with an audience—and two of them children. Although right then the entire island chain could be on fire and Chiri and Chara wouldn't notice. Unless of course it was to ask if they could get closer to the erupting volcano.

Drawing back, Jader nuzzled his cheek. "I love you deeply, sunshine. And now I'm going to go give diving lessons."

"I'm going to cover my eyes. Tell me when it's over."

Jader snickered, kissed his cheek, and returned to his impatient overlords. "All right, little shimi. Are you ready to jump?"

"It's really high," Chara said, looking torn between complete excitement and utter terror.

"No different than all the practicing off rocks we've been doing," Jader said. "You're just in the air a little bit longer. Do what you've been practicing and by the time you're of age, you'll be the best pearl divers on Shahira. But the first time is just a simple jump, to get used to it. Then we'll work on diving properly. Do you want to jump alone? With someone? Or shall we toss you off? Mikkai here had to be thrown off. So did my mother, although she denies it."

Jende translated, and Mikkai said something that got him a warning look from Jende.

"I'm jumping!" Chiri said, hopping from one foot to another. It had taken her exactly thirty seconds to adjust to Islander dress—the amount of time it took her to get her clothes off and put the new clothes on, though clothes was perhaps a bit generous. Like all children, she wore only a loincloth, her hair braided but already a complete tangled mess from all the playing they'd done. Combing it all would take forever later, but it would be well worth it just to see how happy they were. "Can I go now?"

"Do you want me up here, or down in the water when you land?" Jader asked.

The twins paused as they gave this question the grave consideration it was due, sharing a look and having some silent exchange, something they'd been doing with increasing frequency. Finally they said, "In the water."

"Then into the water I go," Jader said, and ruffled their heads. "If you want someone to throw you, or jump with you, Chara, just ask Jende. That's how a lot of us get our start on doing this. I'll be at the bottom to help you. All right, shimi?"

Chara nodded with all the solemnity only a child could muster. Jader tousled his hair one last time, then stopped Kamir's heart by leaping from the edge in an admittedly-beautiful arch and vanishing from sight.

Gathering his courage, Kamir ventured closer, grateful when the third brother, Kita, offered a hand and then rested a steadying arm around his waist. The easy way Islanders were always touching was more than a little disconcerting, but Kamir was slowly getting used to it, and right then he definitely appreciated the comforting presence.

"Go on, then," he said as the twins looked to him. "Don't keep Jader waiting."

Chiri nodded—then in a sudden burst of speed ran to the edge and jumped. Kamir balled his hands into fists and bit back a cry, making himself smile reassuringly as Chara looked to him again. Terrified as Kamir was, it would be easy to tell Chara that he didn't have to if he didn't want to—but that would only encourage him to always retreat from his fears, and Kamir didn't want that for him. "Do you want to jump with someone?"

After a moment of hesitation, Chara nodded.

"Then what did Jader tell you to do?"

Chara gave him a pleading look, but Kamir only regarded him sternly. Finally, after a few more seconds of hesitating, Chara turned to a patiently waiting, smiling Jende and said, "Would you please jump with me?"

"Of course, little shimi, it would be my honor. Come on." He took Chara's hand and led him to the edge of the cliff. "On three, all right?"

"Yes," Chara said.

Kamir half-expected him to falter, but as Jende cried out, "Three!" Chara jumped with him, and they vanished from sight.

Praying for strength, Kamir ventured tentatively to the edge and looked down. It wasn't even really all that high, but it was plenty high enough. Down below, his spouse and children waved up at him, the children cheering and demanding he look at them, did they do good?

"You did wonderful!" Kamir called down. "I'll see you back in the village! Don't drown each other, you hear me?" When they'd dutifully replied in tones that said they weren't really listening, Kamir fled the cliff edge.

Kita offered his arm, and Kamir took it gladly as they headed back to the village, eager for a cool drink with generous amounts of alcohol. But mostly just happy that his children were having so much fun, and seemed to already consider the Islands a second home.

Happier still that not a one of his children was where he could see them, and he didn't have to fear for or worry about them. Even if he really wished the twins had picked something other than cliff diving as their new favorite activity.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ficbit - Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon

Since peeps are already finished with Mercenaries, here's a ficbit I wrote at A.M. Valenza's request ;3 The timeline is a bit dicey, but I'll sort it out after I finish Penitent.

*****


Jac whistled as she crossed the military pavilion, mind flitting between the fact the dining hall was serving her favorite that night—well, one of her favorites—and that in just a couple more hours, her men would be free for the night and all three of them for the next two days.

She had plans, and every single one of them involved nudity and her chest of toys. Although she and Myra had also conspired to take Charlaine to a play in the imperial theatre, and Allen had granted them use of the imperial box. She would have to wear formal civilian clothes, which were not her thing at all, but Allen and Tara had helped her before she'd even figured out how to ask for advice.

Honestly, being Allen's bodyguard was spoiling her absolutely rotten, but far be it for her to complain.

"Oi, Jac!"

She came to a sharp halt and spun neatly on her heel, quirking a brow at the trio of men that came barreling toward her—with a familiar green leather book in hand. As they reached her, the one holding the book flourished it. "Well?"

Jac grinned. "I'm surprised it took you this long to hunt me down, Mistri."

"Oh, yeah, let me just stroll into the imperial offices and ask if I can trouble the High Consort's bodyguard to settle the matter of a few bets. Your impossible to find, Jac."

"Well I'm here now, so let's have it."

The trio cheered, and all around them a smattering of people stopped to observe.

Mistri opened the book to the appropriate page. "Do I need to read them off?"

Jac snorted. "What do you think? I'm more concerned people will think I'm lying."

"Nah," said one of the other men. "Everyone knows you're good for it, Jac. You've got no reason to lie."

"Yeah, when have you ever lied when it comes to sex?" Mistri asked. "I know firsthand just how raunchy and honest you can be."

Jac gave him a look. "Is that a complaint? Because I remember pretty clearly how loudly you begged for it."

Mistri rolled his eyes. "You and the whole floor, thanks for reminding me."

Jac grinned.

Clearing his throat, Mistri glanced down at the book. "Now then, first bet to be settled is…"

"This better not be about my ass," a husky voice said in Jac's ear.

She yelped, drove her elbow back, and knocked the person off their feet, whipping around—and freezing, hand on the dagger at her waist. "Pantheon, Charlaine! Don't sneak up on me like that!"

Charlaine groaned where he lay on the ground. "Damn it, woman."

"Don't 'damn it, woman' me!"

In reply, Charlaine kicked her legs out from under her and swooped in to pin her to the ground. "You should know my voice by now."

"I don't do well when anyone sneaks up on me, you ass," Jac retorted. "What are you doing out here already, anyway?"

Charlaine smirked, his good eye gleaming. "Oh, not happy to see me? Would that be because you're attempting to make money from placing unseemly bets on my ass?"

Jac scoffed. "First of all, that's not even close to unseemly. You should see the other bets in the book. Second, I collected on the fineness of your ass last week. Today I'll be collecting on my correct guesses about what you like in bed. Though sadly—" She broke with a yelp as Charlaine pinched her. "That's uncalled for!"

"You're uncalled for," Charlaine muttered, but with a smile finally rose and dragged her up with him.

Around them, the crowd had grown significantly, and Jac couldn't help but preen slightly at the looks of shock on the faces of those who clearly hadn't believe that Charlaine was her lover now—one of her lovers.

Charlaine held his hand out to Mistri. "Give me the book."

Mistri handed it over with an evil grin.

Charlaine read over the list of bets that pertained to what he liked in the bedroom, and heaved a sigh. "Do we seriously have nothing better to do than bet on how submissive or not I am in bed? And who's brilliant idea was it to bring sex toys into the matter? Nevermind, I don't want to know." He flipped idly through a few more pages. "Does the cook know about this bet?" He whistled at another one. "You better hope Lesto never sees this."

"Why do you think we hide the betting book when we don't need it? And made certain he wasn't on the premises before bringing it out?" Mistri asked, and snatched it back. "I don't suppose you can settle that bet?"

"On whether or not Lesto likes to roleplay soldier and pirate with his spouse? No. But you can put me down for definitely does, and they play pirate and captured soldier." He pulled a treasury note from his purse, stole Mistri's pen, and filled out the note before handing both over.

Mistri wrote quickly in the book and tucked the note into a red leather purse at his waist. "The winners of this pot will be able to buy drinks for the whole army by the time it's settled."

"Oh, my god, it's true," said a weak voice.

Jac turned to stare at a wide-eyed woman, clearly a foreigner by that almost translucent white skin and bright red hair, and her heavily accented Harken. "What's true?"

"That you Harkens want to know everything—will discuss anything openly, no matter how improper."

"What's improper about sex?" Jac asked, as baffled as ever that foreigners were so weird about that. "I've seen foreign armies, they talk about all the same stuff." Though it was true they did it furtively.

The woman just shook her head. "It's incredible. If we talked like this back home, we'd be disciplined for gossip and prying into private business."

"Nothing is private in Harkenesten," Charlaine said with a sigh. "And definitely not in the military." He crooked a finger at Jac. "You."

Jac grinned, slow and hot, as she dutifully drew closer to him. "Yes, Captain?"

"Oh, don't go there," Charlaine said. "I'm returning to our suite. Come find me when you're done collecting your ill-gotten gains."

"Excuse you, they were not ill-gotten, unless 'more' and 'harder' are now complaints—" She laughed delightedly as Charlaine swept her up and playfully swatted her ass before settling his arms around her waist. "Will you be waiting for me naked?"

"Guess you'll have to wait and see," Charlaine replied, and kissed her in that utterly filthy, all-consuming way of his that said he would be waiting naked, and he was eager to put his mouth to other uses. He also tasted faintly of Myra's favorite tea, which meant he'd been enjoying other kisses recently. Jac shivered.

When they finally drew apart, it was to howls and taunts and suggestions from the crowd. More than a few people had gathered around Mistri, who was writing furiously while his companions collected the money. Jac would have to find out later what new bets had been placed on her and her lovers—if only because Charlaine would be oddly mortified, like it was still a shock he was a popular subject of gossip.

"We'll be waiting," Charlaine murmured, and gave her a last teasing kiss before slipping away.

Jac admired the view until he was out of sight, then went to collect her winnings. She might not have guessed that he was so fond of oral, but she had rightly guessed that he liked being fucked, was hopelessly weak for breasts, and enjoyed being tied up.

Mistri snickered as she approached, motioning for the others to wait a moment. "Does he know about the new bet?"

"I'm still breathing, so what do you think?" Jac retorted. "Give me the goods."

"All right, all right." Mistri started reading off the bets, and once they were settled, handed off a treasury note for a sum that was many times more than Jac had ever earned as a soldier—and about what she made now in a year as imperial bodyguard.

Life was good.

Resuming her whistling, Jac waved in farewell, pocketed her earnings, and went to join her men.

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