soldier's heart

nc-17 | sexual content | psychological trauma

It kept happening.

She didn't ... mind. It helped them release tension and they both had no illusions that this had anything to do with love. He had sworn off romantic relationships and she didn't care about anyone and anything except her revenge.

They didn't bother hiding it any more. They shared a room at night; Eleanor and Eizen didn't bother to say anything (to their faces), Laphicet probably didn't fully understand, and even Magilou didn't tease them as much as Velvet thought she would.

So they fought, and they killed, and at the end of the day, they fell into bed together. They sought release and slept. Then woke up and did it all the next day. It was a satisfactory arrangement that helped them relieve stress and emerge as stronger, more focused fighters in the morning.

And if she woke up screaming and trying to attack the nearest person, he could handle himself. He could stop her from hurting anyone and contain her body in his arms until she stopped shaking. He didn't even make fun of her when she sobbed.

So it had become a routine. Except this time felt different.

An ill-timed slice of her blade had cut loose the rickety bridge and sent her plummeting into the river below. She had no clue why Rokurou was so upset. There were times before when she had fallen farther. Eizen said he had to keep Rokurou from jumping off the cliff. Idiot. Either the impact would have killed her or not, and either way, he had no skills to aide her. Either he would have had to be patched up as well, or there would be two dead bodies in the river.

Laphicet had healed her broken leg, arm, ribs, and the scrapes from the rocks. He had missed a cut on her forehead, which Velvet hadn't even realized until they returned to the inn and she pushed her hair away from her eyes, causing dried blood to flake off and fall onto her cheek. Rokurou had been staring at her, his face blank until he reached over and gently brushed it off her skin.

She had bristled; they had agreed - none of this outside the bedroom. His touch usually distracted her, and that was unacceptable. She had to be on guard at all times. They both did. She couldn't deal with the tingling on the back of her neck when he held her hand, or the twisting in her stomach when his fingertips traced patterns on her thigh.

So she had gone to their room, with him close behind. The moment the door was shut, he had shoved her against the wall.

Well, not exactly a 'shove'. He had wrapped an arm around her waist, put a hand on the back of her head - to protect it, perhaps? - and pushed her against it. Rested his forehead against hers. He had been breathing heavily and they hadn't even done anything yet.

They had done it this way, once. The idea of being helpless, at the possibility of falling to the floor if he released her, was unsettling. But he had to know if he did that, she would wrap her claw around his legs and squeeze the life out of him.

Her body was still sore. Maybe if he took her here, it would hurt.

"You were so careless," he said. "A bridge held up by rope, and you pull out your blade?"

"It would have killed me if I hadn't."

"Eizen and I were nearly there. If you had waited -"

"I wait for no one," she growled, watching as her breath ruffled the hair around his face.

"You could have died. You've said it before, on the field of battle, your body bloodied and beaten, that you can't fall here. Not yet. When your ... when that's done. Not before."

His voice shook. His lips were trembling, and then suddenly they were against hers. Her stomach lurched and her knees felt weak. They didn't do this, either. He had no right to be breaking all the rules. Velvet turned her head to the side.

"Hey," she said, her voice shaky. "Neck, body, that's fine. Not the face. You agreed."


With that, his mouth was on her neck, sucking so hard it would leave a mark. He easily undid the bindings on her shirt and let it fall to the floor, cupping a breast with one hand while he clutched her tightly with his other arm. Positioned as she was, with his clothing what it was, she couldn't get him naked, but he would take care of that soon enough.

Maybe sooner than she thought. Instead of continuing to press her against the wall, he pulled her away, towards the bed. Rokurou's mouth moved higher, but didn't break their agreement; he latched onto a spot just below her ear. He took away the hand that was on her breast so he could start to remove his garments, which turned out to be a mistake. They tumbled to the floor. Even though he was the one falling backwards, he cradled her head again as if to protect it. She found herself doing the same for him.

"Are you okay?" he asked when she grunted.

"You're the idiot who hit the floor."

So he flipped them over, hastily yanking off his shirt and bunching it up, putting it under her head like a pillow. Given she had the same pathetic pillow for three years in that prison, comfort hardly mattered to her anymore.

Grumbling about the intricacy of her outfit, he fumbled with her belts before dragging her shorts down and off. Like he was one to talk. He ditched her boots next. She reached for him, but he pushed aside her hands, spread her legs, positioning himself to make his intentions clear. They didn't do this very often. It always felt good, but she was unable to do anything other than grab at his head. Not being able to do something in return upset the balance of power. She didn't want to feel beholden to him, even if he never seemed to expect anything special in return.

With his lips pressed to her inner thigh, Rokurou looked up at her. She could have stopped him with a simple shake of her head, but opted to slip her fingers into his thick hair. His tongue always seemed impossibly large as he moved it against her, until he penetrated her with it as much as he could, and then it wasn't enough. He tormented her, licking, sucking, probing, and it was a struggle to keep her eyes open. Watching him was almost too much, especially when he shoved two fingers into her, focused his tongue entirely on her sensitive spot, and stared at her the entire time.

She could almost forget she was nothing but a vessel for misery when he looked at her like that. She almost felt human again when he looked at her like that. She could almost forget -

The muscles in her legs tightened, a twinge of discomfort reminding her that the left one was cracked in three places earlier in the day. Artes could heal the wounds, but never completely take away the pain. She ignored it - nothing, it was nothing compared to what others had suffered - and lifted the aching limb, digging her heel into his back. It didn't stop him. Soon she was arching her back, wincing as she was reminded of her broken ribs, groaning at the effort of keeping her daemon arm from emerging as pleasure flooded her body.

It had come out, once, during a particularly intense session, and she would never forget how he didn't even look at it. There was no fear in his expression as he kept his eyes fixed on hers, as he put his hands on her hips and gently slowed her movements on top of him, so she could regain control.

She had avoided him for two nights after that. She wasn't going to let it happen again.

When she opened her eyes, she expected to see him getting up for them to move to the bed; instead, he was just shedding the last of his clothing and then covering her body with his. Velvet thought he was going to try to kiss her, but he was only pressing his forehead to hers again. She could smell ... herself on him. If he did kiss her, she wouldn't taste a thing. It would be just like when she had consumed him. Everything he gave her was warm and thick and it could have tasted like sour milk for all she knew.

She almost wanted him to try again. But just so she could try to taste herself, even if she knew it was impossible.

"You could have died, Velvet," he said, snapping her out of her thoughts.

"What do you care? All you want is revenge on your brother. You wouldn't let me assist you with that even if I could be bothered to do so."

He pushed into her with no warning, muttering an apology, but wasn't this why they were here to begin with?

"Harder," she told him in response.

Lifting his head to meet her eyes, she was horrified to see his eyes shining. Was he going to cry? What gave him the right? She was the one who nearly lost her life.

"I can't ... I can't ..." His voice broke, even as he gave in to her demand, slamming into her with so much force she was sure the rug was going to leave a burn on her flesh.

"You can't what?"

He shook his head, his face screwed up in a grimace, eyes squeezed shut. If he was trying to stop the tears from falling, he failed. Droplets hit her face and she snapped at him to stop it. His hips stilled and she slapped as much of his rear as she could reach.

"Not that! Your pathetic crying!"

He buried his head in the crook of her neck, instead, even as his lower body resumed its rhythm. She could feel the dampness on her skin and knew she would be sore tomorrow from where he was ramming that thick member of his into her, over and over, and she could hardly ask Magilou to use her artes to heal that, and then he was touching her, circling that little bit of flesh that could make her have to muffle her screams and how dare he think about her when she just insulted him, what was -

The fire in her gut engulfed her, and she bit her lip to avoid saying his name, so hard that she tasted blood.

When she opened her eyes, he was still inside her, although not quite as hard, but he had managed to stifle his idiotic weeping and was looking down at her.

"It was only about the sword in the beginning," he said, so softly she had to strain to hear.

"Your brother?"

"You. I followed you because of my debt. I stayed with you because of my heart. Which ... isn't as empty and cold and dead as I thought."

Velvet started to shake, this time having nothing to do with pleasure. "No. We agreed. You promised!"

"I know." He caressed her face and she hated the way it sent a chill down her spine. "I think I knew it was a lie, even then. For that, I am sorry. You won't want to do this anymore. I understand."

Rokurou eased out of her and stood, finding his pants and putting them back on, while she lay there, temporarily stunned. But then she launched to her feet, grabbing his shirt and pulling it over her head, so she would be covered, too, so he wouldn't have all the power.

"No, no, we had an agreement."

"And I've broken it by falling in love with you."

His words made her throat tighten. "That's what you think, but -"

"I've been in love before," he said ruefully. "I know the signs."

"No. This isn't acceptable." The thought of terminating their agreement made her feel ill. "I'm a better warrior because of this. You are, too! We're faster, more alert -"

"You weren't on that bridge! You made a mistake, and you could have -"

"I could have died, I know! I probably will die, Rokurou. You know this. You want to love me, that's your problem, and -"

A sudden bang on the door startled them both, and he reflexively reached for the daggers that weren't there.

"Some of us are trying to sleep, so knock it off!"

It sounded like Eizen wasn't interested in waiting for a reply. She could hear his footsteps receding, then the door to the room next to them slamming shut.

"Maybe I'll just see if he's interested in a similar agreement," she said impulsively.

His eyes widened, but he didn't protest, only slumping forward a bit. "If you wish."

"Hmph. Hardly sounds like a man in love, if you'd give up that easily."

With a hand over his heart, he closed his eyes. "Love means wanting what is best for the other person, even if that means not being with them."

Her breathing was starting to speed up. Their arrangement had been working well, benefiting them both. She didn't want it to end. She couldn't just go to Eizen and strike up the same deal. It was different with him. She didn't ... it wouldn't feel right. Velvet was comfortable with how this worked with Rokurou. She knew his body by now - knew how he liked to be touched, where he didn't like to be touched. She trusted him enough to be able to fall asleep with him only inches away, with his blades on the nightstand. She ... she even ... enjoyed what they did together.

Even if she had no right to enjoy anything, after her failure. Laphicet would never be loved, never find happiness with a wife, never raise children. His chance to enjoy life was ripped from him, and any moment she spent receiving pleasure from her own was a betrayal.

Rokurou's arms were around her, suddenly, and she realized she was crying. He had seen her like this before, when she awoke with the sound of Laphi's screams in her ears, or the sight of his blood on her hands, but it was different now. Knowing that he claimed to love her, even though he knew what she had done, what she had failed to do, knowing -

"You'll just get hurt," she growled against his chest. "Everyone I ever loved ... everyone who ever loved me ... they ..."

"The love of a woman always comes with the risk of pain. It wouldn't be worth it otherwise."

"That's idiotic."

He had no retort for that. He simply stood there, rubbing her back, underneath her hair.

"You know what I am."

"Yeah. Uh ... I'm a daemon, too, in case you missed it."

Maybe it was a poor attempt at a joke. She found herself burrowing deeper into his embrace. "You're not funny."

"I may not know who you were before I met you in that prison, but I've seen what your love for him has driven you to, and I'm pretty sure you would have done whatever you could to try to save your brother. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you can do your best and try your hardest and sometimes you'll still fail. It's just the way the world is."

"Then the world is wrong." Her words were muffled against his skin. He seemed to hear them anyway.

"Then change the world. That's what you're trying to do, right?"

For some reason, that made her cry harder. He kept holding her, caressing her, until she was breathing normally.

"I can go crash in Eizen's room, if you want."

"No." She tilted her head back to look at him, not caring how red and puffy her eyes must be. "Let's not wake him again. He needs to rest."

"So do we."

"So stay here."

He didn't argue with her; maybe he was just as tired as she was. He let her lay down first. Sometimes she liked the right side, sometimes the left, and sometimes it didn't matter.

Tonight, it didn't matter.

She chose the left and when he settled in next to her, lying on his side, she only waited a moment before pulling him close. Rokurou rested his head on her chest and she buried her nose in his hair. It smelled like the grass by the river, and salt, and pine trees.

Tonight would be a bad night.

She could ... forgive his transgression. Move past this. If he felt this way for a while, it clearly hadn't affected his judgment ... much. They could still do this. It was beneficial. Like the vitamin gels her sister used to make her eat.

This could still work.

She wouldn't be bothered by his silly feelings.