You Never Know What You're Gonna Get (private)
Amir gradually became aware of his surroundings. After who knows how long a period of rising from a painful haze, drinking, falling asleep, and repeating that process who knew how many times, he finally opened his eyes and looked around. He was in his room at Heolfor. He had the sense that many people had been in and out. He remembered several voices.
It was comfortably dark, his star globe casting the familiar sky-pattern over the walls and ceiling. He considered turning the light on, something he didn't usually do. Did he want to? He wasn't sure. He didn't think so.
He hadn't moved yet but he was wrapped in warm blankets, and there was someone beneath them with him. Amir didn't have to look to know it was Jin, but he wanted to. So he slowly turned his head to quietly watch the sleeping Nightsman.
Amir was very conscious of the warm body wrapped around him, and he took a few moments to consider the feelings that went through him. He would admit to some confusion, first and foremost. He recalled, though, that every time he'd woken he had been offered warm, living blood, fresh and strong, potent and restorative. He couldn't remember pulling away; it kept disappearing. Jin had to be the one offering him sustenance then. Amir was able to recognize that in his starving state he must have been difficult to stop.
He lifted his hand and reached over, gently brushing his fingertips over Jin's face. Why was Jin here by himself? Where was Mara? Bao? It felt unusual to wake beside Jin. Unusual but... what was the sensation? His mind felt numb.
Amir let his hand still, resting against Jin's cheek. Good. It felt good. To have someone here. Not to be alone. He had felt very alone lately. For a long time, it seemed. Trapped in a nightmare.
Amir turned slightly, trying not to wake Jin, just enough so he could watch his clanmate silently, with dark glittering eyes that blinked rarely but never moved away from the Nightsman's peaceful face.
Mara was having bad dreams again. His subconscious told him this, putting together his awake companion and a remembered need to be watching after someone. Jin gently stroked a hand down her back, placing soft kisses against the warm neck. He murmured softly.
"Everything is okay. Get some more sleep."
Something felt different and he struggled toward wakefulness even while his hand continued its slow progression over smooth skin. It didn't feel like Mara; even his sleep Jin could tell the difference. Realization dawned on him just as his fluttered open. Amir, he was watching over the Huntsman...who was awake, looking at him.
Jin slid backward and looked into the dark eyes watching his own. Belatedly his hand stopped moving and only then did he blush, giving Amir a small sheepish smile.
It was a short-lived moment and then he was Amir again, and he was a poor stand-in for the woman Jin thought he was with. But that glimpse into something more feeling was intriguing. He hadn't felt numb inside for that moment. Amir didn't know what he'd expected once free from his own Creator's influence, but it hadn't been this - this feeling of emptiness. Was that what he'd been before Subira? Just a cold empty shell?
Amir blinked and shook his head a little. Deep thoughts. Too deep for right now, barely waking, feeling much better than he had recently but still somewhat less than how he should. As he watched Jin quietly, the Nightsman's eyes opened and realization crossed his features. Even in the dim light Amir could see his golden face flush. Amir didn't move, neither away nor toward. He just regarded Jin solemnly.
"You were there," he said, his voice hoarse but vastly improved from what it had been. "When I was lost. You were there."
He blinked again. He knew he wasn't dreaming. He had been in that cell, starving. Eventually he had lost consciousness and he had seen and felt nothing until someone's voice had filtered through the dark, telling him he was safe. Asking him to drink. And he had, and it had been... everything. He must have done it for Mara. Amir couldn't imagine why else he would have. But then, why was he with Amir now, and where had Mara gone?
He listened as Amir sorted out the situation. At least Jin figured that was what the words meant.
"Yes, Mara, Bao and I, we've all been here, and Claire too."
Reaching out a hand, he placed it on Amir's arm. "Are you thirsty? Bao has been very good at keeping us supplied with blood. If you need it. You are more than welcome to drink from me." Thanks to Amir's son, Jin had not had to leave the Manor to look for food. Bao was even good enough to take his preferences into consideration which couldn't have been easy.
"He's in the other room, should you need him. I think he's been doing all his work there camped out on your sofa with his laptop."
Jin fell silent for a moment. Looking at Amir with concern, he asked "Are you still lost?"
He nodded at Jin; he hadn't been anything but thirsty every time he'd woken up. This was the first time he'd really been awake enough to converse before falling onto whatever food source was presented. "You've been letting me drink from you," he stated, not turning it into a question. He knew it. He regarded Jin solemnly. He must have been draining the Nightsman dry regularly. "Thank you." Words of gratitude never came easily to him, or, at least, they never had before. But Amir knew that without Jin he would have hurt whoever tried to feed him. If it had been Mara or Bao... the thought made him shudder.
Before taking Jin up on his offer Amir considered Jin's other question. Was he still lost? He knew where he was. He knew who he was. But everything he had ever felt, every goal he had ever had, they were gone. They weren't his, not anymore. Had they ever been?
Amir rolled forward, bowed his head, rested it against Jin's chest. "Yes," he admitted in a muffled voice. "I'm... I don't know. But yes."
"You would do the same for me, Amir." He squeezed the Huntsman's arm lightly, still mindful of aches and pains.
Amir's response to his question was somewhat surprising; not that he still felt lost but that the man was now leaning on against his chest. Jin sighed softly and wrapped his arms around Amir, holding him close, content to simply do so for a long moment before speaking quietly.
"You will find your way, in time." He smiled slightly, confident in Amir's resilience. "I'll be here as long as you want me to be."
Soon he would need to explain to Amir where Mara was but he hoped to not have to do it quite yet. Jin would rather Amir rest peacefully a while longer before worrying about her. Jin was worried enough for the both of them anyway. It gave him some comfort that Mai was accompanying his beloved. He doubted even Subira would be crazy enough to harm Mara while the Elder of the Hunt was there. Still, he worried and he wouldn't be happy until she was safely home once more.
One hand moved through the thick black hair, combing it back from Amir's forehead in slow soothing strokes, the other stayed wrapped around the Huntsman's waist.
"Is there anything you need?"
He tried to believe that he would find his way, but it was difficult. Easy to say when you weren't lost in a limbo of nothingness. Even so, Amir never once considered going back to Subira. He had taken his life back and he wasn't going to give it up again. He wanted to do things his way... he just had to figure out what that way was.
Jin's embrace was not unwelcome. He strained to feel the relief he'd felt previously, the comfort, and found it was not far off. It was a feeling; he'd take it. Amir turned his face up to look at Jin. Pushing himself up a little on one arm he slid his mouth along the golden-skinned muscle of Jin's shoulder. The question Jin had asked was answered as he gently quested into the crook of Jin's neck. He slid his arm around the Nightsman's waist and pulled him back close to him.
He moaned softly as he found the strong, steadily pulsing vein in Jin's neck with his lips. Yes, this was what he needed. The urge was even stronger, knowing he'd taken from Jin already. That thought sobered him. With great difficulty he tore himself away and leaned back.
"Jin... are you sure?"
Jin had fed him many times already. He had been supplied with blood; he'd said as much. But Amir couldn't take from him without checking, now that he was of sound enough mind to do so. It was hard, though... he was nearly overwhelmed with need. He felt himself trembling, praying Jin would not change his mind.
"Please, Amir. I have fed again. I'm sure."
He could see the hunger still written in the harsher lines on the beautiful face, the trembling muscles that showed what a strain it was to resist the urge to take the blood he needed. Jin smiled, comforted to see the strength of will that resisted long enough to ask in concern for his well being. Amir was an exceptional man, stronger than he realized even now.
Jin tilted his head to the side, allowing Amir access to his neck, awaiting the euphoria that came with the Huntsman's bite. He had felt it several times now and it was becoming more familiar, more intimate with each bite. Jin could not deny that he felt a growing connection to Amir, and he did not believe it was simply from sharing his blood with him.
Reaching the sensitive spot just below Jin's ear Amir breathed for a moment, closing his mouth on that spot, sucking softly, before traveling down about an inch. "Thank..."
He closed his mouth over the area before he could finish his words. Tightening his arm around Jin he tried to force himself to be tender, gentler. But with a little shiver he sank his fangs firmly into Jin's neck. He moaned softly in pleasure as Jin's blood, familiar by now but none the less potent, flooded into his mouth, warm, refreshing, and vibrant with life. He smoothed his hand over Jin's muscular back as he worked his tongue softly against the Nightsman's neck.
Amir drank deeply; he knew he should stop sooner rather than later. But it wasn't just the taste of blood... it was Jin's blood in particular. He seemed to be developing a distinct taste for it since his rescue. Combined with the warmth of Jin's body pressed against his it was a combination that was difficult to move away from. So he drank, and drank.
"You're....welcome..." Jin breathed out as Amir's fangs pierced his neck. He inhaled at the first deep draw, forgetting to breath for a long moment, his eyes sliding shut in bliss, his hands pulling Amir tighter against him.
"Ah" Jin exhaled in a shuddering gasp. The feel of Amir's hand on his back and the tongue gently working against his skin was intensely pleasurable, he moaned softly with each deep pull. Jin didn't want it to end and this time it felt so good he wasn't sure he'd pull away in time. Instead he pressed ever part of himself against the Huntsman in wanton surrender, begging for more.
Amir felt shock, suddenly, as he experienced another emotion that was wholly his. Pleasure. Pleasure not only in drinking but in feeling Jin's response, feeling his body pressing close, obviously aroused. Amir very nearly lost himself in the sensation before he remembered that this was Jin, his friend, Mara's lover, clinging to him while being drained.
Amir groaned and released his hold on Jin's neck with difficulty. Raising himself up more he took Jin in both arms, worried that he might have drunk too deeply. He held the Nightsman close, supporting his head with one of his hands, worried that Jin might have given up too much of his own strength in helping Amir regain his.
"Jin," he said softly. As he held Jin close he turned his head, turning away from the tempting line of his neck, wondering if it was cruel of him to leave Jin aroused with no convenient means of release. He gently, impusively pressed his lips to Jin's and kissed him softly in gratitude. It didn't occur to him that Jin might not welcome it, or even that Jin was very much Mara's lover. It just seemed the right thing to do.
His eyes opened slowly and he watched Amir, who held him close, tenderly. Jin felt somewhat dizzy and a bit weak but it would pass. Right now he could not master the will to move away and that might be for more reasons than the purely physical.
"Yes?" His voice was soft to even to his own ears. Jin was confused, Amir held him still but turned his head away. Was he embarrassed by Jin's response to his bite? Why didn't he pull away?
Amir turned then and kissed him. Jin's confusion only grew, but after a moment his trembling arms pulled his companion closer and returned his kiss. Mara loved them both. She wanted to be with them both. If he could love Amir as well then it would not hurt so much to share her with him. He was finding the idea of loving Amir not at all difficult. Respect had become admiration, admiration had become friendship, friendship had become affection. Perhaps love was not so far away.
But what did Amir want?
Jin spoke only after his companion pulled back, asking that question with his tone. "Amir?"
Not surprisingly Amir thought of Mara. He wished she were there. Where was she? It was unusual for her not to be present when he woke; he'd injured himself before and every time she had watched him like a hawk. Would she approve of this? Had he killed everything she felt for him by his actions, by pushing her away and encouraging her relationship with Jin?
Drawing back from the Nightsman once again Amir did close his eyes. "Your pardon," he said softly. "I know that you... you have Mara. It was inappropriate of me."
He wasn't exactly sorry though; not judging from the way Jin had reacted. "Where is she?"
He was burning to know where Mara was. Knowing Bao was outside comforted him but Jin had not mentioned Mara and hat was cause for concern. Perhaps she was only hunting.
Jin regarded his companion as he spoke of Mara and almost apologized for the kiss. Smiling softly, he shook his head.
"No, We have Mara and it was not inappropriate of you. She loves you also and wants you to be a part of our lives."
He looked away, watching the stars as they swirled slowly across the wall and ceiling. "I thought it would be hard to share. It might still be but for Mara, I am willing to try...anything." Jin turned back to his clan mate. "As it turns out, its not so difficult after all." He smiled. "I can see why she loves you."
Of course Jin didn't know what Amir wanted perhaps he did not want to share Mara with him, or to know him any better than he did already. Just because he was willing didn't mean Amir was. He also didn't want to think that his interest was only in making Mara happy. That was not the case. If he felt no affection for Amir then he would simply have tried to be okay with Mara loving them both from afar. Jin was quite certain that it would have hurt more and was relieved to find himself attracted to Amir.
"I know she didn't have time to discuss that with you but she did with me. I am sure she would respect your wishes in the matter. We both will."
Jin sat up and hugged his knees to his chest, placing his chin on top of them. "She's gone to Africa." He added quickly lest Amir believe the worst. "Mai is with her. They are going to report your death to Subira." He looked over at the Huntsman. "The news is only slightly exaggerated."
"Mara has always had me," he said, perplexed. "She'll always have me."
What was Jin talking about, sharing? Of course they shared her affections. Jin was her lover, Amir was her friend. If he'd ever had a chance for more he'd lost it while he drowned in Subira's complex. He didn't blame Jin for seeing Mara and being attracted to her, any more than he blamed Mara for loving Jin. Jin was exceptional and, well, Mara was Mara.
He raised one hand, rubbed his eyes to hide his confusion. In the end though, he just looked at Jin and shook his head. "I don't understand. Share Mara?"
Was he stuck in a time warp? "Mara made her choice months ago Jin," he said. "It's all right. I thought I would lose myself without her..."
He felt a wave of cold sweep over him. He had lost himself without Mara. But that wasn't Jin's fault, or his problem. He shook his head, sitting up beside the Nightsman, resting his hand on Jin's shoulder. "You don't have to share her," he said softly. "I encouraged her. You're so good for her. I'm not going to try to take your place."
That must be what this was about. Jin thought Amir wanted to take his place in Mara's life and was offering a compromise. Amir hastened to reassure his friend that that wasn't the case; he respected Jin, admired him. He was one of the few people whose company Amir enjoyed.
The current thread of thought flew out the window though when Jin said Mara had gone to Africa. "She what?"
He thrashed, trying to untangle himself from the mountain of blankets on the bed. "To... whose idea was that? She can't. Subira will kill her!"
Amir rocked to his knees and, in a desperate attempt to gain freedom from his own bed, threw himself toward the side of it. He was still too shaky on his legs, however, and he didn't get far at all. Instead he ended up sliding backwards off the bed and landing on his shoulders with an audible thump, looking up at his feet which were still on the mattress, tangled up. He scowled. Hardly a graceful exit.
Or any exit.
Climbing out of the bed, he untangled Amir's legs and scooped the Huntsman up into his arms. He settled himself against the headboard and leaned his companion against his chest, wrapping his arms around him.
"Mai will keep her safe. Subira may be crazy but she isn't stupid and I assume she places some value in her own life. Mai would not rest until Subira's entire family was wiped out over there if they did anything to Mara while under her protection and that reputation precedes her, I'm sure." Not to mention that killing or being responsible for the death of a clan member was a good way to have the entire clan's unwanted attention on you.
Returning to their earlier discussion because no amount of conversation could bring Mara home faster, he explained. "You aren't taking Mara away from me, unless perhaps I refused to acknowledge that she loves you but then I would have lost her through my own actions."
"The point is that she loves us both and wants to be with both of us." Jin rubbed his cheek against Amir's "If that is okay with you. I can't tell her who to love. It would be wrong to force her to choose between us, not when she's loved you her entire life." He was not sure completely why Amir never let Mara know how he felt but Jin was equally certain that Amir loved her and was in love with her.
Jin kissed the cheek, he had just touched. "You haven't lost her, Amir. You've just gained me in addition." He smiled a bit uncertainly. "If you want me."
Scowling, he let himself be comforted. It was easy to hide need behind a glower, but he closed his eyes briefly and then, after some internal debate, dropped his head to Jin's shoulder. He knew that with Mai along Mara would be safe, safer than she would be with anyone else. There couldn't be a better protector and he was grateful for the regard shown to Mara.
He listened quietly as Jin spoke about Mara. The Nightsman seemed to understand her well considering how briefly they had been together compared to the length of time she and Amir had known each other. He shook his head against Jin's shoulder before lifting it and smiling softly.
"She may have loved me her entire life, but she loves you enough to last another lifetime."
He was in a position to know. He knew Mara better then he knew anyone, perhaps, even Bao, even Subira.
When Jin made his position clear, however, Amir wriggled free from his arms, turning to face Jin, actually straddling his lap as he peered into the Nightsman's dark eyes. He pondered solemnly for a moment, his hands on Jin's shoulders.
"Who wouldn't want you?" he finally asked softly. "You're an amazing man. And a wonderful friend, when I didn't know I needed one so badly. I don't want to come between you and Mara. I love you, both of you, too much for that."
He lowered his head, resting his forehead against Jin's and staying there for a moment. Then he linked his hands behind Jin's neck and kissed him gently.
Amir turned around, straddling his lap. Jin was never more aware that the Huntsman was quite naked and that he, himself, had on very little. The silk pajama bottoms did less than nothing to hide the arousal that had remained even after Amir's bite was but memory. In fact the slippery fabric simply intensified the warmth of his companion's body and any small shifts that he made while seated where he was.
He smiled softly at Amir, comforted by the man's words. His respect for Amir grew. Jin could not say that he would take whatever chance he had to have Mara's love...but not at the expense of her happiness. Ultimately that mattered more than anything else to him. It seemed to be of the utmost importance to Amir as well.
Good that they both agreed.
"We want you to be more than a friend." Jin smiled and further emphasized his point, again so that there was no doubt that his actions were for himself and not simply to make Mara happy. "-I- want you to be more than a friend." He returned Amir's kiss, his hands gently exploring the length of his companion's back.
That Mara would be overjoyed to find that they were both pleased with each other's presence and willing to share her affections and each other's made the thought that much sweeter.
He moved against Jin, aware of his companion's aroused state and also realistic enough to know that while he was much more awake his body was still weak. His aborted attempt to free himself from his bed was the best indicator of that weakness.
As Jin returned his kiss Amir brushed his fingers down the side of Jin's neck. When he pulled away he regarded Jin with dark serious eyes. "Do you need to drink again?" he asked, remembering that Jin was being supplied constantly to keep up with Amir's appetite.
Amir was all right for the moment, thanks to Jin. He knew the hunger would return in force, sooner rather than later, but for now he was concerned with leaving Jin unfulfilled in multiple ways. If that was the reaction he'd had to Amir's bite this entire time, Amir could only imagine the ache that might be setting in by now.
"If you can hold off for a little bit," he murmured to the Nightsman, "I will take care of you."
It wouldn't be the way he preferred to but such refinement was not necessarily needed right now. Amir moved carefully on Jin's lap, ducked his head down, and slowly began to suck his way along Jin's neck the way he had before; only this time, freshly fed, he knew he would be able to restrain himself. Jin needed to be cared for too and Amir would hardly send him out like this to find something to drink for himself.
He continued to nibble at Jin's neck, moistening it with soft flickering strokes of his tongue as his hands drifted down to Jin's waist. "I won't be much use to you soon," he sighed regretfully in Jin's ear. "Let me do what I may now, while I still have some control."
The hunger would be back in force again, no doubt. In the meantime Amir continued to cling to Jin, shifting in his lap, playing with his neck softly but urgently.
His companion stated that he would take care of him before wanting to drink again himself and Jin watched him with a bemused expression. He was unsure briefly whether Amir was planning to give him some blood back or take care of other things. It became obvious rather quickly that his companion meant the latter.
Jin moaned softly at the feel of Amir's mouth sucking on his neck, bringing back recent memories of being bitten. He nodded wordlessly at his companion's statement and request, not feeling very inclined to say no. His only concern was Amir's well being but after a brief debate, made difficult by the more fevered working of his companion's mouth on his skin, he decided that while this might tax some of Amir's physical strength it would probably do him more emotional good. It was hard not to feel a certain sense of control when someone else was trembling with pleasure in your arms. Moreover helping someone else, even in something like this, was a way of forgetting your own troubles for a brief amount of time.
He spoke quietly "If you're sure."
Gliding his hands low around Jin's hips Amir threaded them beneath the waist of his pants, around to his lower back, stopping there for the moment at Jin's words. "I haven't been this sure of anything since I've opened my eyes," he said. For the first time, there was a slight hint of humor to his words.
At that, Amir pressed his lips gently to Jin's neck. He sucked softly, checking to make sure he was still able to restrain himself. It wouldn't last. His hunger would overcome him again soon but for now he thought he could give Jin what he needed. Humming against Jin's neck Amir parted his lips and bit him once more.
This time he was delicate and gentle, looking for sensation over sustenance. He drew gently, not much at all, knowing Jin could not afford to lose much more. Still the tiny taste of Jin's blood as it trickled into his mouth this time was enough to have him muffling a moan against Jin's neck even as he worked his tongue around, caressing the Nightsman's skin.
Sliding Jin's pajama pants out of the way, shifting just a little in order to do so, Amir freed him from the lightly constraining fabric and let his hand caress that straining erection. Wrapping around it he stroked lightly, carefully, more concerned with helping Jin achieve the release his body needed than any tender feelings, for the moment. The rest would come later. For now he drew against Jin's neck, softly explored the hard heated flesh of his shaft, and encouraged Mara's lover, maybe his lover, to reach his peak.