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Chapter 79: Shahin

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May 13, 2016 by Lyn

But if you could give me
Just one love, just one life
Just one chance to believe in mine
Just one love, just one life
You’d bleed for me

She was clean, tidy, and naked – the creature had left her one glove, but that just seemed an exercise in futility, so she’d added it to a neat pile of her clothing-remains – and more worried than she cared to admit, even to herself, by the time Emrys seemed conscious again.

“Emrys?” she whispered, hoping it was quiet enough

“Shahin,” he responded hoarsely. His voice was soft and ragged, but he was alive, thank god, and coherent. She swallowed the ball of emotion that threatened to overtake her.

“I love you,” she mouthed. It seemed important to tell him that.

“I know. I love you too.”

“God.” She choked back a hysterical sob. A day ago she’d wanted to break him. Now she just wanted them to both survive intact.

The door swung open, and she had just enough time to find a smile and put it on before their captor walked in. “You learn fast,” he sniggered. His face had lost some of its droop since he’d left, but it was still no less horrible. He patted her on the head like a dog and groped between her legs with a rough claw. “Very good, all clean and tidy. I think I’ll reward you for your obedience and play with the boy instead.”

He lifted her off the bed by her armpits, and dropped her unceremoniously on the floor by the sink. She caught herself with both hands, and barely managed to stifle a complaint at the pain shooting through her wrists and up her arms.

He unchained Emrys for the second time – she couldn’t tell where he got the key from, or where he put it back, since he was still stark naked – and dragged him to the bed by the back of his collar. Emrys scowled but didn’t try to fight him. It wasn’t right. She choked back a whimper of frustration. She’d done everything he asked. She’d taken everything he dished out and even smiled when he came back for more. He shouldn’t be punishing Emrys!

The monster smirked at her. “If you don’t want me to hurt the boy, you could always free him.”

She shook her head. “No.” She looked at the shackled, lacerated, dripping-wet back of her lover and added “I’m sorry.”

“You should be. You’ll give in eventually, you know. The question is, how much will be left of your pretty-boy by the time you do?” Leaving Emrys facedown on the bed, he stalked over to the room’s only other piece of furniture, an ugly steel cabinet. “You’re young, aren’t you?” he added conversationally, his back to them as he opened the cabinet. “Do you know how much damage even a half-breed mutt like you can take?”

“I have some idea,” Emrys replied grudgingly.

Thinking of the scorched charcoal that Taro had been, Shahin had to agree. She said nothing, though, as the beast turned back holding a sharp, gleaming filleting knife. No, no, no… She swallowed it all, fighting to regain the ice. If she cried out, it would be worse.

“Hold still,” the creature told Emrys. He did, though he was clearly tensed as he watched Shahin from the bed. She met his gaze and held it, wishing she could do something, anything, that wouldn’t just make this worse.

The first cut only went through cloth, and Shahin held onto a brief glimmer of hope that perhaps that was all he’d do. The second went deeper, slicing through jeans and into the skin below, blood blossoming over the dark fabric. Emrys gritted his teeth but didn’t cry out, holding Shahin’s gaze.

If he could stay quiet and strong, so could she. She kept watching him, wanting to hold him but not daring to move.

The next cut went down his hip, but rattled against something and stopped short. “What’s this?” The monster reached into the cut pocket, his hand coming back bloody, holding a bottle of pills.

“Just medicine,” Emrys said quietly.

“Medicine, eh?” He brought a handful of the pills to his nose and sniffed them, murmuring over them. “Aah, I see. Painkillers. Are you in pain?” He punctuated the question with a casual stab into the meat of Emrys’ ass.

“I’ll live,” he hissed through clenched teeth.

“Then I guess these are for the girl.” He spilled out four into his hand and dropped the bottle on the floor. “Time to take your medicine, sweetie. Open up”

She eyed the pills uncertainly. It might kill her. If it killed her, what would he do to Emrys? But if she disobeyed, she knew he’d hurt both of them more. She opened her mouth and let him shove the pills down her throat.

Before she could even think about cheeking the pills, or spitting them back up, he pinched her nose shut and covered her lower face with his stinking, blood-sticky hand. “Now be a good girl and swallow.”

There was no way to get air around his grip. She fought with animal panic for a moment, won, just barely, and swallowed the pills down.

“Good little slave.” If he patted her head like that again, she might bite him. For now, she just smiled, waiting for the pills to take effect.

He turned his back on her – if only she were stronger! – and ambled back over to Emrys. “That was productive. Let’s see what else falls out of you.” He picked the knife back up and sliced again. While she could still focus, she watched her beloved’s face and swallowed her protests and her tears. His blood danced around his tattoos and dripped down his bare legs, making its own patterns, its own letters. She wondered what his Mentor, or hers, would read in those patterns.

For the foreseeable future. Was their future going to be limited to this room, this monster, these chains? She couldn’t stop watching, couldn’t bear to watch, didn’t dare look away. If he could lay there and take this without protest, she could watch.

She was swaying by the time the monster stepped back from her lover, clutching her hands in her lap to keep herself from reaching for the patterns dripping in the air. Was there still fire in Emrys’ eyes, or was that just the blood? She didn’t hurt anymore, could barely feel her heels digging into her bare butt or the cold steel of the shackle around her ankle. She couldn’t even feel the cold, which should have worried her, but worry was gone, too.

“You’re looking a little woozy, dear. Maybe you need more medicine?”

No, more medicine wasn’t what she needed. She shook her head no, no, but that seemed to send things flying loose, the whole cabin spinning, and she didn’t even see his hand coming before he grabbed her face and pried her mouth open. “One more pill… two more, that’s a good girl.” He held her mouth closed while she tried to explain to him that swallowing with nothing to drink wasn’t very pleasant.

“Hey,” Emrys began, “sh…”

Shahin never got to hear the end of that thought.

“Shut up, mutt.” Caspian whirled, speaking a rapid torrent of syllables, and a blast of raw force ripped the air in almost visible waves before striking Emrys. His head whiplashed backwards and he fell limp.

Caspian blinked, then stepped up to Emrys’s side, examining him. The sound started as a low chuckle, then rose to disturbing laughter. “Oops.”

“Oops?” she whispered, heedless of potential results. “Oops?”

“Well, he’ll live… oh, why am I lying to you?” He shrugged, dropping Emrys’s arm that he’d been holding up. It flopped to the side, bouncing off the bed with no reaction. “No, he won’t. But I still have you.”

It took a moment for his words to get through to her. He won’t live. “Emrys?” she gulped. He was gone? How could he be gone when she’d barely had a chance to know him? When he hadn’t met his son yet? When she’d Seen his future?

“No,” she whispered, shaking her head, even as grief threatened to overwhelm her. “No, god, not again.”

“Oh, that’s delicious,” Caspian smiled at her. He waited a long moment, watching her, before speaking again. “Of course, I could heal him, enough to save his life. If I wanted to. But while he Belongs to you he’s just in the way now, isn’t he?”

She gulped, trying to understand, although the emotions were trying to wash her out to sea. “If I release him… you’ll save his life? You promise?”

“No, I don’t,” he chuckled darkly. “But you lose him either way.”

“God, god, god…” she swallowed, realizing she was keening. “Emrys,” she whispered, “I release you.”

The world shifted just slightly, the pressurized pop hurting a bit through the fog of her thoughts. Caspian grinned broadly and turned back to Emrys, doing a quick Working.

His grin worried Shahin, back in the place where she still had something like worry. Everything was so blurry and unclear right now, so muzzily warm. But maybe he could help Emrys?

Maybe you should have let him die. Maybe dying is better than what this thing has in store for us. Images of Steve laying in the parking lot, his neck broken and his skin clammy, flashed through her mind. I couldn’t have borne it. But, oh, god, can he? Guilt washed through her, and terror, and complete uncertainty about the future.


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