Instead of sparring that day, Fel told Azzen he needed to learn something new. She brought him over to the wood chopping area and stood him in front of the wall of various weapons. Azzen wondered what they would be training with.
“And what would that be?” the boy asked.
“There are two ways to handle confrontation. Fight or flight. You know how to fight. Now I will teach you how to fly.”
“I’m going to learn how to fly?”
“Run,” Fel clarified.
“Okay… I already know how to run,” said Azzen.
“But not fast,” said Fel.
“I can run pretty fast.”
“Just like you used to could fight pretty well? You need real speed. You are incredibly slow.”
“On you feet, I mean. We already know you’re slow in the head.”
“’Yes,’” Fel corrected.
“So am I just going to run? How do you teach me to run really really fast?” the boy asked.
The girl stepped up to the wall and searched for the proper training instrument.
“By providing…” she said as she scanned. “Motivation.”
The catgirl picked up a whip that was tipped with metal flecks. She cracked it in the air experimentally.
“Run,” she commanded.
“What are you-”
“RUN!” she shouted whipping the leather tendril at Azzen.
It struck him on the shoulder and ripped into his flesh. The strike stung like a bee and the boy jumped into the air. He immediately took off, putting distance between him and the girl’s flail.
“Are you crazy?!” he yelled over his shoulder as he ran. He kept his speed up because he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to talk her out of this.
“WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!” she shouted back, chasing him down with malicious intent to punish him for his insult.
The catgirl whipped again and scored a bloody stroke across his back. Azzen picked up his speed.
She whipped him again, striking his calf. Azzen jumped and began to pump his legs even faster.
The whip flew a third time and veered near Azzen’s ear, swishing around his shoulder and striking him on his chest. The boy swung his arms and leaned forward, putting everything he had into a full sprint.
Fel did not let up. She chased Azzen around in circles for hours and punished the boy repeatedly if he began to slow. Azzen’s legs burned and began to feel like they were made of lead. But he couldn’t stop or he would lose more blood.
His heart was pounding and his lungs felt like fire. He could taste blood in his mouth and he wasn’t sure if it was from the whipping or if his lungs were exploding from the inside out. And still, Fel chased him maniacally.
Three hours passed. Then four. And Azzen ran at full tilt the entire time. He had never ran so hard for so long ever before in his life. His body couldn’t take it. Eventually, all of the exertion became too much for him and he collapsed and passed out. Actually, he passed out and collapsed, meaning he passed out mid-stride and plunged face first into the dirt.
Fel shot at him with her whip and ran up to give him a hard kick. Azzen’s body spun in the air and landed with a thud. Only then did Fel realize he was done. She sighed and muttered, “useless,” and went inside to grab a bowl of mush. She left it outside for the boy so he could eat it when he woke up.
This new training became Azzen’s regimen for the next five days. The first day was the only time that he lost consciousness. The next day, when he woke up, he felt much better. He felt lighter. It seemed like the Master’s magic mush was working wonders in the process of muscle repair. Each day he ran faster and faster, though Fel was still able to whip him about the same amount, no matter how hard he tried.
She made him practice during the day and practice at night, sometimes only stopping for a quick dinner before she shoved him back outside to get on the run. The boy thought she got a sick satisfaction out of causing him pain. ~I so did, lol.~ But then, he had always thought that, and at least she wasn’t kicking him in the balls.
By the end of the five days, as the full moon was nearing, Fel told Azzen he was still too slow.
The two had settled a little earlier than usual that night. Fel made a fire and began to toast her hands.
“Sorry,” Azzen apologized. He thought he had progressed well and considered himself quite fast now. At least, far faster than anyone back home was.
That was a strange thought. The boy hadn’t thought of home for a long while. He wondered if he would ever make it back there, or if it was his destiny to stay in this strange new world with the lovely catgirl.
“It’s fine,” Fel said. Her ear twitched. “We still go tomorrow.”
It was the first time she had mentioned leaving since her first whispered words.
“What’s the plan?” Azzen asked excitedly in a hushed tone.
“What do you think?” Fel asked. “We run.”
Azzen knew it couldn’t be that simple.
“But Fel,” he started. “You’ve never been able to get away from the Master before. What makes you think you can now?”
“If he catches us,” she started. Her ear twitched again as she said it. “We’ll fight,” she continued. “With two of us, we might be able to find an opening to get away.”
“You think so?”
Fel removed her hands from the fire and put her feet in. For the first time since Azzen had seen her start doing this, her hands didn’t remain alight. And they weren’t pink and raw looking.
“Your hands,” he said before Fel could respond. “They’re fine. They’re not burning,” he observed.
Fel nodded solemnly. “Yah.”
The girl looked up at Azzen and a flicker of a smile slipped across her face in the dancing light of the fire, but then it was gone and she looked subtly sad.
“I absorb it now,” she said. “Better. Perfect. Now I really don’t burn.”
“Nice!” Azzen exclaimed. He wasn’t sure what that all entailed, but was certain it was an impressive accomplishment. The girl could walk through fire.
“Yah,” she muttered, seemingly down for some reason. “Azzo,” she said, looking into the fire. “I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. Do what I say when I say it, okay?”
“Okay,” Azzen agreed.
“But even with that…” the girl paused and Azzen waited for her to finish. “There’s a chance we might not both make it…”
She seemed to pause again, but this time, she didn’t continue. She didn’t say, “if I don’t make it, go on without me,” or “promise that you’ll come back with an army.” And after a moment’s thought, Azzen understood why.
Fel was much faster than him. If only one of them got away, it would be her. Not him.
The boy grew stiff for a moment. He didn’t know what to say. How could he ask her to come back for him after she had already been here so long. He didn’t even want her to chance it. He’d be happier knowing she was free. But living in this world without her would be like existing without life. What would he have reason to wake up for.
A faded memory came to him from a source he couldn’t remember.
“I won’t lose you,” he said.
Fel glanced at him, but she said nothing.
“I won’t lose you,” the boy repeated. “No matter what.”
He looked over at her and forced a smile. He gazed into her big dark eyes and told her, “if you make it out and I don’t. Stay somewhere safe. I don’t want you to take any risks. Stay alive and stay safe. And I will find you. I don’t know how long it will take me if I don’t make it tomorrow, but promise me that you will stay safe and I’ll promise you that I will find you.”
Fel watched Azzen’s serious face intently, studying it for the truth in his words. She saw him as familiar. She recognized someone she could trust. Without even meaning to, her lips moved.
“I promise,” she said.
She didn’t know why. Her mind tried to figure it out, but for some reason, she felt light headed and fuzzy.
“And I promise too,” Azzen replied.
Warmth flooded through him. It made his blood pump and skin flush. The increased flow almost made his head feel heavy. His shoulders drooped forward slowly.
Fel watched him hypnotically. Her head was a rush of thoughts of tomorrow and tonight. None of them seemed coherent. Each passed into the next without making any sense. It was hard for her to figure out what was going on or what she should do, so she did what Azzen did and simply drooped, drifting forward little by little.
The space between them began closing in. Azzen dazily realized that if they continued this course between them, they would collide. He opened his mouth to talk, but his tongue felt thick. And he was still falling forward, like he was entering a dream.
Fel drew close to Azzen. She didn’t know why her body was moving. It felt like she was floating. It felt like she was drifting on a cloud. She closed her eyes to try to find her bearings.
Azzen figured out that it was Fel’s eyes that were drawing him in. They were just so beautiful that he couldn’t resist. So when she closed him, he was able to understand how close her faces was. They would bump noses if he got too close. But he still couldn’t stop himself. So he lifted his hand and gently placed it on Fel’s cheek. She was moving forward too and he couldn’t stop her. But the least he could do is guide her into something a little more pleasant than a nose bump.
The kids couldn’t stop it. There was magic in the air. And on the night before they ran away. The tender night that may be their last. Under the stars, next to the fire, their lips brushed each other and they fell into a kiss.
The depth was like oceans and the warmth was like sunshine. Their tongues tasted each other for the first time. They lightly explored this unexpected treasure on the island of paradise that they had discovered.
Their love’s first kiss was mutually separated. And for a while they just gazed at each other, as if more was debated. But the mood had abated and they now realized they had made it into each others arms. Feeling slightly alarmed, Fel began to pull back. But Azzen stayed firm, holding the moment in tact. Fel decided not to fight it, and fell back into the embrace. And neither could deny that they wanted another taste.
The two kids kissed again. And then kissed one more time. Azzen couldn’t think straight, and Fel’s thoughts came in rhyme.
They laid down on the ground, enjoying what they’d found. And slumbered in each other’s arms, sleeping safe and sound.
“Now that’s more like it!” I say. “Hot and steamy. Let’s call that one our first kiss.”
Azzen laughs. We’ve retired to the couch and are sitting close but not too close. Azzen’s arm is stretched over and he’s playing with my hair while he talks. His fingers brush across the nape of my neck and tickle to my ear.
“That’s fine with me,” he says as he gently rubs my earlobe. “A kiss is really a mutual thing anyways. So that was our first real one.”
I’m a little distracted by his touch. I close my eyes and rest my head back with a subtle sigh, imagining how the moment was. “What was it like?” I mumble softly.
He removes his hand from my ear and edges closer. He runs his finger down the back of my neck and across my shoulder, then back up. “Like an explosion of honey. Something simple and sweet at first, that deepened into something vibrant and fresh,” he says.
I can feel my skin begin to flush and keep my eyes closed, hoping he doesn’t notice. I can feel his body move closer and his light finger flattens into a soft hand, caressing across my back.
“Imagine it like a tiny seed of thought. And that seed was planted deep in warm soil,” he says. His hand plays back into my hair and teases my neck. “And that seed was dampened by the freshest water and the gentlest sunshine. And it took some time, but it sprouted and then it grew and worked its way up through the hard grinding dirt.”
He gives the hair nearest to my neck a playful grip and the sudden pull makes me gasp out a smile.
“And eventually, that urging relentless desire bursts up out of the ground into a tiny light green bud. And it’s fresh and new and it’s getting to see the sunshine for the first time and it’s experiencing how it feels to shudder in the gentle wind.”
I feel him move close to me and his hand wraps around the far side of my head, grazing against my ear and delicately pressing against my cheek.
“And instead of that little sprout of joy being fragile and dainty, it suddenly shoots out, exploding out of the ground and causing the dirt to spray as it grows ferociously, becoming thick and strong. It branches outward and leaves shake out. Flowers bloom everywhere, smothering and covering the mighty tree in pure affectionate pleasure.”
He pulls my cheek towards him and I let my head turn while keeping my eyes closed. I can feel his breath on my neck as he continues to speak.
“And the begin to turn into fruit and they drop their petals, which swirl around in a majestic whirlwind of passion and excitement. And as they fly out in every direction, released as freely as inhibitions, there remains the large juicy fruits, growing plump and succulent. And it’s the best fruit you could ever imagine seeing or smelling or tasting. And they grow larger and larger, filling with juices until they’re practically overflowing with passion.”
I can feel Azzen’s nose trace against my cheek and his lips nimbly follow it. He’s speaking softly right into my ear now.
“And just when they can’t take it anymore, every fruit in the tree bursts into a torrent of soaking joy. Their flesh becomes exposed and everything around them is saturated in sticky adoration. And the force of their explosion is so rampant that the entire tree shudders and sags, certain that it will never feel anything quite like that ever again.”
I don’t look, but I know Azzen’s moved his lips right above mine. I wait for them to touch and he doesn’t leave me hanging. He presses his lips against mine and goes in for the kill. I die in his arms and wrap my body around him. He loves my mouth with passion and proves it in the depth of his commitment.
After several moments, he breaks the kiss to dance his lips around my neck. In between, breaths, he casts out an ending to his fruity story.
“But the tree didn’t know,” he says. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. “That it would happen again. Next season.” Kiss. Kiss. “And that the passion it felt would only grow stronger. And larger.” Kiss.
He raises his head to my face. I open my eyes to see him gazing into them with a an expression of longing. “And that each time,” he says. “Would be better than the last.”
I peck him on the lips.
“That’s what the kiss was like?” I ask.
“Jah,” he says.
I smile slyly at him. “That’s interesting,” I say, and push him off of me. “Thanks for the analogy.”
I expect him to resist my push, but he just slides back to where he had been before and lets his hand play absently with my hair.
I expect him to protest and try for more, but he just yawns and says, “now where was I? We had just kissed for the first time, right?”
“Uh…” I say. He’s not reacting like I expected. “Yeah…”
Azzen starts telling his story again, but I’m too flustered to pay much attention. I’ve got my tape recorder anyways.
He’s not supposed to give up so easy. Any other boy would have flipped out if I’d stopped them right then. They’d want more. Hell. I wanted more. I wasn’t really trying to stop him. Even the nicest guys would at least put up some resistance and say something about thinking it was the right moment.
I didn’t really want him to stop. I was just playing with him. I want him to beg. I want him to say that he can’t resist me and then ravish me like a drunken barbarian.
But no. He just continues on with his stupid story. Completely oblivious to anything I’m feeling.
“It’s not stupid!” he blurts out in a different tone, catching my attention. “And it’s not even a story, either. It’s historical fact.”
“What?!” I exclaim. “What are you talking about?”
“And I’m not oblivious to you. I’m just not in a rush. We’ve got eternity. Do you know how many ‘right moments’ that will come out to? This one can pass.”
“What are you doing?!” I shout at him. “Were you reading my mind?!?”
“Well when you’re that worked up, it’s kind of hard to miss.”
I grab a pillow and start beating him with it. “Don’t do that! My mind is private! Don’t ever do that without my permission!”
“Fine,” he says. “I usually don’t. But I’ll admit, I was just interested.”
“Don’t do it again,” I say firmly. Glaring at him. I am completely not in the mood anymore.
“I promise. Never without your permission.”
“Good,” I say crossing my arms, still upset.
Azzen just grins at me. It’s not even a shameful grin, he looks like he’s about to start laughing.
“What?!” I snap at him
His grin grows wide and he simply states, “I never beg.”
“YOU IDIOT!!” I scream.
I get up and run into the kitchen to grab my butcher knife. I’m pretty sure I can’t really hurt him, but I’m going to try. The next hour consists of me shouting and assaulting him while he dances around and plays hide and seek like a little brat. Bastard’s lucky he can teleport.
~Still hate him for this. What a fag.~