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Heros (Crows) Part 6
I must have been in very few of the gods’ favor. Dawn broke hours later to have me falling off my bed to vomit on the floor. I crawled to the drawers, my hurt wrist burning with the weight I put on it. I was forced to sit on my knees and reach up for the bowl of water. My hurt wrist buckled under the weight and the water splashed out over me. I groaned, placing the wet rag against my cracked lips, and then using it to wipe up the spittle on the floor. There was little I was in control of now. My body shook and my teeth rattled. I forced myself to my feet, using the drawers to aid me up, but once there, I found it increasingly difficult to keep my feet. The room seemed to sway and I had to hunch over the drawers, closing my eyes until the feeling passed. I don’t know how long I stood like that, but it did pass eventually. Once I gained my bearings, I noticed my nightshift was soaked. Embarrassment flushed up my neck when I realized not all of it was sweat. I yanked it over my head, stumbling around as I fought to keep balance. I struggled getting a pair of breaches on and when I did, I fell to the floor in exhaustion. The cool floor felt wonderful against my bare back but soon a chill worked its way over me and I struggled my way to sitting up. I wrapped my arms around myself and took deep breaths trying to build some energy.
I fell into a light doze that put my pains away some. I nearly jumped out of my skin when there was a knock at the door.
“Amelia?” I could barely take myself from my drowsy haze to respond to Maximus entering through the door. I huddled in closer to myself trying to keep in the warmth but not sure if I could actually move. His large warm hand pressed against my back and I looked over my shoulder to stare at his face.
“You are freezing.” He stated emphatically, already reaching for a quilt draped on the bed. My teeth chattered on and I dug my nails into my calves to keep myself from shaking too badly. He wrapped the quilt around me and pulled braids out of my eyes, pulling my lower eyelids down to look into my eyes and sighed.
“Can you get up?” I shook my head ‘no’ and felt his grasp my upper arms, hauling me to my feet. He tugged the quilt around me to stake off the chill when my knees buckled and I gave a gasp of surprise. I reached put and grasped his arms as he did me and pulled me closer to him, taking all of my weight.
“You should not be out of bed.” Warmth radiated off him and I sought the heat with an instinctual need. He lifted me into his arms and carried me the short distance to the bed while I burrowed in his chest, humming my appreciation. Remembering how I soiled myself in my sleep, I refused to let go of him as he tried to put me down. He was quiet for some minutes before moving to sit in the rocking chair in the corner. I still shook with chills and settled my chin on his shoulder, pressing my cold nose and lips to his neck. I felt the goose flesh roll down his skin at the sudden contact. He shifted around for a few minutes, trying to get comfortable and keep the blanket wrapped all the way around me at the same time. He couldn't seem to decide where to put his arms and after a few moments’ hesitation and little response from me, he kept one around my back and the other over my legs. I felt cold still, but not nearly as cold, and I felt myself dozing.
“Where…?” I couldn’t even talk, my teeth chattering so loudly. He petted my hip through the quilt and gently began to rock.
“Raith and Junine have only stepped out a few minutes ago, one to tend to her mate, the other to a meeting. They will be back soon no doubt.” I hummed and shuffled about trying to find more warmth.
“Why…are…” I huddled in on myself and shivered. “…you...here?” I finally bit out. He was quiet for some time.
“I suppose I should not be here, they do not know.” My chest tightened and a bubbly feeling rose in the pit of my stomach.
“Forbi-” He cut me off.
“Yes, in this tribe it is forbidden, but I could not leave you in such a state. I have been skirting about the shadows all day in hopes I could check in on you.” While it was improper, it was heartfelt and I secretly felt grateful, even if I would never voice it. Had it not been for him, I might still be lying on the floor freezing to death.
“I detest that this clan deems that one must be mated to obtain any knowledge about the well-being of another. I can only imagine the uproar that would rise if they saw me holding you in such a way, but I haven’t a care at the moment.” He continued to babble on, obviously trying to fill the silence. Shameless in my urgent need of heat, I pressed myself harder into his body. His breathing stopped for a moment while his heart continued with its steady beat.
“Hold on.” He shifted me forward so that I no longer leaned on him, then pulled his shirt over his head and pulled me flush with him. I couldn’t help but groan in happiness. He was so warm. The tiny hairs on my back became alert when I felt a hand sliding up and around my hip, and up my back, pressing in to the center. I was hypersensitive of his every movement, but appreciated the extra warmth on my bare back and didn’t mind being pressed closer to his warm chest. I could imagine how father and Everett would react if they were to walk in now. I doubted Maximus would live to see another morning, but at the moment, I cared only for his hot skin. A sharp shiver raced on my spine when his nails lightly grazed my back. The bubbles turned into mad butterflies and all of my muscles tightened reflexively. After a few minutes of lying in a hyperaware state, my exhaustion started back in and I felt my eyes drooped drastically. The lull of his heart thumping evenly, his steady breaths and the soft rocking of the chair coupled with the warmth and I never had a chance.
I woke to Maximus’s head dropping onto my own and my wrist throbbing. I was still exhausted but overly warm. Shrugging the quilt off my shoulders, Maximus’s arms fell with it, settling around my hips. Content to lay still some more, I was drawn to the arguing on the other side of the door. Reality came crashing down around my ears when I realized where and with whom I was with.
My heart rate picked up as I struggled to break free of his arms. To my mortification, in my sleep, I had somehow shifted to straddle his hips. Maximus seemed to sense my distress (or felt my struggling) and his head lolled back as his eyes opened slowly.
“Let go.” I hissed. I pushed at his chest. His eyes glinted in the low light of the moon and as if to prove I had no hold on him, he pulled me closer. I hissed lightly at him and turned to pull myself out of his grip. At this point it no longer mattered that I was half unclothed, or that I had just slept on a half naked man, or that he held me so. What mattered was that Everett, father and Raith were outside arguing about coming in.
“Why do you struggle? You did not do so before, and I suggest you quite your wriggling.” He murmured. His eyes raked up and down my body and I was only just able to flush before the door slammed open. Everett had Raith gripped tightly in his hand, holding her back, his gaze searching the room. It didn’t take long until his eyes flitted to us, but again I had no time to react. Just the sound of the door bursting open had sent Maximus into flight. With me still on his lap, he lurched up and spun around to face Everett face on, forcing me behind him. A loud hiss slash screech pierced the air as Maximus stood to his full height, taking in as much air as possible to make him look bigger. Everett returned the awful sound and took a threatening step forward. It was an attempt to force Maximus back, but he just leaned further forward and raised an arm to strike out, his other forced back to block my path. I clutched the quilt around me, confused as to what was going on, and scared of the sounds they were emitting. Father moved Raith behind him and stood next to Everett like a heavy shadow. Maximus moved to the side slowly so his back was to the window and he dragged me along behind him, although I went dazedly. Everett eyed him wearily and spotted the one thing I wished he wouldn’t have. My sword. He lunged for it and had it drawn and pointed at Maximus in seconds. I gave a cry and jumped between them just as Everett leapt forward. The sword slipped through the quilt, cutting the fabric easily and I felt the cool of the metal against my lower back. It slid along my skin, never once actually piercing me. Time seemed to halt, if only for a moment, everyone staring, Raith gasping, Everett’s shocked face. Then everything sped up as if trying to make up for lost time. The sword tip appeared through the other end, Maximus took my arms, gripping me tightly, fear flashing across his dark gaze, Everett dropping the hilt of my sword. The weight of the sword pulled the quilt from around my shoulders and it landed on the floor with a thud. Maximus splayed his large hand across my back and I heard father mutter ‘thank the gods’. I pushed away from him, holding my arms around myself.
“Are you well?” He murmured. I raised my chin and moved away to Raith who held her arms out to me. I felt the barest brush of air across my back when both men grunted and landed on the floor with thuds. Raith gave a slightly shocked scream as Maximus and Everett wrestled around on the floor. Father pushed us both out of the way when their flailing limbs came close. Somehow, within a few seconds, they had moved down the hall, slamming one another into walls, and out the door, landing with a cloud of dirt. I yanked on the shirt Raith had been holding out for me, not bothering with any underclothes, and rushed out after them. They were going to wrestle themselves right over the hill! I turned to father, not quite sure why they were fighting, but angry about it.
“Stop them! Stop them!” He just looked on gravely, never moving a muscle. I made to pull at Everett’s arm to get him to loosen up when both father and Raith took a hold of my shoulders and held me back. I fought against them and gave a shriek when they did indeed roll down the hill, smacking heads and limbs the entire way. I yanked out of father’s grasp and chased after them ignoring the on looking stares of the other Tribes people. My wrist ached sorely, my head thumped loudly, and I stumbled in my weakness multiple times on the way down. They were both red in the face with obvious scratches and bruises coating their arms, faces and torsos.
“Stop it! Both of you!” I pulled at hair and limbs whenever I could, getting knocked to my back end multiple times. Finally Councilor Halik and General Fordrick came vaulting over the hill, hauling the two men away from each other. Both were breathing heavily and struggled against their captors, their hair and clothes askew. Halik only let Everett go after he swore he would not strike Maximus again. They did not let Maximus go.