Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction, the real people in it are used without their permission and I definitely don't own them or have any copyright to any part of any of them. I do not believe any of this happened, is likely to happen or should happen it is simply a story created around known facts about those involved.
Warnings: explicit sex
Summary: AU - Kris is a prince in a land about to be beset by war. The land needs the help of the wolf mages to be victorious and their emissary is in the castle. The mage requires sex to transform and reach his full power ready for the battle. Kris is willing to sacrifice himself for his people.
Word count: 17,474
Links: Back to Ch 1
My Fanfic Listings (LJ) | My Fanfic Listings (DreamW)
banner by katekat1010 - isn't is just gorgeous!
Chapter 2 Life of Sacrifice
Kris had only ever set foot in the war room for the sparse instruction he had had to make sure he had some idea of what he was doing if his brother Daniel died. The fact that there was a full session of councillors going on intimidated him a little, but he opened the door and walked in. Of course all eyes turned towards him and he was very glad of Adam's presence behind him.
They had talked for a long time, planning out what they needed to do and then they had dozed. At dawn Kris had taken Adam to the bath house and they had prepared themselves for the day and now it was time for action.
"This battle must be stopped," he said before anyone could challenge him for entering.
"Kristopher, what are you doing here?" his father demanded.
"What I was born to do," he said, walking further into the room.
He had stayed out of everything to do with this side of ruling the kingdom all of his life. All he had been allowed was a basic understanding of how it all worked, but that part of his life was over.
"Go back to your temple, Brother," Daniel said, clearly annoyed with him, "we have a battle to plan."
"It must not go ahead," Kris repeated firmly.
"The Ridians have invaded our territory and claimed it as their own," Daniel replied in a scathing tone, "we cannot back down from such an affront. Our neighbours would assume us weak."
Of course Kris knew why they were going to war, but that didn't change what had to be.
"And we will be weak when the real enemy comes if we go to war with those who should be our allies."
He did not plan on being subtle about it.
His father put a hand up and silenced Daniel before their discussion could degrade into an argument.
"Explain exactly what you mean, Kristopher," were the very serious instructions.
"There are enemies coming from across the sea," he said, meeting his father's eyes; "enemies who wish to see our way of life, our beliefs, destroyed. They are the cause of this war. They have infiltrated King Lythgoe's court. This war is to weaken us all and make us vulnerable."
He saw his father's gaze flick from him to Adam and then back again.
"How do you know this?"
"She told me, Father."
That caused muttering around the room and his father's eyes slipped to Adam again.
"You had a vision, Your Highness?" one of his father's councillors asked.
"Not a vision..."
"Then what are you talking about?" That was from Daniel.
"She was not a vision, Daniel, she was as solid as you or I."
Several of the faces looking at him clearly thought he had lost it now.
"She touched me here," he said and put his fingers to his forehead, "and she showed me what is to come. We must be united."
There was doubt in his father's eyes and Kris felt the frustration welling up within him. He wanted to show them, but he didn't know how and he growled in aggravation. Heat shot through his body from his feet to his head and his knees went weak, totally taking him by surprise. Luckily for him, Adam was standing right there and a strong arm slipped around his waist, pulling him close and holding him up.
"Breathe, Kris," Adam told him gently, "it will pass."
"You," Daniel accused, "you have caused this."
"What have you done to my son?" Kris looked up when his father asked that.
Surprisingly Adam laughed.
"You overestimate my powers, Sire," Adam said, still holding Kris close, "I do not have the ability to do this. Only the Mistress can bestow the gift she has given Kristopher."
Kris patted Adam's hand and gently pushed himself away from the wolf mage to stand on his own two feet. He still felt less than stable, but he could not just rely on Adam. He was about to speak when Sarver, the head of the temple garrison came around the table to stand in front of him. Those in the service of the Goddess usually stayed out of military affairs, but the garrison and the garrison commander were the exception.
"What have you done?" Sarver asked him, although from the man's eyes Kris could tell the commander already knew.
"I changed places with the boy they were going to send to the mage," Kris said simply.
"Unclean," Sarver hissed before he could even explain himself.
He was wearing his pendant on the outside of his clothes today, because it felt right and Sarver reached for it. It was a symbol of purity and piety and he knew exactly what Sarver was going to do. However, as the man's hand connected with it he felt power rush through him and a familiar presence filled his mind. Sarver pulled back his hand as if burnt.
The voice that came out of his mouth was powerful and very much not his own.
"He is my disciple and my child, hear him."
Then She was gone and Kris found himself being held by Adam again. Sarver was standing there with his head bowed, looking afraid. It was not what Kris wanted at all. He and Sarver had always been friends and Sarver had only been acting on the rule of law. Reaching out, he placed a hand on Sarver's shoulder, making the other man look up.
"We must be united in her service," he said simply, looking into the soldier's eyes.
For a few moments Sarver still appeared afraid, but then the man's features cleared and he nodded. Then Kris turned his attention to his father who was looking at him with astonishment.
"Father, we must find a way to expose the traitors within King Lythgoe's court. This battle must not happen."
His father indicated the table and the battle plan on it and Kris stepped forward with Adam at his side.
Kris could not help feeling just a little excited as he adjusted his official robes. They had hashed out a plan in the early hours and then sent a rider to King Lythgoe's camp to request a meeting on neutral ground. Theirs and all the neighbouring kingdoms were ancient powers, there were forms to their warfare and Kris had no doubt the meeting would be held. His role was to pretend to be what he had been and act as the Goddess' representative in his father's party.
"Will I do?" he asked, looking away from the mirror and over to where Adam was watching him.
"Personally I prefer you with fewer clothes," was the dry response, "but I suppose there might be some fun in peeling you out of all those layers."
Kris blushed. The ceremonial robes of a deacon were very heavy and ornate, but under Adam's gaze he felt kind of naked.
"Do you ever think of anything else?"
He had seen just how clever and practical Adam could be in the war room, but he had to find something to say.
"It seems," Adam said, dragging those fantastic blue eyes from Kris' feet to his head in a very obvious fashion, "that when it comes to you, no, I don't."
His heartbeat thumped in his ears for a moment and Kris really wished they were not about to go into battle. Adam wasn't wearing many clothes, just the pants and frock coat from the previous evening, but Kris wanted to remove them quite directly. Then Adam blinked and broke the moment.
"We should return to the King before one of us becomes too distracted."
Kris nodded; it seemed like a very sensible idea.
It was as they stepped into the hallway and Adam's hand somehow managed to find his butt through all the robes that he caught sight of Daniel. His brother took one look at him, scowled and then turned to walk in the opposite direction. That caused a wrench in Kris' heart. He and Daniel had never been close, but they had always been friendly.
"Wait here," he told Adam as all thoughts of lighter things fled from his mind, "I'll just be a moment."
Then he started after his brother.
"Daniel," he called, trotting to catch up the other man.
Daniel halted, but reluctantly, and Kris could tell his brother's back was so stiff you could have beaten metal on it.
"Daniel, what's ..." He stopped speaking as Daniel rounded on him, glare in full force. "What's wrong?" he managed to ask as he recovered from his shock.
For a few seconds Daniel just continued to glare at him and he was about to speak again when Daniel finally opened his mouth: "What happens to me?"
Kris frowned; he didn't understand.
"When they make you king like the priest-kings of old?"
That completely floored Kris and he stood there with his mouth open.
"I don’t want to be king."
He didn't; it was the complete truth. Not only had he not been trained properly like Daniel had, he was pretty sure he'd make a terrible king. He was too soft.
"Of course you don't," Daniel spat back at him, "that's why you lorded it over everyone in the war room."
He saw real fear in his brother's eyes before Daniel turned and went to walk away. Kris reached out quickly and took his brother's arm.
"Daniel," he said, making his brother turn back to him, "I do not want to be king."
"Then why did you go to the mage?" Daniel all but demanded. "Why did you meddle in affairs that don't concern you?"
"Because it is my destiny," Kris replied as earnestly as he knew how. "I have never felt I was doing what I was supposed to do, and it had nothing to do with not being king. When I saw Adam I knew, I felt in my soul what I was supposed to do. There is darkness coming, Daniel, and it is my destiny to stop it with Adam. It is your destiny to one day be king. You will make a much better king than I ever would."
For the first time Daniel stopped looking angry and just appeared confused.
"I heard them whispering," Daniel said with much less ire and volume, "they're talking about you like the legends of old."
"Well they can stop that right now," he replied firmly, "because I have no designs on kingship. I would make a really bad king."
He was adamant and he willed his brother to see that.
"Daniel," he said as sincerely as he knew how, "father needs us both. If we fight among ourselves how can we hope to unite all the kingdoms of this land to face the enemy that is coming?"
For a while they just stood there and finally Daniel nodded.
"You are right, forgive me?"
Kris did not need asking twice, he held out his arm and Daniel grasped it. Before Daniel could object he pulled his brother towards him for a quick hug.
"By the Goddess you are strong," Daniel said, eyes slightly shocked as Kris released him.
"It is the wolf coming through."
Kris turned and found Adam standing only a few feet behind him.
"We should go," Adam said simply and Kris agreed with a nod, because it was far easier than having this particular conversation.
Riding through the troops all eyes were on their small party and it was clear the men did not understand what was going on. Kris had never felt so on display. He sat up as straight as he could on his horse, riding behind his father and brother and next to Adam.
The Ridians had agreed to the talks, but with strict boundaries. There were to be only six in each party and the neutral ground was the middle of the battlefield between each army's lines. The other two in their party were Sarver and General Jackson. Sarver carried the King's standard, half covered in a white cloth to signal the temporary truce.
The ride across the field felt like the longest of Kris' life as they spread into a single line and approached the party from the other side. King Lythgoe was sitting proud on his horse, decked out in the traditional armour of the Ridian kings. Beside him was his son Simon and the only other member of the party Kris recognised was Prior Gokey. The different kingdoms worshiped the Goddess in their own way, but they all recognised that their deity was the same one. Kris had met Gokey at a meeting of clerics several years previously.
"Is the wolf mage supposed to intimidate us?" That was from Prince Simon.
"The Mistress does not wish this conflict to take place," Adam spoke before anyone else could, "I am here only to protect Prince Kristopher."
That turned many eyes to him, so Kris just inclined his head at the other nobles. It wasn't quite a lie and it worked for their purposes.
"You wished to talk," King Lythgoe said coldly, turning his attention back to Kris' father, "so talk."
King Neil urged his horse forward so that he was in front of the rest of them.
"We have received information which confirms that this battle has been orchestrated by our enemies, spreading lies on both sides."
"We have reports that your army has destroyed villages, tortured those who will not join you."
Both King Lythgoe and his son looked appalled at that idea.
"We have freed our people," Prince Simon said angrily, "whom you have been repressing since the treaty fifty years ago."
Kris had known the Ridians would not have mobilised for war for no reason and now it was in the open. The lands to the east of the capital had once been Ridian territory, but there had been another war. In the peace settlement those lands had come under Kris' grandfather's rule.
"We have not needed a military presence in the low lands for forty five years," Kris heard his father say. "You have been fed lies."
"We know about your secret police." That was from Gokey and seemed to make the man sad.
"We have no secret police!" Daniel responded, clearly insulted.
King Lythgoe was clearly not in the mood for arguing.
"There are enemies coming," Neil said, appealing to the other monarch. "We must not weaken ourselves with a pointless war."
"So you say," Lythgoe said, face locked in a firm expression of coldness, "but what proof do you offer?"
There was nothing to say to that since there was no physical proof.
"So be it," Lythgoe said with finality, "this discussion is over."
It wasn't exactly an unexpected result.
"Your Majesty," Kris spoke up for the first time before King Lythgoe could turn his party away, "I know you do not believe my father, but may I request a private moment of Prior Gokey's time before you leave. As Her servants we are aware of things we may not share, but if there is any way to avoid this bloodshed we must take it."
King Lythgoe looked at his right hand man and Gokey nodded.
"A few minutes more will not change the battle," was Lythgoe's response.
Kris nodded over to one side and urged his horse out of line. Gokey did the same, but the man beside the prior put his hand out to block the way when Adam moved his horse as well.
"I cannot leave my charge," Adam said before he could be challenged; "you have my oath that unless Prior Gokey endangers Prince Kristopher I will not move against him."
No wolf mage had ever broken an oath; their word was their bond and Gokey gently pushed the other man's arm out of the way. Kris halted his horse twenty yards or so from the main party and waited for Gokey to do the same. He could feel the calm presence of Adam behind him.
"I do not believe there is anything we can say to change the mind of our kings," Gokey said, a sad expression on his face.
Kris urged his horse right up beside the prior so they were all but sitting next to each other.
"We can only try," he said, reaching out and placing his hand on Gokey's chest next to the symbol of the Goddess the man wore; "She does not wish this to happen."
The prior smiled at him as if at a child. The Ridians did not believe in cloistered clerics, their priests were knights as well as men of religion and he could tell Gokey thought he was naïve. It was exactly what Kris wanted the other man to think.
"She does not meddle in earthly affairs," Gokey said in a very condescending tone, "she cannot stop this war."
Kris felt Adam's hand settle on the base of his back.
"That is why she asked us to do it for her," Kris said and looked Gokey directly in the eye. "Leave this man, beast of darkness; show yourself."
As he spoke Adam's power lanced into him and up his arm, straight into Gokey. The prior's eyes instantly turned black and his head went back in a silent scream. There were sounds of protest and weapons being drawn, but Kris ignored it all, his focus entirely on Gokey. The Mistress' vision had shown them who the spider in the web was. Gokey had been under the power of the enemy for months, ever since he had been accosted and possessed on a trip to his summer retreat. The prior had set up all the misinformation and set the Ridians against their neighbours and Kris knew that the only way to stop it was to reveal the demon.
Adam's magic was incredibly strong and it raced through him, using his body as a conduit. It took his breath away and called to the fledgling power also inside of him. The plan was to allow Adam to work through him, but he realised his own magic did not wish to stay passive. He was not yet one with it, but he could not stop it mixing with Adam's.
"Release him, Demon!" he bellowed, voice echoing across the field as his own magic leapt into the fray.
It started as a small dark cloud above Gokey's face and Kris heard all sounds around them stop. Everyone could see it. As Kris and Adam poured purifying magic into the prior it forced the demon out. It was a dark thing; it could not stand against the light of their power and the cloud grew. The cloud floated there, huge and black until the very last trace of evil was pushed from Gokey's body and then it fell to the side as Gokey fell into Kris' arms.
The cloud became solid and flowed into roughly the shape of a man, but with claws and spines and a tail. Its skin was black and red and it looked at Kris with yellow eyes that tried to spread darkness into his soul.
banner by katekat1010 - isn't is just gorgeous!
"Be gone," he said, voice still firm and commanding as he stared it down. "We are prepared for you; you will not catch us sleeping."
The demon hissed at him.
"You will fall," it said, voice raspy and almost inhuman, "all kingdoms fall."
"Not this one," he replied and held out his hand.
He had given it a chance to leave, now he chased it away. Power leapt out of him again, but this time it was all his and it hit the demon square on. It screamed and vanished. He felt it go, it was not dead, and he knew his message would be delivered.
Turning to look at Adam, he felt strangely satisfied and he had just enough time to open his mouth to say something before everything went black.
"You are an imbecile."
Not really the words Kris wanted to wake up to, but then Adam kissed him, so he figured he wasn't really in trouble. It dawned on him shortly after that, that he was in Adam's room, in Adam's bed and they were both naked. When he had passed out he hadn't expected to wake up like this.
"What time is it?"
"Coming on to evening," Adam told him and kissed him gently below the ear.
"What happened after I passed out?"
He was doing his best not to be distracted by what Adam was doing, but it was very hard. His body was responding already.
"A truce was declared," Adam told him, sounding not overly interested and working down his neck. "Gokey was only too eager to explain everything that had happened and everything he had done while possessed. They were well on their way to peace when I had you brought up here. I told the servants we needed to be naked so I could stabilise your magic, but actually, I just wanted to be able to molest you in your sleep."
Kris moaned, because the idea of Adam with full access to his body did nothing to curb his arousal. If Adam wasn't worried about the political situation than neither was he, because Adam was a very focused individual. Had there still been danger, Adam would have been dealing with it.
"Going to tell me what you did to me while I was innocently unconscious?" he asked, gasping just a little as Adam nipped at his shoulder.
"So many things," Adam said, voice playful, but heavy with desire, "I think it would be better if I showed you."
The idea of arguing with that was the furthest thing from Kris' mind. He put his head back and gave a fully fledged moan when Adam attacked one of his nipples. He was definitely and completely not going to object. Then someone knocked on the door.
Adam seemed very direct in his expression of displeasure.
"Mage Adam," a voice came from the other side of the door, "the Queen sent me to check if you would like some food sent up."
Kris' stomach gave a very traitorous growl at the mention of food. It seemed more than one baser instinct was in play and Adam shook his head and grinned as Kris tried not to be too embarrassed.
"Sex later then," Adam decided with a quiet laugh. "Thank you," Adam called out to the servant behind the door, "and the prince is finally awake, so please bring enough for two. Plenty of meat for the prince, please, he is going to need it."
The way Adam leered at Kris was nothing like his serious tone.
"Very well, My Lord," the servant replied and Kris heard the man turn and walk away.
"We should get out of bed and find some clothes," he said as he realised that Adam was all but pinning him to the bed; "he'll be back soon."
Adam didn't move.
"Well?" Kris asked and bucked his hips a little to shift the weight on top of him.
That was a mistake, because it brought his erection into direct contact with Adam's skin.
"We have a little while," Adam replied and then pushed against him, rubbing their bodies together.
Kris had neither the will nor the want to object and went back to moaning as Adam began kissing again. Adam had a very clever tongue and incredibly skilled lips and with a touch of teeth employed every now and then, Kris began to forget about anything else. He reacted to Adam on all levels and there was no room in his head for practical thoughts.
When there was a second knock at the door he groaned long and loud in disappointment, not caring if the person on the other side of the door heard or not.
"I'll get it," Adam said with a grin and left him in bed, slipping out from under the covers and pulling on a robe.
"Good evening," Kris heard and was suddenly scrabbling for the sheets and blankets and covering himself up to his neck.
The last person he had expected to see in the doorway was the queen.
"I hope you don't mind, Mage Adam," Queen Kim said with her usual gentle smile, "but I have a mother's need to check on my son."
"Of course not, Your Majesty," Adam replied with a small bow, "please come in."
Kris was just a little bit mortified.
"Your colour is looking much better this evening, Kristopher," his mother said as she swept into the room.
Kris was pretty sure he couldn't get much pinker.
"I'm feeling much better thank you, Mother," he said, trying to maintain just a little dignity.
Three servants with huge trays followed the queen into the room and began arranging them on the table near the fireplace. Adam appeared amused and Kris tried not to die of embarrassment.
"I thought I might take dinner with both of you if you are not busy," his mother said and he wanted to curl up and disappear.
From the look in the queen's eyes she was fully aware of what she had interrupted.
"Neil and Daniel are entertaining Lythgoe and Simon and I fear it may degenerate into old war stories very shortly," his mother continued, talking as if nothing was out of the ordinary at all.
"We would be delighted with your company, Your Majesty," Adam said smoothly and offered her a chair.
While his mother's back was turned as she busied herself with walking over to Adam, Kris slipped out of the bed and grabbed the other robe that had been laid out next to it. He was pretty sure he had never put on any item of clothing so fast in his life.
Adam washed his hands in the bowl of water on the side and then set about pouring them all wine from the pitcher on the table. Kris covered his embarrassment by following suit and accepting the goblet Adam passed him.
"It looks as if the kitchens have outdone themselves," he said, looking over the food.
"Everyone is just so glad not to be at war," his mother replied with a smile; "the head cook is celebrating. Of course there will be an official banquet in a few days to mark the occasion. Will you be staying, Mage Adam?"
The way his mother looked at Adam, Kris knew this was what she was really here for. Kim had never been a woman to beat around the bush. She was known in the Goddess' kingdoms as being the most formidable queen and right hand to her husband. It wasn't often Kris had a chance to witness why.
"I will be staying as long as Kristopher will have me," Adam replied, not even remotely trying to duck the question.
Those words made Kris' heart speed up, even though he already knew their sentiment in his heart. To hear it out loud made him feel warm and happy. It was when his mother looked back at him that he realised he had a sappy smile on his face.
"We are joined before the Mistress, Mother," he said, realising that the queen was waiting for an explanation. "Only death will separate us."
"Not even that," he heard Adam say very quietly.
In the need to stop the battle there had been no chance to explain everything that had happened. Kris found that it gave him great joy to do so.
"Well this will just not do!"
He took a step back when his mother stood up; he had no idea what she was about to do. That was really not the reaction he had hoped for.
"We shall have to organise a wedding immediately."
His mother grabbed his hand and pushed him into one of the chairs.
"The people need a chance to celebrate when one of the royal family is joined in wedlock. You'll look splendid in," his mother looked at Adam and then at Kris, "cream."
Kris wasn't quite sure whether to laugh or cry, especially when he saw the vaguely panicked look on Adam's face.
"Hmmm, this could work out very nicely. We'll put the banquet off until the end of next week, plenty of time to send out invitations, and then we can celebrate both things at the same time. It will take people's minds off all the tensions from this new enemy on the horizon. Adam, please feel free to call me Kim or Mother, you're part of the family now."
This was what a snowball felt like rolling down hill, Kris was sure.
Kris had always been the son distant from the public eye. His calling had been to train in the temple and only appear with his family on the feast days of the Goddess. The people all knew him by sight, but it was Daniel who was the heir and Daniel everyone always talked about. That was what made the new attention so much of a shock. It seemed everyone wanted to see him and talk to him and shake his hand. He'd taken to hiding behind Adam whenever he could.
His mother was as good as her word; she'd had most of the wedding organised before the end of the day after the halted battle. Daniel had taken to laughing at him as he was dragged all over the place for fittings and things, so he'd taken revenge and suggested to his mother that Daniel needed a new outfit for the occasion as well. It was kind of fun to do the whole sibling rivalry thing without this huge divide between them anymore.
Adam, for his part, seemed to love the whole clothes part. The idea of a possible ally had quickly been dispelled from Kris' head when Adam had started talking about fabrics with his mother at the very first fitting. Wolf mages were supposed to be all leather and muscle with no idea what lace or taffeta were, but it seemed Adam had a hidden side. The tailor had almost wet himself with joy when the queen had suggested that a certain fabric would look better inlaid with gold thread and Adam had waved his hand and it suddenly had been.
Kris had had no idea magic would be used for such things.
The dark brooding Adam Kris had first met, or rather, first been pinned to a door by, seemed to be completely buried. From all that the Mistress had shown him, Kris knew there were two sides to Adam, the warrior and just the man, but the wedding preparations underlined just how different they were.
They had had to go and see the Arch Bishop as well, since the man would be doing the ceremony. It was a little awkward, what with Kris having thrown away all the grooming for the man's job, but it hadn't been too bad. Not until the Bishop had suggested that it might be better if they slept in separate rooms until the wedding, just to make everything look proper. Adam had actually growled at the Bishop for that and the suggestion had been quickly swept under the carpet.
Every night they retired to their room and every time Kris thought he was too tired for anything except sleep, what with all the preparations and the magic still settling through is body. Every single evening, Adam proved him wrong. Kris was a little amazed he could walk most mornings.
That was why, two nights before the wedding, Kris was a little surprised when Adam pushed him onto the bed on his stomach, opened him as thoroughly as ever and then stilled as soon as he'd pushed in. It wasn't that it wasn't good, it was that Kris wanted so much more.
"Adam," he whined, trying to push up his hips and encourage his lover to move.
"Calm, Kris," Adam said gently.
Adam kissed him gently on the back, but continued to hold him still.
"Feel the magic running through you. Tonight is the full moon."
Kris had been so busy with everything else that he had totally forgotten what day it was. He had felt the magic building up, becoming more insistent, but it had not occurred to him why.
"Ssh," Adam told him, stroking along his back, "just feel. When the moon rises we will change together, I will lead you through it."
That brought a little tinge of fear to Kris' thoughts. Of course he had known this was coming, but now it was here and it seemed like so much more than everything that had gone before. He was going to become something other than human and it scared him.
"Her power is amazing, Kris," Adam whispered, as if reading his mind. "to be of nature, of the wild."
Kris had felt that power running through him, had experienced its touch, but now he was to become one with it. The thought seemed almost too big for his mind as he did his best to do as Adam said and calm himself.
Adam never stopped touching him and kissing him, caressing him gently as they remained intimately joined. Kris tried to focus on that, rather than the ideas that wanted to run around his head with insane speed. This was what was supposed to happen, this was amazing and good, his fear was misplaced. It was a mantra he tried to believe completely as he placed his thoughts and his faith with Adam.
He had no idea how long it was to moon rise. Adam had dragged him away to their room earlier than usual, so he suspected it would not be long. Kris tried not to worry about it, focusing only on Adam's presence and soothing touches. Time didn't really have any meaning as he waited, becoming more and more conscious of Adam as the moments passed.
When it came, the pressure started in his chest and spread out through his whole body and he gasped. He was so completely aware of Adam within him now, that when Adam moved it made him lose all breath in his body. Somehow, Kris had no idea how, Adam hauled him into a kneeling position, still impaling him, their energies moving together. It was so sudden, so shocking that he had no time to worry.
"Seek her power, Kristopher. Let it become one with you, allow it to dictate your form."
And Kris could feel it. In every muscle and fibre of his being he could feel it. It felt as if it was trying to destroy him, to explode each part of his body from his blood to his brain. His instinct was to fight it.
"Come with me, My Love," Adam's voice was gentle and coaxing and it cut through Kris' fear.
He felt Adam beginning to change, on a physical and a magical level. The magic in him began to swirl, calling to the magic in Adam and he let his resistance die. It was not easy and definitely not gentle, but as he opened himself the magic began to pop through his body. It was like a fire throwing sparks and it was just as dangerous as leaving fine silk near the flames, only, in this case, the silk was his flesh. He burned.
This was power in its truest form. Destructive and terrible and awesome. It ripped through Kris as if he was nothing but paper.
He tried to scream, but no sound would pass from his throat as his body exploded with power and burst its human form. It couldn't have taken long; he remembered seeing Adam change, but when time was measured in bones snapping, muscles changing shape and sinews stretching into new and agonising positions, it did not matter the length in real time. It was agony after mind blowing agony and it took away everything else.
He feared he might go mad, but throughout everything there was always Adam. Adam was there, close and all but in his mind. Adam's power touched him and led him along the path until finally it was over.
When his mind finally realigned with his body everything was completely new and there were too many things trying to make him take notice of them. He whined at the overload and was shocked as he registered the canine sound.
[Sshh,] Adam's voice drifted into his thoughts, [I have you.]
Adam, he focused on Adam. His lover was still there, still close, still part of him. Now Adam's teeth were gripping the skin and fur at the back of his neck for purchase and there were powerful front legs gripping his rib cage, but they were still joined. He could not even imagine how that was possible, but clearly it was and his thoughts fired with lust and need as well as everything else. When Adam moved to dismount it was definitely not what he wanted. He growled his displeasure even before the thought had resolved in his head.
[Not yet,] Adam told him, tone tightly controlled, [you are not ready, later.]
He was almost surprised when he managed to reply; his thoughts weren't exactly coherent. Adam laughing at him was not exactly the response he wanted or expected, but there was no other way to describe the huffing noise Adam made.
[Later,] Adam said firmly and then nipped him before jumping off the bed.
The way Adam just stood there and looked at him was all challenge and Kris wasn't having that. Completely forgetting what he had been focussing on, he stood up and jumped straight at Adam, only to find that Adam wasn't there anymore.
[You can do better than that, Pup.]
Kris skidded to a halt on the stone floor and immediately changed direction to charge after Adam. Unfortunately Adam was a lot better at this wolf thing than he was and a hell of lot faster. Kris forgot about everything else as they chased around the room and soon he was revelling in the game rather than in needing to catch Adam. He felt wild and free and happy.
As they moved and dodged and wrestled, Kris felt instincts firing he did not fully understand. He let himself explore them and revel in them and at the back of his mind he knew there was purpose to the game. The animal in him was free and he was learning it.
He didn't stop moving until Adam finally seemed to have had enough and pinned him down and began to groom him.
[You have a thing for washing me,] he grouched, but not exactly seriously, because Adam's complete attention was nothing to grouch about.
[I have a thing about doing many things to you,] Adam replied and continued to lick his fur.
[Do I get to do things back?]
After the chase his mind was much clearer, but his instincts and urges seemed to be much closer to the surface in his wolf form. He felt as if he could do anything just because he wanted to.
[Maybe, when I'm done.]
Kris found out what it was like to laugh as a wolf. He was happy, relaxed and free; he was not about to complain.
[When do we get back to the sex?]
Adam lifted his head and wiggled his eyebrows; Kris had never realised a wolf could do that.
[When I say so.]
Surrender was the only option, Kris was sure. Against the force that was Adam there was no other way.
They had eventually gotten to the sex in both wolf and human form and Kris woke up the next morning buzzing with magic and the afterglow. He was on top of the world and he even managed to smile all the way through the final fitting for his wedding outfit. Adam was dragged off to discuss the new defences about half way through, but Kris didn't even mind that too much. Once his fitting was over he was going to join the meeting and he feared his mother's wrath more than his father's, so he knew where he had to be.
It was as he was walking back across the courtyard that he heard a commotion at the main gate. His senses had been growing sharper ever since he had accepted the Mistress' power and since embracing the wolf it was like a whole new world. What he heard was a woman in distress. Looking over, he came to a complete stop as images flashed through his mind.
A mother crying and screaming for her child as they were dragged apart filled his thoughts and all he could do was stare at the same face aged by the years in between. At the gate was a couple and the woman was holding one of the flyers the queen had sent out to announce the royal wedding. It had a likeness of him and Adam on it and the woman was pointing to the picture of Adam. The guard was ignoring her pleas and standing his ground and Kris kicked his brain back into gear. There was no hesitation in his actions as he jogged towards the gate.
"Stand down, Soldier," he said, causing the poor man to whirl around and stand to attention.
"These gentlefolk are asking after the mage, Your Majesty," the guard said quickly and bowed.
"Thank you," he replied with a nod, "you can leave this to me."
The guard appeared a little torn; no one was used to him being anything but a deacon who mostly needed protecting, but when he gave the man a stare the guard finally backed off. That left Kris with two people he recognised, but had never met. He wasn't sure what to say.
"Your Majesty," Adam's father, because there was no doubt in Kris' mind who they were, said, "my name is Eber and this is my wife..."
"Leila," Kris finished for him.
Adam's mother's eyes opened with shock and hope.
"It is?" she asked holding out the flyer.
Kris nodded. Then he suddenly found himself with an arm full of sobbing woman and he didn't know what to do. Adam's mother had a grip like a blacksmith and Kris thought his ribs might break, but he shook his head at the guard when it looked as if the man might come back to intervene.
"I'm sorry," Eber said, coming forward to try and pry his wife off.
"Don't worry," Kris said, awkwardly wrapping an arm around the distressed woman, "I understand. I know what happened. Adam never knew how to find you again."
"We were forced from our home when Adam was taken," Eber said, gently but firmly repossessing his wife, "we settled in the low country with our other son."
"When we saw the flyer posted in the village square," Leila said, her voice stronger than before, "we had to come."
"Of course." Kris indicated the way to the main doors with his arm. "Please, follow me."
His mind was racing. Adam had been taken from his family when only a child and Kris knew his husband to be had come to believe they were dead. That they weren't, that they were right there was amazing.
"Please wait here," he said after leading them into the corridor outside the war room, "I won't be a moment."
He entered the room quietly, fully aware that there was a deep discussion going on between all the strategists from his own home and the Ridian lands. With the knowledge of the new enemy from across the sea came plans for fortifying the ports and sending delegations to the other kingdoms along the coast. It was a huge job to prepare and it was going to take a lot of planning.
When Adam looked up at him he beckoned and Adam gave him a nod, but also a small gesture that meant 'in a moment'. He could barely hold himself still as Adam pointed something out to the other people around the table before quietly excusing himself.
"You should come and look," Adam said, taking his hand and smiling, "your brother has some very interesting ideas."
"Later," Kris said, trying to hide his nervousness, "but before that I need you to come outside with me."
Adam frowned, obviously picking up his disquiet.
"Kris, what is it?"
"Outside," he insisted, "please, it's important."
Adam frowned at him, but went when Kris urged his lover through the door. As they stepped into the corridor outside Kris slipped his hand into Adam's and nodded his head towards where he had left Leila and Eber. Of course Adam followed his gaze and Kris knew the moment Adam recognised who was standing there. Something that Kris always admired about Adam was the way his lover moved with such languid, easy grace, but the moment Adam laid eyes on Leila and Eber all such ease vanished.
Adam's whole body went rigid as if he'd just seen something dangerous.
Leila looked as if she was about to burst into tears and Eber was as still as Adam. When Adam turned to look at Kris, his face was full of confusion and questions, as if he simply didn't believe what he was seeing. Kris just nodded, because it was the only answer Adam really needed.
The man was gone from Adam's eyes and the terrified child was there instead and Kris gently led his lover towards the waiting couple. It was Leila who broke the stalemate, she slipped from her husband's embrace and walked directly to Adam and opened her arms. Kris let go of his lover's hand as Adam kind of melted into the small woman's embrace. It was like Adam shrank and Leila just engulfed her son. Adam made an incoherent sound.
Kris shared a look with Eber and then the man moved to his wife and son as well. Kris stood back and just waited. In this is was not his place to intrude.
When Adam finally looked up his face was streaked with tears and he threw a grateful look at Kris as if Kris had just delivered him the moon.
"You grew so tall," Leila said, looking up at her son and holding his face in her hands. "I'm so proud of what you have become."
"I went back," Adam said in little more than a whisper, "when I was old enough I went back, but you weren't there."
"We had to run," Leila told him, "but we never stopped looking."
It was all the explanation Adam seemed to need and he pulled both his parents into his arms again.
Kris wasn't prone to tears, but he felt his eyes prickling at what he was witnessing. There had been a hole in Adam's life, even with the place Adam had found and the person Adam had grown into, Adam's early trauma had left a wound and Kris could sense it closing even as he was watching. He couldn't think of a better way to complete the preparations for the wedding.
Kris' mother adopted Adam's parents the moment she met them. It didn't matter in the slightest that Leila and Eber were commoners from one of the outlying villages, Kim and Leila just seemed to bond. Kris tried not to be too nervous about that, even when the queen began talking about making Leila one of her ladies in waiting and started making noises to her husband about how it was really time there were some men with common sense on the King's advisory council. When his mother had an idea in her head, Kris knew not to argue and spent his time being happy that Adam was happy and not thinking about how the queen was organising things again.
When it finally came to the big day, about the only thing Kris remembered of the ceremony was how absolutely stunning Adam looked. His mother and Adam had outdone themselves, literally. Adam's suit was made of gold inlaid silk and black leather, which Kris was pretty sure shouldn't have worked, but, on Adam, so did. It contrasted with Kris' clothes, which were all cream and gold and he was pretty sure they made a very eye catching pair. He did have enough brain power to hope the court artists managed to capture their likenesses well.
As for everything else, Kris wasn't sure if he managed to say his vows in the right order, all he knew was that he took one look at Adam, the wolf under his skin sat up and started chanting 'mine'. In the temple he could feel the familiar presence of the Mistress and he knew she was there watching from among her people, but he only had eyes for Adam. The kiss at the end, he did remember that and he remembered the shower of gold sparkles that fell out of nowhere over them when they did it. The glitter fell like snow, settling on all and then vanishing as the crowd forgot propriety and roared their support at their Goddess' blessing.
The kiss was amazing and short circuited what was left of Kris' brain. He could not have sworn how he and Adam made it from the temple to the banqueting hall after that. It was surreal, honestly surreal and Kris felt as if he kept stepping in and out of his body. The only thing that kept him grounded was Adam. Strong, beautiful, wonderful Adam, who seemed to realise he was about to float off and anchored him with constant touches.
After the wedding there was the feast, then his father made a speech and then there were tributes. Everyone who was anyone seemed to want to say congratulations in far more words than simply one and Kris was glad his mind was wandering. Towards, what he hoped was the end of the long stream and in the middle of one really boring tribute he considered climbing into Adam's lap and putting a stop to the monotony in a very direct manner.
"Behave," Adam whispered quietly, slipping a hand onto his thigh under the table.
"I can't," he said, and he really didn't know how much longer he could sit still.
Ever since the full moon he had been a little bit more excitable than usual. Adam had told him it was the wildness coming out. He hadn't had the practice Adam had had and he was having trouble focussing. What he really wanted to do was throw Adam down on the nearest flat surface, rip Adam's clothes open and ride his husband until they both couldn't take it anymore. The fact that even thinking the word 'husband' had little shots of excitement going off in his chest didn't help.
"Focus on the food," was Adam's only advice.
Food and sex, that was what Adam told him animals usually worried about, but Kris just couldn't work himself up to be interested in the first right then. He'd already eaten more than he had wanted to.
"That won't work anymore."
He didn't like being out of control, but he couldn't help it. The fact people were watching them had helped for a while, but even that was losing its potency as a deterrent.
The doors at the end of the hall banging open and a scantily clad woman striding down the hall had never been better timed. Kris wasn't overly interested in the female of the species, but it was the perfect interruption. It had just about enough shock value to make him pay attention.
"Wolf Princes," the dark skinned woman hailed as she came to a halt in the middle of the room, "I bring a tribute from the Daughters of the Goddess. We wish you joy in your union and pledge our support against the enemy that comes."
There was silence around the hall. The Daughters of the Goddess were a secretive sect from the kingdom of Halir to the west. They were as magical as the Wolf Mages and as fierce in reputation, but they did not usually interest themselves in affairs outside their own order. Kris stood up slowly, Adam rising by his side. It was what could be termed a delicate political situation and it had landed right in his lap. For the first time that day his thoughts had a little clarity.
"Welcome, Sister," he said, saying whatever words popped into his head, "we thank you for your tribute. May I ask your name?"
The woman appeared surprised by his direct approach.
"I am Lil," she said, looking him directly in the eye, "my Sister Megan is without, waiting with our horses."
That did beg the question as to how both women had made it past all the guards, but Kris decided not to worry about that too much.
"Then please," Kris said, giving her a small bow, "return to our Sister, allow the stable hands to take care of your mounts and return to refresh yourselves at our table."
He could see the servants moving to create places even as he spoke and for the first time Lil appeared to relax a little.
"Thank you, Your Majesty," Lil said and bowed to him in return.
It said a great deal about the respect the Daughters held in local legend that the silence remained until Lil had turned and walked all the way back to the door. Only as she stepped outside did the talking start and it was like a wall of noise. When he looked over to his father, Kris saw the king looking quite proud and he thought maybe he had handled it okay. Adam gave his hand a squeeze and they slowly sat down again.
Only once in recorded history had the Daughter of the Goddess and the Wolf Mages ever worked in tandem and that had been at the dawn of their part of the world's civilisation. Kris remembered the stories told by the bards. He had seen the official archives as well, since it was part of the church's job to maintain them, but it was the stories that had made the most impact.
In a way it frightened him that two such powerful forces were coming together, because it underlined how great a threat this new enemy was. Yet it also gave him a greater hope that they would triumph. There was nothing in the world that could stand against the peoples of the Goddess united. Nothing at all.
As it turned out, Megan was a smaller fair skinned woman, but just as beautiful and dangerous looking as Lil. Kris almost laughed when he saw his brother's star struck expression as Daniel first laid eyes on her. Gentle women tended to wear a lot more clothes than either of the Daughters of the Goddess and Daniel appeared smitten. Kris even managed to keep his mind off of leaping on Adam while watching the interplay.
That didn't mean that Kris wasn't incredibly glad when they finally had the chance to escape. He dragged Adam all the way from the banqueting hall to their room, pushed his new husband through the door, wished really, really hard that they were both naked and threw magic at the problem. So far Adam had shown him how to do simple little things with his new power, but one thing he had figured out pretty quickly was that it was mostly about will.
Given that he wanted nothing more than to get at his husband right then and his magic seemed to be in agreement, both their clothes vanished. Kris wasn't sure where they ended up, but he really didn't care, because he pushed Adam against the wall, jumped, wrapped his legs around his husband and basically said 'take me now' with every fibre of his being.
"Heavens, I love you," Adam said, wrapping long fingers into Kris' hair and dragging him in for a kiss.
That just made it all the better. Kris' heart all but exploded with joy and he set about showing Adam just how much the sentiment was returned.