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Training under such physical duress was unbearable.

Not the exercise. She could handle the crunches and the push-ups and the combat practices just fine, under normal circumstances. But what her body couldn’t take was a different kind of strain. She’d be fine under normal circumstances.

If she didn’t have to wake up twenty minutes before them after spending the night stuck in Lissa’s perfect, healthy sexual relationship.

She growled every time her alarm went off, of if she woke after only a few hours of sleep she didn’t dare shut her eyes again. She was tired, her body filled with gnarled and twisted muscles that never seemed to relax. And then she had to look at Dimitri, and spar with him, and wrestle with him on the ground, and to have him watch her body’s movements, missing nothing and seeing everything. And even he could see something was wrong.

“Rose, your head has been elsewhere the past week. Do you want to focus or keep wasting time?”

She punched a training dummy, glaring at him in a way that made him feel lucky she’d used to fake body and not him. “It’s a bit more complicated than that, comrade.”

“What’s wrong?” he leaned against the wall, immediately knowing this wasn’t going to be a short explanation.

“You…” she shook her head furiously, punching the dummy again, somehow even harder than the first time, “You wouldn’t get it.”

“I can try. Especially since if this is going to be something we’ll have to struggle with after today. If it’s going to be a distraction during your fieldwork in a few weeks.”

“It’s about the bond with Lissa. You wouldn’t get it.”

“You already said that. Just tell me and I’ll try.”

She sighed heavily, so frustrated with this conversation and irritable and her whole body craving release that she snapped in front of him. He saw the tension in her body reach its peak as she whipped around to face him.

“The bond with Lissa means that whenever her guard is down, and my guard is down, I get sucked into her head. So when she’s distracted. When she may be with her boyfriend. While I may be asleep, completely oblivious.”

Dimitri raised his eyebrows, a little stunned by the outburst.

“You mean you…”

“Yes Dimitri,” she spat at him, “I have been teased for months and god damnit I am so fucking frustrated I am literally shaking.”

He took a deep breath, pinching his brow between thumb and forefinger. She took a step to further berate him, but he held out a hand, warning her to give him a moment.

“Alright,” he dropped his arms, energized.

“Alright?” she stared at him. “What the hell?”

“You have obvious muscle tension. You’re all locked up,” He segued breezily, “Lie down on the mat.”

She stared at him incredulously. “It’s that easy? I’m flattered, comrade, but can we find somewhere a bit more romantic than a sweaty gym?”

“A massage, Rose, is all I’m offering.”

“Can you at least light some candles first?”


“Right. Sorry. Forgive me for misreading your offer. How would you like me?” she gave him a calendar-girl pose on the mat she stretched out on, and he
rolled his eyes to the ceiling with a deep sigh.

“Rose, please be professional about this.”

“You’re right. What’s a massage between teacher and student? Nothing, I’m sure.”

He knelt on the mat about a foot away from her, grabbing one ankle and yanking her towards him, then rolling her onto her stomach.

She froze when his hands settled on her body, unabashedly stroking over her tense muscles.

He didn’t hesitate to start working on her back, which was an absolute mess of knots. She groaned appreciatively, her head resting on the mat under her.

“Do you do this to all your students?” she said softly, biting back a smile. He dug his thumbs into a particularly knotted bit of muscle and her hiss of pain distracted her from flirting, but only momentarily. Her shoulders required the most attention, at least on her upper body, so he was leaned over her for a while. Her eyes scrunched shut tightly. He bit back a smirk at the way she rose up to meet his touch whenever it lifted, and how he could tell by the way her brow furrowed and relaxed based on how much better she felt after her finished a certain area. He worked his way from her shoulders down her spine to her lower back.

“This feels really good,” she admitted softly.

His hands were suddenly gone from her, and she rolled onto her back, a little bit dazed and very much mourning the loss of his touch.

“This may be slipping very dangerously into something else.” He answered her questioning look, but remained kneeling by her side.

“You’re helping me, aren’t you? Keeping me from being distracted. In combat.”

She was reaching, justifying every step forward they could take and he was letting her, accepting flimsy excuses as long as she tried to make them. It was their compromise.

“your legs were really locked up. Should I take a look?”

“It’d probably be for the best.”

This much was true. Her spine felt languid, her shoulders loose and comfortable for the first time in weeks.

She rolled onto her back for him. He brought her knees up so her bent legs were open for him to kneel between.

Rose held her breath, watching him, their intimate position, his hands, everything.

His hands slipped above her knees, settling on her thighs. She stared up at him helplessly.

“Rose,” he said softly, squeezing his large hands around her legs, “You have so much tension here.”

She looked away, biting her lip. Her body wasn’t lying to him, so she couldn’t bring herself to use dishonest words. He was too good, too in control, to be lied to.

“I’m sure you want help, don’t you?”

his eyes were guarded. She could see him holding back, waiting for her to nod, roll away and head to the showers or the nurse or anyone else keen on a personal massage on the legendary Rose Hathaway. But she could see it, behind his defenses.

He was also waiting for her to say yes.

The thought of him touching her anywhere sent chills through her, and she lifted her thighs a bit so to maintain his balance he’d have to bring himself closer.

“Help me,” she said softly, looking up at him in a knowingly sinful way masked in innocence.

He didn’t flinch, as though her response had been as enthusiastic as ‘yeah, okay.’ It didn’t seem to phase him.

He lifted his left hand to join the right on one leg, and kneaded the tense muscle.

He worked his way up her legs. Neither of them spoke. Rose had her eyes closed and she seemed to be whispering something to herself. He heard the hushed hissing and wondered to himself if he sparked a “sweet sassy molassy” from her lips, but his imagination was assuring him of many better things.

His hands reached the upper thigh of one leg, moving to the other, and there was no where to go but up, literally.

Her hips rolled when his fingers pressed around her inner thigh, checking for tension, working it away. Her muscles felt so good but the other parts of her, the parts that felt to worst, were aching for the same kind of relief. The kind that stemmed from his touch.

“Feeling better?” he asked, not looking at her.

“In all ways except the important one.” She answered bluntly, looking at him with a bored expression.

“Rose, I’m sure a girl like you could find any boy on this campus to attend to this problem.”

“But I’m asking you. As my…mentor. You can’t train me when I’m like this.”

He considered this, knowing he too was seeing side effects of his control, and he wasn’t in the mind of a very sexually active teenager going through the bond. He sympathized with Rose, nearly as much as he wanted Rose, and it was reasonable in it’s sick way, between them, this almost felt completely justified.

“What’s “a girl like me” supposed to mean?” she asked quietly.

He glanced up. There it was. Vulnerability. She could lay out on the floor for him like a snack for a wolf but this was different. She wasn’t posed for him.

Her eyes flickered with shame, but deeper than that, betrayal.

He grabbed her arms as she tried to rise.

“Rose, it’s impossible to not want you. As if you don’t radiate…life. You’re infectious and dead charming, as if you don’t know and love it every minute you’re alive.”

His eyes questioned her for a moment, but he saw the way she looked at him. Her face told him she couldn’t bear it if he was going to be half-assed about this, if they were using a game, a charade, as an excuse to touch one another he was going to have to act the part. She offered herself to be taken under his charge.

He nodded to himself, smoothing his hands over her hips.

“Well we can’t have you distracted. Where are you having the most trouble?”

she could practically feel the thickness in his voice, the drop in tone and the accent flavoring it like smoke.

She trembled between his hands for one moment before grabbing one of his hands and settling it between her legs.

His hair fell over his eyes, but under that she could see the slightest smirk on his face. She wondered for a moment when his hair came loose, but lost interest on that subject as soon as he began to gently rub her over the yoga pants she wore to training.

She whimpered, her legs closing around his hand automatically.

The contact was good, but not nearly enough. It was like a Band-Aid for cannonball wound.

Her fingers knotted in Dimitri’s hair as she lowered her body to lie down, bringing him to lie by her side. He propped himself up on his free arm and leaned over her. She buried his face in her neck when he pushed her legs open again, increasing the friction of his rubbing.

She wanted to kiss him. She wanted him to lie over her, kissing her neck and under her ear. She wanted him to treat this like a normal boyfriend would.

Yet somehow, they could justify this. It was like he was working a sore muscle. Like he was fixing a…kink in her neck or something.

He slipped his hand under the waistband of her clothes, stroking her slit very gently. Her hips thrust against his hand, frantically seeking the touch she was so often denied.

“You’re so wet.” He observed, a little stunned.

She nodded from under his chin.

“You weren’t like this last time.”

His lips press together after he says it, as though he immediately regrets telling her.

“Do you think about it a lot?” she asks, hissing when his fingers draw over her clit gently, teasing their way back down to her opening.

The night of the lust charm was hazy, but sharper in her dreams. She knew they’d fooled around quite a bit, and that he’d been very privy to all the parts of her naked body. His body she definitely had left to the imagination, something that left her infinitely curious.

“I definitely think about it more than I should.”

She kissed his neck, once chastely, then again; parting her lips and wetly sucking on his pulse point. His body pressed against her side, and they curled together, carefully touching each other. He seemed to realize the longer he takes, the more she’ll advance on him, so he lost his aimless teasing.

Her lips lifted from his skin when his fingertips gently circle her clit. She swooned briefly under the contact, exactly where she wanted him to touch her again.

He found a determined rhythm, her hips bucking underneath him. She couldn’t contain herself, she was melting and all her pieces were spreading out and slipping away from her control. Shameless whimpers catch in her throat and she buried them into his neck.

“Is it agony Rose? Do you need this so badly?”

It felt like agony, like being tortured into delirium, like jumping from a great height and realizing your terror during the fall.

She nodded, tucking her face under his chin. his increased his pace.

“Then cum for me, Rose, if you need it so badly. I want you to cum for me.”

“F-fuck,” She cried against his jaw, and he felt every tremor and shake of her body as it pressed against his. She came messily, with little control over her body, so easily lost to him. How bittersweet it was, for both of them, to see that despite all the training she could be undone by so little.

Rose panted on the floor, expecting him to leave as soon as the deed was done. He didn’t. he stroked a hand down her side as her lungs shuddered, soothing her as she recovered. He watched her with careful, intent eyes, until her own became less cloudy and she focused on his. Then his face closed off.

She lifted herself up by her elbows, staring at him questioningly. He cupped his hand to her face. Pressing a soft, furious kiss to her brow, he shut his eyes tightly, holding himself back. He left his lips there, and she felt his breath against her face, and realized in aiding her problem he only made his erupt. He stood up, shaking his head when she tried to rise. His fists were clenched, shaking with tension, and he gathered his book and shrugged his coat on, fastening it and covering his front. He began to walk towards the locker room.

“Do not follow me Rose. Promise me that.”

She nodded, stupefied, as she watched him slip through the doors. Seconds later she heard the hiss of water through the pipes, and the blast of the showers.

She felt amazing. Her whole body was tingling and loose and relaxed. She felt fantastic, except for the guilt panging in her chest.

He didn’t let her return the favor.

Right now he was taking a cold shower before he would ever let her touch him.

He’d even asked her to stay away.

She bit her lip. She never…verbally promised. He didn’t wait to make sure she did.

Gathering herself up off the floor, she made her way to the locker room on very wobbly legs, ready for round 2.