A New Way To Live
Lakshee yawned wide her eyes blinking in surprise at at the warm breeze that flowed over her body as opposed to the blazing heat of a new day. Birdsong greeted her as she stared in wonder at the lush trees that surrounded her. No wonder her bed roll felt softer than usual, she was sleeping on a bed of grass, not hard packed dirt or shifting sand. With a grin Lakshee remembered the discovery of the day before. The long tumble down the inside of what they thought was a mountain, that turned out to be a paradise. Lakshee heard the water and turned her head to see Bois sitting beside the lake gathering water into what appeared to be a wooden washbasin. She looked for and found her sword. Strapping it to her side she dusted off her bottom and ambled over to his side.
"We finally find water and the first thing you think to do is laundry?" She asked sitting beside him. Lakshee would have said more but noted that Bois was not washing anything that belonged to him. "Is that blood?" She asked staring at the bright blue and white striped robe that Teeye usually wore underneath his white one and on top of the yellow and pink. Lakshee had always wondered how he managed not to pass out in such heat while wearing so many garments. It was only now, looking at the thin material that she understood.
"I do not want it stained," Bois said sighing. He had been quick to drop the garment in the water before Lakshee could note the placement of the blood and figure out what part of Teeye's body had been bleeding. The other robes he had washed at the onset of sunrise, when the light had shown them to him. Smiling that they had dried so quickly, Bois had folded them next to Teeye, leaving him wearing only his white outer robe as a sleep shift. Due to his many layers, the outer robe had been spared. As a precaution, Bois had used several of his spare Loincloths to place underneath Teeye, in case he bled more. Scrubbing, Bois felt as if he were the world's biggest bastard. Teeye had tried to help him, had given him so much and how had he repaid him?
"Bois, is Teeye hurt?" Lakshee asked looking to where the young mage lay sleeping still. Usually, all the noise she made would have wakened him. "Or sick?"
"He might have a fever, and sore muscles, you should go explore, I have already deemed the immediate area safe. Just don't wander too far." Bois said dismissing her with a curt nod.
"Fat lot you know," Lakshee stomped away and dropped down beside Teeye startling him. He opened his eyes. "Hey, are you hurt?" Lakshee asked when he lay still gazing at her with oddly beautiful eyes. "When we fell in here, did you hurt yourself?"
"What do you mean?" Teeye asked sitting up. He winced and gripped the sheets as his pain reminded him of the previous night. Teeye's eyes flared and he looked around wildly for Bois. Seeing the large man approaching with his dripping robe he shrank away bringing the blankets up to his chin.
"What did you do to him?" Teeye gasped at the vehemence in Lakshee's voice. The small young woman got to her feet brandishing her sword at Bois.
"Nothing that concerns you. It is between Teeye and myself, private." Bois tried to move past her but she moved quickly blocking his way."Lakshee," Bois said a weary sigh all he could muster. "We are comrades, you and I, we have faced many dangers, and come out alive." Bois was careful as he placed the robe on the low branch where he had dried the others. "I have no wish to cross blades with you. As I value our friendship, and I hope you value it as well, I am asking you, comrade, stand down." When it was obvious that Lakshee had no intention of moving, Teeye got to his feet. Wincing only a little as his body throbbed with remembrance. It was almost as if he could still feel Bois inside of him. It was not entirely unpleasant, but he was still sore.
"Lakshee," Teeye began but paused when she sniffled and turned her streaming eyes to look at him where he stood trembling with the effort to remain upright.
"I may be young, I may be a woman, but damn it, I am not stupid," Lakshee turned a murderous glare to Bois. "Yes, we are comrades, which includes Teeye, he saved you too when the demon wanted your blood, his chanting held it off until the spirit helped us. Comrades," Lakshee spat. "If you feel so strongly how could you do it?" Lakshee demanded her arm shaking as she wept. "How could you rape Teeye?"
"No, Lakshee," Teeye stepped forward, limping, he reached her side and placed his hand over hers where it clenched the hilt of her sword. "He did not." Teeye offered a gentle smile and pushed her hand until her sword was pointing into the ground. "I submitted."
Lakshee's eyes rounded and she stared at Teeye trying to understand what he was saying. She looked at his slight frame then turned to look at Bois. Lakshee frowned then turned back to Teeye. "With little choice I'd wager. He is too big for you to fight, so of course you gave in so that he wouldn't hurt you."
"I could have sang him to sleep if I were truly unwilling," Teeye said also alleviating some of Bois' guilt as he realized it was true. "I wanted to help him. He save my life."
"So you spread your legs?" Lakshee asked turning her frown on the gentle monk. "I do know what goes on, some of the men in my village..."
"Were in love," Bois supplied when she faltered recalling the dream of sitting by the water and listening to Teeye sing. The more she had listened, the deeper she had sank into oblivion until morning had roused her.
"Can you honestly say that this was not some base need that you fed?" Lakshee wrapped an arm around Teeye supporting his weight when it seemed he fall. "Or are you really in love with him?"
These were questions Bois knew he needed to answer, but were questions he had not dared ask himself. He had seen Teeye's beauty, his gentle manner and understanding. His great power and sincere caring and... "Yes," Bois whispered afraid of what that word could mean. All his life, he had known his proclivities were not normal, men sometimes indulged on long trips when women were scarce, but to actually love another man? "I love him..." At Bois words Teeye gasped bringing the large warrior's eyes to him. "Teeye, I'm in love with you."
Teeye could not force himself to look at Bois as his own emotions were confused. He cared for Bois, but he was unsure if he loved him. He had never experienced that kind of feeling, he loved Keyran, the monk responsible for his upbringing and training. This was different, he was sure, what Bois wanted. "I do not... understand that." Teeye said dropping to his knees when his body could no longer stand the strain of his soreness.
"I know," Bois stepped around Lakshee. With a disgusted huff she shoved her sword home into its sheath. Bois knelt in front of Teeye. "But I don't expect an answer right now." Bois reached for Teeye's delicate hands marveling at their slenderness contrasted to his own large callused appendages. "Thank you for last night, I never meant to injure you. Please believe that. I thought..." Bois paused and looked at Lakshee.
"I'm going to go look into the huts by the lake, are you sure that this is safe?" She asked refusing to meet Bois or Teeye's eyes.
Bois nodded then watched in silence as she stalked off. "Teeye, I thought you would enjoy it."
"There were some parts that were good. I did like when you touched me and kissed me," Teeye admitted his face beaming bright red in the light that filtered in through the trees.
"I know it would be foolish to expect you to love me at this moment," Bois said softly bringing Teeye's hands to his lips. "But if you would allow me to... Court you."
"I do not understand." Teeye said again bringing his eyes to meet Bois'. Teeye thought back to his time in the mountains, there was nothing he could think of, nothing the monks ever did that would compare to the things that Bois was speaking of. "What is it to court someone? Will it hurt?"
"To court is nothing more than getting to know you on a more personal, non physical way." Bois explained glad to see a small smile grace Teeye's features. "Sure I want to touch you and make love to you, but..." Bois was quick to add when the smile vanished and Teeye's lips trembled. "I will wait until you are healed, each time it will hurt less and soon it will not hurt at all. When your body gets used to me being inside of you."
"Inside...of...me," Teeye whispered his heart skipping a few beats.
"For now, come with me," Bois got to his feet helping Teeye to stand. "I heated some of the water in the tub I found in the largest house. It is made of real ceramic. You can bathe." Bois noted Teeye's trouble with walking and lifted the pale man in his arms. "Let me help you. I am the one who injured you." Teeye said nothing, but lowered his head as Bois carried him through a recently made path in the trees. Teeye looked around at the change in the air and saw the house that Bois had mentioned. It was well-crafted, though old. As if it had stood for many years, protected by the sheltering of the trees and rock. "Everything needs to be cleaned, after I scouted last night, before I returned to you," Bois said kissing the temple of Teeye's head. "I found cleaned what looked like a room devoted to bathing. This morning, I heated the water and carried it in. It was all hot then, so it should have cooled enough to be used by now."
"Oh... Is this... to court?"Teeye asked looking around at the thick layer of dust that coated everything inside of the house. It was well made, and filled with thick furniture. No one was here, no spirits, nothing that would give him a clue as to why this magnificent home was empty. Strips of heavy cloth hung in large windows faded with the passage of much time a dull gray where once they could have been a brilliant blue.
"Courting?" Bois asked amazed at how little Teeye actually knew of such things. "Sure," Bois said with a gentle smile. "I even found some jars that looked like they would be used for cleansing. I guess after being closed for so long they were preserved, see," Bois sat Teeye on his feet. "I thought this one smelled like you, a little," Bois smiled when Teeye only wobbled a little.
"You do not have to spare my feelings," Teeye said with a small smile he took the vial and poured some of the viscous liquid onto his finger. "I know after so long without enough water to cleanse, I do not smell pleasant. But this is nice." Teeye lowered his head. "Thank you, Bois," Teeye said waiting, he paused when Bois made no room to leave. Bois watched in fascination as Teeye's face turned a burning shade. "I will not fight you Bois, but please understand that I do not think I can accommodate you... I hurt." Bois again felt shame at his rough handling of the gentle mage and shook his head denying Teeye's fear of being taken again so soon after his first time.
"Let me help you," Bois said reaching for the tie to Teeye's robe. He undid the garment gasping when he saw the hand shaped bruises that covered the delicate skin of the mage. "Sorry," He whispered when he sat the garment aside. "I will wash that for you too," Bois said then reached into the bath water to make sure that it was warm enough. He smiled then reached for Teeye who whimpered when Bois picked him up and sat him in the water. "I had to really scrub this thing to get all the dust out. It must have been sitting for a long time." Teeye wanted to answer but he was too busy sighing and sinking to his chin in the water not caring that his long golden hair was in the water as well too appreciative of the soothing warm water after so long to be bothered with putting it up.
"This is lovely," Teeye leaned all the way back until he was laying fully prone in the large tub. After several minutes, Bois grew worried and pulled him up. Teeye stared at him, his mismatched eyes wide in his confusion. "Yes?" He asked when Bois did no more than stare at him where he sat dripping in his bathwater.
"How long can you hold your breath?" Bois asked embarrassed to betray his fear that Teeye would end his own life. Teeye frowned and brought a slim hand up to move his sopping hair away from his face with a small laugh he reached for the vial of liquid cleanser and spread it on his hands.
"You will stay and watch?" Teeye asked his face beaming even brighter. He looked away from Bois and scrubbed his long, pale arm, then the other.
"Let me help you," Bois said again holding what appeared to be long piece of cloth. "I washed a bunch of these for our use."
"How long were you gone last night?" Teeye asked with a small gasp sitting up further at Bois insistence so that the burly man could wash his back. Bois was careful of his strength while dragging the cloth over the delicate skin marked with the evidence of his own brutal affection. Teeye had sweetly given in to his sexual demands and he had hurt him. Bois lowered his head then whispered, a few words that Teeye did not understand. "Excuse me, please repeat that."
"Oh, it was nothing," Bois turned red at having spoken the ancient words of soul binding from his own tribe. They were a warrior class of men with the women more to Teeye's size. Lakshee resembled nothing more than a child to Bois and he smiled moving the cloth around to Teeye's chest. "I said," Bois tried to calm his nerves. "Here we are as now forever. Youaremine," Bois said the last words so fast that Teeye could not distinguish them. Teeye had felt as if, for a moment, when Bois had first spoken, even though he had not understood. Teeye had felt bound. A magic almost as old as his own taking his heart and refusing to let go. Bois sighed, "I know that you do not love me as I love you... But perhaps in time," Bois could not go on. He was shocked by Teeye's quiet acceptance, maybe one day, when he worked up the courage to tell the meaning of the words, that he had bound him, married him so to speak, he hoped that Teeye would love him as well.
"Will you tell me about your home? I fear I only know that you were born there, among warriors and trained in the art of combat." Bois stared at Teeye for a moment then smiled, it seemed as if the monk was trying to get to know him.
"We lived in a mountainous valley, so I understand some of the things you went through living in the mountains, though you were up higher than I have ever dreamed of being," Bois said thinking back to his childhood. "There was never much water, and as the years went by, our women began to die, then the old, the young, the weak, we needed water, we had no money and our crops all failed. My brothers and I set out to find aid. We all, seven of us, took separate paths, I do not know if any of them returned."
"You have six brothers?" Teeye asked trying to envision six more men as strong and powerful as Bois.
"Our youngest sister died before reaching her eight year and my oldest sister was alive when I left, I do not know if she lives still." Bois sighed trying to remember Talyia as he had last seen her stoic in the face of their tribes need. When their parents had passed away, she had continued to raise seven rambunctious boys, always cautioning them to be careful with water.
"Once we have our strength, we should make haste to our homes and any along the way." Teeye said. "I do not know why this place is barren, but it can be a new beginning for the race of man."
"You want to bring them all here?" Bois asked watching in awe as Teeye gathered all of his hair and began to work the cleanser through the long locks.
"Should we stay here alone, just us three, man will die." Teeye said with a wisdom of the great sages that had raised him. "We would not last, no procreation, if you will not touch Lakshee, I can not bear children. Our tribes would all slowly die of starvation and dehydration, madness and despair while we were healthy in this Utopian cage. Eventually we would give way to old age having lived a selfish life of aiding no one when it was this very same aid that sent us from our homes in the first place. Would it not be wrong to live here in peace when they suffer so?"
"You and Lakshee stay here," Bois said with a nod. "I will go to all..." Bois halted when Teeye shook his head. "What?" Bois asked then forgot his question. Teeye dipped his head in the water again running his fingers through his hair. He came back up to find Bois smiling at him.
"You will need us both," he said with a tone that brooked no argument. "When you are well..." Teeye grew quiet and looked to the door to see Lakshee standing there, her own short locks dripping. Evidence of a quick bath in a fresh water pond she had discovered. Teeye blushed dipping down in the water again hiding his chest from her sight.
"Sorry," She muttered looking away. "I just thought you should know that there are horses here. They were possibly bred, now they are grown wild, but they might be tamed to bridle again, I also saw some cattle, wild as well and groves of fruit bearing trees, all seeming to be in a pattern of planting, yet wild with no supervision." The excitement had Lakshee blind to Teeye's shy covering of his nudity until Bois stood and held out a large, thick cloth that he had washed in the night before returning to Teeye. Lakshee finished speaking and turned her back as the tall beauty got to his feet. Bois was gentle as he enfolded him in the heavy sheet and then wrapped it securely around his wet body trying not to let his hands linger on the silky skin. Bois took another cloth and handed it to Teeye who wrung out his hair then wrapped it in a turban on top of his head.
"I can not recall the last time I have been clean," Teeye nodded, he wanted to sit but feared the pain of the undertaking. "You have my thanks."
"There is a room prepared, if you want to lay down and rest," Bois said conscious of Lakshee's eyes on him.
"Please," Teeye said then smiled at Lakshee indicating that she should follow. "We must plan our next journey."
"Journey?" Lakshee asked and gasped when Bois picked Teeye up into his arms and carried him from the bathing room. Teeye gasped as well his arms creeping around Bois broad shoulders his face red. Lakshee looked around the dirt covered room and saw that the bed was not only clean, but turned down. Had Bois done all this just for Teeye? She looked at him with new eyes as he gently laid the mage on the soft mat that depressed instantly a sign of age and over use. Teeye winced a bit when he was sat down but soon sighed laying prone he closed his eyes in relief. Lakshee sighed, she would have to wait and see how this would develop. Bois seemed to genuinely care for Teeye, she could only hope it was so.
To Be Continued.