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Synthesis Failed

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The stack of Studium Central Library books in her arms was high enough that Moenbryda had her chin holding the top steady as she leaned back to close the door to Urianger's room behind her, but some experiment had gone wrong in here; a smoke haze hung in the air, stinging, cloying acrid-sweet and coating the back of her throat.

"What in the hells have you--" she began, then stopped short.

Urianger was crumpled on the floor in a way that nearly closed her throat, the weak squirm of his limbs all that prevented full panic. Moenbryda rushed to kneel beside him, her stack of books unceremoniously dropped in a sliding pile by the door. As her knees hit the stone tile she was seized with a fit of gasps and a racing heart.

A dazed sensation washed over her as she took in more of the thickening, scented air, head going as light as drifting leaves for strange, stretched-out seconds, until it all melted down, and down, into a tingling heat over her skin that sank through and in, and broke with a slow wild bloom of heat in her belly.

Something… something was in the air that didn't belong, she thought vaguely, a distant sense of wariness dissolving into the warmth settling into and over her.

She swayed where she knelt until worry prickled at her, first an itch and then a blunt push through the daze when she stared down. He… he was--something was… and… she had to…

She found the solidity of his shoulder, turned him gently onto his back. His head half-lolled, twitches of motion like paralytic weakness, and his face was flushed, mouth open. His lips moved a little, but he made no sound. The tip of his tongue appeared to wet them, and the sight made her do the same, the warmth in her flaring out and out, tingling across her skin.

Wet, warm. Oh, she needed exactly that.

She put a hand on his hot cheek to steady his head, her thumb stroking, fingertips slipping into the fine, soft, sweat-damp hair behind his ear. She looked down his body. The cloth of his robe was not thick enough to hide the tenting at his groin. Hunger had spread through all of her, though not with such urgency that she could not savour...

She curled over him, just breathing and feeling him, until at last the heavy heat in her called more stridently for more.

She scooped Urianger from the floor, stood to move him the few feet to his bed, swayed a moment as she struggled for balance. In her arms he gave a shuddering sigh. With his long limbs nearly limp, his skinny weight was still a somewhat novel pleasure; he'd hit his growth earlier than many elezen, nearly tall as she was already, and in her arms his weight pressed against her, warm, lean, male and exceedingly attractive in a manner so fixedly thorough that it brought forth each and every memory she had of his body so far.

Loving friendship between two scholars had brought them, occasionally lubricated with wine, into bed together. For discovery, for comfort, for distraction. And she'd studied well. How his thigh muscles shifted under her hands, his voice when he moved in her, how he slid his fingers inside her, as his mouth worked just above, how the silky delicate foreskin slid in her hand as he arched back, arm over his eyes, and shook under her.

She stood, holding him, transfixed in her own mind, until he curled weakly against her, his head tucked against her throat, breath warm against her skin.

"Moen…" the sound was faint, near voiceless whisper. "Moennn… Oh…"

She tightened her arms, leaned down to press her mouth to his forehead, hot against her lips. That scent became so much more; it was a taste, spread across her tongue from what clung to his skin, sweet and salt, mostly sweet, heavy and floral and thick, like the heat swelling between her legs, and she breathed him in through just-parted lips, feeling the surge of wetness her mouth answered by the same below. She could feel it as she moved, took a step towards the bed--she felt everything, the slide of her clothes across her skin, the slide of her thighs against each other, the pressure of Urianger held against her breasts--she swallowed, ran her tongue over her lips. The small, slick sound of that was so loud.

"Moen..." Urianger breathed, fingers moving weakly against her chest. The pressure alone through the cloth nearly had her collapsing to the bed. She lay him down with unsteady care, and his own clumsy grip found her wrists, long fingers stroking. She reached for his face, held him gently, clumsily, and kissed the same way, soft and sloppy and she was so hungry for him, and yet the urgency pressing out through her skin was for all of it, hands and mouth and everywhere.

He opened for her immediately, and she knew how to kiss him, long and deep--but her breath was strangely short, and she got a low, long nearly silent moan from him when she dragged herself just the smallest ilm back, room enough to breathe. And she realized she couldn't see him--she pushed at his gods-damned goggles, up and off his head, leaving hair askew and eyes blinking blindly, unfocused and blown black of his pupils against the pale gold of his eyes.

He couldn't see her.

That wasn't… what had…

She bit down on the inside of her cheek, and with the little spark of pain, some scraps of clarity returned.

She pressed her forehead to his. "Urianger," she murmured. "Something… something's…" she lost the words, groped to find them again, "we've… it's…" they wouldn't string together, glass beads sliding past her reach. She sank her fingers into the bedclothes to stop them moving into his clothing.

He sighed against her mouth, lips moving faintly, no sound. He hitched a breath, and the next attempt brought words to her ears. "Sorry… sorry…" Contrition in a grimace and she kissed him again, soft, soothing. He gave a hungry whimper. "N--need…"

"Y'fool," she spoke against his lips. "Only ask." She could feel what he meant in her own body. She clenched at the blankets bunched in her hands, waited. If he could ask, he'd know she'd answered, that this hadn't stolen her volition or her choice.

He shuddered a sigh, his fingers sliding over what skin he could reach on her wrists, under the cuffs of her sleeves against the softer underside of her forearm. "W… wouldst--" his head rolled slightly, baring his long, pale neck for a moment.

His pulse was visible, strong, racing. "Moen… please…" he nudged his mouth back to hers.

Yes, yes, always, for you always, she said to him without any sound, and she let go of the bedding at last to let her hands find the laces and catches of his clothing, until the robe opened, until his leggings were drawn off, sandals tossed aside. His skin was so warm, sweat springing out under her hands as though humid midsummer air surrounded them. He pawed at her waist, fingertips catching at her belt, coordination barely there, and she followed suit, now suddenly on fire beneath the layers. Her shirt, her shift, trousers, smalls, all came off, and she lay down alongside him, luxuriating at skin on heated skin.

His cock was rigid, slick trails from the tip against her hip and her belly and the sensation of it concentrated her desire all at once.

He twisted, trying to roll, but he couldn't, so she did it for him, hand dragging him onto his side by the hip, her other arm cradling his head as she kept him against her. She held him there, the faint rocking of his hips serving only to draw harsher, frustrated noises from him, sliding her arm round his waist as she lifted her leg to wrap round him.

The ragged edge of his next pleading sound yanked at her heart, and she muttered her own wordless noises, pushing on her elbow to roll them both this time, him beneath and her above. The head of his cock slid along her inner thigh as she settled, blunt, hot seeking,and the sensation was nearly maddening even in the time it took to set her knees.

She reached down between to hold him just so and sank down, still leaning low over him, breasts pressing against him and one elbow placed so she did not have to stop touching his face.

He slid into her smooth, easy: she was so wet he couldn't have done otherwise.

Pleasure and fullness rolled up and through for a perfect second--then he jolted bodily and she felt, immediately, the twitches of his orgasm inside her, but it wasn't right, it wasn't--she watched him grimace, his fingers tightened like a spasm, clawed weakly at her in a poor copy of how he liked to hold her hips, his blinded eyes staring wildly--then it all suddenly eased, with a snap of the aether around them that punched the breath from her lungs and all the gauzy false heat dissipated.

She gasped and her head cleared. She saw his eyes focus as he drew slow, deliberate breaths, felt beneath her the moment his body returned properly to his control. One hand rose to slide over hers where she'd cradled his cheek, and he closed his eyes very deliberately with relief, an exhaustion altogether different from the paralytic weakness of before.

She kept still, smoothed her thumb over his cheek, gentle, and kissed him lightly. "Hm?" she asked. She still held him, in her arms and in her body. He was hard still, whatever climax that had been had defused the effects but he hadn't flagged, and even with the sudden absence of all that haze, with cooler air making her curl nearer to him, she was just as ready to continue. He squeezed lightly at the hand on his face, made a little sigh. "Yes. Let's," she told him.

At her waist she felt his other hand come to rest, fingers pressing and grasping, and his hips rolled beneath her. She rocked her hips and he took a breath, eyes opening and meeting hers at last.

He began to move again. Slow, light, his motions were nearly delicate. Sensitized, and she met him in kind. No rush now. "Welcome back," she said, against his neck that he bared for her, arched more fully into her careful fucking, her breasts sliding across his chest.

He hmmed, eyes sinking half-shut, concentration gathering in much better and more familiar little frown on his brow. The fingers on her hip let go and rose to cup one breast.

He nudged at her shoulder with his chin, ducked and she pushed herself up on her arms to give him room.

He set his mouth to her nipple with just a touch of warm breath before he closed over it. Moenbryda drifted her eyes shut to enjoy it. His attention there was more for his pleasure than hers. Though it certainly felt lovely, the sensation alone did far less for her than his avid little sounds as his tongue curled and his mouth sucked. She lifted a hand to the back of his head, digging her fingers gently through the hair at the nape of his neck, and his little moan rode straight to her sex. He pulled off and moved to the other, as much care and eagerness as with the first so that when he drew away, eyes shyly down, her nipples were hard and glistening.

She pressed him back down and kissed him. His lips were always so soft after this, and his hands cupped her breasts, his hips at last moving with a rising urgency.

One arm served to brace and she resettled her knees to answer his harder motions in kind until she had to pull back from his mouth, arch and grind, "Nnn--more, more, can you--" she managed, "keep--keep--OH--" words failed her again, her own noises barely reached her ears, all tension coiled inward, rising where his cock slid in and tightened just above, where the angle--she arched back, bore down over the sensation of him within, her fingers adding that last perfect bit of pressure with Urianger's lightly over hers, still learning her. His other hand caressed up her braced arm, a motion so contrastingly tender it threw the pressure of her fingers and her angle against him into perfect distinction, and she came with a thrilled, growling groan.

As it all washed over her she heard the telltale little desperate whimper from him and felt, within, the twitches as he came so very nearly at once with her. She laughed with low delight at the sensation, his own drawn-out sighing moan mingling with the sound.

She curled down over him to press her lips to his mouth, and his brow, and kept still there for long moments, while the heat of their exertion stayed greedily trapped between them. Urianger's hands came to rest open on her lower back and she tucked her face against his neck.

Then when the air chilled too much for comfort, she slid off, ignoring his faint noise of resigned distaste at the not insignificant mess that, for the moment, she also ignored. She pulled his robe from the rumpled pile at the foot of the bed, swung it round her shoulders, and rose to go to the desk.

"What did you do?" she asked, quite rhetorically, taking in the small disaster on the dark wooden surface.

The open book there had to be part of the reason for this, the pages askew and coated with some kind of glimmering residue. Beside it, shattered glass and the burned and congealed remains of a morbol seedling. The aetherically-infused slime was dotted with shattered crystal shards and was dissipating the last of its energy. A faint, burned smell emanated from the surface, acrid from the scorching but still reminiscent of that wallop of floral daze she'd encountered upon entering.

She reached out, gingerly drew the book closer to her and away from the smouldering plant, drew apart the sticky pages with a wet sound.

Botanical Thaumaturgy of the L tribe in the Fifth Astral Era.

"Botanical--?" she muttered. The smear of saplike ooze over the book, generated by this formula--or by its misfiring, anyway--obscured much, but the words malboro and enhanced potency were at the top and aphrodisiac distillation halfway down the page, like some melding of old-fashioned magery and alchemy. "You…" she trailed off with her realization of what he'd thought to try. Temporary enhancement--Yes, she'd gleaned as much--7 drops will suffice, more is highly cautioned against, as the side effects of Lover's Breath may include some minor measure of the plant's natural defenses--so far it was all lining up with the text, at least.

Certainly the adolescent population of the Studium was as libidinous as anywhere, they'd all of them sat through the ridiculous lecture about attempting exactly this kind of thing, but she had to admit she'd not have though her beloved, fusty, older than his years Urianger would have indulged in quite this level of… indulgence.

Oh, and here it was--exceedingly delicate process--well, there was a shocking revelation--improper application of aether may bring on a surfeit of intended effect, in such a case physical stimulation or allowing effects to recede passively is recommended as dispelling via aetheric spellcraft may--Moenbryda grimaced. The listed consequences were unpleasant, but not dire; no worse than the worst hangover she'd ever had… if it had lasted for days. Yes, 'physical stimulation' had been by far the better option. And more fun, by the end.

She turned back to look at Urianger. He had pulled up the sheet and looked small against the bed, flushed, abashed, and apologetic where he lay, though at her chiding grin much of any real tension relaxed. Embarrassment remained, and as well it should.

She returned to the bed, he made room for her to slide in at his side. Mess or not, he always allowed--and she suspected even enjoyed--a bit of a cuddle before he grew compelled to wash up. "Could've been worse," she murmured to him, her fingers idling affectionately across his belly, tangling into his. "I'd considered asking Thancred to bring those books to you."

His look of stricken consternation sent her into roaring laughter, which earned her a disapproving glower, but he couldn't maintain it. The eventual curve of his mouth with contagious amusement was sweeter than any ridiculous spell.