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"Leave me alone."

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Kutu’s standing at the desk in her room, rummaging through one of her many boxes of crystals, when she hears something stumble in the far corner, breathing heavy. She spins around, prevents her mentor and lover from dropping to the floor by trading the crystals in her hands for grabbing fistfuls of his sweat-soaked shirt. “Alaric!?”

She’s alarmed at seeing him in such a state, and the absence of his usual, confident deflections only heightens her unease. With a bit of effort thanks to their height difference, she manages to sling his arm around her shoulders and wrap her arm around his waist. “Come on,” she murmurs, not bothering to wait for a response before helping him to her bed, glad for the aid of adrenaline.

Kutu unceremoniously drops Alaric onto her bed, ignores his grunt of protest while she readjusts him onto his back. She scans him for injuries, feels relief when she doesn’t find any, then gently nudges his hands away when he tugs his shirt out of his pants and begins to fumble with his belt. “I’ve got it.”

“Leave me alone,” he says, tensing up.

She pauses and frowns at him, then works on unbuttoning his shirt, does her best to not stare at, nor ask about, the long-healed scars she’s never seen before.

“I said, leave me alone ,” he snaps, pushing her hands away.

The sharp words directed at her hurt , yet, just as stubborn as he is, if not more, she fixes the ruby eyes of his mask with a glare. “Alaric, it’s me. Let me help you. Please.”

After a long, tense moment, he sighs and slumps. She feels his gaze burn through her as, with a focused expression, she unfastens his pants and peels the sweat-dampened fabric down his thighs, ignores the bulges in his underwear in favor of frowning at how hot his skin feels --- even for a dragon from Plague.

“You’re warm.”

“’m always warm,” Alaric mumbles.

“No, you’re burning up.”

Concern bubbles back up. Kutu ignores his weak shrug, quickly works to fully strip him down, except for his mask. Even with her spur of the moment defiance she knows better than to touch it without explicit permission.

“I have an idea. Wait here.”

She feels his hand around her wrist as she stands.

“Don’t go, gem.”

Warmth spreads through her chest at his nickname, and she gives him a reassuring smile before easily pulling her hand from his unusually weak grip. “I’ll be right back. Promise.”

Hoping her plan works, she grabs a bowl on her way out, fills it with water from the washroom down the hall, and grabs a couple of cloths on her way back. A wave of relief rolls through her at seeing that Alaric hasn’t moved.

“Okay.” She sets the bowl on the nightstand and sits on the bed’s edge, puts one of the cloths aside then wets the other. Wringing it out, she begins to wipe down his chest, gives him an apologetic smile when he hisses in surprise and squirms.

“I’ll try to be quick, sorry.”

True to her word, Kutu continues at a steady pace, notices that his negative reactions lessen. She purposely avoids his crotch, is careful with his neck and tender with the mouths in the palms of his hands. When she’s satisfied, she finally cleans his cocks, then cheekily wipes up the precum that’s accumulated on his belly.

“There we go.”

Her curiosity whether he’s fallen asleep is quickly disproven when she feels something slip up her skirt and lightly slide against her slit. She blinks in surprise at realizing he has a tail , then, glad to see he’s feeling better, ignores her own urges in favor of gently nudging it away.

“No, Alaric. You need to rest.”

“Stay.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she reassures, covering him with a sheet.