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Finally

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Hunt smiled at Bryce as she burst through the door, Syrinx in tow. She seemed happier, lighter, than he had ever seen before, and her mood was infectious. He finished putting bacon on her plate as she wrapped her arms around his waist in greeting, and he gave her a quick peck on the cheek as he turned with their breakfast in his hands. "Hungry?" he asked.

"Starving," she replied, still grinning at him.

He walked their plates over to the barstools, where he had already placed their mugs of coffee. "Good, because I also stopped for some chocolate croissants on the way home." He gestured to the bag on the counter, and laughed as she squeaked and dug one of the pastries out, devouring it in three bites. He grabbed one for himself as he sat and took a forkful of eggs.

Setting another croissant on her plate, Bryce sat beside him, her knee brushing his. "What happened at the Comitium after I left?" she asked, biting into a strip of bacon. 

"Oh, more of the same," he replied. "I did a lot of glaring and threatened to electrocute a few people who were giving Isaiah a hard time."

Bryce threw her head back and laughed, the sound causing a painful tightening in Hunt's chest. He still couldn't quite believe they had managed to both survive the previous day, and holding her lifeless body as she made the Ascent still weighed heavily on his mind. He kept the conversation light as they ate, however, content to just enjoy her company as Syrinx silently begged for some scraps at their feet. 

Tossing the last bite of his bacon at the chimera, Hunt grabbed Bryce's hand and idly ran his thumb over her knuckles. 

"So, what did you have planned for today?" she asked, turning to face him.

Running his free hand through his hair, Hunt sighed. "I'll probably need to go back in a little while. It's still a madhouse over there."

Bryce's lips tightened into a frown. "But you just spent all day and night there!" she protested. "And technically you don't even work there anymore!"

"I know," he groaned. "But Isaiah asked me to-"

"And what if I asked you to stay?" she interrupted, standing and wrapping her arms around his shoulders. 

Hunt buried his head in the soft arch of her neck as he gently embraced her, reveling in her scent and the soft curves beneath his hands. "Oh? And what did you want to do today, sweetheart?" he murmured against her skin.

Her breath caught, and Hunt smirked as the scent of her arousal reached him. "Well," she drawled, "there is a 'Fangs and Bangs' marathon we could watch." 

Hunt pulled back to look at her, but the sarcastic remark died on his lips as her face suddenly fell, remembering, no doubt, the fire sprite who had loved that show. So instead he just held her, brushing away a tear as it ran down her face. "Lehabah -" Her voice broke.

"I know," Hunt said quietly, feeling his own eyes burn as he stood and pulled Bryce into his chest. Her arms slid down to wrap around her waist, and he stroked her hair with a hand. They stood like that for a long minute, in silent remembrance of their brave friend. 

Bryce sniffled, pulling back to meet his eyes. He leaned down and captured her lips with his, the kiss slow and comforting. "She wanted you to be happy, Bryce. To live, and be happy."

She gave him a small, watery smile as she wiped at her eyes. "I know," she replied softly.

"I want you to be happy too."

Her grin turned mischievous as she tilted her face up so that their lips were barely separated. "Then kiss me again," she whispered.

Hunt gladly obeyed, reaching up to cup her jaw with one hand as he pulled her into another sweet, slow kiss. One of her hands came up to tangle in his hair, and he deepened the kiss, pulling her tightly against him. She let out a quiet moan, and it was all Hunt could do not to sweep his tongue between her lips and claim her mouth. He made himself pull back slightly, wanting to savor her even as he felt his cock begin to harden against her stomach. Bryce tried to pull his head back down with her hand, but he chuckled against her mouth as he reached down and swept her up into his arms. 

Leaving their dirty dishes where they were, he walked them into her bedroom, his lips never straying from hers. He laid her gently on the bed and lowered himself down next to her, pulling her onto her side to face him. He finally turned his attention from her mouth to kiss his way down her jaw and neck, pausing at the hollow of her throat. The scent of her desire hit him again, harder this time, and he trailed a hand down her side to rest on her hip. She lifted that leg to fling it over his, pulling him closer and causing his hand to move to the delicious curve of her ass.

"Hunt," she panted, his name on her lips almost shredding his self-control, "you still haven't come through on your promise to fuck me until I forget my own name." 

He shifted his hips so that his now-full erection ground against her through their clothes. "I will, sweetheart, don't you worry," he promised. "But today I just want to make you happy." He slid his hand up under her shirt, caressing the tattoo along her spine as she arched into him. 

"What would make me happy," Bryce began, but stopped as Hunt dragged his nose down her neck and chest, stopping between her breasts. He looked up at her and saw that she was staring at his clear forehead, her eyes soft and understanding as she ran a thumb over where the hateful tattoo had sat. 

He pulled her up into a seated position, dragging her shirt overhead, then reached behind her to unhook her bra. She pulled it off and tossed it aside before reaching for the hem of his T-shirt, which he obligingly shrugged off before pulling her back down to lie beside him. Her hands roved over his shoulders and chest as he again turned his attention to her neck, his fingers splayed wide on her back. He curved a wing around her as he again made his way down to her breasts, catching one peaked nipple in his mouth and swirling his tongue around it. She gasped and pulled him tighter to her, reaching around to stroke the base of his wing. He trembled slightly at the touch as he switched to her other nipple, his hand now making similar strokes on her back.

"Fuck, Bryce," he breathed, rolling her gently onto her back and kissing his way down her stomach. When he reached the top of her leggings he looked back up to find her watching him, gaze dark with desire. He slipped his fingertips under the waistband and she bit her lip, so he hooked his fingers into both the leggings and her underwear and tugged them down. She shifted her hips to help him, and he kissed the exposed skin as he slowly, slowly peeled the garments down her legs. When he reached her feet, he planted soft kisses on the arches before gradually kissing his way back up the inside of her legs.

When Hunt reached the apex of her thighs he paused, drinking in the sight of Bryce, his Bryce, naked on the bed before him. She was so beautiful, with her long red hair wreathed around her head on the pillow and her intoxicating scent overpowering his senses. He couldn't help the finger he pushed into her, groaning as he felt how slick she was. She flashed him a grin. "Aren't you going to find out whether I taste as good as I feel?" she teased.

Not breaking eye contact, he slowly removed the finger and brought it to his mouth. He groaned again at the taste of her, immediately diving back between her legs to run his tongue up the length of her slit. She moaned as she twisted her fingers in his hair, and he gripped her hips as he ran his tongue up and down again and again, dipping it into her before bringing it up to circle around her sensitive bud. 

"Ah, Hunt, yes -" Bryce breathed, clenching her hands to push his face even farther into her mound. He continued to tease her with his tongue, alternating between slow, languid circles and insistent, demanding strokes. Bryce's breathing turned ragged, and she writhed her hips as Hunt trailed one hand around to her inner thigh, brushing his fingers across her slit. 

"Hunt, please," Bryce begged, almost sobbing with need. He quickly slipped one, then another finger inside her as he clamped down on her apex, and she screamed as she came, shuddering and writhing around him. He stroked her with his fingers and tongue until he felt her grip on his hair relax, her fingers smoothing instead of grasping. Lifting his gaze to Bryce's face, he almost came himself at the shattered look on her face. He quickly stood and pulled off his sweatpants and underwear before crawling back up her body, trailing kisses along her legs, stomach, breasts and neck before finally reaching her face.

Bryce grabbed his face with both hands and pulled it to hers as she wrapped her legs around his waist, her shins grazing his wings as he settled over her. He felt his cock poking at her entrance, and shifted his hips slightly so that the tip sat just inside her. She whined into his mouth and tried to pull him farther into her, but he resisted, pulling his face away slightly and running a hand up to brush a strand of hair out of her face. "I love you, Bryce Quinlan," he murmured, finally sheathing himself into her.

She gasped as she filled her, then gently tilted his face so she could kiss across his clear brow. He stilled, allowing her time to adjust, and when her lips had made the journey across his forehead he began to move again: long, slow thrusts that maximized the contact between their hips and chests as he held her gaze, hoping that love shone as clearly in his eyes as it did in hers. Bracing himself on one forearm, he slid a hand down between them, pausing to lightly brush over a nipple before landing between her legs.

Bryce threw her head back, eyes closing, hands coming around his back to rest again at the bases of his wings. Hunt hissed at her touch, and almost came undone when she let her fingers run over his feathers. "Bryce," he panted, "Look at me Bryce. I want to watch you come." 

Bryce snapped her gaze up to meet his, mouth slightly open and pupils dilated, and the sight of her pushed him over the edge. "Fuck, Bryce," he said again as he drove into her with a few final, powerful strokes, his hand still working between her legs. Seeing his release triggered her own, and her eyes rolled back as she shuddered and came again. 

Hunt gently wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned his forehead into hers, enjoying the feel of her legs still wrapped around him as their breathing became more regular. He felt, rather than saw, Bryce smile, and goosebumps ran down his skin as she trailed a lazy finger down the curve of one wing. "Who would have thought your feathers would be so sensitive?" she teased. 

Hunt gave her a smirk of his own before nuzzling into her neck. "It feels like this," he explained, running his tongue lightly from the curve of her throat to her ear, giving the lobe a light nip, his grin widening when she shivered with goosebumps of her own. 

Bryce opened her mouth, no doubt to sass him further, but just then his phone rang. He groaned, but unwrapped her legs from around his waist and pulled out of her before stalking naked to the kitchen to retrieve it. Isaiah Tiberian flashed across the screen, and he quickly swiped to answer.

"Hey Hunt, I'm so sorry to ask this when I know you just got home, but can you come back?" Isaiah's voice was strained on the other end of the line. "The Viper Queen is here demanding some sort of compensation for the guards she sent to defend the Meadow's and she said she wants to talk to you specifically about it."

Hunt sighed, glancing back through the bedroom door to see Bryce now sitting up and looking at him. "Yeah, let me take a shower and I'll be right there," he replied.

"Thanks so much, I really appreciate it."

Hunt ended the call, then swiped Bryce's phone off the counter as well and walked back into the bedroom. 

"You're needed back at the Comitium?" she pouted. Hunt chuckled as she stuck out her bottom lip and he tossed her phone on the bed next to her. 

"Yes, but I should be home in time to make dinner," he said, sitting on the edge of the bed next to her. He took her face in his hands and gave her another sweet, lingering kiss. "Will you be ok for a few hours?"

Bryce puffed out her cheeks as she gave an exaggerated sigh. "I suppose I'll survive," she grumbled. "I told Ruhn we could hang out anyway - I'll text him and see if he wants to come over." She grabbed her phone and typed out a quick message to her brother, who responded almost instantly. "He said he can come over after lunch."

Satisfied that she wouldn't have too much time alone to brood, Hunt kissed her again and got up to head to the shower. 

“Well, at least the view of you walking away is nice,” Bryce called after him, and he grinned as he stepped into the bathroom.