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Home, home, home again, finally. I haven't been here home, here, the Wisel compound, for two years, what with last Calibration and Vann's Exaltation, but everything has stayed the same as ever. There are a few new servants, people to replace commoners who left the weary or the retired, a bit of redecoration like Cynis always does when someone breaks some chair or bed after a few rough weeks in a room, but I can just take a deep breath and the air is the same, the same heavy, rosy smell, grandmother's gardens still marking where her children and grandchildren lived in the Household. That smell, that air, that's home so much more than the Spiral Academy ever could be to me, but then again, how can it be, to a mortal like me?

I'm just lucky I got in, and have been surviving, though yeah, it's been the boys who really have kept me from getting too bothered from others lucky enough to have the Dragons' Blessing and not as charitable to a mortal 'slut' who still often did better during testing than them. Ragara Vann and Cathak Tarix Mindal had taken me under their wing soon after I came to school, Vann wanting help with the calligraphy his father taught there, Mindal a friend of a friend who got asked to help me out and 'keep me out of trouble.' But now I'm finally back here and I don't have to think about them for a week and I get to relax, kick off my slippers and have a drink or three, and actually strip off these godforsaken robes and-

"Isn't that a bit uncomfortable, Lathys?"

Someone put a cup on my hand and then a warm hand on my shoulder, pressing down and rubbing for a moment, hard enough to hurt. I know who it is though, even without looking or smelling the air around me. My old tutor, Paneru from Falen, a cousin and mortal like me, was over my shoulder, laughing in my ear as he pushed me along into the room. I just drank the wine as he got me on a couch, clucking his tongue like he always did as I sank down into the cushions. Dragons so damn nice. Paneru's hands were in between my shoulder blades, warm and strong as he started to just stroke at my back, playing at the muscles there.

I could hear him complaining about how knotted up I was, scolding me about standing up properly especially with the breasts I had (and did they get bigger? What were they feeding me at the Academy, that sort of thing), but seriously, I couldn't care less. I just listened for the two words that felt the best.

"Breathe in."

Every time Paneru instructed that, I took a sharp breath, everything twitching a bit. It just felt so damn good, especially as I felt him slowly nudging me to lay down on the couch, the buzz of wine in my head, finding aches and pains that just suddenly came rushing up the moment I left school and forgot about homework. If it wasn't light outside and the heavy perfume of roses all over, I would have thought I was back at the Academy with one of the boys but no, I'm still home, still with Paneru, still breathing in and out and feeling hands running down my back slowly, slowly...

I could feel the pillow I was half-resting on sinking down, Paneru's hands firmly on my lower back, inches from my butt. Each time I breathed out, it felt like everything was leaving, just draining all out like bellows.


I didn't bother opening my eyes at the questioning lilt of his voice. "Whatever it is, do it."

He was quiet for a moment. "Very well then..." Then he squeezed my ass and each time, I had to bite down on the cloth to shut my mouth from moaning. It felt like fire had just exploded in me, hot and intense and just burning away everything else, completely amazing and I didn't want him to stop if I sounded like I was in pain. "Feels good, doesn't it?" Paneru's knee was right up against something, and it was wet enough for me to squirm against, his hands pressing hard against my skin while he talked. He had to be using some sort of pleasure point or something, some sort of technique to make it feel better than with Dragon-blooded, right? Only way it could feel this good...

And all the way, I breathed, almost panting. Slowly, in and out, sharper as I wriggled against his knee, trying to find where that friction was to heat up again, something against my ass, hard and rigid as he worked his way back up again, stroking away the knots again. I could find it again for a second, but then the bastard would inch back, as if he fucking forgot a spot and I kept scooting back, trying to just get off. I glared over my shoulder and there my old teacher was, grinning, his hands still on my back and acting like he didn't have a care in the world.

"Now, now, it isn't good form to take whatever you want from a relative." He wagged a scolding finger at me, making my face prickle with heat. "And all that wiggling and fretting is just going to knot up your back again, and what's the point of me doing all of this hard work if you just go and do that before Calibration's over?"

Fine then, if you want to be that way... I just shoved my head back into the cushions and let his hands slide down again, still firm and now rolling his thumbs with me twitching and burning down to-

right there. All the air got consumed by the fire there, all just shuddering out as Paneru delicately rubbed something there in between my legs.

"There we go, all relaxed and back home." He was talking so differently from the guys, not out of breath like them as he guided me on my back and started slowly grinding his hands down my thigh. "Now I can really get to work." Out my breath went again, realizing this was just the start.

I love this holiday.