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It had been a game for him. When they’d been young he’d made it his mission to sneak up on her, get a grab at her long braids, and then run. He still did it today when threat was low and they had the time to spare. Of course he was much faster now, and they used sword and scythe instead of fists now. But the end was still him underneath her, her hand in his hair as she pushed his face in the dirt.

Koss had always enjoyed riling her up. Pushing and taunting her, using everything at his disposal to get Melonni to react. Even if it meant he had to revert to hair-pulling. It was guaranteed to get her attention, get that intense gaze focused on him and not focused inward. He could draw attention away from Melandru or her village or what else had her in a twist today. She’d glare at him, shout his name and off they’d go. He was prone to laugh and call her a clumsy Iboga before darting from the outpost into the surrounding wilderness. They both knew the lay of the land enough to dodge said Iboga and other wildlife and normally it took almost an hour before Melonni would catch up to him, both already dusty and scratched up from vines and roots.

Her scythe would come flying and Koss would feel his blood pounding in anticipation already. He would dodge and block until Melonni came flying towards him, a burst of energy propelling her forward, past his guard and to the ground. They’d drop their weapons to grapple in the dirt since they had no intention to seriously harm each other. Koss would use force against grace and they’d roll on the ground, dust or shallow water or hard stone, wherever they stayed today.
They both knew how it ended and Koss had to admit he anticipated it. The moment where she’d overpower him, twist him around, push his front to the ground, and he was just grateful it meant she didn’t notice his reaction.

He’d trash and buck until her hand gripped his hair, the other twisting his wrist behind his arm, her knee digging into his back. All to keep him down, pushed into the dirt, helpless and small beneath her. His breath was still fast, his body tense. But it wasn’t because of the hunt any more. It was the thrill of surrender, of having Melonni over him, using her power to keep him down, put him in his place, make him submit to her, humiliate him down in the dirt.

Once he stopped struggling Melonni would let him go and make some comment or another about his nerve, his ridiculous behaviour, how they weren’t children any more or how she had better things to do than play tag. Every word would send lances of arousal through him, the humiliation damped by the amusement and warmth in her voice.

Koss always made sure to stay down a bit more, breath in the dust while Melonni went on ahead. Of course she’d stop as soon as she noticed him missing, and when she called for him to haul ass, he’d get up quickly, straighten his armour and start jogging to catch up with her. They’d return to the outpost and he’d boast about catching her unaware again and she’d insist she caught him just as well. They’d banter and he’d push the need down and plan the next way to get at her braids.