by Sonni de Soto
Mac Dunn watched San Merida fall back, sated, on her bed, her skin slick with sweat in the afternoon sun. “Not to sound ungrateful for the lunch break, but I should get back to the café soon.”
Mac pulled her closer to him, unwilling to let the moment go so quickly. “Isn’t one of the perks of being the boss being able to come and go as you please?”
With a chuckle, San swatted him playfully. “Only if you want to go out of business.”
Snorting, he caught her wrist, loving the look of the delicate limb trapped in his larger, stronger one, and kissed her hand. “Faere Trade’s a sacred space; pretty sure it’s safe from bankruptcy.” Despite being a café, it was a place of community and power and no one was going to fire the ageless witch who’d been running and guarding it for the better part of a century. He stroked her forearm, trying not to be so in awe of her.
He froze for a moment, a cold shudder seizing him, when his pinky brushed the raised skin near her elbow. He hated that reaction, but he couldn’t help it.
Mac found San undeniably beautiful, from head to toe. But there were places on her body—along her upper arms and shoulders, snaking up her thighs and hips, even over the bridges of her feet—that felt off limits to him, where red scars scoured her skin in intricate patterns like delicately woven barbed wire. Most of the time, he didn’t think about them. But, the moment he touched them or looked at them too long, his thoughts felt caught.
“You know, it’s ruder not to ask.” She rolled onto her stomach, putting some space between them. “You have questions. Ask.”
Mac bit the inside of his cheek before pushing up to sit on the bed. “I don’t want to pry.”
“Yes, you do.” She snorted. “Rather, you want me to be pried; you just don’t want to be the one to do it.”
Mac, as a newly made immortal, may not have her magical resume, but he knew that magic, for all its wonders, could do real damage. “I figured, if you wanted to share, you would. If you didn’t…” He shrugged. There were worse things than wondering.
She tilted her head thoughtfully before nodding. “Not much to tell. All magic requires sacrifice. Be it time, effort, dedication to learn the craft.” She shrugged. “And some spells are fueled by blood, some by pain, and some by loss. Some of the strongest ones draw on all three.”
Mac stiffened against a shiver. “What do those kinds of spells do?”
She gave a stiff smile. “Nothing good.”
Mac wanted to ask for more. And he didn’t. He’d heard stories. Myths and legends, fairytales and horror stories, that had their roots in her. Her history literally haunted humanity’s. Looking at those scars now, they almost seemed like ripples in her skin, like echoes of impacts.
He reached out, letting his hands hover over the marked flesh. The space around the scars felt strangely charged. His skin prickled, almost like the start of frostbite, not painfully but not pleasantly either. He wanted to wrench his hand away. Instead, he let himself settle into the sensation. “They look fresh.” He didn’t think they were; she’d had them as long as he’d known her. Scars didn’t take that long to heal. “Do they hurt?”
She shrugged, causing her shoulder to touch his fingers. He felt the connection like an icy shock. “Power like that lingers.”
He shook his head. “So you just…live with the pain?”
Her scoff held centuries. “Doesn’t everyone?”
He supposed that was true enough. As an immortal, he’d died many times in many different ways. Some were just to see if it was true. Some to prove how true it was. Each one hurt. Each one, uniquely. Some in mind-breaking ways.
But, once you made your way back from broken…well, nothing put pain, no matter how extreme, into perspective quite like survival. And people like them could survive a lot.
Closing his eyes, Mac leaned down and kissed her shoulder. He felt power crackle against his lips, felt it reach out to him. Reach inside of him.
It made him want to reach back. He trailed his lips over the raised skin. “That doesn’t hurt, does it?”
San didn’t know how to answer that.
It did. It always did. She knew that touching them must hurt him too.
Yet. “It feels better.” And it did. It felt strange to have someone touch places on her body most people avoided. She’d let darkness inside her, gave parts of herself to it. She’d been sure, just as her past lovers had, that those parts belonged to that dark past and always would.
That was the price of that kind of magic. No one used it without giving up something of themselves.
Yet, with Mac, she felt tenderness in every touch. Every brush of his lips or fingers seemed to heal even as it hurt. As if he were leaving a bit of himself on her too.
She’d lived long enough to know that few things lasted. Least of all love, despite what all the stories told. But, with the sun and his attention warming her, she felt the cold grip of her past loosen, just a bit.
He made his way lingeringly slow down her shoulders, over her arms, and along her breasts. He made the path over and over, making the sting of his lips over her scars blur and blend with the feel of his hands on her body, his tongue across her nipples.
His hands coasted down her waist before cupping her hips. Those hands were a gentle but constant weight over the scars that crisscrossed there, as he suckled her sensitive flesh. She wanted to squirm, felt her body ache with it, but she couldn’t. Trapped by his hold, unwilling to either give up the pleasure he was giving nor risk pressing too close or too hard against his hands, she felt held still under his intense attention.
When his kisses headed south, she parted her legs for him, grateful when his hands moved with her, followed her every shift. He teased her with his teeth, nipping her waist, her belly, her inner thigh, making her jerk and yelp, as much from his playful bites as the sudden press against his palms. It was strange how the controlled shock made the sting different. It hurt, but the pain was quick, a sharp spark that was over before her mind could even fully register it, leaving a sizzling heat in its wake.
Then his mouth was on her. He licked at her labia, tracing every dip and vale of her heat-swollen flesh, making her slicker as his tongue lapped at her. The tip of his tongue plunged deeper, flicking against her opening in a tantalizing tease. By the time his lips wrapped around her clit, she wanted to weep with want. She gripped the bedsheets as desperate sounds slipped past her lips. Back arched, she sought to press herself deeper into his touch.
When his hands gripped her hips harder to hold her in place like an anchor, the pain of it only added to the sensations threatening to drown her. She cried out, her eyes blinking blankly, while her world exploded into pleasure. Her hand reached out to hold Mac’s against her hip, that touch grounding her while the rest of her world washed away.
Mac winced. He wanted to take his hand away from her flesh, feeling the power against his palm like the threat of a stove.
But instead he just lay there between her limp thighs while her body shook with an orgasm that hit her in waves. Her strong body so vulnerable, almost fragile, before him.
Except for her hold on him. Her hand on his gripped him, held him still. He could feel her life in that touch. The pain of her past, sure, he felt that like a blistering pulse against his palm. But also the strength of who that past helped shape. More than her power, this was why her world trusted her with Faere Trade, with one of the most significant haven places, a space that kept the peace and kept its people safe. For better or worse, she’d seen, done, and been more than most could even imagine.
And, after all of that, she’d been chosen, and more importantly she chose, to protect her people.
She was amazing.
He knew sex, even great sex, didn’t fix anything. Couldn’t heal. He knew that he couldn’t take away her pain, couldn’t change the past that had made her who she was today. Wasn’t entirely sure he’d want to, even if he could — after all, who would anyone be without their past?
Still, with his lips against her skin, he furrowed his brow and wondered if there was anything anyone could do to make it better. Wounds were supposed to heal, weren’t they? Even if the scars lingered, the pain wasn’t supposed to. With all this woman had been through and all that she gave back, there had to be something someone could do.
He felt her hand, warm and soft, settle over the crown of his head gratefully. “Thank you.”
She repeated it. And then again. As if it was a chant, some magical spell. He closed his eyes, letting that small weight at the crown of his head lift a load from them both.
It was true that not all wounds could heal. Not all breaks could be fixed.
But, even if her pain couldn’t be erased, maybe it could be eased. He looked up at her as she sightlessly stared at the ceiling, still lost in sensation. Smiling, he held her close, thinking it odd, but not unwelcome, to feel protective of the protector.
He knew this wasn’t everything. A momentary respite, at best. But, for at least this moment and for any other moment he could give her, he hoped that it — that he — could be enough.
Sonni de Soto is a kinkster of color who believes that time is a funny thing. Our past often feels immutable, leaving marks on us that can never be changed. But time and life have an odd and magical way of, if not changing past events, changing our relationship to them. Please find more of her work at sonnidesoto.blogspot.com and follow her at facebook.com/sonnidesotostories