He's been under tremendous strain, lately. Work-related stuff has kept him up nights, pacing the floor. Politics and world affairs haven't done anything to ease his mind, either - if anything, all those other influences have upset him even more.
When I lowered my lashes at him one evening and nodded toward our bedroom, he looked away. I went over and put my hand on his shoulder, thinking to seduce him with a touch.
"I just don't think I'd make good company right now," he demurred, chuckling nervously. His shoulder muscles felt like rocks under my fingertips.
"That's fine - just come and lie beside me for a little while, then."
He turned away, and I saw his hand shake.
"You don't have to do anything, be anything, or think anything," I purred. "Just - humor me. Please?"
He sat there for a long moment, brain racing around and around the same little track that kept him so agitated during the day and half the night. Finally, with an effort, he sighed and stood up beside me. I stifled the impulse to frown and slap him - I knew that this was not any conscious dismissal or heroic self-sacrifice on his part, his agreeing to lie with me. Rather, it was a pretty scary indicator of his stress level. If he was wound up to the point of struggling this hard and barely succeeding in pushing his demons aside to be with me, I knew he was in pretty bad shape.
I led him to our bedroom, turned out the lights, and stripped him. He stiffened momentarily in my arms, and I chuckled.
"No, lover," I reminded him. "I'm not asking for any acrobatics, feats of strength, or bedroom Olympics. Just lie down."
He relaxed minutely, and I felt the ghost of a smile play across his face in the dark.
"You can read me that well." Half statement, half question.
I stripped myself and opened the window blinds a little, just enough to let the warm summer breezes blow through.
"Oh, yes, lover," I purred, deep in my throat. I snuggled up next to him, lightly tracing patterns in his chest hair. He lay in bed stiffly, seeming to vibrate at some frequency beyond hearing.
"It's just, just, so -- " he muttered, tossing his head.
"Be silent," I whispered. "I am the Witch of the Wind, and I have lured you to my bed."
He chuckled. "'Witch of the Wind,' eh?"
I tapped him on the nose with a fingertip, sharply.
"Hush," I whispered. "I am young and old, fragile and formidable, full of yesterday's secrets and tomorrow's revelations. You are under my spell, Noble Man - though you roar and thunder under the Sun, you sigh and dream under the Moon."
As I caressed the side of his face, I felt a small movement as though he might speak, and I slid the pad of my thumb across his closed lips. My lips brushed his cheek as I spoke.
"Sssssssss..... night thoughts, night sounds. Cool water over smooth stones in the moonlight, ideas and images gliding smoothly along behind cat eyes." I stroked his brow with a fingertip, lazy back and forth sweeps punctuated by an occasional drift down between his eyes to the tip of his nose. Leaves stirred in the trees outside as a swirl of summer nightwind ambled past, stealthily moving toward an unknown goal. I felt the fine hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I drank in the warm breeze like a fine wine. I felt attuned to the cat, or to the spirit of the cat, perhaps the 'essence' of the cat (words fail me) as I stretched and reveled in the curve and arch of muscles in the darkness.
As I caressed him, he relaxed a bit - and my own reverie deepened, carrying my fancy onward. I continued to stroke him with my fingertips, my lips forming soft syllables in his ear.
"Spells and symbols, stars and silence, under the light of the moon. Taste and touch, softness and pleasure, and even the Master will swoon."
I eased my fingertip between his lips to touch his tongue, and he exhaled with a long, rattling sigh. I nuzzled his bearded jaw with my lips and breathed deeply in the warm smell of him, frowning slightly at the thin discordant note of fear and apprehension I found there. Not fear of me - well, not directly, anyway - fear of all the things he felt were swirling around him, trying to best him. Fear of me, too, in the form of his fear of failure and fear of having me see him as anything other than a mighty warrior.
I snuggled tighter against him, roaming across his chest with my hand as I kissed his throat and smelled the deeper musk there. My hand tightened, kneading his muscular chest, and my blood quickened. An owl hooted in the trees - "my owl," as I fancifully called the big raptor who seemed to like a particular oak tree. My skin rippled with a thrill of electricity, and my hand slipped down to grasp his warmth.
He shivered almost imperceptibly, and my vision swam as I heard the faint sound of chimes. I held him lightly, my cool fingers curled around his overheated pride of life. I felt suspended, adrift - which way would the Witch of the Wind fly tonight? We hung there together in a vortex of possibility, floating in a balance of possible futures and worlds seen and unseen.
I held him in my hand, exquisitely aware of ancient secrets. Yin and yang, sunlight and shadow - brave knight, fair damsel. As well, strength of arms dashed against crafty witchery - succubi and night walkers, brave men ravished by night spirits for their own amusement. The Witch of the Wind quested the points of the compass, poised in that instant between intent and action. The summer wind swirled, and my blood answered - another instant, and I would have been swept away by my own red tide. My mind swirled with possibilities, with personalities - every aspect of the Mother beckoned for my attention, from the ache to nurse a baby to the itching of my fangs.
Far away, whether across the world outside the window or the vista of probability in my mind I do not know, I heard the sound of horses. I flung myself headlong after them, drawing my lover with me as I twined my body around his. Insensibly, he gripped me tightly - leading or following, who could say?
We drew closer to the sound of galloping hooves, and it seemed as if we flew through steadily lightening air until finally the sun shone warm on our bodies and we were slicked with sweat. Up ahead, we caught a glimpse of the chargers, pennants flying - we redoubled our efforts, and in a moment caught up with the riders.
As we did, they wheeled and stopped to face us. The leader leaned forward in his saddle, raising his visor. Leather and armor creaked quietly.
In a dizzying instant, my lover's eyes peered out of the dusty helmet and caught mine with a shocked start. His lips silently formed the word, "you?" and I gasped and grinned as I nodded. He looked around at his companions and himself incredulously, then thought, "Is this how you see me?"
"Oh, yes - oh, oh....... yes!" I cried, dissolving into a silvery pool of unalloyed pleasure and love. I spun out into a shimmering veil, then mounted the night wind and covered a span of stars - I was the Goddess, riding the night and shining down on all my children.
Much later, I returned to the delightful chill of sweat evaporating in the smooth, cool breeze. I drew my hand across his chest, then tasted a salty fingertip. I freed his thigh from between mine and carefully rolled away, then stretched like a cat and went to the window. Raising the blinds, I smiled and basked before the full moon.
When I turned back to him, I saw the glittering track across his belly. I slipped my finger between my legs and took a taste - myself, I noticed, but no other. I bent down to pick up a towel and wipe him clean, then smiled with secret knowledge.
Dipping a fingertip in it and bringing it to his lips, I spoke softly, closing the circle.
"Mate and lover, witch and warrior, wandering deep in the night. Skin and sweat, vision and knowledge, truth is revealed in their flight. Sleep well, my knight, and fear no fright, under the light of the moon."
The moonlight washed over us as I lay beside him, leaving our offering to twinkle and shine across his belly. By morning, I knew it would be gone - taken up by the night wind and the smiling Goddess, gathered and spun into dream-silk for other wanderers in the night.
He slept with a serene smile on his lips, and the Witch of the Wind slept smiling beside him.
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