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Alter Aeon
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From Companions to Lovers

By Jalin/Jordiscy, (C) 2008

She was blind.

She could hear every little scuffle, every little grunt, every little crash, and every damned little noise that went on in that room, but she couldn't see what they came from. On top of that, the noises were too chaotic to make any kind of form. She couldn't get her bearings to find who she was trying to kill, so she dared not cast any spells, especially since Don was there with her. The risk of her blindly casting spells throughout the room at any noise she heard and hitting her friend was simply too great.

She heard him curse to himself rather loudly moments after she paused from fighting, followed by some crashing of metal against metal. 'Jalin! What's wrong with you?!' he screamed out to her.

'I... I can't see...' Jalin barely mumbled.

Don cursed again. 'Then get the hell out of here! He'll kill you if you can't defend yourself!'

Her hands wandering out before her, she wandered around, hopefully in what direction she thought was away from the battle now going on between Don and the Shar the Illusionist. What she found was furniture, and it got in her way. Her sense of feeling informed her that she was now crawling on the floor, a table or a heavy chair pinning down her ankle. How she managed to interpret that from her sensory nerves screaming, 'PAIN! PAIN! PAIN!' she isn't quite sure, but that's a moot point by now. She just had to find a way out of that room...

The weight off her ankle was suddenly lifted, followed by intense heat. A familiar voice cried out, 'Jal!' shortly thereafter. The heat intensified right by her foot, and she came to realize that her skirt was on fire.

'God dammit, woman!' She heard Don's voice yet again as some force lifted her up by the waist and seemed to carry her in the air. 'Why do you always have to try and get me killed?!'

A few moments passed and things quieted down. Don finally set her down upon the ground so that she could walk on her own, yet still grasped her hand so that she should not bump into anything as they strolled down the Silverbow Trail.

'We didn't kill him,' Jalin merely stated.

'No shit.'

More moments passed. The sounds of a bustling elfin city died away. Wild birds and forestall rodents became more audible.

He sat her down up against a thick tree trunk and sat down beside her, their clothing brushing next to each other. Jalin pointed her face to the heavens and felt the lack of sunlight warming her face. It was evening, and the sun was setting over the horizon.

'We're going to camp here tonight, Jal.'

'I figured as much,' she replied. 'My blindness shouldn't last much longer. Once it wears off, we can pitch tent.'

She felt Don flinch. 'Tent?'

Jalin smiled to herself. She showed him up. 'Yeah, a tent. You know that clan I joined? Blackwind? Well, they gave me a tent for when I go traveling. It's not much, but it's shelter when there's no inn around willing to welcome my patronage.'

'Well hot damn...'

Her eyes suddenly started burning, which in turn made her eyes water uncontrollably. Her hands instinctively came to her eyes to simultaneously rub and wipe the pouring tears away in hopes the burning pain would subside. It felt as if hot pepper powder was poured right into her eyes, and getting rid of the sensations proved difficult.

The tears soon dried, and the pepper-feeling went away, although it seemed like an eternity to the sorceress. Cautiously opening her eyes, images started flooding her brain, and they were slowly coming into focus. First, the trees around her and in the distance. Second, the face of someone she knew rather well leaning into her own with an expression of confusion and panic. Third were the hands nearly framing her face, hovering only a couple inches away from her skin as if they were afraid to touch.

'Don? Are you okay?'

The man before her blinked a couple of times and sat back. 'Yeah. I was worried about you for a little bit there. That looked painful.'

'Meh, I survived. I can see too, by the way.'

'That's good. Now where's this tent of yours?'

Rubbing her eyes just a little more with her wrist to rid the last tingling out from under her eyelids, she stood up and stretched a little. 'Shar the Illusionist, eh? What a fucking illusion, blindness! How low is that?' she muttered to herself, yet still audible for Don to hear. Reaching behind her back, she grabbed a simple-looking pouch from her belt and opened the drawstring. Light poured out of the opening as it stretched to be ten times the size any normal pouch would stretch.

Jalin reached her hand in rather far, until her head was submerged into its mystical depths. 'It's somewhere in my anti-time distortion...' Moments later, she pulled herself out of the distortion in space-time and closed it, replacing the small, simple-looking pouch back where it originally was upon her belt.

In her hands was now a bag of a yet-to-be-assembled tent. She tossed to Don, who easily caught it out of the air. 'Knock yourself out.'

It wasn't long before the tent was fully assembled, leaving two mages just standing around to gawk at it.

'So...' Jalin broke the silence. 'Here it is.'

'Yep... Impressive.' Don turned around and sat down, leaning up against a tree.

'G'night, Beautiful.' Don, however, was not able to close his eyes to slumber upon feeling a spiteful glare coming from Jalin's direction. 'What?'

Jalin merely stood there, continuing her stare.

'Oh, right. You don't like pet names. Sorry,' he apologized.

'I don't think so, Mister.' The black mage marched her way over to him and grabbed him by the collar, dragging him up to his feet. 'You're getting into that tent to rest up properly. I'm claiming the tree tonight, Bub.'

'Oh no no, Missy. I'm the Gentleman here, and the Lady gets the tent.'

'Not this time. You can keep your chivalric bull to yourself tonight and crawl in there.'

'Bull? What's bull is the shit you're giving me right now!'

Jalin swore the small mammals of Thalenwood forest were shrinking away from the scene and their increasingly harsh tones as dark clouds started rolling in overhead.

'Yeah it's shit, but I'm still not sleeping in that tent!'

'Yes you are!'

'No I'm not!'

'Look, woman. I'm not about to let some feminist attitude force you to give up what's rightfully yours.'

'I can decide to sleep in my own tent each night or not, and it's my own to lend to whomever I please.'

'That doesn't mean I have to accept.'

'Oh yeah? Where are you going to sleep tonight, then?'

Don plopped down up against the same tree and shifted through a few positions uncomfortably. 'What's wrong with where I'm at now?'

'It's outside, it's going to make you unbelievably stiff in the morning, and you'll be rained on overnight.'

'So?' he replied while tipping his hat over his eyes to shut out the light and the sight of his female friend standing before him.

If there were two words that Jalin could never seem to understand and in turn became very angry, they would be 'whatever' and 'so'. Too bad Don didn't know this at the time.

'How can I think about sleeping in shelter when the man who saved my life today is going to be sleeping in the rain at the foot of my bed?!' Jalin erupted nearly to the top of her lungs.

There was a very awkward moment of silence, and it was broken a few seconds later by the roll of thunder in the distance.

'You know,' Don nearly whispered, 'there's hardly any room in there for two people.'

Jalin felt her cheeks blush a little. 'I know.'

'Will you be comfortable with that?'

Without realizing it, she found herself yelling at him again. 'My comfort has nothing to do with this! I'm merely trying to clear my conscience! That's all!'

Don casually hopped up to his feet and strolled to the flap of the tent, brushing by Jalin's shoulder, head directed at the ground the entire time. 'You really are a pushy woman, you know that?'

'Being a woman has nothing to do with this!'

'Actually, it has everything to do with this,' Don corrected her.

She narrowed her eyes into a glare that burned into the back of his head. She wasn't happy that he was right in this instance.

Now completely in the tent, Don called out to her. 'You coming?' A piece of armor flew out of the tent and clamored to the ground at Jalin's feet. 'Sorry,' Don replied out of habit.

The black mage sighed and lightly kicked the shin guards out of her way as she headed for the tent, unpinning her hair from the back of her head to flow unrestrained behind her. 'You won't let me sleep outside, will you?' she asked him.

'Never in any lifetime.'

'That's what I thought,' she sighed.

Upon entering the tent, she found Don had already managed to strip down to a single layer of clothing and was trying to lay out a blanket. 'Gee, you strip fast.'

Don winked at her as he layed down. 'I've had practice,' he playfully replied. If there was any truth behind the statement, Jalin couldn't guess.

She took off the pouch from around her waist and kicked off her boots, placing each in secure places. Then came ploping down on the blanket beside Don and huddling up as close as she could to the tent wall.

'You can't be comfortable sleeping with that dress on.'

'As I said before, my comfort has nothing to do with this.'

'Suit yourself,' Don answered and rolled over towards the other wall.

About half an hour passed when she thought that his breathing leveled out to indicate his sleeping state, and that's when she decided to roll over and face the center of the tent. After all, her back would get stiff if she stayed in one position all night long.

Her eyes couldn't help themselves to feast on the body sleeping before her, covered with a loose tunic shirt and a pair of leather leggings. She came to realize just how handsome he really was.

What surprised her was that same body rolling over to meet her gaze, noses touching. Two pairs of eyes blinked a couple of times before both frantically scooted back towards their respective tent walls.

'Sorry, I thought you were asleep,' both blurted out, one in echo of the other.

A few more moments were spent in an awkward silence as the two blushed and continued to look at each other. 'Are you sure you're comfortable sleeping in that dress?'


*******


She woke in the morning knowing she had many dreams, but remembered none of them. They did, however, leave her feeling very content and mentally satiated. Upon opening her eyes she saw the wavy brown locks of Don's hair cascading over his naked shoulder. She instantly remembered what had happened last night, yet it strangely did not bother her as it had before when she found herself in this predicament. Her gaze followed the contours of his still sleeping body, letting her eyes feast on the beauty lying before her. She eventually came to realize that his arm was wrapped around her blanket-clad waist as if he were clinging onto a childhood plushie. She smiled to herself at the thought and gazed at his innocent-looking face as the dreams still rolled by his mind's eye.

He snored.

Who knows how much time went past before he opened his eyes to see a pair staring into his own? He blinked a couple times to focus upon wakening, then realized that she was real.

'Do you always stare at men while they sleep?'

Jalin sat up and let the blanket fall off the upper part of her own naked body. 'No. Just you,' she replied in a very smartass manner.

He sat up himself. 'I guess I'm glad that I'm a special case.'

Another awkward moment. They both just sat there, staring forward at the front of the tent, waiting for someone to say something. Don broke the silence by leaning forward and pushing the flap open to breath in some fresh, morning air.

'Hey...' Don spoke.

'Hm?'

'Do you regret what happened last night?'

Jalin turned her head to look at him and smiled. 'Surprisingly, no. Not a bit.'

Don suddenly turned toward her and pushed her back, so that she was once again laying down. Jalin gave out a soft squeak at the motion since it caught her off guard. He loomed over her, supporting himself with his elbows on either side of her head, staring into her eyes as if trying to peer into her soul with his own.

'Good. Neither do I.'

He lifted her chin so his lips could meet hers, and they shared a kiss filled with all the passion of all the night before combined.


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