Marcus barely noticed as the others left. His beast was aware, but it was not a conscious thing. He simply relaxed as he and Xenia were left on their own.
He was very conscious of the warmth of Xenia's hand on his arm. The points where her fingers touched bare skin between bandages burned in his awareness. Likewise the feel of her wrist against the pads of his fingers and his palm was like a beacon to his senses.
Her smell was there, faint in the air, reminding him of walking into the bathroom after she had showered and the smell of her shampoo and the body wash she loved. He had no idea what it was supposed to smell like, he just knew it smelled like Xennie. Thus, it smelled good.
His eyes were trained on his arm, the point of contact, and when her eyes returned to him after she assured herself that the others really were gone for the moment, she noted it and flushed. As she started to pull her hand away, though, to try to tug her wrist from his grasp, he halted her with a simple "wait."
Her tongue darted out and she licked her lips. She wasn't going to say anything. He had grabbed her wrist, asked her to stay with him. But he had been the one to push her away in the first place. It was up to him. It was hard, though. It felt like the words filled her throat, pressed against her tongue, desperate to spill out into the air. All the things she hadn't said before, all the things she had so desperately wanted to say.
But it was his turn to say something. To decide.
"Xennie...," he rasped, his voice still rough, "I'm sorry. I was an idiot. I almost was again. You deserve someone who isn't... a monster. Someone better than me. I don't think I can though." He looked at her then, meeting her eyes. Xennie saw something there, hunger that answered the one inside her. The one that demanded an end to waiting, an end to simply accepting and hoping.
Not yet, though. It wasn't enough. Not yet. She needed more.
"Marcus... you aren't a monster. Unless I am." Clenching her jaw, she looked away, unable to bear the way he was looking at her without kissing him, without eating at his lips.
He made a sound of denial, yanking the IV out of his arm, starting to tug at the bandages that swathed his chest. His movements were easier, although he gave the odd grunt of pain. "You aren't a monster, Xennie. I understand that now. But I am. For what I did... I didn't want you to know that about me. What I used to do." He wasn't eloquent, not about this. The Fraternity had been his life, had schooled him to be a warrior for the cause. They had not left much room for speaking about feelings, about anything that might be viewed as weakness.
Clearing his throat, he realized his thumb had begun to graze her wrist and he released her, lifting his hand to her cheek. Her own hand remained on his arm, following the gesture. He cupped her chin with the angle of his thumb, turning her head until she finally returned her eyes to his. Where he had pulled the bandages away she saw that he was bruised, still raw, but the wounds had knit together far more than she would have thought possible. Angry welts covered his skin, but they were not open slices. He no longer looked like raw hamburger.
The pressure of Marcus' thumb brought her attention back to his face, but her astonishment showed. "I heal fast. Faster now, it seems. I think the stuff in the IV helped. But Xennie..." He growled then. Finding the words was hard. His beast was impatient. The wolf inside him demanded, didn't understand why he was waiting. The instincts that had so recently come to the fore inside him understood on the level of need that she wanted him. She was his, and the wolf understood that. A thought flitted through his head, wondering where the wolf had been all the time he'd been living with her, wondering why it hadn't just made that leap for him to accepting. Then again, she hadn't been a werewolf then. But he'd known. It was why he had stayed away, pushed her so hard. He'd known he wanted what she offered, all of it.
Thought was difficult though. He could feel the warmth of her there beside him could see the uncertainty on her face mingled with her own beast's demands. Could see it in her face. Could feel it in the way her body had started to tremble. He could even smell it.
"I'm not leaving you. I can't. I belong with you." It was the most coherent he could be, although he wondered if she could even understand him. His voice had become a rough growl by the end, all his energy going to restraining himself.
Then Xennie smiled at him, not quite the smile he knew so well. This was, well, more. It was the smile of a woman who knew exactly what she wanted. It was just a touch scary, but Marcus didn't really mind.
They collided and he felt the bite of his wounds. Even if they were no longer jagged, bleeding wounds, he was not healed. Not completely. There was a lot of internal damage to fix. It hurt having her crushed against his chest, but that wasn't going to stop him. Not as her mouth found his and he finally bit at her lower lip, not as one hand found her lower back and slid up under the hem of her shirt. His palm spread over the flare of her hip and he felt her shiver. Biting her lower lip again he heard her squeak, a sound of surprise that made him chuckle possessively.
His other hand found its way into her hair, fingers tangling there, tilting her head to give him greater control. She fought it, forcing him to tighten his hold, to strain just a little with muscles that protested brutally.
It was pennance. Every burn of pain was payment for the pain he had caused her, and payment for the pleasure he was about to receive. He had learned long ago how to continue through the pain. Now it brought the beast in him roaring forth, still just within the skin. His bones creaked slightly, but the beast held back just that bit.
Xenia's teeth made a foray against his own lip, her mouth eagerly tracing his jaw. Her tongue stroked the hollow below his ear and he growled, pulling her back under his control. He knew that his tolerance, both for resisting her and for the pain that was tugging at his control was still low. So he bent about showing her just how he felt. Words had failed him, but the way his fingers brushed her spine as he tugged off the tight tank she wore whispered of his devotion. The first rasp of his tongue on her neck told her of his gratefulness.
Her fingers were busy, tugging at the bandages that covered his chest, baring wounds that threatened to split as his muscles clenched at the trail her fingertips traced along his ribs. Her short breaths, the eager response he received from her body, it all answered him with all the words he had never let her speak before.
There would be time enough for words later. For now, honesty lay between them as he shed her pants to the sound of ripping seams. Impatience got the best of him, and his mouth traced her breast, tongue circling her nipple. It tightened against his tongue and he tweaked it with his teeth, then abused it with a quick bite. Soft laves of his tongue spoke his apology and he felt her shudder her acceptance.
The blanket that had covered him was shoved away as eagerness burned too hot to be denied. Then her tongue found his hip and he growled again, teeth gnashing. Prickles of blood gathered in the wounds where Alex had pinned him to the wall, but it didn't matter. Her teeth nibbled a path down to his thigh and his breath caught. His fingers dug into her shoulders, pulling at her.
The beast demanded. No more waiting. It was clear enough that hers drove her also. He moved to roll her to her back, to press her into the makeshift mattress he lay on, but she bit hard into his chest, managing to avoid any particular wound. It was enough to clear his head slightly though. Then her tongue swiped over one of the wounds that had begun to split, an odd and oddly comforting gesture.
"You're hurt. Lie back. Let me." Her voice was sure, no longer that of the girl who waited for him to choose the moment, to attack or retreat. He drew in a gasp and felt his hands fasten to her hips as she straddled his waist. Her fingernails lightly traced down his stomach and he found his own scraping up her back, then back down to cup her ass, to pull her against him as he gave a slow, careful rock beneath her.
The way she moaned satisfied his beast, made it glory in the understanding between the two of them. This was what it demanded, the wolf in him. It was not the time for niceties. It was the time for...
The thought flew from his head as he felt the first beginnings of penetration. His fingers dug hard into her hips, unknowingly leaving bruises. Her nails scraped his stomach. They were both beyond any sense of careful. As she lowered her weight, forcing her body to accept his intrusion, welcoming it with ever arch of her back, every gasp that came from between her lips, their beasts gloried in the achieved harmony.
It was wild between them, not the careful gentleness he had imagined those few times he has lost enough grip of himself to consider. Neither was it the agonized need she had dreamed of. It was more. It was complete understanding. Their bodies shifted, finding the right movements. Her hips rolled, his hands pressed her down.
Drops of blood trickled down over his chest and his thighs burned as his wounds tore. Streaks of crimson marred her skin where she brushed against him. The copper tang of blood mixed with the thick scent of sex and desire.
The sounds of rough breathing, of desire and demand, wrapped around them, holding the world out. Sweat trickled down her spine, stood out on his forehead. The salt lanced his wounds, but he did not care.
Then in a blinding moment there was no up, no down. No breath, no words. No need for anything so limited. Existence claimed them, and unity. Then satisfaction flowed in like the tide, slowly creeping through them until it left room for nothing else.
Their beasts gloried in the achievement of what they had longed for, what they would do anything to protect.
Xenia settled herself carefully, wincing as she saw the damage that had been done to Marcus' wounds. He offered soft sounds of reassurance, his hands stroking back her hair, still beyond speaking. And so sleep claimed them.
When Persephone returned later and slipped inside the curtain it was how she found them, entwined, streaked with blood like a hero and heroine returned from the battlefield. A celebration of life.
About damn time, although it would probably been better if they'd waited until Marcus was a little more healed up.
She let herself take a few moments to appreciate the bodies she saw, the sweep of Xenia's hip, the honed lines of Marcus. She stifled a giggle as she caught a glimpse of the rest of Marcus' physique. Xenia was definitely lucky. Then again, so was Marcus.
Silently, Persephone set down the two bundles of gear and clothing she had "acquired." Getting a better look at Marcus she just hoped it would fit, but Orion had given her some advice. He'd also given her some weapons, favourites of his that he hoped Marcus would appreciate. There was a pile of gear for Xenia too, and from what Persephone could see it was probably a good thing. Too bad. She'd liked those pants.
With a smirk she silently crept back out beyond the curtain, leaving them to their privacy. She couldn't wait to tell Enid.