Stefan unbuckled his sheath, letting it fall to the floor. "There, see? No stench of iron this time." He leaned closer, pushing her farther against the wall than he had before.
Lethe's breath caught in her throat. "You...smell of the lion tribe."
"What did you think, that I was descended from ravens?" He smirked, placing one hand slightly above her shoulder and cocking his head to one side.
"No..." She lowered her gaze, but Stefan lifted her chin once again.
"Glad to hear it." Still holding her face gently in his hand, he leaned forward and kissed her.
It was a few moments before she remembered to protest, and pushed him back. "Do not sully my mouth, Branded." But her voice was softer, almost breathless after the kiss.
"Would you rather I sullied elsewhere?" Stefan asked, his face perfectly straight but for a raised eyebrow. He moved forwards again, letting his hand slide from the wall down to trace the contours of her neck. Lethe shuddered.
"Was that a purr I heard, Lethe?" Stefan smiled.
"Nonsense. As if a halfbreed like you could--"
He silenced her with another kiss, and this time she forgot to resist at all. "I can feel your heart beating at a mile a minute," he murmured, running his other hand slowly through her hair. "Even behind the stench of iron, beast laguz can smell out strong emotion. You knew this was going to happen. You could have stopped it."
"I must admit..." Lethe broke off with a gasp as he ran his hand down her back. "I underestimated your determination."
"You still could have stopped it."
"I didn't want to," Lethe whispered, feeling both his rough hands caressing her body.
Stefan smiled. That was the response he had been waiting for. "Very glad to hear it." He pressed himself closer to her. "So, do you still want nothing to do with the Branded? Do you still think that we're wrong, that we're cursed?"
Lethe rested her head on his shoulder. "I suppose...given the current situation..." She snuggled closer. "So long as you're not a beorc, I can forgive myself."
"In which case, I suppose I can forgive you for having to forgive yourself." Stefan laughed, holding her tightly as his hands ran the length of her back. There was a definite purr this time.