Sweet Kiss of Distraction
Copyright © Emmi Lawrence
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission from the author.
Short Story (Approx. 3800)
It’d been almost a month since Samouru had officially joined the crew of the Boundless. Almost a month since Lianal had first experienced his tats roiling under his skin, vibrating with combined desire as he’d pressed into Samouru on an old mattress in a second-rate tavern. Samouru, while not the most skilled lover Lianal had ever been with, had been enthusiastic, overly responsive when Lianal had traced the kraken that encircled the left-hand side of Samouru’s lower torso.
Just the reaction of their conjurer tattoos would have been enough for Lianal to go back, seeking more. But…
Less than a day out to sea, Samouru had fallen ill. Stayed below decks puking up his intestines for six days. On the seventh, Rasct had taken him through the ship to give him a rudimentary understanding of how things worked onboard the Boundless, probably cracking more jokes than imparting any real wisdom for the newbie. Samouru had been pale and weak, though obviously struggling to hide it.
And after…whenever Lianal had come near Samouru, there’d been nothing but conjuring talk. Lianal had been bombarded with questions, that he’d been happy to answer, yes, but he’d have liked a little more than that. Maybe a wink or a leer that told him Samouru was healthy enough to consider putting a good hard fuck on the agenda.
When Lianal never got one, he’d moved in anyway, ready to push for what he wanted, only to be soundly rebuffed. And after catching Samouru leaving the tiny cabin housing the two cabin boys, Lianal had gotten irritated. It wasn’t as if he were asking for commitment, but having his conjuring tattoos crashing against him as he rode the wild wave of orgasm had been…astoundingly unforgettable.
Obviously Samouru didn’t agree if he was getting his needs met with one of the boys.
“Want me to work on my timing?” asked Samouru. His eyes, the color of dark wood-grain, complete with the speckles of discoloring, had the clear questioning gaze Lianal had grown used to, maybe even fond of, in the last month.
He cocked his head before he answered, rubbing at the merhorse tat on his neck. “Not today. I think today we’ll work on conjuring with distraction.”
Samouru rose both eyebrows and held his hands up to indicate the crew on shift this evening. The setting sun wasn’t putting on a show tonight, going down without much of a fuss other than to color the world to the east shades of purple. The light was enough, however, to bring a shine to Samouru’s messy brown hair. “And the crew isn’t distraction enough?”
Lianal snorted. “You weren’t conjuring the last time we knocked over a ship, so you—”
“Because Captain told me to go below decks.”
“For good reason. You weren’t necessary. You don’t use what you don’t need. That ship went down with barely little effort and even I was only on call to take out those overboard. Besides, you weren’t ready yet. Captain knows what he’s doing.”
“Still,” overrode Lianal. “You’ve a ways to go before that kraken of yours is anywhere near fight worthy. Plus…” He leaned closer and lowered his voice, catching the scent of sweat and sea salt wafting off Samouru as if he’d been on the ocean his whole life. “I think Captain Cavek wants the stories to say your kraken is large enough to wrap itself around a galleon as huge as those sailing out of Pale Port.”
“That might take forever,” protested Samouru.
“But in his eyes it’ll be worth it.” And Lianal had to agree to some extent, considering having stories told about a monstrous kraken would be far more impressive and only serve to add to the Boundless’ notoriety. “Why’s that so bad? It’s not as if you aren’t conjuring every other day.”
“I want to be accepted as part of the crew.” There was Lianal’s obstinate man, the muscles of Samouru’s shoulders bunching as he crossed his arms.
“That comes with time, Samouru. You can’t snap your fingers and have the history that exists between a lot of these people. Doesn’t work like that.”
“I understand that, but they think…” Samouru’s gaze slid away.
“What do they think?”
Samouru’s cheek ticked, but he said in a low voice, “They call me your…your toy. Say I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for—I just want to show that I’m an asset. That I’m not here because of some sort of fucked up favoritism.”
Well. That was different. Not unwholly surprising, though Lianal would have thought he’d have heard the rumors filtering about in the contained space of the ship.
“You’re here because you’re a conjurer. Captain wants that kraken. Forget what they say because you know and I know and the Captain knows that it ain’t the fucking truth. If it’s not the truth than why worry about it?”
“Because—” Samouru paused as a couple of crew members passed them. When they’d gotten out of earshot, he continued, “Because it’s damn hard to feel like you belong when no one respects you. If the Captain would let me out next time, so I can show what I can do instead of having people disresp—”
“You’ll obey the Captain or he’ll toss your ass overboard because he doesn’t have a use for people who can’t do what he says.”
Samouru shut up, but he met Lianal’s eyes with a heated expression. “I’m not disobedient,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Good,” said Lianal with a grin. Then he backed up a bit in the conversation, connecting a few dots. “So that’s why you turned me down? Because you were worried what they think?”
Samouru shrugged dismissively.
With a bark of laughter that held more than a little frustration, Lianal said, “That’s a bonehead reason considering they already think it.”
The mocking was probably a mistake because Samouru’s gaze darkened. “We should get on with it. What distraction were you thinking? Sir.”
Lianal cursed under his breath. The distraction he had been thinking of had been something along the lines of the semi-privacy of the crow’s nest with a certain type of touching and…frankly, he didn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t continue on with that idea. Samouru could just get his head out of his ass. Mainly because if he didn’t, instead of becoming the Boundless’ best kept secret and most impressive conjurer, he’d become nothing. Lianal had seen in with the last conjurer they’d brought on board. Too worried about being something now without bothering to remember that greatness didn’t come overnight.
Course, that idiot hadn’t had a kraken wrapped halfway around his torso either.
He dragged Samouru up the rigging, kicking Dreamer out of the crow’s nest and ignoring the leer she gave them both as she dropped down through the knotted ropes. The sun was rapidly disappearing, nothing but an orange sliver left on the horizon as if the sea was dousing its fire. The wind tipped the whitecaps over, rushing past Lianal’s ears when he turned northward. So he settled himself in a different direction, his back to the unimpressive sunset.
“Conjure a kraken as deep into the ocean as you can get it. As large as you can make.”
Samouru nodded, his gaze turning inward. He could conjure without touching the water now, which was an improvement, but with large conjuring came a longer investment time to bring it into being.
Taking advantage of Samouru’s inward stare, Lianal scanned the younger man’s body. He’d taken on some more color and his hair had begun to streak. It also curled more in the humidity and the constant breeze left Samouru’s hair windswept, which, Lianal easily admitted to himself, made Samouru quite desirable.
And that brand new bronze stud in Samouru’s left lobe made Lianal’s cock twitch daily, more so when Samouru’s shirt had been lost sometime during his shift and the kraken tattoo seemed to be reaching out to Lianal.
When Samouru’s brow furrowed in focus, Lianal quickly conjured a handful of orcas, casting them about to keep tabs on the progress of Samouru’s kraken. Then he succumbed to temptation and stepped closer, leaning down without hesitation to press an openmouthed kiss against Samouru’s neck.
Samouru startled, one hand coming up to push against Lianal’s shoulder. In the sea, the orcas caught sight of the kraken, a newly shaped arm suddenly filtering back into the saltwater from whence it’d come.
Lianal gave him another kiss, this one closer to his jaw. “Don’t lose focus, Samouru.” He nipped lightly at Samouru’s flesh, resisting when the hand on his shoulder pushed again.
“Quiet,” ordered Lianal, pulling back. “You’ve been given an order, sailor. I suggest you follow it.” He stared Samouru down, daring him.
With deceptive slowness, Samouru’s lips curved up. “Aye, aye, sir,” he said with a mocking lilt to his tone. Challenging. His gaze slid past Lianal’s again as he focused back on the kraken.
Lianal gave him a moment, long enough that Samouru’s limbs loosened. Then, as the sunset turned gray, ushering in a heavy darkness, he placed a chaste kiss on the corner of Samouru’s mouth. With painstaking care, he kissed across Samouru’s cheek, licking the outer rim of his ear before mouthing the tender flesh right behind. And when Samouru’s body let out a shudder and the kraken mimicked it far below, Lianal smiled into Samouru’s sun-heated skin.
“Don’t lose focus,” he whispered again before he tilted Samouru’s head to get better access to his throat. His hands he carefully kept on the edge of the crow’s nest on either side of Samouru, not yet ready to dive right into all the things he wanted.
The orca on his shoulder gave a flick of its tail, the feeling of its teeth against Lianal’s muscle almost real. The crab at his ankle began to scuttle back and forth, snapping its claw absently. And the merhorse, its whinny vibrated against Lianal’s throat. All of them eager, overly eager, for a taste of Samouru again, to feel the strength of the kraken.
And Lianal, he could barely contain himself as he continued to nip across Samouru’s skin, working his way back to Samouru’s mouth where he paused before giving a dry kiss to those lips. Samouru didn’t react, his gaze still past Lianal, his concentration still below the Boundless with his kraken. Where it should be.
Lianal smiled to himself and dragged his tongue over Samouru’s lower lip. “I was watching you earlier,” he said, consciously letting his voice go husky. “Watching the way your muscles bunch up while you work. How golden you shine in the sun. And your kraken…”
He tugged up the corner of Samouru’s shirt and slid his hand under, tracing the tattoo with the pads of his fingers. It felt good to get his hands on Samouru’s skin. Felt good to hear the hitch in Samouru’s breathing and catch the waver in the almost completed kraken down below the ship.
“Do you know how gorgeous you are, Samouru?”
Samouru let out a choked laugh. “You just like my tat.”
Lianal bit his earlobe, happy to see the kraken didn’t budge this time. “I admit it’s rather intriguing to me.” He stuck his tongue inside Samouru’s ear, feeling him shudder. “I’m jealous. Never even occurred to me to ever attempt a kraken. Then again, I don’t have your stubborn streak.”
“Saying you’re not stubborn?”
The kraken had fully materialized, the last shimmers of saltwater fading. Lianal formed more orcas, filling the water around the Boundless with an entire pod, their teeth sharp, their instincts sharper. But he didn’t attack just yet. He pulled back from Samouru to see him better, noting with satisfaction the prominent bulge in the loose pants he wore.
“I would call myself an opportunistic and willful personality with a tendency towards the quick and dirty.”
“And fanciful,” added Samouru with a pointed look at the merhorse tat.
Lianal rubbed at it and shrugged without shame. “I was young and loved the water. If you’re a good boy I might conjure one for you to ride later.”
Samouru lifted his brows again.
Sighing with contentment, Lianal leaned toward him. “And now comes the fun part. Remember what I’ve taught you.” He brushed his lips against Samouru’s. Then he let loose his pod. Thirty strong, the orcas dove for the kraken.
Samouru stiffened, eyes focusing beyond Lianal’s head at the pale traces of light still clinging to the clouds. Lianal nipped Samouru’s bottom lip and hummed in the back of his throat as he pulled Samouru’s shirt up, bunching it into Samouru’s armpits to hold it there. Then he slid to his knees, grasping Samouru tightly, letting his mouth find skin and his tongue trail down until he reached Samouru’s navel.
There, he nipped and sucked flesh into his mouth, relishing the shudders under his palms and the quick way Samouru’s belly sucked in. As if he could escape Lianal’s onslaught. Lianal chuckled into Samouru’s skin.
Far below them, the orcas nosed the kraken, biting into its arms. They fought with Lianal’s experience, Lianal’s knowledge. They fought, intent on the win, the pod moving together seamlessly.
The kraken, on the other hand, still moved disjointedly. Oh, its arms were pure muscle and when they caught an orca, wrapping around it, that orca had no way of escape and its death turned it back into saltwater once more. The kraken’s maw terrorized, mashing the orcas it caught. The kraken was powerful, no doubt about that.
But it became confused easily, arms closing about nothing, still reacting too slowly. Not that Lianal expected a beast that size to dodge, but it reflected Samouru’s inexperience…and his focus.
And right now, Samouru’s focus wasn’t entirely on point.
The tattoo on Samouru’s skin purred beneath Lianal’s hand, undulating gently, especially when Lianal licked along the ink line. He tugged on Samouru’s pants, letting the string that kept them tied to loosen under his fingers. Samouru tried to hold the pants up, but Lianal merely smacked his hand away and lifted the pants over a hard shaft that was steadily leaking precome.
“Shit, Lianal, don’t—”
Lianal grabbed Samouru’s wrist, keeping the other man’s hand out of the way as he teased the tip of Samouru’s dick with his tongue. “Distraction, Samouru. Remember?”
A gasp. The kraken’s arms loosened, shaking, allowing all the orcas Samouru had caught to escape. “Oh, fuck,” whispered Samouru.
“Focus,” said Lianal, unable to keep the good humor from his voice.
A low noise began to whine out of Samouru’s chest when Lianal put his lips over Samouru’s cock and eased himself down. The noise, coupled with the krakens writhing both near his head and in the ocean, had him reaching for his own cock, gripping it through his pants as he continued to suck Samouru’s concentration away.
The orca on his back practically breached out of his skin when Samouru started tiny uncontrolled thrusts. The crab on his ankle snapped its claw, wanting to rip its way up Lianal’s leg, because it wanted to feel Samouru as it had their night on that uncomfortable mattress. Only the merhorse seemed enthusiastically excited, whinnying silently against his throat when Lianal worked Samouru deep.
He reached up, holding Samouru tight right above his hips, trying to draw things out even as below the Boundless the kraken was quickly losing this battle. Far quicker than it should have, not after all the training he’d put Samouru through. The kraken under Lianal’s palm moved, pulsed, attempted to wrap around Lianal’s fingers.
And the kraken in the ocean rose up, getting its second wind. It tore through Lianal’s orcas, ripping into his pod, destroying whale after whale as Samouru’s fingernails dug into the spot between Lianal’s shoulder and neck, the spot where the merhorse’s tail splashed in white-tipped waves.
So Lianal smiled around his mouthful, let more spit pool into his mouth as he let his tongue play along the underside of Samouru’s cock. Then he redoubled his efforts, dropping the hand not stroking the kraken tattoo to massage Samouru’s balls.
The whine cut off, followed by a stream of only half-articulated words. Then Samouru thrust in earnest, spilling down Lianal’s throat with a choked noise as he cut off a shout.
And down below, the kraken disintegrated.
Not die. Not shred under orca teeth. Disintegrated, as if Samouru had been knocked unconscious or been killed.
Lianal swallowed quickly, pulled off and looked up, letting his eyes reaffirm what his hands already knew. Samouru shivered and slouched against the crow’s nest, looking down with a dazed, contented expression.
“Oh man, that was good.” Samouru’s voice had a tremor to it.
Lianal wiped his mouth and stood quickly, his own boner begging for attention that Lianal refused to give it just yet. “That’s not good.” He gave a frown that was mostly fake because he had to admit to himself that he didn’t mind Samouru’s failure. Not at all. Not if it meant Samouru needed more practice. “Your kraken’s gone. What happened?”
“What happened? What do you meant what happened? You made me come. How am I supposed to hold it together through that?”
Frankly, that hadn’t been the reaction he’d been looking for. Lianal leaned close so that his lips brushed Samouru’s as he spoke. Not in a seductive fashion though, because he made damn sure his tone had enough of an edge to it that Samouru would pay attention.
“And what do you think would happen if you found a knife in your gut, Samouru? Or, more likely, a splinter of the boat slicing into you if we got hit with cannon fire and you were standing in the wrong fucking place at the wrong fucking moment? Do you think it’ll help our cause if the kraken, that takes you time to conjure, suddenly disappears, giving our enemy a chance to get away, giving them hope and oh, at that point they’ll know you’re a conjurer and you’ll suddenly become their target. It’s why half the crew have sea creature tats, Samouru, to protect us from being targeted like that.”
He was angry. That…didn’t normally happen. He got frustrated, irritated and generally sarcastic, but full-blown all-out, I-want-to-punch-something-regardless-that-it’ll-probably-break-my-knuckles angry? Practically never.
Lianal slowly pulled away from Samouru, trying to make sense of his intense reaction to Samouru’s obstinate naivety.
“If that’s your attitude,” he added, feeling the same emotion boiling just under the surface despite how tight a rein he kept on his tone. “You’ll die. And quickly.” He backed up a pace, letting the ocean breeze blow between them. “Captain will have a nice ceremony for you. Say something really sweet like ‘well, that fucking sucks, toss his useless dead carcass overboard.’”
Samouru flinched. He reached down and tugged his pants back into place, suddenly looking for all the world like that wide-eyed boy Lianal had first thought him to be. He continued to clutch at his pants, holding them there like a shield. Then something shifted in his expression, that obstinance not yet ready to back down.
“You didn’t come, Lianal. I’d like to see you keep that many orcas going if a man’s sucking one out of you.”
Lianal gave him a mocking smile. “I have before. I’m not the one who needs to prove anything to this Captain and crew though.”
Samouru dropped his gaze to the boards under their feet, shifting his weight in the uncomfortable silence. Still reeling a little from the extent of his anger, Lianal turned away and started down the rigging.
“You’re on duty.”
“But it’s not my shift,” protested Samouru.
Lianal ignored him. Samouru didn’t follow, staying up in the crow’s nest obediently.
Lianal dropped onto the deck and set about finding anything to get his mind away from his reaction. Away from the desire to beat the bulkhead until his fists became bloody pulps.
He wandered down to the galley and found something to eat. He played a game of dice with Rasct and Dreamer, ignoring the jeers when he lost because he was too preoccupied to think straight before he made his bet. He took over the helm from Sab for a spell, sending the man to check on a loose topsail on the foremast, avoiding even a glance at the crow’s nest. Then finally found himself perched on the railing midships, using one of the mainstays to keep himself steady as the Boundless pitched and swayed into the moonless night.
The only thing he discovered sitting there, replaying those moments, was that anger hadn’t been the only emotion he’d felt, not even the strongest. The anger had been nothing more than a mask for the fear that had caused his tats to shiver.
When Samouru climbed down, swung onto the deck behind him and came around to lean against the railing in front of him, Lianal barely glanced at the other man. “What are you doing out of the nest?”
“Dreamer came and took over. Are you still mad?”
“Furious,” lied Lianal.
Samouru nodded and shifted to look out over the water. “She says the moon will rise soon.”
Samouru’s head dropped. “I’m sorry I failed, Lianal. I will do better.”
Lianal turned that over in his mind, a part of him tempted to remain quiet until Samouru wandered off again. But his tats were nipping at him, demanding Samouru and his kraken. Demanding that Lianal make damn sure Samouru knew enough to keep himself alive if things went down wrong in the future. That fear needed reassurances.
He pushed his foot out and nudged Samouru’s arm. “I wasn’t angry that you failed. I expected you to fail the first time. I was angry that you assumed you wouldn’t be able to do it at all. Nothing spells disaster faster than the belief that something is impossible.”
“I don’t really think that,” said Samouru.
Lianal met his eyes in the darkness, aware that his own face was lit more from the lanterns hung off the bulkhead than Samouru’s. He nudged Samouru again. “What do you think, then?”
Samouru hesitated, then shifted again, his shoulders going back and his chin coming up. “I think I’ll be as good as you one day. Anything you can do, I’ll learn.”
“Cocky son of a bitch.”
And damn if that chin didn’t lift further. “No. Just stubborn. Like you noticed.”
“Does your stubbornness demand that you try again tonight?” Lianal let his expression exude a mocking challenge.
Lianal raised a brow, the one with the silver ring through it, and tried to keep his smile under wraps. “On?”
Samouru put his hand under the cuff of Lianal’s pants and stroked the skin there, moving up after a moment to massage Lianal’s calf. Lianal could feel his tats spinning out of control, the orca spitting a massive waterspout from its blowhole in anticipation.
“On whether I can try to distract you too.” The heated look in Samouru’s eyes would have been deadly during the day, muted only by the darkness stealing some of Lianal’s vision from him.
The smile Lianal had been trying to contain spread across his face. “You can try.”