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Considering this is going to be my last scheduled short story (I will likely have others I publish in the future, but they’re going to be more related to novel publications than random ideas) I thought it fitting I go back to the very beginning.

His Pitfall is a story I began writing at the same time I started writing in this genre/shortly after starting this blog. It was, in fact, the second MM story I ever began writing (the first is where the idea of the Merandin Empire spawned and thus I can’t publish it as a standalone). But I look at this story as one that speaks to that beginning time frame.

It’s been re-written heavily, but you can still get the old feeling of my writing style creeping in all over the place. I’ve grown a lot since I wrote this story, so I know had I simply started it over entirely rather than re-written it, the story would be even better. But for some reason, this old thing holds a strange place in my heart, like a reminder of moments when I thought it impossible to write full-length novels. 

Most likely because the characters of Traice and Fiar feel very much like the precursors to Caliebb and De’vii from The Wilds Duology.

* * *

A shadow stood above him. Far above him.

For a few seconds, Traice struggled to claim his bearings, his body aching from the fall and weakened branches cracking under his weight. He squinted against the sunlight pouring around the darkened figure of a man, then cursed under his breath as the shadow shortened to a crouch, only a spear left straight and tall, the weapon seeming to pierce the canopy above.

Then came a droll voice. “I’d been hoping to catch something worthwhile today, but that’s out of the question after that howl you gave when you fell. Scared off anything within the vicinity.”

Traice ignored the teasing as he gingerly touched the side of his head. He took stock carefully, but it seemed he’d managed only scratches and sores sure to blossom into beautiful bruises come this evening.

“You okay?”

“Fiar,” muttered Traice as he sat up, popping the brush under his boot heels and crumbling dirt when he reached for the pit’s soil wall. He stood slowly before looking back up.

Vision now clear, he could see all of Fiar. The man, almost eight years Traice’s elder and boasting a sleeveless, dirty shirt and thick camouflaged pants, crouched at the edge of the pit, the butt of his spear resting upon the ground, the shaft resting casually against his shoulder.

Traice sighed, trying not to note the way Fiar’s skin shone in the afternoon sun. All gorgeously tan from being outside day after day. And that hair…a little bit of length up top and cut closer around the sides, was always a plethora of shades of brown from natural bleaching. Fiar’s eyes, too far away to see clearly—though Traice knew them to be a gentle green—bored into Traice in amusement.

“You going to help me out or just stare at me?” asked Traice.

“You can unravel a demon, but you can’t get out of a trap?” Fiar laughed and then leaned closer with a concerned expression. “You feeling all right? Break anything?”

Traice paused, pressing a hand against his side, then shook his head. “No, I’m good.”

An evil smile spread across Fiar’s face causing Traice to curse inwardly at his own stupidity.

“Then you can stay there,” said Fiar.

“Fiar, don’t. I was coming to find you anyway.”

“Wanted me so bad you were running as if a score of demons were chasing you, eh?”

Traice dropped his gaze and massaged his neck, resisting the urge to shout at Fiar. It would only serve to antagonize the man and wouldn’t get him out of the pit any faster.

“In fact,” said Fiar. “Now that you’ve gone and ruined one of my traps, how about you give me some recompense.”

Traice rolled his eyes where Fiar couldn’t see. “I’ll help you fix the thing.”

“Not what I had in mind.”

That tone was unmistakable. And one Traice had been hearing a lot this past year. He swallowed and started to turn Fiar down when there was a noise and Fiar’s spear landed point first less than a pace away.

Traice jumped. “Fiar! You crazy? You could have—”

He broke off as Fiar landed next to the spear in a shower of crackling brush. Dirt from the upper edge crumbled to the ground on the far side of the pit.

“Fiar, we shouldn’t—,” started Traice as Fiar advanced.

“What?” laughed Fiar. “Of course we should.”

Traice backed away until he was forced to stop, his back pressed to dirt and stone. Fiar braced an arm on the pit wall above Traice’s head and gave him a searching look.

“It’s that idiot from the east, isn’t it? He’s getting under your skin?” said Fiar.

“Hestian’s not an idiot,” corrected Traice. Immediately, he regretted the words as Fiar’s eyebrows twitched and his mouth quirked as if he had just scored a decent kill. “And no, he’s not,” Traice added quickly.

“So what’s the matter, then?” asked Fiar. He ran his fingers across Traice’s chest as he moved closer, close enough that his breath ruffled Traice’s hair.

The faint touch stirred a need deep within Traice, one he hadn’t seemed able to control of late. He swallowed again and shifted uncomfortably.

“This isn’t why I’d come,” he started. “There’s a defense meeting at the village, about what to do concerning the advancing demons. Hestian and the others from the east, they—”

“The demons come in twos and threes,” said Fiar dismissively, fingers fanning off to the side. “You’ve never paid much heed to the fear-mongers from the east before.”

A slightly annoyed tone had seeped into his voice, but Traice knew it well, that tone. That was what Fiar used whenever he needed a tactic to steer things his way. Said he’d found people tended to worry over possibly infuriating him further. Traice didn’t know how many times he’d allowed Fiar to get away with the manipulation.

Too many probably.

“What is it about this Hestian that makes him different?” pressed Fiar.

Traice opened his mouth, then hesitated. “You’re one of the best hunters, the best fighters in the village. You’re needed at this meeting.”

Fiar shrugged and leaned closer still, the scent of papaya on his lips and the heat from his skin wafting off. “What did he tell you earlier. Before I left, I saw you speaking to him.”

“It’s not—”

“If it’s not what it looks like, then why not tell me what it is?”

Traice straightened the best he could, shoving away the desire Fiar’s continued presence stoked. “I was going to say it’s nothing that concerns you.”

But Fiar wasn’t having it. He scoffed, then ran a finger down the side of Traice’s face. “He wants you,” Fiar breathed. “I can see it.” Now his hand dropped, pressed against Traice’s groin, resting there, as if in a claim. “What did he say?”

Traice shivered, feeling himself react despite everything he’d promised in himself. Despite knowing Fiar cared little for the long-term, despite knowing Fiar’s attention lasted only as long as the hunt, that Traice’s continued need to be seduced, time and time again, was the only reason he’d claimed Fiar’s focus this past year.

Tightening his core, Traice lifted his head to stare Fiar directly in the eyes. “He asked if I was in a relationship with you.”

 “And what did you say?” Such a soft, dangerous voice, one that caused Traice’s cock to stir.

“No, of course,” snapped Traice, but he didn’t remove Fiar’s hand.

Fiar sneered in response. “Because we haven’t been fucking these past three seasons.” He squeezed Traice’s balls, massaging them through the cloth with his thumb.

Traice sucked in a sharp breath as a flash of lust gusted up through his stomach. He grabbed Fiar’s wrist then and tried to pull him off, but Fiar was stronger, made of muscles and sinews built to fight demons and tigers. Traice had nothing comparable. And he sure couldn’t unravel a human as he could a demon.

Nor would he want to when it really came down to it. Especially not with Fiar.

“You made it clear it was just for fun—said yourself you wanted to be open if a good dowry came through the village,” said Traice in a strangled voice as he tried unsuccessfully to keep his cock from reacting to Fiar’s touch. But there was so much need pulsing through him. Pent-up desires that resounded in his mind.

Fiar paused. “True, but…”

“But what?” asked Traice. He started to cross his arms just as Fiar scrubbed his hand up Traice’s hardening cock. Instead, a spasm of desire swept through Traice and he grabbed at Fiar’s arm again, this time not in an attempt to pull him off.

Fiar still hadn’t answered, his eyes searching, his mouth lingering over Traice’s cheek, breathing over Traice’s ear. Traice shivered as the heat leaked into his neck. The minimal resistance in his mind fizzled and began to disappear entirely.

What did it matter if they were only temporary? Right now, in this moment, Fiar wanted him. And Hestian and his warnings seemed so far away.

Traice lifted his grip on Fiar’s arm and buried his head against Fiar’s shoulder, smelling sweat and dirt and oiled leather from the spear’s wrappings. Then there was Fiar’s natural musk, his powerful aura a pool Traice wished to dive within. The scent hovered over Fiar, tearing apart any resolve Traice had left.

He wanted Fiar, and just not in the way Fiar was willing to give. Fighting back a wave of frustration, Traice dug his fingers into Fiar’s bicep and pressed closer.

“How about this,” said Fiar. He tugged Traice further into his chest, flexing his arms as if to hold him there. “One last time before you truly start talking to this eastern man.” He then put his hands on Traice’s shoulders and pushed him away, but only just enough Traice could see the mischievous smirk on his face.

“One last time?” repeated Traice.

One last time before Fiar was completely through. One last time before Fiar moved on to another lover. One last time before Traice could start to heal from all the hurt of stupidly falling in love with a man who’d never love him back.

Traice couldn’t even blame Fiar. After all, Fiar had made it quite clear from the beginning it was only physical. Had specifically told Traice not to seek more than was offered.

And Hestian had expressed interest. While he wasn’t Fiar, did not have his build or stature or this incredible power to his presence, Hestian was so completely different that he would never remind Traice of what he’d lost. Traice could focus on someone who was looking for a real relationship, someone both kind and smart, a man looking for a way to end the encroaching demons once and for all rather than merely killing them when they arrived as Fiar did.

Yet the longer he thought about it, the more it seemed he attempted to convince himself that losing Fiar would not be quite as heart-breaking as he anticipated.

“Was that a yes?” asked Fiar, tugging Traice from his thoughts.

Traice took a steadying breath and banished Hestian from his mind. He could linger with Fiar, without thinking of the future for once. Say goodbye without words. Feel Fiar. Smell him. Taste him.

“I guess,” whispered Traice.

Fiar’s smirk turned sardonic. “You guess? What does that mean? Since you’re excited you wouldn’t mind letting it loose?” He jerked on Traice’s cock once, accentuating his words.

Traice laughed and shrugged, glad his real feelings were hidden behind his desire.

“Fine, fine. I’ll take it,” said Fiar.

He leaned in for a kiss, covering Traice’s mouth for a brief moment, not even long enough for Traice to taste Fiar’s tongue, before dropping to his knees. He unbuttoned Traice’s pants slowly, the cloth pulling and popping so hard Traice felt it vibrate through his groin. Fiar slid his fingers into the waistband, skin warm from the sun and coarse from calluses, and gently tugged down.

Traice muffled a relieved sigh as his erection bounced free. Ran his hands over Fiar’s shoulders, letting the warmth rush into him. Fiar wrapped strong fingers about the base of Traice’s cock, pushing inward and rubbing his thumb hard along the underside, eliciting a throaty groan from Traice.

Felt so good. So good to have Fiar touch him. That fragile trail of Fiar’s fingers leaving a burning path. Down Traice’s inner thighs, back up to stroke his balls, tugging them gently. Up further, tucking under Traice’s shirt to claw at his belly and rake down his sides. Burned so bloody good.

Traice took an unsteady breath and rubbed his head against the wall of the pit, feeling damp dirt splatter against his shoulders. Fiar’s tongue entered his slit, spreading it slightly, that first touch making Traice jolt and gasp, eyes watering with need.

Then that tongue dipped lower, under the softness of the head of Traice’s cock making him shiver and moan. Further down, flicking and tasting along Traice’s shaft, leaving a thin wet trail, making Traice ache. Fiar worked Traice slowly, from tip to base and back up again while Traice moaned quietly in the back of his throat, unable to keep the sound from escaping.

Lips soft and smooth despite the calluses on those palms. Tongue wet and gentle. Demons, Fiar was good. Warm. Demanding. Always in control, no matter what Traice might do and damned if Traice didn’t care.

“Fiar,” gasped Traice. He lifted his hands and drug his fingers through Fiar’s hair, going further and gripping the back of Fiar’s head, blunt nails digging in, probably far too harshly, but he couldn’t manage to relax. With a quiet moan, Traice begged, “Please, Fiar. More. I—uhn—bloody—ah!”

Fiar took the tip of Traice’s cock in his mouth. Warm and wet, tongue still playing gently. Circling. Teasing. Traice shuddered and swallowed any more pleading, though his hips pressed out, a silent request for Fiar to take him further.

But Fiar didn’t. Instead, he sucked slowly at Traice’s head as his fist began to pump lower. Gently at first, then gradually Fiar moved faster and faster, a harshness entering the motion. Traice’s felt his heart speed up with Fiar’s pacing. His breath began to come in soft pants, in time with every stroke. Wanting, needing to feel the wetness of Fiar’s mouth on him, soaking him.

Without warning, Fiar dropped his hand and took most of Traice into his mouth, holding him there. Traice felt his knees buckle and his balls tighten at the sudden warmth. The roaring inside him lifted and roiled and began to explode.

Then the warmth disappeared and a hand squeezed the base of his cock as fingers pinched his balls. Traice gasped and the roaring subsided, burning deep but not let loose.

“Not yet,” said Fiar with a low chuckle. “We’ve barely started.”

Holding Traice steady at the hips, Fiar bit lightly up Traice’s stomach, dragging his teeth across skin. He pushed off his knees, moving further across Traice’s chest, pushing his shirt up, breath leaving goose bumps in its wake that had Traice shivering. Fiar yanked Traice’s shirt over his head, tossing it away to land among the ruined brush that had hid the pit from view. Then he dragged his fingers along Traice’s bare sides.

Traice let his hands drop from Fiar’s shoulders. Slid his fingers along the contours of Fiar’s biceps. Smelled deeply of Fiar’s scent as the older man rose, hair tickling Traice’s chin. Traice closed his eyes, relishing how Fiar pressed into him, squeezing him against the wall, a fierce presence, overpowering and impressive. Fiar put a strong hand to Traice’s neck, forcing his head upwards so he could see the redness of the sun against the lids of his eyes.

Hand still holding Traice’s neck, Fiar kissed the tendons there, then drug his tongue up, pausing to bite at Traice’s chin. Traice felt Fiar straighten completely then, felt the stiff bulge in Fiar’s pants shoving into his lower stomach.

Then Fiar’s mouth covered his own, tongue shoving inside, wanting and eager. Traice opened to him, wrapping his arms about Fiar’s back, hands slipping underneath his shirt to feel skin heated from the sun. Skin Traice had felt often and still found perfect to the touch.

Fiar pumped into Traice’s mouth, in and out, mimicking how Traice wanted it elsewhere. On his cock. Deep inside him. He wanted more of it. So much more.

Heady with Fiar’s taste, Traice grabbed at him, holding him tightly, not wanting Fiar to pull away. Not wanting the kiss to end. Wanting to feel Fiar’s hard body against him for an eternity to come, tongues meshing in a crazy need. His throat tightened in longing and he arched into Fiar, making his desire known. Telling Fiar just how badly he wanted him even if Fiar would never truly understand.

Tongue still deep in Traice’s mouth, Fiar took one of Traice’s hands and guided it down, pressing it against his groin. Traice massaged through the cloth, then slid up, curling his fingers into Fiar’s pants. He wasn’t inexperienced, but he didn’t have Fiar’s surety. Didn’t have Fiar’s confidence and strength. He fumbled with the button until Fiar pulled slightly away, chuckled into Traice’s ear.

“You’re so desperate you can’t undo it?” Fiar softly nipped his way back to Traice’s mouth as he popped the button himself.

“Bastard,” muttered Traice, conscious of how good Fiar’s soft breath felt against his lips.

“True,” chuckled Fiar, “but not relevant.” He licked Traice’s bottom lip, bit it lightly as he ground his groin into Traice, creating a friction as he pressed his thighs against Traice’s own.

Traice reached inside Fiar’s waistband, feeling him suck in his stomach as Traice grazed the tip of Fiar’s cock. He drug his palm in a circular motion, feeling pre-come slick his skin. Then he reached further and closed his fist around Fiar’s shaft. So beautifully warm and thick.

Demons couldn’t have dragged Traice away right now. Just as before. Just like every other time he’d had Fiar lean into him, kiss him, lick him, whisper such evil secrets in his ears.

He stroked Fiar’s cock a few times before relaxing and letting his fingers trace it back and forth, one circling the head. He used his thumb and forefinger to gently squeeze out another few drops of pre-come, letting it trail over his fingers as he spread it back down the length of Fiar’s shaft.

“That’s it. You’re so hot, so gorgeous when you get worked up like this.”

Like an echo of his words, Fiar broke for a moment, pressing into Traice so heavily that the clumps of dirt ate into his skin. Such strength. It had always attracted Traice to him. Always made Traice stare, thinking no one would see.

Yet Fiar had.

Fiar’s tongue twisted harder and his mouth hotter, hands seeming everywhere. Running underneath Traice’s raised arm, down his naked sides, over his ass, lifting his erection and nudging his balls as he continued his travels up to his chest, making Traice crazy with need.

So he jerked fiercer on Fiar’s shaft, letting Fiar’s pants slide down over his hand, helping them along with every stroke. Fiar encouraged him at first, gripping Traice’s hand and guiding him faster, his mouth mimicking the panicked desire Traice felt rising once more. Then Fiar’s muscles stiffened and he broke the kiss suddenly in order to yank Traice off the wall and twist him around in one smooth motion so that he faced the pit.

More dirt crumbled onto Traice’s shoulders as his chest pressed against the side of the pit, cock sliding along the wall, leaving a trail of now dirtied pre-come. Behind him, he heard Fiar spit, then fingers wet him, nothing gentle left of the man as he pressed a finger inside.

Groaning, Traice bit his lip, shifted his weight and pushed back in a silent plea, wanting to speed things up, regain that rush Fiar had staunched. Fiar pushed in further, twisting and rubbing and then adding a second finger before Traice was truly ready, but he closed his eyes tight and breathed through the slight pain, relishing it, knowing it’d be the last time Fiar would breech him like this.

The thought almost sent him keeling over. Would have, had he not been braced between the wall of the pit and Fiar’s muscled body.

Fiar swirled his fingers expertly, flexing Traice’s insides, stretching him before he began a steady, easy rhythm in and out. A rhythm that slid over and over his prostate, stoking the fire in his belly. Hotter and hotter, so bright, he felt the explosion, just there, just a few more seconds of this pleasure—

Abruptly, the pressure disappeared. Traice shivered and almost pitched to his knees as the roaring in his body banked in frustration, but Fiar caught him, bracing him in a way that made Traice feel more than just wanted, but claimed and cared for in a way only a lover could. Fiar gripped him by the hips and pulled him backwards, the tip of his cock leaving wet streaks along Traice’s skin.

“Fiar,” whispered Traice, begging for release because it was easier than begging for what he truly wanted. He’d been ready twice now and Fiar had stopped it. To prolong the orgasm, to extend the pleasure, Traice knew, but his entire body felt the fire that now roared and sang in desperation. He didn’t want to extend this any longer. Wanted to finish. He dug his fingertips into the side of the pit, scratching stone and spilling dirt.

“Hmm,” said Fiar, his voice deep and husky with the same need overwhelming Traice. “Maybe a little louder. Call it like you really want it.”

“Fuck you,” muttered Traice, meaning it with every fiber of his being. He shoved himself backwards, trying to force Fiar into him, but Fiar shifted.

He fisted Traice’s hair and yanked his head backwards, putting his lips to Traice’s ear. “You want me, you shout my name.”

Traice started to laugh, but was cut off as Fiar stroked his cock again. Instead a moan seeped from his lungs. “Fiar…I don’t…shout.”

“Why not?” demanded Fiar. “I’d like it.”

“You would,” gasped Traice, barely finding his voice as Fiar squeezed.

“How about just this once, for our last time,” said Fiar, voice still low and filled with single-minded lust.

“How about I scream your name if a demon attacks.”

That’s the only time you would?”

Fiar sounded disappointed, so much so Traice had to laugh again. He turned his head into Fiar, despite the angle making it hurt, and begged, “Please, Fiar.” He kissed Fiar’s neck and pressed his face to Fiar’s. “Please, I want you inside of me. Please,” he begged again, reached behind him to find Fiar’s dripping cock.

Fiar made a noise that could have been assent, then rocked Traice back against the wall, fingers slipping from his hair. Fiar spread Traice open and pressed that swollen cock inside. Rougher than normal. Quicker than normal. As if it’d been he who couldn’t wait. He who wanted release.

Traice gasped at the sudden agony as Fiar filled him. He was so thick, stretching Traice in a way that made him groan from the intoxicating mixture of pleasure and pain. He reached around again, fingers digging into Fiar’s backside as he begged silently for more.

Dirt crumbled about them and the broken branches under their boots cracked loudly as Fiar began rhythmic thrusts. Traice shivered and blinked back tears as the edge of pain dissipated, replaced with a roiling, burning sensation that spread from deep inside to the tip of his cock. It rose with every thrust, making him moan and gasp and murmur for Fiar to not stop. To never stop.

Fiar gave a deep-throated chuckle and seemed to comply, stroking Traice a few more times. The quick jerks sent a spasm through Traice. He leaned further into the wall to give himself purchase, then shoved himself back onto Fiar’s cock, matching Fiar’s motions easily from their scores of times together.

The sensations pitched over the edge of his control, exploding across his every sense. He reached down and closed his hand over Fiar’s, urging chaotic strokes as he began to come, his seed splattering all over the pit.

His legs shook with ecstasy and his knees buckled as the roaring took him to an incredible height and held him there. His weight sank onto Fiar, who took full advantage, controlling Traice, bringing him all the way down his shaft again and again, filling him completely, grunting with the effort—or the pleasure. Traice couldn’t tell which, his body consumed with an explosion from the inside out. Tears leaked out of the corners of his eyes, emotion overwhelming him.

Traice could hear Fiar’s breath quicken, feel his grip tighten so hard it turned painful. But Traice didn’t complain, relishing in Fiar’s desperation. Fiar came loudly, throwing himself onto Traice with wild abandon, his chest muscles flexing against Traice’s back, his teeth biting down hard on Traice’s shoulder.

Traice shuddered one last time as his own orgasm ceased, then reached up and twined his fingers into Fiar’s hair. He hissed as Fiar bit harder and gasped when Fiar’s arms shoved the breath from his body, but he encouraged Fiar to ride harder, to make his body feel as Traice’s had.

As Fiar’s orgasm faded, they sank to the ground, Fiar finishing with long, tired thrusts that made Traice clutch at his arms as the last dredges of ecstasy seeped from their limbs. Then exhaustion claimed them both, legs shivering, bodies tingling, sweat curling Traice’s hair against his scalp.

They lay like that for a long time. Traice gasping for air, heart pounding in his ears as if trying to escape the confines of his ribcage. Beautiful, so beautiful. As it’d always been. Fiar had been a skilled partner from the first. Teaching Traice, mostly with patience, though there’d been those few times…

Traice sighed at the memories and settled tighter into Fiar’s grasp, breath still ragged and heart still outpacing his senses.

Fiar recovered before him, encircling Traice’s legs with his own and flipping them over. In the process his cock slipped free, leaving Traice feeling empty and wanting. But Fiar had shrunk with his release, no longer capable of splitting Traice apart.

At least for now.

Traice smiled to himself, then froze as Fiar’s previous words came to mind. With a sad smile, he wrapped himself closer to Fiar, smelling him one last time, trying not to allow the emotion welling in him to take over, biting his tongue on his pleas.

Much too soon, Fiar stretched and laughed, pushing Traice off him. Gently though. “That was bloody good. I’m going to miss your ass.”

And that’s all you’ll miss. Traice followed Fiar up reluctantly and slowly lifted his pants back into place. He watched Fiar straighten himself out, knowing that had Fiar glanced up, there would be longing on Traice’s face that went far beyond the physical pleasures of the flesh.

He shook himself as Fiar’s abs disappeared under his shirt, though his eyes lingered on Fiar’s biceps. Those strong arms had always held Traice close, held him steady whenever they’d rocked in time together.

He would miss them. Miss feeling that strength around him. Miss Fiar’s strong body holding him to his chest, hands stroking across Traice’s body. Miss Fiar’s easy smile and quick laughter and those ever-present mocking quips.

Traice would miss him. So badly.

No. Stop. Fiar would latch onto someone else, just as he’d always done before. And there was Hestian now, gentle, kind Hestian who had eyes the color of the sky and lips that always spoke comforting words.

Yes, that was it. The tightness around Traice’s throat eased up as he thought of Hestian. He gave a sigh of relief.

“How do you plan on getting us out of here?” he asked, leaning against the wall casually in order to pretend his shaking legs weren’t about to give out.

Fiar cocked his head sideways and gave a devilish smile. Traice narrowed his eyes as Fiar winked at him. Then in a clean, smooth motion, Fiar took up his spear and slammed it above his head. He pulled himself onto it, then he reached up and climbed out of the pit effortlessly. Yes, he always recovered so much quicker from their sessions—all that taut muscle holding him in good stead.

Crouching once more at the edge, Fiar asked, “Can you toss me my spear?”

Traice could just barely grasp it and then it took all his weight to unstick it from being embedded in the wall, but he managed, trying not to notice Fiar was observing with unconcealed amusement. He lifted the point of the weapon up to Fiar who grabbed it with a nod of thanks before he stood.

“Now will you get a rope?”

Fiar didn’t look down, busying himself with cleaning off the caked dirt from his spear, but he said, “I was thinking, actually.”

“Oh?” asked Traice, on guard at the strange tone that had crept into Fiar’s voice.

“I like fucking you. Much more so than those I’ve been with. And since I haven’t found anyone else, I’m thinking I don’t want to give you up just yet.”

“Fiar.” Traice allowed a warning to enter his tone, though admittedly his heart had given a hopeful lurch.

Fiar grinned and leaned against his spear. “Don’t worry. Those eastern men will only be here for another night most likely. Then I’ll let you back out.”

Traice blinked up at him, mouth falling open in shock. Was this…jealousy? Those innocent moments with Hestian somehow enough to upset Fiar. No…there was no way. And yet, Fiar had a conviction about himself, a firmness in the way he stood that spoke of being resolved to this decision.

“You’re joking, right?”

“I’ll be back with dinner. And blankets! And maybe we’ll go at it again. Maybe even a few more times. Drain your balls dry and make you really scream my name.” Fiar blew a cheeky kiss, waved and then disappeared from the edge of the pit.

“Fiar, that’s not funny! Get back here!” shouted Traice. He waited, expecting Fiar to return laughing with rope in hand.

But he didn’t.

“Fiar!” shouted Traice again. “Fiar, it’s really not that funny!”

Then a bird landed, perching on the broken branches at the edge of the pit, picking at some bug there. Traice backed up until he hit the wall again and slowly sank down.

“Demons eat you,” muttered Traice. Then he lifted his voice again, screaming at the top of his lungs. “Fiar!”

Only the bird took any note—and it just cocked its head to look down into the pit before taking flight once more.

Traice remained there, body aching from their recent workout, but his heart slowly warming as it became clearer and clearer that Fiar would be making good on his threats. Threats that really did not seem so dire.

* * *

The original plan was to have this be a standalone like it is here. Then I switched it up and the secondary plan was to have this be a five-parter, which was the reason this piece was never before published. So Hestian and the demons were going to be more conflictual to Traice and Fiar’s relationship, etc. But, honestly, things can stand as they are. Hestian will return to where he came from, Fiar will “rescue” Traice from the pit that evening and they will laugh about it for years to come.

Thank you for reading along to my Sunday short stories for so long :) They’ve helped my creativity grow and forced me to think outside the box a whole hellava lot. They’ve given me the practice I needed to experiment with different styles, different ideas, and to come to conclusions on which ideas are worth lingering on and which aren’t much good past their original concepts. They’ve helped expand my confidence as well, for when you throw a lot of words out into the nether of the interwebs for all to see, eventually you realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of, that it’s about the enjoyment of the process rather than the acceptance of others.

I’m looking at this as a beginning rather than an ending, for not only will I be able to make the transition into a full-time novel writer, but I will be publishing something new on my blog every Sunday starting in 2019, a new project of sorts :)