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FOLLOWING TIDES -- PART TWO



You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it... Well, only *I* proofread it.... I'm sure I missed a TON of Mistakes


TO READ THE FIRST SERIES FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **




Series Title: Following Tides
Chapter Number: One
“Coming Home”
Author: D. Sanders
=============================


The fog had rolled over “the Wraith” in waves and then out of the confusion men erupted, spilling over the railings in battle cries and inducing panic. Ilya watched in fascinated horror, it was just like his dreams. This was his dying day, he knew his torment was over at last and he greeted his death with a contentment that swelled up from within. His nightmare would soon be at an end and his rest would come to his willing breast.

Forced from his hiding place he stumbled half in trance across the deck. The fog parted and standing on the railing was the Dark Angel himself, holding his arms wide in enchantment as he directed the fog and lightening fell from his fingertips. Ilya was sobbing with joy as he stumbled toward him and the Dark Angel turned and the lightening stopped and he jumped from the railing to enfold Ilya in his arms.

“At last I found you. Fear no more, hate no longer, peace be with you now and always, Golden keeper of my soul.” A kiss was placed on his temple and the warmth spread throughout him like the sun breaking over the eastern horizon. He felt alive and on fire and he trembled with anticipation still wrapped in warm arms.

“Dark Angel, my dreams told me of you. Take me, I come to death willingly.” Ilya shuddered breathing in the scent of the Dark Angel who held him tightly. He smelled of spiced wine, sandalwood and the sea. Strong arms held him close, and in Ilya’s vision he saw that the left arm of his beloved angel was bleeding. Strange he thought in the back of his befuddled mind, that his angel bled as a man, but Ilya and blood called to one another and instinct took over and Ilya laid his hand on the arrow gash wound and it closed and faded.

“The only death you will see my love is that of this life you’ve known.” Van sighed, his whole body alive with joy at having this youth walk so assuredly and willingly into his arms as if he’d known, just as Van had known, they were each a part of something that made a complete whole. Then the lad laid his hand on the shallow wound on Van’s arm and Van gasped as magic touched and flowed over and into him, like a warm, bright caress of a lover on his senses. This boy, barely a man was a healer, and a healer unlike any Van had ever known.

This young man’s inner magic was breathtakingly beautiful and soft and it electrified Van’s senses as much as it soothed and comforted. “Godstruth!” Van had to blink away the sensation he had wanted to fall headlong into. The youth was in a haze, a healer’s instinctive trance, it was no wonder Van felt intoxicated and the youth so disassociated from reality. This battle chaos would make even the strongest healer shut down in confusion.

“Petr!! Quick!” Van called his First Mate and literally scooped up the dazed youth and placed him in the large man’s arms.

“Quickly, take him to my cabin and shut the door. It will shield him from this nightmare. No healer can withstand such close combat on their senses. Get Ivana to tend him, he’ll be sick soon enough, he’ll need food enough in him to lose later.” Here Van laid another kiss to Ilya’s forehead. “You’ll suffer no more, I promise you love.”

“Aye Van. Poor lad, just you hold on.” Petr said scrambling back over the gangplanks that “The Crimson Lady” had thrown out in order to board “the Wraith.” Ivana saw Petr dash back out of the fog and she followed him seeing what he carried.

“Hurry Lass, get him food, we got a healer here.” Petr said dashing down to the first level towards Van’s cabin.

“Mercy! Gods help him! Who keeps a healer on deck during a battle?” Ivana gasped dragging Mischa behind her and piling him with wineskins, bread, cold meats and cheese on a tray.

“Take those to him love. I’ll bring him some of the tea old healer Rukia used.” Mischa nodded and Petr was just setting a confused Ilya in bed and as the door shut he seemed to regain a little of his senses.

“What on? Where?” Ilya gasped as the wine was pressed into his hands.

“Questions later young sir. Captain’s orders. Drink and eat and stay in here until after.” Petr said as Ivana rushed in with tea.

“Drink this first dear. It’ll help block the emotions and pain from up above. Mercy me what idiot keeps a healer up in the middle of that sort of mess? Are they trying to drive you mad and hurt you? A lot of good you’d do them if your mind broke to bits under stress!” She said sitting beside the youth in Van’s bed.

He blinked still confused but did as told and sighed as he drained the cup. Immediately feeling less befuddled and clearer witted. “What is that?”

“Spelled Tea. Van made it for our last healer. It keeps you from getting lost in the chaos out there. It will help ease the purging later.” She said patting his knee and then reaching up to grab his chin and look at his face.

“Handsome indeed. Too thin but that’s nothing a few good meals down you won’t cure. Godstruth, but Van was right. He knew he’d find you today and mores the better I say if that’s how that cursed lot treated a healer. Healers are more precious than even fresh water in these times. And such a young, handsome one too. Perhaps Van will be happy at last, chased your image for years he has.”

“Who’s Van?” Ilya asked trying to disentangle himself from his remaining confusion.

“He be the Captain of “the Crimson Lady” here. Right concerned about you he’s been for damn near ten years. You’ve always been just out of his reach you have. Go on sunshine eat up. You can hear and eat at the same time.” Ivana smiled as She handed Ilya a slice of bread and cheese.

“I’m on “The Crimson Lady”!” Ilya gasped, the one ship Yvan feared the most! Yvan was doomed.

“Aye, fastest and safest ship on the seas. Welcome aboard son.” Petr grinned and Ilya deflated into soft pillows in sheer overwhelmed wonderment. He’d always longed to be aboard one of the red sailed ships, the stories were everywhere. Men like Yvan feared them all, and common folk revered the red sails like floating salvation.

“I’m so confused.” Ilya’s voice was full of confusion and suppressed hope.

“I thought you might be.” Came a voice from the door and the Dark Angel was there, smiling. Ilya brightened and fell into those stormy eyes. “Petr, you’re needed above now. I’ll take over here.”

Van crossed the floor and Ivana smirked as she took Mischa’s hand and left Van alone with the healer youth. Van took up her vacated place on the edge of the bed and reached out and took Ilya’s hand as he sat. Ilya clasped back afraid to let go, afraid this wonderful spell would break. His dream was real, and far better than he’d ever dared hope.

“Dreamed of me have you?” Van asked, an eyebrow quirked in query. Ilya flushed and nodded.

“Aye.”

“Then we’re even. Seen you many times myself when I scry.”

“Ah.” Ilya said not having a clue what ‘scry’ meant, but assumed it was magic. Yvan didn’t hold with wizards and their ilk.

“You’ve no idea what that is do you?” Van chuckled and Ilya smiled shyly and shook his head.

“I thought as not. Yvan does not care much for my methods. Nor I his. Let us just say I can see things when I seek them. I’ve seen you many times. Pray tell me your name.”

“Ilya.”

Van leaned close and looked deeply into large green eyes. “Ilya, long have I hoped to have you here with me. Pray tell me you’ll stay by my side.”

“I always went to you in my dreams though I knew not why. I feel I will, nay, I MUST follow where you take me sir.” Ilya said honestly from his heart which pounded with joyful hope swelling in his chest.


“Not sir. Never sir. Van, call me Van.”


“Van.” Ilya smiled and met Van’s gaze equally and they were both lost.


“I’ve Loved you so very, very long.” Van breathed leaning closer and Ilya’s eyes fluttered shut as if still in his dream.

“And I you in my Dreams.” Ilya replied and fell headlong into heaven as Van’s lips pressed against his own and Ilya’s parted in joy. His dream lover was real, the love was real, he cried for sheer joy.

“Ilya, my dear love. Weep no more.” Van held him close, silent tears of his own falling down his cheeks as he sat up and wiped Ilya’s cheeks. “Eat now if you can, I know healers weaknesses and you will be in much need for a full belly later. It’s easier to purge something than nothing.”

“Aye. I will. You are right.” Ilya said shaking off the moment to attend to his body. Van poured them both wine.

“We have minor injuries, your men were not quite so lucky. We do try to do less killing, sometimes it is not so easy.” Van sighed, he never liked killing.

“With Yvan’s lot? They kill themselves like as not. It is kill or be killed with them. You could do no more, and they have done worse.”

“I’ve no doubt of that. But enough talk of matters neither of us can change. Restore yourself my love. I will aide you above when you feel you can take a turn with the wounded.”

“I will finish this glass and we may go. I’ve healed with less.”

“No doubt of that either. No more Ilya.”

“You always told me that in my dreams. I believe you my Dark Angel.”

Van laughed. “Dark Angel?”

“It is what I always called you in my Dreams.”

“I shall have to break that image you have of me.” Van winked with a chuckle and held out a hand to help Ilya rise. “Shall we?”

“Aye.” Ilya smiled and held Van’s hand as they made their way above decks together hand in hand, fingers entwined.

----

The moment they reached the upper deck, Ilya, like every other healer Van had known seemed to go into an ordered trance. His gifts surging to the surface where he glowed with a golden hue across his sun darkened skin.

His bare chest throbbed like a heartbeat of inner strength as he walked on silent bare feet directly toward the most severely injured. Ilya knelt beside the man with a large gash in his side and just closed his eyes as his hands pressed against the wound.

“Mercy!” The man gasped in almost orgasmic wonder. His eyes wide as Ilya worked. “It’s like… the old man never healed like this!”

Van smiled over Ilya’s shoulder. “I know. A lover’s touch he has. Shall I fetch your wife?” Van asked with a saucy knowing wink as Ilya leaned back, the wound gone.

“Boy, bottle that gift and you’ll make hefty profit.” The man laughed and Ilya blushed but smiled.

“I can’t help it. Sorry.”

“Don’t be daft lad! Marvelous, I feel twenty again.” The man clapped Ilya’s shoulder. “Suppose that be close to your soft years I’d reckon.”

“Aye, Twenty summers in a few more moons.” Ilya said standing and moving to his next patient, Van right behind him to offer support when he grew tired.

Everyone Ilya touched repeated their amazement as he touched and healed them. A few finding their mates and disappearing quickly, the effects Ilya left behind in his wake were potent indeed.

He then came to the prisoners, his former shipmates. Here he paled. “Traitorous Dog! Healing them first? Where’s your loyalty?” Several men shouted in anger.

“Where’s your honor of a man of his gifts? Abuse your good fortune and lose it. Where was your appreciation of him when it mattered? I think you should be asking yourselves that first. He is not and was never obligated to help you, but he comes still to your aid does he not?” Van retorted taking Ilya’s elbow and lending support to failing magical stores while he tended the bound prisoners. Among them was Yvan. Ilya’s hands trembled as he healed his minor wounds.

“A curse upon you boy. You’ll rue this day you leave my good graces.”

“Your good graces never kept me from hunger, your rutting dogs of men, or the lash. Yours and theirs. If that is ‘good graces’, I think I shall take my chances with your curse.” Ilya replied, his eyes and voice steady and cold as he tended Yvan’s injuries.

“You had food and shelter, what more would a man want? Ungrateful!”

“I had food if I could salvage any from the dirty dishes. I had a coil of rope to sleep in. What more could a man want? How about the family you took him from? I never hungered with them, never felt the lash and I had shelter. You gave me far worse and demanded far more. Yes, I am ungrateful to you. I am more than grateful to this blessed crew who freed me from you.” Ilya said finishing and turning away to the next patient. Unshed tears in his eyes, he was proud, he would never shed them and show his deeply rooted pain and sorrow in front of Yvan or his men.

Van smiled, loving this creature and his strength and bravery more and more every passing moment.

Once the wounded were tended and the dead given to the sea Van had the main mast of “the Wraith” cut leaving only the minor sails in tact. They were crippled but not handicapped enough where it was be a given death sentence. They left the food and water on board for the crew’s survival, but emptied the coffers of all tradable valuables and then set sail. It would be a long time before Yvan bothered them again, starting from scratch as he was with just his ship and men to his name. That was if his men didn’t kill him first.

Val sat by Ilya at the aft of the upper deck where he had indeed lost what little sustenance he had in his stomach and then sat on shaky legs on a nearby barrel. “Did your healer go through this too? Or am I just cursed?”

Van laughed handing Ilya a strip of damp cloth to wash his face and wipe his mouth with. “All healers I know must purge what they swallow metaphorically. You can only absorb and disperse so much disease and pain before it makes you ill too. Drink the tea I make and you’ll not suffer so badly. It won’t stop the purging, but it does make it less harrowing and easier to bear later.”

“I do hope so. I feel like I’ve been swallowing half the ocean at the moment.” Ilya sighed tipping his head back and closing his eyes. He felt a hand in his hair and he opened his eyes to look up at Van standing beside him.

“You do look green, you should eat, and it will help settle your empty stomach. Come on.” Van took Ilya’s hand and led him to the lower deck to the Greenhouse.

“’S’truth! I heard but nary believed! Eden on the waves!” Ilya gasped as Van led him down the stairs.

“Aye, and open to all. Whenever you are hungry or just simply desire it, make welcome of all that is here. That is what it is here for.” Van smiled at Ilya’s wide-eyed, childlike expression of wonder.

“I don’t even know what most of this even is, let alone what it tastes like. Unless it’s a turnip. I’ve had plenty of those in my time.”

“Those are grown on another level. Those don’t need as much sunlight. I never cared much for them myself, but they are good for a diet occasionally.” Van grinned, plucking a plum and handing it to Ilya.

“What’s this called then?”

“A Plum. It’s sweet, it’ll be nice to clear out the aftermath of your purging which I know is making your mouth feel like a bilge pump currently.”

“Aye to that.” Ilya chuckled and took a bite. The juice he wasn’t expecting dribbled down his hand and chin  as his eyes rolled in ecstasy.

“Nice isn’t it?”

“S’truth! Never had the like in my life I haven’t. My aunt used to give me sugarcane to chew as a boy, but not as sweet in that state before it’s been refined. Only sweet I had before. If you need to be finding me, I can wager you’ll be finding me here!” Ilya laughed a rich, bright tenor.

“Same here. I love the greenhouse gardens, it’s peaceful here.”

“Aye, warm with life growing all over. Even a healer can feel that kind of aura.”

“Aye, so I suspected.” Van smiled looking over Ilya as he scanned the garden with his eyes. He wore tattered half legged breeches, bare to the knee and bare to the navel. His skin was dark from the sun, and his blond hair was streaked with white from its bleaching rays. His eyes alive with magic and wonder. He was beautiful from the ends of his hair to the tips of his toes, an aspect of the sun itself. When he turned to smile at Van, Van knew he’d never tire of that sight.

A bell rang and it made Ilya jump. “What’s that?”

“That would be Mischa ringing the bell for the meal. We usually have it mid-day, we were a bit busy this morning so we’re eating a bit late today.” Van winked offering his arm to Ilya. “Shall I show you where our galley is?”

“Lead on.” Ilya smiled taking Van’s arm as they headed down to the galley on the third level.

Ivana was immediately at Ilya’s side chattering happily. “Now you sit right down lad.” Ivana practically shoved him onto the end of a bench as Van sat opposite amused. There was no rank order in the galley, you sat where there was room and helped yourself from the bowls on all the tables. Ivana was piling a plate to overflowing and thrusting it under Ilya’s nose.

“You tuck into that sunshine. I know healers get powerful hungry after a purging, so start on but save room for pie. Olga made her rhubarb pie, and I know young boys I do.” Ivana winked and Ilya liked her immediately and just did as he was told.

Petr joined them at the table as the bowls got passed around and everyone took a meal in shifts. Petr joked amicably but ate in a hurry, his job was up top and he wanted to get back to work so his pilots could get a break and eat too. “Wonderful to have you on board Ilya lad. I feel a might safer knowing we got a healer on board again. You need anything lad, you just tell old Petr here.” He said with a wink as he headed back off to work.

“Amazing. What a difference.” Ilya said and Van nodded.

“Aye. We’re a family here Ilya. Better to work together when you can enjoy your work and your bedfellows. We don’t tolerate trifles. Any man wants to leave he can, I don’t conscript sailors.”

“Any man daft enough to WANT to leave, isn’t right in the head methinks. Such a wonderful crew. Me mam used ta say that the ships with red sails were touched by the gods themselves. I remember meeting one once, right afore I got taken by Yvan. “The Handmaiden”. She had red sails too. Mam sold a lot of flour to that one, and they paid her more than she asked.”

“Ah, “The Handmaiden” belongs to my Father. I know her well. I was born on that ship.” Van said closing his eyes in fondness.

“Fascinating! Not many red sails though. I only saw the one, but heard of the others. Yvan didn’t dare messing with ‘em. No wonder.”

“The red sails are my family’s trademarks in a manner of speaking. There are actually more than you think. My grandfather Dmitri still sails “the Lark”, my father “the Handmaiden.” And I have six uncles, five cousins, six brothers and two sisters with their own ships. We all run red sails.”

“S’truth! Big enough family?”

“Aye, it’s why we all need our own ships. We spread like fungus.” Van chuckled and winked and grabbed a flask of wine and once more offered his arm to Ilya. “Up for a tour, or would you like to rest a while?”

“I’m getting a little tired, but not so tired I don’t want to see this lovely lady stem ta stern.” Ilya grinned taking Van’s arm.

“Then let me show you around your new home.”

----

Seeing a vessel you loved through the eyes of another was like seeing it brand new all over again. Van was having as much fun showing Ilya his ship as Ilya was having exploring it. Friendly greetings from the crew followed them throughout the tour and Ilya felt awash in kinship he hadn’t known in years. He felt like a long lost son coming home to his family again.

The children, too small for heavy labor still scuttled about running odd chores or just simply playing with each other. Ilya found himself the center of a game of tag for a moment while four small boys chased each other around his legs, none of them over five years old. The smallest, a red haired imp that greatly resembled the big and burly and equally redheaded First Mate, Petr.

“That’s Gregori, Petr’s grandson.”

“I noticed the resemblance.” Ilya chuckled as the group raced off, replaced by the ten year old Mischa that Ilya had met briefly earlier.

“Mam was lookin’ for ya Van sir. She said ta tell ya not to forget Master Ilya’s tea. She sent a bag of it and said to make sure he drank some afore bed.” Mischa grinned handing the bag of dried leaves to Van.

“I hadn’t forgotten, but thank her for saving me a trip to the galley.” Van winked pocketing the tea as Mischa raced off again with a grin.

“Ivana reminds me of my mam.” Ilya chuckled and Van nodded.

“Aye, and mine. I’m surprised she doesn’t send a note to remind me to brush my teeth at night.” Van said with a laugh in his voice as they climbed the stairs back onto the Greenhouse deck, there they settled down at the prow to watch the waves with the wind in their faces and shared the skin of wine Van had slung over his shoulder during the tour. The sun was setting on the western horizon making the waves turn a brilliant golden edged red and orange. Ilya closed his eyes and turned his face to the wind.

“If I’m dreaming, I hope never to wake.” He sighed as Van moved behind him where they sat on the deck, Ilya leaning back against his chest.

“Aye. Me too.” Van returned the sentiment as silence fell between them and they took peaceful comfort in the simplicity of each other’s presence. It was as natural as breathing. Everything fell into brilliant clarity and purpose.

They sat that way for a long while, until the sun finally vanished beneath the horizon and the moon cast her glow on them.

Van seemed to shimmer in the moonlight. Whereas Ilya was the color of midday sunshine. Van was midnight mystery. His dark raven black hair hung straight and long down to the middle of his back. Tied at the nape of his neck with a black silk scarf, the strands waved in the wind and caught the light and cast off blue shadows from its rich depths. His skin was pale against Ilya’s like moonshine and cream, his stormy eyes were clear and reflecting the soft light of the night. He wore a loose white linen shirt, the laces open at the neck and his colorfully embroidered vest hung open. His black leather breeches and knee high boots polished and gleaming in the limited light.

He and Ilya were of a similar size for the most part. Van had a few years of growth on Ilya and that was just the natural filling out as a man does at this prime stage of male life.

He would probably always be just a few inches taller than Ilya and slightly broader of shoulder due to his frame, but when Ilya finished filling out, there would be very little difference in their builds. Ilya would only ever be just shade smaller, hardly enough to notice.

“What did you used to dream?” Van asked breaking the prolonged silence as his arms found their way around Ilya’s waist where they sat together.

“You. Today. Always the same. Since the first night Yvan kidnapped me a decade ago and at least once a week since. I saw you, just as you are. Standing there on the deck, holding your arms out to me, saying the same things you said to me. I thought you a merciful dark angel of death. You gave me much comfort in my dreams when I had none.” Ilya said barely above a whisper. Sinking into the warmth pressed against his back where Van had wrapped around him from behind. “You? What did you see?” Ilya asked in return, just as curious.

“I’ve been seeing you just as long. Only it was always different, I watched you grow up really. The first time I saw you, you were probably Mischa’s age. The look of loss on your face nearly crippled me. I was finishing the building of this ship with the help of my father and brothers and was about to cast her off and I asked my scrying bowl to show me a course. It showed me you. Every full moon I got another glimpse of you, I began to long for those moments when I’d see you again. I ached to know who you were and why I kept seeing you. It wasn’t until recently I saw beyond your face to the ship you were on. All I knew is I loved you desperately and never knew who or where you were. Last year, I saw more. I saw Yvan beside you or rather I saw him beating you. I have never in my life been so angry. If I’d had the power to reach through my bowl and throttle a man I would have done so right then. I’ve been chasing his wake ever since.”

Here Ilya turned and with a hand reaching up behind Van’s neck he pulled Van’s face down where he placed a gentle, loving kiss on his lips. “I am eternally glad you came.” Ilya smiled as Van leaned back from the kiss a smile to mirror Ilya’s on his own lips.

“As am I.” Van replied running a hand down Ilya’s thick mane of golden hair. The humidity making it wavy in a myriad of short, shaggy layers that hung just below shoulder level and tied uselessly into a pony tail at the nape of his neck with just a spare bit of leather lacing. Most of his hair escaping confinement and blowing about in the wind. The moon was high and the ship silent as most of the crew settled for the evening and just a few night crewmen going about their business quietly around them. Van stood and held a hand down for Ilya who took it lightly as they traversed their way back down to Van’s cabin.

Once inside Van directed Ilya to the bathing room where he joyously shed his breeches for the first proper bath he’d had in his life. He was clean, but had never had the luxury of immersing himself in a tub of fresh clean and scented water.

The heat was glorious and the fragrant spicy sandalwood oil Van had added to the water filled his olfactory senses and he almost fell asleep in the tub before Van poked his head in with a chuckle.

“Don’t drown in the bath love. While you’ve been relaxing I’ve raided the stores. I’ve got you a nightshirt at least for now. Tomorrow we’ll go see about outfitting you properly. I’ve chucked those useless breeches out the window and good riddance.” Van said with a wink as he tossed a towel to Ilya as he climbed out of the bath.

“Then what shall I wear to go out if you’ve chucked my only pair of britches?  Not that I’m shy mind you, but I fear wearing my tackle out around ladies on deck might raise a few eyebrows.” Ilya said as he scrubbed his hair dry with the towel, standing stark naked in the room.

Van smirked. “I don’t mind the view.” He drawled and got a towel thrown at him for his efforts.

Van laughed as Ilya pulled on the soft linen shirt that hung to his knees as he curled up on a low couch, bolted to the floor so it didn’t slide about in rough waters.

Van handed him a teacup steaming merrily. “Ivana’s orders.”

Ilya took the cup and drank with a smile on his lips. The tea tasted like any other tea, but its effects were drastically different. He felt restored and at ease and very much content.

Van pulled his own nightshirt on and blew out the lamps as they curled up on the couch together to watch the sea through the many floor to ceiling windows of Van’s cabin.

“What a beautiful view.” Ilya sighed curled up like a cat against Van’s side.

“Aye, you are.” Ilya looked up to see Van looking at him with desire in his eyes. Ilya smiled and stood. Setting his teacup on the table then turning toward the built in bed in the wall. Wide and comfortable and he shed his nightshirt as he sank into the mattress.

Van seeing an invitation for what it was shed his own shirt and followed Ilya to bed. Sinking into welcoming arms as he pressed Ilya into the mattress and kissed him like he’d wanted to all day long, deep and devouring as tongues delved deep and moans were swallowed.

Van’s hands explored and caressed as he was pulled tightly against Ilya’s chest. Hands running down his back sending shivers down his spine. Oh but it was beautiful to find one’s soul and capture it in your arms. They’d each had lovers, but never ones that they’d loved more deeply than just pacing fancy and affection. This was different, it consumed, it burned, it was hunger and it was a feast of senses.

Magic flowed between them, making a deeper connection of spirits. Van’s vast power mixed with Ilya’s healing glow. They blended and mixed without contrast or conflict, one joined the other seamlessly and it was a drunken feeling for them both to feel the magic they held within mate as surely as their bodies would soon follow. It was making love more than in the physical sense; it was all senses moving in unison.

Van’s name was moaned in wonder as the scent of the sandalwood oil once more filled the room as Van prepared Ilya for their joining and his name was cried out in ecstasy as they finally joined in body as they had done in spirit.

Ilya’s name was sung like a prayer and uttered like a curse as Van set their pace and short nails dug into his back as Ilya clung to him as their bodies crashed together akin to the rising of a great storm.

The room became almost suffocating as breath grew labored and ragged and bodies grew slick with sweat. Muscles screamed in protest and abuse but they pressed on as the storm grew in intensity. Higher and higher they climbed, and they rolled like waves in a tempest before the storm finally broke free with a fury and force neither of them had known before.

Ilya cried out first, Van’s name ripped from his throat and all the air rushed from his lungs as his body grew taught as a bowstring and then suddenly was released. He came in great body spasms of release, his muscles gripping Van and dragging him over the edge to fall over into the tempest as well. Ilya’s name was sobbed into his neck and Van’s shoulders shook with the force of his climax. Wave after wave and seeming never to cease once they’d begun.

It took several moments of long gasping intakes of breath and aftershock tremors before either of them could speak or move again. The last of the clouds of their storm evaporated as sweat began to dry on abused flesh and bodies disengaged as Van rolled to his side from atop Ilya to fall boneless into the mattress beside his lover.

Van reached up and smoothed sweat soaked hair off Ilya’s brow and Ilya’s deep green eyes in the darkness appeared like grayish orbs, shimmering with tears. Van’s eyes were equally as wet as they held each other’s gaze for what seemed like hours before either of them spoke.

“I’ve always dreamed of this moment. It pales to reality my love.” Van whispered kissing Ilya’s brow where they lay face to face sharing a pillow.

Ilya closed his eyes as the kiss warmed his brow. “Aye, my Dark Angel lover always left me yearning. It was well beyond worth the wait to have you at last.” Ilya replied, as his arms held Van’s hips loosely.

“Never a truer sentiment uttered.” Van said around a huge yawn as he blindly reached for the cover, dragging it over them both as they settled deeper into the soft mattress. Ilya rolled over to face the wall and Van spooned up behind him and before either of them realized they’d fallen into exhausted sleep, light was shining in the room as the morning meal bell rang.

----

In a pair of brown leather breeches and a loose pale green linen shirt borrowed out of Van’s chest. Ilya padded barefoot beside Van to fill their rumbling stomachs.

A few tasteless and saucy remarks were made as the crew watched the pair shovel food into their faces as if they hadn’t eaten in weeks.

“Work up an appetite captain?”

“Wonder what ya did to stir up such a hunger in ye I do.”

“He looks better in green than you do Van. Help dress him this morning?”

Both men weathered the good-natured teasing with grins, winks and smirks for the most part. It wasn’t like either of them cared or was even remotely trying to hide the fact they were now indeed lovers.

“Oh you lot of gossips, worse than grandmothers with nothing better to do you are!” Ivana scolded setting a cup of newly churned butter on the table at Ilya’s elbow, running a motherly hand though his hair after.

“You, my dear sunshine are in desperate need of a haircut of sorts.”

“Don’t you touch him with sheers Ivana! Leave him be, he’s good as is.” Van protested and Ivana placed her hands squarely on her round hips.

“He looks a rumpled mess Van.”

“I like it that way.”

“At least let me tame it for goodness sakes. He looks like he’s just fallen out of bed!”

“I know.”

“Oh for goodness sakes, Van. You can wipe that smirk of your face, no innuendo at the breakfast table damn it!”

Ivana rolled her eyes at her captain who was chuckling into his tea and then turned to Ilya. “Seriously sunshine, you’re too handsome by a half to let this lout here let you run around all shaggy.”

“You don’t have to sleep with him. I do. I sort of like him in a good temper. I’ll leave it for now.”

“Well said!” Van cheered and Ivana threw up her hands in defeat.

“Men!” She stormed off back to her kitchen.

----

Ilya’s feet kept twitching as the tanner measured his feet for boots, he was extremely ticklish near his toes. “Van, really. I’ve never worn shoes in my life. I don’t need them.”

“You will want them soon enough in winter love. Or climbing rope ladders.”

“Perhaps in the cold, but I’ve no problems with ropes, I’ve got enough callous to prove it and please, just don’t be cross if I don’t use them until winter.”

“I shant be cross love. They’re your feet not mine.” Van winked as Ivana trotted in with a basket under her arms.

“These are all we had in his size. I’ll have more made up for him soon enough. Lordy sunshine, look at your poor feet. Haven’t you ever protected them?”

“I believe there is an echo in here.” Ilya said rolling his eyes and Van chuckled.

“I’ve already scolded him Ivana. You’re late and he shot down all my arguments for wearing boots already.”

“Well he’s right Ilya. Wear your boots!”

Ilya scowled as the tanner finished measuring his feet and he stood up crossing his arms over his chest. “Look, I know you’re just trying to be helpful, and I am grateful. Can we agree on one change at a time please?”

“Aye sunshine, alright.” Ivana said handing him the basket and then turning to head back to work on the midday meal.

Van and Ilya headed back to their cabin to make room for Ilya’s new clothes and to make room for Ilya in general. Seeing as it was highly unlikely he was going to be sleeping in any bed but Van’s.

As Ilya folded his new clothes, Van stood looking at the wall that was against the healer’s cabin. And Ilya felt the power in the room shift and surge as Van held up his hands. The wall rippled like water and not wood as it shifted shape and an archway with carved columns appeared connecting the rooms. Van stepped through and the wall that held the door to the hall outside went through a similar metamorphosis and the door that had been there vanished.

“This would have been yours anyway, might as well just shift a door or two so we don’t waste the space.” Van said turning to survey the room layout. Things began moving around the room reordering themselves. The main entry anteroom remained untouched from Van’s original cabin. That was always just a meeting place and office anyway already separate from the private space and seeing as the private space had almost doubled, Van went about reordering things. The Bed in the old healer’s room began to enlarge, giving them room to both enter from the foot of the bed rather than the side so they wouldn’t be crawling over one another if one was sleeping while the other wanted to get up. It was wise to have a bed surrounded on three sides for rough and rolling waters, it made more sense to have the open side at the foot rather than along one side.

The old bed reordered itself into a smaller cot-like sofa, daybed alcove for lounging comfortably in with a good book or cuddling close with wine. A low table grew up from the floor in front of that space for the resting of cups or feet if so inclined.

The trunk that Ilya had just packed his clothes in flew into their new shared bedroom space and grew into a larger wardrobe that matched Van’s which also sailed itself into the new bedroom. The old bedroom and living area, was now just one large living space. Several comfortable chairs and couches, tables and bookshelves lined the room. Ilya just stood gaping where he stood in shock.

“There, I think that will suit us better.” Van grinned as he flopped into the new alcove where their bed had been.

“Is that how you built the ship?”

“Pretty much. It’s matter for matter Ilya. I can’t make something from naught. But I can transform like for like, shift matter around and reform it into something else. Some of the matter from the old bed I put into this new little table when I shrank the bed and the rest of the matter I took away from the bed, I put into the chest to make it a wardrobe. I just shifted things around.”

“S’truth! Can you only do that with inanimate things? I mean can you so that with people and such?”

“It’s tricky with living things and I can only take a part of someone and move it elsewhere on their own person. You cannot, or rather should NEVER move matter that belongs to each other somewhere else. It can be done but it’s damn ugly and deadly if you do. I can shift you or myself around for instance, say if I wanted to look like a big dog or something yes. But I’d kill you if I tried to make you, say, into a pair of nightstands. Living things you only shift shape, nothing more unless you’re a spiteful evil bastard. I’ve known a few of those types to kill by pulling apart matter they shouldn’t.”

“You’ve just melted my brain. But I get the point. No shifting your tackle either, any bigger and I’d be walking bowlegged today. You’re big ‘nuff how your mam and daa made ya!” Ilya waggled a finger at Van where he sat.

Van howled with laughter and wiped a tear. “I promise, love. I promise.”

“Just makin’ sure.” Ilya winked as he went to put the shirt he still held in his hand away In his sparsely filled new wardrobe.

He felt Van sidle up behind him. “Wanna test the new bed?”

“Thought you’d never ask.” Ilya laughed as they fell into bed laughing and shedding clothes in a hurry to sport about again.

They didn’t reappear again until the dinner bell and once again were ravenously hungry.

Life was suddenly quite grand.

---



TO READ THE FIRST SERIES FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
fablespinner
Jun. 24th, 2005 05:16 am (UTC)
THanks, just pointless romantic drivel
(I rarely deviate ya know. ~_^)

Add 2 people in love
same basic plot line change settings/Bad Guys/events
mix and serve with chocolate covered strawberries.
Happy Ending
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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