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FOLLOWING TIDES III -- Chapter 3

And the LAST Installement in this insipid little series....
Following Tides III
COMPLETE STORY in SIX PARTS:




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 ENTIRE 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 III
Chapter Number: Three
“The Pain Love Brings”
Author: D. Sanders
=============================


The next morning, Leif was waiting for Tomas and Sonja on the pier next to the gangplank. He looked frozen to the bone was they walked down to meet him.

“Goodness Child! How long have you been standing there?” Sonja gasped; wearing the scarf he had given her.

“Not long. Hour maybe.”

“An HOUR? Why on earth didn’t you tell someone to fetch us?”

“Gran, he can’t.” Tomas sighed wanting to throw his own coat around Leif to warm him up. “In the future, we’ll come to you Leif. Please don’t wait for us outside. Gran is never on time.”

“That’s true. Mercy, warm him up Tomas!”

“Gran, I can’t. Do you want to see him suffer?”

“No, no. Oh damn it, just lead me to your beasties Leif, I’m dying to seem them.”

Leif smiled and nodded leading them back to his home where Sonja got a similar welcome as Tomas. She squealed like a young teenager and settled on a nearby stump, arm full of adorable Cria.

“That one love you much Lady Sonja. Ask no put down and keep scratch.”

“Love, I’ve no intention of putting this darling down any time soon.” Sonja laughed getting little trills of contentment the more she scratched. Like Tomas, she was head over heels in love with the affectionate and fascinating creatures.

The old herdsire came up and laid his chin on Leif shoulder. Leif took on a glazed look as if he were in deep conversation with the male. “He says he will pick your herd, he approves and would very much want to choose your herd for you.”

“You really can talk to them?”

“Not so much talk as in words. Images, emotions, pictures in my head. They understand our words their language is feeling.”

“Love I’d take them all home with me. This will certainly give me something to do when I retire. That’s for sure.” Sonja smiled as the Dam of the Cria Sonja was holding came over and settled next to Sonja her chin resting on Sonja’s shoulder where she sat, whiffing Sonja’s hair.

“Dam approve you. They be part of your herd. Dam happy, says you will have tender hand when time shear and no cuts. They sense you healer they no sick when care by you, make them happy.” Leif almost had a tear in his eye as the Herdsire went walking through the small herd separating members and nosing them over toward Sonja.

A young male butted Tomas as five dams and their young walked over to gather around Sonja. “He says he young, strong will make journey as Herdsire. All his dams and young he take. Anxious for new pasture he says, he promise you good herd, asks not geld sons and come back for more dams in five turnings. Make large herd, much wool, he tell you when you may geld later.”

“How do you know all this?” Tomas asked and before he could catch his breath his head swam with images and emotions. Pride, adventure, strength, peace, mountain trails, Leif combing his fur, tending and clipping toenails. He saw each cria and its dam and saw their names in his mind.

“Wow. Alright Hern, you’re the boss. I see what you mean now.” Tomas said and the male snorted and nodded then moved off to graze.

“Tomas?” Sonja asked and he shrugged.

“I’ve no idea Gran, he just popped right in my head.” Tomas rubbed a temple. “Is that how you talk to them?”

“Aye. You only other able to hear them. Perhaps it be wizard blood in you make you hear feeling.” Leif said looking at Hern who snorted and nodded his head, shaking his neck in confirmation.

The dam next to Sonja turned her head and nibbled her cheek so she’d make eye contact and then it was Sonja’s turn to make a face awash in euphoria. “Mercy! What powerful emotions. They’re emphatic! That’s how they communicate!”

Leif nodded. “Aye. Strong they are, not like ox or sheep. Suri have many emotions, make easier to talk.”

“You can talk to other animals?” Tomas asked and Leif nodded.

“Not as easy as Suri but yes. Sheep slow minded, scare easy. Ox lazy. Smarter the beastie, easier to talk to. Dog fun, strong love in dog. Cat always be reminding you how lucky you be to be worth attention.” Leif grinned and Tomas laughed.

“I’ll have to introduce you to my ship’s cat, Czarina, she thinks “the Handmaiden” is hers.” Tomas grinned and Leif smiled.

“She is cat. Way they think.” Leif grinned right back as the herd wandered off to graze and Sonja stood brushing off her skirts.

“Well, I’ve had my morning shocks. I guess we’d better move into the marketplace and check out the goods.” Sonja said hooking her arm through Leif’s. “Support an old lady?”

“You need no support, you fib. Make joy in my heart knowing you Lady Sonja.”

“Leif dear, the joy is mine. I never met a stronger empath in my life. Usually it’s only human emotions empath’s can feel.”

“I cannot feel human emotions, only animal. Try with human, feel nothing.”

“Frequency Gran. I felt the difference; they feel at a higher mental pitch. Maybe he’s only able to hear the higher levels.” Tomas said as they walked up the path.

“You’re right! That’s it. Fascinating, I want to study you Leif. How many more of our brood have these abilities we’ve never tapped into?”

“Who knows Gran, who knows?” Tomas shrugged as they met up with Alexandre looking over intricately carved furniture in local rustic designs. Deer, elk, alpaca, bears, and woodland themes brightly decorating table legs, headboards and various other pieces of furniture.

“Finally! I thought you’d never bring the lad back woman! Leif good boy, ask the man what he wants for this table here? Beautiful craftsmanship!”

Leif did not make eye contact and translated Alexandre’s request. The man replied smiling at Alexandre and totally ignoring the boy.

“He says has matching chairs. Will trade you table for twelve bushels of fruit like you give yesterday. Wife will preserve. No preference, mix preferred. Trade you four chairs for twenty gold or equal value hard money.”

“Done!” Alexandre held out his hand and shook on the deal. Alexandre dug out his purse and added two extra gold pieces. The man grinned.

“He says will bring over packed safe for journey and have cart to pick up fruit.” Leif translated as Alex shook the man’s hand again and nodded before they carried on through the market. Sonja still latched onto Leif’s arm. She could get away with it; sometimes being ‘old’ had its advantages. No one scolded Leif for being a translator and ready crutch. Even if Sonja was perfectly sound. Oh yes, being old had definite advantages. She could feel Leif’s comfort in her presence; he’d lacked human contact in far too many years.

Tomas internally thanked his grandmother for being a sly and devious old bat. He certainly couldn’t comfort Leif like he wanted to, but she could and did. He could feel Leif’s happiness touch him, his genuine affection for Sonja was keen and he appreciated her concern.

The next stop was an alpaca wool market. Colorful blankets, capes, coats, sweaters, scarves and gloves of all shapes and sizes lined the tables and hung on lines. An entire row of stall after stall. Sonja was latched onto Leif dragging him down store after store while she spent a fortune. From virgin bolts of the woven fleece, so thin and tightly woven it could be cut, dyed and sewed like cotton fabric, if wearing layers of this material it would keep anyone warm in sub-zero temperatures. It would make perfect undergarments for cold climes, and using it as lining in other materials would double its original value. Or just simply using it alone as baby blankets or throws while curled up in a chair. Sonja was making enterprising plans for her retirement. Already wondering where she could get her hands on the loom that made this fabric. She found a woman willing to sell her one and that too was bought and paid for with great glee.

She moved next to skeins of yarn in every shade of the rainbow, some still in virgin white for Yuri to work her magic on. She also bought several blankets, one for each of her children and one for her and Alexandre, several more finished sweaters, scarves, mittens, ponchos and capes for the various grandchildren and great-grandchildren, wrapping a bright green scarf around Tomas’ neck in the process because it brought out his eyes. She was a woman possessed, and Tomas noticed Leif’s face was turned down politely, but he wore an amused smile on his lips.

As they walked away, Tomas almost missed Leif’s comment spoken under his breath. “Green does suit much. Match eyes.”

Tomas smiled to himself feeling warm to his toes at the compliment as he found a group of his men to cart back Sonja’s multitude of purchases.

It was lunchtime and they paused at a stall selling meat pies and ale. Tomas without thinking purchased food for Leif and when Leif did not accept, Tomas’ heart fell into his shoes. “Cannot Tomas. But thank you for thinking me.”

Tomas wanted to cry. “You can’t even eat?”

“Not of their food no. Please no make scene. I fine. Have food in pocket. Eat please Tomas.” Leif said sitting down and taking a small piece of what looked like stale bread out of his deep coat pocket, followed by a shriveled half of a roasted onion and washing it down with some clean snow he scooped out of a nearby drift. He looked used to the tasteless humble fare.

Tomas never tasted his meal as it struggled past the lump in his throat. Sonja didn’t fare much better. They would now take meals only on the ship if Leif could not join them in public.

Lunch put a damper on the mood, and the rest of the afternoon just saw them walking stalls without seeing much. And by dinner Sonja was ready to drag Leif onto the ship and once more he shook his head.

“Cannot, not much light left. Must go home before dark, days short. I be much enjoy today, will be here in morning again for you.”

“We’ll come get you.” Tomas said Leif smiled.

“No trouble come and wait. Like looking at ship, very big. Biggest I see in life. Beautiful, I come look while wait. I be fine. Have night good sleeping.” Leif bowed and then rushed home before he was caught out after dark.

Tomas was in a black mood all night long, ate little and drank a lot. He was in a foul humor. He couldn’t stop thinking about Leif and the more he thought about him, the worse his mood became, he got up, went and grabbed a basket and began raiding the greenhouse and the stores in the galley pantry. It was very late and everyone was well in bed by the time he finished packing the basket, capping off his raiding by grabbing a bottle of mead and tucking that into the basket as well before slipping on his coat and casting a cloaking spell about him and walking deliberately towards the small cottage at the edge of village.

He knocked softly at the door and a sleepy and tousled Leif, wrapped in a colorful blanket answered the door. He saw nobody there and thought he must have heard the knock in a dream until the door pushed open by itself and then shut again. Once inside Tomas dropped his spell and Leif stood there in shock. His mouth open in a silent “o”.

“Shhh. Just a Cloaking spell.” Tomas winked and spoke in a whisper. Striding over, grabbing Leif’s hand and steering him to the table. “Here.” Tomas set the basket down on the table in front of a now wide-awake Leif.

“What being this?” Leif asked also in a whisper. The light of the dying fire barely illuminating the room.

“Midnight snack. Please take it.”

Leif’s hands were shaking as he uncovered the basket and saw the succulent bounty before him. “Tomas. Why?”

“Why not?” Tomas replied both voices still hushed as he reached over and opened the bottle of wine, taking out too cups from the basket and pouring them each a drink. Tomas held up his cup. “To you and your health.” He took a drink; Leif was still sitting stunned in his chair, hands wrapped around his cup.

“Tomas.” Leif spoke his name with wonder. Tomas just reached over and urged Leif to drink.

“Please Leif. Enjoy the moment; no one knows I’m here. No one saw. Please.”

“Aye.” Leif closed his eyes and drank. It was the sweetest wine he’d ever tasted. “What be this?”

“Mead, it’s made with honey off our Isle. Here, eat too. Mead will go to your head if you don’t eat with it.” Tomas reached in the basket again and laid out cheeses and grapes, soft fresh rolls and bits of cold roasted chicken and pork. Leif shivered, the room was cold and Tomas moved them nearer the nearly banked fire which blazed up a little from Tomas’ magical urging as he sat Leif down on a rug on the floor, Tomas sat cross-legged down beside him, pulled Leif’s blanket up around his shoulders then he lifted a grape and pressed it to Leif’s lips.

“All warm?” Leif nodded in a haze. Tomas smiled. “Good. Now taste.”

Leif, too astonished and speechless to argue, let Tomas feed him foods he’d never seen or tasted. Cheeses were creamy and soft. Bread was moist and fresh, the meats full of flavor and the sweet juices from fruit was like ambrosia on the senses.

Leif was lost in sensation. He was swept verily off his feet by Tomas’ affectionate attentions as his strong calloused fingers pressed sinful delights and treasures past Leif’s lips. He was heady and full by the time Tomas paused, he felt drunk with pleasure as Tomas leaned closer, a hand carding it’s way through Leif’s hair and coming to rest at the back of Leif’s neck, pulling him closer. Leif just closed his eyes; he was in a wonderful dreamlike state. Tomas was suddenly his entire world. Tall and ruggedly handsome, broad of chest and shoulder with narrow hips and long sturdy muscled limbs. Short dark hair like the night sky, eyes the color of fresh grass, skin like moon glow. He was as exotically beautiful to Leif as Leif was to him. Desire roared to life and Leif’s heart pounded in his ears as he let Tomas pull him closer without resistance.

“I am so very much in love with you.” Tomas whispered, his lips so close to Leif’s the breath of his whisper could be felt against them. Leif shivered and this time not from cold. No one, not even the trader who had given him his first and only kiss had ever told Leif he was loved before. No one but his mother had ever spoken those words to him and never like this. Never so evidently and utterly true. Leif could feel it in his very soul, he could tell deep down that Tomas had never spoken these words to another and he meant every word spoken with passionate sincerity. Leif’s heart swelled to bursting. He couldn’t speak, he was taught as a bowstring with sweet anticipation and his lips gently parted in welcome as Tomas’ found purchase.

Leif melted into Tomas’ arms as he rolled Leif into the rug on the floor. His body half atop Leif’s, chest to chest and heart to heart, arms holding each other as they lost themselves to the kiss. Tomas ran gentle kisses across his face, his jaw, nibbled at ear lobes and at his throat. Every touch of his lips making Leif tremble and submit to sweet torture. His hands were lost in Tomas’ soft hair as he nipped and dripped kisses across Leif’s collarbone.

They were drinking in each other’s senses. Breath was coming in sweet gasps of pleasure as Tomas’ fingers found the laces of Leif’s long fleece nightshirt and deftly pulled them open to expose more of his smooth chest. Sitting up for a moment to pull his own shirt off, a broad chest with a thatch of dark black hair between strong pectoral muscles came into view and Leif’s hands reached up to touch the soft skin and softer hair. Hands splayed across twitching chest muscles, he could feel Tomas’ heart pounding in time to his own.

Leif was flushed where he lay on his back in the fur rug. His hair fanning out from his pate like a halo. Tomas slid his hands up under Leif’s nightshirt and pushed it up, Leif lifting as Tomas removed the garment and tossed it aside. That had been all Leif had been wearing and Tomas was left with no doubt Leif’s desire was echoing his own as his hand gently caressed an erection that lay against a smooth firm stomach.

“So beautiful.” Tomas’ breathed leaning over to nuzzle Leif’s aroused sex. Leif moaned in the back of his throat. Tomas took a deep breath and shuddered at the glorious smell of arousal. Leif was a willing virgin, in desperate need to feel loved. Tomas took his time, kissed every inch of exposed skin, tasted every curve, stroked every line until Leif was mewling and weeping with joy as he shuddered and came as Tomas’s lips and mouth surrounded his aching flesh.

Tomas discreetly spit the fluid into his palm and then used it in ways that had Leif once more panting and weeping. Fingers probed and pushed, using Leif’s semen as a lubricant. Tomas felt Leif relax as he was invaded and once there, Tomas undid his breeches with one hand and shoved them down passed his hips, freeing his own aching need as he continued to caress and prepare his virgin lover with his other hand.

“Relax beloved.” Tomas whispered as he positioned himself and pushed.

An aching sob gurgled in Leif’s throat, but not from pain but sheer pleasure. His hands gripped Tomas’ shoulders as Tomas slowly took his own pleasure. Languid and long drawn out movements, Tomas would not rush this, he loved this man to the point of obsession. He would give to Leif everything he had in his power and make his first experience something he would never forget. Leif needed this, Tomas could feel the desperation fill his core and a light of love and desire settle in his heart.

This was deeper than love; this was a much stronger connection. It was not soul-bound but close enough to feel like one. This was what Van and Ilya shared, a tight spiritual bond that transcended emotions and amplified them. Tomas came in sobs of his own as he crushed Leif’s mouth in a devouring kiss to choke back his cries of release. They clung to one another, weeping as one as love took hold and refused to let her sacrifices to fate go. It was bittersweet torture on their heightened senses.

How would they ever face tomorrow? Knowing that come dawn they could not acknowledge this connection to one another and Leif would never be able to leave with Tomas. They would have to part and it would leave them both bereft for the rest of their lives. Because once joined only death would sever their bond.

They cried agonizing tears as they held each other and wept themselves to sleep.

It was first light when they awoke still wrapped in each other’s arms, frozen with cold on the floor. Tomas moved them off the hard floor and into the narrow bed as they shivered and crawled under blankets.

“Tomas…”

“I know beloved. I know. I will not be seen when I leave. I would rather die than cause you more pain.”

“My heart being already broken, love you with ache in soul. But not ever forget love you show me, worth all pain to know.”

“Beloved I’ll find a way. I promise.”

“Tomas, heart of mine. Make not promise cannot keep. Please.”

Tomas just sighed and kissed Leif’s hair atop the head resting on his own broken heart. The sun was rising and Tomas sadly crawled out of bed and got dressed again. Leif was curled up in bed wrapped in furs and blankets watching Tomas dress with tears shimmering in his eyes.

Tomas bent to kiss him. “I love you.”

Leif smiled solemnly “Love Tomas too. Hurry, being caught must not be heart of mine.”

Tomas nodded and vanished from sight again. The door opened then closed and a few sounds of crunching snow underfoot could be heard and then silence.

Leif fell back into the pillows and cried. His heart shattered to pieces even as it swelled with love. Love was indeed a double-edged sword and caused equal amounts of pain and sorrow as it did delight and joy.

~*~*~*~


Sonja was on deck waiting in her robe, she’d been up half the night with worry as she heard footsteps coming up the plank and then saw Tomas materialize on deck out of his cloaking spell.

“You’re soul bound to him aren’t you?”

“Nay, but close enough to hurt like it Gran.” Tomas sighed heavily as she took his hand and they walked to his cabin. Tomas was bone weary and his soul felt torn open and bleeding.

“Love we’ll find a way.” She said as they entered his Cabin and she put the kettle on to boil.

“I said that too and he told me not to make him promises I couldn’t keep. Gran I love him so much I can’t breathe. I don’t know how we’re going to survive this torture.”

“You will. Hurts like hell, but you will.”

“I wish I could be as sure about it as you seem to be. I’m exhausted.” Tomas said as she passed him a cup of tea.

“I’m not surprised. You smell like you had a good night though.”

“Gran!”

“Hon, please. I know you and you smell like Leif and a few other things unmentionable.”

“You seem to be mentioning them just fine.” Tomas scowled. Sonja just smiled, waiting.

“Well?” She drawled when no explanation was forthcoming willingly.

“Gods Gran! What do you want? A detailed bloody description?”

“No. I want to hear that Leif smiled at least once last night.”

“Aye Gran. I wouldn’t trade last night for the world. Happy now?”

“Aye. Get some sleep. I set a guard watch for him. I’m having him brought on board the minute he gets here. I can get away with it, they won’t bitch if I order him about and I am ordering him in here with you. No one on board will tell or talk and no one else will come in here. It will be safe and my excuse is I am asking him about the care of our new herd.”

“You certainly thought this out.”

“Boy, it’s called experience and old women get away with murder.” Sonja winked leaving Tomas to fall into bed to sleep, it was just newly dawn, he had a few hours left to sleep until morning proper.

~*~*~*~*



TO READ THE ENTIRE 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 **


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