-The Response Of Meliodas-
His eyes snap open instantly taking in the minute details of pale blue above his head. Awareness is quick to come next—it's essential to know your surroundings being a demon such as he—so it's not even a moment that he picks up the sensation of someone pressed against his side, hot, soft, and all skin. Meliodas almost jerks, almost, but years of training has taught him how to be a sneaky bastard as well as a ruthless one.
Black lacking any source of warmth lands heavily on the figure he sensed and—
He swallows after a moment of observing silvery strands resting over sleeping features, listening to the soft sounds of slumber slip through pink parted lips, roaming down creamy skin marked with the evidence of their joining the night prior, and there's plenty of it, he thinks while ogling the love bite just under her left breast. Elizabeth, the Goddess of Purity.
A sensation tries to well up in his chest not unlike a viper winding up before it strikes, but Meliodas pulls back before it overwhelms, his arm sliding from under her as he turns to face away. The feeling gradually fades as he heaves a sigh into his hands that scrub at his face and he finds the sound of the waterfall behind them helps to drown out the insanity of the situation.
He'd mated with a goddess of all beings. He hadn't even intended on partaking in the season, had been heading to the seclusion of the mountains where he'd planned to rub the deep seated need out no matter how unstated that left him in the end. On his way there though he was caught off guard by a demon thinking Meliodas was trying to steal territory. Of course the ruthless prince retaliated, but what he hadn't expected was the eroding poison left to attack his wound. That's how Elizabeth found him.
He brushes messy hair from his face and looks over his shoulder at the sleeping woman behind him with a wry grin. He'd teased her a bit before doing the unthinkable and letting her go. It must've been the gullible lamb look she'd worn as he'd nestled into the cradle of her hips. The grin slips into a flat calculating line as his eyes fall onto the curve of her figure once more. Her scent had followed him undeniably afterwards, fresh shocks like spring water in the air yet delicate and sweet like the lilies that float upon it. He was overtaken by his instincts before he even realized it, this place set up and ready for the hunt without him giving it a second thought.
But now that heady blanket of urges that settled over his mind has been lifted. The month of consuming passion has ended leaving behind consequences he can’t simply shrug off.
Meliodas groans in slight aggravation moving to lift up off of the nesting of cushions he’d so lovingly set up for the two when an exceptionally deep breath causes him to freeze. A mix between a yawn and a sigh passes. Then a slow breathy call of his name slides heat along the back of his neck. He turns to see the brushing of pink on her cheeks and a happy little grin to match. Gullible, naive, so damn trusting, it’s all over her heart shaped face.
She has no idea mating season is over and that he’s the same monster who tried to kill her without a second thought, and yet… not.
“Meliodas, is something wrong?”
‘Yeah... how about I should want to wipe out your existence, but you suddenly have this weird place inside of me that says I can’t.’ He doesn’t bother saying that aloud. He can’t even bring himself to look her directly in her imploring blue gaze.
An awkward moment passes filled only with the heavy rush of water.
“Oh.” He tightens his jaw and finally has it in him to look and sees her gaze turned from his now downcast upon the ruffled sheets and cushions beneath her. "Something's changed. Usually you can barely stand to keep your hands off of me and now you look like you want to run away."
He does want to run away, not necessarily from her, just the ridiculous situation he's gotten himself into. He's ravaged towns and villages, emerged covered in the gore he saw fit to leave behind. No one was safe from him. The fairies, giants, even the goddesses. He's had his fun toying around with all of the clans one way or another. And yet with all the mess that's created, people fearing yet wanting his head on a platter, he can't seem to face this one beautiful woman who's given herself to him in ways no other has?
The word coward tastes wretched in his mouth. So as always Meliodas aims to prove wrong just like when people believed he wasn't heartless enough to steal the hearts of their young maidens—of course he did it a step further and pilfered their virtues as well.
Meliodas places a hand on her arm smoothing his grip into a gentle tug as he murmurs, "Come." She follows of course standing on slightly unstable feet in the cool grit of the sand. If he recalls correctly, the night before he hadn't been particularly rough with her; in fact, it was quite the opposite. Things had been slow and deep with touches all over though her peak had hit her hard by the scores she left in his skin. He hadn't thought she'd still be a little affected by it at this point. He shrugs it off and makes his hold a bit more secure as he guides her to the water. As he noticed before the evidence of their joining is prevalent on her and cleaning her up will be a sign that he's not distancing himself.
Elizabeth, though, sees it as a chance to try and squeeze answers from him the moment they're treading water and he's reaching for the soap he'd made just a few days prior—that was downtime he used for once not watching the goddess sleep or hunting for their next meal. "The season is over, isn't it?"
He gets her to sit on the raised rock by the shore before answering. Her skin glistens with water and the soft rays of the sun and he'd dare to say she's beautiful. The weird jump in his stomach and tingle in his chest would say she's far more than that pathetic excuse for a word as she stares down at him with wide eyes. But he mentally shakes himself out of the momentary trance and brings the soap to her skin starting at her neck, forming the words she needs to hear. "Yes. It ended last night."
Her skin becomes silky smooth under his hands as she absorbs the confirmation allowing them both time to think of what to do next. He reaches her stomach, the tips of his fingers grazing over it and freezes. There's no change to her physique really. It's just as soft and warm as always. It's just a wisp of energy he can feel that wasn't there before that's neither hers nor his, but theirs. He knew he'd gotten the job done in the first few days and the rest were simply spent fucking for pleasure's sake, but simply feeling the beginnings of their child is almost more than he can take. What is he going to do? A child with a goddess?
"You're going to leave me, aren't you?" She suddenly voices in a soft heartrending cadence as if reading his thoughts. His hearts still, his next breath refusing to come.
"Meliodas?" She shakily reaches for him running her hand through his hair so that he'll look up at her, and fuck she's absolutely angelic in a heart stopping kind of way. Why is he not disgusted to even be within viewing range of her?
Pulling her down into the water with him so that the suds wash from her skin he shakes his head firmly. "I said your heart would be safe with me, didn't I? I'm sure it would hurt quite a bit if I left." He tries to smirk past her worries, but her full lips remain down turned. They even quiver. What he wouldn't give to have her biting them in futile attempts to quell her moans instead of looking as if she's holding back tears. "You are going to leave. For the war remember?"
The war. Of course. Mating season had to rear its ugly head at the worst possible time, and above all else he hadn't even wanted to get involved, for this reason especially. His lips tighten in a grimace displaying his own war for her to see. Water mists in the air, crisp against the burn of indecision. So he makes to move around her pushing up onto the rock himself, when slick, delicate hands encircle his wrist halting him from leaving entirely. The goddess is persistent in keeping him there, making him settle down with only her hands on his frame before she picks up the forgotten soap and begins to clean him just as he did her.
He watches silently as she traces his arms, his torso, reaching around to lather his back, his eyes never leaving her face and the seconds from breaking expression she attempts to hide. It's so obvious in the flaring of her nostrils, the frequent flutter of her eyes, he's studied her face more thoroughly than a tactical advantage and he almost feels guilty for it. When she's taking the water to his skin slowly and methodically, he surprises himself by sweeping his fingers along her cheeks then gingerly tilts her head up to face him. "The war doesn't resume immediately." He hopes—he's never been in this situation to know for sure exactly. "So we still have some time together."
The flush that rises in her cheeks is mesmerizing and something else. He's seen women blush in his presence before, usually to try and catch his favor or in the throes of wild sex, but Elizabeth is different. She's sweet, gentle, and wholly pleasing like honey atop the most savory of desserts. She has no heinous intentions when she gazes at him bashful. It's refreshing.
"Come here," he urges pulling her up to sit beside him as the water laps at their waists. "We can talk, if you want, now that my mind's clear." Mostly. He's still influenced by her massive space in the miniscule list of things he actually cares about.
She takes to his words eagerly, slowly grasping his hands as her thumbs begin to press, rub, and slide along his palms. It's such an oddly intimate gesture—more intimate than having slid between her legs before—something inside him squirms in an almost nervous fashion. Then he notices the way her eyes focus intently on him as if he's something important and not in a big scary, run for your life kind of way, and that squirm turns into a full blown convulsion. "Meliodas, do you... Do you want me? Do you really want me around now that the season's over? Do you want to know me... or am I just an obligation now?"
Her words are soft-spoken yet ripe with meaning. Fuck, she wants a genuine relationship. Her eyes haven't left his once nor has the tender caress of her thumbs ceased. She's the epitome of composed nude before him while he sits trying not to become overwhelmed.
But one look down at their joined hands, one set battle worn and covered in the phantom blood of the innocent, the other soft, pure, and can do no harm, and he's up and backing away from the water, the nest, her, as he gives a noncommittal answer to a question she didn't ask. "I'll go hunt some food down because you're hungry, right?" His hearts stammer in his chest as he disappears into the trees, not allowing himself to hear if she has a response. 'I'll be right back,' he tells himself as he creates distance. 'I'm not running away.' He lies easily to make the remembrance of her hands fade away.
A snarl comes to his face, twisting his lips angrily and narrowing his eyes dangerously as he smacks a fern out of his way. What the hell was that? Does he want her? Does he want to know her? Of course not, right? That's why he's so pissed that she'd have the audacity to bring up such a thing. He stops and drives his fist through the bark of a tree relishing in the slight pull against his skin meaning cuts have given way to blood. When he's gotten so bad at lying he can't even do it to himself, there's a problem.
Those wriggling feelings and fluttery sensations in his chest he's been experiencing would very much like to know what makes that goddess tick, he just doesn't understand the whys and when he doesn't understand the whys then how can he know if he's being ruled by instinct and not his own judgment? She's a goddess for fuck's sake! Why would he want anything to do with the enemy?
From what he understands of these seasons they usually occur between demons, but sometimes humans get caught in the hunt. A goddess though is probably rare or simply unheard of. After things are said and done bonds are made but can be broken, demons can choose to stick together if the pairing suits their needs after all. But this, whatever this is with Elizabeth feels far more complex than sticking together for mutual needs. And he doesn't know how to handle this information quite yet, hence the splintered tree left in his wake.
Meliodas releases the tension in his fist and runs the scuffed hand through his bangs briefly. Then his thin gaze flicks downward to his state of undress and briefly allows the darkness pulsing coolly in his chest to push outward along his skin curling down his legs like dark wispy trousers. But it's when he lets his power slink outwards that he starts to feel a tug at the back of his mind, like he's forgetting something. His magic is quick to guide his steps through the forest, leading him to a thick hanging of soft leaves on thin vines that he quickly pulls apart knowing somehow it's simply there to conceal. What though, he's not certain until his hand comes in contact with wood.
Blond brows pinch together as he realizes it's a door of all things built perfectly into the side of a rocky formation none would think to really search for. Twitchy from anticipating the worst, he enters and peers through the darkness and stray beam of light from the open door, slowly taking in his surroundings with rising disbelief. When he spies a lantern he's quick to draw forth a bit of his flames sending a flare through the air to light it and regrets it instantly when the room comes into clear relief.
"What. The. Hell!?"
It's a warm and cozy type of home carved right into the cool stone with everything one would need, from what he can see of the room he's in so far—he's too mortified to go in any further—and quite a few things not necessary, by far. On the shelves, on the smooth walls, even the sole table, there are figurines, paintings, a mural on the fucking roof, all of these of Elizabeth. Some made of wood, others of glass, there's metal, clay—he squints closer at one—is that bone?
Meliodas grips his hair until the embarrassment he feels becomes second to the pain at his roots. "When did I have time to do this!? I must've been unhinged with my instincts." His voice strains as he studies the paintings of Elizabeth that aren't even that good, wondering what could've been going through his mind at the time. Did he think he'd bring her back here after the season was over and she'd be ecstatic to see that she'd mated with some obsessed psycho? His stomach drops down to his toes and he all but races to begin incinerating any incriminating evidence if he has to. Opinions of others usually don't bother him, but for some reason the idea of her seeing this twists his insides uncomfortably.
It's too bad a squeak at the door when he reaches the center of the room tells him he's too late.
"Meliodas?" She's hesitant in calling out to him, he did run away from her after all, no matter how vehemently he denies it to himself. "I'm sorry I followed you, but I wasn't sure if you were hurt when you, um, punched that tree, so," A pause, the one he was absolutely dreading. Then her sweet voice lowers into a breathy sort of shock. "Oh my..."
Where's the nearest window so he can climb out and make his grand escape? He searches with his eyes frantically, but from what he can tell at the moment Elizabeth is standing between him and his only way out. So he finally turns to give her an as closed of look as he can muster, but finds himself once again drawn to the way her face expresses her thoughts. And her thoughts are rather loud. She's flustered by all of this if the deep pink spreading across her nose is anything to go by. But she's full of wonder too as her lips round and her eyes widen. Maybe there's even a bit of nerves as she twiddles a bit with silvery hair around one finger.
He quietly watches her take in this ghastly room feeling his mortification drain bit by bit and her questions from earlier drift through his mind. It's funny, he finds. The answers have been there all along. Right in front of him even.
Elizabeth finally blinks into focus turning slightly moist eyes on him. She closes the gap between them and takes his fidgeting hands without thought. "I was so worried you didn't want me around, but this is a home you made for us isn't?" She speaks in a tender kind of tone looking right in his eyes, doing that intimate thing again. "It's a very... sweet gesture, Meliodas."
He makes a weird kind of laugh and he realizes why it's odd a second later when there's no derision mixed it. "It's not sweet. It's creepy."
"It's the thought that counts." She concedes with a closed eyed smile and damn it all he decides this goddess is one he's going to keep whole, safe, and all his. Her eyes open bright and lacking any sense of worry. "Now come on. If this room is like this, I'm sure you've got some clothes for me somewhere." Her giggle as she tugs him towards one of the back rooms is something he'll always want more of.
"These aren't staying here, Elizabeth." He points out with a smirks after her. God knows he'd never live it down.
Her bare shoulder lifts in a shrug, then twinkling eyes meet his over the very same one. "Fine by me."
He can't stay forever, the war will resume after all, but he's definitely coming back to her when he can, as often as he can. Elizabeth is addicting and he does have a lot to learn about her and a child to raise with her in the future. A jittery sensation rises in his palm at the idea, probably a remnant of the torrent of emotions that snowballed atop of him since he awoke to blue skies.
Elizabeth squeezes his hand, steadying him, and all he feels in response is content.