Chapter 1: Brewfest
Tyrathan sat on the couch in the den as he listened to Vol’jin recite his Brewfest speech. Vol’jin was to give his Tapping of the Keg speech tomorrow, right after dawn. It sounded good. It sounded good the first time, the second time, the tenth time, the twenty-fifth time, and the fiftieth time.
By the fifty-eighth time, Tyrathan was certain that he could recite Vol’jin’s speech himself, from memory, in his sleep. Thinking of sleep, he realized how tired he was. He tried to stifle a yawn as he glanced out the window. It was late.
“Be I borin’ ya?” asked Vol’jin, lifting an eyebrow.
“No, I’m just tired. The speech sounds good,” answered Tyrathan.
Vol’jin gave a disbelieving snort as he looked back at the paper in his hand.
“It does sound good,” assured Tyrathan.
“Ya just be sayin’ dat cause ya love me,” argued Vol’jin.
“No. The reason I listened to it fifty-eight times is because I love you.” Tyrathan said as he stood up. “I’m saying it’s good because it is good.”
“I not be repeatin’ it fifty eight times,” denied Vol’jin as he looked back up.
“Yes, you did,” sighed Tyrathan. “It’s late. So unless you want to fall asleep during your own speech tomorrow, I suggest we go to bed.” Tyrathan headed for the bedroom. He could hear Vol’jin grumble something under his breath, that included the word manthing, but the troll followed anyway.
Vol’jin smiled as he finished the Tapping of the Keg ceremony. It had gone perfectly. The Brewfest revelers filled the air with cheers. Of course, that could just be the booze. Many of the revelers had already started drinking.
Vol’jin glanced over to where Tyrathan had stood watching the whole time. The human smiled at him. Vol’jin walked over to the human.
“I told you that you would do fine,” smirked Tyrathan. There was a smugness in that smile.
Vol’jin wanted to wipe that smug smirk off the hunter’s face and he had an idea just how to do that. He grabbed the front of the human’s shirt and pulled him into a kiss.
A few whistles came from some nearby revelers. When Vol’jin broke the kiss, it was his turn to have a smug smile.
“Was that necessary?” asked Tyrathan. His cheeks were turning red.
“Yes,” smirked Vol’jin. “Come on. Let’s see what kind of brew Chen be bringin’.” He wrapped an arm around Tyrathan’s shoulders and steered him towards where the Pandaren had set up his stall. This was going to be the best Brewfest yet.
“I hate you. I hate Chen. I hate this holiday,” muttered Tyrathan the next morning into his pillow.
“No, ya don’t,” said Vol’jin smiling as he rubbed the back of his hungover mate.
Chapter 2: Surprise Visitor
Vol’jin returns to his tent, after giving his testimony at Garrosh’s trial, for some much needed peace and quiet. Only to find that he has an unexpected, but not unwelcome, visitor.
Vol’jin was mentally drained. It had been a difficult day. He had given his testimony at the trial of Garrosh Hellscream. Vol’jin had talked about the attempted assassination, on Garrosh’s orders, that almost took his life. A memory he did not enjoy reliving.
Baine had countered that with a vision of Vol’jin threatening to assassinate Garrosh himself. Vol’jin had asked Baine to defend Garrosh in this trial, and the young Chieftain was doing his job well.
Vol’jin sighed as he entered his tent and secured the flap behind him. At that moment, he realized that he was not alone. Somebody was in the tent with him. Somebody familiar.
Vol’jin smiled. “I’m not gonna ask how ya managed to get in here without da guards knowin’,” he said as he turned around.
A figure stepped out of the far shadowy corner of the tent.
“It wasn’t easy, but I found a way,” smirked Tyrathan Khort.
Vol’jin shook his head. “I not be surprised. What ya be doin’ here?”
“Chen told me that you were here, so I decided to come see you before I went home. Warchief of the Horde. That’s a nice title for you. I don’t think the Horde could have picked a better leader,” said Tyrathan.
“It be a lot of responsibility,” said Vol’jin.
“I bet Mr. I Speak for da Horde,” laughed Tyrathan.
“How do ya know about dat?” asked Vol’jin. Had Tyrathan been there?
“Chen told me. I would have accused him of exaggerating, but it does sound like something you would say.” Tyrathan then sobered. “How are you feeling? You had a rough day.”
“Were ya watchin’ dat today?” Vol’jin asked.
“Your testimony? Yes,” frowned Tyrathan.
So Tyrathan had seen the visions presented as evidence. Vol’jin was uncertain of how he felt about that. He had told Tyrathan about both of those things, so it should not have come as a surprise.
“You told me what had happened, but seeing it...” Tyrathan shook his head. “It’s a good thing Taran Zhu didn’t let me bring my bow or a would have shot an arrow at Garrosh right then and there.” There was an angry fire burning in the hunter’s eyes.
“Den Taran Zhu would have ya locked up wherever he be keepin’ da other troublemakers,” chuckled Vol’jin.
“He told me that if I did get into trouble, he would send me right back to the Monastery,” laughed Tyrathan.
Vol’jin had missed that laugh. He had missed this human. Seeing Tyrathan again made Vol’jin realize that he was not sure if he could bear another separation from him. He wanted Tyrathan by his side. The human belonged with him. Vol’jin thought about asking Tyrathan to come back to Orgrimmar with him.
“Tyrathan...” began Vol’jin.
“I can’t, Vol’jin,” said Tyrathan.
Vol’jin smiled despite the answer. The human knew what Vol’jin was thinking and what he was going to ask.
“I need to be there for my children. For their sake, I need to try to make things work out with my wife. I have to try,” argued Tyrathan.
“So ya really gonna put their happiness above yours?” Vol’jin asked.
“It’s what I do,” Tyrathan shook his head. “I don’t deserve to be happy,” he whispered.
That broke Vol’jin’s heart. Vol’jin pulled Tyrathan into a tight hug. “Yes, you do,” Vol’jin whispered back into the human’s ear. If Tyrathan came back to Orgrimmar with him, he would do anything and everything to make the human happy.
Vol’jin pressed his nose against Tyrathan’s neck, being careful with his tusks. Vol’jin took a deep breath of Tyrathan’s scent. He could still smell the Pandaren Monastery clinging to the human, but underneath that was the smell of a forest full of pine trees.
Vol’jin’s instincts urged him to bite the Tyrathan’s neck, to mark him, to claim him, that this was his human. Vol’jin ignored those instincts. He would not do that as long as the human intended to reunite with his wife. Vol’jin pressed a gentle kiss to Tyrathan’s neck instead.
“Maybe, if things don’t work out with...” began Vol’jin.
“Maybe...” Tyrathan interrupted again.
Vol’jin kissed Tyrathan’s neck again. It had not been a promise, or even a plan, but at least it was a possibility. For now, it would have to be enough.
Tyrathan sighed. “I should go.”
“Stay. Stay tonight,” whispered Vol’jin as he pressed his forehead against Tyrathan’s, looking into his eyes. His instincts were now whispering that his cot was just a few feet away. It would be much warmer with his human beside him.
Tyrathan’s face showed indecision. There was conflict in his eyes. Then that look cleared away and Tyrathan opened his mouth to answer.
Footsteps outside the tent made them both tense. Vol’jin tightened his grip around Tyrathan protectively.
“Warchief,” said a female voice from just outside the tent. “Da Tauren Baine says he be needin’ to speak with ya.”
“I be dere in a moment,” answered Vol’jin.
“Aye, Warchief,” said the guard.
Tyrathan placed a hand on each of Vol’jin’s cheeks, bringing Vol’jin’s attention back to him. “My family needs me, and your family needs you,” said Tyrathan. He pressed a sweet kiss to Vol’jin’s lips.
Vol’jin kissed the hunter back until Tyrathan broke the kiss and stepped back. The human smiled and nodded at the tent’s entrance.
“You should see what he wants. It sounded important,” smiled Tyrathan.
Vol’jin nodded and turned to leave the tent. He knew that when he got back that Tyrathan would be gone.
Chapter 3: Hearthstone
“Tyrathan, I have somethin’ for ya,” said Vol’jin as he walked into the room.
Tyrathan looked up from the arrow he was working on. He set it aside when he saw that Vol’jin was holding something.
Vol’jin crouched down next to him. He held out something in his hand. A round, polished white stone with a blue design carved in it. It took Tyrathan a moment to realize what it was. A hearthstone.
Tyrathan had seen them before, but he had never had one of his own. Hearthstones tended to be expensive. Then a mage had to attune it to a specific location. A good mage. If a mage did not know what they were doing, you could find yourself standing on the roof, trapped under the floor, or missing a body part or two. Some mages charged a lot for their services. Definitely beyond the means of a simple hunter in the employ of a small noble family.
“This is for me?” Tyrathan asked as he picked the stone up. It felt warm in his hand. Although he could not use magic, Tyrathan swore he could feel the stone lightly pulsing with it.
“Aye,” Vol’jin nodded. “It be for ya. It be set to our rooms here.”
Here. In Grommash Hold. It suddenly became very real to Tyrathan. This was his home now. Vol’jin really wanted him here.
“Tyrathan, is somethin’ wrong?” Vol’jin asked.
Tyrathan glanced back up at Vol’jin’s face. The troll looked worried.
Tyrathan shook his head, smiling. “No. Everything is perfect.” He threw his arms around Vol’jin in a hug. “Thank you,” he whispered in Vol’jin’s ear. “I love you.”
“I love ya too,” Vol’jin whispered back as he wrapped his arms around Tyrathan.
Chapter 4: Overheard
Or, Tyrathan learns that having guards posted outside the bedroom has a drawback.
“How do you even know about that?” asked Tyrathan Khort worriedly.
“So it’s true,” smirked Nystela.
“I’m not answering that question. You answer mine. Why would you say something like that?” demanded Tyrathan. He could feel his cheeks starting to turn red from embarrassment.
“That’s what the guards say,” explained Nystela.
“She not know what she be talkin’ about,” argued Jenji.
“I’ve even heard it for myself. I was catching up with a friend of mine who was assigned to guard the door to the Warchief’s quarters. We could hear you and the Warchief...getting busy.” Nystela told him.
“That’s kind of similar to the noises that I heard,” began Nystela.
“Shut up!” Jenji screamed at Nystela.
“You heard us. The guards hear us.” Tyrathan could not believe what he was hearing. He rubbed his temples. He could feel a migraine coming on. The guards could hear him and Vol’jin when they were being...intimate.
“Relax. The guards are sworn to secrecy,” said Nystela.
“They hear us,” repeated Tyrathan numbly. He threw his head back and let out a frustrated scream causing Nystela and Jenji both to jump back in alarm.
Chapter 5: Jihui
Tyrathan was up to something. Vol’jin was sure of that, but what it was, he did not know. The man had come to supper with a wide smile on his face and his green eyes dancing.
“Ya look like da raptor dat swallowed da wolf. What ya be up to?” Vol’jin asked.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The human still had that smile on his face.
“Tyrathan,” Vol’jin narrowed his eyes.
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” smirked the hunter.
Vol’jin shook his head. There was no telling what his human was up to this time.
After supper, Vol’jin followed Tyrathan into the den and stopped when he saw what his human had set up. A table with chairs on opposite sides had been moved into the room. On the table was a jihui board already set up.
“Where did ya get dis?” Vol’jin asked.
“I saw some Pandaren playing jihui outside one of the auction houses. I asked them if they could get us a board and they did.” Tyrathan sat down in one of the chairs and Vol’jin took the other.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed the game until I saw them playing,” explained Tyrathan.
“It be bringing back memories,” said Vol’jin. The peaceful atmosphere of the Shadowpan Monastery. The silence of the snow falling outside. Sitting across from a human that he had been determined not to like. Luckily, that had not gone according to his original plan.
“What be funny?” Vol’jin lifted an eyebrow.
“I was remembering something. The first time we played this game, the whole time, I just kept thinking it had to be some crazy dream, or that I had hit my head so hard that I was hallucinating. That there was no way I was really teaching Vol’jin of the Horde how to play a board game. I figured I was going to wake up any moment.” Tyrathan shook his head.
“What ya be thinkin’ now?” Vol’jin asked curiously.
Tyrathan frowned. “Now? Now, I am afraid I am going to wake up and this would have all been a dream.”
“It not be a dream,” said Vol’jin smiling. He got up from his chair and moved to the other side of the table. He pressed his forehead against Tyrathan’s, looking into his eyes. “If it do be a dream, I not want to wake up either.”
Chapter 6: Accent
When Vol’jin first met Tyrathan, Tyrathan spoke Zandali with a Stranglethorn accent. It sounded odd to Vol’jin’s ear at first, but he got used to it. So, he did not realize at first when a Darkspear tone started to creep into Tyrathan’s accent. Vol’jin did notice, however, when he realized that his mate’s accent was an almost even mixture of Darkspear and Stranglethorn. It sounded so strange.
Vol’jin let out a snort of laughter while Tyrathan was talking to him one night.
“What are you laughing at?” asked Tyrathan in Zandali.
“Say dat again,” said Vol’jin.
“The stablemaster said Jihui is healthy baby raptor,” repeated Tyrathan as he petted the raptor.
Vol’jin burst out laughing.
“Why is that funny?” demanded Tyrathan.
“It just be da way ya said it,” chuckled Vol’jin.
“What’s wrong with the way I said it?” asked Tyrathan with a confused expression.
“Ya haven’t noticed? Ya got Darkspear in ya accent now. It sounds strange when mixed with Stranglethorn,” explained Vol’jin.
“You’re laughing at the way I talk?” Tyrathan switched to Common.
“It be okay. It be cute,” said Vol’jin smiling.
Vol’jin had a sulking human on his hands. Tyrathan was not acting like he was angry. He was acting more like his feelings had been hurt, and he had not said a single Zandali word in almost two days.
Even when Vol’jin said something to Tyrathan in Zandali, the human would respond in Orcish or Common. Vol’jin wanted to hear Tyrathan say something in Zandali. Not because he wanted to laugh at it, but he actually missed hearing Tyrathan speak Zandali.
“Tyrathan, please talk to me,” said Vol’jin in Zandali as he wrapped his arms around his human.
“I haven’t stopped talking to you,” answered Tyrathan in Common.
“Say something in Zandali,” coaxed Vol’jin in Zandali as he brushed his tusks carefully against Tyrathan’s face.
“Why? So you can laugh?” asked Tyrathan defensively in Common.
“I not goin’ to laugh,” explained Vol’jin in Zandali.
“If it sounds so strange, why do you want to hear it?” asked Tyrathan in Common.
“Because its ya. Ya be da only one in da world who speaks like dat,” said Vol’jin in Zandali.
Tyrathan shook his head.
“Please, my mate, my love.” Vol’jin continued to whisper sweet soft names in Zandali as he pressed gentle kisses to Tyrathan’s face and neck.
Tyrathan sighed. “What would the other leaders of the Horde think if they could hear you talking pillowtalk like this?” Tyrathan asked in Zandali, smiling. He then gasped as Vol’jin bit the skin on his neck lightly.
“I not have to worry. Ya be da only one I talk to dis way,” smiled Vol’jin. He pressed a soft kiss to Tyrathan’s lips.
Chapter 7: A Draenor Night
Vol’jin could not sleep. He had arrived that day to Frostwall garrison on Draenor. It had been a busy day meeting with the garrison commander, Go’el, Khadgar, and the Frostwolf orcs. Vol’jin was exhausted and ready for sleep, but it eluded him for some reason. He tossed and turned, trying to figure out what was keeping him awake.
His room in the garrison was not as large as his rooms in Grommash Hold, but it was cozy. In fact, it was the nicest room in the whole garrison, except for the garrison commander’s room. The commander had offered to give Vol’jin her room, but Vol’jin had declined. This room was more than adequate. Vol’jin had slept in smaller and more cramped quarters. He had even slept outside with no shelter, so that was not the reason he was awake.
It was cold here. Even colder than it had been at the Shadowpan Monastery in Pandaria. Vol’jin did not enjoy the cold, but his sleeping quarters were not cold. A couple of braziers burned warm in the room. Furs covered the door and the windows, blocking any drafts. Also, Vol’jin had a thick fur blanket to sleep under.
He was sleeping on a floor mat. He was used to that. Granted, it had been a while since he had used a floor mat. In Grommash Hold, he had a bed. Of course, that was more for Tyrathan’s sake than Vol’jin’s. His human would willingly sleep on a floor mat with him, but after a few nights of that, his bad leg would begin to bother him painfully.
Tyrathan would deny it until it got to the point where he could not walk without pain. So, whenever they went somewhere, Vol’jin would discreetly try to arrange softer sleeping surfaces whenever he could. Vol’jin would sleep in the bed with his human because he liked to hold Tyrathan as they slept.
Vol’jin sat straight up as he realized why he could not sleep. Every night since he had reunited with Tyrathan, he had slept with his human by his side. Tonight, his human was not here. Vol’jin had left Tyrathan back in Orgrimmar. He would have come if Vol’jin had let him. He never backed away from an adventure, but Vol’jin felt it best that he did not come.
His troops would not have harmed Tyrathan, he was mostly certain of that, but he worried about the Draenor orcs. The garrison commander had some concerns for Khadgar’s safety in the garrison, but he was a powerful mage. Of course, Vol’jin could have assigned a bodyguard to protect Tyrathan, but almost every time he had tried that, it ended with Tyrathan giving the guard the slip at some point. Then Vol’jin and Tyrathan would have a fight about it. No, it was for the best Tyrathan had stayed behind. One less worry on Vol’jin’s mind.
Besides, it was just for a couple of weeks, and then Vol’jin would return to Azeroth for a while before coming back here. He would just have to get used to sleeping without his human sometimes.
He reached for his traveling pack. Maybe some of Chen’s brew would help him get to sleep. Reaching into his pack, his hands touched a piece of cloth that he did not remember packing. He pulled it out and realized it was one of Tyrathan’s shirts. Pinned to the shirt was a piece of paper. Holding it close to the brazier, Vol’jin read it.
Something to remind you of home and me until you get back. Tyrathan.
Vol’jin held the shirt up to his nose. It had Tyrathan’s scent all over it. The smell of his mate made him feel relaxed and sleepy. He laid back down, holding Tyrathan’s shirt like a small child would hold their blanket or doll to sleep with. He drifted off to sleep with a smile on his face.
Chapter 8: Thunderstorm
Tyrathan bolted straight up in bed. He had been sound asleep, but something had woken him. It had sounded suspiciously like cannon fire. Lightning flashed outside the window, lighting the room up, followed by the rumble of thunder.
Tyrathan took a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart. It was just thunder. He could now hear the downpour of rain hitting the roof of the hut and the howl of the wind as it whipped through the palm trees outside.
In the darkness, a three fingered hand wrapped around Tyrathan’s arm and gave a gentle tug, coaxing him to lay back down.
“It just be a storm,” whispered Vol’jin. “Dey come in off da sea at times.”
Tyrathan nodded. He was not afraid of storms, but he did find it difficult to sleep through them. The noise tended to jolt him wide awake whenever he would start to drift off. If he did manage to go to sleep somehow, the sound of thunder could trigger a flashback of a battle involving cannon fire. Those dreams usually turned into nightmares.
When he had been married to his wife, he would just lie there in bed next to her and wait for the storm to pass. After she left, he did the same thing, but, in addition to the racket from the storm, there would be a deep sense of loneliness.
This time, he was not alone. They were staying at Vol’jin’s home in the Echo Isles for a few days. A welcome break from Orgrimmar and all the duties that were piled on top of Vol’jin there. Until tonight, their stay had been peaceful.
Tyrathan laid back down and snuggled next to Vol’jin. Vol’jin wrapped his arms around him and held him.
There was the loud crack of lightning hitting the ground somewhere outside, followed by a rumble of thunder that seemed to make the hut and ground shake. Jihui whimpered from his bed on the other side of the room. The sudden noise made Tyrathan tense.
“It be okay,” whispered Vol’jin as he held Tyrathan a little tighter.
“It sounds like a bad storm,” said Tyrathan.
“Dis just be a little cloudburst. Ya should see what it be like when a real storm blows in,” chuckled Vol’jin.
“I’ll pass on that,” said Tyrathan.
Tyrathan sighed as he tucked his head under Vol’jin’s chin. He doubted that he would be able to get much sleep tonight with the weather being this loud, but at least he was not alone. Especially not when the next crash of thunder sent Jihui trying to climb into bed with them.
Chapter 9: Snowball Fight
Alternate title: Tyrathan pushes his luck
Vol’jin stepped out of his room at the Shadowpan Monastery. It had snowed the night before, leaving the ground covered in about five inches of snow. The cold air made his injured body feel stiff, but he forced himself to move. He was convinced that moving would help him heal faster.
Vol’jin was walking past one of the courtyards when he spotted Chen and the human, Tyrathan Khort. It looked like they were rolling snow into balls and throwing them at the archery targets.
“What ya be doin’?” Vol’jin asked, his voice cracking, as he approached Chen. The cold air was not helping his throat.
“Target practice,” answered Tyrathan as he hit the bullseye of the target with a snowball.
“With snow?” asked Vol’jin. The only thing snow would do is annoy an enemy. Did the human not know that?
“Throwing snowballs is fun,” explained Chen with a wide smile.
“If ya say so,” said Vol’jin.
“Have you never thrown a snowball?” asked Tyrathan, lifting an eyebrow.
“I not have time for things like dat,” snorted Vol’jin. It was a waste of time. He turned to leave, and was hit in the back with a snowball.
Chen’s eyes widened, “Oh dear,” he muttered.
Vol’jin spun around to face the human. “Did ya do dat?” he tried to growl at the human, but his voice failed.
“Yes,” smirked Tyrathan.
Vol’jin stalked over to the hunter. He wanted to knock that smirk off the human’s face.
“Vol’jin, remember, you promised. No fighting,” reminded Chen worriedly.
“I remember,” said Vol’jin as he began to circle around the human.
To his credit, Tyrathan stood his ground. He stood still, following Vol’jin with his eyes.
Vol’jin noticed that the human was standing under a tree with a few low hanging branches, covered in snow. Quick as lightning, Vol’jin grabbed one of the branches and snapped it, causing the snow to fall on the human.
Tyrathan let out a very colorful Zandali curse as he was covered in snow.
Vol’jin had to admit that the human was impressively fluent in Zandali. He chuckled as he walked away from the human. That should teach the human a lesson about messing with him.
But if Vol’jin thought that was going to be the end of it, he was mistaken. Two more snowballs struck him in the back as he walked away. Vol’jin turned back around.
Tyrathan had shaken off a lot of the snow and already had another snowball in his hands.
“Ya be a slow learner,” accused Vol’jin as he stalked back towards Tyrathan.
This snowball hit him in the face. Snarling, Vol’jin wiped the snow off his face and grabbed a handful of snow. He quickly rolled it into a ball. It was time to put an end to this.
“Let’s stop before this goes too far,” said Chen as he stepped in between the two of them. “Okay?”
Vol’jin met Tyrathan’s eyes, and the hunter nodded at him. Both of them then threw their snowballs at Chen.
Chapter 10: Observing
Vol’jin crossed his arms as he watched the human, Tyrathan Khort, training with the Shadowpan monks. Since meeting the human, Vol’jin had been studying the human, trying to figure him out. This human was like a complex puzzle. Vol’jin no longer saw the human hunter as an enemy. In fact, Tyrathan had proven himself to be a loyal friend.
Vol’jin noted the way that Tyrathan preformed the moves he was being taught. He did not have the grace that the Pandaren had. Yet, Vol’jin could see that the human could be just as deadly with those moves as the Pandaren monks. Vol’jin felt pride at his human’s skill.
Wait. His train of thought came to a screeching halt. His human? When did Tyrathan become his human?
Vol’jin’s heartbeat quickened as he realized that he was starting to have feelings for the hunter that went beyond friendship. Instincts buried deep were stirring. The desire to protect against any threat. The urge to chase off any other potential suitors. The longing to keep the object of one’s affections close.
Vol’jin recognized all those impulses as something one should feel towards a mate or a potential mate. He should not be feeling this way towards Tyrathan. Most likely these feelings would not be reciprocated anyway.
Vol’jin growled softly to himself as he turned to leave. He needed to think. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Tyrathan glancing towards him. The human had noticed him leaving. Vol’jin suspected that the hunter had known that he was there the whole time.
Tyrathan watched from a discrete distance as Vol’jin went through his training exercises. He knew Vol’jin studied him when he trained. So, it was only fair that Tyrathan watched Vol’jin train. He was certain that Vol’jin knew that he was watching him too.
Tyrathan frowned. Something about the way Vol’jin was tackling his exercises today was a little unusual. Vol’jin was peacocking, for the lack of a better term.
Tyrathan had seen trolls showing off to impress potential mates before. That looked a lot like what Vol’jin was doing now, but Tyrathan could not figure out who Vol’jin was trying to impress.
Vol’jin was the only troll here; the only member of the Horde here. Tyrathan had not noticed Vol’jin being interested in any Pandaren. They did not seem to be his type anyway.
Tyrathan shook his head. He knew a lot about trolls, but some things about them were still a mystery. Just because he had befriended Vol’jin did not mean that he suddenly understood how the troll thought.
Tyrathan watched as Vol’jin’s movements, despite lacking the grace of a Pandaren, still had the power to shatter stone. The muscles in his arms moved in a fluid motion.
For a moment, Tyrathan wondered what it would be like to have those same strong arms wrap around him, firm but gentle, and hold him close. Then Vol’jin would brush his tusks against Tyrathan’s face. Stop.
Tyrathan felt his cheeks flush as he realized what he was thinking. Vol’jin would never do that. There was no way Vol’jin would ever think of Tyrathan in that way. Or could he? Tyrathan shook his head.
Tyrathan waited until Vol’jin’s attention was focused on something the trainer was saying, and then he slipped away from the training area. Maybe it was not a good idea to watch Vol’jin train anymore, especially if Tyrathan was going to start having thoughts like that.
Chapter 11: Hangover
Happy Valentines Day to all of you!
“I told you that getting into a drinking contest with Chen was a bad idea,” chided Tyrathan as he stood next to the bed, looking down at Vol’jin.
Vol’jin had finally woken up. He had cracked one eye open, groaned, and pulled one of the pillows on the bed over his head. So much for the whole trolls do not use pillows argument.
“Maybe, but I won,” croaked Vol’jin as he peered out from under the pillow.
“And what exactly did you win?” asked Tyrathan. “Besides what looks like a nasty hangover.”
“Bragging rights,” grinned Vol’jin.
Tyrathan sighed and shook his head.
Chen and Yalia had come to Orgrimmar for a visit. Chen had brought along his latest batch of brew to share. The evening had been very pleasant. Yet at some point, Chen and Vol’jin had gotten into a competition over who could drink who under the table. Tyrathan had known right then that it was a bad idea, and he told Vol’jin so. Yet, his troll could be stubborn and he brushed Tyrathan’s concerns aside. Vol’jin had won, but just barely.
A room had been prepared for Chen and Yalia in Grommash Hold. With the help of a few guards, Yalia had finally managed to get Chen down the hall, to the room, and in bed. That left Tyrathan to deal with his drunk troll.
“I won, I won,” Vol’jin said in a sing song voice. He could barely stand up.
It took some coaxing, but Tyrathan had finally convinced Vol’jin to go to bed. As Tyrathan helped Vol’jin get ready for bed, Vol’jin began to sing a very bawdy song in Zandali with the filthiest lyrics that Tyrathan had ever heard. This was a side of Vol’jin that Tyrathan had never seen before.
Vol’jin eventually stopped singing when he got in the bed. Tyrathan covered Vol’jin with a fur as the troll closed his eyes. Tyrathan had hoped that would be the end of it, but no such luck.
As Tyrathan got into bed, Vol’jin rolled over and wrapped an arm around Tyrathan. He then began to press soft kisses to Tyrathan’s face and neck.
“I love ya,” purred Vol’jin, his voice slurring.
“I love you too. Now go to sleep,” said Tyrathan.
Vol’jin called Tyrathan sweet pet names in Zandali. Vol’jin rubbed his tusks against Tyrathan’s face and purred. Tyrathan was fine with that. It was nice, even though Vol’jin’s breath smelled like a brewery. Then Vol’jin began to whisper some very explicit and vulgar things in Tyrathan’s ear.
Tyrathan could feel his face turning red. Vol’jin normally was not into dirty talk, but clearly his inhibitions were almost nonexistent at this point. Finally, Vol’jin passed out, right in the middle of a very graphic description.
Now, it was morning, and Vol’jin clearly did not remember any of it. Vol’jin tried to sit up, but only made it halfway before he flopped back on the bed.
“What’s the matter? Is the room spinning?” asked Tyrathan in a sarcastic tone.
Vol’jin glared at him. “Why don’t ya make ya self useful and find somethin’ to make dis headache go away?” complained Vol’jin.
“I’ve already explained to Saurfang that you’re going to be in no condition to work today, and Rokhan has already gone to fix you a potion for that hangover,” explained Tyrathan.
Vol’jin gave Tyrathan a soft look. “Ya already got things taken care of, huh?”
“Someone has to be the adult around here, and it clearly isn’t you,” said Tyrathan.
“I be sorry,” said Vol’jin as he tried to sit up again. This time, he succeeded. “I hope I not be too much trouble last night.”
Tyrathan shrugged. “It was entertaining, to say the least. You can actually sing pretty well.”
“I don’t sing,” growled Vol’jin.
“Oh, you don’t?” Tyrathan smiled. He then repeated some of the lyrics from the dirty song Vol’jin had sung.
“Loa have mercy,” said Vol’jin as he buried his face in his hands.
“That’s nothing compared to what you said to me,” continued Tyrathan.
“What did I say?” asked Vol’jin, looking up with a wary look on his face.
Tyrathan repeated some of the things Vol’jin had said. “I’m pretty sure that my body doesn’t bend that way, despite what your dirty mind may think,” grinned Tyrathan.
The look on Vol’jin’s face was one of shock. “I...I didn’t...” he stuttered.
“Didn’t say those things? Yes, you did,” said Tyrathan.
Vol’jin shook his head. “No. I didn’t force ya to... did I?” he asked.
Tyrathan gave Vol’jin a reassuring smile. “No, you didn’t. Even drunk off your ass, you wouldn’t do that. And wipe that look off your face.” Tyrathan kissed Vol’jin’s forehead. “I still love you.”
There was a knock at the door. Most likely Rokhan was back.
Tyrathan turned and walked towards the door. He glanced back over his shoulder at Vol’jin. “Although, there are times when you seriously make me wonder why.”
Chapter 12: Love is in the Air
Tyrathan had known that the Horde celebrated many of the same holidays that the Alliance celebrated. Yet, he had to admit that he was still a little surprised at how much the Horde got into Love is in the Air. It was obvious that most of the Horde’s leaders did not really enjoy the holiday. Mostly because people used it as an excuse to openly flirt with their leaders. It was a fun show to watch though.
Eventually, Saurfang barricaded himself in his office, claiming that he had too much work to do. Tyrathan heard that Lor’themar had done the same in Silvermoon, pleading a migraine. Sylvanas reportedly had left the Undercity for a hunt, leaving behind instructions that she was not to be bothered. Baine had gone on a spiritual retreat which conveniently would end when this holiday was over. The rumors coming out of Gallywix’s pleasure palace were too lurid to even think about.
Unfortunately, Tyrathan realized that he did not have anything to give to Vol’jin. When Tyrathan had been married to his wife, he would get her a box of chocolates or some flowers. That was, of course, if he was even at home for the holiday. Yet, Tyrathan had a feeling that those things were not right for Vol’jin. Of course, he knew that if he did give Vol’jin something like that, the troll would smile and accept it to spare Tyrathan’s feelings, just like he was doing with the charm bracelets that people were bringing to him.
Same as with the Alliance, many people made charm bracelets to give to their leaders. That included Vol’jin. As Warchief, Vol’jin got a lot of charm bracelets. Apparently, Vol’jin kept a small crate hidden behind his throne. He would wait until the person who had given the charm bracelet to him left the room, and then he would toss the bracelet into the crate. Once the crate was full, one of the guards would close the crate up and put an empty crate out for the next batch.
Every person that brought Vol’jin one of those bracelets was wearing some of that perfume that the goblins were selling. It smelled like they were bathing in it. After a few close calls, the guards extinguished every source of flame in Grommash Hold’s throne room and temporarily switched to artificial lighting. That way they did not have to worry about the fumes from the perfume igniting and causing an explosion.
“I be glad when dis holiday be over,” complained Vol’jin as he tossed some more bracelets into the crate.
“You’re not enjoying the attention?” frowned Tyrathan. He was a little miffed. The last admirer had been very blunt in her flirtation with Vol’jin, even though Tyrathan had been standing right there.
“I be sorry,” apologized Vol’jin.
“What are you sorry for?” asked Tyrathan confused.
“Da way dey be flirtin’ with me be disrespectful to ya. Ya be my mate,” said Vol’jin as he pulled Tyrathan into a hug.
“It’s not your fault. You’re not encouraging them,” said Tyrathan as he rested his head on Vol’jin’s chest. He sighed. “I should be the one apologizing. I didn’t get you anything.”
Vol’jin gently lifted Tyrathan’s chin so he was looking up at Vol’jin. “I’ve got ya. Dat’s all I need,” smiled Vol’jin.
Tyrathan felt his cheeks turning pink. There were still times that he could not believe that Vol’jin wanted him of all people. Then, Vol’jin kissed him.
One of the nearby guards cleared his throat. Tyrathan opened one of his eyes to see a couple of holiday revelers entering the throne room, bringing more charm bracelets. Tyrathan tried to pull away but Vol’jin held him tighter and deepened their kiss.
Vol’jin had made his point. People could bring those charm bracelets, wear that perfume, and flirt with Vol’jin; but at the end of the day, Vol’jin would only have eyes for him.
Chapter 13: Overheard part 2
“Ya didn’t know dat?” asked Vol’jin curiously, lifting an eyebrow.
“No. I didn’t realize that they could hear us,” complained Tyrathan as he paced the room.
It was taking every ounce of Vol’jin’s self control not to laugh. He had a feeling that laughing would make Tyrathan even more upset. It seemed that Tyrathan had found out that the guards could hear the two of them when they were being physically intimate.
“Did you know about this?” Tyrathan asked as he spun around to face Vol’jin.
“Aye. It not be dat hard to figure out,” answered Vol’jin.
The guards were posted just outside the door. Vol’jin had honestly thought Tyrathan had known that the guards could overhear things like that, especially when the two of them got loud. It was mostly Tyrathan that they were hearing anyway.
“Why didn’t you say something?” Tyrathan asked in exasperation.
“I don’t see why it be botherin’ ya,” Vol’jin shrugged.
The glare the human gave him almost broke Vol’jin’s resolve to not laugh. Tyrathan looked cute when he was frustrated.
“And this doesn’t bother you?” demanded Tyrathan as he rubbed his temples.
“Not when it be my name ya be cryin’ out,” Vol’jin grinned wickedly.
Vol’jin listened in amusement as he got a first hand demonstration of Tyrathan’s fluency in Zandali and Orcish curses. There were some words that Vol’jin was surprised to find out that Tyrathan knew. Vol’jin chuckled.
“Why are you laughing now?” Tyrathan demanded.
“Ya curse worse dan a pirate,” said Vol’jin. He leaned down so he could look Tyrathan in the eye, gently brushing his tusks against Tyrathan’s face. “It makes me think dat I need to put dat mouth of yours to better use.”
Vol’jin pressed a kiss to Tyrathan’s lips and after a moment, his human began to kiss him back. Then Vol’jin began to trail kisses down Tyrathan’s neck. When Vol’jin grazed his fangs over the human’s sensitive skin there, Tyrathan gasped.
As Vol’jin wrapped an arm around Tyrathan’s back, pulling the human against him, he whispered, “Why don’t we give da guards something to overhear?”
“Vol’jin,” Tyrathan protested.
Vol’jin rocked their hips together and Tyrathan let out another curse.
“I really need to do something about dat mouth,” threatened Vol’jin.
“Fine, you win,” chuckled Tyrathan. “But if you want me to be loud, you have to make it good,” he teased.
“Dat I can do,” purred Vol’jin.
Chapter 14: Dagger
Vol’jin sighed as he sat down on the bed in his room at the Pandaren temple. It had been a long, eventful day. Arguing with the Alliance about the peace treaty, discovering the Alliance spy in their midst, trying to manage the repercussions from that, and dealing with Tyrathan’s insane rogue friend. Speaking of which, that rogue had let something slip that Vol’jin had not been aware of until then.
“Ya smuggled a dagger into da temple?” Vol’jin asked Tyrathan. “Ya know dat be against da rules of da sanctuary. Taran Zhu not gonna be happy with ya if he finds out about it.”
The human had been staring out the window, looking out at the Pandaren sky and the mountains in the distance.
“Knowing Taran Zhu, he probably already knows about it. Besides, I’m not the only one. I’m pretty sure that you’ve got your knife hidden on you somewhere,” Tyrathan countered as he turned around.
“Don’t be changin’ da subject. Was ya friend right? Ya got it hidden in ya belt?” Vol’jin asked, narrowing his eyes.
“Why don’t you try to figure it out?” Tyrathan asked as he walked over to Vol’jin.
“Couldn’t ya just answer my question?” Vol’jin asked, shaking his head. He was tired and did not feel like playing games.
Tyrathan smiled and tilted his head to the side. “Really? And here I was looking forward to a strip search.”
Vol’jin snapped his head up to look at Tyrathan. The human’s eyes glinted with mischief. Vol’jin slowly grinned. That did sound like fun. “Well, now, dat can be arranged,” he smirked.
With lightning speed, Vol’jin grabbed Tyrathan’s wrist and flipped his human onto the bed. Judging from Tyrathan’s wide eyes, he had caught the hunter off guard a little.
“I suppose I did ask for this,” laughed Tyrathan as Vol’jin began to unhook his belt.
Vol’jin let out a low soft growl as he brushed his tusks against his human’s face. Tyrathan kissed him. Vol’jin would find Tyrathan’s dagger at some point, but no reason he could not be very thorough and have some fun in the process.
Chapter 15: Nightmares
Tyrathan was not used to waking up in the middle of the night to an empty bed. When that did happen, which was rare, it usually meant that something had occurred that needed the Warchief’s immediate attention. It was usually something bad.
It irked Tyrathan a little that Vol’jin could slide out of bed so quietly that Tyrathan would not wake up. Of course, Tyrathan was capable of doing the same thing to Vol’jin. He guessed that made them even.
Tyrathan got out of the bed. Like most nights when this happened, he intended to wait up for Vol’jin to return. He stepped out of the bedroom and found Vol’jin sitting in the den in front of the fireplace.
Durotar was a desert. At night, the temperature in the desert would drop. It was also winter, so the night temperatures could drop to almost freezing. Tonight was one of those nights. Vol’jin had started a fire in the fireplace and was staring into the flames.
“Vol’jin,” said Tyrathan.
The troll did not answer.
“Vol’jin,” repeated Tyrathan, louder this time.
Vol’jin jerked his head in Tyrathan’s direction. “What ya be doin’ up?” Vol’jin asked frowning.
“I rolled over and realized that there wasn’t a three hundred pound troll in the bed. You think I’m not going to notice that?” Tyrathan asked. “Is something wrong?”
“I had a nightmare. I just needed to think about some things,” said Vol’jin as he looked back at the fire.
“How is that when I have a nightmare, you know right away; but when you have one, I have no idea?” Tyrathan asked.
“Because I not be kickin’ and screamin’ in my sleep,” smiled Vol’jin.
“Fair enough,” said Tyrathan.
Tyrathan grabbed a large fur off the couch. He drapped it over Vol’jin and sat down next to the troll. He pulled the rest of the fur so that it covered both of them.
Vol’jin wrapped an arm around Tyrathan’s waist and held him close. Tyrathan could see Vol’jin’s mouth twitch up in a smile and his eyes soften.
“Do you want to talk about?” Tyrathan asked as he leaned against Vol’jin.
A sad look slid across Vol’jin’s face. “Are ya happy here?” Vol’jin asked.
“Of course. Why?” Tyrathan was confused. What did that have to do with Vol’jin’s dream?
“Because in my dream, ya not be happy. Ya be sad. Ya be angry at me. Ya blamed me for ruinin’ ya life. Ya said dat it be my fault dat ya couldn’t see ya children. My fault dat ya had to run away from ya home. Ya said dat ya wished ya had never met me. Ya said dat ya wished dat da sha had killed ya, or dat I had let ya die to the mogu’s spear,” said Vol’jin.
“None of that is true,” argued Tyrathan. “It was just a dream.”
Vol’jin’s eyes glistened with what Tyrathan realized were tears.
“In my dream, nothin’ I said or did helped things. Ya tried to kill ya self several times. Finally, ya succeeded. I found ya body, cold and alone,” whispered Vol’jin. A tear escaped his eyes and slid down his cheek.
Tyrathan reached up and wiped the tear off Vol’jin’s face. “It was just a nightmare. It wasn’t real,” argued Tyrathan.
“But is it true?” Vol’jin was still staring at the fire, refusing to look at Tyrathan.
Okay, this had gone on long enough. Tyrathan grabbed one of Vol’jin’s tusks and jerked Vol’jin’s head down, forcing him to look at him. Vol’jin started to growl, but stopped the second Tyrathan kissed him.
“No, it’s not true. It will never be true,” said Tyrathan as looked into Vol’jin’s eyes. “I don’t think those things.”
Vol’jin wrapped both his arms around Tyrathan in a hug and held Tyrathan. A low purr rumbled through his chest as he rubbed his tusks against Tyrathan’s face.
“Now, are you ready to go back to bed?” asked Tyrathan.
Vol’jin smirked at him. Before Tyrathan realized what was happening, Vol’jin had stood up and was carrying Tyrathan back towards the bedroom.
Tyrathan shook his head. “I can walk,” he complained. “Put me down.”
Vol’jin chuckled. “If dat be what ya want,” he said as he dropped Tyrathan.
Tyrathan landed on the bed. “You’re a bastard,” he said as he sat up.
“No,” smirked Vol’jin. “My mother was my father’s mate,” explained Vol’jin as he lay down next to Tyrathan.
“Why did I want you in bed to start with?” sighed Tyrathan.
The next thing Tyrathan knew, he was lying on his back and Vol’jin was hovering over him.
“Should I remind ya why ya want me in bed?” asked Vol’jin.
“Yes,” smiled Tyrathan.
Chapter 16: How Things Change
“You know you can be extremely petty some times,” said Tyrathan as he moved a piece on the jihui board.
“No, I not be,” argued Vol’jin as he narrowed his eyes.
They had decided to play a game of jihui after supper. They had been chatting and telling each other about their day. Vol’jin was not sure where that random comment had come from, but it was not true. He was not petty.
“Really? What about that time, back at the Shadowpan Monastery, when you would intentionally smear food on your robes just so I would have to work harder when I did your laundry?” asked Tyrathan as he continued to study the board.
Vol’jin froze as he remembered that. He had forgotten all about that. Regret and guilt raised their ugly heads in Vol’jin’s mind. How could he have been so small minded back then?
“Ya knew?” Vol’jin asked hesitantly.
“Of course I knew. Do you think I’m stupid?” Tyrathan countered. “Your move.”
“No, I don’t think dat.” answered Vol’jin as he moved one of his pieces. “Are ya angry?”
“I might have been a little annoyed at the time, but that was so long ago. It doesn’t even matter now. But like I said, you can be petty,” said Tyrathan.
“I not be proud of dat,” said Vol’jin.
“Well, you shouldn’t be. Being petty is not an admirable quality,” said Tyrathan.
“No,” said Vol’jin as he reached over and lifted Tyrathan’s chin so he was looking at Vol’jin. “I not be proud of what I did back then to ya,” he explained. “It wasn’t right.”
Tyrathan smiled at him. “It’s okay. I forgive you.”
“I don’t deserve ya,” said Vol’jin as he dropped his hand.
“Don’t say things like that,” scolded Tyrathan as he grabbed Vol’jin’s hand and held it.
Vol’jin remembered how Tyrathan had grabbed his hand back at the Shadowpan Monastery during another game of jihui. Vol’jin had felt anger at the human for touching him back then. Then, he had wanted nothing more than to be rid of the human’s presence.
Now, Vol’jin could not imagine a day without his human by his side. Vol’jin gently squeezed Tyrathan’s hand. “I love ya,” said Vol’jin.
“I love you too,” said Tyrathan.
Chapter 17: Weakness and Strength
Humans were smaller and weaker than trolls. That made it easy for trolls to break them, to kill them. Vol’jin had enjoyed that fact. At least, he did enjoy it until he had a human mate. Now, that weakness terrified him. It was just too easy for something to harm his human. Vol’jin’s real fear was that something could easily be him.
Tyrathan and Vol’jin were sitting together on one of Orgrimmar’s battlements, watching the stars. Tyrathan was leaning against Vol’jin and holding one of his hands.
Vol’jin stared down at that. Tyrathan’s hand was so much smaller than his. Vol’jin’s hand wrapped easily around it. Vol’jin could only use a fraction of his strength as he held the human’s hand. Anything more than that would shatter the bones in Tyrathan’s hand.
Tyrathan rested his head on Vol’jin’s shoulder and sighed. “It’s getting late and I’m tired, but I don’t want to move,” complained the human.
“I can take care of dat,” smirked Vol’jin as he stood up. He scooped Tyrathan up into his arms. It was so effortless, as if the human did not weigh anything.
“Vol’jin!” yelped Tyrathan. “Put me down! You are not carrying me back to Grommash Hold.”
Vol’jin laughed as he set Tyrathan back down on his feet. Tyrathan shook his head as he started off towards the stairs.
Vol’jin waited for the human to take ten steps and then followed him. It only took him about five steps to catch up to Tyrathan. The human would never be able to outrun a troll.
Once they were back on ground level, they headed in the direction of Grommash Hold. Orgrimmar was not as busy as it was during the day, but there were still a few people about. As they passed one of the taverns, Vol’jin noted that several people glared at the human. When they noticed Vol’jin, however, they quickly looked away.
The hostility in those glares was clear. Vol’jin frowned. He knew that, if given the chance, some members of the Horde would only be too happy to take their hatred of humans out on Tyrathan. Vol’jin, and those that he trusted with Tyrathan’s safety, were the only things standing in the way of that happening.
They got home and got ready for bed. Vol’jin lay in bed, holding his human. Again he could only use a fraction of his strength when he held Tyrathan. If he were to hug Tyrathan as if he were hugging another troll, Vol’jin would crush the human’s spine or even literally squeeze the life out of him.
Tyrathan snuggled against Vol’jin and tucked his head under Vol’jin’s chin. It warmed Vol’jin’s heart, but at the same time made it ache. Tyrathan was so affectionate with him. Vol’jin did his best to return that same level of affection, but he was always having to hold back so he would not hurt Tyrathan. It made Vol’jin feel like he might be neglecting his human. That was something he never wanted to do. Tyrathan meant too much to him.
“I love you,” said Tyrathan, his voice already heavy with sleep.
“I love ya too,” answered Vol’jin. He then kissed the top of Tyrathan’s head.
Yes, humans were weak, but Tyrathan was Vol’jin’s weakness. Vol’jin would use every ounce of his strength to protect him.
Trolls were physically stronger than humans. Tyrathan knew that from experience. Then, he met Vol’jin and realized just how strong they could be. Or maybe, Vol’jin was just stronger than the others.
The strength Tyrathan was referring to was not the strength Vol’jin had to shatter stone with his hands. Or the strength he had to kill an opponent with a single blow. No, the strength Vol’jin had was stronger than that.
It was the strength to simply hold Tyrathan’s hand and give it a gentle squeeze. Enough to convey a multitude of emotions, but not enough to break Tyrathan’s hand.
It was the strength to hug and hold Tyrathan, firmly but gently, without leaving a single bruise.
It was the strength to leave love bites all over Tyrathan’s neck and shoulders without drawing a single drop of blood.
It was the strength to be physically intimate with Tyrathan and never once hurt him.
Human instinct said to be wary and scared of trolls, especially those strong enough to break you with a single touch. Yet, Tyrathan never felt fear when he was with Vol’jin. He was a hundred percent safe lying in bed, curled up in Vol’jin’s arms.
“I love you,” said Tyrathan.
“I love ya too,” replied Vol’jin, as he kissed the top of his head.
Tyrathan smiled. Vol’jin really was the strongest of all the trolls.
Chapter 18: Interruption
Tyrathan laughed as Vol’jin pushed him down onto the bed. Vol’jin climbed on top of him and kissed him, which stopped Tyrathan’s laughter. It had been a week since Tyrathan had last seen Vol’jin. The troll had been in Pandaria, at the peace summit between the Horde and Alliance.
Tyrathan had missed him. He had gotten used to seeing Vol’jin everyday, talking and spending time with him, touching him, falling asleep in his arms. It seemed like Vol’jin had missed him just as much.
“I missed you,” Tyrathan whispered as he ran a hand through Vol’jin’s hair.
“I missed ya too,” purred Vol’jin as he rubbed his tusks against Tyrathan’s face. He then slid a hand underneath Tyrathan’s shirt, ghosting it over the human’s ribs.
Tyrathan shivered under Vol’jin’s touch and spread his legs open in invitation. With a soft growl, Vol’jin slid a knee in between his legs and began to rub it against Tyrathan’s pants.
With a moan, Tyrathan fisted his hands in Vol’jin’s hair and gave it a firm, but not painful, tug. It was his way of telling Vol’jin to get rougher. Vol’jin growled deeper in response and moved to Tyrathan’s neck, scraping his teeth over the skin before sinking his fangs into Tyrathan’s shoulder.
Tyrathan tensed and gasped, but the pleasure overrode the pain. Vol’jin would give him what he asked for. As much as he loved it when Vol’jin went slow and sweetly, sometimes Tyrathan wanted Vol’jin to be rough, to act like a troll normally would with his mate. Of course, Tyrathan had never been with a troll other than Vol’jin.
When he had been in Stranglethorn, though, some of the trolls there had not been quiet and Tyrathan had overheard things. Things that he really wished he had not heard. Yet, it gave him a reference point for his relationship with Vol’jin on some things. He did not worry about Vol’jin losing control either. He knew Vol’jin would never do more than what Tyrathan could handle.
Tyrathan reached for Vol’jin’s belt that held his kilt in place, but Vol’jin grabbed his hands and pinned them to the bed.
“Impatient are we?” Vol’jin asked as lifted his head to look down at Tyrathan. He had a very smug look on his face and his eyes glinted with mischief.
“Vol’jin,” Tyrathan hissed as he squirmed in Vol’jin’s grasp. Vol’jin was teasing him. “Please,” Tyrathan begged.
Purring loudly, Vol’jin then attacked his mouth with a very deep kiss. Finally, Vol’jin’s hands went to Tyrathan’s waist and began to undo his pants.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the door.
Snapping his head to look at the door, Vol’jin broke the kiss with a feral growl that was so animalistic that it sent chills down Tyrathan’s spine. He had never heard Vol’jin growl like that before, and it was kind of exciting.
“I be tellin’ dem not to disturb me,” growled Vol’jin.
The knock on the door repeated insistently.
“You better go see what they want. It could be important,” sighed Tyrathan as he laid his head back on the pillow. It was not the first time they had been interrupted when they were in the middle of something. He ran his hands through his hair in frustration.
“If it not be important, whoever it be gonna be havin’ a slow painful death,” threatened Vol’jin as he got off the bed.
“You know, if you give them a swift death, you could get back here faster,” joked Tyrathan.
Vol’jin turned and looked at him with a look that was down right predatory, so full of want and desire that it made Tyrathan’s stomach flip.
Vol’jin chuckled darkly as he headed for the door.
“You do know that I was kidding, right? Vol’jin?” Tyrathan called after Vol’jin.
Chapter 19: Mate
Vol’jin had woke up just before dawn, but he stayed in bed. Just lying here with his human asleep by his side, Vol’jin felt like his world was perfect in this moment.
Tyrathan had been here for several weeks now. Vol’jin knew that it had not been easy for the hunter. Tyrathan had been on the run from the Alliance for months after being declared a traitor. However, he was here now with Vol’jin, safe and sound.
Tyrathan stirred in his sleep. A smile slid across his face. He must be dreaming. Vol’jin smiled as he ran his fingers through Tyrathan’s hair. He knew that people were wondering what the human was to him.
What was Tyrathan to him? They had talked. They loved each other and had decided to be together, but there was a term that they had not yet discussed. A term that carried a lot of weight and meaning behind it. Mate.
Would Tyrathan want to be mates? Or did he consider this to be something more casual? Vol’jin had told Tyrathan that he could leave anytime that he wanted to, but it seemed like the human had no intention of going anywhere. Vol’jin knew a little bit about human relationships. They had marriages, but trolls did not do that.
If two trolls loved each other, they would decide if they wanted to be mates or not. They would have that discussion, reach that decision, and make their promises of fidelity to each other. Often, they would have a life mate ceremony and a shaman would bless their union, but that was not absolutely necessary.
“Vol’jin, is something wrong?” Tyrathan asked.
“No. Why?” Vol’jin looked up at him.
“You’ve been distant today. Like you’re thinking really hard about something,” frowned Tyrathan.
It had started this morning when they got up. Vol’jin had been real quiet. As the day went on, Vol’jin had not spoken much to him. Tyrathan was beginning to wonder if he had done something wrong or done something to make Vol’jin angry at him.
“Did I do something to make you angry?” Tyrathan asked.
“What?! No. Tyrathan, no.” Vol’jin pulled Tyrathan into a hug. “I not be angry with ya. I just be havin’ somethin’ on my mind.”
Tyrathan rested his head on Vol’jin’s chest. “You haven’t talked to me much today. I was getting worried.”
Vol’jin sighed and released him from the hug and took a step back. “Dere be somethin’ I be wantin’ to talk to ya about,” he said in a serious tone.
Tyrathan felt his chest tighten. Something was wrong and it concerned him. He could read the anxiety in Vol’jin’s eyes.
“How would ya feel about bein’ my mate?” Vol’jin asked.
Tyrathan could not believe his ears. Did Vol’jin seriously just ask him that? Tyrathan knew a few things about troll culture. He knew that being a mate was the equivalent of a marriage. It was a serious commitment and not one to be taken lightly.
“Yes,” he answered smiling.
The look on Vol’jin’s face was one of disbelief. It looked like he had expected Tyrathan to say no. How could he ever think that Tyrathan would say no?
A wide smile spread across the troll’s face that showed his fangs. His eyes sparkled. Vol’jin laughed as he picked Tyrathan up. Tyrathan laughed too as he held onto Vol’jin’s shoulders, but he knew Vol’jin would never drop him. He buried his face against Vol’jin’s neck.
“Ya be perfect, just perfect,” purred Vol’jin as he carried Tyrathan to the bedroom.
“So, Warchief,” began Vanira. “Is it true dat human gonna be ya mate?”
“Aye. He is my mate,” answered Vol’jin.
Vol’jin was on a trip visiting the Horde capital cities. They had stopped in the Echo Isles for a few days. It was Tyrathan’s first visit here. It was also the first time that most of the Darkspear tribe had seen Tyrathan. Everything seemed to be going well.
“But ya haven’t had a life mate ceremony or had ya union blessed by a shaman,” Vanira argued.
“Dat not be necessary,” said Vol’jin, shaking his head. “I gave him my promise to love him, and he gave me a promise to love me. Our words be good enough.”
A life mate ceremony was not required to be mates. For some, their promises of fidelity were enough for them. It was enough for Vol’jin.
“He not be willin’ to go through with it,” frowned Vanira.
“I be sure dat he would if he knew anythin’ about it,” said Vol’jin.
“He not know about it? Ya haven’t told him?” demanded Vanira.
“No. If I told him, he would think dat he’d have to do it just to make me happy,” explained Vol’jin.
“What be wrong with him wantin’ to make ya happy?” asked Vanira.
“He had a bad marriage, and an even worse divorce. I not be wantin’ him to feel like I be pushin’ him into doin’ somethin’ dat he not be ready for,” said Vol’jin.
“But he agreed to be ya mate. Do he be understandin’ what dat means?” asked Vanira.
“Yes,” said Vol’jin.
Chapter 20: Not a Servant
Vol’jin returned to his private quarters after a long day of meetings. He closed the door behind him and sighed. No wonder Go’el did not want this job back. Yet, somebody had to do it, and now that someone was Vol’jin.
Jihui came running up to Vol’jin, chirping. Vol’jin petted the raptor.
“You look tired,” said Tyrathan as he walked into the room.
“I not be tired,” said Vol’jin, lifting his head.
“More like you’re not going to admit to it,” countered Tyrathan with a smile.
Vol’jin smirked. His human could read him a little too well. “It be a long day,” explained Vol’jin as he walked further into the room.
“Why don’t you rest for awhile before dinner?” offered Tyrathan.
Vol’jin nodded and began to undo the clasps on his armor. He soon felt the touch of his human’s hands helping him out of his armor. Vol’jin did not wear much armor, so it was not like he really needed the help. Yet, it was still nice.
Vol’jin smiled. “Ya wantin’ to be helpful?” he asked.
“I used to have to help Vanyst with this,” explained Tyrathan with a frown.
“Really?” asked Vol’jin, lifting an eyebrow. This was new information to him, but he supposed that it should not come as a surprise. He had heard about how spoiled the human nobles were.
“Yeah. When we were out on assignments, we’d have to help the Vanysts with their armor and dressing, clean their tents, do their laundry, run errands, and whatever else they wanted us to do. Jasper used to joke that left to their own devices, the nobles wouldn’t even know how to tie their own shoes,” snorted Tyrathan.
When Tyrathan talked like this, which was not often, it reminded Vol’jin of what Tyrathan’s place in the Alliance had been. Despite his skills and intelligence, Tyrathan had basically been a servant, someone that his superiors could use however they wanted and then dispose of him when he no longer served their purposes.
It made Vol’jin angry to think that his human had been treated that way. Tyrathan deserved better, and Vol’jin was determined to never let Tyrathan experience that again.
As Tyrathan put Vol’jin’s armor away, Vol’jin grabbed Tyrathan’s hand.
“Ya don’t have to do that for me,” said Vol’jin.
Tyrathan smiled up at him as he took a step towards Vol’jin and placed a hand on his chest. “I know, but I want to.” Tyrathan stood on his tiptoes and Vol’jin leaned down, brushing his tusks against Tyrathan’s face.
The kiss they shared was short, but it was soft and sweet.
After the kiss, Tyrathan looked back at Vol’jin with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “Besides, I rather see you in your underwear than Vanyst any day,” said Tyrathan.
Vol’jin growled possessively as he wrapped an arm around Tyrathan’s waist and pulled him against his body. Vol’jin pressed another kiss to Tyrathan’s lips. This was his mate, and his mate was no one’s servant.
Chapter 21: Watching You
Tyrathan lay in bed, watching Vol’jin sleep. Tyrathan did that sometimes when he could not sleep. For a fierce troll Chieftain, Vol’jin looked down right adorable when he slept. He was completely relaxed in his sleep, as if he did not have a care in the world.
The hair in his mohawk was messed up so part of it fell down, framing his face. Vol’jin slept in nothing but a simple loincloth, which meant Tyrathan could see every muscle and scar on the troll’s body. Vol’jin’s chest rose and fell in a slow, steady rhythm, punctuated every once in awhile by a loud snore that made Tyrathan bite back a chuckle.
Yet, when Vol’jin was awake, it was a different story. Tyrathan watched as Vol’jin sparred with another shadow hunter using their glaives. Every move Vol’jin made was precise and fluid at the same time. It was easy to see how deadly the troll would be in actual combat. Tyrathan had seen Vol’jin first hand in combat, so he knew from experience. Vol’jin won his spar, which was no surprise to Tyrathan.
Later, Tyrathan slipped into the throne room and watched as Vol’jin dealt with any issues that were brought to him. Vol’jin was a good and fair leader. It was obvious that many people trusted his leadership. Vol’jin kept his patience no matter what problem was brought to him.
Vol’jin leaned back in his throne after giving some assignments to a group of adventurers and let his eyes roam around the throne room. Tyrathan knew the moment Vol’jin had spotted him because the troll’s eyes softened and smile slid across his face.
Vol’jin motioned for Tyrathan to come closer. Tyrathan crossed the throne room, not stopping until he was by Vol’jin’s side. Vol’jin leaned over and nuzzled his head against Tyrathan’s neck. Vol’jin pressed a kiss right on the bite mark he had left the night before, sending a pleasant shiver down Tyrathan’s spine.
“What ya be up to today?” Vol’jin asked in Zandali.
“Hunting,” answered Tyrathan, also in Zandali.
“And did ya bring back anythin’?” Vol’jin asked teasingly.
“Yes, a croc,” said Tyrathan.
“Fresh meat for supper,” chuckled Vol’jin.
“And what makes you think you’re getting any?” Tyrathan asked.
“Are ya talkin’ about supper or dessert?” Vol’jin asked with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
Tyrathan could feel his face burning. Sometimes Vol’jin could be insufferable.
But when it was just the two of them alone, Vol’jin was the sweetest person, teasing aside. When they were intimate, Vol’jin was gentle and careful with him, although he could get rough when Tyrathan asked. Tyrathan never felt anything but safe when he was with Vol’jin.
Afterwards, Tyrathan lay curled up in Vol’jin’s arms. Vol’jin whispered sweet Zandali words of love in Tyrathan’s ear. Tyrathan whispered back words of love, sometimes in Zandali, sometimes in Common. Vol’jin gave a few low possessive growls when Tyrathan did that. Tyrathan finally fell asleep to the sound of Vol’jin purring.
Vol’jin loved watching Tyrathan. He liked to have his human in his line of sight, or just knowing that he was nearby.
Vol’jin would sometimes slip away from his duties, go down to the archery range, and watch Tyrathan practice from the shadows at a discrete distance. Tyrathan’s skill with a bow could put many of the Horde’s best archers to shame. When Vol’jin would say that to Tyrathan though, the hunter would shake his head and accuse Vol’jin of being bias. Well, maybe Vol’jin was a little bias in that opinion, but that did not make it any less true.
Tyrathan would look so focused when he was shooting, and Vol’jin would notice the slight smile that crossed the human’s face when he made an excellent shot. Sometimes, Tyrathan would stop and glance around as if he sensed Vol’jin, or someone, watching him. His eyes would scan the area and a frown would cross his face as he tried to determine what had disturbed him.
There was always a smile on Tyrathan’s face when he returned from a hunt though. Vol’jin always could tell when Tyrathan had been hunting too. The faint smell of animal blood would cling to the human. Tyrathan was always successful out on his hunts, and to Vol’jin, meat always tasted better when it had been hunted by his human. Again, Tyrathan would accuse him of being bias.
At night, Vol’jin loved to hold Tyrathan as he slept. His human would relax in Vol’jin’s arms. Vol’jin would listen to his slow, steady breaths, smirking when Tyrathan would begin to snore. Vol’jin sighed as he pressed a light kiss to Tyrathan’s head. He then closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Chapter 22: Bath
Vol’jin sighed as he sank down into the large tub in Grommash Hold’s private baths. He closed his eyes and tried to relax. After a long hard day, this was just what he needed. He leaned back and rested his head on the edge of the tub.
His ears twitched at the slight sound of the door opening and closing, but he did not open his eyes. There was only one person in the whole world that the guards would have allowed in here unannounced. Although Vol’jin could not hear any footsteps, he still sensed the presence of the approaching person. That person knelt down next to Vol’jin’s head and pressed a soft kiss to Vol’jin’s cheek.
“Guess who,” whispered a familiar voice.
“Chen?” Vol’jin asked, trying to cover up the smirk in his voice.
“First of all, if you can’t tell the difference between me and Chen, then your perception skills are in serious decline,” huffed Vol’jin’s companion.
“What be da second of all?” asked Vol’jin as he opened his eyes.
Tyrathan was kneeling beside him with a playful smirk on his face. “Second, if Chen has been kissing you, then I’m going to have a serious talk with him, most likely at the end of an arrow,” he threatened.
Vol’jin chuckled. “I be jokin’. Don’t put poor Chen through dat.”
“I know,” said Tyrathan.
Tyrathan had been gone for most of the day, out on a hunt. Vol’jin noticed that dust covered the human’s clothes. Vol’jin could smell the human’s sweat. There was also the smell of the hot desert air mixed with the salt of the sea. Tyrathan had been hunting in Durotar, close to the ocean. Underneath those smells, was the scent of blood, animal blood. That told Vol’jin that Tyrathan had been successful in his hunt, but that was not a surprise. This hunter never returned from a hunt empty handed.
“Care to join me?” offered Vol’jin. There was certainly enough room. The baths had been designed to be communal and could hold several large orcs.
“You look comfortable, and I’m covered in dirt. I don’t want to spoil your bath,” said Tyrathan as he started to stand up.
“Nonsense,” said Vol’jin as he snatched Tyrathan’s arm and pulled him into the tub.
Tyrathan hit the water with a splash. “Vol’jin!” he yelled as his head resurfaced. He then proceeded to call Vol’jin several Zandali curses.
Vol’jin threw his head back and laughed.
“Jerk,” accused Tyrathan as he splashed water at Vol’jin. “What is wrong with you?”
Vol’jin wiped the water off his face and grinned at Tyrathan. “Ya be cute when ya be angry,” he teased.
“I’ll show you cute,” threatened Tyrathan as he lunged at Vol’jin.
Jinx liked to clean. Not many people could say that, but she liked it when things were neat and tidy. Making things that way was actually fun for her. It was relaxing. As the goblin carried her cleaning supplies into the baths of Grommash Hold, she stopped cold in her tracks.
It was a disaster area. Half of the water that was supposed to be in the bathtub was in puddles all over the room. It looked like a water elemental had used the room for target practice and missed every single shot. There was even water dripping from the ceiling. How could that have happened?
Jinx threw her bucket of cleaning supplies down and marched out of the room. “Heck, no! I don’t know what happened in that room, but I’m not cleaning it up!” she screamed in frustration.
Chapter 23: How to Care for a Human
How to Care for a Human
written by Vol’jin, Warchief of da Horde, Chieftain of da Darkspear
Rule 1. Forget every preconceived notion ya have about humans. Most of those will be proven to be wrong. Dey will also get ya quickly into trouble with ya human.
Rule 2. Humans are not easy to live with as dey can be difficult at times. Dey can be stubborn and infuriatin’ if dey choose to be. It will take some adjustment to learn how to live with one.
Rule 3. Do not laugh at dere accent, no matter how strange or adorably cute it sounds. It will hurt dere feelings and ya will have a poutin’ human on ya hands. Dat can be very frustratin’.
Rule 4. If ya do have a poutin’ human on ya hands, gentle, sweet words can used to improve dere mood. If dat fails, a little chocolate can have da same effect.
Rule 5. Humans do not eat as much as trolls do, so do not be alarmed. Dey also eat less meat and prefer more fruits and vegetables. Dey also like sweets on occasion.
Rule 6. If ya human snores, do not wake dem up and tell dem. Odds are dat ya will be hit in da face with a pillow.
Rule 7. If ya do get hit in da face with a pillow, do not retaliate by taking all da pillows off da bed and puttin’ dem out of ya human’s reach. Because den, ya human will take ya face paint, hide it, and refuse to tell ya where it be.
Rule 8. Odds are dat ya human has friends and family. If da situation is one where ya human can no longer see dere family and friends, ya human will get depressed from time to time because of dat. Ya human will need a lot of comfort and support during those times.
Rule 9. Dere may be one annoyin’ friend of ya human’s dat shows up unannounced all da time. Ya just gonna have to accept dat, and maybe change all da locks.
Rule 10. Humans are emotional creatures. Dey can go from happy to sad to ticked off within a matter of minutes. Do not be surprised.
Rule 11. For some strange reason, humans will become mortified if dey learn dat someone has overheard da two of ya bein’ intimate. Dey have an aversion to semi public sex. However, dey are not quiet, so odds are dat someone may overhear. Again, ya will have to soothe dem with sweet talk, if dat happens.
Rule 12. Apparently, da Loa do talk to humans.
Rule 13. Humans be fragile. Be careful with dem. Ya will feel guilty if ya hurt ya human, even if it be an accident.
Rule 14. Do not take dem to watch sacrifices to da Loa. Though dey won’t say anythin’, dey will find dat disturbin’ and have night terrors every night for da next month or so. This applies even if dey be a hunter and a soldier and should be used to death and killin’.
Rule 15. As a general rule, if dey say “I’m fine”, dey not be fine. If dey say “It’s okay,” things not be okay.
Rule 16. If ya tell ya human not to do somethin’, da human will go off and do it anyway.
Vol’jin was proofreading his work that he had written so far, when his eyes fell onto another rule written in different handwriting, but one that he recognized, Tyrathan’s.
Rule 16. If you write something like this, hide it so your Zandali reading human does not see it. Vol’jin, you better have a good explanation for this, or you’re going to have an angry troll hunter on your hands, the likes of which you have never seen. Chocolate and sweet talk are not going to work this time.
Vol’jin looked up from the paper. “Oh no,” he muttered.
Chapter 24: Overheard part 3
Zuwe and another troll guard were posted outside the Warchief’s rooms tonight. Zuwe stared straight ahead at a point on the opposite wall, doing his best to ignore the sounds and voices coming from the Warchief’s bedroom. Unfortunately, it was not working.
“You’re teasing me,” accused the Warchief’s mate, Tyrathan Khort.
“Hush, we got all night,” purred the Warchief.
Zuwe really hoped that this was not going to last all night.
“You might be able to go all night, but I can’t,” said the human.
“I be sure dat ya can handle it,” said Vol’jin.
The other guard shook his head. “Loa have mercy,” he whispered.
“Horny troll,” accused Tyrathan.
“It not be my fault dat ya be so desirable,” answered Vol’jin.
“I know that’s just you trying to get into my pants,” said Tyrathan.
“It seems like ya want me in your pants,” laughed Vol’jin.
Zuwe was now convinced that he must have done something horrible in a past life to deserve to be punished like this. It was the only explanation that he could think of. Whatever it was, he was sorry.
Chapter 25: Rain
It was raining this morning in the Echo Isles. A slow, steady rain was falling. It was peaceful, calming. Only those trolls that had to be out in the rain were out. Those that did not have to go outside, were staying under cover.
Tyrathan stood in the doorway of the Vol’jin’s hut, watching the rain. He could smell the rain mixed with the scent of the damp earth. He liked mornings like this. Lazy mornings when one could just relax.
He sensed Vol’jin walk up behind him. Tyrathan did not turn around. Vol’jin wrapped his arms around Tyrathan and rested his chin on the top of Tyrathan’s head. Vol’jin gave a sigh of contentment and Tyrathan smiled.
Neither one of them said anything, not wanting to break the peace of the rain. Together, they just stood there watching the rain.
Chapter 26: Nightmare part 2
Vol’jin knew when he was having a dream. He could tell the difference between dreams and visions. Visions came from the Loa. Dreams were just images that his mind came up with. When Vol’jin had visions, he tried to figure out the meaning behind them. When he had dreams, he just went along with them.
This time, he was dreaming about a battle, between the Horde and Alliance it appeared. The surroundings reminded him of Theramore and the battle with Daelin Proudmoore. The Horde was winning.
Vol’jin smiled. He cut down any Alliance soldier that had the misfortune of facing him. His Darkspears did the same. They thirsted to spill Alliance blood.
Suddenly, the battle stopped. Vol’jin was confused as he found the shocked faces of the Horde staring at him. Even his Darkspears looked at him with horror on their faces.
“Vol’jin, how could ya do dat?” Rokhan asked in disbelief.
“That’s going too far, Vol’jin,” growled Go’el with harsh judgment in his eyes.
“What ya be talkin’ about?” Vol’jin demanded.
“He loved you, Vol’jin, and you killed him!” Chen accused. For once, his pandaren friend looked angry.
With a sense of dread, Vol’jin looked behind him at the last Alliance soldier that he had taken down. Tyrathan lay dead on the ground, in a pool of his own blood. The same blood that now dripped from Vol’jin’s glaive.
“No,” whispered Vol’jin as he dropped to his knees, next to the body. Tyrathan had not been the Alliance soldier that Vol’jin had just fought. He was certain of that. In fact, Tyrathan had not been anywhere close to Vol’jin during this battle.
“Tyrathan,” whispered Vol’jin as he picked up the lifeless body and cradled it against him. “I be sorry. I didn’t know,” he cried as he buried his face against his dead mate.
Vol’jin’s eyes snapped open. He could feel silent tears running down his face. He took a deep breath as he sat up. It had just been a dream, a nightmare. Although, when he thought about it, the implications were all too real. If Vol’jin had faced Tyrathan in battle back then, Vol’jin would have killed him, just like he did with any other human. He did not know Tyrathan back then. The thought that Vol’jin could have killed his future mate and never had any idea about it, that frightened him.
Vol’jin let out a sigh of relief. Thankfully, things had not happened that way. Tyrathan was his mate and safely here with Vol’jin now. Vol’jin glanced over to check on his human, but the bed was empty.
Vol’jin stared at the empty side of the bed, trying to process what he was seeing. He felt like all the air had been sucked out of his lungs. Tyrathan had been sleeping next to him, Vol’jin was sure of that. He was positive that Tyrathan was alive. Vol’jin had not hurt him.
Tears were pricking Vol’jin’s eyes again as he wondered if maybe the dream had been reality, and everything else had been a dream. No, that was not true. It could not be true.
Tyrathan stepped out of the bathroom. The human got halfway to the bed before he seemed to notice that Vol’jin was awake.
“Did I wake you? I’m sorry,” yawned Tyrathan as he got back into bed.
Vol’jin grabbed Tyrathan and yanked him into a tight hug. His human was alive and safe.
“Vol’jin, what’s wrong?” Tyrathan asked as he placed a hand on one of Vol’jin’s cheeks. “Have you been crying?” he asked as he brushed the tears off Vol’jin’s face.
“Just a nightmare,” whispered Vol’jin, his voice cracking.
“Shhh, it’s okay,” said Tyrathan as he stroked Vol’jin’s back. “I’m here. Do you want to talk about it?”
Vol’jin shook his head. He could not bring himself to tell Tyrathan what he had just dreamed.
“That’s okay. Do you want to try to go back to sleep?” Tyrathan asked.
“Aye,” Vol’jin answered. He really did not want to go back to sleep, but he knew that if he stayed up, then Tyrathan would as well.
They lay back down and Vol’jin kept his arms wrapped around Tyrathan. Vol’jin buried his face next to Tyrathan’s neck and took deep breaths of his human’s scent. As always, that had a calming effect on him. He closed his eyes and waited. It was not long before Tyrathan’s breathing slowed to the point where Vol’jin knew that his mate had gone back to sleep.
Vol’jin pressed a light kiss to Tyrathan’s forehead, and then continued to lie there, holding his mate in a tight possessive grip. Nothing short of the Loa themselves were going to take Vol’jin’s mate away from him, and even they would find it difficult.
Chapter 27: Spoiled
“Da raptor not be sleepin’ in da bed with us,” declared Vol’jin as he crossed his arms.
Tyrathan had returned from a hunt with a new pet, a baby raptor. Vol’jin was happy for Tyrathan. A hunter without a companion just did not seem right. The fact that it was a raptor just confirmed for Vol’jin that Tyrathan had a troll-like spirit. But the raptor sleeping in the bed with them was not going to happen.
“Come on, Vol’jin,” pleaded Tyrathan. “Jihui has had a rough day.”
That had to be the most ridiculous name for a raptor ever, but Vol’jin kept that thought to himself. He could not deny the warm tug the name had on his heart. “No, raptors do not sleep in beds,” he said firmly.
“I believe at one point you said the same thing about trolls. Besides, how can you say no to this face?” Tyrathan asked as he held Jihui up.
“Very easily,” said Vol’jin.
Tyrathan placed Jihui back on his lap. “Please, Vol’jin,” Tyrathan pleaded with a sad look in his green eyes.
That was the face Vol’jin could not say no to. “Fine, one night,” Vol’jin agreed reluctantly.
One night turned into several nights; until Vol’jin woke up one morning with the raptor asleep on his chest and the raptor’s tail in his face. That was not an image Vol’jin wanted to wake up to.
“Startin’ tonight, da raptor does not sleep in da bed,” said Vol’jin.
“Okay,” sighed Tyrathan.
The next thing Vol’jin knew, Tyrathan was making Jihui a nest on the floor out of several furs.
“What ya be doin’?” Vol’jin asked.
“Making Jihui a bed,” explained Tyrathan.
“Ya are goin’ to spoil dat raptor,” accused Vol’jin.
“He’s my pet and I can spoil him if I want to,” said Tyrathan firmly.
Vol’jin sighed, but remained silent.
Unfortunately, that night, Jihui was not silent. The baby raptor whimpered from his bed. Tyrathan started to get up from the bed, but Vol’jin grabbed his arm.
“Da raptor will never learn to sleep by himself if ya keep coddlin’ him,” said Vol’jin.
“Fine,” huffed Tyrathan.
If Vol’jin thought that Jihui’s whimpering was bad that night, it was nothing compared to the raptor’s crying the next day. Tyrathan had gone on a hunt for the day, leaving Jihui behind. The raptor was too young to take on a hunt.
Jihui stood at the door, screeching and crying. The little raptor clawed at the door. Then raptor turned and looked up at Vol’jin. Jihui let out a loud screech.
“He be back soon,” said Vol’jin as he headed to his office. Although, Tyrathan could not get back soon enough. The raptor’s crying was going to drive Vol’jin crazy before the day was over.
Vol’jin had not been sitting at his desk for more than five minutes before he felt a little claw scratching at his leg. He looked down to see Jihui. As soon as the baby raptor saw Vol’jin looking at him, Jihui began screeching and crying again.
“Here,” said Vol’jin as he picked up the hatchling and sat him on his lap. With one hand he petted the raptor while he worked on paperwork with the other hand. Within a few moments, Jihui’s whimpering changed into purring.
Tyrathan had to admit that Vol’jin was always full of surprises. Yet, nothing could have prepared the hunter for when he retuned to Grommash Hold to find Vol’jin, Warchief of the Horde, sitting on his throne, giving orders, with Tyrathan’s baby raptor curled up on his lap.
Chapter 28: Snoring
Vol’jin had been asleep when something woke him up. At first, he thought it was Tyrathan having another nightmare, but the human was sleeping peacefully, for once. Vol’jin frowned. He glanced over at Jihui, Tyrathan’s raptor, but the pet was also sound asleep. Vol’jin was certain that he had heard something.
Everything appeared to be normal in the bedroom, so Vol’jin decided to check the other rooms, just to be on the safe side. He silently slid out of the bed, careful not wake Tyrathan. He checked the other rooms, one by one, but he did not see anything out of place.
Then, Vol’jin heard the noise again. It sounded like a growl and it was coming from the bedroom. Vol’jin rushed back to the bedroom. His eyes scanned the room, but again everything seemed to be normal. Both Tyrathan and Jihui were still asleep. What was going on?
Vol’jin scratched his head as he sat down on the bed. Then, Tyrathan let out a loud snore. That was the noise Vol’jin was hearing. Vol’jin chuckled. He had let himself get all worked up just because his mate was snoring. He lay back down beside Tyrathan and closed his eyes. Tyrathan snored again. Okay. There was no way Vol’jin was going to be able to sleep with Tyrathan doing that.
“Tyrathan, wake up,” said Vol’jin as he gently shook Tyrathan’s shoulder.
Tyrathan jolted awake. “Huh? What? What’s going on? What’s wrong?” Tyrathan asked.
“It be okay. Nothin’ be wrong. Ya just be snorin’ and it be keepin’ me awake,” explained Vol’jin. “Ya sound worse dan an orc with clogged sinuses.” The next thing Vol’jin knew, he was hit in the face with a pillow.
“Jerk,” mumbled Tyrathan as he rolled over to go back to sleep.
“Don’t blame me if ya be snorin’,” argued Vol’jin.
Tyrathan sat up and hit Vol’jin with the pillow again. Only this time, it got stuck on Vol’jin’s tusks. Tyrathan then grabbed Vol’jin’s pillow and lay back down.
Vol’jin narrowed his eyes as he pulled the pillow off his tusks. He was going to get even with Tyrathan for this.
“Where are all the pillows?” Tyrathan demanded the next night. There was not a single pillow on the bed.
“Dere be a problem?” Vol’jin asked as he lay down on the bed. He had a smug look on his face.
“Vol’jin, what did you do with the pillows?” Tyrathan asked.
“Dey be in da hall closet,” smiled Vol’jin. “Ya can have dem back if ya can get dem.”
Tyrathan went to the hall closet and cursed. The closet had been designed for races taller than humans and Vol’jin had placed the pillows at the very top of the closet, far out of Tyrathan’s reach.
Oh, Vol’jin was going to regret this.
“Where be it?” Vol’jin demanded the next morning. He had already tore the room apart searching for it.
“Where is what?” Tyrathan countered as he grabbed his bow and quiver to go to the archery range.
“Ya know what,” growled Vol’jin as he crossed his arms and stepped in front of the door. “My face paint. Where be it?”
“My guess is that it is wherever you left it,” said Tyrathan. “Are you going to move?” he asked gesturing at the door.
“Not until ya tell me where it be at,” Vol’jin growled.
“Put the pillows back on the bed,” argued Tyrathan.
“Ya hit me with a pillow,” accused Vol’jin.
“You complained that I was snoring,” spat Tyrathan.
“Ya were!” Vol’jin insisted.
There was a knock on the door.
“Are you going to answer that?” Tyrathan asked.
Vol’jin wanted to ignore it, but the knock repeated. Growling, Vol’jin turned and opened the door.
“You’re late for the meeting,” complained Saurfang. “We’ve been waiting for you for twenty minutes.”
“I’ll be dere when I get dere,” hissed Vol’jin.
“Enjoy your meeting, Warchief,” taunted Tyrathan as slipped past Vol’jin and was out the door.
Vol’jin growled again.
“I don’t even want to know what the two of you are fighting about now,” said Saurfang.
When Tyrathan returned from the archery range, Vol’jin was not in their rooms. Tyrathan figured that Vol’jin was probably busy somewhere with something. Tyrathan was starting to feel guilty that Vol’jin had to go about his business today without his face paint. Maybe he had gone a little too far.
Tyrathan reached into his quiver and pulled out the paint jars, along with the small fur he had carefully wrapped them in. He returned the jars to their proper place in the bathroom.
Tyrathan then went to the bedroom. A smile crossed his face when he saw that the pillows were back on the bed. Apparently, Vol’jin was tired of the fight too.
The next morning, Tyrathan woke up to find that Vol’jin was using his pillow to cover his ears.
“My snoring is not that loud!” Tyrathan complained.
Chapter 29: Headache
Vol’jin set his pen down and rubbed his temples. He had been at this paperwork for a few hours now, and it was giving him a splitting headache. What was worse was the fact that he was only halfway through the stack of papers on his desk. Vol’jin sighed.
“You look like you need to take a break,” said Tyrathan from behind Vol’jin.
Vol’jin did not jump at his human’s sudden appearance, but he had not heard Tyrathan’s approach either. Vol’jin blamed his headache for that. It was starting to dull his senses.
“I be fine,” said Vol’jin as he looked back at the paper in front of him. The words looked blurry to him.
“You don’t look fine. You look stressed,” argued Tyrathan as he ran one of his hands through Vol’jin’s mohawk.
Vol’jin closed his eyes and let out a low purr. He loved it when Tyrathan did this, even though it meant that Vol’jin would have to go fix his hair back.
“So are you going to tell me what’s wrong?” Tyrathan asked.
“I just be havin’ a headache,” sighed Vol’jin.
“Which brings us back to the fact that you need to take a break,” insisted Tyrathan.
“It not be dat bad,” argued Vol’jin as he opened his eyes.
“Really?” Tyrathan asked as he looked at the paper that Vol’jin had been writing on. “So, do you want to explain why you wrote Sourface instead of Saurfang?”
Vol’jin rubbed his eyes and focused on the paper. Sure enough, Vol’jin had written High Overlord Sourface. Vol’jin shrugged. “It be accurate,” he explained, “but maybe I do be needin’ a break.”
“You think?” Tyrathan snorted.
Chapter 30: Sparring
Tyrathan was looking for Vol’jin. Vol’jin was not in his throne room or in their private rooms. One of the guards informed Tyrathan that Vol’jin was in Grommash Hold’s training room. Tyrathan silently slipped into the training room. He stayed against the wall, in a shadow, not wanting to disturb Vol’jin.
Vol’jin was practicing with his glaive. He had his back turned to Tyrathan. Just watching the troll, Tyrathan could tell how deadly Vol’jin could be with that weapon.
Tyrathan watched as Vol’jin went through his exercises. He let his eyes roam over the troll’s large blue body. He appreciated the way Vol’jin’s muscles seemed to move in a fluid motion. His mind began to wander as he thought about Vol’jin holding him in those big strong arms.
Vol’jin stopped his practice. He turned around and grinned at Tyrathan. “Ya be starin’,” he accused.
“I thought I was allowed to stare. Especially since it’s all mine,” Tyrathan quipped.
Vol’jin’s eyes widened and his ears twitched at Tyrathan’s remark.
There was a snort of barely suppressed laughter from right outside the training room door, which was partially open. One of the guards must have heard what Tyrathan said and temporarily lost his composure.
Vol’jin shot a glare at the door despite the fact that he could not see the guard and vise versa. He set his glaive down against a wall and then moved back to the center of the room.
“Come here,” Vol’jin said in Zandali, turning his attention back to Tyrathan. He shifted into an attack stance.
Tyrathan approached cautiously. He had sparred with Vol’jin before on many occasions. Although Tyrathan sometimes won, most of his spars with Vol’jin ended with him on the floor and Vol’jin on top of him, not that Tyrathan was adverse to that position. Again, his mind began to wander. Maybe he would let Vol’jin win this time.
Chapter 31: I Love Ya
Vol’jin smiled as he listened to Tyrathan explain where he had hidden dozens of weapons in their preparations for the approaching Zandalari attack on the Shadowpan Monastery. Tyrathan had been busy squirreling away any weapon that he could find that could be useful. Vol’jin could not help but feel pride at his human’s cleverness.
There was that thought again. His human. Vol’jin had found that thought creeping up more and more the past few days, especially since Tyrathan and he had decided to be more than friends here in their last days. Yet, Vol’jin had kept that thought to himself because Tyrathan still technically was not his.
Vol’jin wanted so bad to claim Tyrathan, to mark him, so there would be no doubt that Tyrathan belonged to him. Vol’jin had resisted that urge so many times, but he was not sure how much longer he could.
Vol’jin looked at the floor as he ran his finger along the seam in the floor. There was something that he wanted to tell Tyrathan. Now felt like the best time. There might not be another opportunity. Although, Vol’jin was hesitant to say what he was feeling out loud. He was not sure what Tyrathan’s response would be. Vol’jin’s gut twisted as his mind raced along all the possible outcomes, some good, some bad.
“Vol’jin, are you even listening?” Tyrathan asked.
Vol’jin nodded. “Tyrathan, dere be somethin’ dat I be wantin to say,” began Vol’jin. This was it. He was going for it.
“What is it?” Tyrathan asked.
“I love ya,” said Vol’jin as he lifted his head and looked Tyrathan in the eye.
Tyrathan felt like the world had just come to a stop. He stared at Vol’jin, trying to process what the troll had just said. He glanced over at the door as the urge to bolt hit him. Vol’jin was between him and the door. Tyrathan doubted that he would be able to outrun Vol’jin anyway.
Tyrathan took a breath to steady himself. “I love you too,” he said as he stepped closer to Vol’jin.
It was the truth. Tyrathan had accepted his feelings awhile ago, but he had not voiced them, not even after their relationship had gotten intimate. It just seemed cruel.
Vol’jin stood up. There was a wide grin on his face that flashed his fangs. He pulled Tyrathan into a tight hug and they kissed.
Tyrathan tried to ignore the thought that it was not fair. He had fallen in love with Vol’jin. There had been several times over the past few days when Tyrathan had actually felt moments of happiness. Now, the Zandalari were coming to take that away.
Perhaps Tyrathan should have stopped Vol’jin from saying those words. It was too bittersweet to think that he had found happiness and love just to have it snatched away, but that seemed to be Tyrathan’s luck.
Vol’jin brushed his tusks against Tyrathan’s face and began to trail kisses down Tyrathan’s neck.
Maybe the Zandalari coming to kill them was for the best. Otherwise, Vol’jin would have returned to the Horde and left Tyrathan behind. At least this way, they would die together.
Tyrathan felt the scrape of Vol’jin’s sharp fangs on his skin just before Vol’jin bit down. Tyrathan gasped, more from surprise than pain. He knew that trolls marked their mates, but he had not been expecting this from Vol’jin. On some level, this action meant even more than Vol’jin saying I love you.
Vol’jin began to press soft kisses to the area he had just bitten, trying to soothe away the pain. “My human,” Vol’jin whispered in Zandali.
“My troll,” Tyrathan whispered back, also in Zandali. If the Zandalari were going to come and kill them, then at least Tyrathan was going to die belonging to Vol’jin and vise versa.
Chapter 32: Romantic
The loud ringing of the alarm clock woke Vol’jin up. With a growl, the troll reached for the offending object by the bed and shut it off. Neither he nor Tyrathan ever used the alarm clock, instead preferring to wake up naturally to the light of dawn coming through the window.
Vol’jin glared at the alarm clock, trying to remember why he had set it. It was four in the morning. Oh yeah, now he remembered. He needed to get up and be at the harbor by dawn. Vol’jin yawned as he got out of the bed and stretched.
“Vol’jin, what’s going on?” Tyrathan asked as he lifted his head up from the pillow. The hunter rubbed his eyes. “What time is it?”
“Four,” answered Vol’jin. “I got to be at da harbor at dawn. Da new ship in da fleet be ready. Dey gonna sail it today.” Vol’jin reached over and covered Tyrathan back up with the fur blanket. “Go back to sleep.”
“I didn’t offer to get up with you,” yawned Tyrathan. “Have fun.”
Vol’jin snorted, “It would be fun if Saurfang was not coming.”
“What’s wrong with Saurfang going?” asked Tyrathan.
“He gets seasick,” complained Vol’jin as he got dressed.
“Watching an orc get seasick, I feel sorry for you,” said Tyrathan.
Smiling, Vol’jin leaned over and gave Tyrathan a goodbye kiss on his forehead. As Vol’jin pulled away, Tyrathan grabbed one of his tusks.
“No. You woke me up at four in the morning. I want a real kiss,” insisted Tyrathan as he sat up in bed.
Vol’jin grinned as he leaned in and gave Tyrathan a kiss on the lips. When they broke apart, Vol’jin grinned even wider. “Ya could come too,” he offered. Things would be more bearable if Tyrathan was there. At least, Vol’jin would have someone to talk to while Saurfang was puking.
“No,” said Tyrathan as lay back down in the bed.
“I thought dat humans considered boat rides to be romantic,” said Vol’jin.
“Moonlit boat rides as a couple are romantic. Leaving my warm bed in the predawn hours to get on a ship and be sprayed with cold salt water while watching Saurfang heave his guts out over the side is not romantic,” said Tyrathan as he pulled the fur up to his chin and snuggled back into the bed.
Vol’jin chuckled as he left the room, an idea already brewing in his head.
“Vol’jin, where are you taking me?” Tyrathan asked as Vol’jin led his blindfolded mate to the beach.
It was a week later and they had gone to the Echo Isles for a few days. It was the perfect place for Vol’jin to put his plan into action.
“Don’t ya trust me?” coaxed Vol’jin.
“That depends on what you’re planning,” joked Tyrathan.
By now, they had reached the beach. Vol’jin took the blindfold off Tyrathan’s eyes so he could see the canoe on the beach.
“Vol’jin, what is this?” Tyrathan asked.
“It be a canoe,” said Vol’jin.
“I can see that, but why are we here with it?” Tyrathan asked.
“Ya said dat moonlit boat rides as a couple be romantic. Here be da boat, dere be da moons, and ya be my mate,” smiled Vol’jin as he pulled Tyrathan into a hug.
Tyrathan chuckled as he smiled up at Vol’jin. “You’re a hopeless romantic,” he teased as he shook his head. “I love you.”
“I love ya too,” purred Vol’jin.
Chapter 33: Bath part 2
As soon as Vol’jin and Tyrathan returned to their rooms, Vol’jin pushed Tyrathan up against the wall in a needy kiss. He then moved to the human’s neck, kissing and biting, while drinking in the hunter’s scent.
Tyrathan had just returned from a hunt, smelling like sweat and blood. Vol’jin loved it when his mate smelled like that. It was intoxicating to the troll. It took every ounce of Vol’jin’s self control to wait and not pounce on his mate in front of everyone.
“Why does it turn you on so much when I’m sweaty and covered in dirt?” Tyrathan gasped.
Vol’jin lifted his head and brushed his tusks against Tyrathan’s face. “It be ya scent. It be tellin’ me what a good hunter I be havin’,” purred Vol’jin.
“You like it when I stink?” Tyrathan complained.
“It be smellin’ good to me,” explained Vol’jin.
“Well, it doesn’t to me. Come on, Vol’jin, let go,” said Tyrathan as he tried to squirm out of Vol’jin’s grasp.
With an annoyed growl, Vol’jin let Tyrathan go, but followed the human’s every move with his eyes.
“Stop looking at me like that,” said Tyrathan as he put his bow and quiver away.
“Like what?” Vol’jin asked.
“Like you’re going to devour me at any second,” said Tyrathan.
“Ya would enjoy it,” coaxed Vol’jin. He grinned as he saw a slight shiver go through his human.
“I’m going to take a bath and wash this grime off me,” said Tyrathan.
“I be joinin’ ya,” offered Vol’jin.
“No,” said Tyrathan firmly.
“Why not?” Vol’jin tried to keep the whine out of his voice. He needed his human and he needed him now.
“Because I’m hot and sweaty, and I want to get clean,” explained Tyrathan as he walked back towards Vol’jin. He pointed at the troll. “When I take a bath with you, I come out feeling dirtier than when I went in.”
Vol’jin snickered, “Well, ya go get nice and clean. Den when ya get out, I’ll make ya dirty again.”
Tyrathan shook his head as his face turned red. “I just had to pick the horniest troll alive,” he muttered as he left the room.
Vol’jin roared with laughter.
Chapter 34: Nightmares part 3
Vol’jin lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling. His sleep for the past of couple of nights had been restless. Visions of a war flashed through his dreams. Orcs, trolls, tauren, forsaken, the Horde, fighting battles against the Alliance. Vol’jin could not determine if he was seeing the past or the future.
Beside Vol’jin, Tyrathan Khort shifted in his sleep. Vol’jin glanced over at his mate. Usually, it was the hunter whose sleep was troubled by nightmares. Yet tonight, Tyrathan was sleeping peacefully, a smile occasionally twitching on his face. Vol’jin sighed, grateful for that small mercy. He hated it when his human had nightmares. Vol’jin would willingly suffer nightmares every single night if it meant that his mate would have pleasant dreams.
Vol’jin could feel sleep calling to him and he closed his tired eyes. He should at least try to get some rest.
Vol’jin ran through the burning troll city. He was not sure where he was. All around him, he saw the Horde and Zandalari fighting against the Alliance. Vol’jin felt a sense of urgency for some reason, but he was not sure why. Something was wrong, but he was not sure what it was, nor did he understand why the Horde and Zandalari were fighting side by side. That had never happened before.
The fires were spreading through the city. The smoke was so thick that it burned Vol’jin’s throat and stung his eyes. The sounds of battle and the screams of civilians roared in Vol’jin’s ears. An even louder scream then pierced the air.
Vol’jin was now standing outside a palace. He glanced up to see Jaina Proudmoore standing on one of the balconies. There was both a challenge and a pleased look on her face, as if the Alliance had already won this battle.
Normally, Tyrathan had no idea when Vol’jin was having a nightmare. The troll would not cry out or thrash in his sleep. When Vol’jin would wake up from those nightmares, he would quietly slip out of bed and leave the bedroom to be alone with his thoughts. Tyrathan did not like that because it meant that he could not comfort his mate when he needed to. Tonight though was different.
Tyrathan had woke up to go to the bathroom. When he got back into bed, he glanced at the face of his sleeping mate. A deep frown was on Vol’jin’s face. He did not look like he was having pleasant dreams. The troll then bared his fangs and growled in his sleep.
“Vol’jin,” said Tyrathan as he shook Vol’jin’s shoulder. He had never seen this look on Vol’jin’s face before and he did not like it.
Vol’jin growled deeper and the look on his face got even more ferocious.
“Vol’jin, wake up,” coaxed Tyrathan.
With a roar, Vol’jin bolted straight up into a sitting position.
Tyrathan had to scramble backwards to avoid being head butted by his troll, or impaled on his tusks. That would be an unpleasant way to go.
Vol’jin’s eyes were wide as they darted around the room. He was breathing heavily, with low growls escaping a few times.
“Vol’jin, it’s okay,” said Tyrathan as he cautiously placed a hand on Vol’jin’s shoulder.
Vol’jin jerked his head in Tyrathan’s direction. Those piercing amber eyes stared at Tyrathan for a couple of moments before they softened in recognition. The hard, fierce look on Vol’jin’s face slid away.
“Are you awake?” Tyrathan asked.
“Now I be,” said Vol’jin as he got out of bed.
“Where are you going?” Tyrathan asked.
“I just need to think about some things,” said Vol’jin. “Go back to sleep.”
Tyrathan reached out and grabbed Vol’jin by the arm. “Stay. Talk to me,” said Tyrathan. “Tell me what upset you, what you were dreaming about.”
With a sigh, Vol’jin sat back down on the bed. “Dey just be visions of a war. Maybe da past or da future. I canna tell,” he explained.
Tyrathan moved so he was sitting next to Vol’jin. He reached up and ran his fingers through Vol’jin’s hair, lightly scratching his scalp. He could feel his troll slowly begin to relax.
“This war that you see, is it bad?” Tyrathan asked.
Vol’jin nodded, but did not say anything.
Tyrathan got the feeling that there was something that Vol’jin was not telling him.
Chapter 35: Food
Today at lunch, Vol’jin noticed that he had less meat on his plate than usual. Chen noticed it too.
“I told Taran Zhu that trolls eat a lot of meat, but he felt that you’ve healed enough to the point where your meat ration could be cut back,” frowned Chen. “Also, the Monastery only receives so much meat in donations. I could speak to Taran Zhu again.”
“No. Dis be fine,” said Vol’jin.
The next day, Vol’jin noticed that he had more meat on his plate. Not only that, but it seemed to be a higher quality than usual. He suspected that Chen had said something to Taran Zhu again, despite Vol’jin telling him not to.
“I told ya dat ya didn’t have to say anythin’ to Taran Zhu,” Vol’jin said to Chen when he sat down at the table.
“It wasn’t me, Vol’jin. It was Tyrathan,” said Chen as he glanced at Tyrathan’s empty seat. “He told Taran Zhu that he would be willing to go hunting to make sure the Monastery had as much meat as needed.” Chen had a deep frown on his face.
“He be shootin’ again?” Vol’jin asked. For some reason, the knowledge that Tyrathan had picked up a bow again made Vol’jin feel happy. He told himself that it was just because it meant that the hunter’s mood would improve.
“Where be Tyrathan?” Vol’jin asked.
“He was exhausted when he returned,” said Chen. “He said he was too tired to eat. I think he overdid it.”
Vol’jin frowned. That did not sound good.
After lunch, Vol’jin went to Tyrathan’s room. He carried Tyrathan’s plate. The thought that the hunter would not enjoy the spoils of his hunt did not seem right. When Vol’jin saw how little meat the Shadowpan had put on Tyrathan’s plate, Vol’jin saved the choice pieces from his own plate and slid them onto Tyrathan’s.
Vol’jin cracked Tyrathan’s door opened. He could see the human asleep on his cot. The moment Vol’jin stepped into Tyrathan’s room, Tyrathan awoke, his hand sliding underneath his pillow. Vol’jin suspected that was where the human had hidden some kind of weapon. The human relaxed when he realized that it was Vol’jin.
“I brought ya some food,” said Vol’jin as he set the plate down on a table.
“I told Chen I wasn’t hungry,” said Tyrathan.
“Ya need to eat, human,” said Vol’jin as he left the room.
Vol’jin was worried about Tyrathan. Since the human had started living with Vol’jin, the troll had noticed that Tyrathan ate less than half the food that was on his plate. It was less than a third of what Vol’jin ate. Vol’jin was not sure what to do about it, so he decided to ask for some advice.
“Saurfang, what do humans eat?” Vol’jin asked.
“Food,” Saurfang answered unhelpfully.
“I be serious,” said Vol’jin. “He not be eatin’ enough.”
“Maybe he’s sick,” offered Saurfang.
“Maybe,” muttered Vol’jin.
“Or maybe he’s depressed,” sighed Saurfang as he left the room.
“Vol’jin, I’m full,” complained Tyrathan.
Tyrathan did not know what was wrong with Vol’jin. The troll was starting to get on his nerves. Vol’jin was being very solicitous at supper tonight, and he kept sliding more food onto Tyrathan’s plate.
“If ya don’t like any of dis food, I can get ya somethin’ else to eat,” said Vol’jin.
“Vol’jin,” sighed Tyrathan. “I liked the food. It was good, but I’m full.”
“Ya not be sick, are ya?” Vol’jin asked.
“No, I’m fine,” said Tyrathan as he got up from the table. “Are you okay?” He could see the worry in Vol’jin’s eyes.
“I be fine,” said Vol’jin.
“Good,” said Tyrathan.
Vol’jin stood up and wrapped his arms around Tyrathan in a hug. Tyrathan rested his head on Vol’jin’s chest and smiled.
“Are ya happy?” Vol’jin asked.
“Of course I am,” said Tyrathan. He lifted his head and looked up at Vol’jin. The troll’s entire expression was one of worry. “Vol’jin, what is wrong?”
“Ya tell me,” said Vol’jin as he ran one of his hands through Tyrathan’s hair. “Tell me what be wrong.”
“Nothing is wrong,” insisted Tyrathan.
“Den why ya not be eatin’?” Vol’jin asked.
“I’ve been eating,” said Tyrathan.
“Ya not be eatin’ enough,” said Vol’jin.
“Vol’jin, I’ve been eating the same amount I’ve always had,” explained Tyrathan.
“It not be enough,” said Vol’jin.
“It’s enough for a human. I’m not some bottomless pit like you,” joked Tyrathan.
“I not be a bottomless pit,” argued Vol’jin.
“Well, I’ve watched you eat and I don’t know where it all goes,” teased Tyrathan as he stood on his tiptoes and gave Vol’jin a quick peck on the cheek.
Vol’jin narrowed his eyes and gave an annoyed, but non threatening, growl. “Ya really be okay?” he asked.
Tyrathan rolled his eyes and shook his head. He was getting the feeling that living with Vol’jin was going to be a test of his patience.
Chapter 36: The Sock Thief
Vol’jin could hear Tyrathan cursing in the bedroom. Curious as to what was going on, Vol’jin paused in the doorway of the bedroom.
The dresser drawers were all pulled open with various items hanging out of the drawers. The furs and sheets on the bed were all pulled off the bed. Standing in the middle of this chaos was Tyrathan. He had a serious expression on his face as he ran a hand through his hair.
“What ya be doin’?” Vol’jin asked.
“Looking for my socks,” explained Tyrathan. “I had about a dozen pairs and now they’re all gone, except for one.” Tyrathan held up his remaining pair of socks.
“And for dat, ya had to tear da bedroom apart?” Vol’jin asked.
“I’ve searched the dresser, the closet, under the bed, and in the bed. I don’t know where else to look. It not like they got up and walked away,” said Tyrathan as he tossed his last pair of socks into the open bottom drawer of the dresser.
“Ya didn’t find a single one?” Vol’jin asked.
“No. I did find about ten copper coins, a candy bar wrapper, a couple of buttons, and what looks like a shrunken head. That’s in the closet and I didn’t touch it,” said Tyrathan as he turned to face Vol’jin.
“I be wonderin’ where dat went to,” said Vol’jin.
Jihui got up from his bed and walked over to the dresser.
“I’m not even going to ask why you have it to begin with,” said Tyrathan as he shook his head.
Jihui now had his head in the dresser drawer. When he lifted his head back up, he had Tyrathan’s last pair of socks in his mouth.
Vol’jin grinned at Tyrathan. “Tyrathan,” said Vol’jin as he pointed to the raptor.
Tyrathan turned around just as Jihui ran back to his bed. He stashed the socks under one of the furs that made up his bed. Jihui then curled up in his bed.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said Tyrathan as he walked over to Jihui’s bed. “Move,” Tyrathan ordered the raptor in Zandali.
Chirping, Jihui got out of the bed.
Tyrathan moved some of the furs and began to pull out several pairs of socks.
“Dey all be dere?” Vol’jin asked.
“Yes, he’s got all my socks under here. Plus, one of my shirts and two of your loincloths,” said Tyrathan as he held up Vol’jin’s underwear.
Jihui chirped again.
“You’re very proud of yourself, aren’t you?” Tyrathan asked Jihui.
The raptor chirped and grabbed a pair of Tyrathan’s socks. He then ran out of the room.
“Jihui! Bring that back here!” Tyrathan yelled as he chased after the raptor.
Chapter 37: Lullaby
Vol’jin was a light sleeper, for the most part. Living through wars and threats against his life had made him that way. One advantage of that was he would wake up whenever his mate was having a nightmare, like tonight. Of course, what really woke him up was Tyrathan kicking him in the shin.
“No! Stop!” Tyrathan cried out in his sleep. His breathing was rapid. His face was twisted in distress. Tears ran down his cheeks, and his hair was damp with sweat.
“Tyrathan, wake up,” ordered Vol’jin as he gently shook Tyrathan’s shoulder. It hurt him to see Tyrathan like this.
With a gasp, Tyrathan woke up and sat straight up in bed. His eyes darted around the room, as if searching for something, possibly whatever had been haunting his sleep this time.
“Tyrathan, it be okay. It just be a nightmare,” coaxed Vol’jin as he brushed Tyrathan’s hair out of his face.
Tyrathan shook his head as more tears fell from his eyes. His shoulders trembled as he tried to hold back his sobs.
“What did ya dream about?” Vol’jin asked as he pulled Tyrathan against him in a hug.
Tyrathan shook his head again and buried his face against Vol’jin’s chest. There were times when he refused to talk about his nightmares.
Vol’jin could feel the human’s tears hitting his chest. Vol’jin rubbed his mate’s back with his hand and frowned. He really was not sure how to comfort Tyrathan when he was like this.
Vol’jin remembered that when he was a young cub and would have a nightmare, his father would sing him a Zandali lullaby to lull him back to sleep. Vol’jin wondered if maybe that would work. Well, it could not make things worse. Now how did it go?
Vol’jin began to hum the melody and soon the words came back to him. He softly sang the lullaby to his mate. After a few minutes, Tyrathan’s crying stopped and his body began to relax. Vol’jin smiled as Tyrathan snuggled closer. When the song was over, Vol’jin stopped and they lay there in silence for a few moments.
“I’m sorry for being such a worry to you,” whispered Tyrathan.
“Ya be no such thing,” argued Vol’jin.
“Well, thank you. You always know what to do to make me feel better. I love you,” sighed Tyrathan.
“I love ya too, manthing,” smiled Vol’jin as he pressed a kiss to Tyrathan’s forehead. He was not going to admit that it had been a shot in the dark, but it had worked. Vol’jin began to sing the lullaby again.
Chapter 38: Teasing
“When was the last time you had a day off?” Tyrathan asked Vol’jin.
“It been awhile,” answered Vol’jin without looking up from the papers in front of him. The Horde leaders were to have a meeting soon. Vol’jin was already seated at the table, studying the agenda and making notes.
Tyrathan stepped behind Vol’jin and ran his hands over Vol’jin’s shoulders, brushing the troll’s fur. He knew exactly how long it had been since Vol’jin had a day off, three months, one week, and four days.
Vol’jin sighed as the tension began to slide out of his shoulders.
“You need to take breaks more often,” suggested Tyrathan. “And maybe a day off here and there.” He began to massage the muscles in Vol’jin’s shoulders. He could feel the knots in those muscles.
“I be fine,” argued Vol’jin as a low purr rumbled through his chest, but he kept looking at those papers.
“There has to be something that you like to do in your free time,” insisted Tyrathan. He pressed a kiss to the back of Vol’jin’s neck.
“Tyrathan?” Vol’jin asked, as he finally looked up from the papers.
Tyrathan smiled as he pressed more kisses to the back of Vol’jin’s neck. At least now, he had Vol’jin’s full attention. “There isn’t anything that you’d rather be doing right now?” Tyrathan whispered right in Vol’jin’s ear.
“Tyrathan,” Vol’jin growled.
Tyrathan chuckled. He could not see Vol’jin’s face, but he knew the effect that he was having on Vol’jin. Tyrathan was loving every minute of it. He nipped at Vol’jin’s ear and Vol’jin hissed.
“Now not be da time,” growled Vol’jin.
“I know. I just wanted to get you hot and bothered,” smirked Tyrathan as he noticed some of the other Horde leaders arriving for their meeting. “Now, I’ll leave you alone,” he whispered.
“Ya be cruel, human,” hissed Vol’jin as he glared at Tyrathan.
Tyrathan gave Vol’jin an unapologetic smile and left. He knew that he would pay for this later.