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Guard You - Yunho

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All things fade with time. The walls of this cave have crumbled, the stone altar is reduced to ruin, and the vibrant colors of my mural are disappearing. With humans constantly evolving, I knew there would come a day where they would no longer need me, or no longer believe in me. I just thought I had more time.

Without someone to serve; my strength has dwindled. So much so that I can no longer muster my physical body. It’s been over three hundred years since I felt the water on my feet or the wind against my skin. For centuries this cave has been my prison. I fear that one day I’ll be reduced to nothing but a consciousness, with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company for eternity. But today, that’s the least of my concerns.

As it happened a thousand times before, a boat wandered into my cave with a few men on board. By now I knew better than to expect an offering. They always came in search of whatever mysterious treasure was supposed to be hidden away here. They always left empty-handed, and the lack of offerings is what kept me trapped in the limited realm of spirits.

I’d never been able to figure out why they believed there was anything here worth taking, but today was the first time I didn’t immediately wish they’d leave.

Usually, the men that come to my secluded island bring destruction. They tear the once sacred space to pieces in search of gold or silver or whatever it is they seek. All I can do is look on as they decimate my home.

But today is different.

Two of the men were as destructive and loud as all the others that had come before, but the third…he was nothing like them. While the other men were working through piles of rubble and sifting through the shallow water, this one had taken time to look over what remained of the mural that had been painted of me all those years ago, even reading the inscription that described the conditions of my existence.

No man has ever looked over the cave walls like that.

They spent the day tearing things apart, with the young man I had grown to adore continuously stopping to look up at the walls. Every time he moved a stone, cracked a rock, or sifted through some sand, he would look around like he was being watched.

The sun began to sink past the horizon, and the men decided to end their search. At first, I wanted them to stay so I could continue to watch the boy who believed in me, but what happened next made me wish the thought had never crossed my consciousness.

Once his owners had loaded their boat to head back out to sea, they pushed the young man back to the coarse sand of the cave floor. They muttered something about how useless he was before wading away. For a moment he chased them, but it was no use. He drudged through the shallow water, defeatedly making his way back to the shore of the cave.

He’s marooned. And all I can do is watch.

Night fell, and with it came the darkness I had watched countless times. I had never searched for life as desperately as tonight, watching and listening for any sign of the stranded young man. The tide rose and fell without sweeping him away, although he couldn’t seem to keep his entire body out of the water. He shivered in the darkness of the cold night, still taking the occasional glance at the walls of stone around him.

The following day proved that humans are still weak in what they can withstand. The night before, he was too cold. Now, he’s too hot. He’s only gone a day without food or water but he’s already weak. I could fix every problem ailing his body in a matter of seconds, but he isn’t my master, and he hasn’t made any effort to summon me.

Despite being frail, he spent most of the day pacing the shallow beach hidden by the cave. Aside from the occasional mumble or scoff, he was silent. His lips had become chapped, his dark hair clung to his head with sweat, and his stomach rumbled with hunger. There was no way out. No way for me to help him. I’ll be forced to watch him die.

The second night was harder to witness. He’d been in bad shape since he arrived, but what he’d been through has pushed him to a state of desperation. His voice broke into soft whimpers as the tide covered his feet and ankles. His feeble fingers dug into the sand beneath him. His sleep was interrupted by the audible ache of his stomach and the dry coughs escaping his throat. I’m not sure if I should wish for his continuous survival or the release of death.

His eyes fluttered open as the light of morning crept through the cave. The sweat that had coated his body the day before had dried into light-colored streaks. His head stayed resting on the wall, and his hands at his sides hardly twitched. He shut his eyes and dragged himself closer to what remained of the altar at the foot of my faded mural.

His dry tongue clicked against the roof of his mouth. “If you’re here,” he said in a near whisper, “I’m sorry I came with the intent to steal from your shrine. I didn’t want to come. They pulled me from the water. I’d been their slave for weeks.” His dry and raspy voice descended to a shattered cry, “I just want to go home. I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to let Captain down.”

His last few statements seemed to be addressed more to himself and the world as a whole than they were to me. But my desire to help him became even more agonizing upon hearing his innocent longing for safety.

His pained cries steadied, and he moved to reach a pouch on his belt. “I’m afraid I’m a hypocrite.” He started again, glancing over to the altar next to him. “I was going to steal from you. Maybe that’s why I’ve been punished.” He unraveled the bundle in his hands, and gently laid out an array of shells on the sand next to him. “They’re just so beautiful. It’s hard to find so many unbroken. And there’s all different kinds. I wanted to take them with me. But I’m going to die here. It would be a shame for them to go to waste. So, I want you to have them.”

He held up a particularly perfect clamshell, twirling it between his fingers before gently setting it down on the altar beside him. With a soft smile tugging at his lips, he took a deep breath and shut his eyes, falling further from consciousness.

The moment the shell touched the altar I attempted to materialize. I lost sight of the man as his eyes closed, my vision replaced with the sun shining through the shallow water I rested in.

What was even better than having the water on my skin, and the sun shining above me was the feeling of having a master waiting for me. I breached the surface and took a deep breath of real air. I rubbed the saltwater from my eyes, making my way up the shore and out of the water. Dripping, I looked down to see that I was draped in a soft gown the color of the shell I had just been gifted. It may be one of my favorite offerings yet.

The young man flinched at the sounds of me moving around him before opening his weary eyes. I ran my hands over the parched skin of his cheeks, brushing some hair out of his face. Although he seemed to recognize that I was in fact in his presence, he struggled to hold his head up enough to look at me.

Rushed and out of practice, I cupped my hands together and created fresh, clean water in my palms. I held it to his lips but had to do most of the work in getting it into his mouth and down his throat.

It only took one sip. I let the rest of the water in my hands fall over his face and trickle down his neck. He let out a gentle sigh as his head fell back against the cave wall, this time out of relief and not agony. I backed away, my feet once again sinking into the shallow water of the hidden shore.

I’m back.

I stared out at the glimpse of open ocean I could now see from the cave. The water tickled my ankles. The sand wiggled its way between my toes. The breeze filled my nose with the scent of the untamed waters surrounding my home. Anticipation for the adventures ahead filled my chest. My new master will have things to do, places to go…

I whipped back around to properly introduce myself, but my voice caught in my throat. I’d seen him from another world before, but being in front of him brought a complete representation of the soul I had watched suffer. I wasn’t in danger. I wasn’t afraid. But for some reason, I couldn’t move.

His dark hair fell gently over his eyes, and despite the salty air, lacked any curl or wave. His skin was as pale as the sand on the most brilliant beaches. His eyes twinkled more beautifully than the stars at night. The gentle nature I had observed in him since he arrived seemed to somehow be reflected in the welcoming features of his face. In contrast, he towers over me in a way that makes the walls of the cave feel small.

“Why…” he stuttered as his voice trailed off, “why are you looking at me like that? Shouldn’t I be the one that’s scared?”

“I’m not scared. I just…I didn’t know humans could be so tall. Or are you a small giant?”

“Maybe I am. That would explain a lot.” He laughed a tiny laugh, taking a cautious step towards me and speaking in a surprised tone. “You saved me. You’re real. I can’t believe it.”

“Master,” I addressed him with a smile as I dropped to my knees, “thank you for your offering. I’ll be sure to it that I serve you well for as long as you live.” As I moved to press my head to the cave floor to properly bow to him, he gripped my arm.

“Stop that! What are you doing?”

“I’m sorry Master. I didn’t mean to-”

“Stop! Stop calling me that. Why-What? I didn’t-”

His grip stayed tight on my arm, nearly dragging me as he frantically looked over the walls of the cave. His eyes finally settled on the altar where he had left the perfect clamshell just moments before. Horror and worry replaced the relief that had been present on his face since he drank from my hands.

“It…it was just a shell. How am I deserving of you if it was just a shell?”

“The value doesn’t matter. It never has. I’ve been given stones, handfuls of sand…I actually quite liked the shell.”

He pulled me to my feet and ran his hand over where he had been holding on to me. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so rough with you. It’s just…I thought I was going to die. But you saved me, And you’re the one that called me your master. That’s backward, don’t you think?”

“It doesn’t matter what I think.”

“It matters to me.” He smiled down at me and patted the top of my head, “And I’m supposed to be your master. Right? So, my first order as your master is that you stop calling me master. My name is Yunho.”

“No. No, I can’t call you by your name alone. You have power over me, it wouldn’t be right…”

“You gave me water before I asked for it. You obviously have free will.” Yunho sighed, “But if you must call me some sort of title, call me Captain.”

“Captain,” I repeated after him, “Captain Yunho?”

He smiled, “Perfect.”

I had seen handsome men before. Brave men. Strong men. Many of the voyagers that I was bound to in the past were the best their respective tribes, kingdoms, and countries had to offer. They traveled from all over the world to find me to protect their expeditions. But Yunho puts them all to shame. He’s worthy of royalty, of leading armies, of commanding a ship, like most of the others, but usually, those traits come with a characteristic cruelness. I thought it had only gotten worse over time from the men I’d seen in the cave, but his presence has changed my entire perception of modern humans. I have no idea how he fairs in the real world, away from the confines of an empty cave, but his inherent kindness towards me struck an ache into my now very tangible heart.

After explaining more about the extent of my power and the extent of his control over me, we devised a plan to get away from this desolate island, and back to the crew he spoke of so lovingly. A crew that should be waiting for him on the mainland.

I’ve never served a pirate before. I was afraid of what it might entail. But Yunho swore to me that they aren’t a typical crew of ruthless pirates. In his words, they only “pirate from pirates,” and kill or harm those who they decide deserve it. Other masters have had me do worse on less principled motives.

It’s been centuries since I've been to the mainland. Back then it was nothing but a small outpost for the merchant ships that traded with the colonies that were starting out. Taking Yunho there was going to be equally exciting for the two of us.

It didn’t take me long to construct a boat, but as soon as I finished it I was met with a laugh from Yunho.

“What? What’s wrong with it?”

“It looks like you pulled it from a painting from three hundred years ago.”

“Have ships really changed that much?”

He patted the top of my head and sighed, “You said you could protect me from anything, right? Even drowning?”

“I tried my best. I haven’t been out-”

“It’s perfect.” He cut me off. “I wouldn’t set foot on it without you to protect me, but at least it’s beautiful.”

“If we see other ships I can match, I'll fix it. I’ll do anything your heart desires.”

“My heart desires to sail away with you in the deathtrap you’ve constructed.”

I dropped my eyes away from him, “I’m serving you poorly. Already. It's no wonder no one had come here to summon me. I’m no longer useful.”

There’s something different about my physical body this time. I’ve never been so susceptible to human emotions. I’ve never been so concerned about disappointing a master. I’ve never cried before.

He crouched down a little to try and get himself eye level with me but I looked away. “Wait. No no no no…I didn’t mean anything by that. Aren’t I allowed to joke with you? You’re amazing. I would be dead if it weren’t for you.”

“You summoned me by accident. You don’t even want me. I might as well just come back here and live in the cave until you die. I’m only going to cause more harm to you and I can’t be the reason you get hurt. I’m supposed to be your guardian, but instead-”

He gripped my hand tight, snapping me out of the awkward spiral of emotions. When I opened my eyes, Yunho was kneeling in front of me, giving me an even better view of the sunshine reflecting in his eyes. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry. How can I make it up to you?”

“What are you doing?! You can’t kneel to me. This is wrong. Get up.” I frantically tugged at his hand but his hold on me only got tighter.

“Did you just give me an order? That’s no way to speak to your captain. I’ll kneel to you if I please.”

The longer it went on, the more I panicked, but the touch of his hand was drawing out the sadness that had been consuming me. “I’m sorry, Captain.”

“You saved my life. I will kneel to you. I will bow to you. I will board any ship you create, drink any water that fills your palms. I don’t believe it was an accident that I summoned you. We were meant to find each other. My only regret is that I can’t be a better man worthy of your protection.” He stood up, once again towering over me and standing closer than he ever had. His soft lips brushed over the back of my hand as his gaze washed over me. “Thank you for the boat. You’re no longer a servant. You’re my partner. My first mate. Let’s get going.”

We boarded the ship and were just as quickly out on the water. Yunho told me more about his experience sailing, and about how my method was actually similar to the way his crew sails using magic enchantments. His captain, along with a few of his crewmates, happen to be very talented magic users. He claimed that was why he wasn’t so skeptical of my existence when he saw the evidence in the cave. I’m just happy to know it isn’t a completely outdated practice.

There have been many tales throughout time of immortal beings falling for mortals, or the other way around. I never understood it. It seemed impossible to cross such a boundary. But now that I’ve met Yunho, I want him. My every waking moment is spent in adoration of him. Every time I look at him I’m shattered by his breathtaking beauty. The way his pale skin appears warm in the sun. The way his cheeks ball up when he smiles. The way he looks at me…

Days passed and the trip remained uneventful aside from some rain and my growing attachment to Yunho. Every day was more bliss-filled than the last. Every time he looked at me I was gifted another shred of hope that he might feel something for me in return. I know better than to initiate anything, but his rose-colored lips and sparkling eyes made it nearly impossible.

As someone who’s lived a never-ending life, a few days shouldn’t be enough time to develop such an intense desire for someone. But maybe that’s why it’s all the more valid. In all my years of existence, I’ve never met anyone like him.

On one particularly silent night on the open water as we laid on the deck staring up at the stars, Yunho cleared his throat, a familiar smile creeping over his lips.

“You know, ships have better places to sleep now. No one really sleeps on deck, and the hulls aren’t so cramped. The Matz is huge, and we use magic so we don’t need a crew. The eight of us share a ship meant for a hundred men. It’s like we share a palace. We have hammocks and mattresses. Captain has a really nice bed in his quarters. He lets us sleep in it when we want to.” He turned to me, his eyes lost in thought, “I’ve been worried about the ship, but even more worried about Captain. He’s good at what he does, but he always puts us first. He would do anything to keep us safe, even die.”

“I promise to do whatever it takes to get you to the mainland. And if he isn’t there, I’ll help you find him.”

“Thanks. I’d really be a mess without you.”

He leaned in closer, fingers trailing over my face. His eyes beamed with a gentle excitement as I let my hope rise.

“Yunho…what are you doing? Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I’m curious, what happens to you when I die?”

“Oh. Well, I’ll go back to the island. I’ll live there for a while until I can’t keep my body going anymore. Then I’ll be trapped again.”

“You’ll keep your memories of me though?”

“Yes, I’m afraid that’s the curse of immortality.”

He let out a soft hum, “I’d like to be cruel, then. I want to curse you with memories of me. Although I suppose I’m vain to think you’d even want such memories.” His touch fell past my jaw, my neck, and down to the fabric of my dress resting on my chest. “I’m glad I chose that shell. This color looks so beautiful against your skin.”

“Beautiful?”

“Beautiful.” He repeated. “You know you’re beautiful, don’t you? You’ve been around for countless lifetimes. I can’t be the first master of yours to fall in love with you.”

My mind went blank. My stomach twisted into knots. Even breathing became impossible. He rolled onto his side and rested his hand on my face, brushing his thumb over my cheek.

I shook my head, “No one has ever loved me before.”

“Are you capable of love?” He asked as if he feared the answer.

I’d never fully pondered the question, but with him in front of me, looking at me with those eyes, the answer was very clear.

“Yes. I am.”

“And if I asked to kiss you right now, would you say yes just because you want to do as I say as your captain?”

“If you wish that I be genuine in my answer then I will be.”

He shifted his body so he was holding himself over me, with a hand on each side of my head and his legs resting to the side of me. It was intimidating, being pinned down underneath a man I was intended to submit to. A man bigger than any master that had ever come before him, but any fear that might have come with the intimidation was washed away by the loving look in his eyes.

“I want to know the truth. How you genuinely feel…”

“Please kiss me, Yunho.”

Before I could panic at my use of his name unaccompanied by a title, I had fallen into the excitement of his lips pressing against mine. His lips that I had stared at every time he smiled down at me were finally mine to kiss.

In a thousand years from now when I am serving a ruthless master, or when I’ve been reduced to nothing but memories in a ruinous cave of rubble, this moment will be the only thing that fills my consciousness. In a million years, when humans are gone and I am doomed to roam the rubble of a once beautiful world, I’ll be comforted by the knowledge that I was ever able to provide him with the slightest bit of happiness. He called it torture to provide me with such a beautiful memory, but my life had already been torture. This is the only love I’ve ever been gifted.

Now that we had fallen into a rhythm, I mustered the bravery to place my hands on his face. I softly kneaded at the soft skin of his cheeks, pulling a soft giggle from his lips as they pressed further to mine.

Only after the initial shock had passed did I realize that I’d never done this before, and had no true way of knowing what to do. It was as if he sensed my embarrassment and pulled away, staring down at me in adoration.

“Has something made you uncomfortable?”

“No. Not at all. It’s just strange that something so bizarre can feel so natural.”

He let out a soft laugh, “Yes I suppose a lot of the natural things humans do are quite strange. But this is all we need to worry about for now.”

The world faded further from view as I was devoured by his kisses. Even the sounds of the ocean seemed like nothing but the distant mewls of another world. The longer his lips tangled with mine, the more he allowed the weight of his body to fall over me. His hands eventually found places to rest on my face and neck, the size of them only adding to the new rush of bliss burning through me.

When he finally pulled away from me, there was a hint of sleepiness in his eyes, the way there always was at this time of night. I begged him to go below deck to rest, I could easily manage sailing for the rest of the night.

It took some convincing, but he did finally reluctantly agree to hide away until morning.

I felt a responsibility to feel guilty for my reckless actions, but I was too lost in the bliss to feel anything but joy. There’d never been a rule against such behaviors, I just never had the interest. No human had ever offered me love. My adoration for them had always come more as an instinct but was never truly earned.

Yunho earned it. But we would never be normal together.

There would come a day where we no longer looked close in age. My human body will remain the way it is now and his will continue to deteriorate. If he were to ever want a family, that would create an entirely new set of issues I had never cared to think through. But I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe it was only a kiss, and nothing more. Maybe it meant nothing to him and was simply a way to pass the time. But even so, I’d already become so attached to him that it would hurt to watch him inevitably die.

Thoughts of my endless future crowded my mind and distracted me from the pitch-black night that surrounded our ship. And soon it would become apparent why the ship I had constructed seemed to be such a joke to Yunho.

First, there were shadows moving through the water, big enough to block the reflection of the stars. Then, in a matter of seconds, I was being surrounded by men that had raided the deck. It wasn’t until my eyes searched the sky for their origin that I realized they weren’t actually falling from the stars, but from a ship that towered over ours like a mountain. The men grabbed me as they searched the hull for Yunho, eventually pulling him to the deck with no true regard for his safety.

None of them had swords, axes, or even daggers, so aside from being outnumbered, I didn’t foresee any true danger.

The voice that spoke was a familiar one, belonging to one of the men that had marooned Yunho.

“Your invincible reputation proves true, Yunho.”

“What do you want now?” Yunho barked back.

“It seems you weren’t entirely honest with us. You can imagine our surprise when we stopped at an outpost only to see a wanted poster for the pirate Yunho, offering a sizable reward.” He lifted Yunho’s chin, “Dead or alive. So, we returned to retrieve your body, but this is even better.” The man took a few short steps towards me as the men holding me in place tightened their grip.

“You stay away from her.” Yunho commanded with a quick thrash of his body.

By now the man had reached me, running a finger down my throat and towards my neck as he spoke, “It’s always fun to have a woman on board. Lucky you, Yunho. What, did you find her on the island and decide to help yourself? Savages are so easy to use. Throw some food on the ground and they’ll bend over. Hell, does she even know what’s happening?”

Yunho’s ears had flushed a bright red, and fuming anger was burning through his face.

I cut in, “I would like to ask you to leave our ship.”

“Oh, it speaks.” The man moved in closer, blocking my view of the man I was supposed to be protecting. “Tell me, dear, what has he done to you? Did he hurt you? Has he fucked you? You poor thing. You should come with us. We’ll treat you properly.”

“I’m not leaving Yunho.”

“Well that’s fine dear, we’ll be taking both of you.”

Just as the man moved to look back at Yunho, the most horrifying sound I’d ever heard rang through my ears. The man was holding a tool, pointing it at Yunho. It was something familiar, but so absurdly foreign. It was smoking, it smelled strange, and it had to be the cause of the mess of charred flesh and blood now covering Yunho’s body.

“What, what was that?” I managed to choke out as shock filled my mind.

“So she is a savage. This is a gun, my dear. And a shot to the gut is hardly survivable.” The man said with a chuckle as he spun to look at me again. “I’ll shoot between his eyes if you don't cooperate.”

I’d seen countless horrors created by humans, but I’d never seen Yunho’s face so ridden with pain.

The human emotions that turn spirits into world destroyers were scorching my heart. If my sole purpose hadn’t been to save Yunho I might’ve ignited the sky, or boiled the ocean. The ties between our souls began to snap as his grip on life weakened. The moment the sparkle fell from his eyes, I lost control.

First, there was rain, then lighting. Flames raged on the surface of the water. Both ships became driftwood.

Every man on the water that night perished.

Every man except Yunho, who would rest in a bed fit for a king, in the captain’s quarters of his new ship.

I’d never healed an injury like the one inflicted by the gun. Even when I felt the strength and life return to his body I feared he wouldn’t wake up.

I spent the remainder of the night and the next day on my knees at his bedside, incapable of pulling my hands away from him. When the comfort of the setting sun returned I finally felt the gentle touch of his hand brush against my face.

There was no way to hold back the tears that poured from my eyes when I saw the sparkle that had returned to his.

His soft voice filled my ears, “Oh dear, what have I done to make you cry this time? I just can’t seem to keep you happy.”

“Stop. You know this is all my fault. I didn’t know they had weapons. I’m a pathetic excuse for a guardian. I don't deserve-”

He grabbed my arm and yanked me onto the bed with him, wrapping his arm around my head and holding a hand over my mouth to keep me from speaking. “Shush. You were amazing. I’ve never seen such a brilliant storm. And you kept me alive.” He loosened his grip on me but pulled my body on top of his. “Look at this. Aren’t you supposed to be a guardian? A water spirit? After what you did last night I think you’re more of a deity or a goddess, and you’re crying because I got a little scraped up?”

“You were dying. I can feel when things go wrong with you. You knew you were dying too.”

“Oh.”

“There was so much blood. And you looked so scared. It was all my fault.”

“It’s my fault for being a criminal in the first place.” He smiled softly and tilted his head as he wiped a tear from my face. “It’s not your fault you were summoned by a crummy pirate. I promise you I’ll spend the rest of my life showing you adventure to make up for it. I want you to remember that I adore everything you do for me. It doesn’t matter that I got hurt. What matters is that you fixed it.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

The look on his face shifted as he glanced around the massive captain’s quarters. “This room is amazing. You did excellent work, this really looks like a modern ship. And this bed…” His eyes made their way back to me as his voice trailed off.

“What? Is something wrong?”

“No. I’m just curious…how much of yourself are you willing to give to me?”

“What do you mean?”

His lidded gaze shifted down my body, “I want to prove my love for you.” He pulled me closer to him, so he was whispering against my lips, “The way humans prove their love for each other.”

Blood rushed to my face. A hunger for his touch consumed me as I fell even deeper into his eyes. “I don’t know how to do those things. I’ve never done it before…”

“Neither have I, my love. But it’s natural. Human instinct. Nothing has to happen now. It's just that you got me all riled up thinking about how well you handled an entire ship of men last night. You wiped them out like they were nothing, just to protect me. I know you’re divinely obligated to keep me safe but it was still quite a sight to see.”

“Actually, Yunho…” he perked up at the sound of his name leaving my lips, “I sort of went on a rampage last night because it hurt so bad to see you in pain. It wasn’t just because I was supposed to be protecting you. It was sort of because I think I love you.”

He pressed a kiss to my cheek, “That makes it even better. That means I’m something special. Right?”

“I think that’s what it means to love someone. Doesn’t it?”

A soft laugh fell from his lips as he nodded, “Yes. I think we love each other.”

“Will you help me prove it?” I asked, my voice a low whimper as his lips curved into a soft and gentle smile, “Yunho, will you show me?”

I’ve never felt desire like I did as our lips fell into a deep kiss. Yunho’s big hands rested on my back as he sat up, positioning my legs on the sides of him so I was straddling his hips. As clueless as I assumed I’d be, instinct slowly took over when he pulled me further onto his lap. His desire for me now apparent against my own body.

He drowned me in his embrace, only pulling away to change our positions. In one solid movement, he lifted us off the bed and pinned me to the wall next to us, keeping my legs wrapped around his torso. He returned to the bliss-filled kiss as he guided my arms to wrap around his neck. His hips snapped and pressed me even further into the wall before he stopped to smile down at me.

“I’m being selfish. Please forgive me. You’re just so easy to handle. How can something as powerful as you be so easy to pin?”

I was well past being able to articulate a sentence. All I could muster was a broken plea for his love. “Please. Please, Yunho.”

That look in his eyes that always came when his name left my lips had returned with an added element of surprise. “You don't have to beg, love, tell me what you want. I want to explore your preferences before we continue. I want this to be nothing but pleasure for you.”

He let my feet fall to the ground. I winced at the loss of touch but was quickly distracted by the way Yunho towered over me, especially now with his hands on the wall behind me.

“Look at me. Tell me what you like about me. What makes you want me?”

At first, the answers were easy, “I like your voice. I like the way you smile. I like your eyes when they’re on me.” I traced over the contours of his body as he kept me pinned in place, my answers became harder to put into words. Concepts that seemed unrelated to the lust felt by humans were prodding at my chest. The way he speaks to me, almost losing him, his ability to always take the pain of human emotions away. “I like when you tell me I did well even when I mess up. When you praise me…it sort of does something to me. I like when you stand over me and make me feel small and powerless, even though I know you won’t hurt me. I like when your big hands touch my face.” His eyes had gone dark as he watched me tuck my fingers under his shirt and rest my hands on his stomach. “Oh, and I like this. Your soft tummy. I saw it last night when I was fixing you up.”

He scoffed but smiled.

I let my own instincts take over as I dropped to my knees in front of him. Slipping past his hands that were keeping me against the wall, I looked up at him one more time as I lifted his shirt and planted a gentle kiss to his stomach. He hummed and gasped.

I could keep going.

My fingers slipped into the fabric on his hips, and I quickly unfastened the belt keeping him covered. Soon there was nothing keeping me from tasting him.

He kept one hand on the wall to steady himself but used the other to hold the loose fabric of his shirt out of the way. His eyes stayed on me as I took him into my mouth. A mess of hushed words fell from his lips when I started to pump my mouth lower. I used my hand to fondle him, prompting even more whimpers to fall from his lips.

“This wasn’t supposed to be about me.”

I pulled away, allowing him to rest on my lips as I spoke, “It’s not. You’re fascinating. This is what I wanted.”

I’d never seen such a beautiful man. Every part of his body curved in the most perfect way, his skin was soft despite obvious years of being on the water. The longer I focused on pleasing him, the more I wanted to see the rest of his body. As if he could sense the anticipation in my movements, he gently pushed my head back against the wall, pulling himself off of my lips.

He left me to catch my breath as he shook away his pants and pulled his shirt over his head. At first, he seemed to drip with confidence, but as my eyes wandered over his exposed skin he backed away from me with a giggle and covered himself with his arms.

“You’ve probably seen better than this before. Haven’t you? Being around for as long as you have.”

I leaned against the wall and stood in front of him again, hardly able to speak the longer I admired him. “You’re flawless.”

“You’re sweet.” He let his arms awkwardly fall to his sides and took a step towards me, “Listen, I want you to know that if you ever do this with anyone else when I’m not around anymore, don’t let them touch you unless you want them to.”

“I’m not going to do this with anyone else. This is just for you.”

He smiled as his body pressed against me, his hands finding their way to my face. “Just for me.”

Our next kiss was deeper than the ones that came before it. He pressed his tongue past my lips, exploring my mouth as his hands moved down my face, to my neck, and over the thin fabric of my dress. He slipped the sleeves over my shoulders and slid them down my arms. His big hands caressed my skin as he pulled my gown down my body. His lips pulled away from mine and made their way down my neck, stopping at my shoulder to bite and mark me. My head fell back as his hands worked at my chest, sending bursts of euphoria through my skin.

His tongue replaced his hands as he dropped to his knees, pulling my dress down my hips and quickly getting rid of what little clothing had remained on my body. His lips trailed down over my stomach as I brushed my fingers through his hair. Both of us had been consumed by soft whimpers of anticipation as he moved lower. But when he leaned his cheek against my body and looked up at me from his knees was when I lost all sight of the world. In this moment, he is everything, and I want the memory of tonight to live in my mind for eternity.

His hands made their way between my thighs as he lifted one of my legs over his shoulder. He kept his eyes on me. His fingers ran between my legs until eventually, he pressed one of his long and slender fingers inside of me. I gripped his hair as he pushed deeper, moving cautiously to keep from hurting me. He worked at getting me comfortable with his touch before lifting my other leg over his shoulder and pressing his tongue against me. My back arched against the wall, my moans becoming impossible to control as he did everything he could to fill me with pleasure.

When I had completely fallen to pieces, he helped me to stay standing as he pulled my legs off of him and moved to his feet. Pressing a kiss to my cheek and then my lips, he grabbed my legs again and wrapped them around his waist.

“May I continue?” He asked me in a hushed whisper.

I nodded, gripped his shoulders, and braced for the new sensations to come. He pressed his forehead to mine as he pushed into me, holding me off the ground as I adjusted to the overwhelming feeling of him inside of me. His hips bucked into me, pushing my back against the wall as he lost himself in his movements.

He didn’t hold our position for long, eventually lifting me off of the wall and moving me to the bed. As I relaxed into the soft fabrics beneath us I was able to focus more on the pleasure building in my stomach. Yunho towered over me as he always did, giving me a clear view of the soft blush on his cheeks. There was a hint of a smile on his face, adding to the concentration furrowing his brows as he attempted to steady his movements.

Eventually, he found a steady pace and maintained an even tempo, driving me into the bed as his hips snapped forward. His hands hardly left my face, making it apparent that he had listened when I listed off the things that made me want him. Aside from occasionally shutting his eyes from being lost in the lust, he kept his gaze on me. The longer we continued, the more I fell in love with the sounds escaping his lips.

When he started to whimper and lose control of his own voice, he ran his hands along my torso until his fingers were digging into my hips. I let my fingers wrap around his wrists to steady myself as his increased speed and desperation became too much to bear. I threw my head back as a burning euphoria filled my chest. A satisfied smile washed over his face as he watched me writhe in pleasure below him. His moans were closer to laughs as I relaxed into the feverish thrusts he’d maintained.

“Just for me.” He repeated. “You’re all mine. Aren’t you? I promise your master will take care of you for as long as I live.”

I felt the little bit of air left in my lungs escape upon hearing him call himself my master. Again seeing how unrelated concepts can somehow relate to lust.

“You’ve been such a good guardian. Your master is proud of you.”

“Master…” I whimpered as my eyes watered.

“Do you like when your master praises you?”

“I do. I really do.”

“You know I’m still just your Yunho. I want to be good for you too. I want to be the best master you’ve ever had.”

“You already are. I…I love you so much.”

He buried his face in my neck as his thrusts became desperate. His lips pressed against my ear.

He whispered, “Do you like this? Promise me you like this. Promise me you aren’t just doing what I say.”

No one has ever cared for me this much before. No one has ever bothered to make sure I’m happy. That’s never been my purpose. My purpose has always been to do as I’m told, to serve the master that summons me. Why is it that the one who didn’t even want me as a servant is the one who cares for me?

“I promise.”

He shut his eyes and fell into bliss. Eventually biting down on his lip and shaking above me.

I could drown in the smell of his skin. The sound of his moans was a pure indication of his pleasure. Being held so tightly in his arms washed away the pain I had felt the night before. Not only had I saved him, not only was he healthy enough to move around, but he woke up with the desire to do this even though I thought he would never forgive me.

He gripped my thighs and pulled them further apart, his fingers once again added to the bliss. Starting with his shoulders, then his chest, to his soft stomach, I let my eyes travel down his body. He sent me into another fit of euphoria, causing me to whine and whimper as he thrust into me.

His eyes watered and his gaze finally met mine again. He whimpered, “You feel so good. I’m…I’m close.”

He kissed my neck and held my face in his hands. His ears were a bright red, and his cheeks blushed an even darker shade of pink. He carefully pulled himself out of me, filling the room with moans as he finished on my stomach.

He pulled himself onto the bed, planting another kiss to my temple before cuddling into my arms.

“Thank you,” I said breathlessly, “that was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

He smiled, “I’m glad you liked it.” He pulled my head into his chest, “I want you to know that I understand the significance of what we’ve done. I know this isn’t the sort of life you were intended to live. I know I should have tried to keep my feelings to myself, but you started looking at me like you felt something too.” He sighed and loosened his grip on me, rubbing his temples as he pulled away. “Was this a mistake? Was I cruel to do this to you?”

“You think it was a mistake?”

“No! I just…I feel so guilty. I shouldn’t have done that knowing we can never be normal together.”

“Would you want to be normal together?”

His gaze streamed over my face, “It’s not because anything is wrong with you. Alright? I just don’t want you to watch me get old, or watch me die. I don’t want you to have to answer to other people who might hurt you. I don’t want you to live on without me. I know it’s selfish, but I would do anything for you to be a human. I want you to stay by my side and be my guardian, but I also want you to grow old with me. I’m terrible.”

“You don’t sound terrible to me. And I told you I could give you anything your heart desires. So if you really mean it, maybe we need to have a discussion in a few years about me becoming human.”

“What? If we can do that, why didn’t you say something sooner?”

“Well, you’d be losing your guardian. I wouldn’t be powerful anymore. I assumed you wouldn’t be interested.”

He scoffed and playfully grabbed me, “Why has no one else done that before? How are you still around?”

“Most people want divine protection until they die. And I told you, no one has ever really cared for me before. You’re an oddity.”

“An oddity I shall be. As soon as we get to the mainland safely I’ll release you.”

“There’s no reason to rush. How about you give it a few years, just to be sure it’s what you really want?”

“If you want to wait then that’s fine.” He said with a smile as he pulled me into his arms again. “But I’ve already made up my mind.”

I laughed, reveling in the bliss of his embrace. “To think, you only found me because you were searching for a treasure that doesn’t exist.”

He scoffed and smiled, “What did you just say? Doesn’t exist?”

“You know, men always come to the cave and tear it to pieces. But there’s no treasure there.”

“Not anymore, dear.” He laughed, “You’re the treasure, and you’re here in my arms.”