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Groaning miserably, Ben sat forward on the hotel room floor with his legs crossed. Across from him sat his brother Daffyd, a red-headed perverted therion who had saved his life (hence the blood brother thing). He grimaced at the memory, recalling how he'd been ambushed by a dozen Hellhounds and had to be rescued by Daffyd. It'd had been embarrassing that a Dark One as old as Ben had had to be rescued at all, regardless of the opponent. At any rate, Daffyd had turned out to be a worthy ally and an even better friend. Though, he never let the chance pass by to rag Ben about that day.

An obnoxious high-pitched giggle disturbed his reverie. Ben glanced to his left, his agitation growing. Two girls sat to his left and right, intent on the board game that sat in the middle of the group. Monopoly.

"Aw, why did I have to land on Boardwalk? So expensive." Haley or Hillary whined. He didn't particularly care about her name. She was just here looking for a one-night stand. This had led her to Daffyd, happy and willing to fill the position. Her friend seemed equally eager for the same thing, though one would inevitably be disappointed. Only Daffyd was available.

Ignoring them for a moment, he turned his thoughts to his Beloved, Fran. Remembering her soft pale skin, deep violet eyes, and velvet black hair made him ache with longing. He missed talking to her, making her laugh, kissing her until they both struggled for air. The desire to be with her distracted him like nothing else. He was infuriated with Daffyd for being the reason he wasn't with her right now, angry enough to beat the ever loving shit out of the man who'd saved him. And he'd only been away for a week.

"Ben? Benny? Wake up, man!" Daffyd's voice cut through the air like a knife.

Ben glared at him sharply, looking down to see the die at his feet. He scooped them up and tossed them, not caring were they landed. Moving his piece the appropriate length, he gave Daffyd a bland look. Daffyd snorted.

"Seriously, man, where's your head? You're being rude to the ladies." He smiled, causing the ladies to swoon. He grinned at that, reaching out to stroke the neck of Hannah or Heather, whatever her name was, before turning back to me. "Do you not want to play the game, brother?"

"No." Ben replied curtly, counting out the money and tossing it to Daffyd.

Ben opened his mouth again to be a smart ass when he lurched forward in surprise. Heat rushed over his body as if someone had thrown hot water down his back, warming his skin and seeping down his shoulder blades. He let out a surprised breath, hands flying to his back only to discover his shirt was dry. The feeling ran through his hair as phantom hands began to massage his head.

He gasped again, his hands now grasping his head in astonishment.

"Ben? Man? You alright?" Daffyd asked, concerned.

Ben shot to his feet, racing toward the bathroom. "I'm fine!" He shouted over his shoulder.

Reaching the door, he locked himself in and leaned against the door, breathing heavily. He threw his head back against the wood, closing his eyes to follow the feeling through his mind.

Running hot water, stroking hands, a sigh…

He could see dripping white tile, a light blue shower curtain, steam rising in soft waves to the ceiling. A water-slicked hand reached for a blue bottle of shampoo, the long slender fingers curling around it.

Ben blinked, his eyes seeing the hotel bathroom for a moment before closing them once more eagerly.

The hands were rubbing the shampoo into jet-black hair, a sweet vanilla scent filling the air. So warm, so comfortable… The water began to rinse out the shampoo as the hands moved on to a bar of soap on a nearby ledge.

The nerves in Ben's body began to hum with pleasure as the hands stroked trails of sweet smelling soap over silky skin. They moved up smooth forearms, circled around shoulders, and massaged the soft skin of the neck.

Ben let out a moan, momentarily relapsing into his body before quickly returning…

The hands had made their journey to a taut stomach, the fingers gently caressing and occasionally dipping into the small bellybutton. They split ways, one arm curling around to the small of the back, while the other rubbed circles into a hip. The soap had begun to dwindle. One hand reached once more for the bar, then reached back to stroke smooth shoulder blades. Then they trailed back over the collar bone, finger nails dragging lightly against the skin. Slipping into the silken valley of a voluptuous chest, the fingers danced downward, past the smooth expanse of stomach, down, down, down…

Ben was breathing harshly, lust raging through his veins. At some point he had dropped to the floor with his back leaning against the hard wood of the bathroom door. His body felt feverish, hot. A shiver of longing ran down his back and his hands curled into limp fists. He shook his head slightly, a long piece of hair falling onto his cheek.

Staring determinedly at the side of the bathtub, Ben fought to think through hazy desire about what had just happened. Obviously, he had just…looked in on…Fran…while she was….in the shower. At this reminder, he struggled not to close his eyes, to feel her skin against her fingers, his fingers.

Stop thinking about it, he screamed in his head.

Ben? Fran's smooth voice filled his head.

Ben froze, his body stiffening guiltily. He remained silent for a moment, then said Fran?

Why were you screaming just now? And what do you not want to think about? Her voice sounded alarmed, concerned, but also curious.

Ben remained silent. If she hadn't been his Beloved, he would have replied with a 'Nothing'. But Fran was his Beloved; therefore he couldn't lie to her. The reason for his mental alarm had most certainly not been 'Nothing', but he was determined not to say anything about it if he didn't have to.

Ben? Are you giving me the silent treatment? She asked angrily.


Really? Because it seems like it.

Fran, I'm not giving you the silent treatment.

Yes, you are.



Can we please drop this? He asked agitatedly.

She huffed in indignation. I could just ask Imogen if you'd rather me do that.

Ben blanched, knowing Imogen would know exactly what had happened. Whether she would tell Fran or not was the question. Both endings to those options were awful. Either way Fran would be furious.

Wait, wait. He sighed resigned.

I'm listening.

Ok, well, it is similar to how I can do this. He answered vaguely.

In his mind, Ben brought up a memory of kissing her. He'd pressed her into the back of a trailer, kissing her deep and thorough, sliding a hand under her shirt to press into the skin of her back. She'd moaned softly, winding her hands into his hair, tugging at the strands near the nape of his neck. They had kissed for five minutes like that until Soren had nearly stumbled upon them.

Whoa! Warn me before you do that! Fran shrieked into his mind, though her voice had deepened somewhat.

Sorry, but I'm simply trying to get my point across. I can project to you the feelings I have when I kiss you…and you can as well.

What do you mean by that? She asked nervously, beginning to realize what he was playing at.

I think you know what I meant by that. He chuckled.

So….Just a few minutes ago…


While I was in the…shower?

I'm afraid so, sweetheart. He chuckled into her mind again, his earlier unease soothed by the amusingly embarrassed tone of her words.

Oh…how long did I…did you…what did you see?

Nothing you would not have me see, if for instance you wore a bathing suit to a pool. A small… two-pieced bathing suit, He thought quietly to himself.

Oh…Oh. Okay, well that's not too…um…so…

What is it, Fran? He asked gently.

So…What did you…think?

Excuse me? He asked me surprised.

Nevermind, forget I said anything.

Fran… Ben took a deep breath then opened his mind once more to show her a slightly more controlled version of what he had been feeling at the time.

He could practically feel the blush creep up her neck as she felt his emotions.


I have said this to you before, Fran, but everything I have is yours whenever you're ready for it. My willing body included. He added, his voice becoming husky.

"Hey, man, what the hell you doin' in there?" Daffyd shouted, pounding on the bathroom door.

Ben cleared his throat. "I'm fine. I'll be out in a moment."

Fran, sweetheart, I must go now. He sighed dejectedly, not wanting to sever their connection.

You're coming back soon, right? She sounded disappointed as well as a little hopeful.

I smiled into her mind. As soon as I can.

I'll tell Imogen you said hello and that you're alright. She smiled back.

I will see you soon. Good night, sweet Fran. He said softly, giving her a mental kiss on her cheek.

Good night, Ben. She smiled once more, warming my insides.

He stepped out of the bathroom. Daffyd stood right beside the door, looking concerned.

"What the hell was going on?" He asked quietly. Ben took note that the two girls were gone as well as the game board.

He told Daffyd a condensed version of what had happened. And soon lived to regret it.

"Wait, so you had the ability to not watch her, but you did anyway?" Daffyd's eyebrows rose.

Ben flushed bright red, shooting a glare at his friend. "Like you wouldn't have done the same!"

"I know I would have, but I willingly accept that I'm pervert." He replied.

Ben felt his face blank with shock. "I'm not a pervert! I'm not."

Daffyd just stared at him with blank eyes.

"Am I?" Ben asked worriedly.

Daffyd just laughed, threw an arm around his shoulders, and punched his friend's side playfully.

"Welcome to the Dark side, my brother." He snickered.