Aeryn's Adventures in Epiphany: the Chronicles of Glass Pines

Part 2

When Matt wakes up, Aeryn, dressed in a light gray sweater and black jeans, is sitting at the hotel room's small table. A muffin, obviously from the hotel's breakfast buffet, sits on the table. There is a small candle stuck in its center.

Aeryn gives him a smile. "Well, it isn't a cake," she says, "but --" She starts to sing:

"Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear Matt,
Happy birthday to you!"

Matt sits up in the bed, his face a mixture of astonishment and utter happiness.

She produces a book of matches from her pocket, and lights the candle with a bit of a flourish.

Matt gets out of bed, smile still splitting his face. He walks over and pauses in front of the muffin to make a wish. **I wish I could stay with Aeryn forever.** He blows out the candle and turns to Aeryn. "Oh Aeryn, this is my best birthday ever!" Mat wraps his arms around her and before he even realizes what he's doing, he's already kissed her. His surprise is written all over his face, a mix of happiness and alarm that would be almost comical if he wasn't obviously on the brink of tears.

Aeryn's heart swells as Matt's happiness wraps around her like summer sunshine.

The kiss awakens other feelings in her, things she hasn't felt in years. **I never thought I'd feel this again Lady of the Wheel, did You send Matt to me?** She enjoys the kiss, feeling the petals of the flower inside her start to uncurl, just a little bit, and reaches up to pull him towards her. "It's all right," she says tenderly, her lips finding his almost of their own volition.

As Aeryn's lips touch his, Matt's fear evaporates. His most coherent thought, **She's NOT mad at me!** is quickly lost in a sea of bliss. The moment seems to last forever, but when it passes it was all too short. Warm, contented happiness remains, along with... "Aeryn, I love you."

The words strike a chord in Aeryn, and she feels a shiver run through her. **I want this...oh, My Lady of the Sword, I want this...I want him.**

"And I you." The words are out of her mouth almost before she can think of them, but it feels right, somehow. A tenderness she never thought she'd be able to feel again suffuses her whole being as she gazes into Matt's emerald green eyes, feels his warmth against her body.

**I want to show you everything, my sweeting -- who I really am, the wonders of my world...** she thinks as she is borne aloft on a wave of tenderness unlike anything she has ever felt, these past years. **You saved me from losing myself.**

She enjoys the moment as she stands there, holding him. "I love you." she says softly, again, her face wreathed in a smile at the warmth that suffuses her with those three simple words.

"Oh Aeryn, I'm so happy." Tears make Matt's emerald eyes shine like gems. He holds on to her, savoring her presence next to him.

Aeryn cuddles against him, her gray eyes luminous, like two silver moons, as she feels her own heart swelling at his happiness. **What a change one day makes. He's made me feel alive again.**

Eventually, Matt's stomach starts complaining. Matt is reluctant to end the embrace, but his growing hunger is too much to ignore. Matt tenderly kisses Aeryn again, and then smiles shyly at her. "I...I'm hungry." Matt looks over at the birthday muffin. "Would you share my birthday cake?"

"I'd be honored," she says.

Matt breaks the muffin in two, giving half to Aeryn, and eating the other half himself. Matt makes short work of the muffin. "So will you come downstairs with me for breakfast?" he asks.

Aeryn nods.

Matt opens up his backpack and pulls out some clean clothes. He pulls off the t-shirt he wore to bed and puts it on top of his backpack. His bruised body soon disappears under boxer shorts, faded jeans that are raggedy at the cuffs and a t-shirt with a faded picture of a wolf on the front. The t-shirt and jeans are definitely too snug to be fashionable, though the effect is quite flattering on Matt. White socks - with holes - and his battered sneakers complete the ensemble.

"I'm ready," he declares.

Aeryn offers him her arm with a little bow. From her, the gesture is somehow not incongruous. "Shall we, then?"

Matt initially is unsure what to do with her extended arm, but after a few moments - and some help from Aeryn - he figures it out and the two of them head downstairs.

They serve themselves from the buffet. Matt follows Aeryn's lead, as he's never seen a complimentary buffet before. The find a table and Matt goes through his food in no time flat. He ends up having seconds and then thirds along with numerous glasses of orange juice.

Aeryn eats her own breakfast at a more sedate pace, privately a little amazed at how much Matt goes through. **Well, of course!** she thinks to herself. **He hadn't eaten in a few days before dinner yesterday, and he's still young -- it isn't that long ago that Brendan and Corin were eating everything in sight back home that you'd have forgotten, is it?** Memories of her brothers at Matt's age pass briefly through her mind, and she finds herself smiling at the comparison.

After he can eat no more, Matt says. "Aeryn, the guy at Drawn Dreams said the money he gave yesterday was an advance for modeling. So I should go back there, right?" Matt sounds more confident than he did yesterday, but is obviously looking for some reassurance.

Aeryn thinks for a moment. Given the way Matt looked yesterday, she figures the man's gesture was likely a handout, but she doesn't want to tell Matt that, fearing that it might shatter his newly-won self-confidence. **And I'll drive a Cold Iron knife into my own heart before I let him go back to the way he was last night.** She considers things for a moment. **Maybe I should go with him -- after all, maybe one of the shops nearby wants some help, so even if the man at Drawn Dreams doesn't give him a job, he can find something else.** She makes a mental tally of her own assets. **And maybe I can find something too -- I'm going to need a lot more than just a hotel room and my savings if I'm going to be staying here.** As she looks at Matt's face across the table, she knows in her heart of hearts that there's no chance of her leaving.

Out loud, she says, "I think it's a good idea. If you want, I'll go with you -- maybe one of the stores nearby needs some help too, and that way, I can look for a place to work too."

Matt's bruised face blossoms into a smile. "That would be great Aeryn. Thanks." Matt picks up his orange juice, looks at it, and deciding he's had enough, puts it back down. "I'll probably need to find something else too. I think the guy at Drawn Dreams just wanted me for one picture or something like that. Or else he'd have had me fill out paper work, right?"

Aeryn nods. "That seems reasonable." She thinks for a moment. **I wonder if the man at Drawn Dreams does commissions? I'll have to ask...**

They return to their room and collect their jackets. "Can I put my backpack in the trunk of your car, Aeryn? It's got everything I own and I don't want to loose it."

"Of course," Aeryn says with a smile. "I can understand that -- that car has pretty much everything I own in it." **I couldn't stay in the old place -- too many memories.**

Matt looks relieved. "Thanks."

They set off in Aeryn's car. On the way to Drawn Dreams, Matt notices the sign for The Prancing Pony. "Aeryn! It's The Prancing Pony! Like in The Lord of the Rings!" Matt sounds more like he's found the Holy Grail than a pub. He eagerly asks her, "Can we meet there for lunch? I'll buy." He looks at Aeryn with a hopeful, puppy-dog-like expression.

Aeryn smiles at Matt's enthusiasm; it's good to see him like this. "Of course we can stop there for lunch -- but it is your birthday; you don't need to foot the bill." She chuckles. "It's been a long time since I've had good pub fare; it should be fun."

"Oh Aeryn, thank you!" Matt sounds both surprised and delighted.

Aeryn smiles at him; the expression transforms her rather plain face into something extraordinary, almost as if the exotic beauty of her faerie visage is peeking through her mortal seeming. "You're very welcome, Matt." **Yes, you are -- very welcome, indeed.**

They arrive near Drawn Dreams and Aeryn parks the car. When they climb out of car, Matt asks Aeryn nervously, "I'll see you for lunch, right?" It's not too hard to tell that the thought of separating from Aeryn scares him.

She gives him a fierce hug. "Of course, sweeting." Her smile is tender. "If it's all right with you, I'll go looking for something for myself."

Matt holds onto Aeryn long enough to reassured himself that she won't disappear. "All right."

After seeing Matt into Drawn Dreams, Aeryn strolls along the street, looking for any "Help Wanted" signs. One shop not far from Drawn Dreams catches her eye -- the OtherWorlds bookstore. A sign reading "Help Wanted" has been taped in the window. Unconsciously straightening her jacket, she opens the door.

Inside, the shop is inviting and comfortable, with a rich dark wood floor and comfortable, if worn-looking, area rugs arranged in pleasing patterns on the floor. There are a number of comfortable-looking chairs arranged in a semi-circle on one side of the shop, with small tables finished in a rich warm color between them.

The wall near the chairs is covered with bookshelves that have scarcely any room between their occupants, though the books stand tall and straight like soldiers in formation, each section of the shelves labeled with a brightly-colored sign bearing a whimsical picture indicative of the genre it embodies -- a Fuzzy (from H. Beam Piper's novels) and a spaceship for Science Fiction, a bloody knife and a magnifying glass for Mystery, a dragon and a unicorn for Fantasy, and so on.

A dark-haired woman sits behind the counter, typing away on a laptop. She looks up as Aeryn enters the shop. "Welcome to OtherWorlds; may I help you?"

Aeryn takes a deep breath. "My name is Aeryn McSkeath. I saw your sign -- I'm interested in applying for the job."

Chelsea looks at Aeryn. **A little older than what I've been getting. Maybe she'll be more responsible than the last one -- I'm so tired of teenagers who think that going out with their friends is a good excuse to call off. Wonder where she's from? With that accent, not around here...** She comes around the counter with a smile, extending her hand to Aeryn. "I'm Chelsea Hunter, the owner." She gestures to two chairs. "Have a seat; I'll be right with you."

As Aeryn sits down, Chelsea collects the necessary paperwork from behind the counter, and then takes the chair opposite her. "Now, do you have any prior experience in retail sales?" **Hopefully, more than two weeks at McDonalds...**

Aeryn nods. "I worked in a used book store during and after University."

Chelsea allows herself a small smile. **Better and better. Hope I can keep this one.** Out loud, she says, "So, that would be about four years?"

"Five," Aeryn returns. **It seems all those years at Hawksmoor's came in handy.** Her suspicion is borne out by Chelsea's pleased expression.

The rest of the interview proceeds quickly; after about an hour, Aeryn has filled out the necessary paperwork and OtherWorlds has a new clerk. Feeling much more secure, she bids goodbye to her new employer and heads for the Prancing Pony.

When Aeryn arrives at the Prancing Pony, Matt already has a table and a glass of Coke.. When he sees Aeryn, Matt practically leaps out of his chair to give Aeryn an impassioned hug.

When they sit down, Matt happily tells her, "Aeryn, I got a job! Right here! I'm going to be a waiter."

"The fellow at Drawn Dreams - his name is Justin - said something had come up, so he couldn't use me today. He said I deserved something for my time, so he gave me $10. He said I could come tomorrow, and he gave me his business card in case I needed to call him. So then I walked over here. I got here really early. I noticed there was a help wanted sign in the window, so I ended up talking to the owner. She hired me as part time for now, but she said that she'd hire me full time if I did a good job."

Matt takes a drink from his glass before he continues. "I filled out all the paper work for the job and Kelly - she's the owner - said she'd start training me this afternoon. She let me call Drawn Dreams, and Justin said we could work around my job, and that when I got my schedule I should call him." Matt smiles at Aeryn. "So how did it go for you?"

Aeryn smiles back at Matt. "It seems luck smiled on us both -- I start tomorrow at OtherWorlds; that's the bookstore not too far from here."

When the waitress comes over, Matt introduces her to Aeryn, "Aeryn, this is Kelly, my new boss. Kelly, this is Aeryn."

Kelly is a Boggan, though she is taller and more shapely than a stereotypical member of her kith. Around average height, she is solidly built with an ample figure. While she would never make it as a model, she is rather attractive for a boggan While more attractive than Aeryn to mortal eyes, Kelly is still outclassed by Aeryn's fae visage. Kelly has sandy brown hair and blue-green eyes. She appears to be in her mid 20's. Her mortal guise is garbed in a in jeans and a Pub t-shirt, while her fae voile consists of close fitting brown leather pants, boots and a matching top laced together in front so to leave a V shaped neckline. Kelly's eyes widen at the sight of Aeryn. "Welcome to the Prancing Pony. If I can be of service to you, please let me know." Surprised by finding out Matt's friend is a Scathach Sidhe, Kelly finds herself mouthing her standard waitress line, "What would you like to drink? We have coffee, tea...."

Aeryn seems surprised that Matt's new employer is also fae, and finds herself bowing before she realizes it. "Aeryn ni--" she catches herself. "Aeryn McSkeath." She smiles warmly at Kelly.

Aeryn consults the menu. "A Harp, please?"

"A fine choice." Kelly successfully suppresses the urge to add, "M'Lady," to the end of her reply. She returns a short while later with Aeryn's Harp and a basket of rolls, takes Matt and Aeryn's order, and leaves the two of them to themselves.

"Kelly said the lamb stew was really good, so I wanted to try it," says Matt, explaining his order to Aeryn. After his experiences with his father, Matt unconsciously expects disapproval of his choice.

At the mention of lamb stew, Aeryn's expression turns nostalgic. "Lamb stew? My Mum used to make that." She smiles. "It -is- good -- I think you'll like it."

In between rolls, Matt asks Aeryn, "Aeryn, can we get a place together?" There is a bit of a quiver in his voice, as despite what logic tells him, part of him is afraid Aeryn will say no and he'll be alone again.

Aeryn considers this; she'd been thinking of a way to ask him the same thing. **But can I live with you without breaking the Escheat, Matt? And what would you think if you knew what I really was?** She looks into Matt's emerald green eyes, feeling her heart swell with emotion. **And yet, I can't leave you alone -- you need me. I can't abandon you, sweeting...especially since I think I've fallen for you as much as you have for me.**

With those thoughts in her mind, Aeryn makes her decision. "Of course, Matt. We can start looking in a few days, if you like."

Relief and happiness bloom in Matt. "That would be great," he says with a happy look. He really wants to go over and hug Aeryn, but he settles for reaching over and giving her hand a squeeze. "Oh, thank you Aeryn," he says softly.

Kelly returns with their dinner. Her standard waitress chatter flows from her lips while her mind is occupied. **I think they're in love. I think they need each other. I don't know about her, but he seems so fragile. With all the bruises he's got, I'd guess he was abused. I wonder if she killed whoever did it.** With a complete lack of animosity, she thinks, **It might have been the best thing to do, like killing a rabid dog. But still, I'm better off not knowing.**

Kelly leaves the two. **Matt seems like a good guy. I think I did the right thing in hiring him. It'll help him and me too. But his fate is really in Lady Aeryn's hands.** Kelly heads toward the kitchen to pick up another order.

Aeryn squeezes back, feeling warm in spite of the cold January weather outside. "I've got some savings put by; that ought to at least help with the deposit, though we'll need to go looking for furniture, dishes, things like that." A slight pucker appears between her finely-arched brows. "Maybe Kelly or Chelsea -- my new boss -- knows someone with some second-hand things." She finds her mind wandering to a time she spent with another man, one who looked very much like Matt, thinking much the same things, and finds that the memory, though bittersweet, doesn't produce the sudden pang that it used to. **My Lady of the Wheel, did You know I needed someone to love? If it was You who sent Matt to me, thank You.**

"So, after lunch, shall we find ourselves a newspaper?" she inquires of Matt. "We can start looking at the ads for apartments tonight, if you want."

Matt blinks a few times. He is happy, but still feels like he's about to cry. "Oh yes, let's." He tries to get a hold of himself - after all, men aren't suppose to cry, especially when you're happy. "I can throw in what I have now, and some more later when I get paid. And I've got a sleeping bag we can both cover up with." A mixture of hope and embarrassment colored with a twinge of fear spills onto his face as a blush. "Um, if you don't mind sharing with me."

Aeryn strokes a slender finger along Matt's hand. "Not at all." Her gaze takes on a faraway quality as she thinks of coming home to see him there, sitting and talking over breakfast, feeling the warmth of him next to her as she falls asleep.... The fantasy plays out behind her eyes, and a smile curves her lips.

"And I can ask Kelly if she knows where we might get some second-hand stuff. And maybe if were lucky someone will throw something good out. That's how I got the chair in my room at..." A wave of fear washes over Matt, and he almost panics. His vision starts to go around the edges as he grabs hold of Aeryn's hand. **I'm safe, I'm safe - I'm not alone- Aeryn's here and I'm safe, I'm safe...**

Aeryn feels the sudden pressure, and almost automatically squeezes back. She hopes the contact helps him overcome whatever fears have seized him.

Mere seconds pass in the outside world while Matt wrestles with his fears. Matt looks at Aeryn, rather pale (except for his bruise) and shaken, but recovering. "That's how I found a chair for the place I used to live."

Aeryn nods. Privately, she thinks, **Maybe giving him something to take care of would help him, too...** Out loud, she says, "Maybe we could even think about a pet, once we're settled." Her expression takes on a nostalgic quality. "I had to leave my little Conlai with my sister back in Ballyferriter; I know she and my niece love and take good care of him, but I still miss him sometimes..." She remembers how the little black cat used to skitter along the wooden floor of her house, eagerly running after the piece of string that Aidan used to drag along the floor for him to chase, and finds the scenery of the pub blurring a little despite herself. Drawing a deep breath, she blinks several times, and finally gets her emotions under control.

Kelly arrives with their food, and Matt starts into his. "This /is/ good," he says. His color returns to normal (not counting the bruise, of course). He eats heartily, though not as desperately as the previous evening. "I don't think I've ever had a pet," he says. He pauses eating, staring off into space, as he recalls his dreams of being a knight, and imagines himself riding along.

Matt says half-seriously, "I suppose a horse is out of the question." He continues,"My one teacher said a cat was good for an apartment. She said if you had a dog, you had to make sure someone came home at lunch to let it out."

Aeryn has been basking in the Glamour flowing out of Matt and doesn't respond for a moment. **Dreams of being a knight...perhaps I -should- show you my world someday, luv...** Aloud, she says, "Well, a horse might be difficult in an apartment. We had a few on the farm, and they need a great deal of room." She thinks for a moment. "Maybe someday we can visit my parents and I can introduce you to some of them." **I'm already thinking about introducing him to the family...a good sign, perhaps?**

He eats a bit more, then grins, "I wonder if we could find a black cat. There was this one girl at school who desperately wanted one. She always said she was a witch. Not a bad witch though." Matt continues eating, and in between mouthfuls he continues, "She said magic was real, and even did a Tarot card reading for me once. Said if things would keep being bad if I kept on the same course. And she was right about that." Matt scrapes out the bottom of his bowl. "So have you ever thought magic might be real?"

Aeryn's sharp intake of breath seems very loud in her own ears. She takes a bite of her lunch to cover her momentary lapse. "Yes," she says simply. Then she elaborates. "In the stories my Dad used to tell me, people believed that there were all kinds of magic. Some of it involved fantastic feats and ancient prophecies, but there's also a number of different, more...subtle kinds of magic." She smiles at Matt. "Like what brought the two of us together."

She looks a little less serious. "If it's a black cat you're interested in, I'll not be objecting," she says, slipping into Gaelic grammar a little. "But first, we ought to find ourselves a place, I think. Would you like one or two bedrooms? One might be less money, but two might give us some extra space..."

**Wow, she's asking ME - like I'm someone important.** Matt haltingly replies, "We don't have a lot of stuff now, so we could go with a one bedroom. If a two bedroom isn't that much more maybe we could think about a two bedroom place. And..." Matt looks at Aeryn questioningly. "...Maybe the extra space would be good if we wanted to get a cat later?" Matt looks down at his empty bowl and then back to Aeryn. "Though if we start off small, we could always get someplace bigger later." His eyes grow wide as his imagination takes him into the future. "Maybe we could even get a house someday!"

Aeryn basks in the Glamour emanating from Matt as his imagination takes hold. The air seems to be alive with tiny points of light, and despite the chill outside she feels warm and wonderful. **Oooohh...now -this- is wonderful. Not twenty-four hours ago, he thought he had no future at all, and now he's dreaming of getting a house...with me.** A feeling of tenderness suffuses her as she looks deep into his emerald eyes.

Aloud, she says, "I think I like the idea of two bedrooms, myself. After all, we might want to have somebody stay with us eventually." She puts a finger against her chin, considering. "Some friends that I stayed with said they started out in a one-bedroom place, and found it got cramped rather quickly." She pauses. "Of course, we'll have to see what's available..."

**She listened to me! She didn't just say yes or no - she listened to me!**

Kelly returns. "If you'd like I could clear away some of those dishes. Now would you like some dessert, or should I bring you the bill?" "Can we?" asks Matt. He looks longingly at a piece of apple pie on another table.

**There are big dreams, and then there are small ones,** Aeryn thinks with a smile. **The advantage to the small ones is that they're easier to fulfill.** "Of course," she says. "Would you mind if I had a little, too?"

**Her fork and mine, touching each other and then her lips. Her lips...** Matt gets caught up imagining their lips touching and... Matt's lips slowly curve in a growing smile. "Not at all," he says.

Kelly brings them a generous slice of apple pie and two forks. The pie is delicious, and Matt even slows down enough to actually taste the pie.

When they're done Matt pulls a watch with a broken strap out of his pocket. "It's only a little while until Kelly wanted me to start training. Did you want to meet here for dinner?"

"That sounds like a good idea," Aeryn replies. "I'll pick up a newspaper in the meantime, and we can start looking through the ads after dinner tonight." She gives Matt a hug and a quick kiss. "Good luck!"

***

That evening, she greets Matt at the door of the hotel room with a hug. "So, did your training go all right?"

"Well, Kelly said I pick things up quickly and she gave me a couple of pub t-shirts I'm supposed to wear to work." Matt takes off his jacket and underneath he has on a 'Prancing Pony' t-shirt. He puts down a second pub t-shirt and his t-shirt that he'd been wearing earlier, and then hangs up his jacket.

He looks at Aeryn sheepishly. "Sometimes the customers scare me. There was one guy who reminded me of my Dad on a bad day. Kelly said I had to serve him even anyway. She was pretty good about it though, and I think she didn't like the guy either. That was the only really awful part. The rest of it wasn't any worse than a day at school..."

"Um, Aeryn? Do you thing I should go back to school?"

Aeryn touches his cheek tenderly. "Perhaps when you're ready, sweet. But I think it would be a good idea eventually." She smiles. "I'm sure Kelly would be able to work out your schedule around classes."

Matt nods. "I guess after we get a place. Besides, I'll need an address to give them." Matt sounds relieved at the thought. He'd thought he should finish high school, but wasn't sure if he could handle it right now. Thus the need for an address was a welcome thought.

Once Matt is through telling her about his day, she opens a newspaper to the "For Rent" section, spreads it out on the hotel room's table, and looks over at him. "So, do you see anything you like?"

Matt smiles. **She's asking me.** Matt looks through the adds. "Having something where I could walk to work would be nice. They don't give locations, so..." Matt points out some places he thinks might work.

Aeryn and Matt spend some time assembling a list of possible places to live and the phone numbers of prospective landlords. When they're through, Aeryn looks at the clock and sighs. "It's probably too late to call anyone tonight; what do you say we turn in and keep looking tomorrow?"

"Okay. I'm sorta tired anyway." While Matt looks much better than the previous evening, he does look like he could use some sleep. "Aeryn?" asks Matt shyly. "We sleep together, right?"

Aeryn touches his hair; the gesture is very like a caress. "Of course."

Matt looks pleased at Aeryn's assurance. He gets ready for bead, saving his jeans for use again the next day. After he's undressed, he puts on the same long t-shirt he'd worn the previous night. When he's undressed, Aeryn can see that his bruises have started to heal, and have started to change in color since she saw them in the morning.

Once the two have prepared for bed, she climbs in next to Matt, enjoying the closeness of him. It's been far too long since she slept next to someone she cared about, she thinks as she drops off to sleep.

Matt isn't used to sleeping with someone, but Aeryn's presence is reassuring enough to make up for being disturbed by her movements.

She sleeps soundly for a while, but then her dreams turn darker. The attack on Caer Airgead replays in her dreams, and she feels again the pain as the sword sank into her side, and then an agony that eclipses that of the wound as Giselle's knife sinks into Aidan's back. Then, Aidan wears Matt's face, and Giselle suddenly transforms into a hulking, menacing man, his face and form hidden in shadow....

She wakes with a cry, shivering as if she's been drenched in cold water, her heartbeat pounding in her ears. She looks over at Matt, placing one still-shaking hand on his shoulder to reassure herself he's still there.

Matt wakes at her cry. By the time Aeryn places her hand on his shoulder, he's remembered where he is now.

"Aeryn, are you okay?" Matt rolls onto his side to face her, tentatively reaching out to her.

Still shaking, Aeryn can't reply for a minute or two. Her breath catching on a sob, she clings to Matt with surprising strength, her breathing coming in harsh gasps. "H-hold me, " she manages to stutter. "P-please."

Matt holds her. "It's all right Aeryn, it was just a nightmare. You're safe..." Matt forgets his own fears, only worried about Aeryn. "It's all over and you're here with me. It's okay..."

Matt continues to try and soothe her, his arms holding her against him.

A trail of moisture traces its way down Matt's chest as Aeryn clings to him, still shuddering. "She killed him!" she sobs, still caught in her nightmare. "The bitch stabbed him, and I couldn't stop it!" She looks at Matt, her eyes swimming in tears. "And then...then it was -you-..." She burrows her head into Matt's chest, as if to escape the remnants of nightmare.

Matt holds her, caressing her head with one hand. "Oh Aeryn," he says softly. "I'm sorry for whatever happened. I'm sorry I didn't know." Tears form in the corners of his eyes - not quite enough to fall though. "We're here though and..." His voice catches as he tries not to cry. "...I love you Aeryn. I love you." He holds her tightly, fighting back tears.

Aeryn cuddles into his chest, and as the last remnants of the nightmare leave her, she looks up at him, her eyes luminous with tenderness, even in the darkness.

She kisses him -- not the motherly kiss of the previous night, but one that puts all of her very real emotion behind it, and that makes her realize just how much her life has become entwined with his.

Matt kisses her back, with love and hope. Now protector, as well as the protected, Matt regains some of the confidence he had lost. **We can make it work. And this time, my father won't be able to destroy it.**

Matt smiles at Aeryn. "Better now?"

"Mm-hmm," Aeryn vocalizes softly. The feeling of him holding her is welcome, and the taste of him in her mouth causes her nipples to harden and a stirring to begin deep in her abdomen. Her heart speeds up, and she lifts her head, her lips eagerly seeking his in a kiss filled with promise.

No longer worried about her fear, Matt becomes aware of the softness of Aeryn's breasts as her nipples poke his chest, the feel of her lips against his and her warmth pressing against his hardness. His need overriding any qualms he might of had, he pushes his hardness against her while his tongue nuzzles her lips, seeking entry.

Aeryn opens her mouth, her tongue stroking along his. One hand travels down to the hardness between his legs as her pulse picks up. The handful is warm and hard under her fingers, and she applies a little exploratory pressure, her thumb resting on its sensitive end.

"You like that?" she whispers huskily as the kiss disengages.

"Oh yes," whispers Matt, his heart racing. Breathing heavily he gasps, "Aeryn, please..."

Aeryn swings up and straddles him, pulling off the T-shirt she's wearing. Revealed, her breasts are firm rather than large, the brown nipples erect with arousal.

Matt quickly pulls off his t-shirt.

She guides Matt inside her with an urgency matching his, moaning as he enters her. She bends down and kisses him fiercely, her tongue darting between his lips.

His worries forgotten, Matt runs his tongue along hers, and his hands along her body. Whatever pain there is in his battered body is lost in far greater pleasure. A small corner of his mind thinks that the most wonderful thing about this is that she wanted him too. The rest of him is too happy to care. The caresses set Aeryn afire, and she feels a wave of ecstasy wash through her as their two bodies meld into one. **I love you...I love you...I love you...** is all her ecstatic mind can think. When the last wave is gone and only the afterglow remains, she snuggles against Matt, lulled into a delicious somnolence by the sound of his heart and the warm, living nearness of him.

Fulfilled, Matt lies happily against Aeryn, the afterglow and her warmth lulling him to sleep. There are no nightmares to wake him this time.

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This web page is copyright 2003 by Midori Hirtzel-Church. Aeryn ni Scathach, Aidan ap Fiona, Giselle ni Scathach, Chelsea Hunter and OtherWorlds were created by Midori Hirtzel-Church. Matthew Travis, Kelly Curran, Justin Appleton and Drawn Dreams were created by Christopher Church . Changeling: The Dreaming is copyright 1995 by White Wolf. This is a fan site -- no copyright infringement is intended, and I am not profiting in any way from this web page.

This page first uploaded: May 29, 2003


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