Please note: there are two chapters after “in which they stop kissing…” which have been deprecated. This re-write begins from Amrit and Mieve ending up in bed.
This is the actual commission: @Momerath@wandering.shop commissioned me to write another chapter of Beekeeper, (see the prequel to the commission linked above)
He woke before her. He’d been waking before her for a while, but it was far different when he was in bed with her, holding her, breathing in her scent.
She smelled a little like honey, he realized, and a lot like him, and he was very glad they’d bathed the night before, or the smells might have been unpleasant instead of nice. She looked, well, the back of her neck looked lovely and the way her hair tickled his nose was sort of annoying and her warm body against his was giving his body all sorts of ideas.
Don’t get attached, he told himself firmly. Do not start thinking you could stay. She’d bought him. She’d leashed him like an animal. She’d seen no problem in treating him like chattel.
She’d cuddled up against him in bed like she trusted him, and he didn’t think it was just for his warmth.
She’d brought a stranger into her home when strangers had hurt her.
He swore silently.
The first promise had been sensible. The second one hadn’t been too crazy. He didn’t like the gag. He didn’t like the chains.
And she did need her energy.
He pressed up against her, wishing it didn’t feel so good. Don’t get attached. This is temporary. She bought you. She BOUGHT you.
He wanted to get up; he wanted to pace. He wanted to run, although he had no idea where to.
He stretched, the movement reminding him that he could, that he had no chains on him and that he hadn’t promised anything stupid like I’ll stay where you put me.
She’d be worried when she woke up…
So he’d be back before then, he told himself. He moved slowly and carefully until he was out of the bed without waking her. He moved just as slowly out of the bedroom, found the pants that were serving as his right now, and headed out to the yard, still making as little noise as possible.
The air was pleasant, a little breeze pushing the trees. He sniffed the air, smelling the bees, the trees around them, the soil. There was a bit of the after-rain smell in the air and the grass was damp on his feet.
He didn’t know exactly where he was, but then again, he hadn’t really known where he was before he’d gotten kidnapped, sold, and dragged here with a bag over his head.
He worked his jaw, thinking about the gag shoved into his mouth. He tugged on the collar around his neck.
He looked at the sky – a few clouds, but not any suggestion of rain.
He picked a direction and started running.
The clearing wasn’t all that large, but it wasn’t, say, a pre-war suburban backyard, either. He circled it in wide, loping strides, then criss-crossed the space and circled in in the opposite direction, and then did it all again. His leg felt healed again, his hips and the ache in his bones from the hawthorn were gone, and his body felt better than it had in ages. He ran until his breath struggled and his lungs burned and kept running as his healing power took over and let him breathe smoothly again, and then he ran until he thought his feet ought to hurt.
They didn’t, of course, but he was starting to feel as if they ought to.
At the far end of the clearing, the corner furthest from the house, he couldn’t quite see the house. It made him antsy, like he ought to be staying in line of sight.
That wasn’t what he’d promised. He’d made some pretty ill-considered promises, but not that one, which would have been a pain in the ass on both of them. She’d have had to stay near him all the time, just to be sure he didn’t wander “out of line of sight,” and he had a feeling that would’ve made her grumpy and hard to deal with – and he knew he’d have chafed quickly at such a short leash.
This was different. This was a gut feeling something was just not right.
He turned and ran back towards the cabin, darting as if he hadn’t been running for the last half hour.
His power really was the best.
He was halfway there when he heard the shout and almost to the cabin when he saw the bees swarming. Mieve was standing in the middle of her garden, a man’s arm around her waist and a blade at her throat; the bees were going mad.
I can survive this, he reminded himself, and rather than stopping, he spotted two of the other people – the bees were making it pretty easy – and sped up.
The fourth person stepped out from behind a tree and jabbed him in the gut with a blade in one quick movement that was nearly more surprising than painful. Amrit punched the guy – no, woman, he realized – in the face and backed off the blade with a curse.
“Call off the bees,” snarled the one holding Mieve.
She lifted her chin, proud and angry. “No.”
“You know I can slit your throat long before bees can kill me. And look at him. Is this your new one? He looks pretty lame, all things considered.”
Lame. Amrit coughed out a bloody laugh and added another one, a real chortle, on the end of that. Lame. It’d been bare days ago his leg had been broken. “You’ve got that right,” he snorted. “But it doesn’t matter.”
“It doesn’t?” The man spared him a look. Amrit noticed that the blade wasn’t cutting into Mieve at all. The arm wasn’t actually pressing against her, either.
“Nope. I’m pretty lame,” he agreed. Come on, Mieve, I hope you have a plan. The bees were still attacking the two others, but that wasn’t a plan, that was just attrition. “But I’m still going to break your face before you hurt her.” Shit, I hope that’s not her plan, because I’m not totally sure – oh, yeah, you idiot, you’re a Fae. Do a Working.
The stranger smiled at him. “Aww, you’re protective. How cute. We’ll see how you feel when she releases you. Or when she dies, which looks like it’s going to be sooner. Call off the bees,” he snarled.
That gave Amrit time to start a Working. The first one that came to mind was the one that had made him lame, so he did his best to aim it at everyone in the clearing that wasn’t Mieve or him.
He would’ve counted the screams, but the scumbag with the sword slapped him in the back with it as he finished the last syllable of his Working, and he fell down along with everyone else.
He struggled with his breath, feeling like he’d been hit with a truck, like he’d been dropped off a mountain. He gasped, got hit again, and for a moment, he saw nothing but stars.