Beyond Obligation

Taking his hand for assistance, she allows Kendall to escort her over the bridge. Fingers weave up his arm while her free hand strokes her rumpled gown absently. She was not sure where they would be going next, but she was with him, and that was enough for now. They walk quickly through the chamber where before they had met his demon "cousin" Neqa'el, though it is vacant this time around. At the giant doors, Kendall turns aside and stands with ear cocked to listen.

"The mourning has begun. We should be secret," he remarks, giving her a wink. "As though anyone here truly grieves for Cedric… But there are forms to observe. Come along, and we will go to a secret place, a quiet place away from the furor. Just you and I…"

He draws her closer, cupping her cheek in his hand and kissing her deeply. Margot returns his affection with matched fervor. "Do you need to make an appearance?" she asks softly when they break apart, nodding toward the door in reference to the wake that was being held in his brother's honor.

"Later. Later," he agrees, as though she was making a suggestion and not asking a question. "Come."

He leads her through the vast doors and down a hall that is now draped in the black of mourning. All the murals and tapestries are covered with gauzy lace that looked almost like cobwebs, and the air here is permeated with the soft sounds of sobbing and wailing even though there is no one visible in the hall save the two of them. He leads them to a square door with four handles, all made of bone, and pauses there to ponder with head cocked to the side.

"Left, right, up, down. Hm…"he thinks aloud. Eventually he takes the top handle and pulls down, revealing blackness and a familiar tugging sensation. His hand firmly gripped about her arm, he enters without hesitation.

The way takes them through twisty, squeezing darkness, which feels again as though Margot is being sucked through a thimble. On the other side, they find themselves in a small room draped with gauzy curtains. Kendall leads her past several hangings until they find the one he wants, which is a swirl of purple and red. He wraps them both in the clinging fabric, which swallows them up and takes them to a garden of sculpted crystals that glimmer in the light of the red sky above.

Margot stares with astonishment and wonder as they hurry past the dangerously sharp sculptures to the other side of the garden. Beyond a diamond-like "hedge," another way takes them to a narrow, dusty hallway at the foot of a cracked stone stairway. He leads her up, up, and up some more, through dim light provided by shimmering grooves in the wall above their heads. At the top of the stairs, several doors wait on either side of the landing.

He leads her through one of the middle doors into another room of complete blackness. The door shuts behind them as he blows on the end of what looks like a dried branch or vine clinging to the wall, which begins to glow with a soft light. The glow travels along the vines on all eight walls until everything is bathed in light, revealing a tiny room furnished solely with cushions and blankets. Everything looks soft and comfortable and not at all dusty.

Margot smiles as she looks around the tiny space made cozy by the warmly glowing light and sumptuous cushions. She turns to him to express her delight, though no adequate words were forming in her mind. Before she can speak, though, he takes her in his arms and kisses her. Words fade away as she returns his affection fueled by a deep and abiding hunger. Love. Passion. Trust. Lust. Margot's arms snake around Kendall's shoulders so she can press herself against him.

They work together to disrobe each other, kissing every available bit of skin as it is revealed. While perhaps not the most romantic or tasteful of situations, he chooses not to dwell on such mundane considerations at the moment. And when they are both finally free of the confining fabric, he helps her down onto the soft cushions and begins to woo her once more with kisses and soft caresses.

Margot giggles as much as she sighs, and then slithers out from beneath him so she can caress and massage some of the tension from his back and neck. Kendall relaxes under her ministration, arms crossed under his head. Climbing atop him, she rests with her arms draping over his as if her body could shield him from the world. Right now, nothing existed beyond the beautiful, ethereal chamber, and the multiverse was populated by them alone.

"For what it's worth, I've never been prouder to be associated with you than when you met your father, or more enchanted by your personal strength," she says, her lips smudging the words into his skin. Her head turns to rest against his as she contemplates the future. "The past is past, and what is done cannot be undone, but I've never known a nobler man. It is THAT man who I love and give myself to, and it pains me to see you so unhappy. Please, tell me how I can help ease your burdens."

He opens an eye to look at her over his shoulder. "How do you propose to ease my burdens, Margot?" he asks. "I have but two, decidedly unsavory, choices. Either to bear out my declaration and face the Serpent and almost certain death. Or to run, forsaking what little honor and esteem I still possess here."

Margot rolls off of his back to lie next to him so they could meet each other's gaze. Her hair surrounds her like a black aura against pale pillows, and her fingers reach over to play with his locks. "If you survive your audience with the Serpent, how will this influence your honor?" she asks softly. "And if you do not survive, does your honor grow because you sacrificed yourself to the whims of a deity?"

He turns on his side and props his head on one hand, elbow bent to plunge into the soft pillow beneath him. He smiles his new, secretive smile at her, his eyes glittering in the dim light. "To survive an encounter with Lord Serpent would grant me great esteem. Not many do. Enough esteem, perhaps, to see my own desires fulfilled. Perhaps. But to die is to die. In that case, 'twould be a boon for my name to be lost to obscurity."

"And what is it that you desire? What speaks to you here?" She brings his free hand to her lips before resting it against his heart.

Kendall's smile widens just a little, and he puts the fingers of his free hand over her lips. "Those are questions best left for plotting and planning, not lovemaking," he whispers in a conspiratorial tone.

He suddenly leans over and kisses her belly, inhaling her scent. "Do you want this, Margot?" he asks, his voice becoming gentle as he rests his forehead against her, obscuring his face.

She strokes his neck for several moments before answering. "Is it not a better question to ask if this is what you want?" she asks. "You know I want to give you a child, one that is strong and healthy and full of life. I want you to see the beauty of your progeny, but a child born out of obligation, simply because you indulged me…"

Her voice falters as emotions rise up and throttle her breath, forcing her to inhale deeply to regain her composure. "If this is to be the last time I will ever know you and your company, I do not want barriers or duty to darken these moments,” she explains. "I release you of such an obligation if that is all that motivates you. I want you to make love to me, to be free with me, to create life with me only because to do otherwise would be impossible to fathom."

His shoulders shake and he suddenly lets loose a full, boisterous belly laugh, as though reacting to the funniest jest he had ever heard. The hair on her neck prickles and a fluttery feeling finds home in her stomach at the unexpected and unsettling sound. He lifts his head, still laughing, and then rolls over to lie on his back next to her with one arm curled under his head.

"You make all this so complicated, Margot," he says after he regains some control. His head lolls to the side so he can look at her. "If I only wanted a tumble, there are still a few here who would oblige for the right incentive. But with you, there is more. There is affection and the possibility of a legacy. And, still more, there is a promise to keep."

His expression sobers. "If you want a child of my blood, Margot, now is the time. But you can always wait to gain the blood of someone still in favor with Chanicut or another House. There are many, so many! Yes." He nods, sitting up. "Yes, that is probably the best. You are right, Margot. Waiting is best."

"Dammit, Kendall!" she curses, angry and unaccountably frightened again. "Oh, how you twist things so!"

She searches his face, trying to discover what whim would cause him to say such a thing. "My Heart, I don't want anyone else's child! Not of Chanicut or any other House. I want your child. That you could even say such a thing is, is— UGH!" She covers her eyes with her hands, unable to think of anything suitably horrid to finish that sentence.

He cocks his head at her, smiling that eerie little smile at her again. "This is why the bed is for sleeping or love-making. Not for talking."

"Kendall, please," she pleads. "I want to grow fat with your child. I want to feel its life quicken within me and know that you desired a child with me. That you wanted to create something beautiful and alive between us."

He climbs to his knees and clambers over her to straddle her body. Taking her hands in his, he moves them away from her face so that he can stare into her eyes with a solemn expression. "I want to give you a child, Margot. How is that not good enough? I fear we would never truly understand each other."

She looks up at him and chuckles, and the sweet, lovely sound crumbles the tension surrounding them. "Sometimes I think you say and do such things just to see my temper," she says. "Just— kiss me. Kiss me as the woman who will proudly carry your line."

"I think I can manage that," he agrees, sinking down to lie atop her and kissing her lightly and teasingly: once, twice, and thrice. He pauses, nose to nose with her, dark and pale eyes meeting, and then he surrenders to his passion.

Back to list of Kendall's game threads
A Promise Fulfilled

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