Thanks to the wonderfulbrevityofwit for teaching me how to do lj-cuts, I have now posted this fic :) Hope this works! Enjoy~
Title: Complimentary Comforts
Series by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Though I was avian, there were many casual brushes between the Urban and I. The touch on the shoulder if he should wish to make a point, the poke in the back if he should wish for attention, the nudge in the side if he were to say something ludicrous. I can see Urban’s eyes laughing every time I jumped at even a brush of shoulders. I would refuse to admit it if he told it to anyone else. Really, is it so hard to keep his hands to himself?
I assume the serpiente were just less careful about contact with another. It was natural to them as breathing, and dancing was no different.
Despite his past injuries, Urban was able to perform fluid movements I could only perform while in flight. When the Urban performed his trade, he commanded attention whether the audience wished it or not. The first few times I was able to avert my eyes. Time showed me that his sensual movements were not to be ignored.
Avians do not dance. But they appreciated music. During the practices, I was able to take part and entertain the nest with the playing of the were amused to the classical ups and downs that resembled a halcyon rain.
Most of the time, I am in the audience, enjoying the constant beating of the drums that resembled the beat of the heart.
So I was surprised when Urban asked me to dance. It had seemed so long ago when dear Oliza offered a hand and I had rejected her out of embarrassment.
When Oliza had been about to retreat, to my great relief, he had smoothly taken over. To put my dignity into his ever capable hands, in which he would instruct me the simplest steps, all the while taunting me with how ‘uptight’ I was being.
Now when Urban offered his hand, I took it without hesitation.
The rhythm was familiar to me after constant exposure, but the steps, once again, befuddled me and I stumbled like a babe. Urban’s lips tilted in a teasing smile before guiding me without malice where I should put my feet.
This song was considerably slower than most of the pieces that Urban would dance to and it touched me that he would stop to include me.
That didn’t stop the annoyance from rising at the constant twinkle in his eyes whenever I faltered and shied away if our chests grazed too intimately for the average avian comforts.
“I’d like to take you to the skies and see how you fair.”
“Now, now, you must not be jealous of my superior performance on the ground, bird.”
“Come on, one flight, I promise I won’t drop you.”
“With your weak bones you’d be lucky if you could pick me off the ground.”
The jibes that we made to each other were casual like our touches were. The cruellest of our insults were taken with grins, though it irritated our peers.
I often think back to who I had been, back when I frequented among the avian society. Then, the thought of light teasing and even the lighter flutter of caress would have had my face as plain as a stone. A kind of rejection that would have made the serpiente blanche.
But I saw the affection and the acceptance that they exerted, a kind of freedom that avians did not enjoy for fear of being scandalized. There was comfort to be had in an embrace and a kind word spoken with true sentiment.
“What’s wrong, my love?”
Urban’s lithe arms had stopped the dance of their own and settled slowly upon my shoulders as to not startle me. I had time to appreciate his thoughtfulness, before I placed just the tips of my fingers to his sides.
Arms draped lazily, he began stroking the black feathers at the nape of my neck fondly. Leaning in close so that his forehead was to against mine, he began a slow sway that did not match the music at all, but suited us just fine.
“I was reminiscing.”
“About what?” He asked, though he knew perfectly well.
“About the dreadful curtains that they hung on the windows on the eastern wall,” I answered, with a wry grin.
“I happen to like them!”
Leaning in close so that I could feel the quiver of his breath against my upper lip, I told him they were a dreadful orange-brown, and hushed his protests with my lips.
I can feel the smirk rise as soon as my lips left his.
“If talking about curtains is all it takes to get a kiss, I should get the western wall done, too. You know the last time I made an insinuation while we were dancing, I got a punch in the face.”
“You punched back.”
“I was merely saying how Oliza looked lovely when the light hit her brea—“
My fingers dug into ridges of his ribs.
“Ow! Marus!” It was amusing to see his body wiggle out of my grasp while still keeping me in his hold. His head relocated itself against the collar of my neck, where no feathers dwelled.
And then I felt something rough and wet.
“Urban!” I heard myself yelp, startled. A kiss was a kiss. But never had he done something as bold as lick me. In public, too!
He looked amused. “Marus, you tempt me with the rose that is your skin. Your obsidian fluff—“
“Urban!” I yelped again, and I could feel the familiar flow of blood rush quickly to the surface of my face.
“I’m sorry,” his blue eyes focused on the colour that continued to flood down my neck. “You really shouldn’t be jealous of Oliza. She’s already safely mated with Betia and all my charming compliments are for you only.”
This was true. Since my arrival to the nest, I had never seen Urban shift his intense focus away from me. While flattering, it had accumulated to a mixture of discomfort and pleasure.
I ducked my head, unable to look him in the eye.
“That’s one of those ridiculous avian traits that I wish you will never lose.”
I forced myself to speak, only making out a mumble, “And what is that?”
“Your aversion to compliments.”
“I can take compliments just fine!” Damn him and his smirk!
“Love, you blush ever so prettily and then make this cute little stutter every time I compliment your eyes.”
I can feel the heat on my face, though it was not to be mistaken for the pink of a bashful maiden’s flush. It was an angry and frustrated colour. I disentangled from his hold and there was appeal to that cuff to the face.
“My eyes are the colour of fertilizer. And I’m just embarrassed for you because your flatteries are so- so...,” I struggled to find the right word for it, digging into the complex of my avian vocabulary, “cheesy.”
I mentally slumped. That was the best I could come up with? And Urban seemed to think so, too, by the twitch of his mouth.
I pursed my lips and composed myself by disentangling our limbs. I moved away from the dance, music, and Urban for the seat I had abandoned.
It felt like putting a firm shut over a burst of colour.
Then there was that familiar poke of my back as he fell in step with me. A gentle arm pulled me into his embrace, warm despite his cold blood.
I stiffened out of reflex, but tender fingers were already soothing the small of my back.
“Your eyes are like melted chocolate on a summer’s da—“
“Cheesy,” I remarked, and the lid that held that burst of colour fled.
“Your eyes are where I wish to die—“
“Cheesy,” I said once again.
“Looking into your eyes is like looking into a sunset—“
“Are you telling me, my eyes resemble the orange of those curtains?”
“If that will get me a kiss,” he said cheekily, “then yes.”
“I think I prefer chocolates.”
“Then your lips are the addictive taste of chocolate from which no sweet can compete—”
I attempted to kiss him at the corner of his mouth, but he anticipated it and subsequently our kiss was not so chaste.
“Who said flattery never got you anywhere?”