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Welcome Home
By mel


I settled myself down at my piano in the sanctuary to await Rachel's return from her weekly lessons in the Ever After. These were the longest hours of my week, those when I knew she was somewhere where she was in potential danger and where I was unable to help her should she require it. Finding the courage every week to stand by with a smile and watch her disappear into the line was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever had to do. My hands hovered above the keys, and I tried to relax my nerves with the thought that she should be home soon, and she would be mine and mine alone for the next six days before she had to leave me again.

I lowered my hands to the keys, letting my fingers dance over the onyx and ivory paddles, the notes coming off with a practiced rhythm – because, really, that's what it was. A practiced rhythm. No emotion needed to warm up, just brief exercises to gather my focus and to make sure my timing was up to par before really allowing myself to fall into the music.

Music always has been something that I've held near and dear to my heart – it was the one instance where I could be myself, could feel whatever I was feeling without my reputation or status as the heir apparent being threatened. I loved it for the freedom it gave me to feel, to experience love, hate, anger, adoration and longing. Music truly is the most demanding of lovers; it commands you to feel everything, to experience everything, and only then, if you are worthy, does it return those feelings in vibrating waves that can speak to your very soul.

I'd spent so many years keeping this part of myself to myself, never allowing anybody to hear me play. Never allowing anybody to see me as vulnerable as I am at my very core. I've always had to present a strong, unbreakable, façade to the world – and for the longest time it was only when I was seated on a bench in front of a piano that I could let that mask fall and be who I truly wanted to be. It was because of Rachel, because of her complete acceptance of every part of me that I have begun to learn to let that mask fall more often.

I felt a tug inside my mind and knew that Rachel had tapped the line to return home, and a smile creased my face unbidden. My heart skipped a beat, and I reveled in the warmth that I felt just knowing that she was near.

I started to play for real as I heard her enter the church, and even over the ringing music I heard her breath catch and I smiled as I imagined the look of wonder that I was sure was painted on her beautiful face as she listened to me playing. I heard her drop her bag on the island, and let myself go – forgetting the world around me as I poured every ounce of love that I felt for her into the song. It wasn't one of my favorites, but it was one of hers and I knew that she would recognize the melody. I was playing for her, and I wanted her to know it. For so long I'd kept this part of me from her, and it was refreshing to share this side of me with her, this side of me who feel so completely and can show emotion with such sincerity.

I smiled up at her as she paused in the doorway, and nodded my head at the empty space on the bench beside me, the spot that I have permanently reserved for her and her alone. My fingers never missed a note, but my heart soared as I watched her blush slightly before shuffling across the room to take her spot at my side. The spot that had always been hers, whether she was willing to fill it or not. I would have waited forever for her, but was so happy that it didn't have to be quite so long. Really, in the grand scheme of things, a few years is nothing. Nothing to trade in return for the goddess seated beside me now with her head on my shoulder, tears beginning to build in her eyes as she listened to me play for her.

Fingers still dancing across the keys, I turned and kissed her softly, the welcome home I was feeling unsaid yet conveyed with perfect clarity, the I love you just as silent, but felt wholeheartedly just the same. I felt her smile against my cheek as she blessed me with a brief touch of her lips, and felt a thrill of happiness as she whispered ever so softly, "I missed you."

I smiled down at her and made up a little bridge into a new song, one that the world had never heard before in its entirety as I'd created it just for my dear heart and had only figured out the last little section this afternoon while I was waiting for her to come home.

I watched her eyes widen as she realized that I was playing just for her, before I turned away from her eyes so full of love and lost myself in the music. I played for her, my love, like I'd always wanted to do but was so afraid to try. I poured myself into the song, the music reverberating through my heart as I began to sway slightly with the song; and was only brought back to earth by the warm tears that were soaking through to my shoulder. I looked down at Rachel and I saw her swaying in time with me, eyes closed, the most serene smile ghosting her perfect lips as she too let herself fall into the music.

When the song finally came to an end, I stayed in position with my hands on the keys for just one moment before turning and reaching out for the one person who truly loves me for who I am today, not who I could be nor who I was in the past, and felt as if the world that had been upside down and sideways for the last twenty four hours righten as she settled herself against me. She didn't know it, or perhaps she did, but every time I had to let her walk away from me she took my heart with her as well. I took a deep breath, inhaling her compelling rosewood and amber fragrance, a little more pungent right now because of her time in the line, and felt complete.

I buried my face in her hair and pulled her in tighter against me, breathing her in deeply to convince myself that she is in fact home, and that she is in fact well.

"I missed you," I whispered into her wild curls, squeezing her softly. "This place is empty when you're not here."

She looked up and smiled at me. "Thank you for the song, Ivy."

I shrugged like it wasn't a big deal, even though we both knew how much it took for me to let her see me so unguarded. Even though it's gotten much easier with practice, lessons learned during years of self denial are hard ones to break.

"I'm just happy you're home," I told her honestly, before lowering my lips to hers to kiss her softly, reverently.

"Mmm," she smiled when she eventually pulled away to catch her breath. "A girl can get used to being welcomed home this way Tamwood."

"I'm sure a girl can," I said softly, leaning my forehead against hers as I stared into her emerald eyes. "But the only girl I'm interested in welcoming home is you."

"Kiss me," she breathed, closing her eyes and tilting her head ever so slightly as she leaned in towards me.

I was more than happy to comply, and eagerly claimed her lips again with my own, my tongue dancing across her lips begging entrance as I sought to deepen the kiss. She wasted no time in allowing me in, and I let my hands fall to her waist as I quickly picked her up and settled her down on my lap so I could kiss her as I'd been thinking about the entire time she was away.

Our tongues danced around each other in a blind haze of desire, and when a spike of desire rocked her I smelled it instantly, her own wanting flaming my own. As was typical for us, the soft reverent kisses slowly grew more and more demanding as the need to have the other, to feel the other, grew. Breaths were coming fast and ragged as we kissed in front of the piano, and although the more savage aspect of my nature wanted to lay Rachel down on the piano and have my way with her here, I instead gathered my dear heart in my arms and carried her down the hall to our bed where I could love her properly. Unbridled passion is great, but it was times like these – times when I was struck anew with how deeply and completely I desired her – that what I needed most was to lay myself down before the goddess Rachel and worship her with soft touches, languid strokes, and reverent kisses.

I gently lowered us to the bed, clothes were discarded with loving strokes between heated kisses, and I sighed in pleasure when I was finally able to lie down beside her with no barriers between us.

"I love you," I sighed as I kissed my way down her jaw to her neck. I tried to hold the pheromones in check as I nipped, licked, and nuzzled my scars that she wore, tonight was not about blood – it was about love, and because of her I was finally able to separate the two.

I heard her breath hitch in her throat as my nose brushed against a newer scar, and she arched into me mewling, "Please Ivy."

I smiled against her throat, dropping one last kiss on that oh so sensitive flesh before whispering, "Not tonight, my love. There are other things I've been wanting to taste."

She moaned loudly at my words, her hips bucking ever so slightly against me. I let the tip of my tongue trail a path from her throat to her breasts before nipping and sucking my way to her erect nipples. She cried out as I took her fully into my mouth, writhed under me as I flicked my tongue over her and held her ever so gently between my teeth. I let her nipple fall from my mouth and continued my slow, teasing, path down her flat stomach, over the hollow of her hip, before settling myself between her legs.

The heady aroma of her arousal was intoxicating, the pleasured gasps, moans and cries that fell from her captivating. I let the tip of my tongue slowing trace her opening, enjoying the soft groans that escaped my love as I repeatedly missed touching that one spot where she so desperately needed me. I used that most dexterous muscle to spread her before me, used it to slowly lave her sweet nectar.

She was a vision spread out before me. Hands blindly grasping at nothing as her hips searched for my lips. I flattened my tongue against her and she screamed in pleasure, the scream choking off into a moan as I began flicking my tongue across her swollen clit.

"Please, Ivy," she moaned as I took my time pleasuring her. "Please."

I blew softly onto her heated core and asked, "What do you want, love?"

"You," she groaned as I traced a finger up her slit while once again lowering my mouth to her clit.

"Like this?" I asked, my breath still playing against her throbbing center.

"More," she gasped as I slid two fingers inside her. "O-o-oh, yes, Ivy," she moaned as I began to slowly work my fingers within her.

I kept my thrusts slow, kept the pace random so as to draw out her pleasure as I began kissing my way back up her glorious body to her lips which I claimed as my own with a fierce passion. Her hips moved counterpoint to my thrusts, and her frustrated growls at my teasing made me smile into her lips.

"I love you so much, Rachel," I whispered as I increased the force of my thrusts inside her and began a steady rhythm.

"Mmmmm," she moaned, head thrashing from side to side as she rode the wave that was building inside her.

The pheromones rolling off her were bringing me close to my own climax, and I sure as hell didn't want to be the first to fall. "Let yourself go, baby," I whispered into her lips. "I know you're close, just let go."

She turned to me with a fevered passion barely restrained as she claimed my mouth, her hands pulling me closer to her as she steadily raced closer to the edge. I felt her arch into me moments before I felt her clench around my fingers, and it was only then that I allowed myself to fall into the pleasurable abyss beside her.

When we came back to ourselves enough to separate, I whispered with a smile, "Welcome home."

She raised her mouth to mine, kissing me softly. "Indeed."

The End

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