• Published 1st Jun 2013
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Legend - Radiant Dawn

He was an average man in nearly every sense of the term, but his entire life is flipped upside-down when a push for a paycheck turns into something unexpected...something much more.

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Chapter 19: Mending Bridges

Chapter 19: Mending Bridges

“You know,” I began, shifting against my warm, furry support, “I’m kinda glad I didn’t have too many male friends back on Earth. With how emotional and unstable I’ve been lately, I’d have caught quite the hazing from any guy friends I might have. See, we don’t have magic where I’m from, so there would be no excuse for me acting the way I have.”

I felt as Celestia’s wing stroked the back of my neck. “Well, consider yourself lucky that all your friends here are mares then. Besides all that, Equestria is a much more understanding place than what you’ve made your world out to be.”

I shook my head, slowly running my hand against the sun princess’ neck as I did so. “It’s not all bad, really. In fact, there’s quite a few things about Earth that I miss, technology being one of them. Still, it seems that with me being unable to return, I’m only remembering the bad parts.” I sat up straighter to look her in the eye as I added, “For example: Twilight told me that about a month before they found me, there was a female couple in Ponyville that was married. On Earth that could have happened too, but for a long time in our history, there were laws against same-sex marriages. Twilight told me that you all have never had a law like that before. Same thing for polygamy and polyamory.”

Luna gazed up at me from her head’s place in my lap. “We built Equestria to be a place of freedom and harmony for all, and it would not do well for us to limit what ponies can or cannot do with their love simply because of what we may or may not think. ‘twould be unfair to many, since we cannot control who we love or what gender they are.”

I nodded in agreement. “I know; it’s things like that about my world that I never really understood either, but like most other people, I just went along with it. I’m ashamed to say that since it didn’t really affect me, I didn’t care all that much about laws that didn’t make sense to me.” I chuckled dryly and said, “Another example: it’s illegal in most first-world countries to filter your own water, even if you have the means to.” I shrugged. “I mean, I can understand a law being in place because it’s preventing you from doing something that could cause harm to yourself or others, but what about all the rest of them?” With a sigh, I shook my head. “That’s why I’m not a politician.”

“I will be the first to admit that ruling is not all it’s made out to be.” Celestia stated with a grin. “When it comes right down to it, Luna and I rule over Equestria because we think of all other ponies’ interests before our own. It takes a truly selfless pony to be able to forsake their own desires and give them to everypony else.”

Luna nodded, brushing her chin against my knee. “If one whom we could trust appeared and was willing to truly do what was needed for Equestria to grow and prosper while remaining the harmonious place it is, I would lay down my crown without a second thought.”

I raised an eyebrow at the lunar diarch. “Really? You don’t like being a princess?”

“When young ponies imagine the life of royalty, they only envision grand balls and servants, along with lavish living and the finest food and drink money can buy.” Celestia explained with a neutral expression. “The truth of the matter is that in many ways, royalty is a life of requirement, not desire. Most ponies who look upon this palace with starry eyes and fantastical dreams do not take into account the fact that most of our days are filled with mindless paperwork, annoying meetings with nobility, and diplomatic visits. Out of twenty-four hours, Luna and I often only have two of those hours set aside for ourselves, not counting sleeping times; I will be the first to tell you that two hours is nowhere near enough time to completely calm my nerves and prepare for the next day.”

“Besides those very accurate facts,” Luna continued, picking up the explanation of royal life, “my sister and I rarely see each other except to share a meal together. It is a difficult life, and one I would not wish on another who was unprepared for it.”

“Speaking of,” I began, looking toward the door that led to the long corridor that led me here, “how do you think Twilight’s going to handle it?”

Celestia glanced toward the door as well, sighing as she did so. “She will endure, of that there is no doubt. Much like Luna and I have, she will likely be subject to a few emotional breakdowns when the stress becomes too much, but she will have her friends and family to be there for her when it happens.”

I shifted my shoulders as I prepared to stand and said, “Well, we’ve put this off long enough; I came here so that the two of you could explain the truth about Saiian and how her magic is affecting me.”

Luna nodded a few times, frowning as she did so. “I assume quite a bit has happened between all of you are willing to create such a volatile situation simply to explain your behavior and theirs.”

I nodded. “I mean, I think Rainbow Dash falling in love with me is pretty serious.”

Luna frowned even deeper this time, her expression deeply troubled. “And how did Saiian explain this event?”

I looked to the elemental that only I could see, noticing she was strangely silent through all this. “She wasn’t the one to explain how the magic was affecting us all, Twilight was. Twilight said the potential for Rainbow Dash’s feelings to develop like they did always existed, but that Saiian’s magic was basically a catalyst that sped things along. She said that the magic was passively affecting the minds of everyone around me, making them more friendly among other things.” I shrugged. “It might be why the two of you felt drawn to me as well; Twilight told me that usually you’re both a little distant.”

I stood, and Celestia did just behind me as she retorted, “We aren’t distant, we’re just removed from normal society through no fault of our own.”

“We do not distance ourselves intentionally, Jamie.” Luna corrected me with a sad smile. “So many see us as infallible rulers that they consider it a disrespect or even an insult to speak to us as one would a common pony.”

“And what do you think?” I asked, genuinely interested. “How do you want to be addressed by your people?”

Celestia stepped beside me as she opened the door with magic and began leading me through the winding halls of the palace. “Ponies must see us for the rulers we are, so that they can trust that we will be strong where they are not, and will make the decisions that they can not.” She then sighed and looked to Luna.

“But among those we wish to be friends, we hope to be seen as a friend and nothing more or less.” the younger sister continued, smiling gently to me. “You, for example, are one such friend, and while we expect you to follow our commands as your princesses, we do not want you to fear speaking to us informally when the situation warrants it. We want you to bring our attention to our faults when they present themselves, and forgive us our mistakes, as we will do for you. Friends should not fear retribution from the other because of status or station, so neither should you.”

I continued following Celestia before turning to the younger princess and saying, “Oh, random question: why was it that you seemed to uncomfortable when I kissed you, Luna? Besides the obvious ‘I’m kissing an alien’ thing you were probably thinking the whole time, of course.”

Luna cleared her throat as a soft blush turned her cheeks a faint maroon. “Um, b-because ponies usually don’t kiss like humans do.” At my look of confusion she continued her explanation, noticeably quieter. “Because of the bridge of magical energies that forms from a kiss, ponies as a species have grown to develop other ways of showing affection.”

I nodded in understanding. “Like nuzzles and hugging, right?”

Luna nodded in agreement. “Yes. However, we do have our own version of a kiss that doesn’t bridge two ponies’ magical streams.” With an embarrassed blush and a shy smile, Luna leaned up and gently ran her tongue along the side of my throat, causing gooseflesh to appear and a shiver to run through me.

With a shuddering breath I said, “I can appreciate the fact that you prefer to teach by demonstration and that it likely took quite a bit of courage to do that, but please warn me next time. You’re sending mixed signals here, Luna.”

“Indeed, sister.” Celestia chastised from in front of us, glancing back with a smirk. “While it seems Jamie has become more comfortable with ponies and the way we show affection, some displays are inappropriate between two friends, even for instruction.” Celestia then looked directly at me and added, “She’s still learning how the modern world works, Jamie; please give her a pass on that little indiscretion.”

I nodded, rubbing the spot where the princess’ tongue had been only moments before. “I suppose worse things could have happened, all things considered.” I then brought my index finger to my lips and said, “Y’know, now that my mind’s not swimming with all the crazy things that have been happening to me without answers, I actually have a few questions of my own that have gone unanswered for a little too long.”

“Such as?” Celestia questioned, focusing on the path ahead of us and nodding to a few guards that lined the corridors.

“Well,” I began, trying my best to think of a way to broach the subjects, “you said the two of you have never even kissed another pony before -- which kinda makes sense now since a kiss between ponies means more than just affection -- but you said Twilight is your daughter.” Celestia nodded. “How does that work exactly? Did you just kinda find some pony you liked and did the nasty without even kissing him or something?”

Luna attempted to hold in the explosion of laughter that suddenly sprang up within her, to no avail, while Celestia tripped over her own hooves as a blush lit up her face and neck. I must say, blushes show rather well against white fur.

After taking a few moments to compose herself -- as well as shooting a glare at her younger sister -- Celestia looked to me with a frown. “I suppose I should have expected your blunt nature, and yet I am still surprised sometimes.” She finally smiled and shook her head with a giggle. “To answer your question, Twilight is not the product of any stallion mating with me.”

I frowned, my brow furrowing in confusion. “But you said she had a father; Flash Stepper, I think you said his name was.”

Celestia nodded, smiling wistfully as she did so. “Flash Step...and yes, she did have a father. I wished for a daughter, but Flash Step was not my mate, nor was he at all interested in coitus with me.” She giggled again, shooting me a grin. “You see, Flash Step was a homosexual stallion. The only way he would have considered bedding me was if I spontaneously became a male.”

It seemed the longer the explanation went on, the less and less I understood. “B-but how then…?”

Celestia was quiet for a long few moments before speaking again, and her tone had dropped to one of pride and admiration. “Flash Step was a wonderful stallion, and a good friend. The spells that exist today to allow same-sex couples to conceive did not exist in his time, and so his options for fathering his own child were rather limited.” With a sad sigh she added, “Any male will agree that an adopted child can and will be loved just like a child of their own…” she then stopped mid-stride, rubbing her abdomen with a hoof idly, “but it is an entirely different prospect to feel a life growing inside of you, and it is one that cannot be imagined by those who have never experienced it.” Celestia began moving again, but dropped back to walk at my side instead of in front of me as she continued her story. “To get straight to the point, Flash Step was the one stallion I trusted and was from a diverse enough bloodline to give me what I wanted without using the situation to gain favor with me or power. I’m sure you can understand how somepony with the wrong ideals could use such an act against me.”

I nodded. “I can imagine.”

“Well,” Celestia began, smiling faintly as she did so, “Twilight was not conceived normally; she was instead formed by a magis bridge during a time when I purposefully triggered estrus within myself. The spell I cast to perform the act simply did what nature does every day: it took my genetic code and that of Flash Step’s and fused them to create a new, unique life.”

“So,” I began, smirking as I did so, “you and Luna are literally virgin princesses, even though you gave birth naturally to a pony of your own flesh and blood.” I chuckled and shook my head. “There’s a few religions on Earth that center around a child of God who was born to a virgin; I’m sure my people would have a hayday with your story, if they knew it.”

Celestia smiled, shoulder-checking me in a gentle, yet playful manner. “Perhaps one day, you can foster relations between our two worlds when Equis decides the time is right. I am sure you will have quite a few stories to tell by then.”

I nodded before noticing that we had arrived at the door to Twilight’s room, stopping suddenly as a feeling of anxiety began to creep through my veins. “Well, here we are.” I shook my head with a groan and said, “Man, I hate being stuck between friends. I have the distinct feeling that things are going to be tense, to say the least.”

Celestia nodded, her posture and flicking ears telling of nervousness and shame. “I agree, but it must be done. There must be an equal understanding between all of us if broken bonds are to be repaired.”

I nodded once again and placed my hand on the large oaken door. “Well, here goes nothing.”

As I pushed open the door and led the two princesses into the room, I could practically feel the waves of animosity being directed at the two Equestrian diarchs, most of which was coming from Twilight. Nonetheless, I had an objective to complete through all this, so I stood tall and made my way over to the six ponies and dragon that were gathered before me.

“Took you long enough, Jamie.” Spike commented, crossing his arms with a frown.

I scratched the back of my head sheepishly and answered, “Yeah, sorry about that. It took longer than I thought it would, and I needed to kinda collect myself to come back. Luna,” I looked to the moon princess, “want to take it from here?”

The ponies and dragon looked to me like I was crazy when I addressed the princess without her title, but I would explain that bit later. For now, the two elder princesses had things to discuss with the others.

Luna stepped forward to stand at my side. “What Jamie told you all is true; he has an elemental inside of him, and an ancient friend of mine at that. The elemental’s name is Saiian, and much of how Jamie’s magic has been reacting was her doing.”

Twilight wiped her tear-stricken eyes and glared at the two princesses. “How do I know the two of you are telling the truth about this? I’m not sure I can trust-”

“We may have betrayed your trust by our actions against our mutual friend,” Celestia interrupted sternly, “but we are not liars. If you wish to be petty and-”

“Petty?” Twilight growled angrily as she stood, pushing away from her friends and jumping down to the carpeted ground before stomping over to glare up at the taller ponies in front of her. “Caring about my friend’s wellbeing is PETTY?!” The last word was spoken in a roar of rage as Twilight poked a surprised Celestia in the chest. “YOU IMPRISONED HIM FOR MONTHS OF HIS LIFE, AND I’M BEING PETTY?!

“Twilight-” I began in an attempt to calm her down, only to be interrupted by the fuming young alicorn.

Twilight looked to me with tears once again flowing from her -- now-glowing -- eyes. “HOW CAN YOU FORGIVE THEM SO EASILY FOR WHAT THEY’VE DONE TO YOU?!

With a frown, I bopped Twilight on the forehead. The action caused her eyes to cease glowing, and ended with her looking very surprised, sitting on her rump. I kneeled down in front of her and placed a hand on her shoulder as I explained, “I forgave them because I understand why they did what they did, and honestly, it was the right thing to do.” I then shook my head. “That being said, I am in no way completely okay with it, and frankly, I’m still a little pissed about it all. Still,” I glanced back at the two nervous older princesses, “I’ve already vented my anger to them a bit, but I also know that sitting here being upset with them isn’t going to solve anything and it isn’t going to give me that time back. All I can do is forgive them for their mistake of forcing me to do something against my will and try to move forward in such a way so that we all learn a lesson from all of this and don’t repeat any mistakes we’ve made.”

At this point I stood, addressing the rest of those gathered. “I’m not asking for any of you to not be upset about what’s happened, but I am asking you to respect my decision to forgive them for it. I hope that you all will do the same, with time.”

Of course, with Rainbow Dash being Loyalty embodied, she just couldn’t let the matter drop like I’d hoped.

“No,” she stated firmly in a low tone, “I can’t do that.” Her head snapped up to me before she floated over and embraced me tightly, glaring at Celestia and Luna as she did so. “These two treated you like you were a toy, and I can’t stand for that. It’s wrong, and honestly, I almost can’t believe it even happened.” Rainbow Dash released me and pointed her hooves to the two princesses as she growled out, “The two of you are supposed to be good ponies, but you just decided it would be okay to stick Jamie in a place he couldn’t escape to basically get his butt kicked for months.” Before I could speak up, her eyes shot to me. “And don’t deny that last part Jamie, because I’ve seen the guards training before. Don’t take this the wrong way, but up until you came back from Canterlot, you were kinda squishy.”

I quickly glanced at myself, noticing the fact that I could actually see well-defined muscles in my arms and legs, as well as my stomach. “None taken.” I then turned my head back to Rainbow Dash, who had backed off a few feet, seemingly realizing she was basically posturing in front of the two rulers of Equestria. “Still, I think it was good for me, in the end. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been able to see anything but flab on my body?”

“If you wanted to get in shape,” Rainbow Dash began, frowning at me, “you could have just asked, you know; future Wonderbolt here, remember?”

“Could you teach me how to fight too -- ” I asked rhetorically, continuing before I could get a response, “not just brawling, but actual fighting to defend myself against an attacker that’s stronger and faster than me? Could you have done all that in less than three months?”

Rainbow Dash looked as if she wanted to refute what I was implying, but just slumped and landed with a defeated look on her face. “I can’t believe you’re defending what they did to you.”

“I never said I wasn’t upset about it,” I clarified with an unimpressed expression and a glance toward the two alicorns at my sides, “I’m just asking you all to understand and accept the fact that I have forgiven them, and ask that you try and do the same.” I gestured to myself generally as I stood. “I’m alive, stronger, and hopefully wiser. I’ve come out of the situation better off, and while it’s going to take some time to completely get over what’s happened, I understand the reasons for it. The actions that Celestia and Luna took were truly done with my best interests in mind; I can see that now.” Twilight and Rainbow Dash still didn’t look very convinced, but the rest of the group was nodding in acceptance with small smiles present.

“All that having been said,” Celestia began, looking over all the occupants in the room and sighing ruefully, “we understand that in doing what we did, we have broken the trust that you all gave us -- “ she glanced to Twilight with a heartbroken look on her face, “some more than others. We ask that you allow us the opportunity to regain that trust, and perhaps, even surpass the bond that once existed between us.”

All eyes turned to Twilight as the room fell silent once again, and she took a long few minutes before finally speaking in a soft voice. “I guess I understand why things were done the way they were, but that doesn’t excuse the methods used, regardless of the intent behind them.” She looked to Celestia with glassy eyes and tears freely flowing as she said, “I want so badly to be able to feel righteous anger for what you did, but I know you better than that. I know it isn’t in your nature to be malicious, and honestly, I don’t think you could purposefully be mean even if you wanted to be.” She swallowed hard, and pushed herself to a standing position before trotting to my side and looking over the two elder princesses. “I forgive both of you, but that doesn’t mean I’m not upset with this. Please don’t ever betray our trust like that again.”

“Princesses make mistakes too, Twilight.” Celestia stated with wisdom. “For so long you have seen me as infallible, but I believe you are old enough to be able to handle the fact that Luna and I are still ponies; we are just as flawed as any of you, and we are subject to the same weaknesses and shortcomings that you all experience in your lives.” She then glanced to me and added, “Even those of the highest station must be humbled from time to time, or else we become complacent and overconfident in our abilities.”

Twilight took a deep breath and nodded, but refused to smile. “I understand, but it’s going to take some time for me to cool off, and I don’t want to make the mistake of saying something I’ll regret just because I’m angry.” She then jerked her head to the door and said, “We should all probably get going before it gets too dark; the last train leaves at eight.”

As the rest of the ponies began to file out of the room, I stayed behind for a moment to speak to the princesses alone. Celestia’s posture and overall demeanor had taken a nosedive ever since entering the room and feeling the amount of ire directed her way by the ponies gathered, and I felt it would be to our mutual benefit if I didn’t leave without speaking to her.

I slowly walked over to where Celestia stood motionless, and brought my hand to cup her cheek softly as I said, “She’s just upset; she'll get over it with time. Just give her a week or so and I guarantee everything will be okay again.”

“She’s never going to trust me the same way after this, you know.” Celestia muttered with a heartbroken expression as she stared into my eyes. “And yet, I am still keeping a great secret from her; one that will change everything she has ever believed about her life and who she is.”

I nodded and wrapped my arms around her neck, hugging her as tightly as I could. “I know, but she needs time to deal with this first. Just give it some time before you broach that particular subject, as I don’t want her to end up making a crater where Ponyville used to be.” I felt as Celestia’s soft nose nuzzled into my shoulder, and ran my hands through her floating mane in an effort to calm her. “I knew all along though, so I’ll stand by you and take responsibility for not telling her; you won’t be alone when the time comes, I promise you that.”

Celestia choked down a small cry of sadness before pulling away and nodding as she wiped her eyes hastily with a hoof. “Thank you, Jamie. You should get going though before the others start to worry about you.” The corners of her mouth curved up ever so slightly as she said, “Goodbye for now, Jamie. We will be in contact whenever we can.”

Luna moved forward and embraced me tightly with both forelegs, sitting on her rump so that it would be more comfortable for the both of us. “We shall both endeavor to become the friends we so wish to be with you, and in doing so, make your life on Equis that much better.”

“You’ll get there, I’m sure.” I assured with a smile, running my hands along the velvety fur of the lunar princess. With one last squeeze, I released her and stepped away. “Well, I better get going then. Don’t be strangers, now.”

Needless to say that when I finally made my way back to the group, Twilight wasn’t particularly happy. She let her irritation about me just disappearing on them be known, but quickly apologized and explained that she just didn’t want anything to happen to me again. As we continued making our way to the entrance of Canterlot Castle, I couldn’t help but mentally chuckle at the fact that a mere day somehow felt like a week with all that we’d been through, but issues had been resolved and I hoped that things would be better from here on out between all of us.

Just as we rounded one of the final passageways of the castle, I caught sight of not just Shudder, but a familiar white-furred DJ waiting for me in the distance. Shudder’s ears perked and she turned her head, smiling and tapping the unicorn before pointing to me. Vinyl glanced over and smiled widely, waving like a maniac as we approached. Pinkie and Rarity both giggled at the sight, while I just chuckled and shook my head; I had interesting friends.

“Heya, Lanky!” Shudder greeted jovially as she fluttered over and affectionately rubbed my hair. “Are you guys checkin’ out?”

I nodded and motioned to the ponies gathered. “Yep, we’re headed back to Ponyville. We all need some time to assimilate everything that’s happened, I think.”

Shudder nodded in agreement. “I can imagine; one of your friends becoming a princess is probably pretty big.” She then glanced to Twilight and saluted sharply. “Your Highness, it’s a pleasure.”

Twilight blushed in embarrassment and waved the night guard off. “Please don’t do that, I’m still getting used to all this.”

Shudder dropped her hoof and landed on the ground, motioning to the gates. “Well, you all stay safe then. I’ll keep things here under control in the meantime.”

I nodded once before looking to Vinyl. “Are you coming with?”

Vinyl beamed at me and hopped excitedly. “Yep! I don’t have a show for the next two days either, so Tavi and I are gonna head to Rainbow Falls to see the sights. She says it’s supposed to be really cool, so I thought I’d go with her; really, I’m just glad to have a break. Things have gotten pretty crazy with, y’know,” she motioned to Twilight, “everything.” Vinyl then cleared her throat and bowed her head slightly. “U-um, I’m sorry if I’m being rude or anything, Princess Twilight. I’m just not used to thinking about you as a princess, is all.”

Twilight waved the remark away, actually smiling a little. “It’s alright Vinyl. We both live in Ponyville, and to be honest, I’d actually prefer it if you just kept treating me the same as always. You’re a good friend, and I don’t want my friends treating me different just because I’m a royal now.”

Vinyl stood up straight and jerked her head toward the gates. “Well, Tavi’s waiting for us all at the station, so let’s not keep her waiting. I just want to pass out without her yelling at me for making her stand there for a long time.”

I chuckled before reaching down and grabbing Vinyl, who let out a squawk of surprise as I settled her under my arm. “Race you there, Twilight!” As I ran off I shouted back, “And no magic!”

The train ride home was uneventful and significantly less stressful than the one to Canterlot, and some of us were actually so relaxed from the subtle *click, clack* of the train that they fell asleep…

Namely a drooling unicorn DJ.

I ended up having to carry her home before returning to Twilight’s library that night, but I didn’t really care all that much. Sure things could have gone better with my friends and the princesses (although I guess Celestia and Luna are my friends too, and Twilight’s a princess now; should I just say my friends then? Whatever, it doesn’t matter), but I had a feeling everything would be alright with time.

The only thing that put a damper on my mood was the fact that I would be sleeping alone that night, since everypony else had other things to do or had their own issues to work through (I don’t think I have to mention who). All that having been said, it was still nice to be able to just lay in bed and not have anything particularly urgent that needed attending to, and I could just let my mind wander as I bathed in the moonlight.

“You’ve been pretty quiet today.” I commented after laying for awhile in silence.

Saiian appeared sitting beside me on the bed, clothed in fuzzy bunny-print pajamas. She smiled at me and explained, “I figured that with everything going on today, you didn’t need a mischievous elemental messing with you. You already reunited me with Luna, so I figured I owed you a little quiet time in thanks for that.”

I pursed my lips a bit as I thought about what she was saying, and the way I felt about it just didn’t make sense for some reason. I had actually missed her a bit, to be honest, but with all the teasing she often gave me as well as the commonplace visage of a beautiful woman wearing very little was off-putting, if only for the fact that I knew she did it on purpose to make me uncomfortable.

We were going to be together for a long time though, so she shouldn’t have to feel like a burden on me. It wasn’t fair to her, and actually, it wasn’t true either. Maybe there was a way we could both benefit this night…

“While I appreciate you keeping my feelings in mind, I don’t want you to feel like you have to do what I say just because we’re together for the foreseeable future.” I said, turning to look at her fully. “I don’t feel right thinking of you as just something or someone to use for my benefit, so please don’t treat yourself that way. But,” I began, feeling a little more anxious about what I was about to suggest, “if you still want to pay me back for what I did, I think I have a way you can do that.”

Saiian turned her body toward me, sitting with her legs crossed. “What do you need, Jamie? I’ll help you if I can.”

“Well,” I started, clearing my throat as nervousness began to bubble up within me, “I’ve found that I tend to sleep better with someone next to me now. Lately it’s been Rainbow Dash that’s taken that role, but she’s not here tonight and I’m not going to impose upon Twilight; she has enough to worry about.”

Saiian nodded a few times in understanding. “So you want to take me to bed then.”

I winced and looked away with a blush coming to my cheeks. “You just had to put it like that, didn’t you?” I cleared my throat once again as I forced myself to look at her. “All kidding aside though, yes. I would appreciate it if you would accommodate me.”

During my nervous blushing and uncomfortable feelings at the images that sprang forth from the way she’d put things, Saiian’s mouth had curled into a wide and amused grin. Upon leveling with her on what I desired though, the grin had faded and become a warm smile. She moved closer to me and nodded gently. “I can do that, if that’s all you want.”

I nodded as well, pulling at the collar of my nightshirt. “Please. It’s...ugh, this is embarrassing, but it’s what would make me be able to sleep more comfortably. I toss and turn all night unless I have someone to hold onto.”

“Feeling a bit needy, are we?” Saiian teased again, that same infuriatingly amused grin crawling over her lips. She pivoted on her knee and swung her leg over me, straddling my waist as she planted herself on top of me, pondering aloud as she placed a finger on her lips. “I must say, this is rather nice indeed.”

I groaned and dropped my head onto the wall behind the bed in frustration. “I should have figured you couldn’t take this seriously.”

Saiian pouted in what was arguably a very cute (and consequently very effective) manner. “I’m just trying to have a little fun, Jamie; no need to get all bent out of shape. Besides, you need a little release. You haven’t gotten any in a long time, so there’s no doubt you’re pent up.”

While normally I would have adamantly refuted her claim, there was no sense in attempting to lie to someone that was quite literally in my mind. Instead, I just sighed and averted my eyes from her, lest I stare at the soft dual bounties that were now eye-level and less than a foot away. “Even with that being the case, I refuse to sink to the level of letting my frustrations out on my invisible friend. Besides being at least seven different kinds of wrong for me, I couldn’t and wouldn’t do that to someone,” I then glared at her, “even if they were being a huge tease for no other reason than they can be.”

“So,” she began, sitting up straight and cocking her head to the side, “if I were given true form in the physical plane, you wouldn’t have a problem with it?”

I shook my head vehemently. “Regardless of whether you were physically real or not, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a beautiful woman on top of me and *GASP* stop doing that!”

Saiian ceased rolling her hips (which, I admit, was quite pleasing) and placed a hand to her face in faux embarrassment. “Y-you think I’m b-b-beautiful?”

With a growl I grasped Saiian by her hips and pushed her off to my left while turning away from her toward the window. “Forget it. Goodnight, Saiian.”

There were a few moments of pregnant silence as I lay there, eyes closed and fuming at the fact that even when I chose to show a rare moment of vulnerability to her, Saiian couldn’t resist messing with me. True that we hadn’t actually known each other that long, but Luna had been good friends with her, so I had thought Saiian couldn’t be that bad, even being a chaos elemental.

A sensation almost too soft to feel touched my shoulder before fingers grasped me and turned me onto my back once again, and I found myself gazing at a rather ashamed-looking Saiian. Part of me wanted to turn back over and give her the cold shoulder, but another part -- I hoped what was a better part -- compelled me to listen to what she had to say.

“I’m sorry, Jamie.” she quaked, closing her eyes as she did so. “It’s been a long time since someone’s been able to see me, and no one’s ever found me beautiful before. I got a little carried away.”

“A little?” I sneered. “You were purposefully teasing me about the fact that I’m basically a starving man who has a big, juicy steak dangling in front of his face, the only problem being that I can never have said slab of meaty goodness.”

I held my angry expression for a few more moments before sighing and resting my forearm over my eyes. “I understand that chaos kinda denotes messing with people, but you’re just pissing me off by reminding me constantly of what I can’t have. I know for a fact that you could have chosen any other form to appear as, but you chose a form that is a perfect match for what is literally the most attractive female I could possibly imagine,” I then moved my arm and opened my eyes, grasping a lock of her gently waving hair between two fingers, “even down to this beautiful fire-like hair. That all leads me to believe that you took this form straight out of my head just to fuck with me; at first it didn’t bother me so much, but when I asked you tonight for something I felt I needed, you basically threw it back in my face. How do you think that makes me feel?”

“Like a plaything.” she muttered shamefully, seeming to curl in on herself. A part of me wanted to let Saiian wallow in her guilt, claiming that she deserved it...but I couldn’t.

With a rueful sigh at the defeat of my will by my own good nature, I looked to Saiian and pulled her gently down to my side and hugging her against me, causing her to release a gasp of surprise.

“You are literally the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on Saiian, and you know that.” I whispered to my bedmate, tucking her head underneath my chin as I rested my hand on her lower back. “I’m still not sure just how much of my mind you have access to, but please remember that the fact that I’ll probably never see a real, physical human being again downright hurts, and you teasing me about it like that is pretty mean.”

Saiian was quiet for a few seconds before answering, “I never looked into your mind for this form, Jamie.” At my raised eyebrow of confusion she explained, “I’m simply using an ability that gives me a physical form that reflects what you find the most physically desirable. I had hoped to simply make you feel more comfortable seeing me, but I admit that I couldn’t resist having a little fun at your expense.”

She sighed and shuddered faintly, and I felt a twinge of intense loneliness flow from her consciousness to me because of the connection between our minds. “I’ve been alone for an unfathomably long time Jamie, and unlike Luna, I was not able to sleep my isolation away. I fear that as the years passed, I’ve forgotten how to behave with another person.”

“Luna was asleep during her banishment?” I questioned, the information completely unknown to me previously.

Saiian nodded sadly. “A thousand years imprisoned on the moon was as short for Luna as a single night’s sleep.”

My face twisted up in thought as I pondered how to handle the situation. I assumed that a thousand years of isolation would weather away even the most powerful will, so Saiian was not completely at fault for her behavior. Still, even young children learn by chastisement.

“Don’t do it again.” I whispered softly. “I don’t mind a bit of playful ribbing here and there, but pay attention to learn the boundaries between playing and malicious taunting. I want us to get along as best we can since we are together for likely the rest of my life, and I wouldn’t mind finding a good friend in you.”

Saiian smiled up at me before tentatively moving forward and kissing my cheek, smiling after she did so. “I would like that, Jamie. Thank you for being understanding.”

The kiss had surprised me a bit, but it was still nice in a way too. With that being the case I closed my eyes and muttered a goodnight to my bedmate, slipping away into a great sleep only a few minutes later.