He leaned against the main trunk of the tree, high enough to not see the ground but still below the roof of the forest. Here, he could see patches of midnight blue and far off twinkling of stars when the wind teased the trees, also ruffling the leaves in his hair. At this height, he could, if he turned, wrap his arms around the tree. For now, he watched, though. It was almost time and he didn’t want to miss it by indulging his inborn love of Nature.
The beginning was almost imperceptible, an extra twinkle here and there, easy to miss. His eyes were wide, watching, night-black pupils almost swallowing golden-green irises—the color of oak leaves with the summer sun behind them. Reflected in them were the stars and the gathering that was gaining momentum and members as the forest became deceptively quiet.
Mid-Summer’s Eve approached the magic hour—that time when accepted reality and truth mingled and the fae renewed themselves and the life of their homes. Bonds made this night lasted throughout the year or life, depending on the pledge and who took it.
He wanted to prove his sincerity and he knew no other way. He wasn’t officially part of the dance—only those who would pledge that night were—but he knew the one he wanted would be. A year contract with another who didn’t care…how could he allow that?
A familiar light, one he’d know no matter how many danced, caught his eye. Longing rose in his throat and tightened things throughout his body. He moved forward, his wings spread as the branch he was on narrowed until it was thinner than his wrist and his bare toes began having trouble holding it. His eyes locked on that spark, even when one that was duller, somehow sucking in the light around it, joined it.
He took another step, his wings catching him and drawing him higher, the only thought in his mind to be in time. If he was late, he’d not only make a fool of himself and lose for at least another year, he also ran the risk of public punishment for his lack of respect to the ceremony. Depending on the mood of the court, it could cost him his wings. He had already decided it would be worth it, regardless of the outcome.
“Seamus?” two voices spoke in unison, one surprised, one cold.
Seamus nodded, surprised at how quickly he’d arrived. “I want you to reconsider, Pól,” he begged, looking into eyes that were sky-blue, lighter than the violets in his hair. “To you, I would pledge my life, my all.”
Pól frowned and looked over his shoulder. “Madoc…?” he said, letting his voice trail off.
“There’s half an hour,” came the stony reply. Night-black stones around his neck reflected the twinkling of lights as he moved away.
Pól grabbed Seamus’ arm and pulled him to the edge of the growing celebration of life.
Seamus was thrilled. It was the first time Pól had touched him at all and, even if it was in irritation or anger, and magic flowed through his body from Pól’s fingers.
Pól looked at his hand then at Seamus. His face was wan, a light blue, in surprise looking more like a pale violet. “What did you do?” he asked, his breath little more that a breeze through leaves.
Seamus looked as well, his brown skin making Pól’s hand stand out more, highlighting the sunlight-like glow where their skin met. “Nothing on purpose,” he said, turning back to Pól.
Pulling back, Pól hovered just out of reach. “That’s never happened before,” he gasped, struggling to control his trembling.
Seamus frowned. “My folks have it…” he said, leaving his words hanging. He’d been told, for as long as he could remember, that the heart spoke through the light.
Pól shook his head. “It’s just a story.”
“Didn’t…” Seamus stopped before he could complete the question.
Pól wrapped his arms around himself, a bud closing. “They had a year,” he muttered, backing away.
Seamus reached out. “That’s no reason we can’t,” he protested.
“It’s every reason we can’t!” Pól yelled, color flooding his cheeks until they were a deep violet. “You’re deciduous. You only sleep the winter. I am a floral. I may not survive the winter.”
“How is being with a stone going to help?” Seamus demanded. “You have a better chance of surviving the winter with me! I can protect you while I sleep!” he cried, pain blooming in his chest.
“And of children?” Pól asked.
Seamus blinked. “Of them?” Fidelity wasn’t usually a concern among the Flora.
Pól sighed, wilting as he hovered. “Why do you want me?” he asked, defeated.
“I like you,” Seamus stated flatly. “I’ve been watching you. I like how you fly, how you smile, the sound of your voice. I’ve listened to you and thought about the things you’ve said in community meetings and gatherings and, even though I don’t always agree, you present things so I understand them better.”
“Enough,” Pól broke in when Seamus paused to take a breath. “What will you do if I don’t survive the winter?” he asked hollowly, not wanting to think about the prospect, but unable to avoid it.
Seamus was still save for the motion of his wings. “I will never pledge again,” he finally replied.
Pól snorted. “Why not just pledge for a year?” he asked.
“Wouldn’t be fair,” Seamus protested.
“How is life fair if you don’t—”
“Not fair to me!” Seamus cut Pól off hotly. “Time, future, it’s not certain. Now is. What matters is the heart! And, sure as anything, you kill or ignore the heart, you will die.” His words sunk in and Seamus trembled. “If…even I wouldn’t survive the winter…”
Pól hung his head, his whole body hanging from his wings. “You’re a fool,” he said, though the words had nothing behind them. He looked over his shoulder, unable to find Madoc again. “You’re serious?” he asked, his head hanging again.
“Yes,” Seamus replied simply.
“If you lie, a curse on you and your seed,” Pól said, his voice gaining strength as he lifted his head, color burning in his cheeks.
“I would sooner give up my life,” Seamus retorted.
“And I would rather you didn’t,” Pól’s voice was soft. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly through his nose. “Though I be a fool, I agree to a life commitment with you, Seamus,” he said formally though there were no prescribed words. Intent and action were what mattered. Timing was also important. The magic of the night was drawing close around them.
The only thing that kept Seamus from flying to the moon was the thought he’d lose his one chance if he did. “And I pledge my life to you,” he said breathlessly. He held his hand out to Pól. “Let us seal our contract,” he said.
Pól let himself be drawn close, into Seamus’ arms. The glow that had been there before shone again, enveloping them. He looked into Seamus’ green eyes, caught within them for a long moment. Reflected back, he saw a violet plant growing within the roots of a great oak. Snow gathered around, but the violet remained safe, secure. “Oh,” he gasped when Seamus drew him closer.
“Oh?” Seamus asked, his lips ghosting over Pól’s.
“Did you see it?” he asked even as he moved closer, needing another kiss.
Seamus kissed Pól gently, fully. “Us, together?” he whispered.
“Yes,” Pól sighed before returning Seamus’ kiss. He didn’t need words anymore; he understood completely now. His arms wrapped around Seamus’ neck, his wings working without instructions from him to keep him aloft. He was very aware of the feeling of Seamus’ body warming, of his own body responding. He whined when Seamus pulled away from their kiss.
“Can I hear it again?” he begged. When Pól blinked at him, Seamus clarified, “Your answer.”
Pól laughed. “Yes.”
“Yes!” Seamus echoed back, joy rippling through his voice. His lips returned to Pól’s, closing over them again firmly, seeking to deepen their contact. It surprised him, though, when Pól’s tongue slipped into his mouth. He almost pulled back, but what Pól was doing felt so nice that he started to explore Pól’s tongue with his own.
The soft moan that answered his touches was more than enough to inspire Seamus to continue. His hands caressed Pól’s back, lower over skin that was as smooth as a flower petal. He wondered if his bark-like skin would bother or injure, but Pól had been going to contract with a stone fae.
A moan, and Pól pressing closer to him eased Seamus’ mind. Instinctively, they moved toward the mass of others committing on this night, drawing magic into this world. Within the mass, magic held them up almost as much as their wings did. The world echoed back to them the growing need and joy as life flowed back into reality.
“Mine,” Seamus moaned softly as Pól’s legs wrapped around his waist.
Pól laughed, his head falling back, his wings spread wide, balancing on the currents of wind and magic. “That’s not how you claim your rights,” he said. “Do this properly.”
Seamus’ lips traveled along Pól’s neck, nipping and licking. Laughter and moans filled his voice, echoed in Pól’s. His wings spread wide, stirring just enough to keep them aloft. He’d never tried this before and hopped that it was true his body would know how to remain aloft. “Are… are you sure I won’t hurt you?” he asked.
Pól laughed. “No, you won’t hurt me. I like things a little rougher.” He raked his fingers through Seamus’ hair. “Kiss me and seal our contract,” he demanded. He rocked his hips into Seamus’. “I can feel you want to,” he purred.
It was really only then that Seamus became aware of his arousal. He knew what the next step was. He’d seen his parents copulate and that was how the contract was sealed. He just never quite really expected to be able to participate. He had, he realized now, fully expected Pól to turn away from him, to denounce him. Now, he was at a loss. “Oh,” Seamus gasped a little and managed to blush, looking as though sunset was touching his cheeks.
“Then, shall I show you?” Pól asked, his voice becoming a low, seductive whisper among leaves.
“Oh,” Seamus sighed, this time pleased, as he bent forward to kiss Pól again.
Pól returned the kiss easily, his hands slipping down to Seamus’ chest, trusting Seamus’ arms around him to hold him up and close. While one hand caressed the bark-like skin, the other reached down, around his own leg, seeing out the arousal he knew matched his own. It was a little awkward and he had to pull himself up a bit, though, after a moment, Seamus caught on and shifted his hands to hold his ass, but Pól quite enjoyed the feel of Seamus’ cock. It was rough, bark-like, like the rest of his skin, though there was a definite softness to it, a yielding that let him know he truly wouldn’t be hurt, but enough of a firmness that he knew he would be pushed to the limit. He ached for it, yet teased himself a little longer, rubbing the head of Seamus’ cock along his ass to spread the fluid that flowed to ease their joining. “This is how you seal our contract,” he whispered, pulling away from their kiss. He rolled his hips down, a deeply satisfied groan filling his throat as his ass was stretched around Seamus’ erection.
Seamus felt as though the world had dropped out from under him. He gasped, his hips thrusting into Pól’s welcoming body. The sounds, gasps and moans of pleasure, that Pól made, that he felt echoed from his own throat, let him know he was doing the right thing. Instinct took over and his hips moved in and out of Pól’s body. He could feel the magic as it kept them aloft and bound them to each other. His lips found Pól’s and the sounds they had been making were muffled by the need to be connected as much as possible.
Magic grew around them and within them, spurring on their motions until they were almost frantic. Pól’s hips came down to meet Seamus’ strokes harder and harder. He was forced to break their kiss so he could lean into those thrusts and get what he wanted and needed from them. Seamus’ was nearly mindless, watching Pól, giving into their mutual need.
“Seamus,” Pól panted, his head back, his wings spread wide, looking more like a violet now than he had before. “Seamus,” he sobbed again as his body drew tight.
“Pól,” Seamus panted, his fingers wrapping around Pól’s waist more firmly, moving him harder, his own body feeling as though he were being drawn into Pól’s body and that he very much wanted to be drawn there. “Pól,” he groaned, seeing Pól’s erection pulse and spill milky white drops on his chest and stomach. His own body pulsed into Pól’s, his hips thrusting hard and staying there as his world turned itself inside out.
They drifted on the currents of wind and magic, their wings spread wide more by instinct than any actual thought. The wind conspired to settle them into a nook on Seamus’ tree where they rested together until the sun peaking over the horizon sent them within to reaffirm their contract throughout the day.