Zeyn Demond. One of the other gladiators who’d been locked in Desmo alongside Delta. Micah had seen Delta’s match with Demond. She’d beaten him, but hadn’t killed him as was the precedent in the Games. Micah’s breath came fast, settling heavy in his chest. He remembered Delta’s bright eyes studying him fiercely outside of Desmo that day when she had demanded his hand and only agreed to help him after touching his skin. “What does that mean?” he asked.
“I’m not sure. We haven’t had a chance to talk about it.” Eden released a long breath. “I feel like my whole world has changed so much in less than a week. Nothing makes sense anymore. All I know is that I need to do something. I’ve never been more motivated to fight.”
“Good. Fight. But be smart about it. And I won’t let you fight alone.”
“I won’t let anyone hurt you. Ever.” Eden’s hand again wound itself through Micah’s hair, caressing his cheek. “I know you don’t need my protection. But you’ll have it. Freely given.”
Micah shook his head, laughing lightly. “You’re ridiculous. Such a romantic.”
“With you. I’ve never wanted anything more than I want a future with you. A future where we can be free to be together. On the surface.”
“You’re a dreamer,” Micah laughed. “You barely know me.”
“Then tell me more.” Eden reached out with strong arms and pulled Micah back to the bedroll with him. It was thin and barely big enough for both of them to fit, but it was better than sleeping on the floor. Micah curled himself around Eden’s broad chest, landing on top of him so they were face to face. With arms folded under his chin, he looked up at Eden, feeling the warmth of their naked bodies pressed together.
“What do you want to know?”
“Everything. What makes Micah tick. What you like, what you hate. What you’re afraid of.” Eden’s fingers traced Micah’s lips, brushing a stray lock of hair from his face. “What makes you happy?”
Happy. What did that feel like? Micah supposed the closest he had ever been to being happy was in these quiet moments with this passionate man. And maybe before the Fracturing. With his mother. Though he could barely remember those times anymore.
“Micah?” Eden studied him with concern. Micah could feel the waves of his conflicting emotions — joy, fear, lust, concern.“What are you thinking about?”
Micah hesitated. “I was just thinking that…the closest I’ve ever come to being happy is when I’m with you.” His cheeks burned at the admission, but Eden’s smile sent a jolt of pleasure through him.
“We must be insane,” Eden whispered, pulling Micah’s elbows forward to plant a kiss on his lips. “We must be completely mad. To be happier as fugitives than we were as free men.”
“I’ve always been a glutton for punishment. Afterall, a little pain never killed anyone…” Micah said, grinning. The flush that colored Eden’s cheeks stirred something in his groin. “I’m sorry. Did I offend your delicate sensibilities, my polite aristocratic prince? Didn’t you know you’re in Tartarus now? You’re running with a little rougher crowd than you’re used to.”
“I like danger.” Something had stirred in Eden’s groin as well. Micah could feel it pressed against his skin. For good measure, he ground his hips down over it, eliciting a low moan from Eden’s lips.
“Good.” Micah pushed himself up to straddle Eden’s hips. As the blankets fell away, the chill raised goosebumps on his naked chest, hardening his nipples into small pink beads. Eden gasped below him, his cock straining against Micah’s.
Eden’s arms snaked around Micah’s body, firmly grasping his hips, fingers digging in. “Micah,” he groaned.
“I want you,” Micah whispered, his voice thick with need. “I want you to fuck me so hard that I forget about everything else.”
Eden swallowed, his head falling back to the mattress. “You’re going to be the death of me.”
“Not if I can help it.” Micah leaned in, enveloping Eden’s lips with his own. “I prefer my lovers to be living.”
Eden bucked his hips, shooting a tremor of pleasure through Micah’s body. He gasped, his eyes fluttering closed. His fingers dug into Eden’s shoulders as he ground down into Eden’s hips. “Fuck,” he panted. His entire body was on fire, desperate with a need that scorched and burned.
Without lifting his hips, he reached out and grasped the small bottle of oil that lay up against the side of the bedroll. Uncorking the bottle, he began to coat his fingers, watching the dazed, lusty expression on Eden’s face as he began to prepare himself. One finger slid inside with ease and as Micah moved inside himself, he remembered Eden doing the same only hours before.
Eden sat up, bringing his lips to Micah’s chest, gluttonously sucking at his nipples as Micah continued. Micah gasped at the feeling of Eden’s tongue, the wet warmth of his mouth against his skin.
“You’re so beautiful,” Eden whispered against his chest. “I can’t believe I get to have you like this. I can’t believe you’re mine.”
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