"This is the part I really hate," DG confided into the soldier whose arm she was bandaging.
"What's that, your Highness? Dealing with blood and guts?" The young man grinned at her.
"No, the fighting is supposed to be over with but my husband still doesn't think it's safe and he's stalking around looking for more Longcoats. Surgeries will be done and the dead all buried, and he'll still be looking." The soldier laughed as she finished.
He was the last one in her minor wounds line. She stretched, looking over the dormitory area they had turned into an infirmary. The ones who were finished with surgery or needed to be off their feet filled the beds that used to belong to Ichiro's men. Raw moved from soldier to soldier, checking on the healers' work. Zack sat next to Lyle's bed in the furthest corner from the door. She went to see how he was doing.
Zack looked up wearily but smiled as she approached. "Stream of the wounded ended?"
"I think so. The worse cases are still in surgery." She waved her hand at the adjacent room that had been turned into a surgery theater for the two healers who were part of Jeb's unit. "I haven't seen Jeb yet to know how bad it was. The Fae took their people home." She looked down at Lyle's bandaged arms. "Raw could help with those cuts and bruises."
"He offered, but I don't want to take a chance with a reaction with Lyle's magic. If he doesn't wake up on his own in a few hours, I'm going to wake him up for some grub." Zack ran his hand through his hair. "As it is, you may still be stuck with us for a while. Lyle is nearly drained."
"Hey, I gave you a job, though we'd probably need to talk to Glitch about your benefits package." Zack chuckled, and DG smiled at him. "Don't worry about it. I don't like to let my friends get away."
"Thanks, DG, I appreciate that." He nodded at the door. "There's Jeb. I'll be here with Lyle."
She nodded and patted his shoulder, heading back down the rows of beds. She was about halfway to the door where Jeb stood in conference with his men standing guard when she saw the condition of his shirt. Oh hell, he had been hurt. She almost broke into a run to him, but Cain walked in next, causing her panicked feet to root to the spot. If his son was hurt because of her… she couldn't finish the thought.
Wyatt's eyes scanned his son before concern filled his face and he asked something. Jeb responded by looking down in confusion, then back up with a head shake and a quick laugh. He wasn't hurt then, because relief flashed over Wyatt's face before he went stoic again. DG got her feet moving again, and had nearly reached them before Wyatt started scanning the room looking for her.
He grabbed her hand and pulled her into the conversation quite literally. Jeb grinned. "I'm pleased to report that the fortress is secured."
"At what cost?" DG asked softly.
"Not as bad as it should have been. Ten casualties, but this is all of the wounded. Everyone else in the unit is unhurt. The Fae reinforcements you found turned the tide. Vicious though, the only reason we have prisoners is because they weren't wearing leather coats."
"Well, I did tell them not to hesitate to kill any Longcoats, but I think I meant it more like a they'll-shoot-you-first pep talk."
"And word has been sent to General Olson. I did that before we moved out." Jeb frowned, "DG, the Fae were pretty adamant that they were fighting for you and that you were the Queen." His hazel eyes could pierce just as sharply as Wyatt's blue ones, she noted. But hell, how to explain it without sounding like it was the witch all over again?
Wyatt covered her shoulders with his arm. "Let it be, son. And leave it out of your report. It's a magic thing DG needs to discuss with her mother."
Jeb nodded tersely with a sigh. "Go get some rest before the next crisis erupts."
"That sounds great." Sleep was so not what she wanted right now, but she needed to spare Jeb's feelings. Wyatt scanned the infirmary, so she bumped him with her hip to get his attention. "Raw is helping here, and Zack is sitting with Lyle. But I'm done with all the helping I can do here."
"Glitch is taking care of the provisions, so I guess we're really not needed for anything right now." Wyatt gave her one of his half smirks and guided her to the door. "Found a place to bunk one flight up. Maybe not as nice as our first rooms, but heck of a lot closer to walk to." She only nodded in response, and let him led the way up the stairwell and to the bedroom door. And even though she figured he had already scoped the room out, he did it again as she stood by the door. White was a pretty austere decorating choice, she decided. The covers on the bed were white, the bed curtains hanging off the wooden canopy of bed were white, the tapestries hanging on the stone walls had flecks of green on a background of more white, even the shaggy rug next to the bed that looked like fur was white. Good thing they wouldn't be staying here long. "Do you need to clean up?" Wyatt pointed his thumb over his shoulder to the second door.
"Maybe later." She locked the bedroom door before turning back to her husband, who wore the cutest what-is-she-up-to expression on his face. She sauntered up to him, "There's something I need to do first."
He didn't close the tiny gap between them, but his voice was huskier than normal. "And what would that be?"
DG put her hands on his chest. "I need to examine you." His crystal blue eyes opened wide as she unbuttoned his top vest button. "Make sure those bastards didn't damage you." Her hands trembled as she remembered his feral and trapped expression from her vision the night before. She really did need to go over every inch of his skin to make sure he was okay.
Cain rested his hands on top of hers. "Darlin', I'm okay. Thanks to you. You protected me with your magic." His finger rubbed over her wedding band. "You didn't even know you were doing it."
She curled her hands on the edges of his vest, and pulled him closer to her lips. "I still have to see, Wyatt." Their lips brushed as she spoke. "Do you really want me to stop?" He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her deeply. She smiled as he released her. She untied the leg strap of the holster before unbuckling the gun belt and pulling it over his head. Taking his hand, she led him closer to the bed and set his gun on the nightstand. She pulled the Emerald pendent from around her neck and set it next to the gun.
Then DG turned her attention back to his vest and shirt buttons. Her lips pressed against his collarbone as her fingers found the shirt buttons under the vest. She alternated unbuttoning his vest and his shirt as she trailed kisses down his front. Cain growled and caressed her shoulders. She pulled his shirt free of his pants and slid her hands back up his torso to his shoulders, pushing his shirt and vest out of the way. She paused when his shoulders were bare and pulled her hands down to his hardened nipples. Her thumb and fingers teased his right one as her tongue laved his left.
He shrugged out of the shirt and vest, dropping them to the floor. His large hands entwined in her hair and cradled her head. His arms were ridged with trying not to press her even closer. She smiled against his skin before kissing across his skin to press her mouth over his right nipple. Her hands skimmed down his sides under his arms to move to his pants. His gasp turned into a hiss, and she jerked back. She took his left wrist in her hand, and he yanked his arm back as she looked up at his face. His jaw was clenched. She looked down and winced at the abrasion on his left wrist. His right one matched.
She caught his left hand between hers, bringing it to kiss the palm. He shuddered in response. She held up his arm, careful not touch the bruise around his wrist, to look at the dark bruise on his side just under his ribs. "It's fine," he muttered.
She ran her hand over his ribcage in the front, but stopped short from touching the bruise. She switched to holding his arm up with her right hand to run her left hand over his ribcage in the back. "Raw wouldn't miss broken bones, so your ribs are okay." Her throat tightened, and she wished she hadn't seen the news special on the Other Side explaining what waterboarding entailed. She realized she was afraid to ask him what had happened. He could lock his emotions down so tight, and she didn't want to trigger that for him. She bent down and kissed the edge of the bruise, careful not to press on the discolored skin. She could feel Cain flex his left hand through her hold.
She pressed her forehead against his stomach just above the waistband of his pants. She took a deep breath. "How many times?" she whispered.
"DG, it's over."
"Don't hide this from me." She felt tears pinprick her eyes, and looked up before they spilled. "I saw you in my dreams, so you're not protecting me from that." Cain looked disconcerted with her admission. She trembled, "They hurt you because of me. Please don't hide from me."
His lips twitched as he considered what she was asking for. "Twice," he answered hoarsely. "You burst in on the second session." He spat out the last word, and she knew that was Ichiro and Zero had called the torturing.
She stood up, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him deeply. His arms hugged her even closer as his lips parted letting her tongue inside. His desire for her pressed against her stomach, but she couldn't reward that yet. She moaned into his mouth and his arms tightened. She still had a question about the bruise on his side, and pulled back from his lips. She moved down to kneel in front of him, petting his leg through his pants. "Did they hit you? To make you breathe in the water," she added as she picked up his right foot and tugged his boot off.
His sock was off before he answered. "No. Zero kicked me after your magic broke the table and freed me." His ankle wasn't bruised; his boots must have protected them. She circled his left thigh with both her hands and stroked down to his other boot. "I felt you right before that." She tugged off his other boot and sock. "You saw me?"
She nodded as she caressed his hips and thighs. "I didn't see what they were doing to you. But in my dream, you were drowning in the lake at Finaqua. I grabbed your hands and pulled you up."
Cain thrust slightly against her hands. "I thought," he gasped when she squeezed and began again. "I thought I was supposed to rescue you."
"You have." Her hands squeezed his butt cheeks before gliding back to his belt and pants fastenings. "I'd be in the Palace on suicide watch by now if not for you." She left the unbuckled belt in the belt loops as she parted his pants from his skin. She kissed his stomach below his navel and watched his muscles ripple as they contracted. "Don't ever dismiss that, Wyatt." She gripped the waistband of his pants. "Now on the bed, Tin Man."
He stepped out of his pants and back to the bed. His crystal blue eyes darkened with desire stared at her as she slowly stripped in front of him. His hands twitched to help but she stood out of reach until she was naked before him, heat pooling between her thighs thanks to the look of need on Cain's face.
He rolled onto the bed properly when she climbed on the mattress. She crawled in between his legs, kissing her way up the inside of his thigh. "DG, darlin'," he moaned.
She moved up, letting her hair drag over his groin and leaned into him with his leg between her breasts. She nipped at his hip with her teeth and he squirmed and growled. "Do you want me to stop?"
"I want you." She reached and cupped his sac in her hand. Cain bucked, trying to sit up. She shifted her body and brought her hands up to his torso. He stopped moving, realizing what was pressed up between her breasts now. "How long are you going to drag this out?"
"When did you get so impatient?" DG grinned as she dragged her breasts off his body. Her tongue licked him up to his tip before she closed her mouth around his head. He nearly bucked her off when she did that, and he grabbed the bedcovers under them to try to still his body. She petted his trembling thighs before crawling above him. Cain's eyes were screwed shut so tight; no light was getting in through his eyelids. Straddling his hips carefully to not brush against his bruise, she guided him into her heat with a moan.
His eyes flew open as she bent over him. "Wyatt," she managed to breathe out before his lips captured hers greedily. His calloused hands caressed her thighs before gripping her hips. He sat up with her, his lips moving down her neck as she threw her head back. His hands controlled the speed of their rhythm. They came together, and Cain hugged her to his chest before rolling her to the right.
As they settled on their sides and he pulled the blankets around them, her fingers ghosted over the cuts and bruises on his face. "I love you so much," DG finally said softly.
Cain pulled her closer, tucking her under his chin. "After that, I'd certainly hope so. Knowing you were safe kept me going." He kissed the top of her head. "That and the expression on Zero's face when he couldn't stab me."
"What?" She pulled back to look at his face. "Zero tried to stab you?"
He chuckled before kissing her. "The five-inch blade curled like a wood shaving against my chest. I don't know who was more astonished, me or Zero." DG heard herself making her flabbergasted noise, but couldn't rest her head against her hand because they were both wrapped around Cain. He chuckled and kissed her again. "Anybody says anything bad about your magic, just point 'em to me. I'll set 'em straight."
She settled against his chest again. "Anything else you want to surprise me with?"
"No, Mrs. Cain." She could feel his lips turn up into a grin against her cheek. "Though I would like to know what was in your pocket that was poking into my leg when you still had your pants on."