Disclaimer: Once again, I don't own Escaflowne. I also don't own the song "Shiver" by Jamie O'Neal.
Author's Note: I've been on a Jamie O'Neal kick lately. Can't help it, this is an excellent song. Think slow. I mean, really slow, and sultry.
Van sat on the edge of the balcony railing outside his rooms, with his back to the drop to the courtyard. He was gazing up over the castle at the stars. The Mystic Moon and its smaller companion were behind him, bathing the face of the castle in their pale light. The early autumn day had been hot, but the night breeze was cool on his bare arms.
He sighed. It was late, and he knew he should try to sleep. In the morning, he and some of his advisors would start the annual progress through Fanelia. They would stop at most of the larger towns and villages, to dispense whatever justice was necessary, and in many cases, just to see that his people were well and prosperous. The capital city was by far the largest, but it was not all of Fanelia, by any means.
Most of the time, he was eager to go. For the past four years, it had been his high point. He always enjoyed seeing the rest of his kingdom, not to mention being able to shuck off some of the formalities his advisors insisted upon while in the palace. This time, though, he was reluctant to go. He knew why, too. She'd come back to him. He loved her and he didn't want to leave her, not even for a few weeks.
There was a rustle of fabric at the balcony door, and he turned to look at his wife, smiling. "Hitomi . . . " Then his eyes widened in surprise.
She was standing in the doorway, the lights of the room behind her. He could clearly see the shape of her body through the sheer silky gown she wore. Thin straps held it up over her shoulders, and the hem brushed the tops of her bare feet, but really, it concealed nothing. He felt desire build in him as she stepped toward him. He stood up, speechless.
As she moved away from the bright lights inside, the moonlight washed over her. He could feel his heart pounding in his ears. He could see that she was smiling at him. She must be enjoying his reaction. "Do you like it?" she asked playfully, pirouetting, still a few feet away.
"Where did you get that?" he asked, his voice hoarse. He couldn't move, all he could do was stare at her.
"Merle. She gave it to me as a wedding present, but said not to open it for a while. Tonight seemed like the right time. What do you think?" She cocked her head at him, hair brushing her nearly bare shoulders, still smiling.
"I . . . I like it." He couldn't tear his eyes away from her. His love for her filled him to overflowing. Sometimes, he still couldn't believe that she'd returned to him.
A tremor ran through him when she took his hand. With her other, she reached up to brush his hair out of his eyes. He stared at her, transfixed. He could feel his breath coming faster at her touch. "Come to bed," she murmured. "You have to leave in the morning."
She seemed to notice that he was unable to move, and grinned a bit mischievously. Leaning closer, she brought her mouth to his, and breathed against his lips, "Come to bed . . ."
Finally, Van broke out of his trance, and passionately covered her lips with his own. His arms crushed her against his chest, and she ran her fingers through his hair. He was shaking with the strength of his need for her, his love for her.
They kissed for a long time before the need for air caught up with them. She pulled back, her hands playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. Her touch was still sending little shocks through him. He looked into her eyes, dark pools in the moonlight. The slight breeze did nothing to cool him down now. Huskily, he warned her, "I don't think I can stand much more . . ."
She laughed softly and ran her hands down his arms, leaving little trails of fire in her fingers' wake. He closed his eyes, reveling in her caress. "Hitomi . . ."
She encircled his wrists and tugged him gently. "Come to bed," she repeated softly. "You need to sleep."
He chuckled as he allowed her to lead him inside. As she closed the doors behind them, he asked, "Do you think I'll be able to sleep now?" He embraced her as she reached to turn down the light.
In the dark, she locked her hands behind his neck and drew him down for another kiss. Just before their lips met, she whispered, "Well, eventually . . . "