250: Crossing

on July 10, 2008 in Book 9

In Which Ian Gets Up On The Dance Floor

I was even less a fan of arena fighting than I was of skirmish… skirmish at least involved magic and some kind of strategy… but I had to admit the school arena was pretty cool. For railing around the edges of the tiers and on the stairs between them, they had carved wooden panels showing scenes of historical battles in relief. The focus of most of the scenes was human heroes defeating champions of other races.

The battles were the least interesting part of the subject for me, but as a history buff I liked being able to recognize scenes like the Stormlord of Urdoken defeating Ai the minotaur king. I even knew that the depiction of him as a bearded man with a horned helmet was inaccurate. Everybody drew him with a beard because of his association with the dwarves, but elven bards from his age praised his clean-shaven features, and it was well-known that he wore a simple silver and steel diadem even in battle.

The war had lasted for seven months, the battle which decided it was over less than an hour after it began… but the resulting change of ownership for the boundary islands had changed the course of everything that followed. If Ai had won the single combat… or the armies had continued to duke it out for another year… the Mother Isles wouldn’t have been able to rise to prominence a century later.

“What are you looking at?” Ian asked me, speaking loud to be heard over the music.

I realized I’d stopped halfway down the stairs to stare at the picture of Urdoken versus Ai.

“The picture,” I said, pointing at it.

“What?”

“The picture,” I repeated, more loudly. “It’s kind of neat.”

It was really detailed, considering the deliberately primitive style of the artwork. You could see the armies gathered in the distance, with the personal cohorts of the two leaders gathered in close. Flecks of foam and blood flew from Ai’s muzzle, and the muscles stood out on the Stormlord’s arms and neck as he grappled with his opponent.

“I heard you the first time,” he said. “I can’t see it.”

“Really?” I asked. Granted the arena’s lights were all off, but there seemed to be enough illumination from the party lights to show the fine details.

“Nope,” he said, shaking his head. “Not at all.”

“Oh,” I said. We continued our downward journey. On the lower tier, there were a lot of people just hanging out and talking over the music. The actual dance floor…which was an area ringed by lights in the center of the arena pit… wasn’t terribly crowded yet.

“Want to head down?” Ian asked.

“Um… can we wait for a slow song?” I replied. “I don’t really feel like just jumping in without a warm up.”

I didn’t say it, but I also figured that a slow song would drag more couples out on the floor. The bulk of the people in the pit were outside the ropes, watching the people inside. I didn’t feel like thrusting myself into the limelight.

“Okay,” he said. People were coming down the stairs behind us and we were in the stream of traffic. Somebody shoved past me without so much as a glance or a word. Ian steadied me, then put his hand on my elbow and guided us back away from the railing, towards the wall.

As much as we’d tried to repudiate the dominant/submissive dynamic for our date, he seemed to do this instinctively… and I responded to it, instinctively. It felt so good, so right. He could have had me on a leash and I wouldn’t have complained.

I wanted that slow dance to come soon, so I could lean against him and let him lead me around in his arms.

He was looking at me, and I realized he’d asked me something and I had missed it.

“What?” I asked.

“I said ‘how are your classes’?” he repeated, more loudly than he probably needed to.

“Oh!” I said. “Pretty good. Except my stupid W.P. class, but… required.”

“You’re in mixed melee now, right?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “It sucks. ‘Coach’ Callahan’s a total berserker bitch.”

“I heard she’s the only mixed melee teacher now because she killed the other two people who were qualified to teach it,” he said, in all seriousness.

I gave him a scathing look.

“Hey, I didn’t say I believed it!” he said, throwing up his hands. “I just said I heard it. Supposedly, they were going to combine two of the three MM classes, and reassign one of the teachers somehow, since they can’t fire them, and she really wanted to keep teaching that class.”

“That’s stupid,” I said. “Why would she kill both of them?”

“So that she could make sure she got chosen,” Ian said. “That’s the story. Supposedly, they tried to hire another teacher, but nobody will take it now.”

“I can’t believe anybody would actually believe that,” I said. It’s not that I didn’t think Callahan was capable of killing somebody in cold blood, in any sense of the word “capable”… but I refused to believe she could have got away with it. Not twice, and not when she had such an obvious motive.

“Well… like I said, I just heard it,” Ian said. “And Gabe didn’t sound like he believed it when he told me. But, it is true that they were going to combine them into two classes and ended up only having one. I checked.”

“Gabe?” I repeated. “Gabe, who gets off on tactile illusions of porn stars?”

“Yeah, him,” Ian said. He jumped back almost a foot and a half at my reaction. “What? He’s in my dorm. I told you, he latches on… and he doesn’t know how to take a hint.”

“You could tell him to fuck off,” I said.

“I think big words like ‘fuck’ and ‘off’ have too many syllables for Gabe,” Ian said, and with that, he redeemed himself for associating with such a lowlife dick.

The current song… an annoyingly frenetic dance number… ended with a fairly abrupt break in the music. I perked up instantly, along with probably about six dozen other girls sensing the imminent arrival of the elusive love song. We weren’t disappointed. Even I, knowing absolutely nothing about music, recognized the opening to “Maiden of Rose”.

I resisted the urge to grab Ian’s hand and drag him down to the floor.

“So, um… do you want to…?” he started to say.

I turned my face towards the floor, looking up at him with my eyes. He took the hint and grabbed me by the wrist, leading me down to the dance. I had the image of myself on a leash again. I had the feeling if I shared that idea with Amaranth, I might be more easily forgiven for my lapse in leaving the paddle behind.

Would Ian go for it, though?

“Mackenzie?” Ian said. He tugged on my hand, and I realized I’d stopped again, in the middle of the stairs down to the pit. “Mackenzie?”

“Huh?” I said.

“We’re blocking traffic,” he said. He was right… these stairs were narrower than the other set had been, as they weren’t used by huge crowds of people.

“Sorry,” I said, right as a hard body muscled in between us, pushing past us and almost knocking me over the railing. Somebody grabbed my shoulders and pulled me back.

“Hey, watch it, asshole!” Ian said to the asshole who’d shoved me. I saw to my surprise that it was an elf… the first full-blooded one I’d seen, not counting my former history professor, since coming to Magisterius University. His skin and hair were almost luminous in the darkness, and his arms were covered in loopy blue lines. He had a bluish bruise on his cheek.

“You want to dance?” he asked in accented Pax, getting right up in Ian’s face and giving him a shove.

I growled and bared my teeth. A voice in my ear shouted, “Hey!” Ian grabbed me by the back of my hair as I started to lunge.

“Look,” Ian said cautiously, “I don’t want any…”

“You don’t want to dance?” the elf interrupted. “Then what are you doing here?” He laughed too loud at his own lame joke. The laughter cut off abruptly and he gave me a contemptuous sneer. His gaze shifted to just over my shoulder. “Come on, Yamy,” he said, then turned to Ian and said, “Next time, leave the bitch in a kennel if you can’t control her,” before striding down the stairs.

“You don’t have to be a dick, Jason,” the person who’d caught me, a kind of fresh-faced blond guy with a swelling lip, called as he followed the elf down the stairs.

“What an arrogant jackass,” Ian said as we headed down the stairs once more.

“I seem to have problems with elves,” I said. “Or they have problems with me. Maybe they’re just perceptive enough to realize what I am?”

“Or maybe they’re a race of arrogant jackasses,” Ian said.

“Hey, there’s no need to generalize a whole race based on the behavior…”

“…of the whole race,” Ian said. “Trust me, my dad has to work with elves all the time for business and…”

“Can we finish this after the song?” I asked. I didn’t want to “finish” a conversation involving Ian’s ancestral family baggage at all if I could help it, and the song was a handy distraction.

Also, I really did want to dance. “Maiden” was such a stereotypical gushy romantic dance song, and I wanted to have a stereotypical gushy romantic dance.

“Okay,” he said. He led me over towards the dance floor, a low circular platform covered in thin carpet. “Come on.”

We climbed up under the rope into the midst of the colored lights and moving bodies. As I’d hoped, couples were flocking to the floor for the chance at a little canned love magic.

I couldn’t speak for anybody else, but it was working for me. We’d missed half the song, but by the time it was over I felt as safe and comfortable in Ian’s arms as I did in bed with Amaranth on top of me.

The blond guy came up to us after the song finished, while the next few songs were being announced.

“Uh, hey,” he said, giving a little half-wave and a “Is it okay if I come over?” look.

“Hey,” Ian said. “Where’s your little friend?”

“Getting drinks,” he said, approaching us cautiously.

“It’s Amy, right?” Ian said.

“Jamie,” he corrected. “I’m sorry about my friend. He’s not always the most aware of other people.”

“Yeah, well, somebody could have been hurt,” Ian said. He looked at Jamie’s face. “From the look of it, somebody already has been.”

“He didn’t do that,” the boy said. “If that’s what you mean. If it’s any of your business. There was just a little misunderstanding at the check desk.”

“Sure,” Ian said. “Maybe you wouldn’t have so many misunderstandings if you two f…olks would watch where the hell you were going.”

I punched him very lightly in the ribs. I understood that he was pissed and his mind went for the easiest and most obvious insult… and he did get points for the last-second cover… but he should remember that my best friend would be considered a “folk” in most people’s eyes.

Jamie noticed the word substitution, too. His eyes narrowed and he looked back and forth between us a few times. There was something in his eyes that looked like betrayal… but considering I’d never laid eyes on him in my life, I couldn’t see how I might have betrayed him.

“Have a good time with your Harlot,” he said, then turned and stalked away so quickly he might have been an elf himself.

“I’m going to kick his scrawny ass,” Ian said, starting after him.

“No!” I said, grabbing his shirt with both hands. “No ass-kicking on my behalf.”

“Let go of my shirt, Mackenzie,” Ian said. His voice had gone dangerously low, just barely cutting through the noise of the music. My hands loosened their grip, but I held on. He could have pulled away easily, but he didn’t. “I said let go.”

“Ian, if you get in a fight, you’ll get kicked out and maybe arrested,” I said. “And they’ll probably use that against me somehow. Just let it go.”

“His little boyfriend’s an ass,” Ian said. “And his apology’s full of shit. ‘I’m sorry he’s not more aware?’ Fuck, if you hadn’t been you, and you’d gone over, he could have killed you.”

“Ian, that’s two ifs away from a fatality,” I said. “I’m fine. Come on, let’s dance.”

“Okay,” he said, and we started to move to the music.

Well, he did. I was moving vaguely in the same general direction as the music.

If I hadn’t needed another conversation stopper, I honestly would have preferred to sit things out until another love song came on… it was hard for me to just jump into the rhythm, especially since I didn’t have any. If we hadn’t been interrupted, I could have used the transition from the slow song to a fast one to have a chance to ease into it, masking my lame, half-hearted attempts to find something vaguely resembling a groove as some kind of segue.

With Ian’s help, I started to get a feel for the song right about the time it ended, but I made better progress on the next one. Before long, I had reached the mystical tipping point between “trying to dance” and “dancing”. Ian and I moved together… watching each other, touching each other.

Every time I caught him glaring off in the distance, I did something to distract him, like tugging on his ear with my teeth… grinding myself against him… or putting my hand on his groin and quickly massaging his cock. I had no idea if the other guys on the dance floor were as obviously aroused as he was, but it wasn’t like I was about to check.

I had my man, or to be more accurate, my Man had me.

By the time we’d made it through our third slow song, I’d all but forgotten about the other couple and the need to keep Ian distracted… but I kept right on distracting him, anyway. My hand was on his dick, fingering the hard knob through the front of his jeans. His was on my ass, squeezing with his strong, practiced fingers. I growled in appreciation as his fingers trailed the cleft of my buttocks. We came together for a kiss.

A heavy hand fell on my shoulder just as our lips touched. I jumped back and saw a big, beefy older guy in a white collared shirt with an alumni association pin on it. He was also wearing a worn leather guard helm that was similar to the ones worn by the campus guards, but in a style that looked several decades out of date. He had his other hand on Ian’s shoulder.

“Hey, folks, I know we’re all adults here, but I’m going to have to ask you to clean it up a bit or leave the floor,” he said.

“Oh, come on,” Ian said. He pointed at Jamie and his elven beau. “Like they aren’t practically screwing each other.”

“We’ve warned them twice already, and honestly, they haven’t been as bad as you two,” he said. “Look, don’t give me a hard time here, okay? Everybody’s here to have a little fun, the same as you two. Just don’t have so much that it interferes with others’.”

Ian started to say something, but the no-nonsense look on the man’s face changed his mind.

“Okay,” he said. “Sorry.”

“Maybe you go sit down for the next song,” the man said. “Give yourself a chance to… cool off.”

“Good idea,” Ian said. He grabbed my hand. “Come on, Mackenzie.”

He led me away from the dance floor.

“There’s chairs set up over there,” I said, pointing. He was tugging us towards the stairs.

“We’re not going to sit down,” Ian said. “We’re just going to go find some place a little more private.”

Apparently, cooling down was not on the menu.


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8 Responses to “250: Crossing”

  1. MadnessMaiden says:

    Again. I hate Ian. Before, he was like, “this is our date. We can fool around anytime.” But now that he’s the one that’s raring and ready to go, it’s okay to fool around? Ugh.

    Current score: 1
    • capybroa says:

      It’s almost as if one’s level of sexual desire can change based on the circumstances when there’s a willing partner involved! Who’da thunk it?!

      Current score: 11
  2. WsntHere says:

    “Girl hand rubbing boy dick” trumps “fool around later” nearly every time.

    Current score: 2
  3. Arakano says:

    Yeah, seriously… that’s dancing for you. Done in a certain way (I’d almost said “the right way” there), it is basically foreplay. And frankly, they have just been time-outed from dancing, so what, should they sit down when both of them would enjoy some fooling around in private? It’s not as if Mack was suddenly NOT turned on anymore, it’s just that now they are both turned on…

    Current score: 2
  4. Duke says:

    Basically foreplay? Come on. Dancing (and I don’t mean that grinding crap you get with current popular music) is so obviously foreplay it’s almost obscene. Both partners get to run their hands along each other’s bodies, long looks into each other’s eyes, lifts and soft touches, slow caresses. Shit I’m hot and bothered just thinking about it.

    Current score: 2
  5. Cadnawes says:

    Given these comments, I am a little mystified that traditional dance isn’t more popular.

    Current score: 1
    • Jokarun says:

      Its because traditional dance is thought to be boring and lame. Most people just don’t know what it actually is.

      Current score: 1
  6. Athena says:

    “You could tell him to fuck off,” I said.

    “I think big words like ‘fuck’ and ‘off’ have too many syllables for Gabe,” Ian said, and with that, he redeemed himself for associating with such a lowlife dick.

    Mack should have *way* more sympathy/empathy/undestanding for this… after all, Sooni

    Current score: 2