He was REALLY starting to enjoy the warmth of the sun on his skin in the mornings. Bare-chested and with his hands palms held up before him, he took a slow, deep inhalation of the sweet scent of dawn. It had been a REALLY, really long night.

As an Incubus, of course, night time was his usual hunting grounds. Although not his true name, he answered to Adris. As all Incubi were, he was, naturally, blessed with devilish good looks. A ravenesque sweep of long black hair, sparkling blue eyes, a deep voice thick with honey and promises, and an easy, infectious laugh that could charm the hardest of hearts. But even one as attractive as he was tended to find his prey was MUCH easier to play with at night. Folk were a lot more open to a bit of 'light fun' in the evenings. However, due to his company of late, he had found himself much preferring the light of day, and the hours of dawn had quickly become his favourite.

The faintest sound of rustling behind him caused him to turn his head, and sure enough, there she was, walking toward him. Laina. The one who had everything seem less ..desperate. A slender little thing with chocolate brown hair and skin as soft as silk. Her elvish ears betrayed her ancestry, though she'd made no secret of it. They'd met by chance in a tavern in town.. an easy trick for him to turn.

Adris, as ever, had a plan he was following. Laina had proved to be an adept archer, and he needed someone capable to help watch his back as certain individuals in the neighbourhood had begun to notice that their family members appeared to vanish when they spent too many nights around him.

With Laina, the plan was the same as always - sleep with her, manipulate her, and twist her feelings so she fell in love with him. It was something he was very, VERY good at. It's what he had done for years, after all, seducing the unaware and bringing them back to his Master to suck the souls out of; and not in a good way. This one was to be no different.

He closed his eyes for a moment, the briefest of smiles tugging at the corner of his mouth as Laina moved up to stand next to him. Her hand wormed into the crook of his arm, holding on for support. She yawned, clearly still not quite awake.

"How did you sleep, my sweet?" He asked. She looked up to meet his inquiring gaze, and merely offered a contented half smile. In all truth, he knew she hadn't slept much that night. Neither of them had. They had been.. occupied.

They stood there together quietly, simply enjoying the sound of nature. Birds trilled and flitted from tree to tree, their song joined by the choir of insects hiding in the long, sweet smelling grasses that stretched out beyond them. One could see quite far from up here, on this hill, the view uninterrupted by buildings or mountains. Just grass plains, rippling in union at each caress of the breeze.

"Adris, are you okay?" She asked.

The question caught him off guard. "Excuse me?"

"Are.. you okay? You seem.. distracted?"

"... I'm fine."

Both of them went silent at the lie. He was not, in fact, fine. Far from it. But.. this was an unusual situation he had found himself in. He had never quite had to deal with this before. A few minutes passed as they just awkwardly stood there, suddenly unsure what to say to one another.

He found himself clearing his throat. "Actually Laina.. We need to talk."

He moved around to stand in front of her, so he could see her expression properly. She suddenly looked stone-faced, but those soft grey eyes betrayed her immediate terror and doubt. She didn't say a word.

He took a deep breath. "Look. I had a plan. A wonderful, brilliant plan where I would sleep with you and convince you that I was the answer to all your problems. That you had to protect me and adore me and value me above your own life. And honestly, sweetheart, It was.. easy. Instinctive. You came to me willingly, and as we have already talked about, you damn well know I've done this dance hundreds of times. After a little fun, you know, I bring my ..conquests back to.. Him." He spat the word out, grimacing. "And yet, despite knowing this, despite knowing my past, you still followed me."

The words were tumbling out of him now, unbidden, uncontrolled. "In all truth, intimacy and affection is rarely something I have ever personally wanted from anyone I have been with. And sure, sex is fun and all, but it is simply a means to an end of achieving my orders. Either bring back a warm body for Him, or become one myself."

A quick glance at her eyes showed that the fear she felt was also now flecked with rage and embarrassment. Her stare had hardened, and her body was stiff, arms protectively folded across her ribs. "What? Adris. Please say it isn't so. Was this all a lie?" She blinked, angrily. "You just saw me as another godforsaken sacrifice?"

Despite the fact she was furious, he couldn't help but chuckle at the irony as the words fell from his mouth, as they had thousands of times in the past. "Darling, please. You are everything to me."

In the moment he watched her digesting what he'd just said, he suddenly found himself unsteady on his feet. The truth came crashing down like an avalanche as he'd uttered those words. It felt so different this time..

He felt his own heart quickening, icy cold fear racing through his veins as his heart dropped into his stomach, beating thunderously. Suddenly, he felt fragile, shaky, his usual confidence evaporating.

"And... this is the problem." His voice was trembling slightly, despite his best efforts. "All you had to do was fall for my plan." He paused, steeling himself again. "And all I had to do, was not fall for you.." Another pause, as he struggled for the words. "You deserve something real. And I think I want that too. But.. I am not sure what that means yet."

There it was. His heart was absolutely thundering in his chest now. This was not something he did. Showing vulnerability to anyone was a weakness to be weaponised .

Her arms were still tightly folded across her body, and her voice was thin and tense. "And our nights together? Were they were worth nothing to you? Just another notch for your Master?"

Defensive anger flashed through him, his eyes flashing dangerously as he glared down at her. "Of course they were! But again, this is what makes this so.. difficult. When you are always using your body as a .. well, a LURE, then any form of intimacy feels very impersonal, and.. well, wrong. I admittedly still feel those moments of disgust." He turned his head away, suddenly unable to look her in the eyes. "But.. not with you, Laina. With you, it's different. And.. I don't know how to deal with it."

And before he could continue, in one step, she wrapped her arms around his midriff and buried her face into his chest. He threw his hands up as the entire world slowed down around him, taken aback, everything in his body screaming in fight or flight..

And then; it was over.

He almost unconsciously found both his arms folding tightly around her in return, enveloping her into him. She was his. He was hers. She felt so light in his arms, a small treasure that he would protect to his last breath, if that's what it took. He knew she understood he meant every single word, that it was all from his heart and that she trusted him utterly, unflinchingly, as he did her. His secrets were safe with her, and she was safe with him.

Within the love of her embrace, for the first time in as long as he could remember, he finally found peace.

And within the depths of his, Laina silently wept.