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bitter blood

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Varya sat alone at the desk in her office, reading from a book, eyes narrowed in concentration. Late afternoon sun streamed in the latticed windows and casted an intricate play of light and shadows across the floor. The Marshall held the leatherbound journal gingerly in her hands and turned the pages with great care so as not to pierce the paper with her claws.

Her ears perked up at the sound of footsteps approaching her office. She heard her personal attendant launch a prepared speech about Dawn Command hierarchy of Marshalls and Phoenixes, and what Varya would likely do to anyone who interrupted her right now. From the way the attendant's voice trembled and whoever was approaching ignored the protestations, she has an idea of who it might be.

Varya quickly shoved the book into the small bookshelf behind her, then turned back around in her chair just as her visitor reached her door.

Scar entered her office workout knocking. He smelled like fresh air, Bitter blood, and the dusty training ring where he had clearly just been sparring. His muscles were corded with tension and there was a drying sheen of sweat on his skin. He wasn't wearing his usual loose shirt and his leather pants hung low on his waist. In the warm light, the silvery crescents, slashes, and lines of scar tissue that covered his body were on full display. Now knowing how he had gotten them, Varya felt a sharp stab of guilt at the sight.

There was a strange look on his face. He said nothing and locked the door behind him.

Varya bristled in silence for a moment.

"Why are you here and why," an exasperated intake of breath, "are you half naked?"

Scar opened his mouth as if to retort in anger, but then he stopped, glowering with his usual intensity. He almost backed down then, but the dark heat licking at his mind propelled him forward. He didn't want to be afraid anymore. He crossed the office with purpose, hands clenched into fists by his side.

"What are you-" Varya began, standing abruptly enough to send her chair sliding backwards. When he didn't stop in his advance she leapt over her desk to meet him, growling under her breath.

For a moment they faced off, the tension quickly rising to epic levels. At seven feet tall, Scar still had to look up slightly to meet her stare, but the graceful arcs of his newly permanent horns gave him some height on her.

Varya felt the beast inside of her waking, shifting, longing to twist her body into its more lupine form. She managed to contain it, but she felt her claws lengthen and she couldn't help but lean in close and snarl,

"Are you really sure you wanna do this? 'Cause I am more than willing to send you on to your Crucible right now."

Scar closed the gap between them, his large hands on either side of her face, and channeling every dark and turbid feeling inside of him, he crashed his mouth against hers.

For a moment Varya was so stunned that she merely froze, eyes wide. That moment didn't last long.

Pain cracked across his chest as Varya struck out and forced him away. He hit the wall behind him heavily but stayed standing, panting as he waited, watching what she would do next.

Truly shaken, Varya raised her fingertips to her lips. In the force of the kiss her fangs had nicked her lip. She could faintly taste her own rich blood, and the vodka-heat taste of Scar's mouth. The beast inside of her purred.

Varya became a blur of motion, and then she was on him, pushing him into the wall and kissing him like her survival depended on it. As soon as Scar had the wherewithal he wrapped his arms around her and spun them so that Varya was pressed against the stone wall. She hooked a leg around him and pulled him back down to her as he tore at her leather armor.

They knocked into a weapon rack heavily enough that a few axes came loose and fell, the loud clatter of the weapons going unnoticed by the pair as they made their way to Varya's desk. He twisted a handful of her mane of hair in his hand and pulled. In retaliation she bit into the juncture of his neck and shoulder, and he groaned loudly.

As they struggled together, time became irrelvant and the world faded. There was no Pyre, no Dread, no war or Marshalls or Ink. There was only survival in this moment. Only skin, sweat, fur, the bone of horns and the flash of Pyrean steel claws, wetness, hardness, and heat.

When she wanted it again, Varya retook control easily. So easily that, had this not been the hottest thing to ever happen to him, Scar might have taken a morale blow. She threw Scar down onto the now-cracking wooden surface like he weighed nothing. He watched her finish undressing, his bruised lips parted slightly, expression hungry and conflicted.

Driven entirely by instinct, both of them giving over entirely to their primality, there was no hesitation or second guessing. When they joined it was not gentle, but how could it be, two Bitters as they were? It was hard and fast, and for a time it drove the ghosts out of Scar's head with its blissfull brutality. This was the stuff of life.

For a short while afterwards they lay side by side, on their backs on the splintered remains of Varya's desk, skin cooling, breath still coming short. They did not touch, but the silence was not uncomfortable. When Scar looked over, Varya looked quietly sated, and more serene than he would have thought possible before today.

When he sat up and began looking around for where his pants had ended up, Varya's eyes snapped open.

She took in the destruction, and then Scar, and then her own naked body. When Scar turned, she saw that his back was raked over with a dozen crimson gashes. As shallow as they were, they were also very obvious.

Fuck, Varya thought. Fuck fuck fuck.

As Scar pulled his pants down from where they hung on an askew weapon rack, she sighed and pressed her hand to her face in gesture that said, I have fucked up and am considering murder as a cover right now.

"I'm not an idiot," Scar's low voice was a little rough as he spoke for the first time since showing up. "I won't tell anyone. I'll heal at dawn, and if anyone heard anything, I'm sure they'll just assume you were kicking my ass again."

"I did kick your ass," Varya mumbled, but her words lacked bite, obviously unsettled as she was.

Scar stretched out his arms, hissing when he felt the shallow gashes across his back sting in protest.

"True enough, but I think I got a couple good hits in," a touch of cockiness tinted his words and he smirked.

Varya sat up and stared at him as he pulled on his pants.

"This shouldn't happen again. Can't happen again," She finally ground out.

"Yeah, but I mean, it probably will right?" His smirk became a sharp grin that he shot at her over his shoulder.

"Just get out," she growled, flopping back into the pile of desk debris and closing her eyes again.

Scar shook his head wryly and ran a hand through the dark curls between his horns. Shooting her once last unreadable look, he unlocked the door and left her there with a destroyed office, an unfinished book, and a lot to think about.