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Hollis' Soliloquy

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“God, yeah, just like that.” Lenaia gasps out, even though she is the one doing most of the work, vigorously raising and lowering herself on Hollis’ cock. She has her arms braced behind her, leaving her thighs to do most of the work, two smooth white pillars flexing with lean muscle on each thrust.

Hollis bites his lips and groans, rocking upwards into her soft heat. His clenching hands muss the bedsheets as his movements grow erratic. “ Yeah, it’s so good -- oh, Len!” His voice is wrecked, rough with longing. He can’t take his eyes off of her, perfectly silhouetted against one of the windows. Her eyelids are low, smiling at him, and she leans forward, breasts pressed flush against Hollis and gets a grip on his horns to tilt his head back and mouth at his throat, grinding her hips down onto him.

She pulls up, his cock sliding out of her with a slick noise, and she quickly replaces the heat of her body with her hand, pumping mechanically. “You gonna come for me, Hollis? Gonna make a mess all over me?”

Hollis bites out a strangled noise-- “Nhgh, yeah ” as his hips arch off of the bed, caged in by Lenaia’s thighs. She keeps his head in place with her firm grip on the ridges of his left horn, and his eyes squeeze shut under her playful gaze. A shudder rips through him as he comes, marring her chest with pearlescent streaks of semen.

He is still panting from the exertion when she stands up, voyeuristically brazen in her nudity despite the full panorama view the windows of the treehouse offer. She revels in it, even though there is no one for miles around to see her. Hollis watches the easy roll of her hips as she makes her way to a bench on one side of the room, where she wipes her chest and stomach with clean water and a worn cloth, following an errant drop of water with his eyes as it trails down her torso, along her navel, and into the soft hair between her legs.

“Why don’t you come back over here?” Hollis teases, his mouth quirking into a half-smile. “The bed’s going to get cold.”

She laughs, and her eyes glint in the dim light of the room. “That would be a real tragedy, wouldn’t it?” she asks, rhetorically, as she dries herself off and falls back into the bed, her hair fanning out across the pillow.

Hollis rolls over and raises himself to hands and knees above her. He leans in to kiss her, quick and filthy, before pulling back to bury his face in her breasts. Her voice catches as the scruff of his beard brushes across her skin, and raises into a pitchy gasp as his fingers brush through the slick folds of her labia, using his other hand to hold her thighs apart, tanned fingers digging into the milky skin. He nips at the freckles scattered across her chest, apologizing to each one with his tongue as he goes. He presses a thick finger into her heat and drags one of his sharp canines over a rosy nipple. She moans and arches her back, fluid and practiced, and he sucks at the nipple, rolls it between teeth and tongue as it hardens in his mouth. He presses another finger into her and she is pliable under his hands, letting out quiet noises of pleasure as he works her over. He begins to rub his thumb across her clitoris and her breathing speeds up. She rocks her hips down ever so slightly with each thrust of his fingers and drag of his tongue.

“Yes, yes- Mm, Hollis, right there…” She murmurs, running one of her hands through his hair, bearing her hips down with a little more force. She comes with a high whine, clenching around his fingers.

 

The evening’s encounter had made little mess, and so it takes minimal cleanup and rearrangement of blankets for them to settle in for the night. As they lay side by side, Lenaia raps on Hollis’ chest with her knuckles.

“Good thing I keep you around, huh, Holly?” She turns her head to look at him, smiling.

Hollis laughs, a low rumble in his chest. “Yeah.” He smiles, but it does not reach his eyes, and his eyes do not meet hers.

Content with his answer, Lenaia turns on her side towards the wall, away from Hollis. Slowly, her breathing evens out as she falls asleep.

Hollis slows his breathing to match hers, and he closes his eyes. His body is ready to sleep, after a day of tending to the jungle plants in the hot sun and his evening of intimacy with Lenaia, but he cannot get his mind on the same page. It’s like his head is full of static -- quiet, dull mental white noise, but noise nonetheless, and he can’t tune it out. Frustrated, his eyes open half-way, lids heavy with the sleep he cannot reach. Absently, he watches shadows dance across the ceiling.

It feels like Hollis spends an eternity in that daze, not quite aware but certainly not oblivious either.

It ends up being the quiet singing of frogs that rouses Hollis from his trance. He rarely sees them, but he can hear them every night, and tonight, instead of carrying him off to sleep they only serve to make him more and more aware of his sleeplessness. He raises his head. A branch has fallen in front of one of the windows, and it creates a distinctive shadow, a beam of moonlight cutting across Lenaia’s sleeping form and coming to a point on Hollis’ chest. He sits up and the moonlight spills out across the bed, its clean lines distorted by the tousled sheets.

Hollis gets to his feet, his penis flaccid between his thighs, and works his way carefully to the trunk of the tree. He is silent, and his eyes glint in the moonlight like a cat’s. There is an alcove beneath the staircase, a notch in the tree that had been there before Lenaia was, when she built the treehouse years prior. Most of Hollis’ things are in the little shed by the farming platform at the foot of the tree, or left at one of her other bases, but a few of his prized possessions are here. He crouches down to rummage around inside.

He draws out a fine robe, a lovely pale yellow silk. The collar and cuffs are a deeper gold, and the border is embroidered with repeating patterns of crawling ivy, rose-of-sharon, and hemlock. It’s an excessively fine item, impractical and luxurious, but Hollis has hung on to it throughout the years, neatly folded among his belongings. He rubs his fingers over a crease, set into the silk by its years of sparing use. It was a gift from his sister for his 160th birthday, a few decades before he left his homeworld. She has always had a flair for the ornate, Hollis remembers fondly.

He pulls the robe on and rises to his feet, shrugging his shoulders so it settles properly. He cinches it about the waist with the sash, the callouses on his palms catching on the smooth fabric.

The windows around the outside of the treehouse are designed in interlocking panels to slide out soundlessly. Hollis puts the sturdy trunk of the tree between his back and Lenaia’s bed and clambers up onto one of her workstations, careful to avoid her various plants and diagrams. He undoes the latches on the window and slides it out, making his way up onto one of the broad branches the treehouse is nestled into.

For much of his life, Hollis had kept his feet firmly on the ground. It had taken him a good half-way to adulthood to really see the sky, what with the dense forest he’d lived under. There had been flashes of sunlight through the leaves, on occasion, but he’d liked the darkness just fine. The top of the tallest kapok tree in a faraway jungle was the last place he thought he’d end up. The view was spectacular, but he wished the fall wasn’t so terribly far.

He uses the thick vines clinging to the side of the tree to climb down to a lower platform. It’s a slow descent, and Hollis is very aware of what the slightest misstep could cost him. After a painstaking crawl down the tree, finding the solid wood of the platform under his feet is reassuring. It’s a small garden platform, where a few of Hollis’ more delicate plants wave gently in the night air. Some of them he had brought from home, and they never seemed to take root nearly as well in other dimensions. He pads through the soft dirt to the point where the rope bridge is anchored into the tree. It reaches up to meet the top of another tree, even the tallest of which barely reach two thirds of the way up Lenaia’s, and then continues straight across to one of the floating islands that dot the skyline. Hollis makes his way up the incline to the treetop, then along the bridge. It is a cleanly constructed piece of woodworking, the planks meeting neatly without much gappage. His steps are slow, and he pauses at about the halfway point, leaning heavily on the guide rail. He is faithful in the magic holding the bridge steady. After all, Hollis had renewed the spells the week before.

Hollis doesn’t know what is making him so restless tonight. He doesn’t need as much sleep as a human, but he does try to sync up his sleep cycle with his partners. It’s only polite. There’s no reason he should be this out of it.

He rests his chin on one of his hands, absentmindedly brushing his thumb through the scruff along his jaw. The jungle was often uncomfortably warm and humid, but up this high there is a cool breeze skimming along the treetops, rustling Hollis’ hair. The breathtaking view makes him forget, for a moment, just how much space there is between his feet and the ground. The vista is filled with shades of lush green, a few towering trees waving over the denser lower canopy, lit up by the occasional flash of a lightning bug. A few streaks of cliffside or riverbed jab through, breaking up the landscape. Above that, there is a sea of stars, set like sparkling hatpins into a sea of black velvet. Hollis likes the clear distinction of night and day, but he misses the perpetual twilight of his homeworld, how the air was always charged with magic. The air here is thin, simple, and undemanding.

His skin is cool in the night air, but the bands of his horns where Lenaia had grabbed them feel warm, as though her hands were still there.

Hollis had slept with a lot of people in his time, but they had all been on his homeworld, where even among different species there were understandings , things you just didn’t do , like how a twiwraiths shouldn’t be approached by other species during the spring, or how the papyrae are uncomfortable with things going through their incorporeal portions, or how anywhere under the plating of a golem is off-limits without explicit permission. It was just common courtesy. Just the same, none of Hollis’ partners ever touched his horns. They aren’t sensitive or anything, it was just understood that among nymphs, hornplay was a show of intimacy and exclusivity. But Lenaia didn’t know any of that, and so she used his horns like handlebars, because he’d never told her, and it’s not like it mattered out here, worlds away from his home. So much is different here, why not that too?

It’s not a big thing, he tells himself. They’re just horns. Why had things with Lenaia become so weird lately? The sex was good, she had some really cool bases, and they were both progressing in their research, but when she would disappear for the night, or a few nights, and he found himself alone in bed, he would find himself sleepless, like tonight.

When she was around, they practically lived in each other’s pockets, with the small spaces they shared. They hunted for resources together, they fought back-to-back, and they shared almost everything. Almost.

A harsh, cold breeze pushes past the deep neckline of the robe, settling against Hollis’ chest, and he becomes suddenly aware of just how exposed he is, a sitting target on the bridge, which shudders every so often with the movements of the floating island, wearing nothing but a thin silk robe, his sickles far below in his forge-room.

Clutching the sides of his robe together defensively, he walks back across the bridge and down to the platform, startling when leaves rustle near his head, though it turns out to only be an annoyed horn-bill he’d roused. He follows the spiraling staircase as it winds down the tree’s trunk till he finds the forest floor.

Near the tree, there is a small, makeshift shed left by a previous occupant where Hollis liked to keep his equipment. The door creaks on its hinges when he shoulders it open, and the smell of must and old wood is welcomingly familiar. Lenaia thinks the way he arranges his things his precarious, but it’s not like he has to worry about tripping over things in the dark.

He picks his way through his harvesting tools, taking special note of where he’d left his sickles. There is an old bedroll hammock strung across the back wall, and he climbs up into it. There is a small window near the top of the wall, and through it he can see the jungle, from the ground this time. It is dark and still, and he rolls to face away from it. He closes his eyes.

 

Sleep does not come easy that night, but it does come, and Hollis wakes to sunshine warming his back. The shadows of leaves dance and shift across the gold of his robe. He stretches, muscles loose in the morning light, and lets himself down from his hammock. The air is already heavy with humidity, even by midmorning.

Outside the shed, there is a narrow pathway leading down into a nearby ravine, and Hollis climbs carefully down. At its base there is a river, and he kneels at its bank, cupping his hands in the clear water and drinking deeply, closing his eyes for a moment in enjoyment. When he opens them, he studies his reflection in the water. His hair has grown much longer than he usually lets it, curling against his jaw. He ought to shear it soon. After he has had his fill, he stands up to untie his sash, letting his robe slide from his shoulders. He carefully gathers it up and drapes it over a tree branch, then wades into the river. The current is mild here, and the water laps at his chest when he stops. He takes a breath and then ducks his head beneath the surface. His horns stay dry until he brings his hands up to rub water over them. He wonders again why is it so strange when Lenaia does this. There is no other connotation for her, nothing beyond the physical, and he should be able to get past it. He blinks at his reflection again, and then wades back towards shore.

He attempts to shake himself dry before gathering the robe and heading back up the cliffside, though his hair continues to drip water down his back.

In the shed, he finds a half a loaf of bread, flavored with cacao. He eats his breakfast at his workbench, then dresses himself in simple black leggings and a thin rose-colored tunic, embroidered in a darker red and slitted to allow for movement. He hangs his sickles from his belt so he can work in his garden, and then takes his robe up into the treehouse to return it to its place.

Lenaia is no longer there, and her belt and bow are absent from their hooks on the wall. He finds a note she left, pinned to the trunk of the tree. It reads:

“Went to the nexus a few worlds over,

I’ll bring you back another Kuchil’ae seed,

Be back by Wednesday.”

-L

Hollis knows what else she went to do, and tells himself it doesn’t bother him, because it shouldn’t. He wonders, though, why he doesn’t just let himself leave like she does, why he has to be here when she comes back. He knows how to leave, has learned how Lenaia makes her doors between the worlds. He wonders how long he’ll stay. He wonders how long she will, too.