Mongrels and Song Birds

by Cly

Copyright© 2014 by Cly

Fantasy Story: Among humans and elves, there is mostly peace, however any child born of the two is condemned on both sides. Out on the fringes of Alliance territory, an old sun slowly suffocates a primitive world. Humans watch over the natives with tenderness while turning on each other. Out here, humans own elves. Out here, the elves practice their rebellious side. Out here, the mongrels come to find some peace. Out here, song birds are caged.

Caution: This Fantasy Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Romantic   Reluctant   Heterosexual   High Fantasy   .

The miniature hamlet bustled with activity. The sun's punishing rays were blocked by the horizon, offering the inhabitants a reprieve. They crowded the streets at this time of growing shadows, hurrying to the market before the chill of the night took hold and they would need to retreat back into their homes.

Placing his shaded goggles onto his forehead, Kupper surveyed the scene from the top of a house like a green eyed vulture. He would need to find a new town soon. People were starting to question whether he was the thief during the day. Unlike the people here, he wasn't fazed by the heat. Or the cold, for that matter. Unlike these poor scaly people, he could sweat and shiver. He was human. These people were not. Not that that really bothered him. They didn't know much about humans and would rather keep their distance. They were smaller than humans and naive. A weakness those like he exploited.

Taking a deep breath, he easily dropped to the ground from the roof top which really wasn't too much taller than he was. He was a tall human, after all. Didn't help that his heritage combined some aggressive and powerful species. But he was still human. His mother had been human. Whoever his father had been didn't matter. The Q'Ra and Ssala blood only made him a better thief, not less human. Besides, the Ssala were just human ancestors, so he was more human than anything.

He walked among the small people that gave him a wide berth, the young ones craning their necks back to stare at him in innocent, wide-eyed awe. He was a giant among them. With an easy meter difference between the tallest of these people and his chest, Kupper indeed felt superior often.

But he was not interested in anything other than going to his barn to sleep for the evening. He had enough money in his pouches to buy a night at any inn, but their beds were rarely large enough for him, and he already knew none here were. So he had made a temporary home in a barn on the outskirts of the town.

Amid lush crops and trees laden with fruit, he had found himself a lovely little pastel orange barn, the area around it tilled and planted with fragrant flowers. He knew the small people who cared for this land, but they didn't know him. He knew the care with which they took of their home and their property. Though he did not pay them for his comfortable bed, he repaid them by leaving no trace of his existence.

With a heavy sigh, he laid out in the hay behind some barrels to stay out of sight in case one of the small folk decided to come in. It was moments like these that he missed having someone to share his time with. There were other humans on this world. Many years ago, a cargo ship had crashed on this world of primitive people and by the time they were rescued, the damage had already been done so many humans had stayed with these small folk who had so gently cared for them after the crash. Kupper, however, stayed away from other humans. Unlike these people who looked upon him with awe and curiosity, his own people looked upon him with scorn and often shunned him. He wasn't human, they said. He was a mongrel.

Letting out another deep breath, Kupper removed most of his clothing, exposing lean, taut muscles. His Q'Ra heritage was obvious in his broad shoulders, long limbs, and dense sinew. His strength was a legend among the many small towns he had already been through. Laying back onto his bed, he pulled his blanket around his body, listening to the sounds that had become familiar to him, gently drifting off to sleep.

When morning came, he was roused by the town folk coming out of their homes for the few hours before it became too hot and bright for them. They tended to the fields, their gardens, sold their wares at the market, and socialized in their friendly manner.

Packing his few belongings, Kupper slung the pack over a massive shoulder and started toward the road that led out of town. Many of the children ran after him and asked him if he was leaving. When he confirmed his departure with his deep bass of a voice in their own native tongue, the children bid him a safe travel as was their way and chased one another back to the town as the brilliant red sun crested the horizon and shimmers of heat danced over the land.

Placing the dark goggles over his eyes, Kupper continued his journey into the alien forest. The trees grew at strange angles, all at once trying to reach for the life giving rays of the sun and escape its brutality. The purple trunks and vibrant red and orange leaves always reminded him of autumn on his homeworld. It was a long way from here, though. He didn't think of it much.

Sweat beaded on his skin now. Though he had removed his shirt and walked as much in the shade as he could, the heat grew steadily until he decided it was time to stop and cool down. Settling under a tree, he sat on some soft leaf litter and placed his hands behind his head as he laid out, looking up at a pastel sky through the leaves. The sun was dying, but it would still be a couple million years before nothing could live here anymore, and it wasn't a concern to him.

Blinking lazily, he didn't realize he had dozed off until a twig snapped. He sat up like a bolt of lightning, a fleet figure already taking off down the dirt road, his bag with his money pouch in the person's hands. With a deep growl, he leapt to his feet to give chase. The night had started to close in so he tore the dark goggles from his head as he dashed after the quick person.

Even from a distance he could tell it wasn't one of the little natives. This was a humanoid, tall and slender, dark hair cropped short, and were those ... pointed ears?

He was catching up to his prey when his feet were taken right out from under him. With a startled cry, he was forcibly jerked up into the air, a sharp pain in his ankles as his whole weight was now being suspended from them. His head spun as all the blood rushed to his brain, roaring in his ears, almost drowning out the laughter.

The snickering belonged to a pair of multicolored eyes, one ice blue and the other gold as a ring. Elegant eyebrows arched up in merriment, one of which was pierced multiple times.

"Silly man."

Kupper growled, baring his teeth as he helplessly swung in the air, his arms a half meter off the ground. "Stupid woman."

Thin lips split open in a grin, exposing the massive canines known in many species. A silvery ring was pierced through the side of the lower lip. The intricate lavender patterns that swirled around her face and delicate neck and down along one exposed shoulder before vanishing into her shirt marked her as a Ryo, but her heterochromia eyes were most commonly known among the Druaks. Her elegantly arched, pointed, and pierced ears gave away a purer ancestry of elven kind, the ancestors of the Q'Ra.

"I'm not the one hanging upside down." She giggled, stuck out her pierced tongue teasingly, and turned away as if that ended their encounter.

Kupper used his superior strength to bend up and reach out to grab at the woman's choppy multi-colored undercut. She quickly spun away and thrust her palm toward him. It was that moment that he realized he was dealing with an elementalist. The stiff gust she shot at him made him spin around dizzyingly, his brain swimming in his head.

"Bitch, when I get down from here..." he roared.

"I will be long gone! Thanks for the money, thief." She pulled the pouch that jingled with precious metal out of his satchel and tossed the bag under him. With a charming crooked grin and a flirtatious wink, her long hot pink bangs fluttered in the breeze as she casually trotted down the road, her sweet voice loudly singing a little rhyme.

"Silent are we, so soft of foot,

Brash are we, with no chagrin,

Shadows are we, dark as soot,

Thieves are we, to steal from our kin."

Years seem to mean something to people. At least the more primitive species. They hurry around and feel pressured to accomplish things as quickly as possible because their lives wouldn't otherwise have meaning. However, for older species, years mean nothing. Years could come and go like the blink of an eye, almost seeming ageless to those who have to count the years like they were important.

Years had come and gone. How many really didn't matter. Maybe it was fifty. Maybe it was a hundred. Kupper really didn't care. Nothing had really changed. At least not in his life. Lots had changed on the planet, though. The major human city had expanded beyond its boundaries as humans always seem to do. It had begun engulfing the peaceful towns around it. The natives accepted the fate that would befall their culture when they were absorbed by their human guardians.

A breeze tugged at Kupper's shaggy short hair, black as the shades he wore. He looked down at one of the nearby villages to the human city. If he cared to turn his head, the towering landscape of the city would be easily visible in the distance.

But he didn't turn around. He wanted to forget that place. What had he been thinking to go back there to visit his mother's grave? He had been chased out of the city by the people he had grown up with. The ones who had said he was not like them and he never could be. They said his mother deserved what she had gotten, being a whore and all. Whatever his father had been, it didn't matter. His mother had been human and that's what he was and none of those old slum rats could tell him otherwise. He had gotten out of there and he had forged his own path in the world.

His path had brought him here. The little scaly people here were wary of humans. Thugs had been here. Humans had caused them much grief and had turned their friendly and welcoming society into one of mistrust and prejudice. They watched him with their large eyes carefully narrowed, whispering behind his back as he strode through their town.

There was a bed that could fit him at the local inn. The sweep of his eyes behind the dark lenses made him rethink his decision to come here. It was just a few days walk to the next little town which was sure to welcome him. He had done honest work for the natives there while taking whatever of particular value they had in their possession. Their kind considered the precious gemstones and metals as nothing more than worthless ornaments. Of course it couldn't be him. He was much too big and awkward to fit in their little homes while they slept.

He continued his long legged stride past the inn. The sun was starting to go down so everyone crowded the streets and watched as he vanished into the orchards that ringed their town. There was a dark purple barn there that he had slept in the first time he had left that wretched human city.

At the end of the lines of fruit trees he stopped to stare at the faded, overgrown barn. Yes, it had been many years indeed. The doors hung on their hinges. The garden that had once so neatly ringed the barn and small house was wild and unkempt. Still, the vibrant flowers smelled so sweet. There was a sad kind of peace that hung around the scene like a mist.

Letting out a deep sigh he started heading for the barn when his sharp ears picked up a distinct humming. He silently slipped from the tree line to the side of the barn. He crouched below the line of flowers. Slowly he peered over the edge through some of the boards. He had to stalk carefully around to find a spot where he could see the source of the humming which had now been joined with gentle music.

Peering through a gap in the boards, his eye narrowed dangerously. The long, slender neck leaned against a glowing holographic violin that rested on an exposed shoulder. Delicate fingers manipulated the device that produced the instrument expertly, the glorious sound filling the clearing like gloomy dancing memories. Elegant pierced ears stretched out past a shaggy hot pink and black undercut.

It was mostly her back that he saw, but he knew. He never forgot. The curse of the Q'Ra.

When the aching melody had gone silent, he had worked his way to the other side of the barn. There was an opening there that he could sneak in through when she bedded down. He watched as she rolled out a ragged sleeping bag over an intact bale of hay, standing on it as she did some limber stretches. It was as if she had no ligaments. Kupper had to marvel at it.

It took her a while to bed down. Snuggling into her sleeping bag, she stayed awake a while longer as she stared at a softly glowing screen. Elven script floated across the screen as she read something that was obviously humorous since she chuckled to herself a few times.

At last she could keep her eyes open no longer. Her head was cradled by her arms, creating a pillow. The screen soon went dark beside her head.

A grin on his face showed the same kind of enlarged canines as many predatory species had. Q'Ra are voracious eaters, after all. Carefully, as softly as he could manage, he slipped into the barn. Painstaking was his journey from the wall to stand beside her sleeping form. He could lean over and...

That tan skin was so tempting. It looked inviting. Her elven form was so perfectly feminine.

His long agile fingers wasted no time in snatching up the unique devices she had. Lifting her bag carefully, he started toward the way he had come out.

He had reached the wall when a blast of air struck him a physical blow in the back and shoved him so hard against the rotten wood that it shattered, sending him tumbling through the flowerbed.

Growling, Kupper knew he had to have messed up somewhere. Perhaps her hearing was better than his. Maybe her sense of smell was much more acute. Whatever had happened, now he was faced with a dilemma.

He rolled over and drew back a booted foot, planting it squarely in her torso, sending her breathlessly back to her makeshift bed. She coughed, panting as she tried to get her breath back. Stumbling to regain her feet while Kupper easily leapt to his, she made another attempt to blast air at him. This time he knew the motion and only the breeze on the edge of the powerful gust ruffled his hair.

It took him only a few strides to close the distance between them which made the woman stumble backwards over the hay bale. She crouched low as she jumped away, both her hands out before her, palms to him. "Leave me alone. I have nothing you want."

Kupper gave her a wry grin. "Well, all that stuff in the satchel would fetch a good price since it doesn't seem you have any money for me to steal."

Gradually she was backing away as he continued to advance, a step for a step. She circled him, trying to reach her things but he kept himself in the middle. "Those are personal. I will give you the coin in my pocket, but leave my things."

Kupper laughed. "That hardly seems like a fair trade. You owe me quite a bit of coin."

The woman stared at him silently for a long moment with the dull green glow of reflective eyes. Then she gulped quite visibly. "I stole coin from you. I left your things. You can show me the same courtesy."

The deep growl from Kupper's chest made the woman cringe. She put up her hands again as if she could ward off his anger. "You left me hanging in the middle of the woods! It took me over an hour to get out of that trap. You owe me coin and my pride."

Her eyes flicked over at the satchel several times. One hand flashed upwards as the other thrust forward. A blast of air struck Kupper in the chest, throwing him against a support beam as another spiraled up under the bag and landed it within her reach.

Snatching her satchel, she turned to flee, getting only a few strides away before Kupper's long, powerful fingers tangled into the hot pink strands, jerking her head back so that she whimpered in pain. His other hand wrapped completely around her throat, slamming her against the support beam.

In a desperate move, she drew the dagger from her belt and swung it at his face. When he drew back and tightened his grip, her blade turned to his long arm. His quick reaction saved him a painful experience. He gripped her delicate wrist, bending her arm painfully behind her until she could no longer hold onto the dagger.

"Please stop!" she cried loudly, squirming against his solid body. He had pressed himself tightly against her lithe form. He could feel every curve of her. The scent of her was intoxicating.

"Why should I?" he asked gruffly, his own reflective gaze hard and cold.

"Look, just take the stuff. You beat me, and you'll easily make as much money as I took from you and then some." There was a lace of panic in her voice, a fear that made his Q'Ra genetics burn hotly in his blood. A fearful and submissive female was what they sought among their own kind. The spike of fear in her was alluring.

Looking down at the woman that only reached his chest, he appeared to be thinking. Then he lowered his head, taking a deep sniff of her. "You know, I'm not sure that's enough for me." His voice was a purr. It sent a shudder through the woman. She was using her free arm to try and push him away. Though she was strong for her svelte body, he was unmoved.

"I ... I could repay you. I can steal something for you. You-you know, kind of like you getting paid to take a vacation?"

Now his face was at the tantalizing curve of her neck, his hot breath dancing over that teasing bare shoulder. A devious little smile turned up the corners of his lips. "I think that's a lovely idea, after you repay my pride."

She was breathing hard, the exquisite markings glowing a soft pale purple. In her heightened emotional state, she had lost control of her natural bioluminescence. "Uh, well, I, uh, I know some interesting importers! I could get you any manner of rare and exotic drug that could make you forget your pride, y-you know ... if, uh, if you're into ... that sort of ... thing."

He knew she was trying to talk her way out of the inevitable. He could feel her pulse under his hand that still held fast to her neck. "I already have an exotic drug right here. Why would I wait for black market scum?" His searing breath was against her pointed ear, his tongue playing with the various piercings.

He could feel the fearful gulp force its way down her throat. His lips followed it down to her collar bone. The scent of her fear was causing an almost painful erection that throbbed against its confines, pressing against her.

"Please don't hurt me."

The breathless whisper made his head jerk back. He looked down at her as if he couldn't believe what he had heard. He blinked a few times before suddenly stepping away, releasing her. "No. I won't hurt you."

She stared at him for a heartbeat before a swift movement caused him to sway. The blast of air directly in his face dazed him. She moved to slip around him but his hand snatched her arm, spinning her around. He pulled her close then slid his leg around behind hers and pushed her backwards. Her hands desperately grasped for him before she slammed into the ground.

Placing her hands beside her head, she spun her legs in the air, sending out a spiral of wind that would have lifted any normal person off their feet. She then flipped over, landing on her feet nimbly. She crouched low, a sturdy stance, her hands out as she readied herself to unleash another blast of air.

Kupper realized there was a lull between her ability to use her power. She had obviously never needed to practice her technique. Thinking of something far more effective than fighting with her, he turned and placed his foot on top of her bag, making sure something was under his potentially crushing weight.

"No!" she cried out. "That's all I've got left of my family. Please don't break it."

He casually peered at her from the corner of his eye. "And what will you give me for it?"

Though she swallowed hard, she lowered her head in defeat. "I'll give you all that I have to offer." There was no mistaking what she meant.

A triumphant little smile tugged at his face. Reaching down, he withdrew the odd contraption that had created the holographic violin, holding it tightly. "I thought violins were a human instrument?"

That multicolored gaze shot death at him. She knew he had been spying on her. "They are, but that doesn't mean only humans can use them."

"True." Kupper reached out slowly, his fingers light on her delicate jaw, lifting her head up. Her skin was truly like silk; warm silk beneath his rough pads. He lightly caressed her jawline, feeling her clench her teeth together. "I've spent a lot of time thinking of what I would do to you if I ever caught up to you." She breathed hard, her heart pounding, He could see the vein in her throat fluttering under her skin. He gently placed his thumb over it. "Now I realize the only thing I want is to know your name."

Glowering at him, her fear turning to contempt, she growled gruffly, "People call me Zigz."

He gazed into her fascinating eyes, still not letting her go. "I didn't ask what people call you."

Even the insects had gone silent. It was tangible. At last she whispered. "Sinoja."

"See, now that wasn't so hard."

"Are you going to tell me your name?" she snapped at him.


"Good, now that we're friends, you can just hand me my instrument..."

Kupper held it up high into the air. His grip on it tightening even more. "Strip." His tone was absolute.

She blinked at him a few times before a shudder rode her spine from tip to tip. With great revulsion, she slipped the baggy shirt over her head. The thin strapped shirt under it was perfectly form fitting. She pulled the thing over her head quickly, perhaps thinking the sooner they started the sooner it would be over. When the tight leggings were around her ankles, Kupper allowed his gaze to sweep over her delicious body. There was a delectable swirl of purple around her belly button. Each pale, furled nipple had its own twirl of the soft glow. Her breasts were small but perfect. He could have stared at her all night and not gotten enough.

He suddenly stepped up close to her. She tensed, taking a step back but his hand wrapped around the back of her neck, pulling her against his punishing lips. He kissed her as if he were trying to steal the air from her so she could no longer create those special gusts. Indeed it left her breathless.

Dropping the instrument, he turned away, walking briskly from her tempting body. He could only imagine the shock on her face at the moment for he certainly heard it in her voice. "Wha-what are you doing?"

"You have no coin and I won't take your things, so I just made you repay my pride." As if that ended the encounter, Kupper scooped up his bag and started heading off.


He paused, not bothering to turn. If he gazed upon that irresistible body again, he knew he would lose his control.

It seemed to take her a moment to speak again. He could hear a twinge of loneliness in her tone. "It's, uh, it's been a while since I've had company. It's late. You could stay here."

Kupper turned his head slightly, still not looking back. "You won't like it if I stay."

There was another pause. "You could have done whatever you wanted, but you didn't." Her voice was soft.

"I'll change my mind if I stay here much longer." There was finality in his tone.

"Has it been a long time?" She almost whispered the question.

Kupper dropped his bag. He turned around and stalked up to her. She cringed, startled by his sudden approach. His large hands gripped her arms, pulling her lovely naked body against him. She could feel the bulge in his pants against her. It made her breath catch in her throat. He stared down at her, the intensity of his gaze making her look away, a motion that drove his Q'Ra genetics over the edge.

His strong hand was behind her neck, holding her to his lips again. His other hand slipped between them, a finger finding that moist hole between her legs. Another shudder ran through her. Maybe it had been a long time since anyone had touched her.

He could feel her heart pounding. Her fear was a strong scent. There was no going back at this point. The ache was in his whole body. With a fluid motion, he pulled her bedding from its spot onto the ground. Placing his foot behind her, he sank to the ground with her, laying her down much more gently than when he had tripped her only moments ago.

He could still feel the tension in her when he kicked his pants off, releasing his throbbing member. It needed her. No matter how she reacted, his body needed hers and that's all this was going to be.

The heat of her tight canal made him shudder this time. He pressed further into her body, eliciting a gasp from her. She was gripping his broad shoulders, though he wasn't sure if she was trying to push him away or draw him closer. It didn't really matter. He was already sheathed within her delicious body, taking what he wanted.

His thrusts were precise, strong, drawing his length out before stabbing deeply. She breathed erratically, the occasional soft moan filling his ears. His mouth punished hers, his tongue invading her as easily as his gender. She was helpless to his driving desire, open to him, slick for him.

The cool air shimmered with their body heat, sweat beginning to build on their skin. He pounded her harder as he felt himself draw nearer to his release, the moist smacking of their flesh becoming a loud rhythm. Whether she wanted it or not, his hot seed flooded into her.

They both panted. Kupper withdrew from her quickly, laying on his back, staring up at the dark ceiling of the barn. There was a hole there. The stars twinkled brightly, perfectly content with what he had done. Why couldn't he be like the stars?

He felt her lithe body press up against him. Sitting up suddenly, he startled her and she drew away, looking at him from under long dark lashes. "Where are you going?" Her voice was low.

"Somewhere else." He moved to stand but she placed her hand on his, sitting up to press that lovely body he had just used against his arm.

"Please stay. It's almost dawn. You might as well get some sleep."

He hesitated. Could he really stay here after what he had done? His mother would have consoled him and told him that he was learning to control that inner demon. But he'd be "learning" for centuries and it still reared its ugly head to do such terrible things. That demon told him to stay. Her body so warm and inviting. He could get lost in those alluring eyes of hers. Perhaps he could even have her again...

With a heavy breath he laid back down. She curled up against him, cradled in the curve of his body. It didn't take her long to find her way into the realm of dreams, but the void continued to elude him. It played tricks with him until at last he heard the world outside begin to wake. With a soft sigh, he gently drew away from Sinoja, gathering his things.

Pausing at the door, Kupper glanced back at the delicate form that had curled up tightly in her sleep. This was his life. Avoiding people. Attachments. Always moving. Belonging nowhere. A mongrel, as alien to his own kind as he was among these simple little people.

The heat of midday found him a good distance from that place. His long legs gave him a particularly brisk stride and his hairless body devoid of fat released the heat easily so he could keep going long into the day. It wasn't until the angry sun dipped low in the sky that he stopped his determined march.

Dropping his satchel to the ground, he crossed his legs as he sat on the leaf litter. He watched the sun set through his shades. He continued watching as the stars came to life overhead, the milky slash across the darkness of the galaxy.

"There you are!"

Kupper didn't jump. He didn't look at her. "I'd really appreciate it if you wouldn't follow me." His tone was flat, cold.

She placed a hand on her hip. "You like being alone?"

"I've been alone for far longer than you've been alive."

She placed both hands on her shapely hips. "I'm older than I seem. Besides, I didn't ask that." He felt her kneel beside him.

With a deep breath, he looked down at his hands that relaxed in his lap. "Not particularly. But that's life."

"Does it make you happy?"

He stared at her from the corner of his eye before letting out a slow sigh. "No."

"That's good," she smiled. "Because I don't like being alone either."

"Then why don't you go live with the elves instead of chase me," he growled. It wasn't a question, but she still answered.

"Probably for the same reason you don't go live among the Q'Ra..."

Kupper bared his teeth, glaring at her. "I'm a human."

Sinoja was taken aback for a moment. She stared at him a few moments. Then she smiled. "I see it now."

With an angry snort, he turned away. Another moment of silence passed between them. Then he heard her settle down, sitting near to him but far enough to escape should he chose to attack her.

"Can I sit with you, then? I won't follow you anymore if you don't want me to, but I just wanted some company."

Rolling his eyes, Kupper looked over at her with a glare. "Fine." He stood up abruptly. "I'm going to go get some food."

"Oh!" Sinoja piped, suddenly reaching out and dragged a couple limp bodies of the local wildlife she had tied together out from behind her. She'd obviously killed them recently. "I don't mind sharing."

His green eyes narrowed at her dangerously. "First you stole from me and now you want to share?"

Lowering her arm, she cringed a little, her voice low and sad. "That was a long time ago. I don't do that anymore."

Staring at her for a moment, he sighed, sitting back onto the ground. "Fine." He pulled out a bag of dark leaves, breaking them apart and rolling them into a cigarette, all the while watching her roll out her sleeping bag. It was a habit he had picked up among the other humans. Using a lighter to light it, he tossed it to Sinoja as she gathered up the leaves to start a fire. She looked at the lighter as if it were a strange technology to her. Then she looked at what he smoked.

"Is that roacus leaf?" she asked softly.

He stared at her as he breathed deeply of the flavorful plant. Then he held it out for her as he exhaled the thick smoke through his nostrils. Roacus leaf was enjoyable to humans, but to those with elven-kin blood like her and himself, it was a mild drug. It was most effective when consumed, but he liked to smoke it. Apparently so did she, taking a long drag and holding it for a moment.

"It's been a really long time since I last had that. Thanks." She reluctantly returned it, going about her task with a charming wry grin. She wasn't lying. Long time consumers didn't giggle like that.

It wasn't until she had spitted the animals over the fire that Kupper finally allowed his stoic expression to soften into a smile. That apparently was funny because Sinoja burst into uncontrollable laughter. She wiped at her eyes. "I'm so sorry."

He had to chuckle. "Why?"

"I don't know!" she choked out between laughs.

Shaking his head, he finished his smoke and tossed it into the fire. The fragrant smoke came and went as it burned away.

Kupper waited patiently for Sinoja to stop laughing. When the initial effect wore off, he looked at her with a scrutinizing gaze. "So why did you follow me?"

She peered back at him. The fire made her eyes reflect green, her pupils having dilated. She took a moment to respond as if thinking carefully about her answer. "You're like me."

"Oh?" He raised a brow.

"You know, a hybrid. People look down on us. For all the talk of tolerance, our own kinds can deal with pure bloods, but any of us who are born of a mix are considered somehow second rate, especially out here on the fringes of Alliance territory." He nodded and turned away, the conversation over, but she drew closer and grinned at him. "And it was good sex."

He flashed her a glare. For a moment, he thought she was rubbing salt in his wound, but she continued to grin. After a brief stare down, he snorted humorously. "If you say so." He paused a moment before glancing back at her. "Where did you learn to use air?"

She grinned proudly, puffing out her chest a little. "I taught myself. I'm really out of practice, though."

The silence that fell between them suddenly became crushing.

"Would you like to hear some music?"

Kupper glanced over at her curiously. She grinned at him as she slipped her nimble fingers into her bag and withdrew the device he had threatened to break. It was an elegant silver chinrest. Along the outside curve were five small rings. Sinoja removed each one tenderly and slipped the now blue glowing rings to just before the first joint of each finger on the hand that would hold the neck. Along the flat edge of the chinrest was the frog of the bow. Plucking it from its spot, it began to also glow as she positioned the chinrest against her always bare shoulder. The thing came to life as she gently curved her supple neck to hold it in place. The hologram appeared, lighting up the darkness of her face. She placed her slender fingers upon the neck as the bow materialized.

The sound that came forth from the contraption was as beautiful as the image of the elven violin. Her fingers danced expertly over the fingerboard. The bittersweet high notes and the forlorn deeper notes stunned him. He couldn't tear his wide eyes away from the angel that made this marvel of technology sing. Should her head move, her hands followed accordingly, indicating she could feel the instrument in her grasp. The heavenly sound was entirely of her own talent.

The light from the hologram made her lovely face glow, the dancing fire adding shadows to contrast her features. Her eyes opened slightly so that he could see no more than the faint glow of her pupils.

When at last the divine song had ended, she carefully removed her fingers, lifting her chin so that the hologram vanished before his eyes. The bow also went dark. She very gently began to remove the rings when Kupper snapped out of his astounded trance.

"Wait!" She glanced up at his outburst. "Play another one."

That beautiful smile of hers lit up her face far more than the violin had. Without hesitation she placed the chinrest back to her shoulder, letting out her emotions into the sweet music. He could imagine her moments of joy and anger while sensing the deep sorrow within her. It was an experience he had never had before. She lent her own angelic voice to that of the instrument, creating a harmonious symphony that laid her brilliant soul bare.

As the last notes fell away to the silence of the night, Kupper could scarcely breathe. He could only stare at the pink haired elven goddess that had found her way onto his lonesome path in life.

Kupper moved forward, kneeling before her as he reached out a hand and tenderly caressed her flawless cheek. She opened her mouth to say something but he placed his thumb against her soft lips. He gazed into her unique eyes. How could he possibly have ever wanted her to leave?

"That was ... tantalizing. I could listen to you play all night." His voice was gentle and earnest.

She blushed, the bioluminescent stripes, dots and swirls all over her body giving off the subtle lavender glow. "That's nice you think so," she whispered, looking down at the machine she cradled in her lap. "It, um, it records my music so you can listen to it anytime." Along the edge that faced her neck were a series of buttons and small screen with a description of each song. It began to play on its own, filling the night around them with delightful music.

"You are like an angel." His fingertips danced along her jawline, raising her face to him. This time he did not crush her lips. This time his tongue did not invade her. It humbly requested permission. She granted it.

Both of his hands cradled her head, holding her to the passionate exchange. Had she wanted to pull away he would not have stopped her. She must have known that, her whole body relaxing into him. Her arms wrapped around his neck, holding him tightly. She did not resist when he laid her down, his body covering her.

Clothing came off slowly. Lips, teeth and fingers eagerly explored bared flesh. His fingers took particular care at the space between her silken thighs. He drank her moans, adding his own voice when her hands expertly manipulated his turgid gender.

Their bodies joined, finding a rhythm of their own. He delighted in the sounds he could draw forth from her, his lips teasing the sound at its source. He growled when her nails dug into his flesh, leaving stinging lines across his back and shoulders. They didn't notice when the fire burned away, the only light coming from the stars overhead. Their shared heat was enough to ward away the chill.

He marveled at the body that shivered and undulated under him. Her legs gripped him, holding him firmly. Her eyes rolled back as every muscle in her body shuddered, her toes and fingers curling against him. The spasms around his shaft stole away his mind, thoughts driven off in the wake of sensation.

When they at last parted, they had to fight to catch their breaths. Flashes of light danced across his vision. Her supple presence against his side made him smile. His long arm was able to grasp his blanket, drawing it over them. His fingertips caressed her satin shoulder as she rested her head on his shoulder.

Her instrument continued to play softly beside them. He reached over and lifted it off the ground, holding it above them as he looked it over carefully.

"How did you learn to play like this?" he asked in a low, gruff voice. "It's like Heaven has fallen from the sky and serenaded my ears."

She smiled at him. "Well, my husband was human. He heard me play a gallix and told me I might enjoy the violin more. I was interested and so he got this for me. He was right. There's no other instrument I would rather play." There was a forlorn hint in her tone as she stared at her device with distant eyes.

"What happened to him?" Kupper asked gently.

She let out a sigh that came all the way from her toes. "I stole from the wrong person many years ago. It took him a while to catch up to me, but when he found me, he brought friends. Joffery tried to fight them. They didn't like that much."

"I'm sorry, Sinoja." It was all he could think to say. Nothing else seemed appropriate.

A moment ticked by, carefully holding her breath. At last, she exhaled. "Call me Zigz."

There was no more conversation that night. The blissful ignorance of slumber took them quickly, the violin resting on his abdomen.

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