Valvalicia prefers the open air.
She, on the other hand, smelled of a spring breeze laden with the scents of fresh flowers, summer days and sun-warmed grass, fall winds carrying the rich scents of the harvest and the tang of wood smoke, and the sharp tang of an ice-edged winter gale screaming out of the mountains northwest of Baron. He turned to face her when she cleared her throat. As usual, she was clad in little save a few scraps of white fabric and her incredible mass of blonde hair. He offered a perfunctory bow.
"Has Master Golbez gone and left his little puppet all alone?" she asked, her tone saccharine.
"You'd know better than I." Kain's smile was all teeth and no warmth.
She stepped closer and trailed her fingernails idly up his arm. "Don't test your teeth on me, puppy."
Kain knocked her hand aside. "I'm no one's puppy, fiend."
She laughed, but it had a shrill edge, like a wind shrieking through a narrow mountain valley. "No? But you were so eager to please your King, and you dance to Master's tune so skillfully."
"Less skillfully than you and your brethren."
She bared her teeth, scowling. "I warned you not to test your teeth on me, Dragoon. Mine are sharper."
"Prove it." It was a reckless thing to do, and would quite potentially end in his death, but Kain savoured the thrill of adrenaline at the prospect of a good battle.
He would not have described her expression as a smile, but it was certainly triumphant. In a single swift movement, she clenched her fingers in his hair and yanked him closer, pressing her mouth against his. Her teeth scraped his lip, hard enough to sting, and she flexed her nails against his scalp. He gripped her arm, flesh that was entirely too womanly for a creature of evil, and bit sharply at her lip.
She drew back, smiling in the way of a cat that has cornered a mouse. "Not bad, puppy," she said.
"My name is Kain."
"I don't make it a habit to name pets until they've proven they're worth my attention."
"I am not your pet." Kain reined in his temper and forced his expression to remain civil.
"You've given up arguing about being Golbez's pet, I see." She smiled. It was not a pleasant expression. Kain clenched his teeth and did not answer.
"Cat got your tongue?" She trailed her fingernails along the side of his neck, sending shivers down his spine. "Very well. Come with me."
"I do not see why I should."
She wrapped her fingers around his wrist and pulled. He was a strong man, but she exerted strength far beyond her willowy build, and dragged him behind her. There was a door that led outside, which she pulled open. Kain stopped. She turned to face him, that faint cold smile playing across her face.
"Surely a Dragoon is not frightened of heights," she said.
He did not dignify her comment with a response. She laughed, her hair swirling in a tornado as the wind whipped around them. Long strands slid over his shoulders and his arms as she stepped closer and twined her arms around his neck. He did not move, calling up an image of Rosa in his head to dispel the unfortunate turn his thoughts were taking, but her face kept shifting to Valvalicia's.
"Come fly with me," she whispered, and then they were airborne, slicing through the sky like an arrow. She pressed her body close to his, though her grip on him was loose and it was her magic that held them aloft, racing on the edge of the wind so high above the land he could barely see the outline of the rivers and mountains below. She carried him into the mountains north of Eblan, where the air still held the chill of winter edged with only the faintest promise of spring. They soared higher, so high he felt as though he could not get enough air in his lungs. It was cold, far colder than Golbez's tower. She indulged herself with aerial acrobatics, racing across the sky in seemingly random arcs.
She turned in midair and they plunged abruptly toward the earth, plummeting downward at high speed. The mountains rushed up to meet them, the jumbled heap of dark-brown stone growing closer and closer. At the last possible moment, she reversed their dive and they landed upon a tiny, narrow rock shelf as light as a feather. There was room for them to stand, but less than a sword-length to spare; on three sides the shelf dropped away into nothingness, a lengthy plunge to the jagged rocks below. Just behind him, a sheer, vertical sheet of rock rose up.
She smiled, her hair dancing in the wind. Her body pressed against his, warm and soft. "Not so brave now, are you? Afraid to fall?"
Rather than answer, he kissed her, grabbing a handful of her luxuriant hair and yanking her head back. She laughed softly, pressing closer, her arms twining around his neck. They scrambled to divest each other of their clothing; hers went by the wayside easily enough, but his tunic proved stubborn until she ripped it, throwing the pieces aside. They fell, fluttering, toward the rocks below. She shoved him back against the rock face, her hands sliding over his skin knowingly. "It's much better when you play nice," she said, and he shoved her away. She caught her balance at the edge of the ledge, laughing, and gripped his shoulders. He felt the edges of her claws beneath the mask of human flesh she chose to wear, scoring his shoulders. They fought each other for control, ever teetering on the edge of the rock, shoving each other against the rock face. She laughed and raked her claws down his chest. "Show me what a Dragoon can do," she demanded, and he obliged.
Later, they returned in much the same way they had left, hurtling through the door into the room atop the tower. She came to an abrupt stop and nearly sent him tumbling to the floor, but he caught himself at the last moment and turned to face her.
She smiled. "Until next time, Kain of Baron."
Her hair trailed upon the floor behind her as she left the room.
Author's Note: Written for Wallwalker as part of the Fall 2006 round of het_challenge on Livejournal.