Growing Pains

Antony awoke to a bombardment of voices. Sweat beaded on his forehead as pain shot through him. He knew it wasn't his pain. Hunters injured while fighting a vampire, women having contractions, children getting hurt while playing, he felt all of it. The earth opened up above him and he shot out. Several hunters had to stop him from going out into the setting sun just to make the pain go away. He recognized none of them, the cave seemed unfamiliar, voices of sympathy mixed with voices of outrage and worry. He seemed to be choking on the very air inside the cave.

"Stop it!" he yelled, cupping his head.

He rocked back and forth, crying. If a human were to see him, they would think he had lost his mind, and Antony would agree with them. He couldn't tell anything apart, the voices seemed to mix together. Antony, was suddenly in his head. The voice of an angle. He reached for that voice, needed that voice. It made the others seem to shrink back. She was important to him. He had to get to her. He began to breath easier, and found he could start to discern each voice, knowing who needed aid, who just found a lifemate, and who worried about him. But that one voice, the voice of an important woman, called to him and only him. He knew her... and he had wronged her. Guilt filled him. I'm so sorry, he wailed. I wish... I could change it. I want to start over. Please, Anastasia. I will court you as you deserve, I will wait as long as necessary. I'll do anything. Please, give me one last chance.

Im scared....please... she said in a valuable voice after a moment, he felt her fear, she needed him, he felt that too, she was in the cave with him just in another room. Her need for comfort called to his very soul, she was scared, she could move her body because it was still healing, she didn't know where she was and she hurt both physically and mentally. Her need of him as a lifemate in that moment overpowered any hurt or anger she felt towards him.

Without any thought what so ever, he went to her, found her unerringly. He opened the earth above her and laid down with his clothes on, holding her close to him protectively, but also making sure his touch didn't cause her pain. He watched her long lashes lift as he had a blanket placed over them to hide her from prying eyes. He looked at her like she was everything and then some. He waited, not wanting this to be a trick. Was he finally holding his lifemate again after all this time?

He felt her mind brush his, it was soft almost timid like she would retreat at any moment, but it was still the best thing he had felt in so long. He would notice her blue hair was not only blue anymore, a black like a crow's feather had intertwined with her natural blue hue making her hair almost look the night sky itself against her pale skin. Her eyes seemed lighter in their color but no less beautiful, but it was definitely noticeable, she had lost weight, a lot of weight. her skin was cool to the touch, not warm like he remembered. Finally, her eyes found his, and he could see there was a struggle in her mind, a big part of her needed him there, but the deep part that he had hurt shunned away from him. She looked away almost like it hurt to look at him, he saw a tear slide down her cheek.

He gently took his hand and, lightly tugging on her chin, had her look at him. I know I did terrible things, Anastasia. I have no right to ask for a second chance after everything, but I would like to have one. I promise to go as slow as you want. He put his forehead to hers. The fear that gripped me... it seems so silly now. Instead of listening, I turned you into a prisoner of your own mind because of something that had been fixed. I got you back, but I acted like you were still captured. But it wasn't a vampire that was chaining you. It was me. I can't say that I won't give in to that baseless fear again, but I do promise to listen, to work my way out of it to find you again. He held her closer to him. You are so beautiful, Anastasia. I'm sorry I nearly destroyed the light that shines so brightly within you. And thank you for guiding me through the throng of voices. You are my strength, and I never want to forget that ever again.

Anya shivered in his arms, it had been so long since he had been this close, since she had felt his mind like this, she made a whimpering sound like she was in pain yet relieved. His smell his touch is voice, everything invited her in and she wanted to get closer but she was still scared to my body...it hurts she said confiding in him. It was only four words but the impact behind them made them important, it was a small gesture but he felt it in those four words she had confided in him, he knew Ana was not the kind of person to show weakness let alone tell someone she was hurting, so to tell him she was meant something

I can take the pain away if you want, he said. His hand began to itch, like it wanted to roam, but he kept it on the small of her back, not wanting to push her too much or insinuate something she wasn't ready to give to him yet. He sat there, waiting, not asking anything of her. She had his full attention, and the only thing that mattered was that she felt comfortable.

She looked at him like she was reading him, he felt her mind exploring his but not to deeply almost like she was afraid to go deep. After a moment She bit her lower lip softly out of frustration, he felt her body warm slightly underneath his gaze and touch no...there are others who need you to ease their pain more she said putting his people before her own needs. Ana knew as his lifemate her body craved him like it craved life itself, and she knew she was not ready for such things yet but she needed to do something before she went crazy. It had been so long since she felt the intimacy that lifemates share it was almost as if a part of her was missing. She leaned up slightly and winced, she would never admit she was doing this for the intimacy even though she knew it was true. Slowly her lips touch his neck and he felt the graze of her fangs

Every nerve ending felt like it was on fire. He wanted her. Are you sure? he asked, his voice husky with need. I... won't force you to accept, but... I have to be sure this is what you really want.

I....need to feed Antony......if you are unable to provide... she started to say and he felt her started to pull away from him

That's not what I meant, Anastasia. I am more than willing to provide for you. Touching your mind like this... everything so clear and easier to discern. But... without you... it... He sighed. It's easier if... I show you. Please, don't hate me afterwards, okay. Know that I'm trying not to hurt you, or any of my people. I just... don't have a firm grasp on things without you.

He moved away from her, gave her an apologetic look, then let go of her mind. Instantly, pain assaulted him, the voices blended into one. He screamed out, unable to stop himself. Antony writhed on the ground, trying to make it all stop. He looked at her, not recognizing her for a moment. Then, he crawled to her, almost like anything else was too difficult. He laid his head in her lap, feeling at ease just knowing she was nearby. As he slowly found his way back to her, the voices diminished and the pain receded.

Sorry, was all he said in a breathless tone, apologizing for hurting her by what she saw and for any other transgression he may have committed.

Ana forced herself to sit up, he could see blood sweat beaded her forehead at the pain it caused "your...focused only on the pain....there was good there too...it would have balanced out the pain....stop...focusing on just the pain.." her voice sounded tired and strained but still, it danced on his skin "at least...that's how I got through it" she said surprising him

Antony said in a scratchy voice, "I'm sorry I put so much on you and destroyed your trust in me. It's hard to see past the pain, Anastasia. How could I have missed that, even when I was shying away from my duties? What have my people done to suffer so much?" He looked at her. "How do I even begin to help them?"

"there is one thing they all need and that's hope and safety...." she said swaying slightly "first you need to let them know you will not abandon them again, that you have changed and you hear them...they need to know they are being heard and you are with them.." she said in a uneven tone because of the pain sitting up "But first......please get off my lap.." she said looking away from him, he would smell it them, her sweet feminine juices that had started to flow from her core

He moved and helped her to lay down. He pulled the blanket up to cover her. He sat next to her, running his fingers through her hair. "I don't know how to give that to them, Anastasia. I look at you and you give that to me by simply being here. How do you give that same feeling to others when you don't know how?"

Ana found it was hard to concentrate and answer him when she could so clearly feel his hard erection against her thigh "by.....by....damnit Antony you're making this difficult!" She said as her cheeks pinkened and she crossed her legs uncomfortably.

"What about you?!" he asked. "With your body out in the open for me to just look at?! Or your arousal permeating the air?! I'm trying to be a gentleman, and wait!" He sighed. "I'm not acting like I should." He put a pillow over his lap. "There, now you won't see it, or feel it."

Ana groaned in flustration "its not like I still dont know its there....look maybe I should take from someone else...I dont thing I could handle doing it from you right now...my body is already aching and...."

"Mine too. I won't ask anything of you. Just... allow me to do this simple thing for you. Please."

"its not simple though and you know it...." she said looking away from him though he could feel she more then wanted to but almost like she needed to, he felt her need for the intamcy for then her need to actual feed.

"It's okay to want something, Anastasia. When you are ready, I'll be here."

"Antony," came Erik's voice. "You need to feed. You and Anastasia both. Are you feeling up for coming out or are you duties still weighing down on you? Your people need their prince to come out and talk to them. So come be the prince already. Suck it up."

Antony paled and started to say. "I..."

Ana suddenly leaned up and bit deep into Antony's neck

Antony gasped and pulled her closer to him. With the influx of power as the prince, Anastasia's pain quickly disappeared by drinking from his ancient blood. He didn't want it to stop. Tears of joy flowed freely.

"Antony!" Erik said. "Hurry up!"

Ana wrapped one arm around his waist and the other gentle gripped his hair, She growled a warning to Erik to leave, the sound vibrated the skin of Antony's neck

Antony put out a warning to the hunters nearby to leave him and his lifemate be. He felt dark jealousy boiling at the thought of what Erik almost saw.

"Anastasia," he said in a tone that sent shivers of desire through her, "I need you."

That voice snapped her out of the trace that his blood had put her in, though she didn't want to she closed the bite and started to slowly pull back. Her color was already starting to get back to normal and he felt her body heat more under his touch. She was not ready to be that close to him yet, she still didn't believe he had changed and she feared he was going to hurt her and his people again, but she also couldn't fight the bond and need between them, she needed him, his mind his body, she felt she was going crazy "your people need you......I cant give them what you can" she said and hated how her tone was filled with desire. Her heart was pounding in her chest, everything in her screamed for more, she wanted him to touch her more, speak to her more, she needed him like she needed air to breathe. She couldnt stop the images from coming to her mind, she wanted him to consume her, to brand his touch so roughly on her that she could never get it off. Part of her knew it was because she was going to be without him again another part knew it was because she knew even if he didn't yet, that that was what he truly desired as well. SHe felt the domination that laid deep inside him, the prince she knew he could be, strong, dominating and a great leader. She wanted to be dominated.

He smiled at her and kissed her forehead before saying, "When you are ready, I'll gladly give in to all your desires." He moved away. "Now, I just need to figure out how to give everyone hope. It's not as easy as you make it sound. Many don't even trust me to make everyday decisions."

"Antony....." The way she said his name held so much desire it was painful

"If you keep saying my name like that, I won't be able to keep my hands off of you," he said, not looking at her. "I'm trying to become the man you need, and what my people need. You were far better at it and I'm asking for your help, Anastasia. I don't want to make love to you because of the demands of the lifemate bond. I want it to be something you want. Right now, you don't trust me. I see it in your eyes." He looked at her with a sad smile. "I put that there, so I need to fix it. Once I've proven I can be prince, will you accept me back into your heart?"

"I have grown to care for your people Antony...but in truth it was never about you being prince....it was about you being a man you can be proud of....thats what I wanted for you..." she said standing up letting the blanket fall from her body, exposing her nakedness "Im not going to lie...I dont trust you...but I never stopped wanting or needed you either which is why what you did hurt so bad....." she said looking back up to meet his gaze "I know it may not be the best timing but I need you....I need to feel that comfort from us being together I need..."

He kissed her. He had to. If he didn't, he felt he might explode. Anastasia. He willed his clothes away and gently laid her down. He positioned himself at her dripping entrance. Are you sure? He wanted to give her one last chance to get away. Because once he started, there would be no going back.

He felt her legs wrap around his waist, opening her up more to his invasion, with a quick pull by using her legs she thrust him forward, taking him deep inside her and crying out, it had been so long she was painfully and deliciously tight to the point her body needed time to adjust to his largeness

He groaned and began moving slowly. "You are... tighter than I remember."

Hearing him say that sent flames through her, the thought her body pleased him turned her on even more which was new to her "you...are bigger then I remember" she moaned as he stretched her core with his invasion and movements

His fingers bit into her hips, he kissed down her neck to her breast. He couldn't get enough of the just the feel of her skin. He slowly, agonizingly, picked up the pace.

Her mind met his, doubling the fire building between them, her hands gripped his back, her moans started to get louder "feed from me antony...I need you too" she said arching her back so her breast were more open to him

He could deny her nothing. He teased her nipple into a hard peak before biting into her breast, drinking deeply. He started to become rougher, more dominant.

She cried out and arched into his bite, the more dominant and rougher he got the more turned on she became. All thought went from her mind as he took her blood into his body, her hands gripped his hair "Antony!" she cried out his name as she started to go wild beneath him the more he drank from her

He closed the wound on her breast and kissed up to her neck. He mouth found her shoulder and he bit down, holding her in the submissive. He massaged her breast, thrust into her hard enough to send shock waves through her, but he never hurt her and always ensured her pleasure before his own. He would adjust just to hit every spot that would bring her closer and closer to the edge.

There, she lost it, she felt him putting her before himself, it was a glimpse, a taste of the man she knew he was but had yet find himself. That was her cue, it took all her strength but she managed to roll until she was on top even though he had her by the shoulders There. that instinct Antony, that is what your people need she said keeping the rough pace her had set As prince they need you to put them before yourself, and just like when you did that for me my needs became so clear to you she said as the way she moved her hips started to go in rhythm to what he needed, to what his body desired and as your lifemate the place I have found is not to be one of those people whose needs you put before your own....put to be the only person who puts your needs first....that is what I want....I will be there to comfort you...to support you...I will be the only person who puts your needs first

He rolled again until he was on top and said, Anastasia, it is hard to know what is the best way to help them. How did you know what to do? How did you make the decisions you did without knowing if they would get hurt or not? I fear making a decision that will cause them to go closer to the brink of extinction and never be able to return.

She moaned loudly as he took back control, she felt a beast growing inside him, one hat wanted to devour her wholly I listened Anotny, I relied on them, I relied on their knowledge, their strengths and I listened to their hearts, If you do nothing your people will go exstinct...you must try and trust in yourself and your people it was getting hard to think again

You are amazing, he said. How did you know to do that? Trust yourself enough to connect with so many people? How did you sort through their pain?

Its simple...they were my pains too....and my happiness....if it was not for them...the separation who had ended me....they shared my burden and I theirs

He closed the mark on her shoulder and said, "There are so many voices. It is hard to hear them through the pain they feel. Little scrapes to large wounds, I feel it as if it happening. And that's just the physical pain." He slowed his pace. "So many... it's frightening how many people rely on me..." He kissed her, becoming dominant again as his tongue dueled with hers. I will try. I can't have you upset ever again. I know you think I can, but... I don't have confidence in my ability right now. Will you help me?

let go...dont think Antony...let go...do whatever your instincts tell you to do to me...please...we both need you too she moaned in his head trying to give him what he was asking for

With a growl, he bit into shoulder again, and took complete control. He moved hard, and fast, and deep. His every movement put her pleasure first, and brought them both to the edge. There, he held them both, needing to hear her scream his name. He wanted all of her, wanted her to give herself into his keeping once more. He needed that trust again.

Ana felt what he needed and it pained her she could not yet give that to him, still she guided him, she reflected the confidence he was feeling as he took control and trusted his instincts, she showed him that by feeling their needs he would know what they needed, she showed him it was in him all along, that all he needed was to be true to himself, that his people hearts would guide him just as much as he would guide them. Even now, she knew he was saddened that she could not trust him yet but his instincts told him that she needed time, she felt it in his mind that he knew what she needed and even though it made him sad he knew it was going to be ok. That he had what it took to give her the time she needed.

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