he said really i just wanna dance
good and evil matched perfect it's a great romance
- fond farewell, elliot smith

"I've really," Kitiara purred as Tanis pushed into her again, withdrew, pushed in, "--really missed your...conversation."

She laughed and he watched her dark mouth open around it, cavernous and consuming, and felt her body tighten down on him. He felt sweat scratching underneath his beard and against his scalp, and pushed his face into her neck to bite her skin when he came, deep inside her. Kit shouted and the sound echoed fearlessly off the great stone arches of the room. Everything she did was fearless.

Tanis pulled away and sat at the edge of the bed as Kitiara stretched luxuriously and rubbed the hard bone of her ankle up and down his spine. "Still sulky like an elf, beard or no," she murmured.

"I can't outrun it," he said. He could hear the defeat in his own voice and it was chilling; he shuddered hard and Kit kicked him neatly behind the ear before turning over. Tanis rubbed his palms across his knees again and again and she said, more shortly this time, "stop being so bloody tortured and go to sleep, Tanis. Either that or get the hell out; either you want to be here, or you don't. I'm not keeping you here."

It wasn't true, of course. She was a Dragon Highlord and she knew him well enough to suspect him, no matter what armour he wore. Even if she *did* let him go, she'd expect him to double-cross her later.

But better that, Tanis thought desperately, than for her to trust me as Laurana does and then have me betray her.

"Your brooding is keeping me awake," Kitiara growled, and Tanis laughed before he could help himself. She could do that, so easily and all the time, with her strange wry sense of humor. He'd never known anyone like that before. Laurana was very sweet and very smart and had no idea how to make a joke...but then, she made up for any shortcomings by simply not being Evil. Somebody between the two of them would work out quite nicely.

"That would be me," Tanis said aloud, and grinned. It felt good. And that was what was worrying him. He wasn't tortured, as Kit had accused him of being; he wasn't brooding, he wasn't conflicted. He wanted to be, more than anything. He wanted to think of Laurana's shining hair and feel remorse, think of the goddamned never-ending quest and feel responsibility. But all he felt was the warmth and firm flesh of the woman at his side and the drunken feeling inside him that made him want to sink his soul into her.

Tanis knew this wouldn't last. It couldn't. His conscience would rebel eventually, when Kitiara put on all her Highlord armour and went off for a hard day of killing innocents. But dammit, he'd earned this, hadn't he? He deserved a few moments of love, of all things, to make up for the day when he'd have to tell Kitiara's brothers all about what had happened. The thought of their faces, Caramon's broad simple pain and Raistlin's shadowed twist of satisfaction and resentment, made a cruel spurt of pleasure in his belly; when Kit reached for him, this time, he went to her without hesitation.

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