In that moment, the ardeur fed. Fed on that warm, living power, fed on the sensation of being deeper inside Micah's body than I'd ever been inside any man's before. The ardeur fed, and left us quieter, calmer, happier.
The beasts didn't turn and go back up the way they'd come. One moment that piece of me was curled warm and safe inside him, and the sensation of him inside me was like when we made love, as if even his beast were bigger and took up more room than mine. That warm, living energy didn't come back up our throats, it was as if the two energies spilled out the fronts of our bodies, out our skin, so that for a heartbeat it felt as if we'd burst our skins, and two great furred shapes were passing through us, then it was as if the two beasts dropped back into place. I swear I felt as if something physical with true weight was dropped down the center of my body, and hit the end of me. As if instead of falling from the height, I was the height, and could feel the body falling through me, and hitting my floor.
We broke from the kiss, laughing, breathless. I found my voice first, "Wow."
He looked happier than I'd ever seen him, relaxed, more... more at home somehow, as if some great weight had gone from him. "You know," he said, still breathing hard, "you're not supposed to be able to do that, if one of you is human."
"I didn't know you were supposed to be able to do that at all," I said.
"If you are both powerful, and a true mated pair, then it's possible."
"You say it, like it has a name."
"Shiva and Pavarti, or simply Maithuna, it's Sanskrit for union, or coupling."
"Shiva, who would destroy the world with his energy if Pavarti didn't constantly have sex with him and spill off the energy."
He nodded. "World religion class from college again?"
I shook my head. "A few years back we found a naga, a real live one that had been a crime victim. It made me go look up Hindu religion. I mean, if you get one type of supernatural being, you might get others from the same place."
"Nope." I thought about it. "Well, not yet." I put my arms behind his head, and drew him down for a kiss. He didn't fight, but he kept himself just above my face. "You fed the ardeur."
"I still want a kiss."
He kissed me, and it was gentle at first, then grew until we were feeding at each other's mouths again. He drew back, laughing and breathless. "I thought we'd done this already."
I wasn't sure how to explain it. We'd had metaphysical sex, and like sometimes happens after regular sex I was pumped, energized. I could feel him still hard and thick pressed between our bodies. I wanted him inside me. I wanted him as close physically as I'd had him metaphysically.
I kept one hand behind his neck, but let the other trace down his body, until I could cup him in my hand. He closed his eyes and swallowed hard. I moved my hand up and wrapped my fingers around him. He was so hard, so thick, so solid in my hand that it made me close my eyes, made my breath shudder from my body.
I opened my eyes and knew that my focus was already soft. "I want this inside me."
He tried for amusement, but his face was raw with the beginnings of that need. His voice was hoarse again when he said, "Even without the ardeur?"
I squeezed him tight enough to flutter his eyes back into his head. When he could see again, I said, "It's not the ardeur that makes me want you, Micah."
His voice was a harsh whisper, as if he were having trouble talking, "We'll never top what we've already done tonight."
I stroked my hand up the long, hard shaft of him. "It's not about being better, just being as good."
He shook his head. "It won't be as good without the ardeur or our beasts, and this close to full moon, I don't think we want to keep trying the beasts. It could get out of hand."
It was my turn to shake my head. "Just us, Micah, just us."
"From the moment we touched, it's never been just us. There's always someone, or something else, never just us." He looked so serious.
I cupped one hand under the soft wetness of his testicles, and gently played with them, while I played my other hand over the head and shaft of him. "Then we're past due, don't you think?"
He swallowed hard, laughed, then gave a small nod. "You're wetter after you feed the ardeur, but we ended up back in the water, so you won't be wet enough or open enough for this," he wrapped his hand around mine where I still held him, he squeezed our hands together until his head went back, eyes closed, and he shuddered hard enough to make the water slosh against the sides of the tub. He looked down at me and slipped his hand between my legs, searching, until he could slip a finger inside me. He managed two fingers inside me before my head went back, and my eyes fluttered shut. "To go in there," he whispered.
When I could talk, I said, "Oh, darn, then you'll have to make me wet, and open."
He shoved the two fingers fast and hard inside me, stopped my voice along with my breath. "I can do that," he said, and he had that look, that look that said he knew I wanted him, and that I wouldn't say no. I didn't say no, I said yes, over and over again. I said yes, until he worked me open with his fingers, and finally with his mouth, so he could push himself inside me. So we could finally put that in there, and it was wet and tight, and hard, and everything I wanted it to be. When I screamed his name and raked my nails down his back, when his body thrust one last time inside mine, thrust so far and so deep that it made me cry out again and arched his body above mine on the bathroom tile. Painted his body in flame and shadow above me, sent our hands into the candles, and spilled the candles into the water, to smoke and die, when all that was done, he looked down at me. Eyes not quite focused, face still slack with orgasm.
I said, in a voice breathy and panting, "Metaphysics, we don't need no stinking metaphysics."
It took him a blink to get the joke, but once he did, he started to laugh, and since he was still inside me, that made me writhe, which made him thrust inside me again, which made me writhe again, which made him writhe, which... He finally slid off to one side, onto a small candle-free slice of tile still laughing. We laughed until tiredness pulled at us like some giant hand dragging us under. It was as if the entire twenty-four hours caught up with me at once, and I was just done. Done for the day. Done for the night. Done for the year. Done.
We dried our hair as best we could. I insisted on at least running an oiled cloth over the knives that I'd dunked in the bathtub. Micah helped me gather up the big knife and the two handguns. I got the big equipment bag from the living room, but Micah begged me to just put it in the bedroom with us instead of putting everything into their various gun safes. "Just one night, it'll be okay. I promise," he said.
I had to agree that I didn't want to go upstairs to the long rifle safe, then downstairs to the ammo safe, then... well, you get the idea.
We dragged ourselves to bed carrying more weapons than clothes. I let the equipment bag drop beside the bed, softly. Nathaniel lay on his side, curled into a little ball, like he always lay when no one was in the bed but him. I laid the knives on the bedside table on his side of the bed, again, trying to be quiet.
He opened his eyes just enough to see me, then they closed, and his breathing deepened. He didn't wake completely, but his body responded to me climbing in beside him. He was so warm, almost hot, feverish, or maybe that was just how cool our skin was, from the bath, and the sex in the open air. I put the Browning in its homemade holster in the head of the bed. Micah put the Firestar on the bedside table by him. Nathaniel relaxed into the curve of my body, pressing as much of him against as much of me as he could. It was only then that I realized we were all nude. Nathaniel hadn't worn anything to bed, and neither had we. I let Micah come to bed nude if he wanted to, but never Nathaniel, and never me. It hadn't even occurred to me to get clothes on first. I'd just wanted to go to bed, to sleep, to cuddle between them both. Micah settled in against my back, and I let myself sink into the sensation of being held between them. I'd slept with Micah pressed na**d to my back, but never Nathaniel. I'd had his ass pressed into the curve of my stomach and groin for months, but never without clothes, never just skin-to-skin. I pressed my br**sts against the warmth of his back, one arm up and over his head so I could touch his hair. My other hand went around his waist. In his sleep, he pulled my hand closer to his body, lower, so that my fingers brushed areas I'd made very sure stayed covered.