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09 November 2011 @ 05:04 pm
Fic: Epistrophe sta asteria (3/14)  
Back to part 2 / Back to Masterpost

“You missed morning prayers,” Dianthe admonished when Hellene ran out into the sanctuary.

“I am aware,” she admitted, blushing faintly and looking down toward the ground. “I... the worship I led last night extended into the morning.”

“Did it?” Dianthe murmured, a single eyebrow lifted.

Hellene continued to focus her gaze on the ground as she felt her cheeks redden further. “Yes. It was... unorthodox of me, I admit, but he desired to continue worshipping come morning and so...”

“And so you ignored your duties to do so,” she finished, her gaze vaguely disapproving.

“I was still serving our Mother,” Hellene defended. “Simply in a way not ordinarily seen during that time.”

“If you say so,” Dianthe murmured, but still she looked doubtful. “Remember that you have devoted your life to our Mother, though. Not to a man, or even men in general. To something greater than that.”

“I know,” she replied, unsure why Dianthe thought she needed reminding.

“You have done so well in the time you have been with us,” Dianthe said, fingers stroking through her hair lightly. “It would be a shame to see one so great fall.”

Before Hellene could reply the older woman had left, ghosting down the halls. Sighing, she picked up a broom and began to sweep the sanctuary. One duty I have not forgotten, she thought to herself.

When the dust was gone she could not help but wonder, though, why she had thought it was all right to miss the prayers in the first place. They were one of her most important duties as Head Priestess, and she had managed to give them before every morning without fail.

Lost in thought, Hellene blinked when she saw the man from the previous night strolling by the temple in daylight. She guessed, though, that he was come to offer laud to another god, as many did. As a visitor, though, he would not know the proper ways to do so, as he had evidenced at his confusion over her form of worship the previous night. As such, she decided that she could spare a few moments to aid him.

He smiled when she stepped forward, out of the shadows of the temple she had remained inside for so long. “I was just about to go in there looking for you.”

“Looking for me?” Hellene asked, surprised. “Whatever for?”

He smiled. “To see if I could convince you to come out of your cave.”

Affronted, she drew herself up to her full height. “This temple is far from a cave! It is--”

He silenced her with a finger to her lips, smiling. “I know,” he said quietly. “It’s a figure of speech.”

“To call something that which it is not?” Hellene asked, confused.

“If you’re going to phrase it that way, then I guess so,” he replied.

“In any case, you wanted to know something?”

“Yes. I want you to come out of the temple for a while.”

“I--” Hellene hesitated when the automatic refusal started to come from her. Ordinarily she would not have done so, but something about the man continued to draw her near. Puzzled, for the Call normally only manifested within the temple, she stepped closer, causing him to grin.

“Will you?” he asked, taking a step back.

Again Hellene hesitated. She knew she should not abandon her duties, as she had already done that morning, albeit in another form of worship seen as even more important than prayer to her Mother. However, she had also been trained to follow the Call, though it appeared at the oddest of times. As such, she was torn.

He smiled and reached out a hand to her. “Come with me.”

Before she knew exactly what she was doing she had already taken two steps forward, tentatively placing her own hand in his and shivering when its warmth surrounded her.

His smile softened and just like that they were walking away from the temple that had been her home for six season-cycles. She did not look back. She would return, after all.


Jim smiled when Hellene finally agreed to come with him. He hadn’t expected it would be that easy to drag the priestess from her temple, but he’d known he had to see her again and definitely preferred the outdoors to being inside that temple again. Walking down the street, he asked, “Is there any particular place in town you’d recommend seeing?”

Hellene shook her head. “I am certain you have already seen the meeting place. That is the only place other than the temple that I frequent.”

“All right,” Jim replied as he decided to lead them out of town and into a field he’d seen that had clearly lain fallow for quite some time.

She paused again when they stepped through the gate that marked the boundary of Korinthos, but all he had to do was gently tug on her hand and she was following him once more. Smiling, he continued to lead them until they reached the field.

She stopped, blinking up at him. “Why are we here?” she asked.

“Because there’s nowhere better that I could think of,” he responded. “Because I wanted to see you again, but I think you need some time outside of your temple.”

“I hardly need time separated from my--”

“Your Mother, yes,” he smoothly interjected. “It is only a few hours--a few stairs,” he amended, having worked out the time she referred to as a “stair” as equivalent to something like a half an hour on ship’s time.

“I suppose it could not do any harm,” she finally murmured, though she still seemed doubtful.

“Of course it couldn’t,” Jim responded lightly, flopping down onto the ground to gaze up at the clouds.

“What are you doing?” she asked, clearly curious.

“Looking at the clouds.”

“For what reason?”

“I like seeing what sorts of shapes I can see in them, since most days I don’t see any clouds,” Jim answered.

Finally Hellene gingerly sat beside him, gasping softly as he tugged her the rest of the way down. “Strange,” she muttered. “I am outside the temple, and yet the Call--”

“Are you sure what you’re feeling is a divine Call?” Jim asked.

“Of course I am!” she responded indignantly. “What else could it be?”

He grinned as he pulled her close. “There are many names for it.”

“Such as?” Hellene demanded.

“Oh, but I thought you weren’t concerned with names,” he smirked, one hand lightly tracing down her side.

She shivered. “Since you seem so concerned with them, perhaps you could tell me--ah!” she exclaimed as he traced his lips down her neck.

“Desire,” he began. “Want. Need. Yearning. Attraction. Lust. And others besides.”

“But--” she stammered. “When serving the Goddess of Love, such things are natural to feel as a Call--”

He chuckled. “Believe me, Hellene, there’s nothing divine about what I’m planning to do to you.”

“And what is that?” she demanded hotly, squirming in his grip as if uncertain whether she should tear herself away or press closer.

“Would you rather hear it, or just experience it as it comes?” Jim asked. “After all, some of what I’m planning are things we’ve already shared.”

She glared, then let out a soft moan as he gently mouthed at her earlobe. “That--mmm--that was worship,” she protested.

“To you, maybe,” he conceded. “To me there was no deity involved except the one under me.”

As she blushed and stammered he rolled them so she was once more underneath him, hands tracing down to the hem of the robe-like garment she still wore. Hellene seemed to have made up her mind, as she was now tugging at his shirt. “How do you get this strange garment off?” she demanded.

He grinned, pulling it over his head before slowly starting to lift her skirt, hands ghosting up the outsides of her thighs as she shivered. “More importantly, how do you get yours off?” he responded.

Instantly she reached to a brooch at her left shoulder and the whole thing came undone but for the slender cord at her waist. Jim quickly untied it, opening the garment and leaving her completely exposed for his viewing pleasure. He smiled as she blushed faintly, squirming under his gaze. “You’re beautiful,” he breathed.

Her blush deepened. “It is unheard of to attribute the physical appearance of a partner to anything but the Goddess who gave it to her.”

Frowning slightly, he started kissing his way down her stomach. “All right. I’m not doing anything but tease until you admit it’s you who wants this.”

“I--I do not understand...” she stammered, back arching slightly. “How could it only be me?”

Jim smirked. “Then I guess you’ll have to wait.”

His smirk broadened as he traced his lips over her thigh and she gasped and shuddered. A gentle slide of fingertips up the insides of her thighs caused her to spread them further and arch her hips up hopefully, only for him to withdraw with a grin. “I told you what you have to do to get more,” he said cheerfully when she glared at him. “Surely it can’t be that hard?”

It might not have been hard, but he certainly was, unable to help gently rocking against the ground underneath him as she cried out in frustration. “How can I say something as untrue as that? We are all led by the Call; some simply choose not to recognize it!”

“Hellene,” he interrupted smoothly. “There’s no one here but the two of us. It’s okay to want on your own, you know. I’ll freely admit to wanting you. I’m just asking you to do the same.”

She stared up at him as if his universal translator had suddenly failed and she could no longer understand a word he said. “I...”

“Do you want this?” Jim asked. “Not your goddess, not anyone else. You.”

“...Yes,” she breathed, looking almost lost as the single word came from her lips.

Jim smiled as he rolled back on top of her. It was good to know that they were on the same page.


Three Years Ago

Jim arrived at Lena’s door out of breath, having run halfway across campus to get there. Sure Lena would be on the other side of the door laughing if he came in wide-eyed and breathless, he leaned against the wall for a few moments to calm down.

As soon as his breathing was something approaching regular, though, he chimed.

It wasn’t that unusual for her to not answer at the first chime. She frequently said that she generally didn’t, because if it was important the person would either have already commed her or would chime again.

Not answering at the second chime also wasn’t that out of the ordinary. If Lena was absorbed in something, such as a reading for a class or the latest medical journal, she frequently wouldn’t answer the door until someone had chimed several times.

When she didn’t answer at the third chime, Jim frowned slightly. While a lot more uncharacteristic of her, this had also happened to him before, typically when she was asleep or in the shower or otherwise unable to answer the door.

After that, Jim gave up chiming and put in what he knew to be her last code, blinking when the door didn’t open. When had she changed it?

Probably in the month or so you’ve been ignoring her attempts to contact you, he thought to himself, grimacing at his own stupidity. He would still be able to get in, of course; it would just require more unorthodox methods.

Five minutes later, the door slid open and Jim’s eyes widened.

On to part 4