Witch, 73

Personal Moments of Great Importance Deserve a Night to Themselves, but Don’t Always Get That

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“I’d like you to come outside with me.”


“Aren’t you going to ask why?”

“I assume you’ll tell me anyway.”

“I will.” James smiled. “There’s a ritual I need your help with.”

Ron nodded, putting the last of the dishes he’d been drying away. They’d talked with James’s family all day about Sam and what he and James and talked about, not that there was a whole day’s worth of talking to be done about it, and they’d caught him up on what he’d missed in the forest, which wasn’t much except the centaurs being annoyed that the arbitration had been pushed back. It was past sunset now, and Ron followed James.

“Good luck,” Jay said, waving at them as they left, and Ron smiled at him, waving back.

“What’s the ritual?” he asked, because the fact that James hadn’t been clear about it in the house where everyone could hear them made him kind of wonder just a bit if he actually just wanted to have sex in the woods.

“Well, um,” James said, pulling Ron into the trees. He definitely wanted to have sex. “It occurred to me the other day that the solstice is happening next month and the full moon at the same time. I don’t care much about the sky, but it’s an awfully auspicious time for magic, especially rituals of binding and…”

Ron got it, taking James’s hand. “You want to get married that night?”

James nodded. “If you’re okay with that.”

“I’d love that,” Ron promised. They were already married as far as Ron was concerned, but he’d happily do whatever ritual James wanted.

“Okay,” James said quietly, leading Ron by the hand. “There’s a…a promise ritual that we have to do, before the next full moon. I figured we may as well do it now.”

Oh, so it was a real ritual. “Okay,” Ron said, letting James pull him to a small clearing, where the moon shone down. It was just a sliver past full. “What do we have to do?”

James looked up at the moon. “I’m going to take off your clothes.”

“Okay,” Ron said, standing there and letting James pull his shirt off for him. He liked James dressing and undressing him. It was a pretty new thing he’d been doing, but it was fun. “What else?”

“We’re going to have to masturbate together.”

Ron blinked. “Huh?”

“We need to mingle our seed with the earth,” James explained, as he pulled down Ron’s pants, getting him to step out of them. Carefully, he took Ron’s mud off as well. Then, with Ron naked, he started to undress himself. “You should start now, it’ll take you longer to have an orgasm than me and we’ll have to try and do it at the same time.”

Ron nodded, swallowing, and started to touch himself, watching James as he got naked, then walked around the clearing, humming with magic. Flowers bloomed where he walked. When he was done, he came and stood in front of Ron, hard as well. “Tell me when you’re ready to cum,” James ordered, touching himself as well.

Ron nodded. They were right at the edge of Josephine’s summer spell, and behind James he could see winter. The night was silent, the moonlight their only witness. Ron watched James and James watched him, and Ron was struck oddly by the memory that he’d done something like this with Owen a few times, though not for magical reasons.

“Getting close…” Ron said, after several minutes.

James nodded, taking a breath. “Don’t until I say so.”

“I never do.”

A smile. “Great forest,” James said, not to Ron, in a low voice. “We ask that you witness us, that you witness our bond, and that you witness our desire. We wish to be bound before the death of the next moon. We wish to be one, we wish to be united. Please accept this offering as proof of our love, as proof of our devotion, as proof of our potential.” He gasped out that last part, nodding at Ron, and Ron let himself cum.

They shot together, onto the grass between them, and as their cum—seed, thought Ron—mingled on the grass, a long, reverberating note answered James, rang through the forest, rushed into the clearing and up into them and both James and Ron were glowing for just a long instant as they came, and they were filled with something huge.

And then it passed, but instead of feeling empty, Ron felt more full than he’d ever been. They were leaning against each other, heads touching. James’s eyes were closed. “I’d say the forest is happy with that idea.”

“Me too,” Ron agreed, and James kissed him.

“Okay,” James said, when he was done. “That was all we had to do. Just so you know, the wedding ceremony takes place in the nude, and we’re going to have to consummate the marriage in the eyes of the witnesses.”

Ron made a face. “We’re going to have to have sex in front of your grandmother.”

“Yes. It’s a magical ritual and we’re all going to be adults about it.”

“If you insist,” Ron said, already embarrassed.

“I do,” James said, picking up Ron’s mud. “How would you feel about trying to wear this until the wedding?”

Ron swallowed, thinking about it. “That’s a lot longer than I’ve ever worn it.”

“I know. Actually I’ll tell you what. Let’s keep it off until we get home, and the day after we do I’ll let you cum as much as you want before I put it back on. Then we’ll see if you can keep it on until the wedding, okay?”

Ron thought about that, then nodded. “Okay, we can try.”

“Good boy,” James said, and he set about dressing himself, then Ron. “I’d like it if we could…”

They both felt it, a drumbeat of an intrusion from the direction of the house. James just sighed. “Okay.”

“That’s…” Ron tried to place the sound. He didn’t recognize it, but he thought he knew it anyway. “Cameron, right?”

“Yes,” James said, pulling the rest of Ron’s clothes on and then reaching for his own. He didn’t seem to be in a particular hurry. “I expect she felt the surge of power and realized we were back.” He paused, pulling up his pants. “You know, I never thought binding us would let you hear the forest as well as you do. I’m always really amazed that it did.”

Ron blushed at that, scuffing his bare feet on the grass. He couldn’t help but notice there was no cum there. “It was all because of you.”

“I’m not so sure.” James pocketed the mud cage, and took Ron’s hand. “Come on.”

They headed back to the house at a pace that made it clear that they weren’t in a hurry, and found nobody there until they got inside, where Cameron was having a cup of tea with Josephine. “There you are,” Cameron said as they came in.

“We were conducting a ritual,” James told her. “Which I assume you knew.”

“It occurred to me, yes,” Cameron admitted. “I’ve returned your cat. She is unharmed, as you can see.”

Demon was poking around Josephine’s kitchen, nosing into cupboards. Jay was following him, trying to get his attention with a string. “Thank you,” said James. “I appreciate you taking care of him.”

Cameron nodded, gesturing for them to sit. James did, and so did Ron, but only after a second. A flower petal fell out of his hair and landed on the table as he poured James some tea. “Tell me how your meeting with Samson went.”

“Productively,” James told her. “My mother appeared and stabbed me, and Sam helped me not die, which I must say I appreciated. I finally convinced him to ask for help regarding his pet monster, and we’re going to work together on that. I suspect he plans to try and kill me again, but I’m going to encourage him to get over that.”

Cameron snorted. “A great deal more than I ever expected from that boy, let me tell you.”

“Have you met him?” James asked.

“No. I’ve simply heard the things you’ve heard. Do you think that you’ll be able to banish this demon of his?”

“I don’t quite have a plan for that yet,” James admitted. “It’s inhabiting the centaur hamlet. I’m going to try a few things when we go there to arbitrate their conflict.”

“Such as?” Cameron asked.

“First I’m going to see if I can find out how widely spread the thing is,” James said with a sigh, spooning a lot of sugar into the tea even if it was too late at night for both sugar and tea. “Then I’ll see if I can find out where it got in. Sam says his family didn’t summon it and I believe him, which means it was just here already.”

Cameron frowned, the music around her shifting slightly. Ron listened to it, listened to how different it was from everyone else’s, and he wondered why he’d ever thought she was human. “That’s extremely worrying,” she said. “It also means that killing Sam is a very bad idea.”

“I agree.” Ron did too.

“We’re going to the hamlet in a few days for arbitration,” Josephine said, cutting through the tension. “Why don’t you come with us, Cameron?”

That was strange, Ron thought, since she hadn’t wanted Cameron interfering with the stuff with Sam. But he guessed this was really important. But Cameron was probably going to say no. She hadn’t cared about the centaurs before, and…

“Very well,” Cameron said with a curt nod. “I will. I’ll ask that we not inform the rest of the Coven at this time.”

“There’s no reason to talk to the Coven about forest business,” James agreed.

“I mean about Samson.”

“That seems like a poor plan,” Josephine said. “Hiding things from them is a bad…”

“No,” James disagreed, looking just slightly apologetic as he interrupted his grandmother. “I agree. We shouldn’t tell them yet.”

“Why is that? They’ll be furious when you do tell them.”

“I agree with your grandmother,” Ron said, thinking about it. “And for the exact reason why you’re disagreeing with her.”

James frowned. “Why?”

Ron took in a breath. This was all over his head, but felt more grounded in it than he’d expected. Maybe it was the feeling of the forest, still holding him. “Because whichever of them you’re worried about will report to Sam that you’re doing exactly what you told him you’d do. And what Sam does with that will tell you for sure if you can trust him.” Ron trusted Sam, but he knew James wasn’t quite as convinced. None of them were, but Ron trusted Sam because he got that Sam was just scared and lonely. Even if he was dangerous, he was just scared and lonely.

James was quiet as he thought about that, and now Cameron was looking at Ron in a very serious way that she never had before and it was somewhat alarming. Demon wound between Ron’s legs. “It’s not the one working for Sam I’m concerned with,” Cameron said after a moment.

Nodding incrementally, James said, “Do you know who it is?”

“No, though I’ve a guess. What I’m concerned about is panic disguised as desire to help.”

“That they’ll kick the centipede nest and tip off the monster,” Josephine concluded, picking up nicely considering how much of what had just passed she supposedly hadn’t known. Though she probably had known. Ron wondered if this was one of those conversations where everyone already knew everything that was going to be said, raising the question of why they weren’t just talking about something else. “It’s a valid point. We should call a meeting after we’ve ascertained the threat and decided on a course of action. Then let the Coven believe that they decided on it together.”

“That is how you used to run the Coven,” Cameron remarked, amused.

Josephine had a twinkle in her eye. “As if I ran anything with you there.”

“We won’t have the meeting here,” James said, thinking. He was tapping his foot under the table. Ron could feel the rhythm of his foot hitting the floor, recognized it as the cadence of their own song. “As much as I’ll hate that, it’s more useful to have it somewhere else.”

He didn’t explain what he meant by that and nobody asked. “Where?” Ron asked.

“We’ll figure that part out later. I think it’s Obadiah’s turn to host.” James sighed. “So I guess Josef’s Boon.”

“We’ll worry about that later,” Cameron said. “And I’ll postpone your meeting with the prince—which shouldn’t be hard, as he didn’t know it was happening. My sources tell me that he’s not acting like an idiot yet, so hopefully that will continue.”

Cameron stood up all at once, though it didn’t seem abrupt. “Very well.” She said it as if anyone but her had just spoken. “I will return in a few days when you are prepared to arbitrate this centaur situation. It’s late. Goodnight.”

And she left, sweeping out of the house like they’d made her come.

Josephine watched her go. “I hope I’m like that when I’m her age,” she said, shaking her head. “Sounds like the ritual went well.”

James nodded. “We’re ready for the solstice. Well, we’re ready for the part of the solstice where we get married. There’s the other crap to do.”

“Good. Stay here a few days rather than going home. We can go to the hamlet together.” Josephine smiled. “As much as I know you’d rather hide in your house, there’s little point.”

James glanced at Ron, who touched his foot under the table. He nodded. “I agree,” he sighed. “I told Sam I’d set up a portal when I got home.”

“And you’ve not gotten home yet,” Josephine said, finishing her tea. “Now, time for bed. Especially for all of you who are just eavesdropping.”

“It’s not eavesdropping if you’re having a loud conversation six feet away while ignoring us, mother,” Julia said, not looking up from her book.

“Ron and I are going to sleep outside,” James said, standing. “It’s warm enough and it’ll give you all more room.”

“You could have just said that you don’t want us crowding you,” Tana teased.

“Could have just said you wanted to have sex,” Jay said, slightly quieter.

“I would have a year ago,” James said, though it wasn’t clear to which of them he was answering. “Ron’s a good influence on me. Come on.”

“Goodnight, everyone,” Ron said, letting James take him outside. They found a quiet spot in the trees, just a little private, and James sat down, started taking off Ron’s clothes.

“Sorry,” James said as he did. “You’ll have to wait a few days for those orgasms.”

Ron smiled, kissing James. “That’s okay. I can wait. I promise not to have any tonight.”

James smiled, because that was all he’d needed to hear to know that Ron wasn’t upset at the change. He got Ron undressed, then himself, then climbed on top of him and kissed him without putting the mud on him. “I’m holding you to that.”

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