42: delirium, cold as frost
247 0 6
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

Nightfall. The thunderstorm finally subdues and all that’s heard in the quiet night are crackles of fire, wind rustles, droned breathing. Noah comes to consciousness slowly, blinking his eyes out of lethargy.

The searing heat has subdued into a mild headache though his body is no less heavy, weighing him down just like the arm draped around his waist under two layers of jackets (still slightly damp), the other arm planted droopily by his face and—

He tries to struggle free but realizes that the person by his side has an unyielding hold on him. Colonel Yang, so close their bodies may as well touch, is carelessly deep asleep, locking him in an uncomfortable predicament. When buried so close to the crook of the man’s neck, Noah can only focus on his scent – woody and hinting of spice, a stereotypically alpha smell that penetrates deep, some very telling musk that makes his spine tingle.

Noah’s first thought is to find his suppressants and devour them by the dozens, and his second thought is to fling the colonel ten meters away, knee him hard in the groin and subsequently punch him into a coma.

He acts on the second. At least he does try knee him, but his strength is too sapped to do much damage. Instead, he misses and hits the man on the lower abdomen. It was a miscalculation when the Colonel’s iron-hard stomach injures him in collateral, ricocheting a pang of pain down from his knee to his entire body. Two groans are heard in consequence, one more pained but both equally as disturbed.

Yang Rong’s eyes snap open – a trained response – and then he does a rapid scan of their surroundings. He cranes his neck up, surveying the area for potential predators, unforeseen threats, all kinds of vile scenarios that may have befallen them. He’s very efficient, too, his green eyes flickering from one corner of the cottage to the next, peering out the door and the holes in the wall.

Upon noticing nothing out of the ordinary, he plops his head back down, closes his eyes again, drapes his hand back on Noah’s bare waist, and murmurs groggily, “…Don’t make a fuss, little kitten. Your Rong-ge is quite tired…”

Truth be told, the colonel does look tired – his dark circles are the droopiest ever seen, his complexion more washed-out, his lips more chapped. His brows are wrinkled and arched higher than usual. In this proximity, Noah can see the deepening contour by his unfairly sculpted nose bridge, more pronounced on lightly tanned skin tone.

The colonel has the attractiveness of an art sculpture, some face of paragon importance, a craft so detailed it’d take years to carve each individual scar on his frame – it is unfortunate that his looks are beset by his senseless personality.

“Be good and stay still,” the man continues to say sleepily. “Lean a bit closer, hmm? Good boy…”

Then he continues to knead the sensitive skin of Noah’s waist, dipping lecherously to his hip – and Noah roughly slams their foreheads together, tossing the colonel’s body as far away as he can. Yang Rong groans and rolls over to his back – still half asleep – while Noah gets to a sitting position and prepares to pummel him.

His hand is caught before he can land a punch.

“…Do you have to be like this…” Colonel Yang groans out, cranking open one eye to look at him. In the late hours of night, the only source of brightness is the makeshift fireplace behind them. Their silhouettes are flickered in deep titian tones, and the colonel, with his disheveled hair and lethargic face, has an air of uncharacteristic laziness.

His eyes are hazel-like in the glow. He brings Noah’s fist closer to his face, his lips, and – to Noah’s bewilderment – starts to brush light kisses on his knuckles. The man murmurs, “Noah, you were the one who clung onto me first – so what if I borrow your body for a bit? This is repayment.”

His voice is husky in the fog of sleep. Noah is suddenly reminded of the night prior – heated grunts, skin on skin, when the colonel trailed kisses down the same sensitive places. His memory is masked in haziness, but he is very aware of Yang Rong’s familiar scent, his touch, and his lips which in hindsight look redder and rawer than usual.

A look of fluster followed by panic and Noah jolts backward, flinging himself out of the hold. Yang Rong quirks an eyebrow and studies him pensively. There is intricacy in the colonel’s expression, but it’s hidden in lieu of dancing amusement. A small glimmer of warm orange takes over his crescent eyes and then he props himself up with an elbow, his lips curved to tease.

“What’s wrong?” the man says. “Are you shy?”

Noah’s reaction borders anxiety. The tips of his ears are blushed and reddened even more by the flickering flames behind him. But he’s not mortified as he is petrified. In front of him is a man, an alpha he’d latched onto in the escalation of heat – the same alpha he’d simultaneously tried to kill – and Yang Rong is all too comfortably staying beside him.

“It was a natural physiological reaction, alright?” Yang Rong tells him placatingly. “This little episode is nothing to get hung up over, hmm?”

He’s almost speechless as Yang Rong’s smirk lifts into a shit-eating grin. Then the man, completely obtuse, hoists himself upright and says, “Little kitten, it is surprising that you are so active when in heat considering your usual indifference, but is it really engrained in your personality to be so lethal? If it were anyone else, they’d have been strangled and decapitated right after.”

Noah stares at him unblinkingly. Then, just as quickly as a harsh gale blasts through the open windows of the cottage, a sudden drop in temperature in a lulled night, the campfire wavering in chain reaction, Noah grabs a block of firewood and swings it at the man’s face – ferociously, cruelly aiming to crack his skull.

Yang Rong, startled, blocks it with his forearm. The lethargy’s slowed him so he doesn’t manage to grab the object – the weapon – in time. The wood smashes against him, the impact heavy under the jut of his wrist, and even with Noah’s strength compromised from injury, his wield is hardened to kill.

Noah’s expression turns into one of hollowness. The tension is bombarded with a flurry of snow and they’re sitting atop a glacier that threatens to fracture in one single tap.

He says with icelike intensity, “Get lost.”

His face is in strobe light and his eyes are frighteningly pale – the sort that carries as much magnificence as they do ghastly apprehension. While Yang Rong’s eyes darken in severity, Noah’s eyes tend to glow iridescent, freezing all in their wake.

The firewood splinters through layers of skin. It presses insistently against the colonel’s carpal bone. No doubt, Noah would take another swing if necessary. It is strange that Yang Rong doesn’t retaliate. He looks at Noah with an unfathomable gaze – and while Noah cannot decipher it, he feels that the man has the omniscience to see through him.

“Where do you want me to go?” Colonel Yang asks.

“Out of my sight.”


No utterance is given – merely, Noah looks at him with the same devoid expression. It is the smallest tremble of his lips that gives anything away. The young man holds himself with such detachment, such good pretend that is second only to Yang Rong’s poise.

The colonel ponders. His next words are spoken in simplicity – zero motive, only a factual statement. “Because you are an omega.”

Noah drags the log across firm skin, watching as the crimson finally flows down. “Your scent makes me sick, Colonel Yang.”

The man doesn’t move an inch even as the pain gets more insistent, his forearm welting red per each splinter that scratches through. Noah despises how insignificant the wound is to him.

Yang Rong studies him, lowering his sight from eyes to lips then to neck, where a pinkish mark dots suggestively on delicate skin. The two jackets have now fallen onto the floor and his torso is bared for Yang Rong to see.

The young man is leaned over to trap him, a move of dominance that Noah is straining to keep up, not allowing weakness to be seen through – it is futile when his abdomen is buckling in pain. Still, he doesn’t retreat from his feigned position of power.

Yang Rong, not perceptive of emotions but abnormally perceptive of body language, sees through vulnerability anyway. “You are afraid of me.”

Noah releases the pressure and, with a swift movement, tosses the log behind him. It lands sloppily into the campfire. The shadows flail chaotically on the walls, seeming to consume all of the furniture in the cramped room. A moment of repose later, Noah gets up and walks to the far-right corner.

He picks up the colonel’s backpack, ransacks through all the pill bottles, drugs and medicines, and picks out a small, silver-colored badge. The material reflects off the flailing flames. There is an engraving in the center of it that is surprisingly untarnished despite the worn-out steel. He throws the object at Yang Rong, hauls the bag and walks toward the fireplace.

“Colonel Yang,” Noah says as he grabs the first shirt he sees hanging on a decrepit rack, “if we were to meet again, I will put a bullet through your skull just like I did to your companion.”

It’s a statement that is considerably a threat, his voice raised to be heard. Noah throws on the shirt – hides how painfully the movement pulls at the stitches on his side – and makes his way out the cottage. The planks creak underneath him. The eerie atmosphere doesn’t dissipate even as conversation fades. Two steps away from the entrance and Noah can see how dark the outside is in comparison.

Colonel Yang cuts in right before he heads out.

“My companion whose tag you brought back from the battlefield?” Yang Rong tosses the dog tag up and catches it with his hand. The action is repeated infinitely. “Awfully kindhearted of you. When you kill me, will you do the same?”

Noah turns and gives a slight smirk. It holds unspoken danger. “No, I’d leave it on your corpse.”

A low whistle. Colonel Yang is blatantly ogling him. Viridescent eyes twinkle in fascination, examining every contour on his face, every curve of his features. A look of intrigued mixed with… something else. It may be imagination that the colonel looks mesmerized.

Yang Rong flicks the dog tag up a few rotations, catches it and says, “Noah, how can I coax you to stay?”

“Coax me to stay?” Noah raises an eyebrow. “So I can be thrown inside the Nexus for dissection? Or would you rather I be chained inside a breeding facility? A foot soldier like you is bound to following orders from Command.”

“I do follow orders,” the man replies, “but whatever goes on in the Nexus is none of my concern.”

“And neither is it my concern,” Noah says coldly. “I am not going with you, Colonel Yang.”

“Then let me rephrase.”

Yang Rong gets up position and walks toward him. Their distance is shortened in only a few seconds and now, Noah is in too close proximity to that face that’s speckled in caramel orange, seeming more attractive than appropriate. Even ungroomed, the colonel carries an air of grandeur – it may be the self-assurance that he carries in poise, the kind that stands out on the battlefield, in public, in private.

Somehow, Noah is allured to remain in place, focusing on him more than he should.

Yang Rong smiles – it doesn’t carry his usual mirth – and says, “How can I coax you to bring me along?”