The Many Tales of Blackjack: Rabbit Season

"I don't mind. Your body changes, my brain feels like it's been re-built a half-dozen times since I've met you. It works out." Sergei said, looking over the slender, beautiful features of his transformed love. Despite his words, he was more or less used to Erin-as-the-moth, for all that the additional wings had been a surprise. But this was something different altogether, and it would take getting used to. "How does it feel?"

"You can make a different one for Sasha?" Sergei said, wrapping his arm around Erin and giving her a hug. It was interesting, and rather pleasant, to be able to do so without worrying about the wings. "Keep this one."

"I can make a different one for myself," Erin said, moving against his body as he hugged her, enjoying the feel of his arms against her now naked back. "This one suits Aleksander better. He can be our son of dragons, Aleksander Zmeyevich." She laughed. Elongated fingernails trailed gently down Sergei's back.

"I feel... strange," Erin said, who often felt strange, but she certainly did now. "I have had those wings for more years of my life than not. They do little, other than get in the way, but to be without them is to feel as though I am missing an arm, or a leg. And now I cast off everything I am just by putting on a mask. Very strange." She looked up at him, looking slightly demonic, with fangs peeking over her lips.

"How do I feel? It is like the little voice in my heart, that tells me I am less than others, that I am missing something, is gone. But the voice in my head that tells me things I should and should not do... it is also gone. I feel free and... it scares me what I would do when free. And I am scared that you will like me better as this, as something fake and playing dress up, than what I really am..."

She suddenly gave him a look, quite a bit more like Heather's expressions than one of Erin's, and leaned up out of the water to give him a very forward kiss. Just one kiss, free of any guilt or inhibitions, free of any care that she might be gripping him too hard, that she might bite his lip with her sharp fangs, just one selfish, passionate, glorious kiss.

For a moment, Sergei twitched out of sheer surprise, but it was the good kind of surprise. He put his arms around her and drew her close, and kissed her back, lips locked with lips, hearts with hearts. Sergei was somewhat out of practice, but he could still send a shiver down a woman's spine if he tried, and oh, he was trying.

"...I can learn to like this too." Sergei said when they finally parted, lips met in a low whistle. He stroked Erin's face, smiling. "But either way, you are still Erin. How can you be fake? It's no more than a different dress or different make up, is it?"

"I won't miss the first voice. You aren't less than others, never were and never will be." Sergei said, and he kissed Erin again, a swift kiss. "The second voice... that one is a good voice, we should keep it. But for an afternoon, it can take a rest. But you're still Erin. My own perfect little angel."

"Because... a little girl pretending to be a princess isn't really a princess. This magic is more than a dress," Erin said, sincerely. How was it she could speak so much easier now, with her kith shed alongside her wings. "It's changed a part of me... maybe you will understand, when you put your mask on. And it's just that, pretend. Like... eh.... like what they do to the model in a magazine, airbrushing her until she isn't that person anymore. It wears off, and come back to who I really am, and am left wondering... if you like me better as something I am pretending to be, and not what I really am. That... the person I really am will only disappoint you, after you've seen me like this."

"I could wear this mask forever, if I thought you liked it better," she sighed.

"I don't know if I should, you know," Erin grinned, fangs bared, trailing a long fingernail down his cheek. "I might do something I regret, later. Or is that what you want?" She leaned all her weight on him, which wasn't much, and wrapped her legs around his hips. "I know what you think about. When's the last time you've been with a girl, Seryozha?" she asked, leaning in for another one of those kisses. Maybe more than just one.

"You're still Erin, with the mask, or without." Sergei said stubbornly. He took his arm off of Erin's shoulder, and then, in a fit of mischief, began to massage her back. He was not the sort of master at it that Erin was, but he made a valiant effort, kneading his fingers into the small of her back, between the shorts and the tank top. "Maybe think of the mask as like a bottle of wine? You can drink yourself to death, if you try. I've known people to do it. And liquor makes you act different, even when you have just a little. But people have just a little."

And then she was astride him, and there was a kiss, and life was very, very good for Sergei, even if there were inconvenient questions abounding. "It's been a while, and. What." Sergei said, when he could breathe once more. "Sort of question is that, angel?"

"So you like me better after a few drinks?" Erin teased. "Or maybe if I acted more like Heather?" She gave up on trying to explain it. That was something she could fret over when she was a wretched little moth again. Instead she practically purred as he rubbed her back, setting her hands on his shoulders. "That's very nice..." she said, her eyes half-lidded as she relaxed on top of him.

"It's a personal sort of question," she replied, grinning widely. This was not her little pixie grins, it was something far more predatory. "Because I'm curious about so much about you, and yet I'm scared to ask anything about you..." For fear of hurting Sergei himself, usually - but questions about girls merely made him embarrassed, and in any case, that little voice that wanted her rabbit never to be hurt was so much quieter now...

"You are putting words into my mouth." Sergei said sternly, though the effect was ruined somewhat by the fact that his hands continued to run over her back. It wasn't a proper backrub, not at this angle, but it was a valiant effort at it. Polite, or perhaps respectful of Erin's wishes, he didn't even attempt to undress Erin's top for a more convenient and entertaining massage. "Don't do that, I say enough wrong things without it."

"A personal question." Sergei repeated. He shrugged. "I was a bad man and I lived a bad life. It was exciting, but it suited me badly. Do I miss it? Sometimes, but not often. My life is different now, different and better. Those girls... didn't matter. You? Do. You matter more than anything else in the world, Erin."

"It's just that I am scared, and no one seems to understand, not even my own kind... I am frightened I will drink myself to death, as you say, or decide the world is better when I'm drunk than sober... or that people don't like me when I'm sober..." she said, taking his metaphor, and feeling suddenly alone. No one understood. No one else had this problem, she supposed.

"I'm curious," Erin said, laying languidly against him as he massaged her. "About you, the good and the bad. I lived a bad life too, after all. And it's always hard for me not to be curious, about things I haven't done."

"Besides, then we can make things exciting while living a better life," she added, leaning up to his neck, and repeating the bite from before. This time she had fangs, but she tried to be gentle, running them across his skin without piercing into it.

"Oh Erin..." Sergei said, sounding sad for a moment, lifting his hands to cup her face. "I love you. But... what do I need to do to prove to you that I do? That I like you as you are, for who you are?"

"Did that sound as confused to you as it did to me?" Sergei said after a moment, but then he forgot about it, shuddering with delight at Erin's little bite. "Excitement... we can have an exciting life. But..."

"I have an idea. For tomorrow. We will go to the park. I have a present for you." Sergei said, and he grinned as he leaned back, putting a finger on Erin's nose. "But, I will only give it to you if you have your wings. Drinking is fun, but it is the person beneath the mask that I love."

"A present?" Erin asked, looking a lot less demonic and so much more excited. She hugged him enthusiastically, trying to pick out more details just from his expression. For someone as childish as Erin, her life had been tragically bereft of presents. "What kind of present?"

"I will!" she agreed. "I could have them now, if you like. Even if they'd get all awful and soggy and wet."

"I'd drip all over Sasha's floor, though. And we have the whole night until tomorrow," Erin added, partially because she did not actually want to get her wings wet. She grinned sharply again, and then proceeded to return to gently biting his neck. "And the jacuzzi and wine is right here. What do you think we should do until then?"

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