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  • DovaBunny
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    Oh what is this? Can it be, its a new chapter? Why yes, yes it is!

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    CHAPTER 9

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    The Road to Solitude was long, hard, and cold. Bishop had moved her from his back to the front of the saddle where she’d be warm between his arms. They’d alternate taking the reins and stopped only for calls from nature or a quick bite and leg-stretching.

    “Ranger, do you trust me?” she asked as he reached up stretching his back while the horse drank from the river.

    He looked at her curiously, “Why?”

    “Sit down, close your eyes, and open your mouth…” she asked with a mischievous goofy smile, her hands behind her back.

    He narrowed his eyes at her with a smirk, “As my lady commands.” He sat down on the rock between them, closing his eyes. “Just know, if you pull something, I know where you live. I’ll get you back!” He opened his mouth, the corners curling up into his cheeks.

    “Oh ye of little faith!” she chuckled at him. The sweet, tangy taste of snowberries on his tongue. He closed his mouth and opened his eyes, eyebrows raised at delicious taste of the berries. But she must’ve put too many in his mouth, as he bit down releasing the juice from the berries, some spilled over his lip and down his chin.

    “Errr Bishicakes, you got a lil…” she pointed to her chin whilst eyeing his. Chewing on the tasty, tangy berries, Bishop felt it run down his chin, but pretended he didn’t have a clue what she was talking about.

    “Wha-? I need to shave?” he said mouth full of berries. The smile in his playful eyes gave him away though.

    She dropped her head a little, peering up at him through her eyebrows, a grin pulled into her left cheek as one eyebrow raised, giving him that look that could only mean ‘Diana is about to do something bad’.

    She reached up, her hands around his neck pulling him down to her level. She was tall, but he was still taller. Bishop’s eyes shot open wide at the unexpected pull as he took a step ahead to keep from tumbling over her. Before he could react further, she leaned up to him and licked up the juice, from his scruffy-bearded chin up to his bottom lip.

    His eyes still wide, but expression unreadable, he swallowed hard and froze staring at the young woman. She gave him a wink, “Nevermind, I got it,” and turned to head for the horse.

    Still feeling the tingling on his bottom lip from her tongue, Bishop wiped his chin and mouth with his arm, watching his crazy companion get their stuff and mount the horse.

    “Come now sugarlips! Or we’ll be late…” she sang to him.

    ___________________________________________

    “Close your eyes and open your mouth?” Diana requested with glee.

    Bishop frowned at her but kept walking, “No…”

    “Aww c’mon! Pleeease?” she pleaded, hands clasped, skipping alongside him. “Don’t you trust me?”

    “No, I don’t!” he replied expressively with a chuckle.

    “Oh don’t be like that Bishie! I’d do it if you asked?”

    “Well, that’s because my speechcraft is impeccable and I’m charming as hell.”

    She gave him a serious, unimpressed expression, dropping her hands.

    “Fine!” he huffed. “But this is the last time.”

    “Yay!!”

    He stood with his weight on one hip, arms crossed, closed eyes, and opened his mouth. The musky, honey-like tang of juniper berries hit his tongue. He closed his mouth, opened his eyes again, and chewed with an expression that said, ‘happy now?’.

    She watched him, studying his features and his face with great care while looking waaay to excited for him to be comfortable. He raised an eyebrow and reeled back a little.

    “Nothing?” she finally asked.

    “What do you mean nothing?” he said as he swallowed.

    She waited a moment.

    Suddenly the ranger shivered, “Woa, cold breeze just blow in?” he wrapped his arms over his chest and looked around as if trying to spot the source of the sudden icy cold he was feeling.

    “Interesting…” Diana narrowed her eyes a little, tapping her chin. A lantern went off over her head, and she summoned a small flame in her hand, small as she could. She held it near the Ranger’s cheek but not nearly close enough to burn him.

    He quickly reeled back from her hand, “By the nine woman, that burns! Why would you do that?!”

    “Weakness to fire! Got it…” her eyes lit up as she put out the flame and pulled out her notebook to write something down.

    “Did…” Bishop paused in disbelief, “Did you just use me to test out an alchemic ingredient?”

    “Maybe…”

    “Diana!”

    “Oh calm down drama queen! It was just juniper berries. Not like I stuffed a daedric heart or giant’s toe in your pie-hole.” With that she clapped her book shut, a satisfied smile on her face. “But thanks, by the way, for contributing to my alchemy studies! You’re a real pal!” she leaned in and dropped a kiss on his cheek before strutting along the road.

    He sneered at her as he watched her confidently walk to the music in her head. He reached up to touch his cheek for a moment, then followed her lead, mumbling curses as he went. Something about shoving large antlers where the sun doesn’t shine, feeding to slaughterfish, and putting mudcrabs in a bedroll.

     

    They’d left Riften just after lunch. Bishop picked up some new leather armour which he personally fitted and improved. She was quite impressed to see him so skilled at smiting, but she guessed it was one of the skills he had to pick up as a young boy on his own in the wilderness. Diana also finally bought herself a new bow! She’d lost hers when she tripped over it while running from a giant about two months ago, and Bishop had refused to get her a new one, instead handing her a stick and a rock saying she didn’t deserve real weapons.

    Riften had been a weird place for Diana. Something about it drew her in on a level she couldn’t quite explain. Its darkness, the strange people, and unspoken powers in the city intrigued her. She spotted the man with the red hair and green eyes in the market. The hair at the back of her neck had her eyes scouring the scene to find him staring at her. Strange, it was almost like he was there to look for her, but upon seeing Bishop join her side he quickly left.

    They had lunch at the Bee and Bard just before leaving. Bishop said his goodbyes to his friends, and left a letter with Talen-Jei, before throwing one last over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek declaration of love and devotion to Keerava. She looked disapprovingly at the exchange of the letter, but just laughed the Ranger’s words off. Talen-Jei walked with Bishop to get their things so they could leave. Diana smiled politely, and thanked them for their hospitality before turning to follow him. Suddenly Keerava grabbed her arm, pulling her back. Diana was very taken aback, and a little scared to be honest as she obeyed the Argonian’s pull and watched her wide-eyed.

    Keerava looked into Diana’s eyes for a moment, almost concerned, then spoke: “Be careful with that one child, things are not always what they appear to be.” Her voice was low and dead-serious, almost warning her.

    “What do you mean?” Diana asked, sensing the woman’s urge to tell her something.

    Keerava looked over her shoulder to the men making their way back. She quickly let go of Diana, “Nevermind, I’ve said too much. Forget I said anything.” She quickly turned back to her counter and started polishing the mugs facing the wall.

    “You coming, ladyship?” Bishop’s voice drew her back. She took a moment to look the Ranger over. Was she in danger? His eyes were private, and stern, as they usually were, but his voice was calm and kind. He had opened up to her that once in Whiterun after she guilt-tripped him into it, but other than that, she didn’t’ really know the man. He kept to himself, kept a few feet away from her at all times if he could, and seemed to hiding something. Yet, when she fell on him under the tree before they came to this backward-ass town, she could swear there was a moment there, a flash of genuineness.

    “Ladyship?” his voice came again, this time with a hint of curiosity and maybe a little concern at her strange expression and mouth open.

    “Er, yeah!” she shook out of it and followed. Maybe the woman’s just crazy, everyone in this town seemed like they sprinkled moonsugar on their porridge with breakfast.

     

    It felt good to be out of the city and in nature again. The Rift was beautiful, and farms and mills dotted the land around the outskirts of town. They passed Snow-Shod Farm and watched as two men, one Nord and one Wood Elf, worked on building a small stead in the cows’ camp. The two exchanged comments and laughed as they worked together in the afternoon sun.

    “Aww would you look at that, Bishop?” Bishop looked over to where she was pointing.

    “What, those two men building a shed giggling like maidens? Riveting stuff. Also, don’t point. Its rude.”

    She quickly dropped her hand. “You know what else they’re building? Friendship.” She gleamed at him. “We should be more like that.”

    “Like what?” he said with a laugh, “You want to become middle aged men who spend their days hammering nails into wood? I mean, I’m into nailing but that’s a whole different kind,” he winked at her.

    “Okay, I’ll admit, the second kind of nailing is much more appealing, but I mean getting to know one another, you know?”

    He sighed, guess he saw this coming. He must admit though, he was also a little curious about her too, but couldn’t ask without expecting questions hurled back at him. “Fine, what do you want to know? You have 2 questions…”

    “20!”

    “3.”

    “10?”

    “5, final offer.”

    “I’ll take it!” she grinned from ear to ear at him, a smile that brought an involuntary one to his features too. “Okay, what is your most and least favourite things?”

    He thought to himself for a moment, the sound of their feet on the dirt road floated around them. “’Most’ would be waking up in the forest, least – snooty, entitled, rich city folk… That, or apple cabbage stew.” His face shrived up in disgust at the last comment. “Yours?”

    She was a little surprised that he returned the question, that he was actually partaking in the back-and-forth of civil conversation. “Uhm, most favourite would be eating apple cabbage stew with my snooty, entitled, rich city folk friends…” she looked up at him with playful eyes. He peered down to her and smacked her behind the head with an amused huff. “No but really, most favourite is spiced wine and Falkreath in the spring, least favourite is stairs. Fuck stairs, man.”

    “Hmm..” he turned and looked back ahead as if contemplating her answer somehow. “Anyway, so that’s two, you have three left.”

    “Okay, okay. Where have you travelled, what places have you seen?”

    “We were in Cyrodiil when I split, so I’ve seen some Northern areas of it. Didn’t want to come right back to Skyrim, so I drifted around Morrowind for about two years. Was about seventeen when I returned, travelled around, but stayed out of Haafinheim and the Reach if I could.” His eyes dropped down to her, “You, what have you seen?”

    “Me? Pffft… You mean besides your dad’s house?” He looked unimpressed. “Nowhere really. Mainly Falkreath. Before Helgen burned down, the furthest I’ve even been was Riverwood. Always really wanted to see all of Skyrim though, and now I finally am.” She smiled proudly.

    He tore his eyes off her to look ahead as they walked next to each other.

    “Okay, second last one. I’ve only ever seen you use your bow or your dagger, why?”

    “I stole this here dagger off a bandit one night as a small clan of them invaded our camp. He made the one mistake most people make with me, he underestimated me. Our ‘line of work’ had taught me quick hands and quick feet, so I plucked the blade right from his hip, slashing his knee, and then has he dropped down, I plunged it into his neck. The bow I picked up in Morrowind, used it to hunt to get by. Just never had the need for anything else, I guess.” She nodded, seemingly satisfied with his answer. “Where’d you pick up magic?”

    “Our town had an alchemist who knew some magic. I’d collect ingredients for her, and she’d teach me what she knew in return. I’m no master, but I know enough restoration and fire spells to get by. Saved my ass quite a few times traveling on my own. Besides, healing potions are expensive and I’m a cheapskate.“

    “Not when it comes to ale and weapons though?”

    “I have my priorities.”

    “To each his own I guess. Ok, last one?”

    She took a moment to think, it had to be a good one. “You ever had a girl?” Bishop’s calm, playful demeanour dropped as he turned to look at her with a serious expression, “Or guy! I’m not judging…”

    “There was…someone. Was a mistake though. Worst was, I knew it from the start. Anyway, how about you?” She noticed how quickly he flipped the question. She hit a bit of a nerve there.

    “Same, I guess.”

    “Oh?” she had sparked his interest.

    “Yeah, we grew up together. Parents’ houses were right opposite each other, we were the same age, and my mother taught us to read and write together. Being an Imperial, she was quite well educated. We were joined at the hip, they’d tease. As we got older, I kept my sense of adventure and curiosity, he got more serious and mature, joined the town guard. I don’t know if you know this – but that’s the absolute most boring job in the world! It’s just walking up and down town all day everyday! Urgh, I’d rather kiss a horker! Anyway, so as we reached our late teens, he started ‘courting’ me. Would bring me flowers, dress up real nice and take me to the Inn for dinner, even gave me this,” she lifted her leather satchel, “for all my ‘ingredient huntin’ he said. So, after a while I kinda gave in. Now that we’re actually heading towards Falkreath through Helgen, kinda brings back old memories.”

    “So what happened to him?” Bishop asked with genuine curiosity, his voice low. “He die in the attack?

    “No, worse. When I was being hauled in and lined up for the chopping block, he was standing right there – in his guard uniform – frozen.” Bishop’s face revealed a moment of disgust. “He wrote me later assuring me he’d try to explain to them I wasn’t with the rebels, and that they told him to ‘know his place’ and that he had no right to question their authority. I dunno, I could never get over that.”

    Bishop looked at her with an unreadable expression, something between understanding and association, but not quite. “Where’s he now?”

    “Last I heard, with all those who survived the attack in a small settlement that developed at the old Alchemists’ Shack. Actually, we’re going to be passing close by it, and I haven’t seen my mom or brothers in almost a year. Would you mind if he stop there for the night?”

    “I see no reason why not. Would be nice to sleep through the night and not take shifts keeping guard, sure.”

     

    Diana swallowed hard, and gave Bishop a glance over her shoulder. He gave her a gentle nod. She stepped out of the shade in the trees towards a woman tending to a little vegetable patch. Behind her were three young men, teenagers, labouring away at the soil.

    “Mom?” she called out cautiously. She had not seen her mother and three bothers since the attack, they were her only surviving family. She felt bad for taking her ticket out town and running without looking back, leaving them behind.

    The old woman froze, then slowly stood up and turned around. She dropped her tools and as her eyes filled with tears. “Diana? Is that really you?”

    “It’s me, mama.” She said sheepishly as she took a step towards the woman. The three boys looked up from their work to see what was going on.

    “Oh my baby, my baby’s come home!” She ran to Diana, throwing her arms around her, squeezing tight. Bishop could see now where Diana got her looks and her figure. Her mother was old and grey, but strong dark eyes, and a tall, lean, graceful figure. The woman kissed Diana’s face all over making her giggle.

    “DIANA!!” The three boys ran to her, throwing down their tools. They tackled her out of her mother’s arms right to the ground.

    “Take it easy boys!” she laughed as one tickled her, “Stop it before I climb a tree to get away from you again!” They chuckled and helped her up.

    “It’s just so awesome to see you again, sis!” one said. “You’ve gotten fat,” another chimed in, “But still as fugly as always!” the third added messing up her hair.

    “Aww I’ve missed you assholes too!” she beamed giving each a kiss on the cheek.

    “What are you doing here, Diana dear?” her mother stepped back in, having recovered from her tears of joy, “How long will you be staying with us?”

    “How do you know she’s just staying for a while?” one brother turned to their mother curious.

    “Because I know my daughter…” the woman smiled, eyes still glistening as she cupped Diana’s face.

    “Mom’s right, sadly. I’m just here for the night, I’m afraid.” She tenderly wrapped her hands around her mother’s wrists. “We’re on our way to Markarth.”

    “We?” the eldest brother asked.

    “Oh yeah, meet Bishop,” she gestured to the dark, heavy shade under the trees, “my companion.”

    Bishop emerged from the trees, a little uncomfortable and unsure how to approach all this. Meeting her family, being here for the reunion, it was all very personal.

    The mother’s eyes went wide open, the brothers lifted their heads and pulled their shoulders back. This was quite the typical respective responses Bishop got from women and from men.

    “Well, hello Bishop. Welcome to our home!” the woman stepped out and held out her hand to him, “Any friend of Diana’s is welcome here. I’m Andrea, and these are my boys – the youngest is Karl, this is Saul, and the eldest is Hroan, named after his father.”

    “It’s nice to meet you,” he shook her hand politely, “thank you for welcoming me, and I’m sorry to hear about your loss.”

    “Oh that’s okay dear,” Andrea responded warmly, “but come now, you must be hungry!” she whispered something to Karl, who then quickly ran off as the rest of them walked to the house. As they walked, some of the other inhabitants came running over at the sight of Diana. Poor woman was the highlight of the year.

     

    They sat around a large table, feasting and drinking, the whole settlement. There was one mysterious placing across from Diana’s seat that remained open. Diana shared stories of their travels and her brothers shared their funny impression of her, along with their favourite childhood memories of making her life miserable. Bishop kept to himself, but had to admit, he was having fun just sitting at her side and listening. They’ve almost been wiped out, but they were still a family. Everyone, all 12 of the people around the table treated one another like a loved one, throwing around friendly banter. He’d never seen something like it before, this is not the way he knew ‘family’.

    The door swung open as a man came rushing in, pulling off his hood as he reached the table to stare with big eyes at his companion. He had a guess who this was.

    “Loran…”

    “So it’s true, you’re really here…” he said, still catching his breath. By the looks of it he ran here. He was a good looking young man. Soft blond hair, kind green eyes, and was dressed in fitted leather armour with a green cape that brought out his eyes, a bow on his back.

    “Yeah,” she said awkwardly, holding his intense gaze. Everyone around the table was silent, watching the two.

    The young man let out a breath like he’d been holding it for a while, “It’s good to see you. You look… just as beautiful as always.” He moved in to sit at the seat across her. Seems like her mother had kept the spot for him.

    Diana gave a coy smile. Clearly not sure how to handle the situation. Everyone was still staring. Bishop didn’t like it, felt the sudden urge to save her.

    “Hi, Loran? I’m Bishop, her companion.” Bishop stood and reached over the table to offer his hand to the man, finally breaking his eye contact.

    Loran’s eyes went dim when he saw the big Ranger towering over the table, Bishop’s eyes held his determination and just a hint of intimidation. “Pleasure.”

     

    “So I shoot this guy, right? Arrow literally sticking out of his head!” Diana tells Loran, both of them so hysterical they’re tearing, “And I shit you not – the dumb potato spins around, yells: ‘Huh? Who’s there?’” Loran’s head hits the table, laughing so hard he’s clenching his stomach. “And then-“ she wipes away the tears and catches her breath, “Then he just goes ‘Nothing, must be my imagination’! Arrow still in his head!” The two old friends fall apart in laughter. Bishop just grunts to himself as he returns to cutting a wolf figure out of a small block of wood with his dagger. Everyone else had gone to bed and it was just the three of them remaining. The two had been swopping stories and cracking each other up for hours.

    “Diana?” Andrea called returning from the kitchen after cleaning up. She’d refuse any help from Diana or Loran, insisting they catch up. She didn’t say anything about Bishop, but he wasn’t going to leave her side. “Sorry to interrupt dear, but I’ve fixed the guest room up for you, just down the hall. Bishop, I’m afraid we only had the one spare room, but I’ve prepared the cot for you in our storeroom. I know it’s not much, but its private and comfortable.”

    Bishop mustered a smile. He didn’t want to appear ungrateful, but he didn’t like the idea of not sleeping near her. Especially since the guest room was in the wing where all the singles and young people in the small settlements slept. Which were essentially her brothers, Loran, and two younger girls.

    “Thanks mom!” Diana smiled.

    “Good night, aunt Ann!” Loran chimed in warmly. Both still sporting a glow from all the laughing and grinning so hard.

    “You’re most welcome. Bishop? Why don’t I show you to your spot?” Andrea asked, nudging her head towards the kitchen which led into the storeroom.

    “No, thank you m’am. I’m sure I’ll find it.” Bishop responded politely but sternly. He suspected Andrea was trying to get him away from Diana so she and Loran could be alone. He wasn’t going to leave side, and nothing was going to change that. Andrea seemed a little confused and displeased, but politely smiled and excused herself.

    It was clear to him that Diana and Loran went way back. They spoke the same, had the same sense of humour, had a lot of inside jokes, and just had a connection that was unspoken but clear as day. Loran had stars in his green eyes as he watched Diana laugh and talk, and didn’t take them off her, except to give Bishop a disapproving, annoyed look every now and then. Diana too seemed to warm up to her old counterpart, relaxing more and asking about his life.

    “So you’ve the settlement’s hunter since I left?”

    “Yeah, someone had to do it. Your brothers, bless them, are hard-working but not stealthy or fast, and everyone else had a trade or skill that was more useful here. You left some big shoes, but I recalled everything you taught me about hunting and kinda started from there.”

    “Wow, that’s-, that’s awesome Loran. And are you happy?”

    “I am! I just wish I started doing it back when you were still around. It’s fun, but it doesn’t compare to those times you took me with you.” The two both giggled at the memory.

    “Oh by the nine those were fun… You’d keep scarring the animals away, I’d have to chase after them.”

    “Gods I was terrible! And you were always so kind, telling me it was a particularly sensitive deer that spooked easy, and not to feel bad.”

    “I was lying through my teeth, are you kidding? You were really just a terrible hunter!” he hid his face in his hand, his cheeks pink as he chuckled in shame. “But now look at you! Loran the hunter.” She sat back and gestured to him. Taking in the site he was. His kind green eyes and soft blond hair, they brought back old times. It almost felt like that fateful day in Helgen never happened.

    The two were quiet for a moment as the chuckles died down. Loran looked up at her, his gaze so intense and tender she looked away. “Come hunting with me tomorrow morning?”

    “No, I-, I can’t.” she shook her head hesitantly, “We need to get going to Markarth.” Bishop shot her a look of confirmation.

    “Markarth will still be there a day later,” Loran argued, reaching over to put his hand on hers, “You won’t. Then I don’t know when I’ll see you again.” Diana looked down at his strong, large hand over hers. “Diana,” she looked up into his deep eyes, “I’ve… I’ve really missed you.” His fingers gently folded under hers as he took her hand.

    Diana opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Loran held her hand and her gaze, looking like he was falling for her all over again. Diana wasn’t resisting, she wasn’t giving in either.

    Bishop stopped what he was doing the minute Loran reached out to her and was watching the scene intently. That’s it, he was done being on the sideline.

    “Well,” he began, wrapping his arm around Diana’s shoulder, dragging her eyes to him, “It’s getting late ladyship, and we got a long road ahead. Time for bed.”

    “Oh, uh, yeah. Yeah, you’re right.” She pulled her hand back and got up from the table. Loran glared at Bishop, who just matched his stare, hand possessively on Diana’s shoulder as he stood close to her. She wasn’t used to him so close.

    “I’ll uh – I’ll walk you to your room then,” Loran said, turning his attention back to her.

    “Why? I can see the door from here. Not like she’ll get lost.” Bishop’s words cold and hostile.

    “It’s called being polite, Bishop. Not that I’d expect you to understand.” Loran responded harshly. The unspoken hostility and tension between the two becoming evident. He turned to Diana and offered her his arm. She shot Bishop a glance and accepted. They proceeded towards the room. “I do hope you’ll give my offer some thought. A hunting trip tomorrow morning, just you and me, for old times’ sake.” His demeanour turned warm and kind as he spoke to the lady on his arm.

    “I’ll think about it, thanks Loran. It has been great catching up, I must admit. Was a little weird how many left quite early tonight though?”

    “Yeah,” Loran blushed a little, “I saw your mom giving them all glances. I think she just wanted to give us some space.” Diana recalled seeing her mother give weird looks around the table and soon after people started leaving. Was she trying to get them back together? That would mean her staying, being here to help and protect the village. Did sound like something her mother would do.

    Loran stopped in front of Diana’s door and turned to take her hands and face her. He took a deep breath, then paused. He peered over to the looming Ranger who had moved in just behind her, his shoulders back, eyes looking down sternly.

    Loran pressed his lips together, visibly annoyed by the Ranger’s presence when he wanted a private moment. “Bishop, a word?” he said in a deep voice, walking back to the dining hall standing just out of sight.

    Diana looked up at Bishop pretending to be confused with a shrug. He met her eyes before turning to join the man.

    “What do you want?” he asked blankly.

    “Listen, I don’t know what your endgame here is, but you need to back off.” Loran stepped right in front of Bishop.

    “Oh, I need to back off? Who do you think you’re fooling? You want her so bad you’re practically begging her to take you back! It’s pathetic, really; you thinking she’ll even consider taking you back after you watched as she was hauled to the block – and you did nothing.” Loran’s eyes went wide at Bishop’s words, “Yeah, she told me. Why’d you think she never wrote you back?”

    “Don’t pretend like you know her!” Loran snapped back, “You don’t know anything. You’re just a travelling buddy, a temporary distraction. I know that woman like the back of my hand, and I ‘will’ win her back! And your little macho stunt will not stop me. The love that we had, that’s not the kind of love that just goes away.”

    “If you think for a second you can steal her from me,” Bishop snarled, getting right in Loran’s face. His chest buffed, his eyes practically red with rage, “You’ll have my dagger between your ribs. She’s mine, and you, little boy, need to accept the fact that she has a real man in her life now, one that won’t run away or do nothing when it gets tough. I’ve already saved her life more times than I can count, and every day we fight together, eat together, and sleep together,” Bishop eyes narrowed at that, “the memory of you is being wiped away, and soon you’ll just be a vaguely familiar face.”

    “That’s enough, Bishop!” The two men finally break their stare-down to look at Diana standing, fists balled. Her eyes shot daggers at him. Bishop was a little stunned to see her there for a moment, but quickly returned to his previous demeanour.

    She kept looking at him, telling him she was serious. “Fine,” he scoffed, “have your moment. I’ll be waiting in our room…” with a final threatening glance at Loran, Bishop brushed past and headed for the guest room.

    Diana stood staring ahead till she heard the door slam. “Loran, I’m so sorry about that, I-”

    “So, is it true? What he said…” Loran interrupted. His eyes downcast. He didn’t approach her

    “No! Him and I are ‘not’ a thing, and he certainly doesn’t own me!”

    “About you not responding, because I didn’t do anything to stop the Imperial guard in Helgen…”

    She stood in silence, and bit her bottom lip.

    “So is that what you think of me, Diana? After all the years. That I’m a spineless, pathetic man who wouldn’t save you?” he finally turned to her. His eyes telling of a deep hurt.

    Diana opened her mouth but words failed her, tears start to well in her eyes. How do you say yes to that? And hurt the person who meant so much to you. It didn’t make it less true, unfortunately.

    “I see…” he responded to her silence as confirmation. “For what it’s worth, since you left, not a single day goes by that I don’t regret my behaviour that day.” He steps towards her, his eyes also starting to glisten, “Not a day goes by that I don’t curse myself for not doing everything in my power to save you.” He stops in front of her, reaching out to cup her face. “I will never, in my life, be able to get that picture out of my head of them hauling you to the block, watching you kneel and the axe raise.” The emotion gets too much and a tear spills over down his cheek. “For what it’s worth, Diana, I’m sorry,” his bottom lip starts to quiver, “I’m so, so, so sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed me most. I will never forgive myself for it.”

    Seeing her former other half, someone so close to her heart, like this – the tears came for her too. She threw her arms around his neck and held tight as he buried his face in her neck, arms around her waist. He held her so close, like it was the only thing that kept him from falling apart. Her heart ached for him, but she knew she could not pretend like she still loved him the way he loved her, she was never good at hiding her true feelings, or lying.

    “I’m sorry Loran. I didn’t mean for you to find out like this.” Her voice choked.

    He pulled back so he could look her in the eyes, “Don’t you dare apologize,” he smiled at her through teary eyes. “I just-, I hope he takes care of you. You deserve someone who will fight for you.”

    “Are you kidding, Bishop?” she wiped away her tears with the back of her hand, “He once had two healing potions, but when I needed one mid fight with a dragon, threw me with a whole cheese wheel because ‘what if he needs them’,” a chuckle slipped through her teary smile. “I’m pretty sure he’d give me a first bite of his food if he suspects it to be poisoned, just to see if it is.”

    “What an ass?” Loran smiled with a frown, shaking his head.

    “Nah, it’s okay. I’d probably do the same.”

    “Why let him stick around then?”

    She paused for a moment. She wasn’t sure? “I dunno, I guess we just kinda happened. He is an incredible fighter, and an amazing tracker. He really has saved my ass quite a few times, as I have his. For now, I guess we just both benefit from having the other one around. Don’t think it’ll last though.”

    “…Will you ever come back, for good?” Loran’s eyes flickered with hope as he wiped away a rogue tear on her cheek with his thumb, letting his hand linger.

    She wrapped her hand around his wrist. “I don’t know. Maybe? I’m still figuring out this whole ‘dragonborn’ business. I fear if I were to come back now, news will spread and they’ll know where to find me. Being on the road means I’m unpredictable, I can choose where I go, what I do.”

    Loran just smiled at her. She always did hate being told what to do. Her dragonblood was the ticket out she had prayed for, who was he to stand in her way? “Well, as long as you know we, I, will always be here for you.” He leaned forward and planted a kiss on her forehead. “Let’s get you to bed.”

    She wrapped her arm around his waist, his around her shoulder, as they slowly walked in silence back to her door.

    “You need me to ask him to go to his room?” Loran asks, referring to the knowledge that Bishop was waiting on the other side of her door.

    “It’s fine, I can handle him,” she said with a smile, imagining Loran actually yell ‘go to your room!’ at Bishop was a funny image. She knew Loran would in a heart-beat though.

    “Well then, I guess this is goodbye. I’ll be out by the time you wake up, and I’d hate to say goodbye again.” He mustered a smile at her, emotions welling up again. “Goodbye Diana, please take care of yourself.”

    “Goodbye, Loran.” He felt her heart in her throat as she gave him one last hug.

    He hugged her tight, his nose nuzzled in her neck. “Know that I will always love you.” He whispered under his breath. She bit her lip and shut her eyes tight to keep the tears back. Finally, he released her and she went in. Loran watched as the door closed, seeing her look back through the crack, her face lit by the candle light, looking back a last time.

     

    “About time!” Bishop’s grunted through his teeth. “Gods, the audacity of that man! To think he could just turn on the charm, and you’ll come running back after what he did to you! And listen, I know, about what I said, I…”, he got up from the bed and turned to see Diana leaning with her back against the door, head hanging low. Her hair just about covered her eyes, but he spotted a tear run down over her nose. She raised a hand over her mouth. “Diana?” his face fell and his voice came at her soft and low.

    “Not now Bishop, please…” the emotion evident in her crackling voice as she laid her face in her hands. Her shoulders shook as she let go of the tears she’d held back.

    Without a word, Bishop rushed over to her and took her into his arms. She didn’t resist, she buried her face in his chest as he completely enveloped her. He rested his cheek on her head, his hand gently moving up and down her back. “It’s going to be okay, princess,” he reassured her softly. He absolutely hated seeing her like this, his first instinct was anger, but he knew Loran wouldn’t have done anything to hurt her. This was her own pain.  “I’m here now.”

    Why did that actually calm her? Hearing his voice so soft and comforting, feeling the warmth of his embrace, his gentility… These were all things she’d never seen before, but they seemed to quench her soul. She stayed in his arms till the sobs died down and her breathing normalised. Then she just stayed there because she didn’t want it to end. Bishop complied, his steady heartbeat calming her down completely.

    “Bishop, I need to talk to you about what you said,” he finally said, stepping back from his arms with her strength renewed after their embrace that went on forever. Neither of them were good with acknowledging feelings, so she decided not to acknowledge it at all. “About me being yours.”

    Bishop too returned to his usual self, picking his chin up, “what about it?”

    “Let me be clear, I belong to no one.” She raised a finger and her gaze was dead serious, “I am my own woman, and I will let no man speak for me, is that understood?”

    Bishop exhaled slowly, his jaw muscles tensed. He didn’t answer.

    “Is that understood, Bishop?”

    “…who do you sleep next to every night?” he finally asked in a deep, throaty voice. Something in him seemed to have escaped the confines of his otherwise private existence.

    “What?”

    “Who do you sleep next to every night?” she just stared blankly, “Who fights at your side, no matter what comes for you? Who shares his food, his coin, and his ale with you?” He takes a step forward, pushing her with her back against the door as he got close enough for her to see the speckles of brown in his dark, amber eyes. “Who carried you up the 7 000 steps? Who jumped in front of a bear for you? And who, might I ask, washed you, clothed you, and tended to your wounds while you were at your most vulnerable?”

    Her mouth went dry, her eyes fixed on his as they seemed to burn into her. But she thought Wilhelm’s wife…? She realised she never saw that he had one.

    He leaned in, one hand on the door over her shoulder. He was close enough for her to feel his warm breath on her collarbone. His eyes seem to search her eyes for a moment before going dark again. “You are mine, Diana. My companion, as I am yours. And if anyone thinks they can steal you away from under my nose, they’ll get what’s coming to them…” With that, he turned to grab his bedroll and toss it out on the wooden floor.

    “Is that possessiveness I hear, Bishop?” she cautiously but determinedly asked.

    “No, ladyship. That’s a promise.”

    Helena
    Participant
    Post count: 159

    I swear. This gets better with every chapter. I love it ..

    Nehsta
    Participant
    Post count: 28

    -squeaks- It’s getting so good! NEXT CHAPTER!! D:

    Kathy
    Participant
    Post count: 8

    Woohoo Bunny…dang girl you know how to write….I love it…just enough possessiveness without being obnoxious…just enough tenderness without being mushy…awesome job!!!!

     

    DovaBunny
    Participant
    Post count: 75

    Awww thanks guys! 😀 😀 Your comments are super motivating and make me super happy!! *hops merrily in a circle* New chapter will be up in an hour.

    DovaBunny
    Participant
    Post count: 75

    ‘On the road again, I can’t wait to get on the road again!’ – Donkey, (Shrek).

    _____________________

    Chapter 10

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    Bishop and Diana stopped over at their small house in the Pale. When they heard the land was for sale, the two dysfunctional duo went on an epic grave-robbing spree across Skyrim, sacking every ancient ruin and crypt they could find. The land wasn’t going to be up for sale forever, and the bounties’ steady income stream wasn’t cutting it – so they resorted to other means of getting big coin fast. They used the little they had left for lumber, supplies and basic furnishing, and spent a summer building the neat little one-room house. It had an incredible view, and was well located, perfect for a stop-over, to switch weapons and armour, or to hide for a few days. The purchase was private, so no one knew they were there.

    “It’s back,” Bishop noted bitterly, peering at a dark stain on the ceiling beams, “The mysterious leak! Gods, we’ve spent more time trying to locate and patch this damn thing than it took us to build the whole house!”

    “I’d hardly call this a ‘house’, Bishop” Diana chuckled as she stepped up behind him to look at the stain that seemed to be the bane of his existence. “’Shack’ would be more appropriate.”

    “Heey!” he huffed, a little offended, “It’s as good a house as any! Besides, you know this is just temporary,” Bishop turns to the woman at his back, tenderly putting his hands on her waist. “I told you, once this whole ‘Dragonborn’ business with Delphine is done and we can mount Alduin’s head on the door, we’ll build this place up into big home!” his eyes were dreamy and kind.

    “With a trophy room for all my awesome Dragonborn stuff and cool-but-useless armour?” she asked with a smile pulled into her left cheek as she threw her arms around his neck, leaning back.

    “And a forge where you can smith iron daggers till your smithing skill is enough to put Eorland to shame!” he smiled back at her, wrapping his arms around her back. He leaned into her neck, his teeth grazing her skin, sending trickles of electric excitement through her body, “And a big bed in a private room that overlooks the ocean… where no one will hear you scream.”

    Diana burst into laughter, breaking free from his grip, “Woa there Ranger, you’re sounding a little murder-y! I mean, you’re killer in the sack, but still…” she winked. He smiled smugly back at the compliment.

    “I’m serious, ladyship. After it all, I want nothing more than to finish this place up, like we’ve dream about. You can maybe get your housecarl to take care of it and help stock supplies – we’ll never have to step foot in another city again! Maybe take that trip to Morrowind! I’ll be your guide?”

    “If I didn’t know any better I’d say you want to run away with me after all of this?” she smiled along with the words, but it came from an honest place. He just winked and turned to re-pack his things for their trip into Solitude. Delphine warned them to only take what they need.

    Recently, he’d been getting more and more restless, wanting to avoid cities and villages, talking of disappearing into the wilderness or travelling to Hamerfell, Cyrodiil, or Morrowind with her. She couldn’t tell if he was annoyed at them being told what to do by Delphine all the time, if he wanted to protect her from the risks this quest would surely entail, or if just wanted her to himself. Surely not the latter? They were companions, and nothing more. Okay, companions-with-benefits, but still. She wasn’t opposed to the idea of something more, in fact she’d let her mind wander at times on what I’d be like to be his woman, walk on his arm into town, hear him say he loved her, kiss his lips… But no, Bishop didn’t want that, she was quite sure of this.

    In all their time together, there were still moments where she realised she didn’t know him at all. It still felt like he was warming up to her, opening himself up. The more he did, however, the more fun they had, the more she felt herself irresistibly drawn to him, the happier he was. She wanted him, all of him, raw and wild with no more restraints or pretences. And she was determined to reach that goal.

    ______________________________________________

    Bishop awoke with a stiff back from sleeping on the hard wood floor. He gave his eyes a moment to adjust to the light, before sitting up. He sat, recalling who he was, where he was, and the previous night’s events. He didn’t like the way they left things last night. Diana was not the type to respond to jealousy or possessiveness, and he was not the type to be jealous or possessive! He had always avoided it by 1 – never getting emotionally attached, and 2 – not giving any fucks. If she wanted another man, fuck her! Fuck both of them! He didn’t need that noise. Then why did he react like that, seeing her old flame and her together.

    He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Ladyship, I -” he turned and fell silent. The bed was made, her bag was gone. He was alone. He frantically got up and searched the room, like she was hiding under the bed or something. “Fucking hells, Diana…” he dropped his head into his hands pulling at his hair. She split. She actually took her shit and split. Probably somewhere in the forest right now, getting it on with that, that- Bishop gritted his teeth, shutting his eyes tight trying to get the picture of her, naked and panting in Loran’s arms in the shade of a tree in the forest.

    “Fuck this!” He grabbed his bedroll and strapped it to his bag, turning to put on his armour and grab his- “Where did I…?” he spins around looking for his dagger. “She took my fucking blade?!” He checks his armour and bag a third time, nothing “Diana, I swear to Dibella if I find you, I’ll-”

    “Good morning Bishop!” He spins around to see Andrea, Diana’s mom, in the door. A polite but somewhat displeasing smile on her face, “Sleep well?”

    No! He did not ‘sleep well’ and he did not ‘wake up well’ either! Also, your daughter is a dead wench! He was convinced Andrea had something to do with this, the way she was trying to get them back together so Diana would come home and make babies! “Morning, Andrea.” Is all he could muster through his pent up rage that wasn’t him hurling curses.

    Andrea shuffled uneasy at the vibes she was getting from him, his honey amber eyes dark. “Diana took off about an hour ago for Markarth, said that you’d catch up.” Bishop’s eyes bore holes into her skull, she broke eye contact, fumbling with her apron. She flashed a small smile before turning to leave, “Oh! I almost forgot,” turning back to the Ranger, “She also told me to tell you…” her eyes narrowing into nothing as she tried to recall, “’Suck it, yeah I have it,’ and ‘what you gonna do about it?’ Yes, that was it.” She nodded. “Well then, best leave you to it. Be sure to come say good bye before you leave, dear. I’ve prepared some food and snacks for the road for you.” With that she was out the door as fast as she could.

    Bishop stood staring at the closed door, fists balled, eye twitching a little. Did he really just hear that? He could hear the exact tone Diana said it with in his head, ‘Suck it, Ranger. Yeah I have your stupid knife, whatcha gonna do ‘bout it, hmm?’. In a blurr of Ranger rage, he got ready and shot out the door. He said good-bye, thanked Andrea for her hospitality, and took the parcel of food all without pause as he set off towards Markarth – running.

     

    His feet knew these woods well. He weaved effortlessly through the trees, taking every shortcut he could where he still had a view of the road. He’d been running for over an hour without stopping, fuelled by the rage and anger he felt. What if she just did take off? Taking his blade, the only thing he had left of his childhood, his most trusted weapon of choice with her just as a ‘fuck you’?

    He had been fooling himself, thinking she was different; that she was the one person he’d ever come across who wouldn’t betray him, who was genuine, and honest with herself and others, who saw the world as he did. He was wrong. She had probably sold his dagger to some travelling Khajiit by now for two ales and a slice of cheese.  She probably did. Why was he running then?

    His feet slowed down to a trot before coming to a standstill in the road. He dropped his weight on his arms, propped up by his hands on his knees as he caught his breath.

    “’Bout time!” a voice rang through the trees. He shot up, eyes darting around looking for the source. He heard the sound of leaves rustling then feet dropping onto the ground. “And here I thought letting you have your beauty sleep might fix that face of yours… So much for that!” He turned to see a very smug looking Diana stroll out from the trees, a swing in her hips, a smile in her cheek.

    His eyes immediately searched her body. “Looking for this?” she held up his dagger after she was satisfied at having him study her figure so, “Or were you just browsing?” she winked, sheathing it on her hip.

    Bishop let out a little sigh. Maybe he misjudged her. But still! She did take off without him, and with his dagger! “You stupid wench…” he growled at her.

    “Oh Bishop, every Inn in Skyrim couriered – they want their most basic insult back!”

    “That was uncalled for!”

    “I know, I told them ‘we didn’t call for this’, and they were just like ‘but he stupid?’, and I was all – ‘can’t argue with that logic…”

    “You think this is a fucking game, princess?” he growled again, taking a step towards her, like a wolf stalking his prey about to pounce.

    “Yes, yes I do. And you’re losing.” She gave him a naughty wink before quickly turning to dart into the forest in the general direction of the Reach. Bishop let out a loud grunt before giving chase.

     

    Diana was fit, and fast. Unfortunately for her, so was Bishop. She initially thought she’d hold back, making sure she was just out of reach, but she was legit running for her life! A string of curses could be heard behind her, something about not being able to hear a scream in the forest, shaking so hard it’ll send Dragons back underground, and a kick so hard he could change socks through her mouth. She was reaching the end of her stamina. She was panicking. Remember how she didn’t think things through? Yeah, that.

    “Okay, okay! I give up, you win!” she stopped and turned around, hands up in surrender. Bishop came to a screeching halt before her, breathing heavily from his very unwanted but intense morning cardio. “If you’re going to kill me, just do it quick. And tell my mom I love her. And tell my brothers to stop being such dicks. And tell Ulfric to go fuck himself.”

    “You quite done?”

    “One more, tell Erik I think he’s cute, and to forget about adventuring, rather put the ‘romance’ in necromance and look me up. Okay I’m done.” She closed her eyes tight and braced for whatever assault was coming.

    Many different types of payback flashed through his mind as he ran, most illegal. But here she stood, at his mercy….and he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t lift a finger to harm her, no matter how furious he was. Shit.

    She cautiously opened an eye to see Bishop glaring at her, his breathing still heavy, his eyes still dark with anger.

    “Why did you take it?” he finally asks.

    “…In case I needed something to butter my bread with.”

    Bishop growled.

    “…In case I needed something to clean my teeth with?”

    “Diana…” his voice warning her.

    She bit her bottom lip, shaking her head. She dropped her hands and that smug expression he wanted to slap off.

    Bishop lunges out, plucking his blade from her belt. He grabs hold of her armour to keep her in place as he holds the knife to her neck. She swallows hard, but keeps his gaze. “Tell me!”

    Her fear starts to show, her lip quivers and her heartbeat races, visible against the skin on her neck where his blade threatened. But she stayed there in silence, her eyes almost daring him to do something.

    They stood in that position for at least 10mintues, neither willing to budge.

    Finally she spoke: ‘I… I wanted to see if you would hurt me.” All at once the rage and fury disappeared from his face, deflated at her words. “I needed to know, if I got you mad enough, if you would actually harm me.” Her eyes were sincere, and a little fearful. Bishop looked down at his hand, the blade, her neck, and reeled back.

    Diana had laid away in bed all night thinking of what had happened. She’d never seen him so dark, angry, and possessive, so… dangerous? Was she really running the risk of travelling with a companion that might snap at any moment? Could she trust him to still look out for her, even when she got drunk and inappropriate or started pushing his buttons? She needed to know; sooner rather than later.

    “Diana, I…” he began as he put the dagger back where it belonged.

    Before he could continue she stepped over to him and threw her arms around his neck, standing on her toes to do so, resting her head on his shoulder. “And you didn’t…”

    Bishop dropped his hands in surprise at the unexpected move. He was feeling all kinds of conflicting emotions – anger at her testing him, fear of how almost he did hurt her, relief that he didn’t, and oddly, a warm affectionate emotion he couldn’t quite place at her embrace. Slowly he put his arms around her, feeling her breathing slow in his neck. “Of course I wouldn’t…” She deepens her hug for a moment before releasing him.

    “Phew! You really had me going there for a while, you know!” she wipes the sweat from her brow, whether from the running or the stress, “I mean, I really thought you were going to kill me for a moment there!” she collects herself and playfully smacks him on the shoulder. “THAT would’ve been awkward!”

    “Er, yeah!” Bishop rubs the back of his neck uncomfortably.

    “Listen Bishicakes, I’m sorry… For testing you like that, I just, I dunno… I got this crazy idea in my head that maybe, if I pushed you far enough or you had the opportunity, you’d hurt me… or worse.” Keerava’s warning still rang in her mind. “I won’t do it again, I know you won’t now.” She beamed a smile at him.

    “I dunno, Ladyship,” she smiled as the tension lifted and she was back to her usual goofy self. “Steal my blade, that’s fine… but steal my ale…?”

    “Oh no, I would never!” she spins around to him, dead-serious, “Bishop, I wanted to you’re your limits, but I’m not an animal! To take a man’s ale is, is… inhumane! No man can be held responsible for his actions in such a position. I would’ve been disappointed in you had you NOT killed me then.”

    A giggle bubbled up from his chest, “I would’ve been disappointed in myself!”

    The chuckles died down and the two young companions stood looking back at each other. It was a beautiful morning in the forest, and in the distance, the sound of nature calmed them both. Both of them the laughter and soothing of the wilderness was much needed. The soft breeze gently rustled Bishop’s short dark brown hair, and wiped hers out of her face over her shoulder.

    “Anyway, we should probably get going. Those forsworn fuckers aren’t going to kill themselves, heh?” she smiled as they started heading down towards the road again.

    “Nope, sadly not. Not unless it’s possible to actually yell ‘THE REACH WILL BE OURS AGAIN!!’ till you pass out.”

    “Or getting strangled trying to put on your own armour! I mean what is with all the string and bones and feathers and leather and the pouches and layers and layers of random shit??”

    “Hah! You think maybe they have a big pile of random bits and crap, and every morning they just go roll in it – whatever stays on when they get up – that’s their armour for the day!”

    She laughs at his description, “Exactly! There’s not even a difference between the male and female armour! The only way you can tell them apart is by the length of the bone dangling between their legs or the occasional nip-slip. They’re all kinda androgynous looking.”

    “My, ladyship – then you’d fit right in, won’t you?” he teased at her, “With your short hair, stupidly tall strong body, scruffy look, and lack of usual feminine features…” his eyes at her chest.

    “Oh, you’re one to talk Ranger!” she covered her chest with her arms, “What with your doey eyes, soft hands, love of jewellery,” she looked at the wolf ring she’d never seen him take off, “and your abundance of usual feminine features!” she dropped her head back to look at his tush. She did like his butt.

    “Oh, don’t be jealous ladyship! It’s not a good look for you…” she teased with a smirk.

    “Great! Now he’s giving out fashion advice,” she threw her hands up. In a sassy, high-pitched voice that emphasises ‘s’-sounds: “Oh honey, those boots with that bow? A crime against my eyes!”

    “You’re a crime against my eyes!” he laughed at her.

    “Here I thought you’ve been checking me out… What you were actually doing is thinking how much better you’d look in my armour!” she sneered as they walked.

    “Ten gold says I WOULD look better than you in your armour!”

    Their eyes met, a look of mischief and excitement at a challenge. “Oh you’re on Ranger!” she stops dead in her tracks and starts pulling off the bits of her armour.

    “I didn’t mean right now!” Bishop quickly scans the area, “We’re in the middle of a major road!”

    “What? You scared?” he loosened the buckles on the steel padding over her forearms as she hopped on one leg trying to pull her boot off with the other foot.

    “Hmff, scared you’ll jump me once you see how good I look in your armour…” he accepts the challenge and starts removing his too.

     

    The two stood ripping off the bits of their armour like it was a race. “Hey, ladyship?” she looked up from where she was bent over, trying to loosen the stubborn straps of her last boot, looking right into his manhood a few inches from her face, “MADE YOU LOOK!!”

    She reels back, making gagging noises as her faces shrivels in disgust, “What the hell? What was that?”

    “You just stared down the ol’ one-eyed snake, princess! Few have done so and survived. So that’s at least one victory you’ll have today!” he teased proudly.

    “One-eyed snake? More like sickly worm in a bedroll poking his head out…”

    “Oh? Seen a lot of womb brooms in your life, huh? More than one Staff of Impregnation?”

    “Wouldn’t you want to know…” she responded in a sultry voice. Actually, he would.

    They both dropped the last item of clothing on the ground at the same time, turning to each other. A flash of colour came over his face and she pressed her lips tightly. They held each other’s gaze unblinking. They’ve never actually seen the other fully naked. From behind, yes. The closest was that stare-down where they held eye contact, challenging the other to look down and neither budged. But now, they were both dying to look down, and they were bad at hiding the fact.

    “Okay, proposition…” she began, her eyes staring at his playful, “we each get a look. No strings attached, no ‘made you look’ winner.”

    Bishop wanted to say something snarky at her wanting to look him over, but he was burning to see her full, naked form too. “Agreed. But quick, then we get dressed!”

    “Agreed!” she said. They stood up straight facing each other like awkward teenagers. “On the count of three?”

    “Okay…”

    “One… two…” he was mouthing along with her, “…three!” they both dropped their eyes. He bit his bottom lip, she inhaled sharply. By the nine, the man’s body was chiselled by Kyne’s hands! And she was much more curvaceous than he had expected. All the right curves at all the right places, while still being toned and strong as he knew she’d be – quite a sight!

    Their eyes awkwardly met again, both with a tint of crimson on their cheeks. Without a word they quickly switch places where they had gotten undressed and started putting it on.

    She dove into his huge shirt as he struggled to get her tunic over his head. They giggled like farm maids as they put on everything from the small clothes to the heavy armour pieces. It all fit…kind of… except that he could not squeeze his feet into her boots, so they agreed to each put on their own boots.

    “I dunno Ranger, I kinda like this new look! I might keep it!” she said looking herself over. Yes, she was drowning in it all a little, but the straps adjusted well and she was able to walk! Which is more than he could say…

    “How…the hell…” he struggled to breathe in her tight armour. Some buckles were left unfastened and he looked like he was about to rip out of her leather pants at every step.

    She laughed at him struggling to find a place to loosen it up, like there’d be a ‘magically make it 3x larger’ button somewhere hidden in the armour. “Okay, fine, you win this time! The ten gold is yours! Can we switch back?”

    She looked at the slightly panicked Ranger, he was so cute when he let his real emotions show, especially when they were panic! And although she wouldn’t say it, he really looked kinda hot in her armour!

    “Hmmm… I dunno Ranger. We don’t have time to waste to switch back. Might as well do it tonight at camp.” She said blankly as she strolled down the road.

    “Fine, then let’s camp here! This is a good spot??”

    “It’s not even noon yet…”

    “Time is relative…”

    “And I look relatively stunning right now! C’mon Bishicakes.”

    “Dianaaah!” he nagged.

    Just then they were distracted by the sound of someone coming.

     

    “I don’t understand WHY we need to go to this stupid wedding!” a woman’s voice came.

    “It’s going to be the wedding of the century! The emperor is also sure to be there, it’s his favourite niece.”

    “But they haven’t even set the date yet!”

    “I want to be there early, do some shopping, rub shoulders with the local noblemen…”

    Bishop and Diana turn to see a *very* lavishly dressed couple in fine furs, jewels, and rings on every finger. They exchange glances, both of their faces saying ‘wtf?’. The couple haven’t seen them yet.

    “But Plautis! Did we really have to travel there by foot, and with all our gold and riches on our person? Couldn’t you have used a fraction of it to hire a carriage, or at least hire a guard!”

    Diana shot a look of excitement and opportunity to Bishop. “Let’s rob them!” she whispered.

    “No! We’re not common bandits, Diana,” he said sternly. The couple noticed them and stopped a few feet from them, staring. It wasn’t quite clear which of the two couples looked more ridiculous.

    “Move aside!” the man’s voice commanded them. His wife slowly moved behind him, her eyes telling of fear. Bishop and Diana just frowned at them.

    “More around…” Bishop’s voice came, low and strong.

    “Excuse me? Do you know who I am?”

    “Why, did you forget?” Diana chimes in, her expression unchanging.

    “I am Plautis Carvain! Nobleman of Riften and personal friend of Victoria Velina!”

    “And we care…why?” Diana responded.

    Plautis looked shocked, positively outraged! His big eyes turned to his wife cowering behind him, then back at them, “Listen here, I don’t know what this is,” he gestured over their armour, “but I am expected by the Blue Palace court! Now step aside!” his voice cracked a little under the strain of trying to sound intimidating.

    Bishop reluctantly took a step back, making space between him and Diana for them to pass. Diana shot him a look of ‘let’s just rob the fuckers!’ Bishop ignored it.

    “Good! If only more people knew their place, we’d all be better off…” Plautis lead his wife through them, “Dirty peasants…”

    “OKAY, that’s it!” Bishop spun on the heel of his right foot to them, pulling out his dagger, “Give me all your valuables, right now.”

    Diana squealed in delight! Bishop could take a lot, but not disrespect.

    “Wha- how DARE you!!” Plautis yelled, jumping behind his wife.

    “He’s not kidding Sir Sweetroll,” Diana added, joining her Ranger’s side with folded arms looking intimidating, “Your gold, valuables, jewellery, and your clothes. Now.” Bishop gave her a quick smile of appreciation.

     

    “What a dick that guy was though!” Diana commented as she unpacked her bag, sorting through everything they took off the pair. “To hide behind his wife like that, and then try to run? We robbed him of his coin, but he robbed himself of his dignity.”

    Bishop had finally got the fire going in their small camp. The sun was setting, and a cool, fresh breeze swept through the trees. He took off her armour the second they stopped at the camp, putting on an extra pair of pants and shirt he had in his bag as she refused to give his armour and clothes back.

    “Assholes like that deserve to die…” he growled.

    “Woa, little extreme, but okay…” her voice a little high.

    “I’m serious! For every one self-entitled, snooty, stiff-lipped, pompous horker living off daddy’s gold like him, there’s a thousand hard-working folk who will never own the worth of his boots despite working harder in one day than he does in a lifetime!”

    “Bish, I see where you’re coming from, but they’re the ones with the coin. They’re the ones who pay the workers, the ones who pay for the bounties and quests I do. They’re just doing what they think is right in their limited, sheltered minds.”

    “Are you seriously defending them? I never took you for one to choose sides with the entitled elite few rather than the hard-working, honest masses!” he glared at her as he sat on a log by the fire, “What – you smitten with one of those soft, pathetic noblemen?”

    “Bishop – ”

    “Answer the question.” His eyes were stern. Did he really think she had a crush on a man like that?

    “What if I am?” Her words clearly vex him.

    “Who is he?” his voice low and throaty.

    She sighed, “His name is Gul.”

    “Gul?” Bishop already despised the guy.

    “Yeah, last name ‘La’Bill.”

    “La’Bill… Sounds Imperial,” Bishop says to himself, wracking his brain for who the man might be. “Gul La’Bill,” he says to himself again in thought.

    Diana bursts out laughing, “Oh by the nine you’re stupid! Be honest, how hard were you dropped on your head as a baby? Or were you just flung head-first down a cliff?”

    Bishop turns to her with a frown of confusing…then realises what he’d been saying: gullible. He dropped his head into his hands.

    “THERE it is!” She laughs, clearly seeing the moment he realised. “Aww, that’s okay Bishi love. Even if you’re not the brightest mushroom in Blackreach, you’re still my favourite!” She plants a kiss on his head and proceeds to start taking off his armour.

    He lifted his head at her kiss, a satisfied and little proud smile flashes. “Wench” he said teasingly. She winked back at him.

    He got started on dinner, heating the food Andrea had packed for them, but his eyes kept glancing over to her as she took her time taking off all the pieces. Once all she had on was his large shirt that came to just above her knees, she sighed happily and joined him.

    “Food ready?” she asked merrily.

    He looked at her, then down at his shirt. It hung loosely on her, daring the imagination.

    “You don’t mind if I sleep in it, do you?”

    “Er, no. No, of course not.” He cleared his throat, “Food’s ready.”

     

    They ate, laughed, and chatted late into the night. Like she did the previous night with Loran, but more relaxed, she seemed almost ‘happier’, in the crisp night air under the twin moons. They talked about the war, their parents, and what assholes siblings are, even describing their own and the other’s spirit animal. Diana felt hers was the mighty dragon, of course, and his was ‘the lesser butt-faced skeever who thinks he’s a Sabre Cat’. He argued that his was the feared wolf, and hers was not a dragon, but rather a combination of a squint, bug-eyed gecko and the runt of a Horker litter. This resulted in her slapping him right in the kisser with her pillow, laughing so hard her stomach hurt. Eventually the conversation died down as they stared up at the night sky.

    Bishop’s eye caught a shooting star, “Make a wish Princess,” he turned to where she laid on her bedroll alongside the fire next to his. She was asleep. Boy she passed out easy! He quietly got up, got a loose cloak from his bag and sneaked up to her to cover her without waking her up. It might get cold tonight, and he didn’t want to wake her to get into her bedroll.

    As he pulled it up to her chest, he paused. The way the light from the fire danced over her exposed collarbone, neck, and breasts that were barely covered by his shirt, something fluttered in his chest. He wanted so badly in that moment to lower himself down and kiss every inch the light touched…and more. He burned to taste her skin.

    The fire spat, snapping him out of it. He quickly pulled the cloak up to her chin and returned to his bedroll – conflicted. His mind went back to how he felt watching Loran look deep into her eyes, and how she seemed oblivious to the fact that he was trying to win her back. It had been getting worse, this burning he had suppressed that yearned for her, a burning that fuelled his insistence on being her companion, protecting her from whatever bear, wolf, and blond starry-eyed farm boy they may face.

    ‘No, this isn’t like that,’, he thinks to himself. It was her, her body. The way she moved, those curves she hid under her bulky armour, those big dark eyes, and how she bit her lip when she got a naughty idea. He wanted her body, not her. That was it. He was just a flesh-and-blood man, and she was a hot-blooded woman that could make any man spill his pint as she walked by.

    He recalled her Skooma-wine soaked proposition she made back in Riften. A part of him wanted to slap himself for turning her down, the other part grateful. He needed to keep a professional distance from her, eyes on the prize. ‘Fuck this is getting hard’. Pun intended.

    DovaBunny
    Participant
    Post count: 75

    With the permission of the super talented Avis I want to show you how I picture Bishop in my fanfic! This amazing art of hers nails how I picture him perfectly! You can go favourite the original here: http://schl4fmuetze.deviantart.com/art/SKYRIM-RM-snowmates-609813789 Thanks to Avis for the permission!

    With permission from the lovely and crazy talented Avis (check out her work here: http://schl4fmuetze.deviantart.com/) I wanted to show you guys what I think when I write Bishop in my FanFic. This picture of him absolutely NAILS it! He’s still quite young in my story, so not as bitter and older as he is in the mod, but still has that Ranger fire! Thanks again to Avis for letting me post it! You can have a look at the original and more like it on her DeviantArt page here: http://schl4fmuetze.deviantart.com/art/SKYRIM-RM-snowmates-609813789 Go show her some love!

    Nehsta
    Participant
    Post count: 28

    I love it! And the image is perfect too! UGHH the suspense and waiting is killing meeee.

    MegDiana
    Participant
    Post count: 11

    Im loving this!!! Cant wait for future chapters!!

    DovaBunny
    Participant
    Post count: 75

    “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…” – Diana singing to Bishop.

    IT’S A NEW CHAPTER O SHIT WADDUP!

    ______________________________

    CHAPTER 11

    ______________________________

    “Ladyship, maybe… maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” Bishop’s words turn Diana’s eyes off the high walls and road leading up to Solitude’s doors. He looked almost…worried?

    “Well, too late now Bishicakes, we’re already here.” She shrugged.

    “No,” he reached for her hand, pulling her to face him, “It’s not too late! It’s never too late. Diana, these aren’t some lowly bandits or draugr, this is the Thalmor! The most skilled, intelligent, and ruthless race in all of Tamriel!” his eyes revealed real concern, urgency.

    She studied the lines of his face, “Bishop, are you scared?” usually this would be a taunt, but she was serious.

    “No!” he dropped her hand and reeled back, “Ladyship, the only thing I’m scared of is Skyrim running out of ale! I meant was that you…” his voice dried up and he stood for moment, brows knitted together like he was fighting some inner demon, “You know what, whatever. Like you care. I’m done talking.” He dropped her hands and walked out ahead of her towards the gates.

    Hello, Solitude. You pretentious motherfucker. I hate you.

    _______________________________________________________

    They’d been on the road for five days, still had a few to go. Bishop had taken the reins with navigating, and was quite adamant on it. No sure why, though. He led them through shortcuts and long ways round places he said were too dangerous for them to be venturing near. Usually he blamed forsworn camps. But did this mean our Diana just followed orders? HELLS to the no. As soon as he pointed out the next route, she took off – with or without him.

    The Reach was a very rocky terrain, and a lot of time was wasted following the road as it twists and curls along the mountains. Diana put those years of climbing experience to good use, and scaled the mountains and rocks, sometimes only hearing a string of curses from Bishop echo somewhere behind her as she suddenly turned off the road to slide and climb straight down. With all the dangerous animals in the Reach, bears, sabre cats, and trolls, it was also more beneficial to be on the side of a mountain than on the surfaces below. From there she could take them out with her bow before it could get near them.

    Bishop, on the other hand, had been in a foul mood for days, refusing to talk about it. He reverted back to how things were before Riften, keeping a few feet away at all times, traveling in silence, only using gestures and body language. This was fine for a while, but for days without end? It was starting to eat away at Diana.

     

    “I’m going to go take a dip in the pool we passed a while back, care to join me?” she asked kindly. Bishop was settling in next to the fire for the night, their bedrolls on opposite sides of the fire. He looked at her, she had a small towel and his big shirt in hand. She’d been sleeping in it every night since she refused to give it back after they swopped armour. He turns back to the fire and shakes his head, “No, but go ahead, you smell.” She wanted to laugh, to crack a joke, but his tone was not a playful one. It was cold. She set off on her own to the water.

     

    Feeling the cool water on her warm, dirty body was soothing. She scrubbed herself till she was squeaky clean, then just relaxed in the water, taking in the smells and sounds of the forest.

    No matter how much she tried, she could not figure out what was going on with Bishop. It couldn’t be the dagger thing, they had such an awesome day after? Then suddenly he wakes up the next morning and he’s as sour as three week old cabbage stew you forgot in your inventory! She hated this. She had just found herself starting to actually care for the man, and now he treated her like he didn’t even know her name. If he hated being with her so much, he should just fuck off! She’s not up for playing games. She’s exactly who she is, and he knew her by now, – take it, or leave it.

    She had been so in thought, she never heard the rustles and footsteps in the dirt till she was surrounded. Four figures suddenly appear around the pond, leather and iron armour, body odour that yelled ‘bandits’.

    “Oi oi oi, what have we got here fellers?” one purred at her, causing her to shoot up in fright.

    “Looks like we got ourselves a little plaything for the evening!” Diana panicked. She had no weapons with her. Her eyes turned to her towel and armour.

    “Ohhh no you don’t, we like what we see – don’t we boys?” one of them kicks away her armour and plucks her towel away just as she reaches for it.

    Shit shit shit. What can she do?? She can ignite a fire cloak, but she’s in water, that’ll require her to get out, and at the moment the water was the only thing keeping them from grabbing her. She could hurl firebolts at them, but she is still a magic notice and that’ll drain her magicka, so she’ll have to pick fire cloak or fire bolts – what then???

    “Now, be a good girl, and come out of the water, before one of us drags you out. And trust me, you don’t want that!” the first guy purrs again, his voice disgusting and sticky like spider venom. She spins around trying to think of a plan, but she has none. They are armoured, have shields and axes, and have her surrounded.

    “Come now sweetness, you don’t want to piss us off, do you?” One of them says, stepping into the shallow end of the water. Quickly she collects a large fire bolts in her hand and hurls it at his face. It works, the fire engulfs him for a second, causing him to reel back and thrash around fighting the flames. “FUS!!” she shouted, throwing his body a few paces back. She would’ve held it longer, shouted harder, but time was of the essence. And here was her chance!

    She dashes past him, grabbing Bishop’s shirt in the run throwing it over her head. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, but they gave chase. She was nearly halfway to camp when she turned for a second to see where they were – rookie mistake. Her foot catches a canis root and she crashes into the ground with force. Before she could get up, they were there. In panic, she quickly summoned a fire cloak with her last magicka as she stumbled to her feet.

    “That thing’s going to die out sometime, we’ll just wait till then!” one hissed as they circled her again. She tried to dart between them but one just bashed his shield into her knocking her back and protecting him from the flames. Now it was a waiting game…

     

    Bishop sat staring lazily at the fire. He was trying to distract himself from the knowing that Diana was naked in the water nearby, and that she had wanted him to join her. That was just a risk he couldn’t take right now, a temptation he couldn’t subject himself to. It had become more and more difficult, so he resorted to the only thing he knew – shut out everyone and everything. But still, his mind played cruel tricks on him, in his dreams and fantasies. He couldn’t escape her everywhere.

    “BISHOP!!!”

    The cry in the dark sent ice shooting through his body. In a flash he was up, bow in hand. That was Diana’s voice full of bloodcurdling angst, and it sounded like she was in grave danger!

    “DIANA!” He called back as he dashed into the woods in the direction of the pond.

     

    Diana’s panic was showing. Her body began to quiver as the flames around her started fading. The bandits licked their lips and exchanged glances between their hungry glares at her body. She had no magicka, no armour, no weapons, nothing. She could kick and bite. They exchanged crude comments, things they’d like to do to her, things they’d make her do. Diana’s heart was racing, she had tried to shout again but she just couldn’t.

    As the last flame evaporated into the air, one lunged forward at her from behind. He held his axe blade to her neck, “Fun time, boys!” the men laughed at their prize.

    “Don’t touch her, she’s mine!” her teary eyes turned to see her Ranger burst through the trees, shooting off two arrows at lightning speed. Two men immediately drop as his arrows find their skulls, one of which is the asshole holding her.

    Bishop quickly reaches out to grab her, pulling her back towards him and moving her behind him. He hooks his bow to his back and takes out his dagger, his posture big, intimidating, and ready for blood. One hand on his blade, the other behind him holding her to his back.

    “Greedy one this eh?” the bandit says to the other as they both hold up their hands in surrender, “could’ve shared her with us, but no. Wants her all to himself!” Bishop growls at him, showing his canines as his eyes went darker as she had ever seen them. It scared her a little.

    “Listen feller, we don’t want no trouble. How bout we come to an arrangement, heh? You go first, we’ll keep her tied up and still for ye, then my friend and I here have a go. We’ll be willing to take her off yer hands too afterwards, will pay you 300 gold for her!”

    The bandits’ words send Bishop over the edge. In a frenzy Bishop lunges forward at the two disgusting men, slashing and ducking so fast as he takes both on at the same time, it all seems like a blur of steel, blood, and leather.

    Before she could blink, the last bandit dropped to the ground in a pool of blood. He had deep cuts everywhere from his face to his arms, torso, and back. It was like Bishop had just turned into a human tornado of knives.

    He stood catching his breath, bloods sprayed over his face and armour, his body still tense and senses heightened from the fight. She was frozen. She had never seen something like that, seen someone loose it like that, seen someone as deadly as that. He had scared her, but he also saved her. She wanted to feel relief, to let go of the overwhelming fear she had moments ago – he was here now. Bishop, her protector. Why couldn’t she let go?

    Bishop finally turned to see her. Her body still shivering and wet, his shirt hanging loosely to her figure. Her eyes told of the terror and fear. He put his blade away and rushed over to her, his eyes soft and concerned. “Diana, are you okay? Did they hurt you?” he gently gave her a quick look over. Relief washes over him as he sees she is unharmed. Her body, at least.

    She fell into his arms, burying her face into his chest. Her breathing was heavy and shaking.

    “It’s okay, princess. I’m here now,” he wraps himself around the shivering woman, planting a kiss on her head, “Nothing’s going to get you, I promise.” He held her tight till her shaking died down and her breathing normalised. “C’mon ladyship, let’s get you camp,” he gently puts his arm around her and leads her back to the camp. He assured her they’ll go get her armour first thing in the morning, right now, not that she enquired. Right now, he wanted to get her away from this mess.

     

    She was silent. Not a word had passed her lips. She sat in front of the fire, huddled under the furs Bishop had wrapped around her, and stared blankly into the flames. Next to her a plate of barely touched food. She didn’t know what to think, she didn’t know what to feel. It was like her blanked out, switched off in the aftershock, unable to process what had happened.

    Bishop felt a sting in his chest, seeing her like this. He moved in behind her, gently lifting her so he could fold his legs under her so she’d sit in his lap. She didn’t resist. He put his arms around her, holding her back against his chest, his chin resting on her head. If there’s one thing he knew from raising wolf pups, it was if they were scared, the sound of their mother’s heartbeat calmed them down almost immediately. He’d held Karnwyr to his chest when he found the pup lost in the woods, and it worked. He’d never tried it with people though, never wanted to. Now it was all he had to offer.

    Her body was stiff, ridged, and cold, her features unwavering. He removed his chest armour, leaving just his undershirt. He put his arms around her again and held her tight to his chest, dipping his head down next to hers so his warm breath fell in rhythm in her neck. He wished there was something he could say, but he had no words. He had no experience dealing with something like this, especially not with someone he cared about. He had to do something, he could feel how heavy her heart was, how the fear ate at her mind extinguishing her goofy, lively, lovable spirit.

    His head still dipped down next to her, he slowly tilts, his cheek grazing her soft cheek. He bites his bottom lip for a moment, then angles his head down, brushing his lips over her neck in a soft, gentle kiss. He feels her body react, an inhale, a little bit of the rigidness leaves her.

    His lips stay hovering, his warm breath caressing her skin as he sees goosebumps appear on her neck. His temptation at the sight overcomes him, and he gives in. His lips meet her neck again, just as soft and gentle, but more determined. He feels her body stir in his arms and he pulls away, almost expecting to be in trouble. Wordlessly, she turns in his arms to her side, dropping her head to his shoulder and curling up against his chest, pulling the fur over both of them. He leans back against the tree stump behind him, cradling her in his arms against his body. It worked, she was coming out of it, at her own time, like her shell was melting. He looked down to see her close her eyes tight, and press her head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat.

    Listening to his heart, faster than usual but steady, feeling his chest rise and fall against her body, she began to put the memory of what just happened to rest. An incredible calmness swept over her as she lay curled up in the Ranger’s arms. He was her safe space. “Thank you Bishop, for saving me,” she whispers below her breath.

    Bishop had never been a hero. Never had the desire to be one either. They’ve saved each other’s asses many times on the road, but this was different. His damsel was in distress, he came dashing in just in time and defeated the bad guys. He had loved those stories as a young boy, of the brave hero saving damsels and having his name praised in song, but that was a long, long time ago. Till now.

    He didn’t know what to say. So he just held her. His chest felt tight. What was happening to him? He couldn’t shut her out anymore, that much was certain.

     

    The next four days on route were slow moving but pleasant. There was an abundance of Forsworn in the Reach, so Bishop kept close to her, not letting her out of his sight for even a moment. As he walked next to her, his hand always rested on the hilt of his blade and his eyes were always alert and scouring the area.

    Besides being a little less absent-minded on the road, Diana was herself again, and overjoyed that her Ranger was also out of his moody silence. She enjoyed his company, but even the silence was more comfortable. They scaled the rocky mountains up and down towards the City of Silver and Blood.

     

    “Bishop…?” she asked as they lazily walked along the road late morning.

    “Hmmm?” he cocked an eyebrow at her.

    “About what happened, a few days ago with the bandits…” he moved a little uncomfortably, this was the first she’d spoken of it since, “have you ever considered that? Abducting me, tying me up and keeping me as a slave? You know…for fun?” he looked over to her cautiously, but saw her mood had not dampened and her eyes were suspicious by playful.

    “Er,” he paused to collect his thoughts. Her eyes went big at his pause. “Maybe a fantasy or two…” crimson flashed across his face for a moment. He kept his eyes intently on the road ahead, refusing to look at her.

    “Oh! Oh…” seeing his refusal to look at her, she moved in front of him, walking backward with his pace so she could face him, “Bad Bishi! Bad!” she rolls up an invisible newspaper and smacks him on the nose with it. He giggles a stupidly. “But I guess you are just a man.”

    “And what about you, Princess?”

    “What about me?” she said all sweet and innocent-like, like she didn’t know what he was asking.

    “What, you never had a fantasy about me before? Little hard to believe considering what you told me in Riften…”

    She stopped dead in her tracks, causing him to bump into her. “Wait, what did I say in Riften?” she was genuinely confused. As she recalled they didn’t really talk much while they were there, he was too busy with his friends and lip-wrestling that thief girl… Oh wait, the night with the skooma-wine! She couldn’t recall anything past watching the girl kiss him and how angry that made her.

    “What, you seriously don’t remember?”

    A little bit of uncomfortable angst on her face, “Remember what, exactly?”

    Bishop chuckled, oh this was rich! “The night when you drank that nasty shit the Argonian at the docks scammed you into. How you scolded me for letting that girl kiss me? How hard you hit on me?” her face drained of colour, “How you suggested we be ‘companions with benefits’? And I seem to recall something about tying me up with my bow’s strings, hot wax, and-”

    “OKAY OKAY!!” She cut him off, her face completely snowberry red as she spun around and stomped off. “I get it! The shit turned me into a drooling creeper!”

    Bishop laughed at seeing her so blushy and huffy. “Princess, your face is lighting up like the effigy at the Burning of King Olaf… Burning much like I assume your loins were. You telling me that was all just drunken bullshit then?”

    “Jus – sharrup!” she picked up the pace and left a dust trail as she scurried off ahead. He chuckled at her, but then he went quite, ‘wait, so she did mean it? Why else would she be so embarrassed?’

    He runs a few paces to catch up with his stupid companion, “Hey slow down! What are you doing?”

    “I’m milking a spriggan, what’s it look like I’m doing…” she replied blankly as the colour in her face normalised and her eyebrows knitted together.

    He stopped, looked up to the heavens, and said loudly: “You see this? You see what I’m dealing with here?”

    He let out a giggle at his display, “wow, never took you for a religious man Bishop! Here I thought only idiots and Heimskir believed in such nonsense.”

    He looks up again adamantly, pointing to her, “You see that?! Smite her! You smite her right now!”

    A smile pulled into her left cheek as she joined his side and looked up, “Err, hi? You don’t know me, because you don’t exist, but before you smite me – you should know ‘he’,” wiggles her thumb at Bishop, “he stole the gems and coins at one you’re your shrines back in Riften and at High Hrothgar! If anyone needs a good smiting its him!”

    “Oh yeah? Well SHE got high off poison and desecrated the dead in an ancient crypt! Robbed the bodies of their valuables like she had no respect for the dead. And I’m pretty sure she farted in one of the tombs, even though she denies it and blamed it on the draugr!”

    “Oh is that so??” she looks back up, “I saw this fucker here eye-balled Dibella’s knockers! I mean, talk about disrespect!”

    “I only looked because you were staring…” Bishop accused her blankly.

    “Oh, yeah…” she looked down, “Damn those big titteh statues!” she shook her head and turned back to thee road.

    He stared at her, folded arms, eyes narrow, a smile creeping up, “Why are you like this? Who hurt you? Your dad not hug you enough? C’mon, tell uncle Bishi.”

    “YOU get shouted at by a Dragon, and then shortly after get shouted at by old bearded men in a mountain so loud it echoes across Whiterun – and let’s see how you turn out!”

    “I get yelled at by you all the time… which is basically being yelled at by an old, bitter, bearded dragon…”

    “Oh yeah? I dunno Bishicakes, I don’t recall ever having given you a taste of my voice…” she stopped, putting her hands on her hips seductively eyeing him, but his mind was sensing a challenge.

    “Then why don’t we change that?” he steps top her, his finger folded below her chin and his thumb to her bottom lip.

     

    “Just for the record! This is not what I had in mind!” he calls over to her.

    “Oh shut and hold on!” she yelled to Bishop. He was tied around the waist with heavy leather straps that were also fastened to a tree on either side of him. “Okay, you ready?” she asked excited, she’d always wanted to do this!

    “Fuckit, I’m ready.” He planted his feet firmly and braced, a faint playful smile on his face.

    “Okay here goes,” she also planted her feet, took a deep breath, “FUS RO!!!” her voice shot forward with great force. Leaves, grass, and branches give way and the shout hits the tethered-up Bishop like a sock full of soup to the face – SMACK! His feet lifted off the ground, the leather straps scream out with strain as his whole body braces to be shot into the trees behind him. But then, just as fast as it hit him, it was over, his body fell forward, his arms barely making it to the ground before his face does.

    “WOAAAH!” Diana cries in glee, “How’s that feel motherfucker?!” She struts over to him all thug-like, “Not gon’ mess with me now are ya? Ain’t NOBODY messin with the Dragonborn! I’ll shout their asses into Oblivion!” She was high on her own damn ego.

    “Careful ladyship,” Bishop says with a cough as he struggles to his feet, “your head gets any bigger you’ll topple over. And I ain’t carrying you to Markarth!”

    “Pfft whatever boy! Only thing that’ll make me topple over is the size of my DICK!” she slaps her hips, but breaks into chuckles.

    “Wow… well aren’t you just the vision of beauty and grace…” Bishop says unimpressed with dead eyes as he loosens the straps around his waist, “The humble, noble Dragonborn; the saviour of Skyrim… How-ever did I manage to turn you down?”

    “You turn me down??” she pulls her head back, “Bitch the only time I’m into you is when I’m high or drunk as a mother! Don’t believe me? Then we’ll go find YOU some skooma-wine and you’ll see! That shit will make an Orc look like Elisif the Fair! I mean, it made you look like Erik the Slayer for a moment there!”

    “Well in that case, if it’s that strong, it might just make you look a falmer on a good hair day!” Bishop struggled with the straps, “What the f…” the pull from the shout had made the knots impossible to untie.

    “Hey, Bishop!” Diana calls. The frustrated Bishop was trying to figure out a way to get out without losing good quality leather.

    “Yeah?” Bishop looks up to Diana, her armour and shirt lifted to her chin exposing her perfectly round and perky breasts to him. His eyes go big for a second and his mouth drops wordlessly, before quickly shaking it off and averting his eyes.

    “Gotcha! Made you look!” she fixes her armour, lifts a hand and high-fives herself with a victorious laugh. “You call me a falmer looking son-bitch all you want, you’re still just a man Bishop…” she winks at him as he just face-palms. “Now let me help you out of this mess before you hurt yourself.”

    Bishop presses his lips together to keep from grinning. “You’re crazy, you know that? Anyone ever tell you it’s actually really hard to be around you?”

    “That’s what she said…” she takes his dagger from his hip and crouches down. She carefully slides the blade between the leather strap and his hip, turning the blade outward and yanking to cut him free. “So, how’s it feel to survive a shout from the Dragonborn?” she looks up at him. Having her on her knees so close to his hips made his heart race a little, especially after what he just saw, his pants might be a little tight. He quickly stepped back and straightened out his armour.

    “Pfft, like being coughed at…” he scoffed. She got up, folded her arms, and glared at him with raised eyebrows and dead eyes. “Okay okay… It.was.AWESOME!” a genuine smile from ear to ear. “I mean, my feet were literally off the ground there for a second! Shit, we should make this an attraction, charge people money, tie ‘em up, then you shout at them!”

    She taps her finger on her chin, contemplating the idea while idly swinging his dagger. “Nah, don’t think the Greybeards would be into it. And I kinda still need them to like me.”

    “That reminds me,” he steps up to her and grabs his dagger back before she makes off with it again, “after Markarth we’re going straight to fetch that horn!”

     

    Finally! Markarth.  The city of stone was just as huge as she imagined. How the ancient city still stood was beyond her, but it was glorious. High walls, gold and dwarven metal trimmings, and a city literally built into the mountain side.

    As usual when arriving into a new city, the two looked and smelled like shit. Literally. She slipped on some moss while climbing down some roacks and fell right into a steaming pile of cave bear shit. You can’t make this shit up. (well actually you can, but shhh I’m telling the story) Bishop had a run-in with a Hagraven who shot a fire ball right into his face. The two decided to bolt rather than fight. Hagravens are powerful enemies, but slow, and despite looking like the disgusting spawn of Molag Bal and a very ugly eagle, can’t fly with those feathers…or even walk fast. Lucky for them. They ran away like real superheroes, Bishop yelling something about how he can’t help it, no woman could resist him, before being struck with another fireball in the back. Diana laughed so hard she almost fell over and rolled down the mountain.

    They gave each other a relieved smile, and headed for the doors. “You do know this city’s roads and walkways are almost entirely made up of stairs, right?” Bishop lifts an eyebrow to her as her face shoots to his, turning white.

    “What?!” she says in utter shock. Bishop just chuckled and shrugged. “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME BEFORE??”

    “Too late now, Princes. We’re already here!” he called out to her over his shoulder as he walked up the steps to the city gates.

    “It’s not too late! It’s never too late!”

    Little did they know, what waited on the otherside of those doors would change their partnership forever.

    Sharis
    Participant
    Post count: 135

    *Casavir plays McDonald’s tune* I’m lurvin it!

    Kathy
    Participant
    Post count: 8

    OMG…”Bishop yelling something about how he can’t help it, no woman could resist him, before being struck with another fireball in the back”…best line EVER!!! I was dying…Bunny, don’t stop now.

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