Sihtric left that same morning. Scouts had been seen along Wessex's border and the King was requesting help. Before sending anyone to battle, Uhtred wanted to know what was happening and who was spying.
Since your wedding, Uhtred also refused to send you and Sihtric on scouting missions alone, claiming you would be distracted by one another. At first you had both argued, claimed you could do your job no matter what but in the end Uhtred rejected your claim, stating love made things dirty.
With Sihtric gone for a few nights, you found yourself training later than most days, preparing weapons and assisting Uhtred with planning. You saw Finan around, doing similar things but never really had the time to talk other than basic pleasentries.
You noticed however that the way he watched you changed, his eyes cautious but heated.
Tonight was your first night with not much to do. You sat in the alehouse with Osferth, trying to read the English words he showed you in his book but your head hurt too much to focus.
You observed Finan out of the corner of your eye, seeing him discussing with a local woman known for chasing after Uhtred's warriors. Finan had a drink in hand as he was leaning on the counter, looking bored and tired. You wondered why he wasn't paying more attention, it wasn't like him to turn down interested women.
When he stood and stumbled out the alehouse you couldn't help but say your goodbyes to Osferth and follow after Finan. You saw a torch down the path to the river and you trailed behind, wanting to make sure he was ok.
By the time you made it to the river, Finan was struggling with his tunic, his trousers already disposed of close by. Biting your lip, you watched him, the skin of his scared back golden under the firelight, his strong shoulders leading to his tapered waist and strong round ass.
"Need some help," you said as you finally approached him.
Finan staggered sideways as if surprised to hear you, his tunic giving in as you reached for him, steadying him.
You saw him swallowing around nothing as he examined you from head to toe before pulling away, slowly disappearing under the dark water without a word.
When Finan appeared out of the water he shook his head, sending thousands of droplets flying around him like crystals in the light. You'd never seen him look so beautiful and yet he seemed miserable.
"You miss him that much?" you asked when he remained silent, his eyes tracing your every move as you sat on the shore.
He shook his head once more mumbling something you didn't understand before diving under.
"Finan," you called when he reappeared, head bowed low, without making eye contact.
You called his name again to no avail. Pulling off your boots you made your way into the water fully clothed, worried about Finan. When you reached him, you pressed your hand to his shoulder and he barely reacted.
You kissed his back gently as you wrapped your arms around him.
"Finan, you're scaring me," you said softly, lips ghosting over his back.
Finally, Finan hummed in response, slowly turning in your arms so he could face you. You couldn't tell if it was water from the river or tears streaming down his face but you felt your heart stutter at the sight of him.
"Tell me how to help," you whispered, cupping his cheek.
He shrugged, sighing as he leaned into your touch, kissing the tip of your fingers. You smiled sadly at him, caressing your hands down his arms, tracing the scars that littered them.
The kiss came unexpectedly but you welcomed it, allowing Finan in as his hands settled on your hips. He pulled you into his body, his lips moving softly against yours yet desperately trying to say something, his tongue tasting of ale.
You shivered from the cold water, goosebumps spreading over you. Finan pulled away, running his hands down your arms as though to warm you up. He seemed almost sober as he escorted you out of the water, wrapping his cloak around you before dressing quietly.
The walk home was oddly comforting, Finan's hand at the bottom of your back keeping you grounded. The minute you opened the door to the cabin he was mumbling for you to change as he started a fire.
You did as you were told, eyes fixated on him. Once you were changed into a loose robe, you approached Finan cautiously, threading your fingers through his hair. He sat on a stool by the fire, leaning into you, hiding his face in the velvet material of your robe. It was the first time since you had met Finan that you'd seen him look so vulnerable.
"Talk to me," you repeated, working your fingers down his neck, massaging his shoulders.
In time, Finan huffed a sinister laugh into your stomach before pulling away. He dragged another stool closer for you to sit. Quietly, you did as indicated, reaching for his hand to lace your fingers with his
You waited, uncertain what to say. It was obvious Finan was fighting with something and you had no idea how to help him.
"I can't be in love with Sihtric or you," he whispered, his voice trembling.
"You don't have to do anything Finan," you replied reassuringly, your thumb caressing the back of his hand.
"You don't understand."
"Then help me," you pleaded, hating the shift in your voice, the crack in it that mirrored your heart.
Finan shifted away from you, dropping your hand as he exhaled deeply.
"I used to have a wife, kids even," he eventually muttered, eyes locked on the flames as if they were consuming him.
You stayed quiet, watching him, unable to help his turmoil but wanting him to find the words. After a long pause, Finan stood, turning his back to you before he continued.
"I fell in love with my brother's wife and ran away with her. It cost me everything. I lost everything."
"Finan," you tried but he stopped you, shaking his head.
"I can't lose it all again."
"Finan," you repeated, this time standing to fit yourself against his back. You waited for his breathing to calm, his hands coming to settle over yours on his stomach. "What you went through Finan, it's horrible but it doesn't mean you can't love again. We're family, you, me, Sihtric, Uhtred and Osferth, it's til death. No one will take that away from you."
You shuffled back, hand on Finan's arm to turn him to face you. Surprisingly, he came easily but you could see he was holding back, his eyes shining with unshed tears.
"Look at me," you said as you took his face between yours hands, heart hammering. "No matter what you choose, what you want from this, know that Sihtric and I will always be there for you, even if you walk away."
In time, Finan nodded, tilting in to press his forehead to yours.
"Truth be told, you terrify me Finan."
You saw the confusion in his face, as he pulled away but you leaned forth, ghosting your lips over his. "You could complete us, but you could destroy us just as easily."
Turning away, you swallowed around nothing, feeling a lump in your throat. Over the past few weeks you had realized that Sihtric may not be the only one with feelings for Finan. That maybe you had just been really good at hiding it, even from yourself. Yet could it really be possible to have it all, Sihtric and Finan, a fearless leader and a family. It all seemed too good to be true.
You felt Finan's hand on your hip, the touch gentle but enough to stop you from walking away.
He molded himself to your back, hooking his chin over your shoulder. "I wish he was here."
"Me too," you sighed. It would be a mess to have to explain all this to Sihtric later.
"I guess we'll have to make it up to him," Finan whispered as he spun you around slowly, mouth descending upon yours, kissing you until you were breathless.
You gasped his name as he lifted you into his arms, kissing down your neck. Wrapping your legs around his waist you tilted his chin up, running your fingers through his beard as you looked into his eyes.
Finan walked you to the bed, laying you on it. He covered your body with his, slotting perfectly between your legs. The weight of him made you groan as you pulled at his tunic, ridding him of it before kissing him once more.
With your fingers in his hair and his hands trailing every inch of your body, you couldn't help but moan into his mouth, craving more. You felt Finan slip his hands under your robe, lifting it away from your skin until you lay naked underneath him.
Finan kneeled between your legs, undoing the laces to his trousers and you watched him, feeling heat rise through you. When he was finally naked you pushed yourself up, fingers tracing the lines of his abdomen, lips caressing his skin.
"Y/N", you heard Finan say, making you gaze up at him through your lashes.
His lips fell upon yours, your body reacting instantly, small moans being pulled out of you as Finan pushed you back. The first thrust made you whimper, craving more but Finan refused to give in, setting a desperately slow and intimate rhythm.
"Finan," you whined, cupping the back of his neck to bring his mouth to yours. "What do you want?"
"Everything," he whispered, grinding into you languidly, making you cry out.