[I saw the prompts for Atalanta/Meleager - virginity, technicality - and thought the prompter(s) might have meant to pair Atalanta with the man variously known as Melanion, Milanion, and Hippomenes, the one who used the golden apples to beat her in the footrace. Just in case I got that wrong, I availed myself of the generic m/f prompts (for any fandom) of hands, kiss, bed]
[no warnings apply.]
She stripped bare to race him.
He'd known she would, had seen her let her linen gown fall, disregarding Timon's hopeful gaze and availing herself of the athlete's privilege of nudity. She'd barely had to walk to beat Timon, who went to his death with his eyes still full of her glory.
Melanion was hardly in a better state, his mind recalling every rosy curve, when he begged a boon from Aphrodite. The next day, apples tucked underneath his cloak, he issued his challenge, and a thousand pitying smiles answered him while Atalanta's raised eyebrow questioned his sincerity.
For speed, he could not match her. But no one dared say he had not won, not when the apples he had cast as temptation had been divinely sanctioned.
Atalanta was no blushing bride. She was naked - contemptuously naked, somehow - when he entered her chamber. She had not prepared herself with oils and perfumes, as he had, but the scent of her was still intoxicating to him. He breathed deep, belatedly realizing that her skin was cool, unflushed, unaroused.
He'd wanted her rosy as the dawn. But this was what he got. Perhaps this was what he deserved.
"Curious," she said, and her voice was unpracticed, a low rumbling sweetness that had never been trained to propriety, "that you were able to cast the golden apples away, when everyone else who has seen them has succumbed to greed for them."
He stayed silent, lingering still by the door; she had not invited him closer.
"Well?" she asked. "Have you no words, no charms, but this wondrous fruit?"
"Lady," he said, "I asked for a boon to win your love, and did not question what I was granted."
"Have it back again," she cried, and threw, with all the strength and skill of a huntress, one of the apples at his chest. He felt like dough under a baker's fist. "My love is not yours after all."
"No," he agreed, rubbing the bruising skin, "only your body and your name and your very life."
"You could not best my body without a trick in our race," she said, her fists clenching at her sides. Her hands, he saw, were calloused from years of archery, and her thighs were the color of honey.
"Truly, I have never seen beauty like you before. When you ran, you were lovelier even than Pegasus in full flight -"
"You make mock of me, the bear-child. I am but an animal to you, to be broken and tamed."
"No!" he insisted, dismayed. He had forgotten her history, that she'd been left to die as a babe on an unforgiving mountain. How had she ever brought herself to forgive her father? "I wanted only to stand before you and sing your praises."
She shrugged one shoulder, still hurt, and turned away. "I have no wish to hear your song."
The apple she'd thrown at him had shattered against the floor. He stepped over the shards and took up a second one; stuffing it in his mouth, gagging himself, he waited.
Still, she did not move, and her spine was eloquent. He crossed his wrists in further humility, and her head turned to verify the gesture.
Atalanta was imbued with grace, so light were her footfalls against the cold floor. She stood in front of him for uncounted moments, then lifted a hand to free the second apple. It, too, splintered when she threw it to one side.
"Speak, husband, or touch," she said, like a naiad whose voice bubbled up like a brook.
He had no words. He stretched his hand out instead, letting his fingertips rest at the indentation of her waist. He stopped his mouth against her grass-scented skin, and felt her grow warm against him. Or was that him, his own blood rising and singing with joy of her, at the tremble of her chin as he raised his head from her breast to take her sweet mouth? Was it her hand or his that first clutched fervently, her teeth or his that first bit down on a plump lip?
Clutching each other, they weaved their way to the bed. He tossed the last apple away and fell back on the blankets, pulling her down on top of him.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.
This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/436677.html.