Part IX (Native American)

1730 CE - 1815 CE (1754 CE)

--- My Wedding Day ---

I ride into camp with the sun rising over my shoulder, astride one new pony and leading three others. It was a successful raid last night and I am tired, but elated. Children and dogs crowd around me as I ride further into camp, stopping at your father’s teepee. I should go to the river first and wash away the night’s exertions, but I am too nervous. There four ponies are the last of your bride price and I am eager to get them into your father’s hands before my competition does. As I dismount, I see you peeking shyly from the tent flap. When we were younger you were more open with me, but since you began living as a berdache, you have been as shy as any young maiden.

I wait politely as your father looks the ponies over carefully, but I am not worried – I know they are all sound and well-broken. I have been on enough night raids for ponies to judge well… enough to honor my totem the owl and to earn my name. He finally nods and takes their ropes from me. I release a breath I didn’t know I was holding and whoop my joy. My brothers appear at my side and embrace me. My elder brother is himself newly married and has been teasing me about my single status since his own wedding, but it is my younger brother who seems happier for me – he is less concerned about the children you will not be able to bear than the elder, whose new bride is already growing with their first child. I meet your wide eyes briefly over their shoulders, but am rushed away to prepare for the wedding feast before I can say a word or reach out to touch you. I long to hold you against me and I know it will be a long day, but I am comforted by the knowledge that tonight and from now on I will share your furs.

As my mother and sisters prepare the wedding feast and the men of your family set up the teepee that was my gift to you and will be our home, I imagine you being given the same type of last minute advice by your aunts and mother as I am by my brother, father and uncles as they fuss around, preparing me for the feast. Just before the feast my mother comes in to braid my hair for the last time. There are tears in her eyes as she leaves.

The wedding feast itself is mercifully short, and once the bride price is formally acknowledged by your family and my family has distributed gifts to those assembled so that we don’t start out in debt, we are allowed to escape to our new home. Your mother has thoughtfully lit the fire and left us some food, knowing that we were both too anxious to eat much of the feast.

I turn from tying the door flap shut and am surprised to find you on the far side of the teepee, eyes downcast into the fire you are needlessly tending. At first I think it is just your shyness, but as I draw closer I see that you are crying. My stomach clenches with fear… I had been so sure you wanted to marry me. Were those occasional moments alone stolen at the periphery of the dance fire - to gaze into each other’s eyes, to whisper a few words, sometimes even to touch briefly – not as precious to you as they were to me? Hesitantly I come closer, drop to my knees beside you and lightly stroke your hair. I swallow, then force the question from my lips, "Are you unhappy with our marriage?"

I am at first relieved, then shocked by your answer, "No, but you are, or will be."

I rock back on my heels and look at you, but you will not face me, "What! Why would you think that?!"

"Because I cannot give you children," you whisper.

I am still for a moment, then take your hands and turn you towards me. "And this is a problem? My pretty one – I have known this all along – did you think I had not considered this while I pursued you? I am not interested in raising children of my own… I never have been. If any children need fostering, I will be glad that we have space at our fire, but if not, then I know my brother will furnish us with plenty of nieces and nephews…" You cringe when I mention him. "Is that who has put this worry into your head?" You shake your head, still looking down. "Who then? Ah… his wife. I saw her talking with you at the feast. Damn her and her sharp tongue… I’ll deal with her right now…"

I rise – furious – not knowing exactly what I will do, but determined to pay her back for making you cry on your wedding day. You stand with me and tighten your grip on my hands, finally meeting my eyes. "Please… stay."


"My husband." Those words stop me in my tracks like no others could.

The look in your eyes tells me that you love me, that you want to believe me, but that you still have doubts, and I am painfully aware that my next actions will convince you one way or the other.

I whisper as I try to persuade you… "My pretty one," as I release your hands and tangle my own in your long hair. "My love," as I gently brush your lips with mine. "My wife," as I run my hands down your back, press you against me and deepen the kiss. I try to slow down, knowing that this is as far as we have dared go before and not wanting to rush you, but when I attempt to pull back, your arms cross behind my neck and your lips part under mine.

As our tongues meet, I drop my hands lower and pull you close, feeling a hardness that matches my own pressed against me. After a few moments of exploration, we break off the kiss. "I want to see you… to taste your skin," I pant against your cheek, then bury my face in your neck as I reach for the hem of your buckskin dress. As I nibble my way up to your ear and begin to remove the dress, I feel your trembling hands working on the laces of my shirt. We gasp, then pause, as our hands simultaneously reach each other’s flesh.

Reluctantly, I release you long enough to lift your dress over your head, shrugging off my shirt at the same time. We face each other, both dressed only in leggings and moccasins. When I would step forward to take you back into my arms, you stop me with an upraised hand. I pause, confused, then smile as your hands begin to caress me – lightly at first, then with growing confidence. You start with my face, then follow my braids down over my shoulders to my chest, running first your fingertips, then your palms over my stiff nipples. As I groan in response, you smile and reach lower until your fingers brush lightly over the bulge in my leggings. I see the twinkle in your eye a moment before I feel your grip tighten and you stroke me through the soft leather. Suddenly it is as if a cord has snapped inside me and I can move again. In one swift motion I have you back in my arms and flat on your back on the furs.

"They surely named you well – you are truly a little vixen," I say with a smile as I slide down your body, determined to remove the rest of your clothes, but getting distracted by the texture and taste of your body, especially once I fumble through the knot in the thong for your leggings. I experiment playfully, taking you into my mouth briefly, then stroking you so I can watch your face as the sensations hit you. Suddenly I am no longer in a teasing mood and slide all the way down to your feet to remove your moccasins and pull your leggings off. As you watch me with burning eyes, I remove mine as well. Slowly I retrace my path, then sigh with pleasure as I feel the full length of our naked bodies press against each other for the first time.

---The Next Morning ---

I awake the next morning still tired – I had not slept since the night before the raid – but content, with my new wife sprawled across my chest. I frown briefly, remembering how I feel asleep so quickly on our first night together, then smile again as I recall what good use we put our short time together. My thoughts make me harden, already looking forward to our next night. I feel you stir and quickly roll over and away from you – I don’t want you to think that I am the type of man who only wants one thing from you, although the feel of your lips on my back makes it difficult to convince myself.

"Shadow… my husband… where are you going?" you murmur sleepily, slipping an arm around me.

"It’s morning, wife. Time to get up and get on with our business for the day," I say in the gruffest tone I can manage considering the smile you calling me your husband brings to my lips. Another woman might have been fooled and spent the rest of the day pouting at me, but you already know me too well. Instead, you snuggle closer and reach down between my legs. I can picture the twinkle in your eyes as you comment, "It seems we have both already ‘gotten up’, and how much business out of the furs should a newly married couple have so early in the morning? Or should I get dressed now and make your coffee?"

"Damn the coffee," I growl as I roll over and capture your lips in a kiss.

With the sun much higher in the sky, you roll out of our bed. "That was better than any coffee ever brewed," I comment, watching you dress, "but I do wonder what has happened to the shy young maiden I hardly dared steal a kiss from…"

"She got to marry the man she loves," you reply, "but if my forwardness displeases you so, I will stop."

I watch dismayed as the light fades from your eyes and you look away from me. Quickly I sit up and call you back to my side. I take your face in my hands and look into your eyes.

"Searching Fox… listen to me. You certainly do not displease me. In fact, you please me so well that I barely have the strength to leave you." I pause, enjoying your grin. "But what will displease me is if you change to suit another person’s opinion… mine or any others. You have had the strength to walk your own path up to today – it’s one of the things I love most about you – don’t let our marriage change that. Understand?" I wait for your nod, then kiss you on the tip of your nose. "Good… now braid my hair and let me out of bed long enough to visit my family."

On the way to visit my brothers, I pause at a quiet corner of the river to admire your braiding. If anything, they look better than they did at the wedding. Smiling again, I hurry to greet my elder brother and his wife, knowing that I am the very picture of a happily married man. There is no need to give her the satisfaction of knowing she caused you pain.

After spending some time visiting with Buffalo Rider and his wife and helping him finish some arrows and spears, I excuse myself, pointedly making the comment that I need to hurry back to share the midday meal with my wife. I know this will remind him that his wife has not prepared theirs yet, so he cannot even offer me the courtesy of an invitation. Watching the thunderclouds appear on their faces, I rapidly walk out of earshot.

As I walk back towards our teepee, I am joined by my younger brother, Hunting Wolf. Oddly enough, he has seemed almost as happy as I’ve been since your father accepted my ponies and he lost his chance to be your husband. I know that I would not have reacted as well if the situation had been reversed.

He tosses an arm around me and, with a wink, asks how you are. Knowing his nature, I know what he wants to hear about, but that is between us so I answer simply that I hope you are as happy as I am.

"Good, good," he nods, "So when do I get my turn so that we can make ‘her’ twice as happy?" I stop walking – stunned. "You know," he continues, "this actually works out better – you get the full-time companionship that you seem to desire and I can limit my association with your little berdache to what I desire."

I violently shrug his arm off my shoulder and step back with balled fists, trying desperately not to hit him. "First of all," I hiss through clenched teeth, "she is not ‘my little berdache’ – she is my wife. Which means you don’t ‘get a turn’ – your association with her will be as her husband’s brother – that’s all!"

The fool tries again, "But Shadow, you know I would’ve shared…"

"Enough!" I bellow. "You stay away from her, little brother, or I will make you sorry you were ever born." Putting my hand on my knife, I glance down at his breechcloth, then back into his eyes. "Understand?"

"I understand you, brother," he growls back, furious at being denied what is in his mind his share of my prize, "but you should realize that you’re no different than me now. You can call Searching Fox your wife, but you still have a man in your bed." With that taunt he disappears into the trees.

I stand there for a moment, shaking with anger. How could my own brother think I would allow such a thing… unless you and he had already discussed it? I know he also courted you, found time alone with you as I did. But he does not even consider you a woman, or love you…

Suddenly I hear a noise behind me and whirl around, knife drawn and in a fighting stance. It’s you, having hurried to me after hearing my angry shout. I search your eyes, looking for some sign. Finally I sheath my blade and straighten, crossing my arms across my chest. You approach me slowly, waiting for a smile I can’t give right now.

"How much did you hear?" I ask.

"Other than your shout, just what he said as he was walking away." You stand close, look up at me and put a hand on my arm. "Is that how you think of me?"

Looking down into your wide eyes, I relent and take you into my arms. "No, my love. Although I have never looked down on my brother for his choices, I have never found a male spirit attractive in that way." You sigh and hold me close.

Stroking your hair, I try to ask you about his suggestion. "Do you… did you… would you ever, um, want to… sleep with Hunting Wolf?"

You stiffen and ask "would you want me to?" against my chest.

"Remember what I said this morning… what is your path?"

You pull out of my arms and back away to look me in the eyes better and answer, "My path is with you… you are the man I love and the only one I want. If that is the plan you two had, he will be sorely disappointed because I will not play at being a man for him. And I had hoped you loved me more than that…"

Before your indignant anger can give way to tears, I hurry to you and pull you back into my arms. "No, pretty one, that was never my plan. He thinks we should share you, and I was afraid you agreed, but now I will gladly keep you all to myself. But I have to admit, if he had won you," I feel you shudder and hug you tighter to me, "I would have taken any opportunity he offered me to be with you." I push you away slightly. "Now, let’s get back home… I’m starving," I finish with a wink, then bend to bite gently at your neck.