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Time is on the Devil's Side

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To his surprise, Death doesn't feel like cold, or loss, or any of the other macabre emotions that he might have associated with mortality. Rather, Death feels like any other person might, and the skin on the inside of his wrist where Rudolf wraps his fingers is disturbingly soft.

Death tilts his head and regards Rudolf like a specimen, or perhaps like a lover he has yet to figure out. Rudolf drops his head and stretches his neck, feels Death's hand settle in his hair, less like a lover and more like a prison guard. Rudolf doesn't mind. He has never pretended that his flirtation with Death would be a romance. But when Death pulls those fingers from his hair and strokes lightly across his cheek to his jaw, it's easy to forget.

It feels like a lover's hand, like a caress, and when Death leans in to offer his mouth, never taking, never with force, it feels like the most logical thing in the world to lean in also, to whisper so close that he can't tell the difference between his own breath and that of Death. How often has he done this with the ladies of the court? Slow touches to desperate anticipation to thick kisses and rutting touch. Death knows everything of anticipation, so he doesn't rush the moment, angles his head the slightest amount so that if their lips were to touch - when they touch - they'll fit together like seashells cupped against each other to keep out some great tide. Rudolf parts his lips and lets the moisture of breath collect on his lips and his tongue. He imagines that he can taste Death just in this, in this lingering so close that one too-heavy sigh would seal the kiss. Death has closed his eyes, sensual even in this, and waits for Rudolf to make a choice.

A few shivering breaths later, Rudolf drops his head, so that Death's kiss brushes against his forehead and not his soul. Death freezes for a moment and Rudolf wonders if he is disappointed - whether he can be disappointed, whether he is capable of the feeling - but then Death gathers him closer into his arms and presses that perfect mouth against his hair. "I could taste you tonight, you were so close," Death murmurs, stroking an idle hand across his ribs. "You taste like raspberries, in case you're wondering."