Corbie had made arrangements for me to spend the evening at Crysolomon’s again tonight, and after the pay I’d brought in the night prior, the alcohol had less water to it, and the bartender was kept busy. Not entirely because of me, or at least-- not for the reason I was here.
Word had, it seemed, got out to the tittering ladies of the town, and for all that they kept their distance, I could feel the weight of their eyes on me, seemingly from all directions, like the weight of the hecate pulsing in my blood and Malkar’s rubies in my pocket.
I couldn’t leave them in the room, not with Mildmay sick, not when I could all but feel the mikkary rolling off of them in waves. It wouldn’t help him to get better, and thinking about it-- the rubies, the stares, my own temporary vulnerability-- none of it would help me to catch my ‘fish’.
I probably should have been expecting it when one of the ladies plucked up her courage and came forward. She lay her hand on mine as if it were her intending to do the seducing, and I pulled away and raised my eyebrow.
“Lucky me, meeting a real Mirador wizard here of all places,” she said, and her tone was exactly the solicitous sort I had expected.
She was a plain thing, not particularly lovely nor repulsive. She was excited and nervous, however, and the jangling of her nerves made her seem younger. For a moment, she seemed more like the girl I was sure she’d been perhaps as many as five years before. But I was not what she was hoping, and it irked me that she should have such expectations. A whore, yes, but not for her.
“Lucky you,” I responded drily. “Though, I believe the term for me here is ‘violet.’ I drawled the words out and watched her face for the cringe. It didn’t come, though she did look disappointed, but her eyes did flash--
Another untrained, or undertrained, wizard.
This place seemed to be absolutely crawling with them. And I couldn’t possibly teach them all. Not with Mildmay ill, and us needing to get on the road soon. Corbie, with her help and her ambition, that was all I could handle.
I hoped she wouldn’t ask, even as much as I hoped that was what she and her friends had been talking about, rather than the romances that had apparently cast me as the hero in their eyes. They couldn’t pay me for teaching what I could make in a few hours on my knees, and more, once they realized what I was doing, I doubt they would want me to.
“I apologize, then. Here-- let me buy you a drink for the trouble?” She gestured at the barkeep and sat her payment on the counter before pointing at me. He understood, the language of money and alcohol universal for all that it needed no words.
She was not so meek as I’d expected-- but then, she had been the only one to pluck the courage up to come speak to me.
I nodded gratefully.
“Thank you, ah-- what was your name?”
She smiled, and there was something ugly about it.
“Never you mind-- I’ve embarrassed myself enough.”
I would have answered, save that there was a tap on my shoulder, and it seemed the fish hardly minded the presence of the woman at my side.
I opened my mouth to say something polite to her, and the barkeep chose that moment to set the glass down.
I looked at it, nearly regretful-- for I had a feeling that it would be the least watery of my drinks that evening.
“I’ll hang onto it until you get back.” She told me with a small nod, and I glanced up, surprised-- first that she knew, and second for her kindness.
“I-- thank you. I hope I’ll get your name then.” I stood and gave her a smile and a tiny bow, something she no doubt would find horribly noble and romantic, and followed the man into the other room to do something that was anything but.
My task was done quickly and with my eyes closed, at the fish’s behest. My eyes no doubt spoiled what would otherwise have been a fairly pleasant view for him, and as he was paying for it, I wouldn’t argue.
Could hardly argue, in point of fact, with my mouth otherwise engaged.
And so when we returned to the bar, I was all the more ready for a drink, and the company that came with it, if only because she hadn’t drawn away from my eyes, and saw me, however fantasy-tinted, as something other than a whore. Something more.
My vanity was not what I would call stung-- he’d wanted me all the same, after all, but… it was not wholly unscathed either. And I was not surprised to find a small group of some five women now standing guard around my vacant stool, and how that must have looked to any who had come in while I was busy, I couldn’t have said.
As it was, I returned to it amused and in good spirits, a few hermits richer.
“Ladies,” I greeted, and they had the good grace not to pretend they hadn’t been watching and waiting for my return.
The first one, the brave one, glanced at my fish, who flushed and hurried away, then passed the drink she’d promised to hold back my way.
“Will you tell us about the Mirador, until the next one?” She requested, while I took a good pull from the flagon.
My mind was caught on the fish as he left-- and how her request was likely to scare away business.
“I think--” I began, and then reeled as whatever was in the drink hit me. Phoenix, was my first thought, and it was perhaps close-- my blood began to sing as it flowed, and it headed straight south, but it wasn’t-- I wasn’t-- I jerked my head to look at the leader of the women, and she had a small, victorious grin.
“Or, if you like, we can take care of you. All of us-- we’ll be gentle, and we’ll pay you well. Trust me, y’ain’t exclusively violet, least not for the rest of the night.”
I shuddered, both from revulsion and the effects of the drug, and she took it for the no it was. But rather than accept it, she stepped in, tangled her fingers into my hair and tugged my head back, leaning me backwards to be within reach for another of the women to pour more of the damned drink down my throat.
I coughed and spluttered, my eyes unfocused as I felt myself swaying-- my heart beat speeding and my body rocking in time to it.
And I was hard, so hard that I thought I could cry. Whatever they’d used, it worked fast, and came on strong. I forced myself to my feet, sending the stool clattering to the ground as I did, and that caught the barkeep’s eye. I got both hands on the bar.
“Drunk, the poor dear.” The woman said loudly. “We’ll see him safely home.”
“No! I’m not--Corbie--” I protested, panic making me lose track of my tongue, my words, my thoughts-- the barkeep narrowed his eyes, then nodded.
“Not just yet, ladies, I’m afraid your friend’s got to settle his debts first.” He gestured me around to the side of the bar, where he came out and met me.
“Go sleep it off, I’ll see to them. Through these doors, out the back. First left’ll get you to the main road. I trust Corbie to square us up later.”
It was entirely too kind of him, and I barely understood, and still found myself tearing up and reaching for him. He shook his head and pushed me out through the doors, and behind me I heard my admirers protesting, and something about charges. But I did not wait to hear more, instead half-staggering my way out into public, my heart feeling like it was pounding out of my chest and my head spinning as though unattached to the rest.
I took the left he’d said, but the main street was not one I had ever seen before.
Immediately, I was lost. And all I could think of was finding an alley and something to bend over, dropping trou, and taking myself in hand while I waited for men to find me, to make a line and make a night of it. Whether I got paid or not. Right then, it hardly mattered. And it disgusted me, but it was also what I wanted, and the need for it-- it felt like ants running under my skin, and it was driving me-- not mad; I knew the difference-- but to distraction. And the urge, the weight of my need-- if I hadn’t worked as hard as I had to learn to focus my will, I doubt I would have made it past the gutter.
As it was, I was working on stumbling into the darkness, my hands fumbling with my belt when I felt it-- the obligation d’âme. Mildmay was awake, and tugging on our bond to find me.
He knew-- knew something was wrong, and…
And I couldn’t let him see me like this. He shouldn’t even--
I opened my mouth to let out my frustration, but what came out instead was nearly a sob.
I had fucked this up. I was supposed to be taking care of him. He was bedridden, barely got up, these last few days, and now-- now I could feel him getting closer, the same way you could feel if someone was in the room with you, even when you couldn’t see them. The heat off their body, the motion of the air as they moved--
I did my belt back up and resolved to meet him. Save him the energy.
And maybe he would have some idea of how to end this-- a dip in a cold bath, perhaps.
My body all but wailed at me at the thought, but I ignored it as best I could and pressed on, each step a minor hell from the pressure of my arousal.
I woke like the Dogs were after me, and for a moment, I couldn’t see nothing. And since you asked, I’m pretty sure I was panicking even ‘fore I woke up. But the blackness didn’t help none.
I got to my feet though, able to tell it wasn’t a dream hanging on past my eyes opening-- it was Felix, and something was wrong.
I got my hand wrapped ‘round Jashuki-- didn’t leave it too far out of my reach, half to be able to get around and half to take down anyone who might get some smart thoughts about a sick traveler and his flashie brother, hocus or no.
The stairs were hell, but at least once I’d got out into the hall there was lights, and I didn’t have to trip my way down in the empty void darkness. That would’ve felt too much like that damn labyrinth, and if I never had to do that again, I’d be glad of it.
Made it out into the street and let the binding pull me along like a string tied to my ribs. Didn’t think much, or notice much either, which went against damn near everything Keeper’d ever trained into me, but there it was-- either I was feeling Felix’s panic, or the knowing he was hurt or in danger and scared was creating some of my own for me.
And the whole way I was cursin’ myself for being too slow, too sick, and damn near useless. Didn’t know what was wrong, or what I was gonna be able to do to help when I found him. Just knew I had to get to him, and now.
Or as now as my crip leg was gonna let me.
Must’ve been a sight, and at home I wouldn’ta made it two streets, but I guess I was glowering something fierce, because didn’t nobody try nothing, and nobody tried to stop me, either.
Sometimes, my face was useful like that.
I found him by damn near running into him, and he fell with his arms out like he was trying to grab me.
I didn’t see nothing for him to be running from, but he was in a bad way and it didn’t take much to see it.
“What is it?” I asked, reaching down to help him up. He clung on to me like he wasn’t ever planning on letting go, and I could feel him shaking and shivering, and at the same time being too warm.
Which had been my trick this last decad.
So ‘course my first thought, and first thing outta my mouth was,
“Damn, I got you sick.”
And I didn’t know how we were affording our room as it was, but we had to be close to broke, and he couldn’t even read the cards for pay if he was coming down with this nonsense, and I didn’t have my head about me to think, much less play for money.
But then Felix was talking, but he was panting so bad I could barely figure out what he was saying. And it wasn’t like he’d been running, but it made a lot more sense once my brain picked through it.
“--Slipped me something.” He said, and I glanced up and back the way he’d come, to see if he was being followed, but he shook his head and tightened his grip on my arms.
“Alright.” I said, trying to think past being sick-stupid and already exhausted from practically running all the way here, or as close as I got these days.
I don’t mind telling you, I was fucking tired and more than a little mad that this was it-- hadn’t watched his damn drink, and couldn’t even drag himself home. But I stomped on that, feeling bad for my thoughts as I got him to his feet.
Whatever that unnamed ‘they’ were, they’d given him something nastier than I’d seen in a while. And I knew Felix could and had held his own well enough, even if he was more and more of an ass the more he had, but there wasn’t no sign of that now-- he was just scared and miserable, and too damn quiet for me to trust he wasn’t secretly dying or something.
It spooked me, and I wasn’t even the one who’d taken whatever it was.
“Come on,” I told him, trying to be gentle as I pulled him close, just a hug to try and get some of the scared off his face.
“Let’s get you home, get some water in us. You can sleep it off.”
He whimpered and Kethe help me, I swear I felt him rock his hips forward, and he was harder than he’d been when we were underground and soaking wet. And I knew all of a sudden what kind of thing they’d slipped him.
I let fly some of the kind of language he didn’t much approve of when he was himself, but he didn’t say nothing about it and while that woulda been worrisome on its own, the fact that he looked like I’d slapped him-- or that he expected me to, it stopped me short.
“Fuck. You ain’t hurt are you? You got away from whoever it was before they--” I didn’t say it, but I didn’t feel like neither of us needed me to right now.
He shook his head, moaned again, and then bit his lip, his eyes getting all big and round and scared, and boy I wasn’t prepared to deal with this.
“Okay, good, that’s good. I’m glad.”
He looked surprised and that hurt my heart, but I got him moving.
“Let’s get you back, we’ll take care of you.”
He hacked out a half wild laugh, shuddered, and said, “I was supposed to be taking care of you.”
“Yeah, well,” I said, because I’m still an ass, even through it all, “guess it’s my turn tonight, huh?”
He shuddered again and went deathly quiet, but at least he hauled himself up a little more, so he wasn’t leaning so much on me, which was only gonna help us get back to the room faster.
We hobbled, the both of us for very different reasons, and neither of us said a word about why his steps were short.
We got there eventually, though I had to pause at the bottom of the stairs to catch my breath.
But then, I thought maybe that was for the best.
“You can uh-- if you need the room, be alone for a bit. I can wait down here.”
Felix stared at me like he didn’t understand, and he was already flushed, eyes bright from the drug, but when what I said hit him, he recoiled and blushed so bad I imagined he’d probably match his hair if the lighting was better.
“N-no.” He said, and his voice was shaky and thin. “No, you need the rest, It’ll-- I’ll be fine.”
Which, that was more than I’d heard from him all at once since I’d scraped him off the street, so I figured that meant he was already coming out the other end.
“Well, at least you go up first so if I fall I don’t land on you.”
He looked like he had to really work not to whimper again at that, and I saw him squeeze his eyes shut like my words physically hurt him.
And I could guess why.
See, Felix, for all he has power and hocus magic and is used to having money and all that, he lacks the little voice in his head that tells him things are wrong sometimes. And don’t get me wrong, I ignore mine often enough, when I have things that need doing, but this-- Felix wanted me. And it wasn’t a problem for him that I’m not molly, or that I’m his damn brother-- the only problem he had was that the only way he could get me would be to order me with our magic bond, or rape me, which… in honesty, it’d be rape either way. And I think he knew, regularly, that neither of us could forgive him for that.
But this wasn’t him regularly. Sweat was beading on his brow when he opened his eyes again, and his pupils were blown all big and even his ghost blue eye was all dark with need.
“Go on.” I said, trying to make it an order, but my voice came out hoarse, and I followed it up with a heavy, loud cough-- which was pretty unappealing, and that was fine by me. Last thing I wanted was to appeal to him when he wasn’t in his right mind, probably had just the one thing he wanted, and had everything he needed to take it from me.
I felt like I was walking one of those narrow bannister ledges and the Sim was waiting under me to swallow me up. Didn’t matter that I could swim; the fall alone might well kill me.
But then Felix headed upstairs, and I could breathe again all of a sudden, and I had to stop and think-- did I want to go up there? Did I want to risk it?
He was good at twisting words and actions, turning folks against him, even when they weren’t. If I stayed here, if I left him on his own to sweat it out, he’d probably see it as abandonment, or betrayal, or some other proof that I hate him as much as he thinks, sometimes.
On the other hand, if I did go up, and he did rape me… I really might start to hate him.
He’d almost for sure hate himself.
And if he knew what I was thinking, standing here at the bottom of the stairway, if he knew how scared of him I was right then, he’d probably never speak a word to me again, out of guilt and horror.
I felt the tug of the obligation d’âme again, and that was what decided me.
I might be scared, but so was he, and he was right; I needed to be able to sit down, try and catch my breath. We both needed the rest. And he needed me with him.
I figured I could take him, if he tried anything, even sick, so long as he left the hocus out of it.
So upstairs I went, and I couldn’t help but hope I was doing the right thing. And that I didn’t pass out before I got both of us taken care of.
It took Mildmay longer to get upstairs than I’d expected, long enough that I wondered if he’d hurt himself or if I’d lost the ability to track time, my mind swimming in the stew of sweat and arousal, and the heat that was all the heavier now that we were inside.
I’d managed to light a candle, get my coat off, and my waistcoat undone, but that was as far as I had made it before I fell backwards onto the cot that I’d been sleeping on since we’d arrived.
The fact that I was too long for it by a head or more had been the source of a few nights’ ill rest, but now it seemed almost perfect. I got my back resting on it and my feet flat on the floor, my belt undone, and I was fumbling with the lacing to my pants when my brother finally returned to the room.
He took one look at me and went scarlet.
He didn’t say a word, though, and instead moved over to his bed, sinking down onto it with a noise that sounded like gratitude.
“Do whatcha need.” He said, and I could have wept at the way he turned his voice gentle. Compassionate, understanding of my plight-- uninterested though, in me, or in giving me what I needed; what my whole body and mind craved.
For a moment I thought-- thought of making him, of leaning on our bond. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t that-- wouldn’t let myself be. I rolled off the cot and landed hard on my knees, but managed to find my coat. I dug through the pockets and found the small vial of hecate.
“Pass me the water.” I asked, though it came out on a croak.
Mildmay frowned, eyes catching on the vial.
“The hell’s that.” He asked, and it was so flat that I thought for a moment he must know-- know what I’d been doing out tonight, know what I was.
But he couldn’t. And if he thought I was-- what, making what was happening to me worse… or that I’d done this on purpose…
“Turns my magic off. Not forever, just-- please.”
It was the please that did it, I think, though I could see from his face that he understood.
He gave me the water and came to sit next to me on the floor. I took two- Corbie said they lasted less than an hour, and I figured I had at least twice that, maybe longer before this wore off.
I hated them though, hated them at the best of times, but I couldn’t-- now I needed them. Even as I felt something inside me numbing, going dead, and it seemed likely my power had been fighting the effects of the drug, on some level, but now... it didn’t release our binding, but it made it so I couldn’t pull on it. I could reach it, but not use it.
And for all that was why I’d done it, suddenly I felt so incredibly empty from it.
I felt tears escaping my eyes, hot and horrible and humiliating, and Mildmay reacted as if I’d screamed in pain.
He reached for me, wrapped his arm across my shoulders.
“Was that for me?” He asked softly, and my chest felt tight, and I felt like I might vomit.
“Because I can’t--” that was all I could get out, but he understood and shushed me, the sound strange. I’d never heard him do it before, probably one of those things he avoided because of his mouth and the scar that distorted it.
I turned into his embrace, burying my face in his chest, as if I could hide from my mind and body both in his arms but he stiffened, and I realized my mistake.
He thought-- and he wasn’t wrong, but that wasn’t--
Before I could launch myself away from him, his hand settled on the back of my head, and he stroked his broad palm over my hair, soothing and calming.
He was hot, like me, too hot-- though his was from his sickness, and somehow it ought to be too much, but I wanted that heat-- wanted it to soak into my bones.
Wanted too much from him. More than I could ask for.
Mildmay wasn’t like me. Wasn’t made to be some man’s molly-toy, wasn’t a whore.
And he was sick. And I had dragged him through town, kept him awake. Was making him sit on the floor now to take care of me, when I was supposed to be out earning money to be able to take care of him.
I’d been stupid. I’d been trusting. I wouldn’t make the mistake again.
And I wanted to be done with mistakes tonight.
“You should go to bed.” I told him. “I’ll-- I am going to try to lay down, to rest. Maybe it will be gone in the morning.”
Or maybe he would fall into one of his deep, heavy sleeps and I could take care of it. Even though he’d told me I could now, I couldn’t bring myself to-- not when it repulsed him so.
A couple more tears fought their way free of my eyes and onto my cheeks, and I brushed them away and got to my feet, though I could feel myself swaying.
The need was there and strong and heavy and demanding, but I was a wizard. I had control of my own will, control enough for this.
I offered Mildmay my hand to help him up, but he ignored it-- afraid, I was sure, of what I would do to him. Or disgusted with the thought of where that hand had been, if he could guess. He probably wasn’t wrong.
I let it fall to my side, and watched as he got himself back to bed and prised his boots off.
I did the same, then stood and went for the candle, meaning to put it out, as if that small heat source might make any difference in the way my body felt.
“Leave it.” He said, gruff and demanding, and for a moment I thought it was so that he could see me, make sure I wasn’t--
But he’d said I could.
My mind was not capable, just now, of puzzling through anything more difficult to understand than simple actions. So I just did as he said, and laid back in my bed to watch the wax of the candle drip down the sides and collect in the glass bowl at its base.
I tried to meditate, to take controlled breaths and just watch the flame as it flickered, but my eyes kept cutting back to Mildmay, and the way his face, handsome in spite of the way he felt about it, in spite of his scar, was slackened as he rested. He looked younger, less burdened, and I wanted him more than ever. Wanted to wrap him in my arms and take him apart, render him a shuddering, mewling mess. Take him gently and sweetly, teaching him to love everything that I could give him, teaching him to love me.
But he didn’t, wasn’t. Wouldn’t.
And part of me, the dark side that stirred with my temper and my despair, wanted to tear him to shreds for it. Wanted to hurt him until he finally showed signs of that hurt, until he cried out, begged for more and for me to stop, until his body was so confused that he wanted to escape and never wanted me to leave, and I knew I was a monster but my cock responded to both those scenarios as if it had never wanted anything more.
I took another breath, this one shaky, as I tried to regain the scraps of my control.
I didn’t think that he was asleep yet. I dared not touch myself until he was. But the longer I went without, the more it felt-- the stronger it got and the less of myself I could see in my fantasies.
They weren’t all dark and vicious and violent-- most of them were, but with that violence directed at me. And I couldn’t-- couldn’t ask anyone for that, much less Mildmay.
He’d be so good for it, though, his muscles speaking of a strength that I couldn’t help but crave. He could hold me down with very little effort, even if I did try to break free. But I did not want to. If he had pinned me to my cot-- or the floor. The floor would be better. Put me down where I belonged, just thinking of this…
And my hand had crept down, rubbing over the laces of my pants, pressing the knots of the ties into the sensitive flesh beneath. I bit my lip to bite back on a moan as I imagined his rough hands, callused and capable, slapping my bare ass, bringing color and heat to my cheeks. Making me all the more sensitive, so that when he finally got into me, I would feel everything, every little bit of contact he gave me.
I was working my pants open again, and I turned my head to be sure he wasn’t watching. But his mouth had fallen open, and his eyes remained closed, and his breathing was even, if not deep.
The Winter Fever, I knew, did that to him.
Just as I knew it was the drug that made my eye light beside him, and gave me the idea of how I could end this-- a way to ride it out.
I wasn’t certain, all at once, what’d woken me up. And then I remembered Felix, and the state he’d been in… the candle had burned low and was sputtering, and there was a mess where wax had pooled and dripped, though the bowl was intact.
And in the light of that dancing flame, I could see--
I had thought Felix was bad before. Now, though--
His pants were off, and his back was to me. He’d left his shirt on, which meant he couldn’t get upset about me seeing the scars, way he usually did, but this felt worse, much worse, because what I saw instead--
What had woken me was Jashuki, his wooden head tapping the floor, rubbing against it. I could see Felix had put his jacket down to try and muffle the sound, but it had bunched up from the motion, and Felix had--
The wax mess made some sense, now, because I could see he’d coated the lower third of the cane in the stuff, and a good portion of that was sliding in and out of his ass.
He was working it into himself with one hand, and the other was in front of him. And I’da bet anything he had his teeth sunk into the skin of his arm, tryin to keep quiet.
But he was humping forward too, bent over the bed so I could tell he was rubbing off on the cot, and I felt my mouth go dry.
Because I ain’t molly and I ain’t in to the idea of the fact that he’s my brother and he looks like me but better, and all that. But from behind, yeah I knew it was Felix and I could feel the desperation rolling offa him through the obligation d’âme, and maybe that helped. I tell you though, I was hard, and I was worried, and if I told myself it was because he looked like a girl, with his long hair and his narrow hips and all round in the ass in a way I’d never noticed before…
I musta been out of my head. But I got up behind him and beside him before he noticed me, and then he opened his eyes and opened his mouth, and looked up at me with eyes like plates and like he hated himself and was gonna be sick and he was afraid of me, all at once, and I didn’t want none of that.
I just wanted my brother back. Wanted him to be an asshole to me, rather than beating up his asshole with my damn walking stick.
But I also knew I wasn’t molly. Wasn’t like that, wasn’t gonna change now.
So I got down onto my knees, slow and careful so as not to set off my leg, and he watched me, holding still except for the sweat rolling off of him and the way he was shaking, and I reached back and lifted Jashuki up a little bit, lifted it out of his hand, and his eyes slid shut and he winced.
“I got this. You touch yourself. I know you hafta want to.”
He opened his eyes, clearly disbelieving, and I pulled my arm back just a little, feeling the cane slip out of him a tiny bit, and then I rotated it as I pushed it back in, and I thought he was gonna faint.
But he liked it, and I could tell, the way he lifted his hips and pressed back into it, like he wanted to swallow the stick all the way up to where my hand was holding it, and I didn’t know how much I could give him without hurting him, so I took hold of his hand with my free one and reached under, and urged him to wrap it around himself.
He did, and started pulling himself off, going faster and hard enough that I winced, worried that it had to be hurting him. So I squeezed his wrist and he stopped, and I brushed his hand aside.
Got my hand wrapped around him instead, not too tight, not punishing him the way he was trying to do, and I twisted a little to bump his ass with my hip.
“Go on.” I said. “Fuck my hand.”
He let out this little sound and it was like I’d given him the best present he’d ever had, because he did, and I got Jashuki working to push into him when he thrust forward and to slide out when he pulled back, fucking him and letting him fuck himself at the same time.
And all the while my pants were tight and I was thinking, Kethe but how much more was I gonna do? How much more could I do? I didn’t know how to do to him what I did to the women I took to bed, couldn’t get my tongue inside of him til he came apart or--
I found my eyes watching where the cane was going in and out of him, and thought, well maybe, but then I shook myself because that wasn’t-- I wasn’t--
And then I noticed the crack, and the way the wax was starting to flake off.
And I wasn’t no healer or anything, but I’m pretty sure losing that stuff inside of him was no good.
“Felix,” I said, “I have to stop. It’s not because--” ‘Cause this was wrong, or he was wrong for wanting it, or I was wrong for wanting to do more? No, ‘cause all of that was true.
“The wax is breaking, and I don’t wanna hurt you.”
He whimpered and thrust his hips forward, and I held him in place by squeezing down on his shaft, and I could feel the way he was dripping from it.
I closed my eyes and prayed for patience and then, careful, and slow, so as not to hurt him, I pulled it out.
I could see where the wax had cracked off and some pieces were missing, and they wasn’t on the floor, which left one place.
“Get up on the cot.” I told him. “I have to get the candle.”
My thoughts were difficult and murky and I didn’t fully understand, or at least, didn’t understand quickly.
It wasn’t until Mildmay had pulled away that it sank in-- he needed to patch up the wax I’d put on his cane, and if he minded, he wasn’t showing any sign of it.
And, when he came back, he wanted me on the bed, with my ass in the air for him.
That all made sense, in a distant way.
Much more sensible was the idea of shoving my pillows under me to keep my hips raised and give me something to rub against until he got back.
And it hardly mattered that I must look like some sort of rutting dog, all that mattered was that finally, finally, I was doing something about this erection, and more, Mildmay was helping.
My chest fluttered and my stomach twisted and I was aware enough to be distantly glad that I could not think straight enough to hate myself for this yet.
That would come, I knew.
But I did not linger on the thought too long-- the pillow under me was soft and yielding and not enough, but it was something, and it would hold me over until…
Mildmay returned much faster than I would have expected, and when I felt that he’d brought the heat of the candle with him-- and traded out the old one for a new one, I scrambled up onto my hands and knees, arching my back as best as I could.
I wanted to prevent the wax rolling off me as much as possible-- I still had to sleep here, after all, and no doubt he’d be cross if I caused a mess.
More of a mess.
But the stinging drips of wax did not come, and instead he dragged a chair near, set the candle on the table near the door, and rested his hand, that broad rough palm that I’d fantasized about, on my cheek.
“I gotta get the pieces out.” He muttered, but I understood.
And felt a wave of horror take me-- stupid, I’d been so--
But that line of thought fled the moment his fingers breached me, and I could feel them inside of me, Mildmay inside of me, and he was searching, bumping around. I felt him find what he was looking for, felt as he dragged it against my insides and pulled it out, before he delved back in.
I had bit my lip bloody trying to keep quiet, and I could taste it, the copper and the sweat, and I could feel the way my arms wanted to shake out from holding me up, but I forced myself steady, forced myself as still as possible.
Finally I’d taken about all I could, and I went down onto my elbows and adjusted my left arm up across near my face, so I could rest my brow on it, while I reached back and took myself in hand.
I moaned the moment I touched myself, and Mildmay laid his hand out on my tailbone.
“That’s good,” he said, voice rumbling through his chest and his touch and into me, and I shook with it, shocked by it.
He didn’t sound disgusted--
Again, I pushed the thought away and gasped for air as his fingers slid back into me.
But it had changed-- he wasn’t looking for anything any more. He kept his fingers together and he slid them in as deep as they could go, one smooth, strong stroke, before he pulled back, and I caught myself leaning back to chase them, like the whore I am.
He turned his wrist, adjusted his angle and drove into me again, and I wanted to wail at how good it was, how much, and still not enough.
“Mm--?” I cut off the word, well aware of my place in the bedroom, particularly when pleasure was being given to me.
Mildmay was not the whore here, I was.
“Mm?” He goaded, his fingers pressing into me deeper until he brushed them across that spot inside that made me weak, and I moaned.
In a flash he was standing, his fingers still deep inside of me, but his other hand pulling me up and wrapping across my mouth.
“Gotta stay quiet. If Mrs. Lettice finds out what’s happening, we’ll be out on our ears faster’n you can blink.”
Especially as she had just accused me of peddling my wares here earlier that day-- I bit down on my lip again and nodded, and Mildmay removed his hand. I saw, when he pulled it away, the blood in his palm, saw when he noticed, and then his beautiful fingers were gone out of me, and he was looking me in the eyes and I wanted to cry again, wanted the ground to swallow me up whole.
“You havin’ a hard time keeping quiet?” He asked, and I shut my eyes, ashamed, and shook my head no. I could manage.
It had just been a slip.
But I felt his hand, his clean hand, not the one that had been inside of me, gently stroking the side of my face.
I opened my eyes and he raised an eyebrow.
“I could give you something to do with your mouth, so long as you don’t bite down.”
I felt my eyes go wide, and immediately got my knees under me, and went for the front of his pants.
I wasn’t touching him long-- only long enough to feel how miraculously hard he was, before he pulled away.
“Not uh-- not that, here--” he guided me back onto my hands and knees, and I felt a twisting, sour feeling in my chest-- I’d gone too far, and he was being good to me, and he was ready for me, but he didn’t want me. It was such a stupid thing to be hung up on, I knew, and yet…
Mildmay traced my lower lip with his thumb, and without thinking, I opened my mouth. He pressed his middle and ring fingers in, then moved to be able to reach behind me again as well.
“That alright?” he asked.
In answer, I began to suckle his fingers, working my tongue around them the way I would tease a cock, and if I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine-- imagine that Mildmay was both places, that the fingers in my ass were his cock and the ones in my mouth as well, and in my mind’s eye I was being taken apart by two of him.
And while I was doubly damned, why stop there?
I imagined five more of my brother, standing around, each waiting for their turn with me, each stroking their own shaft, each with those brilliant green eyes trained on me while I writhed between them and did my best to stay silent.
I pulled my head back though, and realized that I had gone too far, when I heard myself in a hard whisper.
“Please, Mildmay-- I need-- more fingers.”
Being inside of Felix ain’t like being inside of a girl. It feels different, the way the muscles work is different, and it ain’t got its own slick, the way women do. If anything, it feels like-- and I know you’re asking before I even say it, but I ain’t ever shoved my fingers down no one’s throat, right, but if you’ve ever been with a woman who knows how to swallow you down, and you’ve felt it on your dick, then probably you know a little what having my fingers inside him was like. Except that it was like he never stopped trying to swallow more of me in, and Kethe, he could get so tight. I don’t know how he didn’t hurt himself on Jashuki, but with his muscles doing that around me, I was having a hard time-- saints and powers, the hardest time, if you’ll forgive the pun-- trying to remember that I didn’t want to get my dick in there.
And I knew he wanted it too, was the worst part. When he asked for more fingers, I knew what he really wanted. And it wasn’t like he didn’t know now-- he’d tried to suck me, he’d felt it, he knew what I was.
Damn near same thing as him, near as I could tell. Because it was hard to ignore that these were janus thoughts, and that he was my brother, and for all that ought to matter, it didn’t somehow, right now, and that was the damned truth.
So I didn’t give him no more fingers.
“You got some kind of slick or something?” I asked.
And just like that, like it was some kind of magic spell, only with me putting it on him, he turned around and opened his mouth up, and I got this real cold spot in my chest knowing someone had taught him to do this-- his Keeper or Brinvillier Strych, or any of his nameless lovers or tricks or whatever he wanted to call them, someone had taught him to offer his mouth to wet anything they wanted to shove into him.
And I sent a little quiet prayer to anyone who might be listening, because I couldn’t turn him down again. So when I put my hands on my laces, his eyes got all big and then he smiled all delighted and I wanted to die, ‘cause my hands were shaking and he had to help me, with his fingers all stiff and clumsy from the drug and being broken, and somehow he still managed to get my pants open better than I could.
And then he was on the floor, pressed between me and the cot, and he got his mouth around me, and--
He was good, better than anything I’d ever had before, free or paid for. Or maybe it was the way my insides were curled up because this was wrong wrong wrong, and my head was telling me so in time with the beat of my heart, which was also the beat of the blood in my dick, but I couldn’t feel it there no more, because remember what I said before, about women who could take you down your throat?
Well it turns out that ain’t just women, and Felix was good at it.
I got my hand on top of his head, but I just let it rest there, because I knew as fucked as all this was, if I hurt ‘im, or if I made ‘im do something he didn’t want, on account of the drugs and him liking to punish himself sometimes, if I did that to him or he used me like that, I don’t think I could ever look him in the face again.
But I could do it now, and he was looking up at me, and his spooky skew eyes were so dark from lust that for once they almost looked like they matched. Which was somehow even spookier, because for a moment he didn’t look like Felix. He looked like someone else, desperate and hungry and with my cock in his throat.
And then he leaned back, sucking in air, and I petted his hair and caught myself telling him soft little encouraging words, about how he was so good, doing a good job, and he looked at me as if he didn’t speak the same language I was talking.
Only usually when people look like that, it’s because my scar makes me hard to understand, but him-- I knew he knew what I was saying. I just don’t think anyone had ever told him before. Leastwise not in a way that wasn’t supposed to hit him like a knife to the ribs.
Rather than answer, he got his mouth back on me, and I saw that past that, down between his legs, he had a hand back on himself and he was back to pulling himself off, and suddenly I wondered how long he’d been at it, before I woke up. How long had he been trying-- and was this one of those things where it was gonna keep him from finishing?
Whoever did this to him-- and I needed to remember to ask him again tomorrow-- I was gonna kill them, once I could chase them down without fainting from this damn fever.
In fact I was amazed I hadn’t passed out yet, but I had to imagine it was the connection between us holding me up. For sure, if he kept doing his tongue like that, my legs weren’t gonna be able to hold me up much longer.
And all of a sudden I realized-- I was about to come down my brother’s throat.
I pulled free of him, backing up and accidentally scraping myself against his teeth in the process, and let me tell you, that don’t feel too good, but I was so ready I don’t think I even half noticed.
“Sorry,” I told him, and it was more breath than word. “Had to stop you or I was gonna finish right then and--”
He licked his lips like he couldn’t think of nothing better and I swallowed because I knew he could.
But I also knew he was being quiet, too damn quiet, and not from that guilty, expecting to be hurt thing that happened to him sometimes, but from the drug making his brain all stupid.
And I knew he wanted me, like this. He’d told me before, more than once, while sober as a saint, but right now…
“Are you gonna fuck me now?” He asked, and his voice was pure Lower City, all the things I knew he hated about himself, everything he ain’t wanted to be for a septad or more. And I couldn’t.
“I want to.” I said, and it was quiet, like a confession, because we had to be, right, but also because I was ashamed.
This was my brother. My brother full of drugs to make him wanna fuck anything and everything he saw and this wasn’t even about us. And I think I knew that was the wronger thing, here.
Felix wasn’t evil, even if he could act it sometimes, but him wanting to bed me, that wasn’t… it was wrong, sure but not evil. If he’d forced me to, if he’d raped me, that woulda been evil, but he didn’t and he wouldn’t and I couldn’t do it to him, because that’s what this would be.
“I want you to.” He answered me, like an echo of my thoughts and the light right here hit his eyes so they were proper spooky again, all skewed and fully Felix and it unknotted something in my chest.
“Please?” He went on, and that was probably what did it. I’da blamed the obligation d’âme, except that then he would be guilty for this, when it was all on me, and he’d taken those magic killing drugs besides.
So that was it. I was just… doing this.
“You want this?” I asked, taking hold of my dick, and he nodded, and I thought about how to do this.
I didn’t want to get him facedown again, didn’t want him to feel like I was treating him like a whore. And I wanted this to be about him, but I didn’t know what I was doing. Not to mention my crip leg making everything that much more of a pain to reason through, on top of being sex stupid and trying to reason putting me at a disadvantage.
So I settled on the smartest option I could think of, and got my shirt pulled off.
“We’re gonna use my bed.” I told him. “And I want you to ride me.”
I watched Mildmay spread his shirt out on the bed and then lay himself down on top of it, and I wasn’t sure what was in my head anymore. I felt like I was being pulled in a thousand different directions, most of which were the direction of my hand on my cock, and the direction of following my brother to his bed, but some of me was still reserved for admiring all those corded up muscles moving under the skin, the way he was graceful and silent, even despite his bad leg.
I must’ve stood there staring for too long, because he pushed himself up a little and gestured me closer.
I brought the candle with me so that I would be able to see him, possibly the only clearminded thing I’d done all evening.
Once I sat it down, I straddled him, and he reached up to wrap his fingers around my neck, but gently, not like he wanted to own me or pull me or push me around.
Instead, he sat up to meet me, and looked me in the face like what he had to say was the most serious thing he’d ever said. Which, considering how little he said, unless it was a story, everything he said commanded a certain weight.
“I don’t want you doing nothing you don’t want to, understand? Not ‘for me’ not because you think you should-- you get what you need, yeah? But don’t hurt yourself in the process.”
And what about you? I thought, but didn’t-- or couldn’t-- say.
I wouldn’t hurt him. I couldn’t live with myself if I did. And despite those wicked fantasies of before, I had no urge to now.
I nodded, and he nodded back at me, and then-- I don’t know if it was his doing or mine, I assume mine, but then we were kissing, and he opened his mouth to me, and this wasn’t like when we sealed the obligation d’âme, one-sided and almost a challenge. This was… oddly sweet, and gentle, and thorough, and I realized how odd it was to have a kiss like this when the other person had a tongue, and then I felt wretched. But he was lining himself up for me, holding himself ready, and he didn’t push up to breach me, left it all up to me.
I didn’t wait for any further invitation, and lowered myself down onto Mildmay’s cock, my eyes fluttering shut as I finally, finally felt filled.
He was hot, thick, longer than I would have expected, if I had stopped to think about it. And when I opened my eyes, I realized he was watching me, and he had that look he got on his face those few times I said something kind to him, or smiled, or agreed with him. Something warm and open and almost worshipful, and I wanted him to look at me like that always.
I lifted myself up and took him in again, and for all that he was being considerate and sweet to me, the pace I set was quick and rough and demanding. I’d call it punishing, only I was keeping careful not to do that to him, ‘cause he probably hadn’t ever had call to consider whether he’d be a martyr or a tarquin, and I didn’t think he’s thank me to put him in either role right now.
Not when he had been so insistent he wasn’t molly, and here he was, balls deep in my ass, and I knew it weren’t right, but that made it better.
In fact, everything about this was wrong, and so good for it. The drugs’d made me desperate, and I couldn’t think, which meant I couldn’t talk myself into feeling properly guilty. All I could feel was the way he wrapped his hands round my hips and let me take him, over and over, fast and deep as I wanted, and he looked at me like I was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
And maybe it was vanity, since we could’ve been twins if his life’d been kinder, but I thought he was beautiful. And not just right now; he always was. Just gorgeous like this, his hair all sprawled out under him and his eyes in the light of the candle flame, dancing in greens and yellows and he was rubbing circles on my skin with his thumbs and touching everywhere inside of me and fuckbut I needed to come.
I opened my mouth, and no sound came out. I knew better, knew I needed to stay silent, but it was like he heard me anyway, or read my mind, because next thing I knew his hand was on me, and he was pulling me off to match the way I was riding him and I knew I was nearing gone, but I didn’t want to go without him.
“Will you come?” I asked, and the words were a harsh whisper cause of my panting and trying to stay quiet like I was supposed to be, but I needed to know. “In me?”
Mildmay made a noise like a mouse, and I would have laughed at him for it, save that for the first time he lifted his hips and met me as I came down, and I shook from the force of it-- and then I felt it.
The heat and the first pulse of my brother’s cum coating my insides.
I moaned, soft as I could, and followed suit, falling forward to lay against his chest as I kept moving, little lazy drags of my hips, back and forth, as I milked us both to the end.
And after the glow had faded, with my heart still thumping in my ears, I realized everything else had gone quiet.
My blood was no longer screaming through my veins, and my body wasn’t making demands. The fog I had been in was dissipating like the sun had risen, and with it came light to cast off all of the horror I’d managed to push off into the shadows.
Mildmay had his head thrown back, his eyes closed, like he was trying to escape the truth of who had done this to him. And suddenly I didn’t know whether my insistence upon him coming was a kindness or not-- if he would hold it against himself, or me, or the both of us later.
More importantly, I didn’t know if he hated me for this or not. All along, and now that I was saner again, I could realize-- he’d come at this as a caregiver. Giving me what I needed. He’d even, partway through, he’d said he didn’t want me touching his cock, and now… now here it was, softening inside of me.
I found myself, quite suddenly, utterly terrified.
He couldn’t leave me even if he wanted to. The obligation d’âme held him to me. But I knew, with complete certainty, that if I didn’t fix this, fix what I’d done tonight, what I’d made him do, or caused him to do… he would hate me, and himself, and he was more than capable of fighting the obligation d’âme, even to the point of his own death.
He was stubborn, headstrong, strong willed, and…
And I loved him.
I couldn’t let him do that. Couldn’t allow him to carry this guilt and the revulsion and the… powers, if he feared me, I’d…
I was no better than Malkar.
And that being the case--
I eased off of Mildmay and when he didn’t move, I checked his breathing. He slept, exhausted, no doubt, by his exertions on top of his illness.
I hoped I hadn’t made it worse.
Though, of course, I had. I must have. What else did I do?
I got him cleaned up, redressed his lower half, tucked him under the blankets, and blew out the candle, waiting in the dark on the cot for my magic to return so that I could use the obligation d’âme to make him forget it all.
He didn’t have to know, or feel bad about it. I could do that for the both of us. And this way, things could continue as they always had been. He could go back to being my brother, and only that.
It was, I knew, for the best.
For the both of us.
It was my turn to take care of him, again.
I woke and the morning had come and went, and Felix hadn’t bothered trying to get me to eat nothing. Or if he had, I didn’t recall. Damn fever made me sleep like the dead, and if I wasn’t careful, one of these times it was gonna turn me into the dead.
Not this time, though, which I was grateful of. Or I would be, once these damn full body shakes and aches had blown over. I felt wrung out and hard done by, but I didn’t think I’d done more than go to the bathroom and back in several days.
Speaking of which, I got up, realizing I had a powerful need to piss, and grabbed for Jashuki.
I made it a couple of steps before I felt crunching under my foot, and looked down to see candle wax falling off the bottom of Jashuki’s stick.
Brow furrowed, I did what I needed to, and was sitting on my bed picking the wax off with my fingers and a knife when Felix got back.
He took one look at me, raised an eyebrow, and asked, all arch and prickly,
“Whatever are you doing, darling?”
I knew that tone of voice, and he only ever called anybody darling when he was tryin’ to pick fights. As usual, I had no idea what’d set him off-- probably something to do with the mark under his lip-- nightmares, I didn’t wonder-- but I was too damn sick to deal with it today.
“Think I spilled the candle on it last night. Don’t remember.”
He looked away from me, lines of his shoulders going all tight and defensive, and I had no idea what stupid thing I’d said now. But he didn’t bitch at me or say nothing mean, which I thought was weird.
Only I heard him mutter something that sounded suspiciously like, ‘Lucky you.’
In the first show of good timing the damn fever'd had, I erupted into a painful series of coughs. By the time I was done, I felt like I'd been running cross rooftops again, or something. But also like an entire pack had spent the night throwing rocks at me.
I didn’t wanna fight, and I didn’t have the energy to try and pick through his 'lucky' nonsense, so I shrugged and lay down and let it be.