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A Necessary Monster

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If they had listened to the wise men that curated the Akielon archives, none of this would have happened.

Or maybe, in retrospect, everything that happened — and everything that had yet to happen — was seeded in the scrolls, narrated in the old prophecies.

Some might say, therefore, that it was inevitable.

The story went like this: when the world was young, humankind was still favoured by the Gods. The Artesians were so precious, so blessed, that their Empire ruled every spot the Sun touched, even sand was fertile and the animals abundant. The Artesians were so precious, so blessed, that they forgot how the Gods had smiled upon them and instead began to think that they, themselves, were the Gods. They erected their own statues, and the Gods tolerated; they forgot their prayers, and the Gods tolerated; they meddled with the forbidden magic and the Gods tolerated. Then they burnt the temples and slaughtered the oracles, and the Gods unleashed their grief and fury.

The Artesians and their Empire were no more, and the Gods had abandoned this world in scorn, for everything that may be given might be taken away.

Damianos and Kastor were the last descendant of the Akielon royal family and the stories also said that the last of the Artesian blessings lingered in their blood. The blessing, and the curse.

They both knew the stories, and had been taught to be wary of anything that might try to stir them away from duty.

Duty in itself brought them here, to the edge of the world.

A world without Gods did not mean a world without monsters. If anything, the stories said, the Gods would never look at them benevolently again until the monsters were eradicated, for a monster will always prey on men of low integrity.

The grace that had been bestowed upon them was unquestioned in the Kingdom, for the two princes had both looks and strength. Some said also wisdom, but Damen himself was starting to question it, in the current situation.

To the north of Akielos, Patras and Vask faced most of the border. And then there was the mountain range of Delpha, the last shield against the unknown. Every record that talked about Vere, the land that lay beyond it, was a mystery — hellish, dreamish, outworldly. Full of treasures and full of threats. But no one ever knew with any degree of certainty what was the truth, because the mountains were guarded.

As princes, Kastor and Damen were bound to prove their worth in a quest, even more so because Akielos had been plagued with drought in the south, flooding in the north-east. A little godly support would have done the whole kingdom good, and in the effort of one-upping each other they had ended up there, on the highest peak.

They could have sailed south of Isthima, or just followed those same mountains a bit off track, like other questing men and women did.

Instead, they had pursued a dragon den.

A part of Damen had vehemently and privately insisted that they were going to find nothing there. The stories were too extreme, whispering of shapeshifting, and demigods, and sacrificing trials. If something of the kind really nested this close to civilisation, how could there be villages at the foot of the mountain? Of course, every villager Damen had spoken to swore to have seen the dragon at least once, but they did so with the same tone of someone recalling a night full of too much griva and embellishing the confusion to avoid reproach from the community.

He had not trusted it.

Then the beast had risen, its scales shimmering in blue and gold against a mundane clear sky, dark leathery wings shadowing the sun, and its roar had shaken the rocks around them and the marrow of Damen’s bones.

He had believed it, then.

Their horses had been long abandoned, unfit for the last climb that had brought them to the peak of the mountain, and now Kastor and Damen found themselves too slow, underequipped for the quest that they had chosen.

Damen did not even need this monster to show it to him more blatantly. He knew they had been arrogant.

They still fought for it, because they always would and the alternative was giving up their lives. But the dragon was taller than three grown men, with a wingspan larger than several horses standing in one line. Each bat of its wings threatened to send them toppling over, the swings of its tail countered all of their maneuvers at the worst possible moment.

At some point Damen found himself so close to the snapping jaw of the beast that he feared for the head on his neck. Trapped between a rock and the overlapping line of teeth, sharp enough to cut even through the sunlight reflecting off them, Damen sent a silent thought to Nikandros, who was already unanimously appointed as standing heir to the throne if something were to happen to them. And something was happening to him and Kastor — pinned on the ground with his weapons out of reach and under the impossibly strong tail of the dragon.

They were going to die.

The next growl of the dragon, unexpectedly, lowered in pitch, jumping and twisting like a malevolent chuckling. It was very human-like, even more so when words followed, emerging from the depths of its throat without lips or tongue moving.

“It will bring me great pleasure to end you and your line of barbarians.”

The world seemed to slow around Damen, around the inevitable knowledge that the tales must have harboured some convoluted truth. Damen had slain prodigious animals and other monsters since he was thirteen years old — but he had never slain a demigod, or a cursed demigod, because that was just not possible.

There was another chuckle when neither of them replied fast enough, and Damen’s ears whistled low in something that felt like panic.

“Since neither of you thought of bringing a sacrifice to appease me, I think we’ll end this now.”

The dragon’s tail whipped around and the spikes at its end pressed against each other, like a pointy spear angled for Kastor. The dragon’s mouth opened wide enough to bite Damen’s head off.

Of course they had no sacrifice, their quest was their sacrifice to the Gods. They had failed, there was no alternative, and Damen was not going to bargain.

“I brought him,” Kastor’s voice broke the silence, strained close to the point of being choked. “I brought my brother. I sacrifice my brother.”

It made no sense, Damen’s ears must be playing tricks with him, turning all the last moments of his life into a silly hallucination.

“Is that so…” the dragon hissed, its tongue whistling against sharp teeth.

“It is! He’s for you!” Kastor insisted, increasingly panicked as the dragon’s tail kept dancing in front of his face.

He already has the both of us, Damen wanted to argue, in a weirdly aseptic corner of his mind. What use is it, sacrificing me?

And yet the next chuckle from the dragon had something so entertained — hysterics, almost, if the creature had been human — that Damen’s tongue plastered against the roof of his mouth. Even in the warmth that lingered in the dusty air, bitter with the tangy feeling of battle, the sweat froze in sheer terror along his skin.

Damen remembered the preceptor that followed him in his childhood and youth. He had accompanied Damen to his first sacrificial altars, saw him off his very first quest. All of his teachings now rang like a warning: on the nature of sacrifices, on how the Gods will always took more than you bargained for.

“Very well, then,” the monster growled.

Kastor might have just sold away his integrity and cursed their bloodline all over again, and yet it hardly mattered in the current predicament.

A numb part of Damen’s heart wondered what good his morality made him, if this was where it led him.

There was an expletive on the tip of his tongue — for Kastor, for himself, for the world, maybe even for the Gods — but Damen did not get to spit it out.

The dragon’s tail whipped around, away from Kastor and speeding towards Damen’s head, impossibly fast. In the span of half a breath, everything went black.

The world was spinning, mutable like a patch of sky gazed upon through a layer of water. The light was dim, the soft orange of a distant fire, and Damen let his heavy eyelids drop closed again. It was so much easier.

But his conscience did not leave him again, and apparently the afterlife beyond the veil required some sort of awareness. It was also an incredibly mundane experience, made of all the same aches he had always experience after battle — all the contusions, concussions, the cramps and strains, exacerbated by the hard stone underneath him.

He wanted to move and found that he could not, the jutting bones at the bottom of his hands grinding against each other under the pressure constraining his wrists. For a second, giving up to the spinning of his head was all too easy, surely easier than remembering how exactly he got here and what might be left to fight for.

Was he not allowed to be tired in his own right?

His legs felt heavy as well, but not as immobile. When he tensed them and bent them, something moved along the span of them — naked under the chiton — and Damen was reminded of that time as a young man he ended up tangled in a patch of seagrass while swimming in the lake, of how reluctant it had been to let him go. There was no water, now, and no rushed panic of missing air, and it was easy to decide to not concern himself with it for the moment.

Wherever, and whenever, he was, the experience had a marked physical undertone. His legs squirmed against the tangle, like bedsheets in a bed. He felt the same tingle of excitement of a green boy in the morning, for good measure, deepening his breath and coiling at his stomach. If his hands were to be free he would probably touch himself, but trying to pull his wrists apart did not have any effect, and Damen gave up too easily.

The heaviness started from the back of Damen’s head, with a very precise point of achiness, and spread all the way to his bones. His awareness came and went, inconsistent, and the blackness behind his eyelids remained the most alluring. Damen let himself be lulled into it, abdominal muscles and thighs clenching reflexively over a sort of distracted pleasure that came upon him in waves. Something slid in a circle around his cock, which might have been hard before but was definitely hard now. There was a firm coil over his thigh, pressing between his ass cheeks beside the rubbing fabric of his underwear.

Damen let out half a breath, almost hissing, and let his back arch.

“You’re very easy,” a low growl rumbled through the stone. “It defies my expectations.”

And just like that, Damen was much more in focus, eyes snapping completely open and staring in the dark.

Another pair of eyes stared back at him through the shadows of what looked like a cave, the shimmer of fire in the corners reflected on the icy blue irises just as coldly as it did off the stalactites coming off the ceiling.

The exact same dragon Damen had been fighting — the Beast of the Border, the Terror of Delpha, maybe a demigod — emerged from the shadows, head first, casting even more shadows on the ground.

All around Damen, now that panic brought him some clarity, snakes coiled like a living carpet — holding his body down, slithering under his clothes. There was a twist, and his cock got stroked in a loopside movement, filling Damen with a humiliation that ran even deeper than fear.

He had fought a dragon. He had lost — or rather he had been sacrificed. He was not dead, he was in the dragon’s den.

Overtaken by panic, Damen struggled with the snakes’ holds, even though his twisting only made them tighten on his body — clenched in the tension of his ass cheeks, around his shamefully throbbing cock. Not even smashing his hands backwards on the rocks made the grasp around his wrists subside.

The only outcome of his short, furious rebellion was a renewed layer of sweat on his body in the oppressively humid heat of the den, and a disapproving growl from the dragon.

“Barbaric,” the beast snarled, as if it was unsurprising but still disappointing.

A single limb emerged from the shadows, the talon stretching to show claws sharper than any Akielon blade. Even in the desperation that nested deep in his guts, Damen stilled at the threat of it, knowing full well that a single flick could pierce irreparably through his veins. The dragon, for lack of a better definition, chuckled at Damen’s terror, a flick of the tongue sliding through a double line of teeth as if fear had a taste for this monster.

The talon got closer, and closer, so close Damen could not help but shiver when the tip of it pressed on his sternum.

Two seconds passed, marked by his stumbling heartbeat.

And then the dragon drew its hand downwards, not piercing the skin but lying waste on the fabric of Damen’s chiton, on the leather of his armour. Any metallic reinforced plaque snapped and fabric subsided to the side like thin paper under a pair of sharp scissors. None of the snakes ended up in trajectory, dutifully squirming out of the dragon’s path before the risk could arise.

Damen did not breathe again until the talon retreated, leaving him half naked and still shamefully hard in the grasp of very persistent reptiles.

Yet another chuckle, deeper than any breath Damen actually manage to draw in — he must truly be ridiculous for this beast, and yet it was difficult to approach this situation with any degree of self-contempt.

And then the air around him moved, sucked in and out as if the dragon was spreading and batting those prodigious wings that had sent both him and Kastor flying against the rocks in multiple moments. The cave felt too crammed for it to be possible, but it might be just a trick of the shadows — or maybe not, for how the figure morphed, shrunk. Maybe Damen’s head was more deeply damaged that he thought.

The orange light from fires pooled free from the shielding of the dragon’s body, and a man advanced among the rocks. Silent, sinuous and completely naked, he was more alluring than a mirage in the desert, his hair shining like gold. There was a danger in his attractiveness, one that started at the scaled blue that creeped on his alabaster skin up from every bent of his body — calves, and knees, and wrists, and elbows — and ended in unnaturally blue eyes. When Damen crossed them, they shone like gems against the vast sea, whispering of unknown dangers and making him shiver all over again.

Godly powers were not to be witnessed — the wise men always said it, and Damen should have listened.

Too late to learn the lesson now, with a dragon in humanoid form walking up to him.

The snakes slid out of the way smoothly, closing back on the path after his naked feet were done walking it. His body was lean, firmer than ivory as he loomed over Damen’s laying form. If they were to be standing, Damen was almost certain he would have been able to look down on him — but that was hardly relevant as Damen’s eyes caught on the member hanging heavy between the humanoid dragon’s legs.

That would not stand to any comparison or competition, most certainly.

It was turgid and growing gradually harder without any stimulation, but as several other spots of this physical form the skin discolored towards a deep blue — a patched gradient that reminded Damen of the scales that had been. The grith of it was double that of any man Damen had ever seen risen, with unfamiliar ridges and dips that were impossible to analyse in the shades. Arguably, it was not even the right moment for it, but in a sort of dissociated panic Damen had most surely been staring.


The voice was less thunderous in this form, but still slithered through the air like a well-handled sharp sword.

“That’s not my name,” Damen croaked, with a voice that he did not recognise himself — too forward even for recklessness.

A chuckle, increasingly familiar in this delirious situation. “Indeed, it’s mine,” the dragon — Laurent — informed him. “I know who you are, Damianos.”

The voice echoed in Damen’s ears, distorted and seductive, and Damen got lost in the sound of it for all too many second.

A sharp pain on his shoulder brought him back into an adrenalinic focus. It was sudden, but not sudden enough to not be caught by surprise again, and again, in quick succession. There were teeth on his right shoulder, snake teeth, digging in somewhat maliciously. On his left hip, too, right above the bone. And right before his eyes a snake that lounged between Damen’s legs opened its mouth with a long hiss — all fangs and hypnotic canting of its head — and then dug in viciously in his inner thigh.

It was a sensation as nauseous as the first time Damen had ever been pierced with a real blade, not immediately painful but inherently wrong. Kastor had done it, half a lifetime ago in the training fields. Kastor had brought him here, too, and the irony of it was not lost to Damen, in that brief moment in which the outwordish experience let hopelessness shine through.

Terror came and went like the tide on the shore, leaving behind a persistent burning sensation. The spread of it over Damen’s skin was hotter than his sweat, and deeper too, seeping from every bloody bite through every fraction of Damen’s self.

“What is this?” Damen gasped, at loss even in trying desperately to match his current predicament with some known venoms. Those were not vipers, he wasn’t numb, he was feeling all too much — a too much that entailed his back arching, his hips thrusting. “What are those?”

“So haughty,” the dragon lamented, shuffling around him like a predator circling his prey, the snakes dancing along his steps. “Every king has servants, Damianos. You don’t, because you’re in my kingdom. I do, and they will follow each and one of my wishes...and make sure you comply too, as I don’t enjoy pointless contrariness.”

Laurent stretched a hand sideways and one of the snakes canted its head reverently to meet the strokes of his fingers. There seem to be no need for words between this master and his followers, and Damen caught himself swallowing wetly at the slide of nimble fingertips along smooth greenish scales rather than reflecting on the technicalities.

Two blue eyes, almost glowing in the dark, pierced right through Damen — spotting weakness, gloating over it.

“Exactly.” It sounded almost like a praise, one that made Damen’s eyes flutter — or maybe it was the pointy tail of a snake rubbing at the wet tip of his cock.

He had never been so hard in his life, and it was difficult to remember why, or if, he was not supposed to.

His limbs were so lax, now, posing no resistance whatsoever as he was pulled forward and around. A sound too similar to a sob accompanied the brush of his erection against the cold, damp stone of the cave, and yet nothing seemed to abide the fire that burned inside him, the snakes bodies getting warmer with the heat of it.

Damen spread his legs, kneeling awkwardly on the floor, because he was left with no other choice. And he kept looking at Laurent, looming over him, because the coil around his neck demanded his chin to be tilted up, in a subtle threat of suffocation.

Laurent was looking back, even more directly now, and his gaze combed through Damen, heavy and ancient in a way that went beyond the heat his body was instilled with. Under the weight of that stare, Damen’s mind floated further away, chasing the hypnotic twist of the snakes around him. Resistance was abandoned as futile before he could take a conscious decision about it.

For a moment — long and longer still — everything was heat and pleasure.

Someone moaned in the dark, low and weavering.

Then another time, higher and hoarse.

It took Damen an embarrassing amount of time to figure out that the someone was him, that his throat rasped against the snake slowly sliding around his neck because he was moaning. Once he did, it was with his face lying sideways on the stone, Laurent’s naked feet moving slowly away from his field of vision, and his ass clenching over something.

He shivered at the sudden awareness of it — so deep and thick and slowly twisting in slow circles. It felt heavy, and good, and little else. That was the extent of it, and remained true even when Damen figured out it must be one of the serpents — coiling over his hips, sliding in the crack of his ass cheeks, and then penetrating him. The twinge of his knees, spread open and pressing on the floor, was a hundred times less real — Damen would not close his legs even if the restraints allowed for it, probably.

Even shame was too distant to grasp.

The haze partially lifted only when more pressure taunted his rim. Yet another snake’s tail, most likely. It had been teasing Damen with slow rubs around the tense skin, and that had only exacerbated his goosebumps. But now it squirmed and taunted for a way in, and finally protesting was a possibility.

He tried to jump out and away from the contact, tensing against every snake that contained him, but it was impossible.

A slow tutting sound surpassed the subtle swishing of the snakes on stone and skin and Damen’s heavy breaths. Ironic, or disapproving, or both.

The breach of his body retreated fully, in one smooth and weirdly pleasurable motion. Relaxing back was tentative, but the heat that threatened the corners of Damen’s mind always commanded it.

“You will have to trust,” Laurent’s voice murmured in a low hiss behind Damen, “that I won’t break more than I can keep together.”

It didn’t make sense. It couldn’t, not with the slow unravelling of reality around him.

“You will have to trust,” Laurent repeated, sounding close enough to Damen now that the words brushed tactile on the sweat of his back. “This is not a choice.”

That made more sense. Choices were overrated in a world that had always demanded Damen to fulfill a duty and amend the sins of ancestors so distant in time that even their names were forgotten.

He breathed out, damp against the stone, and didn’t even try to turn around.

A long, wet touch swept along Damen’s spine — slow, persistent, and weirdly refreshing in the suffocating heat. No lover’s tongue had ever been as cold as this, but the motions were familiar, at least at first. Then less familiar, when the slow circles at the small of his back made Damen sigh deeply. Eventually, there was a long lick along the crack of his ass, right were the snakes had held him so firmly, and that was completely foreign.


“I would tell you to be silent,” Laurent’s voice said, crowding behind Damen and leeching off his warmth. “But I do enjoy the sounds you make.”

The following touch felt even more slippery, or maybe Damen was just hyper-focused on how Laurent’s breath broke on his skin. There was a disconcerting moment in which he was sure that the tip of Laurent’s tongue touched on two different spots — a maddening, bifurcated swirl that caught Damen when he was still open and giving from the snake invading him. Something all too close to anticipation pooled in his stomach. When contrasted with the disorienting thorns of his mind, Laurent’s tongue sliding inside him was almost inconspicuous.

“Fucking hell…”

The tongue flickered and went in further. Deep. Then deeper.

The next wiggle pressed squarely on a spot that Damen never managed to reach in similar acts before, and his head swayed with the impossible length and strength of it — at least before the sensation landed, and a renewed wave of heat fogged his vision.

He must have tensed and tried to squirm out of the touch, because the next thing he was aware of were his arms being pulled forward and his legs being pushed wider, trapping him more firmly between Laurent and the floor. The ache of his cock is both exacerbated and numbed by the tightening of the coils around it.

There was nowhere left to go.

Another flick of that tongue, so deep inside it almost felt like a wave, and Damen lost track of why exactly he might want to be anywhere else but here.

He relaxed into him and Laurent snorted — or growled, too deep and reverberating through him.

A hand trailed along his thigh, following a taut line of muscle all the way up the curve of Damen’s ass. The touch was cold at the beginning, but that too disappeared, leaving only the sharp contrast of fingers digging in the cheek of Damen’s ass to spread him open. It was enough, plenty, excessive, and yet it spiralled even further when something squirmed along that same thigh, teasing his entrance like a pointy end.

“No, no…”

The protest choked down his throat as a snake’s tail pressed against the spit-slick mess of his hole and thrusted in alongside Laurent’s tongue. For a second, everything was white-hot intense stretch, the flames scattered in the distance of the cave impossibly bright in Damen’s eyes as his body gave in. Then the snake around his cock released its grip and his vision blurred at the edges.

Damen saw himself quivering as if he had been projected right out of his body, for two long seconds the world was deaf and blind. His orgasm dragged him back in with the force of an avalanche, gritting his teeth against the desperate sound emerging from his throat. When he let himself go, the stone underneath him was warm and wet with his seed and the thrumming of his blood sounded like wardrums.

If only there was still a fight to be fought.

As the tongue slithered out of him, leaving just the snake thrusting with ease through the slickness, the thought inflamed him like a brazier at an altar.

When Damen struggled, this time, the effect of surprise must have been on his side. A delirious euphoria trailed off the afterglow of his orgasm as his hands slipped free of the serpents’ grip. The sharp sensation of his body clenching around the deep, continuous penetration didn’t stop him from planting a forearm on the floor and turning around to elbow the dragon in his humanoid face.

Or at least, that had been the intent.

The soft brush of skin on skin was the only thing that warned him that Laurent had dodged him. The next thing he knew was an iron grip closing on his wrist, twisting the whole arm around to press it in the bend of Damen’s back. His face was back on the floor before he even managed a full gasp.

“I would tolerate the fire of your fury much better,” Laurent murmured with a subtle trail of hissing behind Damen’s back, “if you just gave it to me in sacrifice.”

Damen bristled, but Laurent’s hand only moved when Laurent himself decided for it, stroking along the length of Damen’s spine and spreading his fingers to grip at his nape. Following a cue unknown to him, the snake inside Damen thrusted in and out a couple of times, before retreating completely. Against Damen’s better judgment, his body moaned for it.

“I was already given to you,” Damen snarled, hating the heavy fabric of his breath that remained heavy even now.

“But you haven’t given in to me,” Laurent countered, as if the fact itself was a source of unparalleled amusement.

With his head forcibly tilted to the side, Damen glared up. Laurent caught his eyes completely unfazed, a slight raise of a fair eyebrow the only recognition of the moment they were having. The blue of his eyes still shone in the dark, but his pupils swallowed a fraction of those surreal irises like dark wells into the night. The cut of his face was beyond regal even as reddened lips and a glimpse of wetness along his chin reminded Damen exactly where that mouth had been.

As if following Damen’s thoughts, Laurent opened his mouth and licked his lips slowly, his bifurcated tongue flickering sideways in a way that marked the resemblance between him and his reptile servants.

It was mesmerising to watch, thickening the fog that threatened Damen’s mind through his sparse moment of lucidity. So mesmerising, indeed, that when Laurent shifted his grip on Damen’s neck it didn’t feel like the warning it might have been.

“Now it’s time to embrace this, Damianos of Akielos.”

A smooth pressure where Damen was already wet and open hardly made any difference at first. Then Laurent fucked properly into him, and Damen’s cracked scream bumped off the stones and echoing back over them, amplified. His body stiffened at the unfamiliarity of it. Laurent doubled on his grip by curling a hand around Damen’s hips, a bruising pressure of fingertips against muscles, and rocked them together.

It was unnaturally slippery, overwhelmingly deep — deeper, always deeper — and Damen heard his own itched wailings as if they were rasping out of someone else’s throat.

Madness must be spreading in his mind, made supple by the heat of the bites all over his body, because the snakes stroking all over his skin were almost a solace. One of them slithered between his shoulder blades, tracing a sinuous path all the way down Damen’s back until it met Laurent’s fingers. As the reptile left his body, curling along its master with ease, tension accompanied him, forcing Damen to let himself go against the ground.

Laurent was lodged so deep, still rocking slightly inside, that it was difficult to clench against him. Unfeasible, at some point, while Damen’s body throbbed and sweated and somehow relaxed.

He was no stranger to long fights, but this one had outlasted him in strength and resources.

Laurent made a low, perfectly satisfied sound, between a hum and a growl, and pulled back before thrusting back in with mindless strength.

It was like lightning next to dry wood.


The thrusts went smoother and longer, seemingly endless as they stroked Damen’s inside thoroughly. It made him shiver on the way out, moan on the way in, as the brutality of the penetration slowly turned into sheer pleasure.

Once it started, it didn’t stop, just as Laurent didn’t seem to have any intention of stopping.

Laurent’s nimble fingers stroked along the line of muscles on Damen’s back, and only then Damen realised he wasn't being pinned down anymore — he didn’t need to be. The hand caressed higher, up to Damen’s shoulders, his nape, and then combed through his sweaty hair. A pull on his curls guided his head back, arching his spine even more fully.

Their bodies were close like this, Laurent looming and moving over him with that impossibly smooth skin, dry and warming up to Damen’s heat — closer still, as Laurent leaned forward. The brush of his breath over Damen’s ear felt almost like a kiss.

“The strength of your body pleases me immensely.”

The shiver that the words elicited was sufficient to topple him over the edge.

Damen came with a scream, spilling again over the floor he had already soiled. It numbed his mind, almost lulling, be it not for the way his muscles tensed and released, trying to shake the sensation out. Laurent fucked him through it with a leisure that only exacerbated the climax, his cock lodged so deep inside Damen that rocking back and forth was enough for the clenching of Damen’s body to do all the work.

There was pleasure hiding in places Damen was sure hadn’t existed before Laurent claimed him.

A desperate sound emerged from Damen’s mouth before he could stop it, as Laurent canted back and away. His cock slid out of Damen smoothly, and that too was so intense that Damen dragged his fingers on the stone underneath just to try and breathe through it.

It didn’t last, just as everything else so far had seemed merely a transition to yet another layer of perdition.

Laurent’s grip came back around Damen’s right ankle — too strong to be one of the snakes, and too warm after all the time he had spent leeching warmth off Damen. There was a sharp pull, and Damen found himself flipped over effortlessly. He hadn’t experienced something like this since he was eleven years old and wrestling with people twice his size.

He gasped at the sudden cold of undisturbed stone behind his back, freezing the sweat on his back. The ceiling extended in a multitude of shadows above him, swimming in his unfocused vision. A wheezing breath accompanied him for two lingering seconds.

Then Laurent crowded over him — hair as golden as ever, eyes as bright as the stars. His palms were already back to barely tiepid when they spread Damen’s knees wide, press his legs back and out of the way.

Damen gasped, somewhat distracted by the attempt of discerning whether Laurent was smiling, or leering, or uncaring. The only thing that really prompted some real attention was the renewed brush of Laurent’s prodigious erection back to where Damen was so open it felt almost empty.

“Are you not going to tell me to stop?” Laurent suggested deviously, smiling with a flash of perfectly white teeth as if the thought entertained him endlessly.

Damen really should have had, for as pointless as that would have been.

But he hadn’t, and it was too late now.

Laurent thrust back inside as if he belonged there — and Damen’s body yielded to it, accommodating his outworldly shape. It was not ease — not yet — but the tingle down Damen’s bones was akin to satisfaction.

Groaning over it didn’t help, but Damen did it anyway. The sound raised and hitched as Laurent adjusted his grip to angle Damen at his leisure. The final jerk, delivered with a hand pressing on the small of Damen’s back to tilt him upwards, got him all the way in. There was no reason for it to feel so different from taking it from behind, and yet it did.

Far from flagging down, Laurent grew even harder inside him. Each rhythmic movements sparked up heat where Damen was already oversensitive, diffusing away through his body at every throb that followed from the inside.

“Fuck…” Damen’s swearing was cut short by a deep, wobbling moan. Yet he still kept trying for it, gritting his teeth. “Fuck you...and all you stand for!”

Laurent laughed. It was an oddly exhilarating sound to hear bumping off the walls of the cave, like the blessing of rain in the desert.

“You have no clue what I stand for, Damianos.”

It was difficult to see what would have changed if Damen had a clue. Since it was difficult to see straight to begin with, the answer was probably nothing.

Laurent smirked at his silence, and bent over Damen with even more purpose. Between the stone underneath and the pressure that Laurent exerted from above, the stretch of Damen's body felt as real as the aftermath of a strenuous battle. There was no regaining a full sense of himself now, though.

The next thrust ripped the air from Damen's lungs and then pushed it back in just for him to scream for it.

He turned his head, gritting his teeth out just to stop these desperate sounds from escaping, but that too wasn't allowed. The sliding of a snake away from his wrists, through his shoulders, all the way to his jaw caught Damen almost by surprise — between the additional physical sensation and the realisation that under Laurent's complete attention the rest of the world had phased out.

The grip around his head forced Damen to open his mouth again. And once he did there was no closing it, with a tail hooked over his teeth to assure compliance.

Drool pooled at the corner of his lips.

The sound of his moans punctuated every thrust, hoarse.

Laurent was smiling wide and elated.

"Stop…" Damen gasped over the raising tremor of his body, deep like a seizure. "Stop...ah...too much...It's too m...ah Ah!...uch"

"It's just barely enough."

Laurent's voice was a deep rumbling, almost like a purr. A first suggestion that he, too, was affected by the whole ordeal.

Somehow it wasn't of much consolation, not considering how Damen didn't even have the coordination to strike him with his now free hand.

The snake's tailed flickered against his tongue like a playful lover's kiss.

Damen's own essence was burning.

He smacked a hand over Laurent's chest, reflexively trying to push him away. Predictably, Laurent didn't even budge, and Damen ended up sliding his hand all over his smooth skin. There was surprise in the way Laurent's eyelids batted over his gleaming blue eyes. Maybe Damen would have noticed, had he not been too busy digging his nails over Laurent's collarbone and feeling more than should be possible for a human to feel.

"Oh my God."

Damen didn't even sound as himself, as his whole body shivered through yet another orgasm. His cock barely spilled but he still caught himself jerking his hips against Laurent's cock to ride the sensation, to chase it away.

"I do like it," Laurent murmured, almost entrenched, "when you call me your God."

It was difficult to discern if Damen hadn't intended it that way. All he knew was that it was agonisingly pleasurable, and that he would have bitten down on anything but the snake that kept his jaw too wide for him to manage.

Sweat and tears threatened Damen's eyes with their salt, each increasing the other.

The rippling tremors of his skin only escalated when, as the snake slid slowly away from his mouth, Damen realised that Laurent was still as hard as a beast primed for rut inside him.

A renewed valiant attempt of pushing him away was as useless as it was hindered by the lack of cooperation of the lower half of his body. In retaliation, Laurent pulled sharply at Damen's forearms and hoisted him all the way to his lap.

His whole body tingled, painfully hypersensitive as if lightning had struck him. Laurent's cock impaled to the root inside him was the only firm point in a world that swam deliriously around him.

Damen cursed every God he had ever known, and every divine quality he had always been told to admire. It was not nearly enough.

Laurent laughed again, as if nothing of this involved him. His glittering eyes were so close it took Damen a second to realise their foreheads were pressed against each other.

Two hands traced Damen's thighs, spread wide, and climbed up from his ass cheeks to the span of his back. They were so amazingly cold Damen arched for them — sobbed, almost, when the movement made his hips circle around the unyielding cock inside him.

"I can't…" he slurred. "La..ah..urent, I can't."

Another purred sound of delight spread over the surface of Damen's skin as Laurent's devious tongue licked slowly over the pulse point of Damen's neck.

"You can...You are."

Not that he had much choice in the matter, evidently.

"The heat of you is so marvellous," Laurent continued, his sharp teeth tracing every soft spot along Damen's shoulder — forcing him to shiver further with the fear of another maddening bite. "You'll burn hot enough to keep us both warm...won't you, Damianos?"

The impossibility of having Laurent so deep and still inside his body must be what led Damen to nod, head swimming in a thickening fog. His own cock was pressed between their stomachs, hard and refusing to soften even after having been so unmercifully milked, and Laurent's cold blood felt like the only thing that kept him from melting.

"That's it, that's right," Laurent whispered, following the thread of his own thoughts through Damen's surrender.

The quivering started before Damen could try and rein it in, brought upon by every ridge and twist of Laurent’s inhuman cock that refused to abate its pressure in every spot it had already softened inside of Damen.

“That’s it.”

The urge to send Laurent to hell and tell him to stay there was ill-matched with the constant catching of Damen’s breath. He could get lost in this, all too easily, one wave of pleasure after the other coerced out until clarity was barely a memory in Damen’s mind.

Their faces lingered close and closer still as Damen’s head swayed with overwhelmed dizziness. Laurent’s grip bruised on Damen’s hips, maneuvering him with a jerk, as if he was jumping Damen on his lap in a filthy version of a childhood game. It was nothing, and too much, their noses touched and Damen’s gasp wavered back at him after having brushed Laurent’s skin.

Their mouths clashed together with just a tilt of Laurent’s head. The contact turned into a bite before the bifurcated end of Laurent’s tongue found its way into Damen’s mouth. Damen bit back — or kissed back. The possessive intimacy of it felt somehow separated by the desperate way Damen’s cock twitched between their bodies — dry, aching, ecstatic.

Then something changed again, spiralling further downwards in perdition. It might have been ages after, or just a second, and Damen would not catch the difference.

It started with the slow pace of Laurent’s tongue in Damen’s mouth, entrenching like a siren during a storm. Damen caught himself tightening an arm around Laurent’s shoulders, all too similar to the embrace of a lover, and that was when the swirl of the kiss expanded beyond what should be possible. It was in his stomach, at first, as if he were still an inexperienced boy at his first fumbling. But then it tightened the muscles at his hips, clenched his thighs alongside Laurent’s body in a mindless instinct. Only at that point, in a slow circle on the already tensed rim of his hole, Damen really felt it.

Laurent’s cock turned inside him, like an arrow off the bow but slower — so much slower. Laurent himself tensed, kneeling with more purpose with Damen in his lap. His abdominal muscles were tight, his shoulders jumping under Damen’s arm, and finally something in this whole act required him an effort.

The shape of him budged up and curved, fighting for movement in the slick tightness of Damen’s ass.

“Wh...what’s thi...s…” Damen gasped, pushing himself away from Laurent’s mouth with a wet sound. “Wha...ah…AH…”

Daman’s voice choked in his mouth and the visual of Laurent’s frown of dedicated concentration blurred as his eyes crossed.

He had moaned for the spark that had ignited along his back at this slow, circular motion, but now he couldn’t anymore.

He couldn't because his breath was gone. He couldn’t because Laurent’s cock split inside him, a delirious echo of his bifurcated tongue, and scissored inside Damen.

The stretch was nothing he had ever experienced before, not even under the combined efforts of Laurent’s tongue and the tail of a snake. Laurent pressed on every possible point inside him, sitting still under Damen and yet incredibly dynamic, and everything screamed of insensate lust and fire.

Damen must have screamed, too, because his chest tingled with it. He might have cried, because his eyes felt liquid. But also he might have rocked on Laurent’s lap on his own volition, because his nails were digging down on Laurent’s back — between skin and scales — and Laurent was whispering to him.

“Yes, Damianos.” His voice was everywhere and nowhere, a blessing from the skies or a damnation from the hells. “Yes.”

Damen’s spine arched and twitched, and the last perception that he had was Laurent’s hand running over the curve of it with a possessive delight. That, and the way Damen’s own teeth gritted as he howled.

After that, blackness engulfed everything.

Consciousness returned to Damen slowly, surging up from the depths as if he was waking up from that type slumber that followed battles too long for his endurance. There was fur under his cheek and the lights were low and lazy. Damen closed his eyes again, because it was easier and his body was heavy, lying prone.

There was water running, the echo of it lulling and repetitive as if shaping smooth rocks.

Damen’s throat gulped reflexively at it, dry and tight. He had never been more thirsty in his entire life.

“You should drink.”

Damen jumped to react at the sudden interruption of his thoughts — or he would have, if his body didn’t rebel against moving in any way possible.

His back hurt. His muscles were tense as if barely recovered from an encompassing cramp. His cock ached when it dragged naked on the furs underneath.

Damen flopped back down with a breathless sound.

All his awareness suddenly turned to his own ass — open and supple and sending shivers up his spine if Damen tried to clench over nothing, because a humanoid dragon fucked the living light out of him.

“You should drink,” Laurent repeated with something akin to patience. He was lounging against a rock in a complete display of indolence, his human form as naked as Damen first saw it. The white fabric of his skin shimmered blue in the points were the residues of scales were more prominent — as unnatural as his eyes, fixed on Damen.

It was difficult not to feel as a prey of convenience.

More difficult still to catch himself on time and not look down between Laurent’s legs — even though Damen was absolutely certain that not a single detail of their intercourse had been a figment of his imagination. Not considering the way he felt shattered and then reshaped from the inside out.

Laurent rolled his eyes at Damen’s lack of action, and reached sideways blindly. A snake slid gracefully in response, a golden goblet rolling by the stem along its coils. A ready offer to the sire of this cave, who took it and gulped down on it. Just as Damen’s throat contracted in envy, the impossible strength of Laurent’s hand came back to comb between Damen’s curls and drag him up.

It was a shock, somehow, to get kissed — even after all of this, even knowing full well that Damen had kissed back. But it was also a relief, to feel the flood of fresh water down his throat, a forceful blessing.

When the grip lessened and the perfunctory kiss retreated, Damen let himself fold back down, his head resting on Laurent’s bent leg because Laurent had guided him there. It was a bit easier, like this, after all — already turned on his side without having to make an effort, capable of reaching for the goblet and drink some more by himself.

He stayed silent, because he didn’t know what to say. It was awkward, or at least it felt awkward, but Laurent seemed profoundly unperturbed, as if everything that happened or would happen followed his designs and no one else’s.

With the thirst barely quenched, Damen was left with the dull drumming of his heart, ectic and pooling uncertainty all the way down to his stomach.

Was Laurent going to ravish him again, now? Or was this just a last fleeting mercy in the form of a beverage, before Laurent — having taken everything else already — transformed back into a dragon and took Damen’s life as well?

“You should tell me about your brother.”

The request was even more unexpected than the breaking of the silence in itself. For a second Damen just blinked, dully.

“He gave me to you and fled.”

Laurent snorted, and a snake slithered between his fingers and all the way up his arm. “That, I gathered.”

An overwhelming sense of bitterness outpaced fear and dizziness in his guts, the twist of them more constricting than any serpent. “He is my elder,” Damen said, before he could rein himself in, “I always looked up to him, even when he treated me as a mere inconvenience. I thought...I was sure we would fight side by side for the rest of our lives.”

“He’s not worthy of your devotion,” Laurent hummed, nodding gravely after a pensive pause. “Nor of sharing the fight that you carry within you.”

To this, Damen didn’t know what to say. It sounded considerate, even understanding, and yet Damen was still covered in the pulsing bites of Laurent’s reptile servants. It sounded truthful, but Damen wasn’t sure if he was ready to embrace a betrayal that just stripped him of everything with just one sentence, landing him here into an uncertain fate.

“You should tell me more,” Laurent continued as if the lack of a response could not disrupt his plan for a conversation. “About him and your kingdom. His habits, his strengths and his weaknesses. What is he going to do, now, after fleeing?”

Damen blinked, confusedly, looking up to Laurent’s disconcerting blue eyes. “Why?”

“Because he offered you to me in sacrifice,” Laurent countered, implicating an obvious logic that Damen was still failing to follow. He reached over with just two fingers, running them along Damen’s jaw, down his neck, and pressing lightly on the bite on his shoulder, goosebumps rising in his track. “And you were a worthy and pleasing sacrifice.”

The tone was unmistakable. A shiver shook Damen from head to toe, deeply aware of all the places Laurent probed — all the places where Damen let him in, at some point.

“Do you know what happens,” Laurent whispered, with a hypnotic hissing quality in his vowels. “When I claim you and find you worthy in your surrender, Damianos of Akielos?”

You kill me, Damen wanted to say. You own me.

But neither felt right under the slightly manic quality of Laurent’s gaze, glittering in the dark better than any gem.

Swallowing tight, Damen shook his head, slowly. Laurent loomed over his face, his smile showcasing a straight line of sharp, white teeth.

“We lay waste on anyone that ever wronged you, of course.”