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Hunting Fire

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The red moon hung heavy in the sky, a sliver away from becoming full and round. It signaled the evening time, a hairsbreadth away from the midnight hour. Claude glanced at it with curious eyes, noting the crimson color masked the nearby stars. They dimmed and gave a wide berth to the large object in the sky, giving it the respect it demanded. He tore his eyes from the full moon with a small scowl. He preferred the suns to the moon.

At least the suns moved in a rhythmic sort of way, almost in a dance. When one rose, the second would follow and together they would rise together until they reached their peak. After that, the second sun would start to devour the first until they set as a solitary sun. Claude could watch the sunset every evening and never tire of it.

The crimson colors that bathed the sky soothed him and Claude wanted to capture the colors for his own. A decade ago, he wanted to imprison the suns themselves, but his mother simply laughed at him for his thoughts. No creature, demon or otherwise, could capture the elements, she reminded him.

However, knowing that still didn't stop Claude from admiring the suns in all their blazing glory.

Next to him, his mother shifted and Claude tugged at her hand. "What are we doing here?" He asked.

She looked down at him. "We're waiting," she said simply. "It's the last day for the birthing cycle."

Claude grunted and knelt down to examine a sicarius spider. Its long legs carried it easily across the rocky terrain and Claude carefully plucked it off the ground. Six eyes looked up at him and Claude let it crawl over his hand. "What's so special about this birthing cycle?" He questioned and hissed as tiny fangs sunk into his skin.

"It's royalty," his mother answered. "Our Sire and his mate have tried several times for a child but she had trouble catching. This is the farthest she's come in several centuries."

"Oh," Claude stated, not truly understanding why everyone seemed to think it was such a big deal. He gripped the spider tighter and spindly legs flailed about as its venom started to tingle throughout Claude's body.

An exasperated sigh left his mother's mouth and she pried the spider from his hand, tossing it away in a smooth motion. "Honestly Claude, why do you always provoke them?"

Claude shrugged, his fingers tingling and creating a pleasant feeling throughout his body. The venom of the sicarius, while deadly to mortals, only brought a heightened sensation for demons. "They come to me. I don't go searching for them." His nostrils flared as the wind shifted and his head snapped up, gazing in the direction of the castle that stood dark in the night.

The wind brought with it a new scent, one that teased his senses and wrapped around him. He couldn't place the scent, but his mind supplied that it smelled hot. Almost like fire. It burned his nose and Claude took a step forward, the venom making every nerve stand at attention as the new smell continued to surround him.

It seemed to attack his senses and imprint itself in his memory. Claude reached for the scent in his mind and pulled it closer. The smell sent small thrills down his spine and Claude shivered in the night air next to his mother. He glanced at her briefly to see her reaction, but she seemed unaffected along with the rest of the demons that stood around him.

Claude turned his attention back to the castle and breathed in deeply. He could taste the faintest hints of the scent on the wind, pure and fresh. It threw him off for a moment, the flavor unlike anything he had tasted before. But as quickly as it came, it vanished the next second as a powerful scent washed over his body.

He stiffened along with the rest of the demons around him, easily recognizing the scent. It was that of their Sire and his mate, and just under that lingered a new scent. Weak and barely there, but they could still smell it.

"Just in time," his mother breathed, looking up at the moon.

Claude followed her gaze, taking in the round and full shape of the moon. A few more minutes and midnight would pass, signaling the end of the birthing cycle and the autumnal equinox would pass. He lowered his eyes to the castle once more, trying to scent the smell from before but found nothing.

"What was that scent?" He asked.

His mother looked at him. "When a child is born, it carries the scent of its parents until a certain age."

Claude shook his head quickly, cutting her off. "I know that. I know what I smelled earlier." He gestured with his hand. "But earlier. Before that. There was a different smell and I could taste something."

"I think the sicarius venom was a little too strong for you this time, Claude," she muttered. "I didn't smell anything before the birth and no one else did either. The venom threw your senses off."

"I know what I smelled," Claude protested and squirmed as his mother picked him up. The nearby demons started to disperse, their curiosity and hopes filled for the night, and his mother moved with them. "Put me down," he protested, feeling his cheeks grow warm.

His mother shook her head. "Despite what you may think in that proud little head of yours, you're still a fledgling. Half a century or not, you have yet to become an adult."

Claude grumbled and leaned his head against his mother's shoulder, feeling the remaining venom trickle away. His eyes darted over the retreating castle in the distance and he stared long and hard at it, hoping that it would provide an answer to what he smelled earlier. But it remained silent and foreboding as always and left Claude to his thoughts as moon passed overhead.


Claude toed the ground and shifted uneasily under the sharp, piercing gaze of the feline. It lounged in the hallway at the base of the steps, seemingly guarding it and Claude could see sharp nails scratching ever so slightly over the floor. A low growl left its throat as Claude shifted again and its dual tails flicked lightly.

Claude tore his eyes away from the creature as it stretched its long body out on the floor and instead focused on the interior of the castle. The castle remained just as large and foreboding on the inside as it looked on the outside, and it made Claude uneasy. He could smell the scent of pain and torture, the smell lingering in the stone walls.

It created an uneasy silence and Claude could feel the tension in the castle. Even though four decades had passed since his Sire killed his mate, Claude could still see the effects of her betrayal. More feline demons prowled the area, loyal to their current lord and his son, and the servants watched him intently.

Not many demons forgot the betrayal that happened forty years ago and at the time, Claude was old enough to understand the severity of what happened. At only a decade old, the heir was still a babe. No older than a toddler in the eyes of a mortal. While nowhere near as weak as a mortal child, the heir still lacked the strength to fend off a centuries old demon.

At first, no one believed the rumors. While attacks against fledglings happened and weren't unheard of, they remained rare. At most, attacks against newborns came from rival mates or those who were too young mentally to handle a child. But never did the attacks come from the demon that carried the child.

Yet it happened, amidst all the disbelief and denial. It shook the realm and Claude could easily remember the turmoil that filled the air. Many clung to the hope that it wasn't true, but the screams that filled the night after it happened gave enough proof. They continued for months before the castle finally grew quiet and an uneasy atmosphere surrounded the realm.

The next day, their Sire appeared in public for the first time since the incident, his heir held firmly in his arms, without his mate at his side. The appearance cemented the rumors and made Claude remember that demons were incapable of feeling love. His Sire sided with his newly born offspring instead of his mate, who had stayed by his side for close to a millennia. Blood remained stronger than feelings.

"Faustus," a calm voice spoke, pulling Claude from his thoughts. Claude quickly looked up and inclined his head slightly to the servant. "Follow me."

Claude nodded and hurried after the servant, making a wide berth around the feline that watched him with inquisitive eyes. Its lips pulled back in what looked like a smile and Claude jogged up the steps. "Do you know why I'm here?" He asked as they walked. "I received the summon last week but it didn't say why."

The servant shook his head. "It's not my place to say or to assume our Sire's thoughts," he stated.

"I see," Claude muttered and ran a hand through his hair. It didn't help calm him any and Claude could feel the power pulsing through the hallway as they neared the study.

Underneath that, a softer energy pulsed and seemed to wrap around Claude, soothing him as they approached. It felt familiar and Claude pulled it closer, wondering when he felt it before for it to cause such a reaction within him. It mixed together with a scent and Claude inhaled deeply, the taste of fire filling his senses.

"Incense?" Claude asked as they came to a stop outside the office.

The servant looked at him, confusion flickering across his face. "We aren't burning any," he stated and turned back to the door. "We're here. Don't do anything stupid," he finished with an exasperated tone.

Claude grumbled under his breath. His mother said the same thing that morning before he left. He could handle the chiding tone from her, but not someone he didn't know. "Lead the way," he said.

The door opened and Claude stepped in as the servant moved to the side. "Sire, Claude Faustus is here."

"Leave us," a deep voice rumbled and the servant bowed slightly before stepping out of the room. The doors shut behind Claude and he turned his attention to the other figure in the room. "Faustus."

Claude bowed deeply and lowered his eyes in respect. "My Lord," he muttered softly. At only a century old, Claude knew better than to act out of turn to a superior demon. Especially when that demon was the current leader of their realm and frankly, the elder demon terrified Claude.

He remained in the position for several more seconds before the elder demon spoke. "Relax," he said and Claude straightened but still avoided eye contact. "Do you know why you're here?"

Claude shook his head. "No, Sire. I received the summons and came here at the specified day."

"You're currently under contract in the mortal plane, yes?" The elder demon clarified.

"Yes, Sire. My contract should end within a fortnight," Claude answered and shifted slightly. "Did I do something wrong?" He asked cautiously.

His Sire shook his head. "No. You're fine. I have a request however," he said and gestured with his hand. From the corner of the study, a child moved forward, holding a small feline in his arms.

Claude twitched slightly before dipping into another bow. He knew the child that stood before him, even if he had never seen him before. The scent alone gave him away along with the family resemblance. He straightened at the command and looked over the child curiously, taking in every feature.

Crimson eyes burned with intelligence and held an innocence that seemed to pull Claude in. They made Claude relax and he almost took a step forward, wanting to brush his fingers across pale skin but caught himself last minute. Instead, Claude tore his gaze from the fledgling and looked at his Sire. "Sire?" He asked.

"My son is half a century old and is old enough to catch his first soul," his Sire said. "As you're already contracted on the mortal plane, I would like you to guide him and make sure he doesn't give away his presence to the mortals."

Claude blinked and found himself nodding slowly as his mind slowly proceeded the words. "Do I have to…teach him how to eat them?" He asked hesitantly. Each demon had their own style when it came to contracting and eating souls, and the thought of teaching the heir made Claude feel overwhelmed.

His Sire shook his head. "No, he is already well versed in how to feed himself." He looked at his son and Claude watched as a smirk slipped across the fledgling's lips. "He just needs an experienced demon with him for his first try. I would go with him, but I have other matters that I must attend."

"It's an honor to watch him, Sire," Claude said quickly, lest the elder demon believe that he didn't want the job. Excitement raced through him and his pride swelled that their Sire had picked him, of all demons, to escort his son. His eyes slid to the fledgling and he jerked back slightly as he crimson eyes locked with his.

"I look forward to learning from you," the fledgling said, his voice soft and calm, almost melodic. "Hopefully we can continue to work together in the future."

A small, polite smile slipped across his face as he spoke and as Claude stared at him, he found himself comparing the face to a cherub. Innocence radiated deeply from the young face and pulled Claude in even more until he could gaze at the fledgling in awe. "I'll do my best to serve you, Young Master," Claude finally said, finding his voice after several quiet minutes.

The fledgling laughed lowly and his lips curled into a smirk that looked almost out of place on his angelic looking face. "Tomorrow morning then?" He asked and his eyes seemed to darken.

"Of course," Claude answered, finding the new change unsettling but still fitting for a demon. Something lurked behind that innocent face and it sent chills down Claude's spine. And yet, it drew him closer and his body trembled at the feeling. It wasn't until his Sire dismissed him and Claude stood outside the castle that he recognized the feeling that held him so fearful yet enthralled.

Power.


Claude stopped at one of gates that led to the mortal plane and turned to look at the fledgling standing beside him. "Before we go to the mortal plane, you need a name." He shrugged his shoulders, his clothes shifting on his body over his human disguise. "It's best to pick something you can remember. It's important to keep up appearances and you responding to your human name as though it were your demon name is important."

"I know," the fledgling answered and tilted his head up to look at Claude. "I already have a name."

Claude gazed at the dark red eyes, so dark that the humans would pass them off as an auburn color and never think twice about it. "What name did you pick?" He asked curiously. Most demons spent days thinking about a name unless they were under contract. It had to flow off their tongue and sound right in their ears. Strangely enough, demons were meticulous about their names.

"Sebastian," the fledgling stated and his eyes narrowed slightly. "You may only call me that when we're alone. In front of other demons, you call me by my title."

The finality at which Sebastian spoke made Claude hesitate for a moment before he nodded. "I understand, Young Master," he muttered. "Shall we go?"

Sebastian nodded and Claude led the way through the gate, feeling the energy flux around them until they emerged in ankle deep snow. Their home seemingly vanished behind them, taking with it the double suns that crossed the sky. Next to him, Sebastian shivered and they started walking.

"Are you truly cold?" Claude asked, his breath puffing in front of him.

"If I said yes would you carry me?" Sebastian questioned and a smirk spread across his lips. "To the humans, I look like your younger brother. And you would be a horrible older brother to let me struggle through the snow."

Before Claude could stop himself, low laughter left his mouth. "Is that what you think?" He asked and brushed away some snow that landed on his cheek. "Humans don't look twice at strangers on the street. They're too busy rushing through life and trying to get ahead that they never stop to look around them. No one will notice us."

Sebastian hummed lowly and didn't say another word as they continued walking until they reached the sidewalk. Claude glanced at him to make sure he wasn't lost before heading towards their destination. They continued in silence as the snow fell around them until Sebastian's soft voice called to him. "Christopher," he said, tone almost pleading.

Claude stopped at the mention of his human name and turned to look at Sebastian. "What's wrong?" He asked.

Sebastian shivered again. "I'm cold and tired," he said, voice weary and soft, but it still carried to the people passing them on the street. "Can we stop for a bit and get something warm to drink?"

"We're almost there," Claude said and glanced down the road. "You can't last for fifteen more minutes?"

"I don't know," Sebastian answered and seemed to shrink in on himself as Claude glared at him. "I can't feel my toes."

Claude let out a frustrated sigh and raked his hand through his hair. "I think you're over exaggerating," he stated. "I'm sure your toes are fine. Now come on. We're running behind schedule."

Sebastian stared at him for a second before ducking his head after giving a small nod. "Okay," he said softly, voice muffled by his scarf.

Claude nodded and started to walk again, trying to ignore the overtly disapproving looks that the humans tossed in his direction. The owner of a nearby cafe sniffed as she pushed by him and stopped in front of Sebastian. She pushed a steaming cup in his hands. "Here sweetie. Some hot cider will help keep you warm for the rest of the walk."

"Thank you, Miss!" Sebastian chirped happily and sipped at the warm drink. "It's yummy," he said before beaming up at her.

The woman smiled. "You're quite welcome," she said and dusted the snow off Sebastian's hat. She tossed Claude a cool glare as she stood up. "Honestly. You would think family would take better care of each other," she muttered under her breath as she walked back to her shop.

Claude stared at her and waited until Sebastian sidled next to him. "Come here," he grunted and hefted Sebastian into his arms. Arms wrapped around his neck and they started again, Claude glaring at anyone who dared to stop them.

They turned a corner and Sebastian tossed the drink into a nearby trashcan. "That was disgusting," he said flatly and shifted his weight. "Human cuisine lacks flavor."

"What was that about?" Claude hissed and his human cheeks burned with humiliation.

Sebastian shrugged and deftly moved around Claude's body until he clung to his back, forcing Claude to adjust his grip. "You were wrong," he said simply. "Adults by themselves fade into the background when they're walking alone. But when a young child and his older guardian are together, people tend to notice, especially when the younger of the two seems distraught."

Claude growled lowly. "You manipulated their emotions."

"It's not a crime," Sebastian answered. "And it's not manipulation. It's further developing your disguise and using it to your advantage. I can't form a proper contract when I look ten years old to humans, so I have to find other ways to draw them near me to steal their soul."

"Deceptive," Claude muttered reluctantly. He hated to admit that Sebastian could read humans better than him and felt annoyance tug at his emotions. "Seems I still have many things to learn."

Sebastian's arms tightened around him and Sebastian buried his face against his neck before breathing in deeply. "You're still a good teacher, Claude Faustus," he breathed before falling silent.

Claude's lips twitched into a small smile as the continued on their way. They made quick time and the moment they stepped into the foyer of the house, he set Sebastian down. It felt awkward touching Sebastian considering his lineage but at the same time, it felt right. Something about Sebastian drew Claude in and it confused him.

He didn't dwell on the thought though as a well-dressed man came to greet them. "This way, Mr. Marlowe," he said. They moved through the hallway and stopped outside the parlor. "Christopher Marlowe is here to see you ma'am."

"Send him in," a tired voice called from further in the room.

Claude waved the man away and stepped into the parlor, Sebastian trailing behind him like a shadow. "I apologize for my absence yesterday afternoon," he stated. "I had an important meeting."

The female grunted and looked up from her papers. "You'll have to make it up tonight by working late then," she stated. "I don't want to look at any of these papers anymore."

"I understand," Claude answered and held out his hand for the papers that covered the couch. "I'll look over these and tell you what move will work best to your advantage."

She nodded and stood up, running a tired hand over her face. "I have a meeting at the office today. I'll be back for lunch."

Claude hummed as he flipped through the papers. "I'll have these finished by then," he said and she walked out of the parlor. Once she vanished, he looked at Sebastian. "This will take me an hour to finish and then we can start searching for the soul you would like."

Sebastian shook his head. "I'm fine for now," he stated and gestured to the papers. "Do what you need for your contract. She seemed stressed."

"She's always that way." Claude answered and guided Sebastian through the house until they reached the room his contractor gave him. "But once she's secured power for her daughter, then our contract will finish."

"You mean once you have secured power for her daughter," Sebastian corrected and took a seat on the plush bed. "You're doing all the work for her."

Claude grunted. "That's my job. I promised to secure her power in exchange for her soul."

Sebastian frowned and leaned back slightly. "I understand that, but she lacks the drive to do it herself." He tipped back gracefully. "She knows what she wants, but in using you, she's made a crutch for herself. She allowed herself to become lazy and instead of thinking for herself, she relies on you."

"I still get her soul in the end," Claude pointed out and looked up from his papers. "That's all that matters at the end of the day."

Sebastian shrugged and didn't say anything, leaving silence to fill the room. Claude glanced at him briefly before turning his attention back to the papers as Sebastian remained silent. He couldn't understand why Sebastian seemed to think it was such a big deal that his contractor couldn't think for herself. It made humans easier to control when they remained under a demon's hand and Claude liked the control that came with a contract.

Humans only thought they were the ones in charge, never realizing the demon controlled everything. It made things more fun and Claude thoroughly enjoyed the game.

Minutes bled into hours and Claude glanced up at the clock, setting the papers down. He shifted on the chair, feeling uneasy as the silence in the room mounted and seemed to suffocate him. He couldn't place the reasoning and Claude stood up, hoping to ease the discomfort with a short walk. His eyes darted to the bed where Sebastian slept and froze at the sight of an empty bed.

A curse fell from Claude's mouth and he quickly left the room, stretching his senses for any sign of Sebastian. If anything happened to the fledgling…he shuddered. Claude didn't want to think about the horrors that would await him if that happened. He moved down the hallway and paused as a familiar pulse of energy below him.

Claude let out a soft sigh. At least Sebastian never left the house and he seemed fine. He headed towards the stairwell when the contract on his hand tingled against his skin. It started out small before the feeling erupted in scorching heat that had Claude hissing in pain. Blood trickled away from the contract and dripped to the floor but Claude was already racing downstairs.

Something had happened to the human he had contracted to and Claude could feel her energy flickering away slowly, almost as though she was dying. They thought made Claude move even quicker as he rushed to reach the room stayed in. Another energy mixed with hers, stronger and familiar as Claude shoved the doors open and looked at the figures in the room.

"Sebastian!" Claude nearly shouted and quickly moved over to his human's side. He didn't need to feel for a pulse to know that she had already died and Claude turned to face Sebastian. "What did you do?" He snarled.

Sebastian smirked and his eyes danced with something Claude couldn't place. "I took her soul," he answered simply. "Your attempt at forming a contract was poorly made and I exploited a loophole."

Claude faltered slightly at the words before brushing them aside as he plowed forward. "Silence your tongue," he hissed.

Sebastian licked his lips, exaggerating the motions as he glided over to Claude. "She was good, but her soul lacked flavor. You could've done better,…"

Claude tensed at the sound of his demon name falling from Sebastian's mouth and he spun around with a snarl. "How dare you take a demon's contracted soul," he growled. "There are rules that we must follow."

Crimson eyes rolled slightly and Sebastian rested his hand on his hip. "So you're mad that you didn't get a taste?" He asked and shook his head before moving closer to Claude.

Fingers laced through Claude's hair and pulled him down until their lips pressed against each other. Claude's eyes widened at the action before the taste of wine, chocolate, blood, and something he couldn't place, pushed into his mouth. The flavor rushed over his tongue and Claude swallowed greedily until it vanished.

A tingling aftertaste remained, hot and familiar on his tongue before Claude pulled back quickly, realizing what he just did. He wiped at his lips, hoping to erase the taste but it remained, coiled low in his stomach. "What the hell are you doing?" He snapped.

"Giving you a taste," Sebastian answered and a smirk curled across his lips. "And getting my own."

Claude moved forward, intent on smacking the smug smirk from Sebastian's face but the fledgling vanished from the room. A quick search of the area told Claude that instead of fleeing the house, Sebastian had returned home and Claude growled lowly at the thought. No doubt, Sebastian had gone to hide behind his father where Claude couldn't touch him.

He looked down at his hand, noting that the contract had already faded away and Claude quickly left the room. Nothing tied him to the human plane anymore and Claude itched to leave the house. It reminded him of how easily Sebastian had exploited the weak spot in his contract with the human.

He hated Sebastian for making a fool of him and Claude's teeth dug into the tender flesh of his human guise. His anger mounted even more at the thought of how easily Sebastian manipulated him with a childish smile and an angelic face. Claude shook his head at that thought and ran a hand through his hair.

Sebastian was no angel. He was a demon through and through.


A sense of annoyance flickered through Claude's body as he approached the looming castle. Even after a century, Claude still couldn't forgive Sebastian for stealing his contracted soul. No matter how much Claude learned from the action. He made sure that his future contracts lacked the loopholes that Sebastian used and made sure to pick very specific humans to contract.

Sebastian's words still floated through his head, even a hundred years later. Those words, so brazen and taunting, telling Claude that he could've done better. In a subtle way, Sebastian had mocked Claude's choice in regards to the human he contracted. Calling her flavorless, thus in turn, reflecting on Claude's ability to judge humans.

Just thinking about it was enough to bring a snarl to Claude's lips and he had to fight to keep his growing anger at bay. He didn't know why he had received the summon, but Claude had a growing suspicion that Sebastian was the reason behind his sudden summoning. The thought made Claude ground his teeth together as he passed through the large, ornate gates to find a servant already waiting for him.

"This way, Faustus," the servant said. "We have been expecting you."

Claude grunted and skirted around the feline that reclined next to the servant. Its tails flicked lazily across the ground and Claude glanced at it briefly before he forced his attention away from it. "Do you happen to know why he summoned me?" He asked as they started to walk, the feline trailing behind them.

The servant nodded. "There are rumors among the staff but nothing more than that," he stated. "You should be honored, if they are true."

"I don't like the sound of that," Claude murmured, easily remembering how his last assignment played out. He thought his last job was an honor as well, until Sebastian stole his contracted soul.

The other demon didn't say anything as they walked through the hallway and Claude accepted the easy silence that settled between them. Nothing he said could stop him from seeing his Sire; he couldn't deny a direct summons. They stopped outside the office and Claude grimaced at the sense of déjà vu that washed over him as the doors opened.

The servant bowed himself from the room and Claude looked at his Sire, noting that Sebastian stood next to him. At a century and half, Sebastian looked around twenty by mortal standards and Claude silently admired his features. By demon standards, Sebastian was still a fledgling and couldn't call himself a full adult demon until he hit two centuries of age, along with his first heat.

He fought back the scowl that threatened to overcome his features. Claude didn't want to be around when Sebastian hit his first mating cycle. If Sebastian was unbearable now, Claude couldn't imagine how smug and arrogant Sebastian would become come the mating season. Although, the thought of mounting Sebastian reverberated deeply within Claude's body.

"Sire," Claude said quickly, pushing all thoughts of the idea from his mind and offering a deep bow.

"Sit," his Sire said and Claude took a seat in the nearby chair, hesitating at the cool tone that seemed directed towards him. "It seems as though we're in a familiar situation once more."

Claude inclined his head slightly. "So it would seem," he answered. "And I have to ask again, Sire. Have I done something wrong?"

The elder demon shook his head and Claude watched as his eyes darted briefly to Sebastian before focusing on him once more. "No, you have done nothing wrong. But once more I find myself asking you for another request." He paused and Claude could hear a smidge of irritation creep into his voice. "You are the one of the few demons close in age to my son and have recently shed the status of fledgling."

Claude resisted the urge to shift on the chair as an uneasy feeling settled over his body. There were other demons that recently grew into mature demons and others who would hit their maturity in a year or two. His Sire had his choice over any demon in the realm, demons that were better suited for whatever his Sire wanted. But he picked Claude instead and Claude could feel the dread growing larger as the seconds passed.

"My son needs a tutor to help broaden his skills," his Sire spoke and Claude's fingers grew numb under the shock.

"Surely there is a demon better suited for this task than me," Claude interrupted. "I only know what I learned during primary lessons with The Guardians. The rest I learned through experience."

Crimson eyes sharpened and pinned Claude to the spot. "Do not think that I don't know that," his Sire said harshly. "My son will still have his normal tutors in all the subjects that he is required to study. I would not ask you to take on such a broad task with no professional training. You're too young for that task," he sniffed.

Claude ducked his head in submission, feeling the immense power roll off his Sire and he bit his tongue. He didn't know what his Sire requested of him, if he wouldn't tutor Sebastian in one of the subjects he needed to know. The situation was strange at best and Claude didn't know what to think about it.

"As educated as my son is in his studies, there is still something he lacks," his Sire spoke again and Claude lifted his head up slightly. "His studies will taper during the next decades as he moves from book studies to a more hands on approach. However, during that time, he needs someone close to his age to keep him grounded. Someone who doesn't reside in the castle and knows little of the politics he'll have to deal with daily."

"Me?" Claude asked cautiously and the feeling of dread had double in size until it became impossible to swallow.

His Sire nodded. "Yes. My son handpicked you out of every demon in the realm." His Sire turned to look at Sebastian and Claude wondered if it was his imagination or a trick of the light that made his Sire's crimson eyes flash in annoyance. "The next few decades promise to be stressful for the both of us. The humans are fighting a new war and their souls cry for revenge, tempting us with their call, and the angels protest our increased activity."

Claude shook his head numbly. "What can I do to help though?" He asked. "I don't understand."

"Neither do I," his Sire muttered under his breath, so faint that Claude almost missed it.

Sebastian stepped forward, pushing his body away from the desk he had leaned against during the entire conversation. "I'll explain it to him, father," he said smoothly. "By your leave, of course."

His Sire waved a hand. "Do what you will," he answered. "Try not to destroy the grounds though."

Claude heard Sebastian chuckle lowly, the sound caressing his ears in a gentle touch before Sebastian's fingers tugged him out of the chair. "This way, Faustus."

A snarl left Claude's mouth as they left the office and he tore his wrist out of Sebastian's grip. Sebastian's lips curled into a smirk as they continued walking and Claude's anger mounted with each step as they headed towards the courtyard. He couldn't prove it yet, but Claude knew Sebastian had planned this and the thought grated on his nerves.

They didn't stop until they reached the courtyard and Claude barely looked around the open area as he watched Sebastian turn around to face him. "You did this on purpose," Claude snarled. "You planned this somehow."

Sebastian looked apathetic as he answered. "Of course. My father already said that I handpicked you for this job." He cocked his head and feigned a thoughtful expression. "Do you have problems with listening? That could become problematic in the future if so."

Claude's nails lengthened and he growled low in his throat. "I heard that much. But I've never heard of this position before," he snapped. "You created it on purpose and then picked me for the position so you could annoy the hell out of me."

Sebastian clapped his hands slowly. "Aren't you the smart one," he cooed. "To figure everything out on the first try."

"Shut up," Claude hissed. "I refuse to be your little toy in this game you're playing. I don't know what you have against me, but I won't rise to your bait."

Crimson eyes flashed and something familiar pushed against Claude but he brushed it off. "Don't assume that you know me or my intentions," Sebastian said, voice low and dangerous. "My reasons are my own, but they're not as trivial as you make them to be."

Claude shook his head, feeling his anger grow and twist in his stomach. It coiled low and built until it roared like a flame, making his teeth elongate as he spoke. "I'm not doing this, Sebastian," he spat. "I won't bow to someone weaker than me."

The words left his mouth before Claude could rein them in but in his anger, he found that he couldn't care. He watched as Sebastian's eyes widened slightly before a smirk crossed tempting lips. "Very well," he said. "I'll make you a deal."

"I don't want to make a deal with the likes of you," Claude growled.

"I think you'll like this one," Sebastian answered. "I'll let you turn down the request if you beat me in a fight. If not, you have to accept the terms of the request."

Claude's eyes narrowed. "Your father will kill me," he spat.

Sebastian rolled his eyes. "Then he must kill all my sparring tutors after we practice," he stated and gestured with his hand. "This is nothing more than a spar. Nothing serious. And despite the outcome, I will uphold that fact."

"I want reassurance," Claude said finally, after mulling over the words for several minutes.

Sebastian chuckled. "And my father thinks you're worthless," he said before biting his thumb. A drop of blood bubbled to the surface and Sebastian spread it over the back of his hand while he muttered an oath in the demonic tongue.

A contract, one that Claude recognized as the royal seal, blossomed on Sebastian's hand. He eyed it carefully, checking it for any defects before nodding. Demons could form oaths between each other using the seal they used to contract with humans. It offered proof that a pact had formed between two demons and held as much weight as a law. Nothing could go against it.

"Fine," Claude stated. "I accept your terms."

Sebastian smirked and took a small step back as he offered a bow. "Then by all means," he said and glanced up with amused eyes. "Make your move."

Claude wasted little time lunging forward, his eyes focused on Sebastian. He pivoted on the heels of his feet and moved with Sebastian as the other demon ducked to the side to avoid the attack. Sebastian countered smoothly as he continued to roll away from the attack, arching his back in a flip that carried him away from Claude.

A sharp word left Sebastian's mouth and Claude briefly glanced to the side where a feline prowled the edge of the courtyard, watching them with gleaming eyes. It stayed at the edge though, never moving from its spot and Claude turned his attention back to Sebastian. He inclined his head in a brief thanks, pleased to see that Sebastian would uphold his agreement against all facets that could harm him.

Sebastian nodded back before darting towards Claude. They moved together, almost like a dance as they attacked and defended each blow until Claude didn't know where his attacks started and Sebastian's ended. Everything seemed to blend as they danced around each other, using the nearby surfaces as advantages points.

And through it all, Claude had a sinking feeling that Sebastian was holding back. While Claude fought with everything he had, the smirk on Sebastian's face never left and he took each blow that landed on his body with a seeming grace that made it look as though Sebastian wanted the attack to land.

Never once did Sebastian land a hit, but he took each of Claude's attacks in stride. Almost as though the attacks meant little to him and they didn't bother him. The thought made Claude strike harder, putting more effort into his attacks and his next attack cracked the hard ground below them.

"Getting serious, now?" Sebastian asked from atop his perch.

"I've been serious," Claude spat and eyed the dripping wounds on Sebastian's body. "If anything, it's you who isn't taking this serious."

Sebastian stood up from his crouch and he examined Claude with a touch of amusement. "You wish for me to take this seriously?"

Claude growled lowly. "Don't insult me by asking for this fight and then making a joke out of it."

Fire seemed to fill Sebastian's eyes and Claude felt the air around them shift drastically. It felt suffocating and pressed against Claude's body until he felt as though it would crush him. The feeling surged and Claude only had a chance to blink before Sebastian stood before him. Crimson eyes had darkened and they narrowed briefly before a feeling of weightlessness filled Claude.

His breath left him in a rush as he smashed into the far wall, the stone giving out under his weight. Claude gasped, an involuntary action, as the world spun around him and the same suffocating feeling pushed against him again. He turned his head to the side and quickly rolled to the side, barely avoiding Sebastian's next attack.

He stood up and struggled to put distance between himself and Sebastian. The air around them continued to press against his body and Claude barely made it ten steps away before he dropped to his knees. Sebastian appeared in front of him and the pressure increased tenfold as Claude looked up at him.

A dark reddish cloud seemed to surround Sebastian, pulsing and flickering with life. And as abruptly as it appeared, it vanished the next moment and Sebastian knelt down before him. He leaned forward and Claude flinched as hot breath brushed over his neck and sharp teeth scraped ever so slightly against the skin.

"I win," Sebastian murmured against his neck before he gave a gentle push to Claude's torso.

Claude stumbled back and his body pressed against ground, trying to understand what exactly happened. "What…what did you do?" He asked.

Sebastian shook his head. "I took the fight seriously," he said simply. "Just as you asked me to."

Claude's eyes shut briefly and he ran a hand over his face. Now that the suffocating feeling had vanished, Claude found that he could think clearer and his mind quickly supplied what he felt earlier.

Power.

He opened his eyes and gazed at Sebastian with a sense of awe. The immense feeling of power that came from Sebastian was enough to force Claude into submission without Sebastian even lifting a finger. It had rolled off him in waves, pushing against Claude and forcing him down with just will alone.

Claude had felt it before, nearly a century ago. But at the time, the feeling flickered weakly and brushed over Claude's senses in a soft, calming motion. That feeling remained today, its touch calming Claude when Sebastian kept it concealed earlier in the meeting. Now though, Claude had tasted what Sebastian truly hid behind the gentle guise that Claude took for granted.

No doubt, Sebastian was the heir. And Claude had called Sebastian weak.

He chuckled lowly at that and carefully sat up, his body protesting every movement. "You won," Claude admitted, knowing Sebastian had beat him fair and true. His pride stung, if only a little. No one would look down on him for losing to Sebastian, and Claude took silent comfort in that fact. He didn't like admitting that Sebastian was the stronger between them, but he couldn't deny the truth so blatantly displayed before him.

Sebastian hummed and his eyes flickered over Claude. "About your new job," he stated and settled next to Claude.

Claude glanced at him wearily. "What exactly do I have to do?" He asked, hoping for clarification. He lost the fight and now had to honor their agreement.

"Simply put, you're my outlet," Sebastian answered and his nose crinkled slightly in thought. "You'll help me relax and unwind every day and in a way, teach me how to live like a normal demon. Those elements elude me and if I'm to take my father's place in time, I want to understand every aspect this realm has to offer."

Claude frowned. "When you say I'm an outlet for you to relax," he started. "You don't mean through sexual means, do you?"

Crimson eyes studied him silently and Claude shifted on the ground under their piercing gaze. "Does the idea disgust you?" Sebastian finally questioned.

The question caught Claude off guard and he mulled over it before shaking his head. "I couldn't say. It's not my place."

Sebastian sighed softly and looked away. "No. It doesn't mean through sexual means." He tilted his head back and looked up at the sky. "Simply sparring with me or talking is enough to ease my mind. You live away from the castle and all its politics. It gives me a chance to relax and have a normal conversation without the chance of someone trying to manipulate me."

Claude chuckled lowly. "So you're using my simpleton mind and ways to relax. Charming."

A low laugh left Sebastian's mouth. "You said it, not me," he pointed out and lowered his eyes to the courtyard again, a small smirk crossing his lips.

Claude huffed but didn't say anything as silence settled over them. He was still mad at Sebastian for the trick he pulled a century ago but even he could, if not grudgingly, admit that Sebastian wasn't as horrible as Claude's youth remembered him. He opened his mouth to tell Sebastian as much, but faltered as a strong power pushed against him.

"What happened here?" A cool voice spoke behind them.

Claude wheeled around and hastily dipped his head as he tried to figure out the best way to explain what happened. The courtyard was a mess and Sebastian's body still supported several deep furrows that wouldn't heal until later in the day.

"Faustus was just performing his new duties," Sebastian spoke beside him and stood up, brushing gravel off his legs. "No harm done."

Deep crimson eyes flickered over Sebastian's body, taking in the injuries before they darted to Claude. Claude tensed slightly but relaxed as Sebastian shifted next to him. No matter, he knew that Sebastian would keep to their oath, even if they hadn't formed a pact. Somehow, Claude knew that Sebastian wouldn't let his father touch him.

"Get yourself cleaned up," his Sire finally said. "We'll talk about this later."

Sebastian nodded and brushed a piece of hair from his eyes. "Tomorrow at five, Faustus," he said before moving towards the castle.

Claude watched him go and gingerly stood up. He froze as his Sire approached him and he offered a stiff bow. "Sire," he murmured and straightened slightly.

"Stay close to him, Faustus," his Sire said so lowly that Claude almost missed it. His eyes darted up to the elder demon, but his Sire was already walking away.

A soft sigh left Claude's mouth and he ran a hand over his face again. He had a feeling that somehow, this would backfire on him.

Chapter Text

Claude idly scratched a feline on the head, listening as the beast made a deep throaty noise. The noise vibrated deeply in its chest and he looked over at Sebastian. "What's it doing?" He asked.

"She's happy," Sebastian answered as he looked over a model of the human's world. "Humans call the noise, purring. I think, for the felines, it's their version of laughter."

"Interesting," Claude murmured and turned his attention back to the feline that had sprawled itself over his lap. He leaned back more in the chair and chuckled as the feline followed him. "I think she likes me."

Sebastian glanced up from the model. "Don't get cocky, Claude," he said and Claude's eyes closed at the sound of his name leaving Sebastian's mouth. "I'm still her favorite."

Claude smirked. "I sense jealousy," he teased. A low whistle left Sebastian's mouth and the feline perked up before bounding over to Sebastian, making Claude laugh. "Mature, Sebastian."

"I thought so," Sebastian answered and turned his attention back to the model. "I thought about telling her to attack you, just for laughs. But that would seem rather immature of me."

"I appreciate the gesture," Claude said dryly and stood up. He moved over to the model that Sebastian looked at before placing a finger on it. "Planning a trip?" He asked.

Sebastian nodded. "It's been several decades since I last entered a contract with a human and my father wants me to contract again before I lose my fledgling title," he stated and looked at the model. "I'm trying to find a human that suits my tastes."

Claude frowned. "You're leaving?" He questioned, feeling something tug at his body at the thought. If Sebastian left, he wouldn't have to visit the castle every day. A few decades ago, Claude would've jumped at the opportunity. But now…, now the thought left a sour taste in Claude's mouth and he had to fight the uncomfortable feeling away.

"For a few years, depending on my human," Sebastian answered and waved his hand in a dismissing gesture. "It gives you three, maybe five years at most without me. You should be pleased that you won't have to perform your duties. I know you hate it when I beat you during our sparring matches."

"That's not the point," Claude said sharply and Sebastian's head jerked up at the rough tone. The feline growled lowly next to Sebastian and Claude let out a long sigh as he collected his thoughts. "You're right. I could use the free time for a few years," he said finally.

Sebastian's head slowly lowered and he focused on the model once more. "Of course," he said and flicked his fingers towards the door. "You're dismissed for the day."

Claude blinked and moved back slightly from the desk. "I just arrived half an hour ago," he stated. Usually their sessions lasted for a couple hours, until the suns sunk below the horizon. "And the whole time, you've stayed hunched over that thing."

"I no longer require your services for the day, Faustus," Sebastian said coolly, his eyes lifting up just enough to glare at Claude. "You may leave now. I'll send a summons request for you when I return from my contract."

Claude's hands slammed down on the desk and nails scratched the surface. "Don't pull this shit with me, Sebastian," he growled. They were back to titles again and Claude hated it. It happened whenever Sebastian felt defensive and angry, which wasn't all too often. But when Sebastian did lose his temper, things turned ugly fast.

"What are you saying, Faustus?" Sebastian asked and finally straightened up. His eyes remained cool and detached, a look Claude usually saw when he dealt with representatives from other realms.

"I know you, Sebastian," Claude snapped. "You would never turn down a chance to escape and unwind, if only for a few hours. I know how much work you put into your studies and duties. You used me for this job to escape from all that."

Sebastian's lips pulled down into a scowl. "You know me, Claude?" He asked and Claude flinched at the tone but didn't shrink from Sebastian's harsh glare. "What makes you think you know me better than anyone else?"

Claude's fingers curled against the surface of the desk even more. "I'm not playing this game with you, Sebastian," he growled and his teeth lengthened in his anger. "You play these mind games with the representatives and everyone else, but I won't let you play them with me. We spar, play bones, and tour the cities. That's it. I didn't agree to play mind games with you."

"Then leave," Sebastian snarled. "I already dismissed you for the day. You're the one who decided to stay and keep arguing. It sounds to me as though you're the one who wants to play mind games."

Claude bristled at the words, hating that in a sense, they were true. He didn't have to stay and argue after Sebastian dismissed him. But he stayed behind because… Claude hesitated, unsure why he stayed to argue the point with Sebastian. Something in his instincts told Claude that Sebastian was hiding something, but what.

The need to know drove Claude on more than anything and like a feline; Claude tried to sniff out the answers. Sebastian though, seemed determined to keep his guard up and didn't plan to reveal the reasoning behind his actions any time soon.

"You're still that same spoiled child from when we first met," Claude seethed as he straightened up. He ignored the feline that hissed and growled at him, voicing her displeasure at his raised tone, and he glared at Sebastian.

"Still holding a grudge about that after how many centuries?" Sebastian drawled and turned his attention back to the model. "If anything, I think you should thank me for what I did. If not, you would still go about contracting humans in that pathetic way you did when you were younger. You would starve for a good meal, as all the other demons around you snatched up the tastiest souls without remorse."

Claude's fingers twitched and he almost leapt forward to attack Sebastian but somehow held himself in check. "As you did?" He questioned and offered a mock bow. "Thank you then, my lord heir, for showing me the errors of my ways and for setting me on the proper path. It must be nice to have that form of power at your fingertips to command everyone to your whims, even if they don't want your help."

Sebastian didn't answer, just gave a small hum in response as he continued to scour the model for his next contract. His hands cupped the large globe, searching for the right human to pull at his senses and Claude found the action even more annoying than when Sebastian spoke.

"I don't know why I bother," he spat. "Arguing with you is like talking to a brick wall. I'm leaving."

"The door is right there," Sebastian answered dismissively.

Claude snarled at the words and strode towards it, listening for any movement behind him in case Sebastian decided to attack him. When no movement came, he glanced over his shoulder to see that Sebastian hadn't moved from his spot. For a moment, Claude hesitated; every nerve in his body telling him not to leave. That he had missed something.

But his pride overwhelmed the confusing feelings and was easier to understand. Claude swept out of the room without a word, slamming the door shut behind him. No one stopped him as he left the castle and he made it back home without any trouble. It wasn't until he stood in the silence of his small abode, that Claude could feel the weight of what he just did settle on his shoulders.

Sebastian was one of the very few demons he could stand, despite the arrogant attitude Sebastian liked to strut at times. Demons didn't have friends. That remained a human word and had no place in a demon's vocabulary. Ally was the closest word that came to friend for them, and as time passed, Claude had come to think of Sebastian as an ally.

Now though, Claude didn't know what would happen. Disagreements happened all the time between demons and this wasn't Claude's first one with another demon. However, it was his first one with Sebastian. They fought in the past, but never like this. In a way, Claude felt that he had disappointed Sebastian somehow.

Claude ran a hand over his face and ground his teeth together. What did he care if he disappointed Sebastian? His teeth ground together even more and Claude moved towards the door. He wanted to clear his thoughts and stop thinking about Sebastian. They only confused him even more and Claude quickly walked down the street.

He smirked as another demon caught his gaze and they slipped into a side street, dark eyes swimming with lust. Without another thought, Claude followed the demon into the darkened area and pressed up against them. His hands settled on their hips and he ground against them, growling his pleasure as he tried to dismiss any thoughts of Sebastian from his mind.

Come morning, Sebastian was gone.


 

An ominous atmosphere had settled over the land and Claude shifted uneasily on his feet. The sicarius that he caught earlier shuffled away from him, retreating into the trees but Claude couldn't bring himself to care. Something had happened, or would happen, and everyone could feel it. Both demons and creatures alike.

The sicarius were scarce today and it took Claude several hours to find one. It struggled vehemently in his grip and Claude received several bites before he could finally milk some of the venom for his next project. His senses remained heightened due to the venom, making Claude even more aware of the unease in the air.

He sucked in a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves as he sorted out his thoughts. The sicarius poison had to sit for twelve hours in order for it separate before Claude could use the hard top layer to form several tips to fit over the fingers. The rest of the venom would remain in a liquid form and sold to those who wished for the euphoric feeling it brought.

A decade had passed since Sebastian left for his contract and Claude had yet to see the heir or receive a summons back to the castle. Several times, Claude would stop by the castle to ask if Sebastian had returned, but each time the guards told him to wait until Sebastian returned.

The first year had passed quickly, along with the second and third. By then, Claude had sated his urges and found himself with time on his hands. With Sebastian still gone by the third year, Claude entered into a contract that spanned a year. He returned with the hopes that Sebastian had finished his contract as well, but Sebastian remained on the mortal plane.

It left Claude restless for the first time and the thoughts that he tried to run from the past four years quickly came back. They rushed over him like the lava currents that Sebastian enjoyed so much and without something to distract him, Claude remained helpless to their crushing grip. He struggled with the thoughts, trying to sort though each one until he grew too frustrated.

To stave off the thoughts, Claude started commission work. Demons exchanged information about hunting grounds and exotic pets for items they wanted; a form of currency. Several demons hired Claude to procure sicarius venom and Claude eagerly accepted the jobs. Within several years, he had acquired a bountiful amount of information.

The commissions kept him busy enough to keep his thoughts from straying too much to Sebastian, but it didn't stop them entirely. At one point, he tried to exchange one of his projects for information on Sebastian, but the news remained the same. No one had seen the heir.

Claude growled low in his throats as he found the thoughts crawling back into his mind. No matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried; his thoughts always found a way back to Sebastian. He cursed under his breath and turned his back to the forest; the vial of venom clenched firmly in his hand.

He shivered as the forest fell silent behind him and he paused briefly to look at it. The creatures had fallen still and it didn't bode well with Claude. The creatures in their land often sensed the changes before they did, as they stayed more attuned to the rise and fall of the land. Sebastian mentioned once, in an offhanded tone, that the creatures remained minutely connected with his family.

The words echoed throughout Claude's head and he spun on his heel to look at the castle. It remained the same as always, large and impressive, hiding its secrets from the outside world. But the creatures gave away that something had happened. If not with the land, then with the royalty. Claude could feel it, everyone could. Something had happened or would happen, but what.

He inhaled deeply, using the venom to scent the air and search for any clues. Different scents assaulted his nose and Claude sorted them out carefully in his mind, ignoring the familiar ones that he already knew. Winged creatures lurked on the switchbacks in the mountains and felines prowled the edge of the forest.

Down below, further away from the forest where the sicarius lived, demons moved about their lives. They moved with caution though and Claude could scent blood and arousal in the air. Laced under that though, lurked a different scent that tugged at his memories. Years had passed since it last crossed his nose and Claude let the smell surround him.

The faint smell of fire finally appeared before him and Claude took a step forward. The smell called to him and came from the direction of the castle. Claude's eyebrows furrowed slightly in thought and he walked towards the castle. The familiarity of the smell irked him and Claude had trouble placing where he smelled it before.

He inhaled again, searching for a deeper scent; something that would provide another hint. His nose burned and Claude's lips pulled down into a frown as his mind raced. The scent was so strong and alive around him that Claude could almost taste it in the air. Hot and fiery like fire but just under that, something calming.

Claude's eyes opened and he darted forward without thought. He rushed past the remaining demons on the streets, ignoring the cries as he passed, and sucked in another breath as he neared the castle.

It loomed before him and the scent remained stronger here, teasing Claude's nose. He didn't stop as he pushed through the gates without further preamble. His nose drove him forward, leading him through the twisted maze of corridors that filled the castle. The smell originated somewhere deep within the belly of the large building and it called to him.

He turned a corner and nearly collided with a thick wooden door. He pulled himself up just in time and Claude let out a long sigh as the scent surrounded his body. It permeated the air heavily with its scent and pushed against Claude. His hand pressed against the rough wooden surface, fingers and palm lying flat.

For a brief moment, he hesitated and felt reality catch up with him. He had just charged into the castle and raced through it like a demon high on angel tears. Dangerous and deadly, the servants or felines could strike him down the moment they found him. All because Claude had reacted this way to a scent.

A scent that lingered just beyond the door. A scent that he knew growing up but never could place a name to it. And yet, standing here before the closed door, Claude didn't have any doubts about what the scent was that hid just beyond the other side of the door.

Claude's hand pressed harder against the door and it opened easily. The thick scent washed over him in a wave and Claude didn't have to look at the demon resting in the room to know who the scent belonged to. He just knew. "Sebastian," he murmured.

Crimson eyes opened and swung up to look at him. They closed again, pain lacing the dark red color as Claude stepped further into the room, his eyes focused on Sebastian's heaving form.

"Shut the door," a harsh voice snapped.

Claude jumped at the familiar voice and offered a shaky bow before reaching behind him to close the door. "Sire," he said softly. "My apologies." He kept his eyes trained to the ground, his ears trained to listen for the slightest of sounds in case his Sire moved. He hadn't seen the elder demon upon entering the room, too focused on Sebastian.

"Come here, Faustus," his Sire said and shifted on the bed next to Sebastian. Claude stared at him, trying to assess the situation and Claude's eyes darted back to Sebastian. "Now, Faustus," the voice commanded.

Claude quickly moved over to the bed, his eyes still trained on Sebastian. Closer, he could see the sweat that covered pale skin, lacing together with thin rivulets of pink. "What's wrong?" Claude asked, more to Sebastian than his Sire and he curled his fingers into a fist to keep himself from reaching out to touch Sebastian.

His Sire hummed lightly. "He's undergoing his final growth spurt," he answered. "They grow in a decade before he turns two centuries. We've known this day would come soon and it just peaked today."

"Just peaked…" Claude trailed off. "How long has Sebastian been back in the realm?"

Dark crimson eyes swung up to meet him and a smirk crossed his Sire's lips. "The past six years, Faustus," he answered and turned his attention back to Sebastian.

Claude scowled. "Were you ever planning on telling me?" He asked, more to Sebastian than his Sire. "Several times, the guards informed me that Sebastian remained on the human plane. This whole time he's been here?"

"We've traveled extensively," his Sire stated. "But yes. Even though he wasn't in the city, he still remained in the realm."

"Why did you never call me back?" Claude growled.

His Sire stood up slowly, casting one last gaze over Sebastian. "That's not for me to answer. Although I would gladly tell you my reasons for wanting you to stay away." He stepped away from the bed. "I'll be back shortly. We'll need more linen at this rate."

The door opened and shut softly, leaving the room bathed in silence. Only Sebastian's harsh pants occasionally broke the tense quiet and Claude moved closer to the bed. "Why didn't you call me back?" He asked again.

Sebastian shifted on the bed and tilted his head. Long teeth flashed as he spoke, telling Claude how much pain Sebastian was in. "You enjoyed yourself so thoroughly the first three years that I didn't think you would want to return after your given freedom." He gave a pained smirk. "Now you have your freedom and don't have to deal with a spoiled child again," he finished.

Claude scowled and looked to the side. "Of course you would remember that. I didn't think you were one to hold a grudge, Sebastian."

A low chuckle left Sebastian's mouth before he arched his back in pain. "I thought you knew me, Faustus," he drawled.

"Enough, Sebastian," Claude snarled. "That was a decade ago."

"Yet you brought up something that happened a century ago," Sebastian commented and his nails dug into the bedding. "If you held a grudge for something that happened well over a century, I'm entitled to hold one for a decade."

Claude clicked his tongue. "I'm not getting into that fight again with you. Not after I waited for years for you to come back." His eyes narrowed. "I waited years, Sebastian, for you to come back and summon me like you said you would. I ran here as soon as I smelled your scent, only to find out you hid from me for years because of a petty grudge?"

"Why?" Sebastian asked quietly. "Why did you come back here once you found my scent? You didn't have to, I never called you back."

Claude jerked slightly at the question and he ran an agitated hand through his hair. He didn't know the answer himself. When he first realized the scent belonged to Sebastian, he rushed forward without thought. His body craved to stand next to Sebastian and the restlessness that had settled over Claude during Sebastian's absence, vanished the moment that scent wrapped around him.

It told him that Sebastian had returned, that he was in the city, and it urged Claude forward.

"I don't…," Claude started and he looked away from Sebastian. With that one question, all the thoughts that Claude had avoided for the years of Sebastian's absence came rushing back. They battered against each other as they swirled around his mind, rough and chaotic in nature. It left him with a headache and he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to make sense of the multitude of questions.

"Claude," Sebastian murmured.

Claude's eyes opened again at the sound of his name from Sebastian's lips. It soothed him and helped to ease the fray inside his mind until Claude could think clearly again. "I ran here because I waited for you to come back," he finally answered. "It was boring without you," he finished, voice rough.

Sebastian gave a small chuckle before his nails tore long furrows in the bedding. "Fuck," he hissed and squeezed his eyes shut. "If you're so adamant about having your old position back, then come here."

Claude didn't hesitate as he leaned down, looking at Sebastian's body as it contorted in pain. "What do I need to do?" He asked and flinched as Sebastian latched onto his arms. Nails dug into his skin and drew blood but Claude ignored it as he sat down next to Sebastian.

"Just stay here," Sebastian grunted through his clenched teeth.

"Your back is bleeding," Claude stated and reached out to brush over one of the thick wounds that split the pale skin. The skin was hot to the touch and the moment Claude's fingers brushed over the heated skin, the muscles on Sebastian's' back tightened making Sebastian howl in pain.

Claude's hand jerked away quickly as more blood spilled from the wound and further soaked the linen in the crimson liquid. "Shit," he cursed and tried to stand so he could call for Sebastian's father, but Sebastian's grip tightened further.

"Don't," Sebastian said as the door to the room opened.

Accusing crimson eyes glared at Claude as his Sire walked into the room, a thick stack of linens held tightly in his hands. "What happened?" He asked as he moved over to the bed.

"They're coming in," Sebastian said through clench teeth. "I can feel them just underneath the skin. It hurts," he hissed.

Claude's eyes darted to the area on Sebastian's back where he touched earlier and could see something white starting to push through the blood and muscle. "What is it?" He asked.

His Sire reached forward and traced his fingers down Sebastian's spine. "Part of his last growth," he answered and his fingers came to a stop just above the loose pants Sebastian wore. "It's something passed down through my lineage. His child will experience the same growth, along with their child."

The hand moved back up again, this time coming to rest over a bloodied wound and Claude frowned as Sebastian's body shook on the bed. "You're hurting him," he snapped without thought and instantly clamped his mouth shut as his Sire turned to glare at him.

"No matter what, he's going to feel pain," his Sire answered and turned his attention back to Sebastian. "This just speeds up the process. Usually a demon has to suffer through their growth alone, using their energy to help the growth. But sometimes, another demon can help the process by sharing their energy to coax the growth."

Claude pressed closer to the bed and could see that the white had grown more under his Sire's hand. "I never knew that," he murmured.

His Sire snorted but didn't comment further. "This type of growth though is tedious, as they have to grow at the same time." His eyes darted up briefly to Claude. "It would require two demons to help."

Understanding dawned quickly in Claude's mind and his eyes dropped back down to Sebastian's bloodied back. He knew what his Sire suggested and a large part of him already knew his answer. Claude just didn't know why he wanted to help Sebastian so much but the feeling drove him forward and he couldn't ignore it.

"What do I need to do?" He asked.

"Here," his Sire answered and shifted his hand to rest on the other wound. "You'll feel his energy once he starts focusing it on the area, trying to force them out. Once he does, we'll help coax them out the rest of the way."

Claude nodded and felt Sebastian's energy flicker below his fingers, warm and soothing despite the pain etched on Sebastian's face. It mounted and grew, twisting and coiling around him in a warm embrace until Claude could feel Sebastian's energy surrounding him. Almost as though Sebastian's body pressed against his.

"Pull," his Sire said sharply and Claude focused his own energy, letting it wrap around Sebastian's until they intertwined so deeply that he couldn't tell them apart.

The white growth easily sliced through the muscle and skin as it grew from Sebastian's back. Blood coated the surface and Claude could hear bones popping and cracking into place. The sound made him wince and he flinched each time the noise echoed throughout the room. It sounded painful and judging by the harsh pants that left Sebastian's mouth, it was probably worse.

Sebastian's energy flickered around him before it vanished and Claude sucked in a deep breath as he relaxed. His eyes darted over the things protruding from Sebastian's back; silently noting that they were indeed bones. The blood trickled away, leaving white bone in its wake and Claude leaned forward to inspect the new additions to Sebastian's body.

They arched long and tall, with several smaller branches spiking out from the main bone. If Claude didn't know any better, he would think that the bones made up the skeletal structure for wings.

"They look like wings," he stated after several moments of silence. He knew it wasn't possible, demons didn't have wings. Other beings had wings, but not them.

"That's because they are," his Sire stated and bent down to look at the juncture where the bone pierced Sebastian's skin. "It's just bone now, but his body will start to heal around the area and cover the new bone with the needed adjustments."

Claude sputtered. "But Sebastian can't have wings. It's…it's impossible."

Sebastian chuckled lowly. "Things are rarely impossible for us, Claude. Difficult or unheard of, but never impossible." He shifted and Claude could see Sebastian's skin knitting together, leaving smooth skin marred only by the drying blood.

"That's," he trailed off, struggling to find a word to describe what he felt but it eluded him. Frustrated, he sat down on the bed and carefully reached forward to touch the new skin at the base of the wings. "You're full of surprises, Sebastian," he said instead."

"I hope that's a compliment," Sebastian answered.

Claude smirked. "I'll let you take it as you will," he stated and stared in awe at the area where the skin turned into something else. Something softer, almost velvet, and Claude could see the beginnings of feathers starting to grow along the newly formed bone.

His Sire carefully wiped away the dried blood with the linens and inspected the wings. "They're forming nicely. Within a few hours they should finish, although it'll take the next few months for you to adjust to them." He tossed the soiled clothes to the side. "For the first month, you'll have to keep them out until you learn how to retract them back into your body."

Claude's nose crinkled slightly. "That sounds annoying," he murmured. "I'm glad I didn't have to deal with any added growths."

Sebastian smirked and twitched his new wings slightly. "I still have one more to go," he answered and his eyes darted up to look at Claude. "Will you stay for that one too? It should prove just as interesting as the wings."

"Does this mean I get my old position back?" Claude asked. He was loathe to admit it, but Claude had missed Sebastian during the decade long separation and simply standing next to Sebastian was enough to ease the anxiousness that had built during the past few years. He didn't try to understand, knowing that it would only make him even more confused, and instead accepted the strange feelings.

Crimson eyes gazed up at him. "Is that what you want?"

For a brief moment, Claude faltered. He still had a chance to back out and sort through his feelings. Still had a chance to retain the freedom that he had over the past ten years. Did he truly want to return to Sebastian's side every evening and spend hours with him? The answer came simple enough, even if Claude didn't understand the driving force behind it.

"I do," he answered and his lips quirked slightly into a smug smile. "I believe you're stuck with me now, Sebastian."

Sebastian chuckled lowly and his body relaxed against the bed. "That was never a problem to start with," he muttered. "Welcome back, Claude. I fear this time, the warning should extend to you. You're stuck with me, again."

Claude smirked but didn't say anything. He watched the soft black feathers slowly start to grow and spread across the wings with soft whispers. Claude reached out and lightly brushed his fingers against them before settling into a spot next to Sebastian, while Sebastian slowly slipped off to sleep.


 

Claude paced the forest, feeling agitated and frustrated. The heat in his body twisted and coiled as the wind carried a thick, heady scent on its currents. It made him growl in annoyance and Claude struggled to keep his desires under control. He knew the familiar smell and it called to him, coaxing him with the scent of fire. But the first time Claude answered that call, Sebastian beat him so thoroughly that Claude's body ached for an entire day.

It wasn't fair, Claude snarled and took his frustration out on a nearby tree. He spent the past decade at Sebastian's side, helping him through the final growth and adjusting to the new additions. No one else knew Sebastian as well as Claude did, yet Sebastian fought him off and denied him as a potential mate.

"Spoiled brat," Claude hissed and ran a hand through his hair. Every instinct in his body screamed at him to tuck Sebastian underneath his body and mount him. Taking him long and hard into the night until their scents bled together and everyone knew that Sebastian belonged to him and vice versa. But Sebastian clearly didn't feel the same way, otherwise Claude wouldn't be out here during Sebastian's first heat.

The thought made Claude ground his teeth together in anger and he started to pace again. A month ago, the mating season started and Sebastian officially lost his fledgling status. He wouldn't turn two centuries until after the birthing period, but his body still knew that it would happen in the current year and Sebastian felt the effects of heat for the first time.

Along with every other demon in the realm.

For years, Claude knew Sebastian's scent. He had known it several decades before, but never realized the scent belonged to Sebastian until Sebastian's final growth. Claude took great pride knowing that no one else could smell the addictive scent of fire and that for years; the smell belonged to only him.

However, once the heat hit, the smell seemed to grow and spread across the realm. Demons flocked to fight Sebastian, hoping for a chance to have Sebastian accept them as a mate and then mount him. The power and pride that would come from having accomplished the task was one that any demon would want.

But something else drew Claude to Sebastian. Something more than bragging rights and the power that came with dominating the heir to the realm. It was something subtle and coaxing, drawing him forward until Claude could do nothing but answer the call. Claude needed to talk with Sebastian and he could only hope that Sebastian would let him within speaking distance.

Another low growl left Claude's mouth as he turned from the forest and stalked towards the castle. The setting suns cast the large building in darkness while long shadows stretched across the ground. He passed a few demons retreating from the ominous castle, most of them sporting injuries that stained their skin after an unsuccessful fight with Sebastian.

Sebastian would only lose to the demon he wanted to mate with and with two months remaining in the season, many wondered if Sebastian would pick a mate during his first heat. Under normal circumstances, the situation would seem odd, as no demon wanted to go through the whole season without someone to ease the burning heat that coiled through their body.

Yet somehow, Sebastian seemed content to do just that. Sebastian had royal blood racing through his veins and the urge to find a strong mate overrode the desire to rut. Until he found the mate he wanted, Sebastian would ignore the heat for however long it took. And Claude had no doubt that Sebastian wouldn't settle for anything less than what he wanted.

He pushed through the gates, ignoring the guards on duty. They knew him well enough by now to know that he wouldn't harm Sebastian, the mere idea was laughable. Sebastian had already proved his strength several times over during the course of the past month. Sebastian had nothing to fear from Claude.

The overwhelming smell of Sebastian's scent plowed into Claude as he entered the castle and immediately, arousal raced through Claude's veins. He moaned softly and clenched his hands into fists as he struggled to control his body. He was here to talk, not challenge Sebastian. No matter what his body demanded.

With some trouble, Claude forced his lust under control and continued to walk through the hallways. The scent grew heavier near the courtyard where Sebastian fought his potential suitors and Claude's head swam at the heady smell. He ground his teeth together, ignoring the taste of blood on his tongue as his teeth sliced into his lips.

"Sebastian," he said instead as he entered the destroyed courtyard. No doubt, his Sire wasn't happy with that.

"Claude," Sebastian answered and cocked his head. "We haven't done anything and you're already bleeding," he teased.

Claude smirked slightly and licked the blood away from his lips. Crimson eyes watched the movement carefully and mimicked the action, making Claude swallow hard. "You look well, all things considering," he stated instead.

"I've been better," Sebastian said and leaned back against a large broken statue. "Why are you here?"

Claude's eyes traced over Sebastian's body, taking in the relaxed and casual pose he took, and tried to wrestle his arousal under control. "To talk," he answered with some difficulty. "I just wanted to talk today. We haven't done that since the season started."

Sebastian's smirk slipped away from his face and he leaned forward. "Talk?" He echoed. "What do you want to talk about, Claude?"

"Anything," Claude said and brought his hand up to cover his nose, hoping it would ease the addictive smell. It didn't help and if anything, only made Sebastian sit up straighter. Claude watched the action carefully, noting how Sebastian's body had grown tense and crimson eyes watched him intently. "Anything you want to talk about."

Slowly, Sebastian stood up and his tail swayed back and forth behind him. Claude watched the movement and had to force his eyes back up to Sebastian's face. That tail was his undoing. The night it appeared, Claude had helped coax it out and he watched as the skin grew around it; soft like velvet with a fluff of fur at the tip. It drove Claude crazy and often times, he would watch it move while Sebastian worked, as though it had a life of its own.

A soft noise made him look up and Claude cursed as something heavy rammed against his body. It tossed him across the courtyard and he smashed into the far wall. The attack made stars dance before his eyes and Claude quickly shook them away as he climbed to his feet. "Fuck," he murmured and searched the courtyard for the thing that attacked him.

The only thing in the large area though was Sebastian and judging by the feral smirk that twisted his lips, Sebastian wanted to do something other than talk.

A low growl left Claude's throat and he rushed forward, annoyed at Sebastian's actions. "You wanted to talk, Claude," Sebastian goaded as he dodged the attack. "So talk! What's on your mind?"

"You," Claude snarled. "You're always on my mind and you're driving me crazy." His claws swiped at Sebastian's chest and he smirked as they sliced a small furrow into Sebastian's skin.

Sebastian frowned. "Of course you would say that. It's the season, so you're feeling the effects of it and like everyone else, you want to challenge me." His leg kicked out, catching Claude in the stomach and making him stumble back.

Claude shook his head and glared at Sebastian. "If only it were that simple," he snapped. "I hate knowing that other demons come to fight you when they know nothing about you. They weren't the ones who stayed by your side when you were a fledgling as I did. None of them know you as I do."

He twisted away from Sebastian's attack and put some distance between them as he glared at Sebastian. The words wouldn't stop now and after a month of watching demon after demon vie for Sebastian's attention, Claude didn't want to stop. None of them deserved Sebastian. They were only after Sebastian because of his title; not because of the other things Sebastian had to offer.

"You know me?" Sebastian questioned and his eyebrow rose slightly. "What makes you think you're more eligible than the others who tried in the past?"

"Because I've put up with you for the past century and a half," Claude answered, feeling smug. "I know your good points and your bad points. How you spend months searching for the right contract and how you obsess over the felines. No one else knows you and they won't bother to learn. They just want the status that they'll get from mating with you."

Sebastian grunted as an attack landed on his shoulder. "Aren't you the little jealous demon," he said and looked at his shoulder before focusing on Claude again. "But what makes you so different from the other demons? You could be after that prestigious title as well."

"I just want to stay by your side," Claude said. "There's something there, I can feel it. It constantly pulls me towards you and I…" he snarled in frustration, cutting off his thoughts. He didn't know how to explain what he felt. Claude only knew that he wanted to stay at Sebastian's side and that no other demon was right for Sebastian.

Sebastian didn't answer and Claude pushed him back with a strong kick. The silence unnerved him and even Claude didn't know what to think about the words he spoke, but they were the truth. He couldn't stand the thought of Sebastian accepting another demon as his mate and it drove him to attack harder and faster.

The sudden change of speed and ferocity seemed to catch Sebastian off guard and he grunted as another attack landed on his body. Claude took the distraction and used it to his advantage, striking quicker and with more power. He would make Sebastian see how serious he was about this and make him understand.

They danced around each other as Sebastian gathered his wits after the series of fast attacks and finally defended against them. But they lacked the normal finesse that Sebastian usually displayed while fighting or sparring, and Claude growled in annoyance. It felt as if Sebastian wasn't trying anymore and had given up to spite Claude.

"What's wrong with you?" Claude snarled and watched as Sebastian stood up after a rough attack that left him winded. "I know you're stronger than this. Fight me! Or are you trying to-" the word died in Claude's mouth and his eyes narrowed slightly at Sebastian. He knew Sebastian's strength, had faced it several times, and Claude knew that Sebastian wasn't fighting at his full strength. Almost as though he wanted to lose on purpose.

The thought made Claude shiver and his gaze darted over Sebastian's body. Looking closer, he could see the subtle changes; the flushed cheeks and labored breathing, the way crimson eyes filled with lust. All signs of a demon in heat and Sebastian showed them for Claude.

Arousal rushed through Claude, raw and feral. It coiled low in his body, mixing with the heat from the mating season until the only thought in Claude's mind was to pin Sebastian underneath him. Sebastian showed all the signs, for the first time since the season started, and Claude wasn't going to ignore it. If Sebastian didn't want him as a mate, he had the power to stop him.

The thought drove Claude forward and he attacked Sebastian quickly, unsurprised at Sebastian's weak attempt to block his attack. It only spurred Claude forward and in a few quick attacks, he had Sebastian pinned to the ground. Sebastian struggled underneath him and snarled at him, crimson eyes flashing in defiance.

"You can stop me, Sebastian," Claude said and his claws tore at the tight clothing Sebastian wore. "If you don't want this, if you don't want me, you have the power to stop me. I know you can. But until you do, I'm not stopping."

Sebastian growled lowly and bared his fangs but made no move to stop Claude. His struggles continued, but they remained feeble and Claude easily kept Sebastian pinned under him.

He reached around Sebastian's body and gripped the hard cock that pressed against Sebastian's stomach. The action made Sebastian toss his head back and moan loudly. His hips bucked into Claude's hand and Claude smirked. "But I don't think you want me to stop," he murmured and nipped Sebastian's ear.

"Claude," Sebastian panted and gave one more half-hearted struggle for show. He growled lowly in his throat in an attempt to save face but his actions gave him away.

"Sebastian," Claude muttered and pulled his fingers away from his mouth. He pressed his slick fingers to Sebastian's entrance. "Last chance."

Sebastian stiffened below him before his hips barely pressed back against Claude's fingers. Claude smirked and his teeth sunk into the soft skin at the base of Sebastian's neck. That answer was the best he would get from Sebastian and he pushed two fingers into the tight body. Sebastian snarled at him, still putting on a show and testing Claude but didn't make any further moves to stop him.

Claude's mouth sucked at the bleeding wound on Sebastian's neck as his fingers thrust in and out. As demons, they could handle the pain of penetration without any preparation; their bodies built for sex and mating. For them, preparation was a form of foreplay meant to assert dominance and tease their partner when given the chance.

And Claude took great pleasure in teasing Sebastian. His fingers stretched the tight ring of muscles while his other hand fisted Sebastian's erection, drawing loud grunts and moans from Sebastian. If Claude had his way, he would make Sebastian scream his name before the suns set so everyone knew Sebastian had chosen a mate.

Underneath him, Sebastian bucked weakly and his claws dug into the ground as Claude continued to tease him. Heavy pants left Sebastian's mouth and Claude smirked as he pushed another finger in. His mouth continued to move over Sebastian's skin, biting it and leaving marks in his wake until blood trickled across Sebastian's back.

He ran his tongue over the crimson liquid and felt Sebastian tremble under his touch. Pride swelled in Claude's chest at the noises that left Sebastian's mouth and he twisted his fingers, hooking and pressing deep until Sebastian tossed his head back with a loud cry of pleasure. The noise echoed throughout the courtyard and Claude smirked as he rubbed the spot again.

Deep growls left Sebastian's mouth and Claude could see crimson eyes glaring at him. Lust made his dark pupils wide but fire still burned on the edges that told Claude that Sebastian still had some fight remaining in him. Claude's fingers brushed over the spot one last time before drawing his fingers out. His body screamed at him to mount Sebastian before Sebastian could wiggle away.

Claude's hand scrambled at his pants while the other kept Sebastian firmly pinned down, but he could feel Sebastian growing restless. Sebastian could sense an opening and his instincts urged him to keep fighting in an attempt to test Claude.

"Not now, Sebastian," Claude growled and his hand came up to rest on Sebastian's hip, holding him in place. His claws dug into the pale skin and Claude's teeth found the base of Sebastian's neck again. Teeth bit harshly at the first bite mark and Sebastian stilled under him, a temporary show of submission.

His hand left Sebastian's hip and Claude quickly smeared the precome over his cock to provide some lubrication. It would help ease the way, if only a little, but it was better than taking Sebastian dry. His cock nudged against the stretched entrance and Claude felt Sebastian stiffen slightly before he pushed his hips forward.

Sebastian growled and his tail lashed against Claude's body, but he still made no move to stop him. Claude smirked at that, knowing Sebastian had chosen him as a mate and he draped his body over Sebastian's as his hips pressed against Sebastian's ass.

"Claude," Sebastian hissed and bucked his hips in an attempt to dislodge Claude but Claude pinned his wrists down with both hands. The heavy weight above him made it almost impossible to throw Claude off with Sebastian's current weak attempts.

Claude ground his hips against Sebastian, teasing him and simply savoring the feeling of being inside Sebastian. He had taken other demons before, during the season and for pleasure, but none compared to Sebastian. It felt natural and soothed Claude's nerves that had grown so frazzled during the season.

He rocked his hips again and felt Sebastian clench around his cock, a silent demand to move. Claude chuckled and his grip tightened around Sebastian's wrists. "I think I like you like this," he purred. "Underneath me and accepting my cock. You feel good, Sebastian."

Another growl left Sebastian's mouth and Claude felt his energy flare. It washed over his body and pushed against him in a subtle reminder that Sebastian was still stronger than he was.

"I understand," Claude murmured softly and brushed a hand over the agitated tail. "You have nothing to fear, Sebastian. I want you. I want to stay by your side."

Sebastian's body relaxed around him and Claude shifted his hips, pulling back slowly before snapping his hips forward. A low moan left Sebastian's mouth and Claude echoed the noise with a moan of his own as he started a fast pace. He felt Sebastian buck against him and Claude reached back to rest a hand on the curve of Sebastian's hip.

His fingers curled around the sharp hipbone, gripping it tightly as he helped guide Sebastian to meet his thrusts. They moved together awkwardly, Sebastian fighting the heat that clouded his thoughts and struggling to give into instincts.

Claude grunted softly as Sebastian sank his teeth into his arm in frustration as small growls left his throat. Claws dug into the ground and Claude leaned forward more. "Relax Sebastian," he said lowly. "Stop fighting and thinking. Just let go this once and let me take care of you."

He felt Sebastian bite down harder in an attempt to calm his mind and accept the heat as he continued to thrust into Sebastian. Somehow, Claude wasn't surprised that Sebastian had difficulty accepting his first heat. Sebastian's mind never stopped thinking and after nearly two centuries of studying and playing politics, his mind had trouble with accepting everything.

He swiveled his hips and thrust hard as he pulled Sebastian's hips back to meet his. Sebastian howled with pleasure and Claude grinned as he continued to thrust at the same angle, making sure to brush against Sebastian's prostate with each pass of his cock. He felt Sebastian start to rock with him, moving in time with his thrusts and Claude lowered his head as he thrust harder into Sebastian.

His breath fanned against Sebastian's cheek as he panted for breath, feeling the heat coil throughout his body. It urged him on until the only remaining thought was to claim Sebastian as his. Pleasure raced through his veins and Claude moaned loudly as Sebastian clenched around him again.

Claude glanced up; taking in Sebastian's flushed face and closed eyes. Heavy pants left Sebastian's mouth and Claude's blood dripped from his open mouth as Sebastian finally lost himself to the heat. He grunted and growled as Claude continued to thrust into him, the noises arousing Claude even more.

"That's right," Claude grunted as he tugged at Sebastian's hips, tilting them up higher. He groaned as his cock slipped in deeper and Sebastian let out an approving moan.

They moved together, lost in the heat that coiled and churned throughout their bodies, unconcerned if anyone saw them. If anything, Claude wanted them to see, if only so other demons knew that Sebastian belonged to him and vice versa. His nails dug into Sebastian's skin at the thought, drawing more blood and letting the scent mix in with the smell of arousal and sex.

The scent made Claude's head swim, Sebastian's blood carrying the same fiery smell that drove Claude crazy. And it was all Claude's now. He was Sebastian's mate. Sebastian chose him.

He thrust harder at that thought, making Sebastian cry out his name. The noise echoed throughout the realm and Claude faltered for a brief moment, surprised at the volume, before continuing just as hard again. Let them hear.

Sebastian's hips thrust back to meet his, skin slapping against skin and Claude's teeth found Sebastian's skin again. Sebastian retaliated by clawing at his arms, drawing blood until they couldn't tell where Claude's began and Sebastian's ended. Words failed them as they turned more animalistic, grunting and growling instead of speaking.

Their actions turned feral and rough, eyes slitting, and nails and claws lengthening even more. The season brought out their true nature and Claude barely had enough sense to grab Sebastian's neglected cock, stroking it roughly, as he continued to thrust into Sebastian's body.

It didn't take many passes of his hand before Sebastian's body stiffened and he came harshly, crying Claude's name for the whole realm to hear. His body clamped around Claude, making him groan, as his movements grew jerky and sporadic. Underneath him, Sebastian continued to moan his name and Claude could see hazy crimson eyes watching his every move.

The burning desire still present in Sebastian eyes made Claude's arousal curl tighter throughout his body until it settled low in his stomach. He was close and his toes curled in pleasure as Sebastian continue to clench around him.

"Mine," he growled lowly into Sebastian's ear, his orgasm just beyond reach.

Sebastian smirked lazily but his eyes filled with promise and desire. "Yours," he agreed and pushed his hips back against Claude. "And mine."

The words made Claude's body tense and jerk as his orgasm washed over him without warning. His hips bucked wildly against Sebastian and he called out Sebastian's name, hardly caring who heard. The claim that Sebastian put over him was heady and knowing that Sebastian had agreed to his claim made Claude lose control.

"Yours," he panted heavily as his hips finally still and rested against Sebastian's ass. They remained pressed together, sharing heat and enjoying the lingering effects of their orgasm.

Two months remained in the season and Claude refused to share his bed with any other demon but Sebastian. And he would make sure to keep any other demons away from Sebastian at the same time. Sebastian was his mate and the thought of taking another demon sickened Claude. He had always known Sebastian. Had always subconsciously wanted him from the first night he smelled his scent.

The feeling had simply grown as they did, wrapping around Claude without him realizing it. It grabbed him tightly and refused to let him go until Claude realized what he wanted. And Claude wanted Sebastian more than anything. He wanted him as a mate and wanted to stay by his side.

Claude's tongue lapped at the bleeding marks on Sebastian's neck and listened to him purr lightly in his throat. "Mine," he murmured again, lips moving over Sebastian's skin. "Always mine."

It was a bold thing to say, considering how long they lived. Demons rarely kept one mate throughout their long lives and most never did. But judging by the small, content smirk on Sebastian's lips, Claude didn't think Sebastian would mind that much. Claude smirked in return and lowered his lips once more to the bleeding wounds.

He would stay by Sebastian's side for as long as Sebastian would have him. Which, with any hope, would last until the end of their time.