[Cherik] After the Nightfall (Part 2)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms:  X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), The Shrine (2010)

Rating: M

Pairing(s):  Erik Lehnsherr x Charles Xavier

Genres: Fanfiction, slash, crossover, AU, slight horror

Characters: Erik Lehnsherr, Charles Xavier, Lucifer, Martin Vosper and other Eden residents

Warning: a little gore, maybe

Summary:

Part 9 of Eden series. Related to Fair Trade and Eden.

Two travelers, lost in a faraway land of central Europe, came across a village. They asked to stay for the night and ended up getting more than they bargained for.

Part 2.     Erik Lehnsherr

He was light, so light, a weight amounted to a wisp of smoke when Lucifer laid him in Erik’s arms. His beautiful eyes restored, the blood washed clean off his face, he looked so young, so innocent in his spell-induced sleep. He needed rest – all of them lost souls did – to make up for his long years as a lingering apparition. Lucifer’s blood rejuvenated him and enhanced him but a sufficient amount of rest was still in demand. And time was never scarce in Eden.

Erik wasn’t a stranger to this young man’s face – had been accustomed to seeing it every waking moment of his eternal afterlife; still, at this moment, he felt as if he had laid eyes on it for the very first time. So familiar was he with its features that he could paint it blindfolded yet also new, full of mysteries he was elated to unravel. He would save them for later – he, no, they would have plenty of time; for now, he was satisfied with drinking in its beauty, damaged yet unblemished.

Out of the corner of his eyes, Lucifer smiled, a faint smile like a specter clinging at the contours of his perfect-shaped lips. None of his ‘sons’, though sharing his image down to the tiny freckles on the bridge of his nose, had this peculiar smile that contained in its delicate curve of the lips eons of knowledge and understanding of human nature, whose glorious flaws and sins (his words) he fed on and reveled in.

“For decades, Erik,” he said, “I have silently wept in my belief that yours were a heart of metal.”

Erik did not so much raise an eyebrow at Lucifer’s penchant for dramatic exaggeration.

“But yours is only made of ice and one of my sons has managed to thaw it.” He clasped his hands, gloved in snow-white. “A match made in Eden.”

He smirked. “I suppose you play the role of Eros.”

“I’m flattered, Erik, but no, it is fate that pulls the two of you together, regardless of my presence.” He paused for a small chuckle. “I find it astonishing that of all Eden’s children, it is you, ‘stone-faced party-pooper’ – to quote Martin, to taste the sweetness of love at first sight.”

“I miss the short time you were banned from using your powers,” Erik replied, annoyance absent from his tone. Well, once you learn that you are the Devil’s spawn, or his millennia-old crush’s for that matter, you might as well learn to adapt to his general lack of respect to private thoughts and feelings. Don’t try to lecture him on the subject of common sense; he just won’t get it, he who had been born to a race of angels who preferred to open their minds rather than their mouths.

“Believe me, I do too.” He sighed softly. “Walking the earth as an actual mortal instead of just masquerading as one has been a rapturous experience. I’m in love with the pains and the feeling of utter helplessness as much as the joys we had.”

“Seems to me you rather enjoyed being tied up on the altar like a sacrificial lamb.” Erik nodded, stroking his chin. “Why ruined it? I did intend to carry your ‘dead’ body back to Eden as proof of your winning the bet.”

“That was very kind of you, Erik, to not think of disposing me in the middle of nowhere.”

Erik shrugged.

“I lost anyway,” Lucifer said, briefly looking at his immaculate Victorian outfit and visualizing the crimson blood – his mortal blood – only minutes ago. He shook his head ruefully. “The moment I saw what my child had gone through I knew I couldn’t possibly win this bet. Besides, much as I love it, being mortal isn’t my strong point.”

“You did well enough. I might just forget the little incident after the man swung the sledgehammer.”

Lucifer broke into a litany of delightful chuckles. “It seems I have bribed the referee handsomely enough for him to side with me.”

“I do love the look on Martin’s face in defeat.” Erik shrugged.

“We both have that in common,” Lucifer said. “But I do believe rules are made to be obeyed. And by the rules I have lost, regardless of the reason and circumstance.”

“Suit yourself. No matter who wins this bet, the rest of us will be guaranteed some fun.”

“I’m pleased to provide my dear children some entertainment.”

Martin Vosper, the youngest and most pampered amongst his brothers, was the major source of mischief in Eden. It was he who gathered them one day and announced that he had just made a bet with the All-Father.

“What is it?” Harry asked. He seemed interested and so did his beloved Winnie.

Martin cleared his throat, clearly in love with his brothers’ unadulterated attention on him. Even the aloof Charles twins looked intrigued. “In his next trip to Earth, Daddy will go as a mortal. Yes, you heard me. He will be absolutely mortal, no powers, no money out of thin air, no whatsoever. If he uses even a sliver of his powers, he’ll lose.”

“What’s the penalty?” Nicholas asked.

Martin cast a brief glance at Richard Wirth, who was the only one to not give a damn about this bet. Hell, he didn’t give a damn about anything or anyone here except Lucifer. Most of them wouldn’t want to come near him either, finding him too creepy. A bit wrong in the head, Nicholas tried for euphemism. To be fair, a number of them wouldn’t be considered right in the head but Richard effortlessly topped them all. Hence when Martin tilted his head slightly to Richard’s direction, that was enough an answer.

Whatever the penalty, they would sure have some fun, they tacitly reached a conclusion.

“The question is,” Martin said, crossing his arms, “which of us could watch Daddy being tortured and possibly torn to pieces without batting an eye?”

Some regarded him with strange look that said “Where the hell did you get that idea?!”

“It happens every day on earth, you know, just watch Hostel or Saw or Grotesque,” he explained defensively. When some raised an eyebrow at him, Martin was quick to hold out a handful of torture movie DVD boxes for demonstration, earning a few winces. “What, never watched a torture movie before? Anyway, we should decide which of us will be his companion and our referee. I suggest we have a vote.”

The Charles twins were the first to be cast out. True to their unofficial nickname given by the others, “Daddy’s Pets” (the official one being “Lucifer’s Hounds” by the way), they would not spare a second to tear apart anyone or anything that gave off the faintest malice toward their beloved Father and Master. Heck, Lucifer had armed them more than just fangs and claws to do so.

Quintus and Stelios were the second to be cast out. Their warrior instinct would urge them to brandish their weapons the moment they sensed malice. Big dammed heroes. The longevity of their time in Eden had neither dulled their spirit nor skills; they still kept to their old ways of mortal men in their era: eat, fight, fuck – now that eating was not a necessity, there was plenty of time for the other two, the portion of which depended on their mood. It helped that Leto joined them often with his centuries of fighting techniques and battle strategies.

Yes, that left Leto out of the picture too.

The peacekeeper Carl Jung was another to be cast out. Much as he was willing to help, his aid involved sitting down in a nice, clean office with a cup of steaming hot tea served in bone china cup and saucer, and having a nice, civil talk with Bach or Mozart in the background. None would ask the gentleman to engage in the brutal and barbarian act of fighting. Similarly, none could count on him to behave as they expected of him: to sit tight and observe while the Father was tortured by mortal hands.

Like Carl Jung, there were others who were so abhorred by violence that they would neither carry out the act themselves nor witness it being done in front of their eyes.

Just leave Harry and his beloved Winnie in peace, OK?

On the contrary, there were those so keen on violence and mayhem that even a mere suggestion could arouse their blood lust and send them into a killing frenzy. To wreak havoc on earth? There was no better choice. To accompany Lucifer and act as a referee? No way! Better keep them in Eden, where their source of entertainment never ran dry. What source you ask, well, don’t bother.

And there were those unfortunate souls so broken by their mortal lives that it was a crime against all crimes to take them back to the world that had so tremendously traumatized them. Let them stay in the tranquilizing embrace of Eden as long as they needed to recover and be ready to venture out again, which could very well be forever but that didn’t pose a matter.

After careful analysis, they were left with not so many options. Erik stood out as an exceptionally good one. In terms of calmness and patience, this was the man who had spent fifteen years of his life tracking down and planning revenge on his family’s murderer. In terms of fierceness, this was the man who had charged into his enemy’s lair alone to exact some sort of a kamikaze attempt, which, in Martin’s words, was “plain nuts”. Had it worked? Of course it’d worked: his vengeance delivered, his enemy packed and sent straight to Hell, and Erik was here.

Now just how all those qualified for Lucifer’s companion and referee none raised a question; instead they all raised their thumbs. As for Erik, he only went along because he was awfully bored and in dire need of a change of air. Life in Eden was decent and his cohabitants tolerable, Erik concluded, but any man would definitely want a break from the constant sight of men who bore his face openly displaying their affection to men who bore the alter kocker’s face, not just because he himself was indescribably lonely and envious of his brothers’ love. All Eden and not a single soulmate…

Besides, who would say no to a chance to walk the human world again, even for a short while? Certainly not Erik.

So far, so boring.

Being mortal had its charms: they could walk into any place, day or night, without rousing a single person’s attention. Just two normal young men, perhaps a little good-looking, enjoying themselves like any other young men on earth. Before, it was either sneaking in invisibly or drawing everyone’s eyes to them, especially when Lucifer was “in the mood” to “grace the mortals” with his presence. If his vampire-like pulchritude didn’t startle them (which was rare, really), there was always his Victorian garment, complete with snow-white gloves, a hat and a silver walking stick. To Lucifer, Victorian outfits were most elegant; to Erik, they were just plain ridiculous – nice on Halloween but other nights, nein! In this mortal guise, Lucifer had to kiss his beloved clothes goodbye. No Victorian garb, Martin insisted and sought to dress Lucifer in the most elderly clothes he could imagine: baggy pants, a plain shirt and the most dull-colored sweater Erik had ever seen. He even managed to put a pair of rounded eyeglasses on Lucifer while the others stood close by, laughing quietly amongst themselves. Lucifer’s vanity was legendary in the seven rings of Hell and having to dress like a seventy-year-old was a serious blow to his ego.

…which was why the first mortal place he rushed into was a shopping mall. There he spent a few good hours seeking a “moderate” outfit while Erik consumed pack after pack of the sweet-killing nicotine in the smoking area and trying to fend off the receptionist’s blatant flirts. Erik was particularly glad that he had never married: this kind of waiting could send him to an early grave faster than the cigarette if he were a mortal man still.

They spent the next few days in Downtown Grand Las Vegas indulging in the mortal decadence like a number of mortals here. As the saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and so had a considerable portion of their traveling money. Though he could draw gold out of thin air, Lucifer decided to abide the rules – he too wanted to win this bet – and once they made it to New York, Erik found himself beside a minstrel Lucifer, holding out the hat as the All-Father sang and played the violin for passers-by in random subway stations. The violin had been purchased from a regular shop with the remaining of their money and in the Devil’s hands, it could sing with a similar voice to the famed Stradivarius’s. Erik wasn’t surprised that they had managed to earn enough money for two economy tickets to central Europe, which had translated into hours on a crammed airplane and a Lucifer sleeping on his shoulder the entire length, using him as a sort of human pillow. Had Erik enjoyed the flight? Very much.

Lucifer always had fondness for the remote land in central Europe, where the wave of urbanization was feeble and the people still largely believed in the existence of the Devil, namely himself. Venturing into such areas led them sorely away from the comfort of modern life Erik had so gotten used to in Eden – they had everything there, including the most advanced gadgets. Though some of them found it more comfortable sticking to the old ways, Erik himself had no trouble adapting to technology, having lived twenty-six years of his mortal life in the industrial age. Perhaps that was the reason why he didn’t appreciate the primitive landscape like Lucifer had been trying to convince him.

“Why, Erik, open your heart,” Lucifer said, swinging his arms around Erik’s lithe form. “Embrace the infinite beauty of nature, for the Father fashioned Earth in the image of Eden.”

Then kindly let me pass, Erik thought. Wasn’t he seeing Eden every day? None could deny Lucifer had created a perfect replica of God’s Garden; even Azazeal had been impressed by his craft.

Still, the beauty of Mother Nature wasn’t very appealing as they had been lost for hours in a misty forest. Somewhere in Poland, he guessed. The coach had dropped them in the nearest town and they should have stayed the night there – it was only a few hours till dark. But Lucifer, hearing about a backwater village beyond the forest, had insisted that they should try to reach it by sunset. Now they were wandering in the thick mist, unable to find their way out. Erik had tried to use his power for direction and it had been of little avail. Something was clearly messing with the magnetic field, the source of which might be preternatural. Great. Whatever it was, Erik hoped it would show itself soon and they could be done with it before sunset. He didn’t mind spending a night under the sky but Lucifer was another matter. Signs of exhaustion were already on his face since Lucifer hadn’t touched a speck of his vast powers, which Erik was certain if he had, Erik wouldn’t have been able to tell.

Erik merely grunted at the sight presented in front of them. The fool finally had the gall to cut the chase and make himself known in the form of an extremely grotesque statue. Remember the time Martin had sneaked in Esmé’s studio to mess with his unfinished sculpture? The mild-mannered Esmé had merely smiled at Martin’s childish prank but this statue could undoubtedly send him to a roaring rampage with its sheer ugliness. Erik didn’t know the name of this dumbass yet judging by his presence, he must have been nestling in this forest for some time, haunting any ill-fated mortals that crossed his territory. The lowliest kind of vermin Lucifer never acknowledged as his brethren.

Now there were two options: Erik could either fling him to the moon or let him see for himself who he was messing with. He opted for the easier, dropping the veil that concealed his unearthly aura. The result was marvelous: the fool scurried away as fast as he could, with his tail and the funny mist between his lanky legs. Good riddance. Should have done it in the beginning to save the trouble, Erik thought. Lucifer might have locked himself in a mortal vessel as part of the bet but he had no reason to not show off his own powers. He had been powerful as a mortal; as an immortal, his powers were on par with the Charles twins and it took an ancient fallen angel like Azazeal to completely beat him. In the brief moment they had made eye contact, Erik hadn’t hesitated to tell the fool that he could crush him to ash and dump the ash to oblivion. Well, at least he still had enough sense to not try the authenticity of the threat; slaying vermin was one hell of a dirty business. Besides, that was the twins’ job – no fair in stealing your brothers’ fun. Lucifer preached about that all the time.

Now that the mist had dissipated, the magnetic field should lead them out of the forest in no time. Erik wasn’t helping Lucifer really; he was just fed up with wandering aimlessly, which, in Lucifer’s flowery words, was “appreciating the timeless magnificence of the ancient trees and rocks”. Bullshit.

There was something off about this village. The people seemingly dropped whatever they had been doing just to stare at them when the pair emerged from the misty forest. An awkward silence passed between the villagers and the strangers in which Erik could catch from them suspicion, fear and… menace. Suspicion he could comprehend; this was a rural area where few travelers set foot on, hence it was not unusual for them to have some doubts about the new comers. But fear, Erik couldn’t comprehend fear. Lucifer had made sure that his appearance had none of his original features – no snow-white skin or glittering eyes. There was nothing inhuman or threatening in their look, just two normal young men on a backpacking trip, young men whom they could see anywhere on earth, and could easily outnumber should any unsightly event turn up. And menace was not something Erik expected to find in this backwater village. Menace was faint – well concealed, perhaps – but palpable in their quickened pulses, the sweats gathering on their backs, in their palms or the rush of adrenaline in their bloodstreams. It nearly overwhelmed him when he unlocked his preternatural sense. Why was that, he wondered. He didn’t remember doing anything that might have offended them; for Hell’s sake they had barely stepped on their land.

The persistent stench of putrefaction coming from the earth was no positive sight.

Lucifer was conversing with the tall man who appeared to be in charge here, his sweet smile on full display. Leave the talking and charming to Lucifer’s silver tongue. Erik stood silently beside him, examining the village. It was a small, closed community of a few dozen houses huddled together, with their own crops to cultivate. There was a church at its center, where priests in lavish robes were coming out for the villagers to pay homage to. Erik frowned; everything about that church rubbed Erik the wrong way, from the way the priest were treated as if they were royalties, the strange religious symbol on the rooftop to the odor of death coming the strongest from the soil underneath it. When he was studying the structure of the church, something caught his eyes. He blinked twice to make sure it wasn’t a trick of light. It wasn’t. There was a ghost behind the oak tree, a young man with chestnut hair roughly about his mortal age. Note that seeing ghosts was not something new to Erik, who was one himself, the only difference being he was given preternatural flesh by Lucifer. But seeing a ghost that happened to be a son of Lucifer in such a state really had him flabbergasted.

Erik heard none of Lucifer’s words to the villagers; his attention was entirely drawn to the silent, suffering ghost. He gave off sorrow, confusion a profound agony. He had been tormented, physically and mentally, Erik could see, and even now the pains hadn’t left him alone. Just looking at him was enough to provoke the long-slumbering rage inside Erik. Who could have committed such bestial crime of ruining his eyes, two blessed gems like all Lucifer’s sons possessed?

After some negotiations, the villagers agreed to let them stay, albeit reluctantly. Aron, a muscular man in mid-forties with ashen blond hair, offered to take them under his roof. He appeared an amiable and hospitable host, a façade which might fool a normal human who couldn’t hear the rushing of blood in his veins of the tensing of his muscles. Besides, this man reeked of killing. Erik had been a killer, a sufficient killer, and he knew when he encountered one.

“I sense fear and malice in this village,” he said, his gaze lingering at the door where Aron had stood minutes ago. “From that man, from his folks, even from the children.”

Aron had led the pair to their room, opposite from each other, and invited them to dinner in one hour’s time before leaving them to their own devices.

Lucifer sprawled gracefully on Erik’s bed. Clutching a pillow as white and soft as cloud, he let out a pleasured moan.

“Their malice towards us perfect strangers is unusual.” Erik picked up where they had left soon as he sat down the bed. “They’re probably hiding something. Harry can read minds but I can’t.”

“The only mind Harry reads is his Winnie’s,” Lucifer corrected.

“The Charles twins, then. There’s one thing: I can smell decayed flesh all around, especially in the church’s vicinity.”

“Not your average backwater village, eh?”

“I wager it has something to do with the imbecile we saw in the forest.”

Lucifer stretched out like a huge cat on the mattress. “Let those vermin roam as they like, I honestly cannot care less. The villagers intrigue me and I really want to see what they have up their sleeve. If we’re lucky enough, we may get a scenario like one of Martin’s favorite movies.”

Erik rested his back against the headboard and looked at Lucifer with a glint in his grey-blue eyes. “You do remember that whatever happens, I will only stand by and watch?”

For a moment Lucifer looked hurt, betrayed. Erik snickered.

“Yes,” he sighed lengthily, “I believe the exact words are you will watch me being tortured and possibly torn to pieces without batting an eye. It brings me to tears to see my children all plotting against me.”

“So you were forced to accept this bet?”

“Right. My fault.” Lucifer held up his arms in defeat.

“One more thing,” said Erik in serious tone, “there’s one of your sons here. His spirit, to be exact.”

Lucifer’s half-lidded eyes shot open.

“Any hints of his death?”

The image of the sad young man staring at their direction with bleeding sockets flashed his mind. Erik didn’t realize he had sighed.

“His eyes were destroyed and there is blood all over him…”

“My poor child,” said Lucifer. “We’ll take him home right when we leave.”

…which meant cutting short their journey. Erik couldn’t possibly complain.

Erik saw the ghost on the staircase, leaning his head against the railing and looking at them with his sockets.

Talks were lively around the table – trust in Lucifer to keep the conversation flowing and their gracious hosts entertained. Erik paid little mind to them, only now and then giving curt answers to questions regarding himself. His attention was latched on the ghost, who looked both scared and drawn to the tantalizing liveliness of the table. His passiveness was proof that he wasn’t recently deceased. A new ghost would be very confused by their state of death and would try to influence the livings, only to realize that they no longer could and thus, fell into a pit of rage and despair before they finally came to accept their fate. This ghost was aware that he wasn’t alive and he was content to ‘watch’ instead of going around the table, trying in vain to touch the objects and people. Say, if Lucifer and Erik hadn’t come across this village, this young man could be trapped here for eternity. Transcendence would come with a normal ghost’s acceptance of their death and severance of all mortal cords; such was unlikely to a Devil’s son who was denied Heaven from the moment of his birth. And pains, let’s not forget the pains inflicted by their death. Who was Erik to not know them?

Erik wanted to reach out to the specter, embracing him and whispering to him that soon his suffering would end. He restrained himself; his still had his mortal guise to maintain.

He wasn’t surprised, only amused to see the ghost slipping through the door of his room. How typical it was for inexperienced ghosts to assume that mortal eyes couldn’t see them and mortal ears couldn’t hear them.

Well, to be fair, there was no mortals here, only two convincing imitators.

Kicking off his shoes, Lucifer fell to soft mattress of Erik’s bed. He had ignored that he too was provided with a comfortable room and conveniently shared Erik’s. Erik, on the other hand, was kind of used to having Lucifer’s form pressed against him in the night so it wouldn’t be too much an inconvenience.

“Erik,” he called, using his seductive tone which he knew Erik was immune to. “A foot rub, maybe?”

Erik snorted derisively. “Not your pet.”

“So cold!” Lucifer groaned, rolling along the length of the bed as if trying to rub his body against the bed sheet. “But some comfort for my sore feet is not asking too much, no? You know I’m not accustomed to this hardship of traveling.”

Stuffing a pillow beneath his head, he raised a leg suggestively, which Erik caught and began messaging from calf to ankle.

“Serve you right for accepting this stupid bet.”

“I know, you’ve said that a hundred times already! But Erik, you can’t chide me for a little fun!” Charles rebuked and pouted. His other leg nudged teasingly at Erik’s thigh.

Typical signal for sex. Erik just snorted.

“Why, Erik, loosen yourself,” Lucifer told him all the time. “Keeping your passion pent-up is never healthy for body and soul.”

And he took upon himself the responsibility of Erik’s well-being since the man himself had yet to show any interest in other Eden inhabitants. The All-Father was a generous provider of carnal pleasure; in fact, it wasn’t far from Azazeal’s quip about Eden being his harem.

No one seemed to mind, though, including Erik.

He glanced at the ghost in the corner and considered turning down Lucifer’s offer.

“Anyway, it’s been forever since we got to be alone, just the two of us…”

Erik shook his head and pointed to the empty corner of the room. Lucifer ignored the hint.

“It’s like our… honeymoon.”

“And what now?” Erik asked sarcastically. “Honeymoon sex?”

Again he looked at the ghost, whose head hung low in a very human gesture to hide the pink on his cheeks. For all his knowledge of spirits, he knew that human ghosts experienced mostly the same as the living. Their faces colored when they came across something embarrassing. They withdrew their hands if they touched something hot and the pains they received upon their death continued to agonize them. It was instinctive for their souls to remember every living sensation and try to recreate them so that they wouldn’t feel out-of-life. Paradoxically, it confused them and thus hindered their moving on.

“Exactly my thought after the foot rub,” Lucifer cooed. He sat up, putting his arms around Erik’s shoulders. He turned Erik’s face and started nibbling his sharp jaw.

Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the ghost slip through the door.

Lucifer had moved to his clavicle.

“I have a feeling you’re doing it on purpose.”

“It?” Lucifer asked. He stopped his playful teases and lifted his head to meat Erik’s gaze.

“He was in here.”

“How could I? I can’t see him, remember?”

Erik scoffed, unconvinced.

“This might be the last time I’ve got to ‘tend’ to your needs, you know,” Lucifer whispered in a low voice. Before Erik had the time to register his meaning, Lucifer burst into a fit of, in Erik’s standard, girlish giggles.

“Anyway, it’s been some time since we last had…”

“How exactly is sixteen hours ‘some time’?”

“Blowing you off in a crammed WC stall doesn’t count, really.”

“Such vulgarity,” Erik said between laughter. “How the hell have you never spoken like that in front of the others?”

“I’m mortal now,” Lucifer rebuked. “That’s a mortal weakness. What I mean is you’re strongly advised to take this one-in-a-million chance to dominate me.”

“You’re that desperate to be dominated?”

He shrugged. “This mortal flesh has influenced me somehow. It’s not necessarily bad.”

Erik rolled over and settled on top of Lucifer. “Like this?”

Softly the Devil laughed and kissed Erik. “Yes, please.”

Erik had known they were coming before they stood in front of their door. The thundering of heartbeats. The heady scent of adrenaline-induced sweats. The whispers they passed between each other, “it’s time” and “he’s not in here”, “must be the other room”. Beside him, Lucifer stirred. Let’s see what they have up their sleeve, Lucifer’s earlier words echoed in his mind. He waited patiently.

The door was forced open and men crowded their room. Erik recognized his gracious host Aron, whose wife had served them steaming Polish dishes, and the towering twins who had stared coldly at them when they arrived at the village. Malice had come the strongest from them. It was the same now.

Silent as statues, the men tore them from their bed, turning a deaf ear to Lucifer’s queries. Down the stairs they dragged them, out of Aron’s house and into the church. The walls and steps were medieval and the odor of rotten flesh grew stronger with their descent, to the point it overwhelmed Erik’s senses for a good minute, allowing him to see nothing but the crude wooden boxes and smell nothing but the revolting stench coming from them once they reached the bottom. And then metal. Metal surrounding them. Manacles. Chains. Bolts. Knives. Hooks. What was the metal inside each box? And blood, dried and painted upon, layer after layer.

Erik saw the ghost again, crouching next to one of the many unadorned boxes. The dim candlelight was seeping through his nearly transparent skin and his sockets were bleeding crimson, his face ghastly pale. His lips were quivering while his form was flickering like a bad-signal image. He hadn’t looked half- ghostly like he was doing right now.

The sounds went deaf on Erik; in his ears was only the unsteady rhythm of a phantom heart beating against a phantom ribcage. Never had Erik so wished he possessed telepathy so that at the moment he was able to touch the ghost’s mind and witness what horror was reigning.

Besides him, Lucifer was trying to reason with their captors in no avail. He was playing so well that Erik could even hear the fear and panic in his tone. But Erik had no mind to play with him now. With a jerk of his shoulders he broke away from the steely grip on him, probably leaking a tiny speck of his preternatural powers, and reached out to the ghost. The priests in dark, ornate robes roared and the twins went after him, only to be pushed back with his fist. He saw them all as Shaw and would probably have killed them but for Lucifer’s voice sharply calling out to him, “Erik!”

Ah, the mortal guise. Erik was tempted to say “fuck that” but his emerging rationality raised his voice against it. Allowing the men to restrain him, Erik took another glance at the ghost, who had seemingly come out of his nightmare and was staring at their direction with his eyeless sockets. All right. They would take him home, end his suffering after it was over. Erik had a hunch it would be over very soon.

Erik didn’t protest when they ripped their clothes to shreds and clothed them in stark white ceremonial gowns. He suppressed a small laughter, knowing Lucifer must be cursing under his breath for the hideous fashion crime they committed. He wished he had had his phone so he could snap a picture of Lucifer.

The head priest beckoned the men to put Erik behind their makeshift cell while Lucifer was tied to a crucifix-shaped stone altar. Chanting voices echoed and ancient words flowed out from wrinkled lips. Erik frowned; he was certain Lucifer had caught it too. It was a ritual all right, one served to “banish the Devil of the mist” which devoured the feeble hearts of mortals and replaced them with his own sinister black one. So the grotesque, cowardly vermin that had dared show up in front of them was the problem here. It took all Erik’s will to suppress the fit of laughter at the irony: they had the Prince of Darkness himself tied up on their altar and yet they spoke about a trivial demon that wasn’t worth mentioning in the Seven Hells. However, he wasn’t above chuckling at Lucifer, who was having his wrists and Achilles’ tendons lacerated as part of the exorcism, when his gaze fell on Erik. The All-Father mouthed at him to “kindly shut up” so that he could concentrate on fulfilling his role as a hapless sacrificial lamb.

The ghost had retreated to a corner, his arms clutching his lean frame. A metal mask was brought out with two spikes protruding from its sockets. So that explained the metal in each coffin, “blind thy sight shouldst thou seek to lay eyes on evil.” Once again the urge to tear down the iron bars hit Erik, Lucifer’s little game be damned.

His eyes blurred, went dark in milliseconds and vision came into focus. Not from Lucifer, Erik was certain. Suddenly it wasn’t Lucifer he saw on the altar but a young man with chestnut hair and sky-colored eyes wide open in terror. One of his sons – the ghost. He had fought till the final moment, thrashing his body about with such strength Erik had to admire. The shadow loomed over his face, gradually coming closer and closer. A noise. An acute pain that caused Erik to wince. The vision vanished.

Erik looked around. None of the men appeared to have the vision. So, a telepath then, not a powerful one, perhaps not even aware of his own ability; such cases weren’t rare. But why Erik of all people? A mere coincidence?

With a mask nailed to his face and his gown soaked in blood, Lucifer was laying lifelessly on the altar. The ritual was complete, the demon-possessed exorcised and the unfortunate soul released, the head priest announced. God bless his soul. The executioners turned to Erik.

Playtime was over. Such good metal to waste, thought Erik as the iron bars broke in half and fell to the floor, allowing him to walk out of his cell. Other metal objects responded vigorously to his beckon. How he missed his power – there were few opportunities to use it Eden. Aron shouted and other men joined him; their hearts were thumping frantically and their hulking bodies were soaked in sweats. The head priest gasped and began chanting while holding to the symbol wearing on his neck with both hands. It tore itself free of his palms to join its siblings, floating in the air.

What to do now, Erik wondered. Give them the fright of their life and retrieve Lucifer, who was determined to play dead till the end? Erik was excelled in killing, not terrifying people (Martin and a few others would say otherwise). Should he demolish this accursed place? He looked to the ghost, standing with his mouth slightly agape and obviously confused about what was happening around him. How could he approach him and win his trust without scaring the poor man away? Erik honestly had no experience in this field. He almost regretted never asking the Charles twins how they explained the situation to the new ghosts and convinced them. Judging by their personality, they might just put the spirits under a sleeping spell and ship them to Lucifer. Perhaps he should do the same, except he had neither the knowledge nor the skills required. Perfect.

Lucifer solved the problem for him by simply sitting up and ripping the mask off his face, which was a little better than a pulp of minced flesh and excessive blood. A sight that rendered the calloused humans speechless, trembling in fear. For once Erik was actually glad that the ghost was blind.

“It was quite painful, you know. And this robe is a total eyesore,” Lucifer said. Screwed his mortal disguise, basically, but not his prissy British accent and his default civil manner. Always the gentleman Devil, as he claimed. There was a chilling edge in his tone. Last time Erik had heard Lucifer speaking in such tone, all mortals around him had been decimated.

The basement descended into chaos. The head priest held out a large crucifix and began chanting. Others echoed him and formed a circle around their target, holding out their crucifixes and sprinkling holy water at him. Power radiated so intensely from the circle that Erik felt every fiber of his body vibrating with scorching pain. The highest form of purification. Were this a normal demon, he would be eradicated at once. Unfortunately, it was the Father of all devils they were dealing with, who gave them a soft laughter before he condemned them to death. Sapphire-blue flame rose around his body, incinerated his mortal flesh to reveal his true form: a creature beyond all nightmares. His third eye stared at them as the flame consumed them faster than they could scream. Their holy symbols burnt and turned to dust in their hands, their chanting halted and their bodies collapsed on the ground, shriveled and brown like mummies. Gruesome as it looked, there was nothing personal in the way he dispatched them. Lucifer was a voracious eater nourished by the sweet delicacy of human souls – the more sinned the better. And sustaining fatal injuries in his mortal flesh had starved him to the point of forgoing the bet, the result of which was this hellish scene.

Well, who said gluttony wasn’t a Devil’s trait?

“You look disgusting,” Erik remarked, looking up and down Lucifer’s demonic form with a small frown. No matter how many times he looked at this form, he could never find it charming. The only ones who did were, unsurprisingly, the Charles twins and probably Richard Wirth. Good thing the ghost was spared this sight.

“I know. You don’t have to be so ruthless to your old man.” Lucifer licked his lips, satiated. Blue flame danced on his skin until the demon was gone and Lucifer appeared human again, immaculate and posh in his black Victorian frock coat, silk cravat adorned with a sapphire teardrop and snow-white gloves. Well, at least he had the sense to dismiss his hat and walking stick.

“You lose,” Erik replied while absent-mindedly checking the cuffs of his leather jacket, restored to him together with his form-fitting black turtleneck and grey jeans.

“If only you helped me though…”

Erik’s eyebrow arched comically as if to remind Lucifer why he had been chosen as his companion in the first place.

He tilted his head to the ghost – surely Lucifer could see him now. It was most appropriate for the Father to approach his son.

The ghost tried to slip through the walls, confused and scared, but Lucifer caught him in his embrace. Sweet words poured – the Devil’s whisper that could tempt even the most virtuous soul into the whirlwind of sins, waves of serenity enveloping the ghost’s tumultuous mind and finally the blood, the precious blood that congealed in itself eons of ancient magic and powers, the blood that contained all the evils in the world and at the same time could heal any damages. Slicing his palm, Lucifer let his blood filled the ghost’s empty sockets. He writhed in Lucifer’s embrace, painful moans escalating to deafening screams. Though Lucifer tried to comfort him, he had to go through this ordeal on his own. To wash away pain required greater pain. Erik himself had tasted it when Lucifer put him back together, piece by piece.

The pain wouldn’t last forever. After a while, the ghost laid limp in Lucifer’s arms, breathing heavily. There were sweats on his flushed skin and he was no longer a ghost but an entirely different existence, one that could endure eternity.

“Never fear me, child. For we are one family.”

Erik laughed softly. Lucifer’s cliché welcome to every new member. “Can’t find something new, old man?” he said.

Lucifer ignored his telepathically tease and commanded the ghost to open his newly restored eyes. Gingerly he did, revealing to Erik the most exquisite blue eyes he had ever known. With them, he looked at Lucifer as though he was a hatchling looking at its mother for the first time. The thought brought a tingling warmth to Erik’s heart.

His name was Charles, Charles Xavier, the same as the mortal name Lucifer chose for himself. A fascinating coincidence.

The whole journey was a marvelous coincidence, it had turned out. Erik was truly grateful that he was the one to accompany Lucifer.

“We’ll get to know each other soon, Charles,” he whispered to the slumbering youth in his arms, and gently kissed the rich chestnut curls.

At dawn they left the village, still in deep sleep and unaware of the incident at the church. The sky was a violet-pink with little cloud, making the huge column of mist more prominent. Gazing at the sky, Lucifer said, “Heaven knows how long that vermin has been tormenting those pitiable mortals.”

“You ate a handful of those ‘pitiable mortals’ yourself,” Erik kindly reminded him.

“I can’t undo it, can I? God bless his pious servants.”

Erik snorted.

Stroking his smooth chin, Lucifer smiled. “Yet I can get rid of that vermin, as a token of my sincere apology.”

End

Note: In case I’ve failed to make everything clear, here’s a brief explanation: This village is cursed with having a demon lurking in the forest (in the form of a statue). Those who look at the statue get possessed and the villagers must kill them before they transform into demons (and kill everyone else).

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender’s fictional characters – in order of appearance or reference (except Erik, Charles and my OC – Lucifer):

  • JM: Martin – Martin Vosper (Murder in Mind)
  • MF: Harry Colebourn (A Bear Named Winnie)
  • MF: Charles twins – Charles Allen and unnamed twin brother (Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silk Stocking)
  • JM: Nicholas – Nicholas Garrigan (The Last King of Scotland)
  • MF: Richard – Richard Wirth (Blood Creek)
  • MF: Stelios (300)
  • MF: Quintus – Quintus Dias (Centurion)
  • JM: Leto – Leto Atreides II (Children of Dune)
  • MF: Carl Jung (Dangerous Method)
  • MF: Azazeal (Hex)

Check out these links for more information on their roles:

[Cherik] After the Nightfall (Part 1)

After1

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms:  X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), The Shrine (2010)

Rating: M

Pairing(s):  Erik Lehnsherr x Charles Xavier

Genres: Fanfiction, slash, crossover, AU, slight horror

Characters: Erik Lehnsherr, Charles Xavier, Lucifer, Martin Vosper and other Eden residents

Warning: a little gore, maybe

Summary:

Part 9 of Eden series. Related to Fair Trade and Eden.

Two travelers, lost in a faraway land of central Europe, came across a village. They asked to stay for the night and ended up getting more than they bargained for.

Part 1.     Charles Xavier

It was a terrible mistake, the cruelest kind fate can have in store for us short-lived humans.

All we intended was celebration – of my successful thesis defense and my little sister’s graduation and engagement to her college boyfriend. Instead of getting a ridiculous amount of booze and partying like there was no tomorrow, we all wanted something different from the ordinary – oh how young and foolish we were! My little sister was always keen on traveling and somehow she had managed to convince us – her big brother she often endearingly nicknamed ‘old fart’, and her fiancé, a full-time computer geek – that a backpacking trip was very appealing an idea: we would venture into the rural lands of central Europe where the primitive landscape is much preserved – don’t you love that? We would stay in the locals’ house, we would learn about their lives, their customs – don’t you love that too? And before our rational minds had the chance to speak of various potential threats, we had booked three tickets to Poland, and readied ourselves for the journey to come.

After a month, we found ourselves at this backwater village, where, just as we liked, the primitive landscape was most untouched and the life of the locals largely remained as it had been in the Middle Ages.

Our nightmare began here, our very last nightmare.

The commotion outside caught my attention. New voices distinctively stood out amongst all the familiar ones. Memorization of all the voices in this village isn’t too difficult once you get the hang of it. Well, to be fair, there weren’t awfully many people here and seeing that I had nothing better to do, I might just try to distinguish one from another. It came in handy sometimes, telling newcomers apart from villagers, for instance. So far, I allowed myself a little pride for doing a more-than-average job of it.

That, and teaching myself the language spoken in this foreign land. I was American and it’s quite true when they say American is synonymous with monolingual, so Polish proved quite a challenge for me. But time had made up for the lack of talent and time I had plenty in my hand, if that was all I could have.

“My name is Charles Xavier,” spoke one of the newcomers, voice clear, soft and in perfect Polish.

My heart skipped a beat at the name. A coincidence, I tried to reassure myself.

“This is my companion, Erik Lehnsherr,” Charles continued. “He’s German.”

So, ‘Erik’ with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c’.

The other one, Erik, greeted the villagers in a low voice while Charles went on: “We came from the States and we lost our way here. Is this forest always so misty?”

My ears stopped hearing the rest of Charles’s words after “the forest”. My temples throbbed. Pain. Pain so acute that it made me forget everything and everyone around. Behind my shriveled eyelids came the sight of the aforementioned forest, its never-ending mist engulfing all the trees and rocks. And the statue! Don’t look at the statue! Don’t look at its outstretched hand, its bleeding heart…

Swallowed up in my sudden vision I had lost the responses from the villagers. I didn’t suspect they were having the same reaction – immensely horrified by Charles’s mention of “the forest” – yet they hid their fear well beyond a calm, serene façade. Practice makes perfect. They wouldn’t let their new ‘guests’ know of their fear. Not before they saw it for themselves.

Confusion was shown in Charles’s brief silence before he asked, politely as he had been since arrival, “Could you please provide us accommodation for the night, please? We’ll pay, of course. It is getting dark and we are unable to continue our journey until the morning.”

I fought back another pain, which was not quite terrible as the first. They would let Charles and his companion stay the night, there was no doubt. In fact, they would absolutely not allow their ‘guests’ to leave. Not before their work was done.

The dreaded sense of déjà vu dawned on me. Once again I felt so helpless, so hopeless.

They had all the time they needed for preparation. They would do what they had to do, with eyes of detachment and a terrifying sense of efficiency, like they had done countless times before. I had been there long enough to know.

But that was after the night fell on this accursed land. For now, they would play the hospitable host for their ‘guests’.

Aron was the one who had offered to take the two travelers since his was by far the most affluent household in the village. I had been under his roof once – had felt indescribably grateful when he gave us, lost, clueless American travelers, accommodation for the night, even providing us with hot, delicious Polish dinner and soft beds. The most affable, kindest man on Earth until we learnt that he would be the one to swing the sledgehammer.

Always the monstrous-looking sledgehammer.

The unwarned resurrection of my sister’s last scream coursed through my nerves like thousands tiny flames imbued in my flesh. I sank down on the stair, my arms embracing my trembling frame. It was so real, the pain, that I entirely forgot I shouldn’t be feeling it, couldn’t be feeling it. Leaning my head against the railing, I listened to the bustling conversation down the dining table.

Aron was playing the charming, amiable host tonight; I knew he was actually charming and amiable – when his guests weren’t travelers who got lost wandering in the misty forest by the rear of the village. He had invited Charles and Erik to dinner, scrupulously prepared by his docile wife Irena, who had never set foot outside their village. She was a textbook housewife and a great cook, and her cooking had only improved since last time. The alluring aroma pervading the air nauseated me soon as I caught it.

I wasn’t surprised to find out Charles was the more loquacious of the two. He carried on the conversation easily with his flawless Polish, now and then throwing in some collocations and slangs that dumbfounded my flimsy grasp of the language but sent Aron to a fit of boisterous  laughter and even the shy, reserved Irena to giggle. There was a melody icing his tone and the manner with which he articulated each syllable; just listening to him eased the pain in me. Erik, on the other hand, remained mostly silent throughout the meal save a few scarce words when Aron steered the attention to him. Perhaps his Polish wasn’t so good as Charles or he was naturally the silent type.

I heaved a sigh. Erik seemed the type that I would find intriguing and probably seek to pursue for companionship, provided that I wasn’t in this state and he was going to…

I tried not to imagine his scream when Aron swung the sledgehammer.

Driven by the curiosity of my subconsciousness, I followed the pair. Aron had arranged the upstairs guestrooms for them, opposite from each other’s. “Should you need anything in the night, just use the phone,” he said, ever the thoughtful and considerate host.

My footsteps halted in the corridor as a question sprang to my mind: What am I doing, following them to their rooms? It was a violation of privacy that my conscience was trying to raise a voice against. I had never been an eavesdropper and the very thought of being one appalled me. But then, another voice cut in, sharply, to remind me that in the state I was, my presence never went noticed and I was as good as any other furniture in their rooms. Moreover, it was unlikely that I could see any of their secrets, let alone divulge them.

In the end it was my curiosity getting the better of me, really. Even just for a few hours, I yearned desperately to know a little more about them, about the world outside this damnable village from which they came, the world I longed to return with every of my conscious minute and never could.

And Erik… If only I could at least see how he looked like, how they looked like.

My feet were already moving on their own before I decided which room to enter. My body slipped effortlessly past the thick oaken door and I half expected the silence or light snoring as Erik might have gone to bed early. Instead I heard Charles’s voice, clear, soft and undoubtedly British as he were chatting with Erik.

Erik’s replies were scarce as before, which left their conversation more of a monologue. Charles didn’t appear to be bothered as he went on talking. Perhaps Charles knew Erik always paid attention to what he said. Perhaps that was the way they were – the enthusiastic conversationalist and the faithful listener.

I listened only to the timbre of his voice, never mind the meaning. The sweet, soothing melody crafted into words. It revived the memory of the orchestral concerts where I had managed, on occasions, to drag my little sister to and though she either grumpily complained or yawned throughout the length of the show, I knew deep down she enjoyed it as much as I did. To recall it now was like recalling a faraway dream, fading with the passage of time.

“Erik,” Charles broke my reverie, the name rolling on his tongue as though he had spent copious hours practicing its pronunciation. Now that I noticed, every speech Charles made was seemingly without flaw, no stuttering, no mispronunciation, no filler or such, and melodious in a way that appeared mystical, hypnotic. Be it Polish or English, he commanded the language with perfection, and in his perfection there was little humanity. Of course I didn’t know Charles enough to reach such a conclusion, but there was something abnormal about this man that I perceived – call it sixth sense if you want – and I was mesmerized as I was unnerved by it. Irrational, but true.

“A foot rub, maybe?”

Erik made a derisive sound. “Not your pet,” he replied in faint German accent.

Charles was not put back by Erik’s curt refusal as he said in cheerful tone, “So cold!” The rustle of fabric was caught in my ears. “But some comfort for my sore feet is not asking too much, no? You know I’m not accustomed to this hardship of traveling.”

Footsteps thumped lightly on the hardwood floor, moving closer to the bed. “Serve you right for accepting this stupid bet.”

“I know, you’ve said that a hundred times already! But Erik, you can’t chide me for a little fun!” Charles rebuked and possibly pouted… Why would I associate Charles with the childish act of pouting? I didn’t even know what sort of expression he was wearing, or how he looked like.

Erik snorted in reply.

“Anyway, it’s been forever since we got to be alone, just the two of us. It’s very much our…” He paused. A chuckle filled in. “…honeymoon.”

My face heated up at his lexical choice. Such intimacy. They must be…

“And what now?” Erik asked sarcastically. “Honeymoon sex?”

“Exactly my thought after the foot rub.” There was a triumphant note in Charles’s tone.

The rustle of fabric got louder, mingled with Charles’s giggles. He seemed to like smiling and laughing a lot, the sort of youthful cheekiness my little sister used to have. He was probably her age too, judging by his voice, with Erik only a few years older – his voice deep yet untouched by the weight of years.

So young, so full of life, and still…

It was time I got to leave, slipping incorporeally through the door the same way I had entered, forced by the need to respect their privacy, my rising pity for them, or my disgust at myself for being so helplessness. Perhaps the combination of all three…

I lost track of time – did I ever really pay attention to time – when I drifted along the empty corridor. Whenever I started this self-induced trance, I was under an illusion of being held at the bottom of the ocean, my limbs heavy and bound by seaweeds to rocks. I lay on a platform of pearly sand, seeing light yet unable to feel its warmth, hearing sounds yet unable to reach their source. Every time I felt detached, isolated, the fact of being truly alone in this vast world full of people starkly highlighted, and I felt safe, utterly safe at the same time. When I was here, under this thick, dense blanket of water, I was protected from them, from their manacles and cold knives, and most of all, from the final scream of my little sister, from the savage memory of her being mutilated and slaughtered in front of my eyes.

A curse to bear for eternity, if eternity was all that was left for me. But for now, I was allowed a short break from it.

A short break indeed it was. I barely touched the surface of temporary serenity when hurried footsteps on the wooden floor shattered my trance. They were coming for the pair; the time had come at last.

Despite my utter inability to alter their inevitable fate, I stepped in and barred the door as though my incorporeal body could somehow produce a force to stop them, a futile act I kept nonsensically repeating every time footsteps came stomping the corridor. How many times I had witnessed they force the door open, passing through me without the slightest notice, once more reminding me of my non-existent existence, and how I had become what I was:

A ghost!

… It was my sister’s scream that roused me from my light sleep. Throwing back the covers, I rushed to the door and was only an inch away from the brass knob when the door was swung open, the violent force of which caused me to tumble and fell on the floor. I had only a brief glimpse of my sister and Henry, her boyfriend – both struggling against the vice-like grip of two towering hooded men whom I recognized as the twin brothers glaring at us with unconcealed menace upon our arrival. They looked down on me with their icy pale eyes, sending a chill down my spine. Then I saw Aron, ever-friendly Aron, stepped in and knocked them both unconscious with a club in his hand. He needed not do me since my resistance was far feebler. I was never a man of physical strength and subduing me was an effortless task. My demands for an explanation in both lame Polish and English went completely ignored as the men dragged us to the church, down the damp, stony stairs to a dimly-lit basement. At a corner unadorned wooden coffins from which the unmistakable stench of putrefaction reeked. I shuddered at the morbid atmosphere and the grim prospect of what they might want with us – abduction, slavery and murder, those stories were common in these remote corners of the world. The priests in old-fashioned, ornate robes stood waiting like icons in temples and in front of their cold, emotionless eyes the men stripped us bare, paying as little attention to my sister’s modesty as possible, and dressed us in stark-white gowns while I yelled and cursed them. Like my previous demands, they went deaf on them as well.

It was Henry’s screams that pulled my sister back to consciousness. They had placed us in a makeshift cell and taken Henry to a large, cross-shaped stone surface, securing his head, limbs and wrists. Upon witnessing what they were doing to him, and would likely do the same to us – lacerating his wrists and Achilles’ tendons with the accuracy of surgeons – she howled a bloodcurdling cry. “Don’t look!” I whispered into her ears, holding her head away from the gruesome sight with trembling hands, and she obeyed, muffling her cries into my chest and covering her ears. Horrified was not enough a word to describe us at that moment; I clung to her as much as she clung to me for support. However, I forced my eyes to stare at the scene; I had to know what would become of our dear Henry and bear the agony of it in place of my little sister. Henry’s pleading gaze at us gave me some assurance that I was doing the right thing.

The head priest – I assumed from his lavish robe and aura of authority – was reading from an old, leather-bound book, the language too alien for an English ear. It might not be Polish but some ancient tongue serving this particular practice. The other priests echoed him. As they were chanting, the younger men gingerly held a bizarre-looking metal mask over Henry’s head. I couldn’t help a gasp when I noticed the two spikes protruding from the mask’s eyes. My blood ran cold at the foreboding thought of its function and I tightened my arms around her, putting more force to prevent her from turning her head should the urge hit her. I alone was enough; she needed not see how gruesome they took her fiancé. I held onto her small frame as if crushing her when Aron, the same Aron, who had praised her golden hair and told Henry how lucky he was to win such a lovely girl’s heart, swung the sledgehammer. Everything and everyone had turned to nothing, leaving only Aron, his instrument of execution and our poor, beloved Henry, as time dissolved into the movements of bulging muscles of Aron’s arms. Then… Henry was gone.

They tore her from my embrace with such strength that our bones literally snapped. Pain was lost on our terror-induced minds as the two of us were trying to hold onto each other. Don’t take her, take me instead! Let she leave this place! Let she live! I remembered begging them in both English and Polish. Deaf on their ears, my pleas. My sister wailed and kicked at them with a furious strength unknown to her petit form and it took two men to restrain her while the others wound the leather straps around her forehead, wrists and ankles, and bled her and brought death on her as they had done her fiancé. It was no simple slaughtering, I realized; it was an occult ritual designed for a purpose; whether it was a demon sacrifice – that, too, was not unheard in these lands – or an exorcism was unknown to me but I had a hunch that this practice must have something to do with the grotesque statue in the misty forest outside the village. Henry and my sister had been fascinated by it but when I looked at it, I had only felt a deep disturbance. Even when we had left, I could still feel its eyes on our backs and even hear the low sounds coming from the heart in its hand, beating and pumping red blood as if it was alive. That would be the only plausible explanation as to why the villagers had captured us, us who were perfect strangers to them, and gone to such extreme to dispose us.

In fact, those deductions about their occult were my later thoughts as I spent day and night roaming this accursed village, my body lost to dust and maggots yet my soul remained on this earth, unable to move on like my sister’s and Henry’s and countless other victims’ before and after us. At that moment, all in my head was the deafening scream of my sister when the mask came upon her. Even now I still had not figured out the cause of my lingering existence – if I could call it ‘existence’ at all – with my eyes blinded and limbs agonized by that nightmare my soul sometimes recalled. Oh, if only it had been a nightmare! But no, it was real as this bizarrity was real and it would take a greater measure than a pinch to the arm or a bucket of water to wake up from it. And what measure, I had not the slightest idea!

Hours, days, months or years had passed in confusion I couldn’t remember. Then, like a creature waking up from long hibernation I had risen out of the darkness of the cold basement, out of the confinement of my decaying corpse, laid anonymously in a crude wooden coffin. Though I couldn’t see, I was engulfed with the cacophony of life around me. It took time, really, to figure out how to block the sounds before they conspired to drive me mad yet I was not fully confident of my method – now and then they would become overwhelming again. I could feel everything around me too, the winds, the rains and the sun, hot on my ghostly skin like the flame in my ghostly heart. I had been in rage then and I had often wished I could take my vengeance on our murderers in the most violent and cruel manners as the vengeful spirits I had watched in horror movies did. Movies lied, obviously, because no matter how consuming my wrath was, I could do no such things as a poltergeist could. I could touch objects, true, feel their texture, their temperature but once I tried to lift them, my hands slipped through them like smoke. I could not even touch people. Whenever I attempted to, I would either slip through them or be instantly repelled by an unnamed force. It was much worse with the holy men, the old priests; my fingers felt like they were toasted and turned crispy before I even made direct contact with them. After many a failed experiment, I gave up eventually and as I did, the burning vengeance also died out. I was a void specter, stuffed with horror and pain each time new victims filled their prepared coffins down the basement, only to be emptied again and again. An endless cycle of torment. Despair.

One more time my feet had carried me down the damp, stony steps to where my nightmare had begun. I told myself the pain was not physical and if I tried I could block it the same way I could the sounds. Even if I couldn’t, it would only be temporary. My self-persuasion was not very convincing, not when the chill from the atmosphere was seeping into my skin. Not when my sister and Henry’s screams were swirling at the back of my head.

Charles didn’t scream, to my surprise; what I heard were strings of rapid-fire Polish that were too fast for me to follow. It astonished me that even at the moment his speech was free of stammer, that he sounded coherent and collected as a professor trying to reason with his difficult student instead of a victim of this unforeseen turn of event. Charles seemed to me the type that believes conversing can resolve most issues peacefully while Erik struck me as the complete opposite. Words I didn’t hear from him, silent as a mute; I heard him, or rather, I hearth them trying to subdue him: hisses and growls flying, fists pounding into flesh, and flesh hitting walls. I heaved a sigh. Aron himself was a burly man and his twin assistants were a little less than giants, not to mention the robed priests around them. Erik’s chance was slim, and fading fast.

Erik’s struggle ceased after Charles’s sharp cry of his name. He was utterly silent that I was afraid they might have knocked him unconscious. The head priest began chanting in a low, ominous tone and all present echoed powerfully. The force of their combined voices reverberated through the walls of the basement, shaking me, hurting me. No, this wasn’t my soul recalling my mortal pains; this was real pain, as real as the burn I received from trying to touch the priests. I should never have gone down the stairs, I tried to tell myself every time and every time I ended up doing the opposite. I couldn’t help myself. As though there was an irresistible pull that lured me here – something to do with my remains stored in one of those boxes perhaps. The same force pushed the rewind button. It might not be Charles who was bound to the altar, it might be me. Listening to the chanting of ancient alien tongue that evoked the fast-swelling dread of damnation. There’s no one to help us, to listen to our pleas, to our prayers. We are beyond hope even before the blades cut into our flesh. All we can do is stare at the impending doom that hovered above our face, the full stop to our existence as a human being. Man or woman doesn’t matter afterwards, since what will be left of us is a mutilated corpse and maybe an imprisoned soul, if it could be call a soul at all.

It was quiet now; the chanting had stopped. An interlude to clear the body before they carried on with the other. Charles hadn’t screamed. He hadn’t even spoken. How unsettling was his bizarre silence towards the end. I hadn’t screamed either, my remaining rationality knowing such was futile. Though I kept my mouth shut, my own body had its own voice. It thrashed about in a desperate attempt to resist its fate. But Charles’s body had none of that voice, which was to me appalling. It was as though he had already died before the ritual began.

Even more, Erik’s silence in his companion, his lover’s murder was what chilled me to the core.

The distinctive sounds of the sledgehammer hitting metal and of bones cracked and smashed were beating against my eardrums, echoing in my mind and beyond, where it joined with the persistent haunting of my sister and Henry’s screams, and of all the unfortunate souls’ after, until everything died out and the whole universe fell into a deaf pit.

A sound then, a real one, not a phantom of my mind. It was soft at first, gradually growing louder. It was the voice of the metal bars behind which they kept Erik so that he would witness his friend’s end and envisaged his own. Someone shouted, probably Aron, and panic was palpable in a string of rapid-fire Polish that followed. The head priest gasped and began to yell words I only knew to be prayers. Chaos erupted and the whole basement went spiral into a symphony of madness. Voices I heard, a lot of them, among the sharp cries of metal. There were metal objects all around the place: the manacles, the bolts, the hooks, the masks. As if beckoned by some force, they all raised their voices at once.

Suddenly all noises was muffled, or seemed so because my hearing, refusing any other sounds, only allowed a peculiar one. All my time in this damned village I had only caught it once: when the curious and daring Americans discovered this basement and the village’s hideous secrets at its bowel. One of them, the most intrigued, opened a coffin lid and tried to lift the mask from a decomposing victim’s face and failed, not knowing the metal had been nailed to the skull. It was bone-chilling, that sound, unmistakable to my ears no matter how faint it was amidst a sea of noises. Now I was hearing it, listening to it as it became clearer and clearer: the bone was smashed to smithereens and the muscles and skin were ripped like fabric under someone’s attempt to pluck the freshly nailed mask from the face, made unyielding by the flesh trying to hold it in place. I wondered if it was Erik doing the job and the villagers, stunned by his action, had momentarily forgotten to stop him.

Don’t look, I whispered. Don’t look. The visage of your loved one ruined beyond recognition will be your everlasting curse. Perhaps, I reckoned now, the reason I was anchored to this land was because I had visualized my sister’s face under the mask, Henry’s and my own right before Aron carried out my execution.

Have you ever imagine how a person’s voice would be like once their face was smashed? You probably haven’t, you can’t, simply because no human could utter a syllable after having a heavy sledgehammer crushed their skull, let alone speak. But at the moment, there was no mistake I was hearing such a voice. It was clear enough, surprisingly, to crudely make out the meaning, despite the gurgling sound of fluid and clattering noise of smashed teeth and bone. If the peculiarity qualities of the voice were not enough to run chill down my spine, its tone surely did. It was horrifying to me not because it was sizzling with hatred – the tone I imagined coming from the evil-starred ones if they had been able to – but because it was dissonantly calm and serene as if the speaker was merely complimenting the savory treats in his afternoon tea.

“It was quite painful, you know,” he said. Impeccable, poised and very much British as before. My hearing must be deceiving me! It was Charles who had just spoken, Charles who should have been a corpse!

“And this robe is a total eyesore.

Aron was shouting “Devil!” and the head priest’s mantra thundered. Others began chanting after him. I heard a soft laughter, cutting through the cacophonous sea like a silver knife. The space reeled and my head was reeling with it. Dizzy. Nauseous. I felt sick like I really had a body of flesh and blood.

The objects were singing, the metal voice blending into the human ones until they reached a crescendo. And then, silence. Dark silence.

An acrid smell pervaded the air. Something burning?

I heard Erik for the first time throughout this ordeal. “You look disgusting,” he said.

I was at lost about who and what he was referring to.

But more importantly, why were Aron and the others quiet?

“I know. You don’t have to be so ruthless to your old man.”

A short period of silence. Then Charles’s voice again. “I feel better already.”

“You lose,” Erik flatly replied. I could pick out a faint amusement just underneath his tone. And why am I imagining Charles with a pout?

“If only you helped me though…”

Soft footsteps were gradually approaching my direction. My entire being took alarm. False alarm, I thought. Nonetheless I stepped back. Fear was rising in me. I knew it was nonsense, that I was invisible to any eyes, that not many things could do actual harm to me. The whole anomalous situation – made worse by my blindness and thus exaggerated by my imagination, desperately trying to fill in the gaps – induced in me an urgency to escape. While I still could.

“Now now, don’t run away from us,” a voice, Charles’s voice, spoke. “We don’t bite.”

I had already slipped half-way through the wall when a hand grabbed me. I was stunned. Shocked. A hand touched me, caught me and didn’t slip through me! I wasn’t repelled. I wasn’t burnt either. The skin felt cold though it shouldn’t, like metal dipped in snow. I shuddered. It wasn’t my soul’s recalling of living sensations; never had I come in contact with this sort of chill on human skin. Even the frozen cadavers at the university appeared warmer than this hand.

The grip was gentle yet firm though I supposed I could tear myself from him if I struggled. I didn’t. A subliminal yearning held me still. The need to be seen, to be heard, to be touched.

Even by the Devil.

Aron’s word echoed in my mind, growing weaker by second and was soon lost to oblivion. Pay no mind to the Devil. The Devil sees you, speaks to you and touches you, you who are a ghost forgotten in humans’ history.

Charles’s voice again. The same soothing timbre which had had me mesmerized. Only this time I wasn’t hearing him with only my ears; I was hearing him with my entire being. His voice enveloped me like the vast and thick body of water which blocked out the world while securing my mind in its safe embrace. I felt safe and protected as I had never truly felt after my death. I didn’t protest or even stirred when he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me close. Now it was clear to me that this man wasn’t human. Probably the Devil, like Aron had exclaimed.

He was lean, almost small, a build similar to my own. His body was as cold as his hand.

“You’re not wrong,” Charles whispered. “I am the Devil indeed. The Father of all devils.”

His reading my mind or his being the Devil, I couldn’t care less.

His hand was on the shriveled flesh of my once eyes. Cold, but not unpleasant. Just when I was convinced that I could be lulled to sleep, droplets of liquid fell to my eyelids. Hot. So extremely hot. Droplets of boiling oil. My dead sense flared, brought back to life in the most excruciating manner. I cried out. My whole body convulsed and was ready to slip away, passing through Charles’s embrace, through the ancient stone walls, through reality into endless loop of screams.

Charles held me close to his chest, whispering incoherently. English? Polish? I didn’t know. I couldn’t even answer my name if I was asked. Pain was consuming me, drowning me. Not the safe, comforting body of water in my trance. Not at all. Heavy, trapped, helpless, hopeless. I thought I was dying the second time but this time would be slower, more suffering than the last. I wept.

Suddenly Charles’s words made sense to me. Hold onto me, they said. It’s almost over. The words repeated in a soft melody that calmed my nerves. Like mother’s lullaby. Chased away the fears. Chased away the pain. The agony became dull and faded away until there was not a sliver of it. Lethargy beyond comprehension caused me to lay limp in his arms.

“There, it has gone away.”

I nodded, feeling his cold hand caressing my cheeks. I leaned into his touch.

“Never fear me, child. For we are one family.”

Somewhere I heard Erik’s quiet laughter. Was he amused? I couldn’t tell.

“Open your eyes,” he said, half-commanding, half-coaxing.

I shook my head. “I can’t.”

“Of course you can.” He chuckled. “I’ve just seen to that.”

I protested no more, trusting in his words, in their unearthly melody. Slowly, carefully, I opened my eyes, feeling the flesh tight, hesitant. Remembering the treatment they had gone through. I expected the pain but there was none. Similarly, the sudden light wasn’t so excruciating as I imagined. What was, instead, the scene of carnage that greeted me. Now I understood why Aron and the others remained deadly silent in spite of the chaos.

The ground was littered with shriveled bodies, brown and dried up like barks. Unrecognizable, they could only be identified by their belongings – the cruxific and leather-bound book lying by a robed corpse, the heavy boots that belonged to the twin executioners, the sledgehammer discarded from vine-like hands. I looked around to the coffins, three of which housed the remains of Henry, my sister and myself, and returned to the mummified bodies. Was I delighted that our vengeance was done at last, that our murderers had suffered a fate worse than ours?

Not really.

Only one was alive: a young man clad in brown leather jacket and black turtleneck with a defiant expression on his chiseled features. In this living Hell he stood tall like a beautiful angel of death.

Then, for the first time, I laid my newly restored eyes on the one who had been speaking to me and holding me all along. None could enthrall me more than this face, not the carnage in front of me, not Erik’s dark beauty. I knew this face, had looked at it countless times before the loss of my sight. These blue eyes. This slightly freckled nose. These dark brown curls on his head that so contrasted his pale complexion. They were Charles’s as they were mine.

For a moment I wasn’t sure if I was looking at Charles or at a mirror. Doppelgänger.

Not a mirror. The light in Charles’s eyes – shining like rare sapphire – and the mystic air that veiled his countenance when the corner of his lips curved I could never possess in a thousand years.

He was smiling to me as I stared at him, dumbfounded. “It’s very lovely when you look at me as if looking as an angel, you who possesses the same face as mine.” Erik joined him. His sharp features softened with amusement.

Why would the Devil choose my image as his guise? I couldn’t understand.

“Not a guise,” Charles corrected. His cold hand ghosted over the contours of my face, the chill remarkably distinct yet strangely pleasant. “You are my seed, the reflection of my image in mortal flesh. You and many of your brothers.”

I had no brothers, only a little sister. Somehow the thought of her wasn’t less aching as before.

“Tell me, child, what is your name?”

“…I… I…” I struggled with my voice, rasp from not speaking for too long. “… I…am… Charles. Charles Xavier…”

Charles’s smile was breath-taking. “I am known as Lucifer to the world at large.” He paused briefly. “But you, my child, can call me… Father.”

End (Part 1)   

*Note: This is largely based on the horror movie The Shrine (2010) . However, you don’t have to watch the movie to understand this story. The second part, told in Erik’s POV, will clarify and fill in the missing parts.

[Cherik] In Love with Your Carnage

Disclaimer : Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms : Wanted (2009), Murphy’s Law Season 3 (2005)

Rating : M

Pairing : Mcfassy – Wesley Gibson (Wanted) x Caz Miller (Murphy’s Law)

Genres : Fanfiction, slash, crossover, AU, smut, PWP

Characters : Wesley Gibson, Caz Miller

Warning: pure smut – plenty of sex and little of plot, vulgar language

Note: This takes place in the same universe as my other fics: Beyond Flesh & Skin, Getting Even, Resemblance, Eden, Fair Trade , Granted

Summary :

“For a moment I thought I would come back to an empty room,” Wesley said, propping himself up on his elbow to look into Caz’s cerulean eyes.

“Why?” Caz’s surprise was genuine.

“There’s no fucking reason you can’t go if you fucking want to.”

The words were almost spitted out in bitterness. Caz’s eyebrows arched up, but he soon resumed his casual half-smile, half-smirk.

“And there’s only one reason I’ll go nowhere.”

“What is it?”

“I love you,” replied Caz with blatantly straight face that left every space to doubt his sincerity.

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For fuck’s sake, Wesley was stinking.

A hideously obnoxious mixture of sweats, dirt, cordite and blood was clinging to his body like the second layer of skin. And he wanted nothing more than to have it peeled off.

Every time Wesley came back after a kill, he possessed this odor. Every time Wesley came back after a kill, he loathed it.

The stink was one byproduct of a kill, the other being undesired… arousal. A fight, even an intense one as the time he’d tracked Cross on the train or when he’d demolished the Fraternity, would not use up the abundant amount of adrenaline pumping into his bloodstream. Reverberating in his veins, the leftover went straight south and nestled there. So far, his jeans were being uncomfortably tight.

Wesley had never been burdened with it – this odd phenomenon, not before he had had blood on his hand. The day he’d had his first kill, he had also felt it, strong, persistent and ferocious like an untamed beast wreaking havoc inside him. He had dared not try it on Fox – she would have had a bullet ricocheted in his skull if she’d known all he’d wanted when giving her that heated look was tearing what little clothes she was having and bending her over the park bench. Against Fox with her years of experience and superior skills, Wesley hadn’t had the tiniest bit of chance, not with half his brain focusing on hiding his arousal from her keen eyes. Thus he had run as fast as his enhanced speed could carry, away from her, away from death, until he arrived at a dimly lit bar. He had gulped down an entire bottle of scotch in a flimsy hope that a ridiculous amount of alcohol injection to his bloodstream could calm the raging wild lust.

No such luck!

There, fate had deemed Wesley Gibson’s life wasn’t big enough a shit pool and decided to toss in Caz Miller, who’d had him (his ass actually) ‘deflowered’ – the motherfucker’s word. In Wesley’s lexical source, it had been an insane experience made madder with heavy scotch and blazing libido.

Yet the best fuck he’d had so far.

And, to Wesley’s bliss or dismay, that wasn’t the last. Fate had bound Wesley Gibson and Caz Miller together a few more times; each and every one of them a sweaty, heated and no less sexy mess. Between Caz, Wesley had tried with others, both men and women; however, none had been able to wind and unwind him in the curious way Caz had, which the motherfucker’d dubbed “a demon sent to snare you” – undoubtedly some line from a cheesy drama series (Caz Miller: full-time gangster and part-time couch potato, just for your information). It was as though Wesley’s pleasure satisfaction was a wacky padlock and Caz was the only one with the right key; others just seemed… wrong, unfitted, unfulfilled. This realization had prompted him to make the fastest decision since birth when he’d heard of Caz’s imprisonment: if Caz were to rot in some place, that would be in Wesley’s bed (with Wesley’s cock inside him, preferably), not in some dirty, foul-smelling cell with an equally dirty, foul-smelling cellmate who may or may not fancy Caz’s asshole’s virginity in the same way as Wesley.

Thus the prison had had an unexpected and devastating assault which involved a great deal of dynamites and a bone-chilling number or rats – all to save one assassin’s desperate sex life.

On a  side note, NEVER ask Wesley where and how he had accumulated so many rats in such a short time!

As he was stepping on the threshold to the safe house Cross had left him, disguised as any other brick houses on this bustling street, Wesley was stabbed with a sudden fear. He had left while Caz had been sleeping – hadn’t thought much about many things else except bringing down his target and grabbing the cheque. Obviously Caz’s departure had never crossed his mind, and now, standing in front of the rusty door with his hand on the rusty handle, he couldn’t help the appalling vision of an empty bed, free of any traces to indicate another person beside himself had been there. He had nothing to bind Caz other than a flimsy promise made in post-coital, exhausted, sore and near-starving state; Wesley saw no reason why Caz wouldn’t leave if he wanted to.

Or worse…

He could open the door to a rigid, motionless body lying in the congealed pool of his own blood, eyes staring at Wesley yet unable to see a thing…

He shook his head and twisted the door handle, the knot of anxiety in his stomach adding excessive force to the simple act.

He might have closed his eyes for some milliseconds the door was swung open. When he opened them, he was hugely relieved to be greeted with the sight of discarded pieces of clothes scattering from the floor to the double bed, which no doubt reeked of sweats, dry come and a bit of blood. On top of the crumpled, dirty bed sheet was Colin ‘Caz’ Miller, sleeping like he was never aware of Apocalypse. The steady, lively rhythm of his chest falling and rising allowed Wesley to exhale a lengthy sigh…

… and notice his jeans getting tight again. The obscene view of Caz’s long limbs tangled in the bed sheet and his pale, naked back didn’t really help.

But when Wesley was about to leap onto the bed and fuck him thoroughly like tomorrow was the End of day and this was the last thing he wished to do, his eyes caught sight of tell-tale yellowish bruises on Caz’s lower back, around his bony hip, two hand-shapes reminding Wesley of how he had gotten a little carried away.

Maybe a little was an understatement, judging by the bruises that even the wax could not erase at once. He vaguely remembered Caz’s moans several times during the night; many of them hadn’t been pleasure-induced.

Wesley wasn’t a true sadist and the sharp pang of guilt called a halt to his after-kill horniness. It was still there, fighting for release, yet somehow it was slightly more controllable. The unbearable stink helped a lot, of course.

So, Wesley let out a half-sigh, half-grunt as he stripped himself off his jacket and T-shirt, sticking to his skin with all the mess he had managed to plash on them. After all this had been a messy kill, and a difficult one to boost, if the nasty gash stretching from his right shoulder to mid back was something. He left his jeans on because Wesley, unlike someone else, wasn’t very into exhibitionism, and strode to the tiny bathroom, where he would probably spend the next hour (or more) jerking himself off under the shower until he was numb, body and soul.

As he passed the bed, Wesley couldn’t resist the urge to touch Caz, who probably never knew he looked adorable in his sleep. So he did, reaching down to brush the back of his hand against Caz’s cheek, his stubble – ginger, definitely ginger – tickling his skin and Wesley smiled. He liked it, liked the way Caz’s everything managed to captivate him, even his wide, teeth-baring grin he seemed proud to show off quite often (the way a shark would smile if it could).

Perhaps Wesley had gotten carried away again – blamed it on the after-kill exhaustion – when hands caught him,  hauling him down to the bed. A weight straddled him at once.

A naked weight.

The muzzle of Wesley’s gun found the perfect spot between his assailant’s cerulean eyes. Exasperated and perhaps a little embarrassed for being caught off guard, Wesley huffed, “The fuck, Col…”

Hot lips pressed against his and swallowed the rest of his words. When there was no word left to devour, they resorted to snatching his breath away. Wesley tried to protest at first – half-heartedly if he was honest with himself – but his resistance was fast weakened by the alluring sweet suffocation masking him. When they parted, Wesley’s vision was blotched with dark spots.

This thrilling, near-death experience, how long since he last had it?

Belfast, the dimly lit bar, where he had encountered a pair of cerulean eyes, blazing with pure, shameless lust whose object had been him, and him alone.

The lust hadn’t changed as those same eyes were boring into him, despite the gun’s muzzle pressing threateningly between them.

The corner of Caz’s lips curved up. “So much for a pro killer.”

Wesley’s fingers closed around the grip as if he was trying to crush bones with his hand alone. Half of him wanted to wipe that smug look off Caz’s face, making sure he regret having worn it; the other half, well, just wanted to yank his head down for another lip-bruising, breath-snatching session. He made up his mind quickly, flicking the safety back and throwing the gun away, not bothering with where it would land, and pulled Caz’s face to his, all in one swift movement that lived up to his profession as a trained assassin. Their lips and teeth crashed – pain, that was for sure – yet they wasted no time to resume the violent rhythm earlier. The copper taste growing heavily on their lacing tongues did not thwart their ecstasy, but rather heightened it in an instinctual, almost bestial sense.

Neither Caz nor Wesley was particularly civil; in sex, they were even less.

Wesley wasn’t certain about Caz but he knew he wasn’t always so… passionate; his sex life had been boring and stagnant, just as boring and stagnant as the rest of his life. Had he been like this in bed, Cathy probably wouldn’t have cheated on him with Barry – not that he regretted now. It seemed that night in Belfast Caz had unlocked something inside him, a switch whose existence he hadn’t been aware of, and would never be aware of, not without a certain gangster with shark-like grins making out with his ears and pouring sweet, lewd words into them.

A few playful nibbles at his lips before Caz gingerly left him, a thin, silvery strand connecting their mouths to mark their feral encounter seconds ago. Caz broke it and licked it clean off his lips and Wesley’s.

Caz’s ‘ministrations’ only made Wesley feel more uncomfortable in his jeans, which weren’t tight to begin with – on mission he dressed for function, not look and tight jeans were never an option. Now they were skin-tight and hell, every tiny movement could cause Wesley’s body to jerk with the fabric rubbing against his sensitive member. And though he very much wanted to pin Caz down and fucked the brain out of him, the stink caught by his enhanced sense was fighting valiantly to put reason to his lust-hazed mind.

Caz’s next attempt to dive in was halted by a hand. “Very funny, Colin,” Wesley huffed, trying brave for once, “now get your fucking ass off me so I can have a shower.”

A very long shower.

“So you can jerk off in the shower?” asked Caz with a knowing grin, the kind that fiercely yearned for a good, hard punch, plastering all over his sculpted features.

Didn’t Wesley just love to make that sculpture of a face slightly less pleasant to look at?

So Wesley sort of let it go. The punch he had held back in exchange for a heated lip-mating round came back naturally enough.

“Ouch…” Caz groaned, his head tilted to the sight.

“So I can fucking jerk off in the shower!” Wesley cursed. Maybe he could last through a quick shower, washing himself off that revolting smell before he came back for a proper, thorough fuck. Caz had better be prepared.

He was about to tell Caz to fuck off so he could fuck him later when a hand palming his groin made him choke on his half-formed words.

“Not when you’re smelling so good, Weslie,” he said, and bended down to nibble teasingly at Wesley’s crotch.

The fuck?

Wesley stared at him, stupefied.

“… turns me on like no other.”

Catching Wesley’s hand, Caz led him down between his legs. Like Wesley, he was already hard, the head moist and leaking pre-come. And unlike Wesley, he wasn’t constrained by the rough fabric that was getting tighter with every second pass.

Wesley was burning with urgency to rip off his jeans, especially when Caz began rubbing himself against Wesley’s gun-calloused hand.

Fuck the shower and the stink, he wanted Caz. Now!

“Get me off my jeans, asshole!”

“Hush, easy now. Caz was practically singing as he flattened his body against Wesley’s. Good things come to those who can…”

One of the few things of Caz Wesley always had mixed feelings about was his ridiculous habit of singing in the least appropriate time. Callard had to be either deaf or equipped with the patience of a saint for keeping such a man by his side.

“…wait.”

He punctuated rather physically, with his mouth sucking the small hollow between Wesley’s clavicles. An odd place to start, one would say, yet the effect was instant and audible: Wesley let out a startled, undignified yelp at the first contact with the wet texture of Caz’s tongue. Was it normal to be so sensitive at a place so often forgotten and neglected or was he a very particular case?

Caz left his collarbones and travel to his chest. His tongue swirled around the tanned areole before taking the hardened nub in his mouth. He sucked at it with slow pace, savoring the tiny piece of flesh as though he was enjoying a rare ambrosia that once it was all eaten, he would never be able to taste it again. Not in a life time.

“Motherfucker…” was what Wesley could manage through clenched teeth. He didn’t know whether he was being hypersensitive – blamed the adrenaline – or Caz was exceptionally devilish with his tongue.

He shuddered at the thought of their combination.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Caz spared him a brief moment before he lavished the other nipple, this time with enough rawness to knock down Wesley’s determination to not moan audibly. He smiled at his small success.

“You should look at yourself right now, Weslie,” Caz teased. He slid down his body, licking a long, wet trail from his chest to his abdomen. His breath ghosted over Wesley’s skin before he dipped his tongue into his navel. “Perfection!” he exclaimed.

Wesley hissed and yanked Caz’s hair.

“Get the fuck on!” Wesley growled, his voice raucous with lust and impatience. “You fucking want both of us to get blue balls or what?”

“Your increasing usage of vulgarity speaks volume of how much you want me. That’s very cute and… needy.”

“Like you’re not fucking hard and aching already!” Wesley scoffed.

“I am, but I think I can endure it for a little longer. Here’s the deal: if I can make you come with my tongue, you’ll let me top, how’s that?”

He sealed his sentence with a long sweep from Wesley’s navel to his hipbone. His teeth scraped lightly at skin and his tongue dug into the waistband of Wesley’s jeans, which, to Wesley’s frustration, were still tortuously on.

“Fuck…”

“So that’s a yes?” he said, hands tugging the belt, ready to get it off at Wesley’s nod. Instantly Wesley’s gun-calloused hands were on his, urging him to rip off the belt. Caz grinned, a wide grin that could give a galeophobic an attack. “That’s definitely a yes.”

He had a hunch this wasn’t going to be a difficult triumph.

“No, no, you’re not going to help me win, are you?” Caz asked, deftly catching Wesley’s wrists. “Good, keep your hands to yourself and leave the rest to me.”

Wesley gritted his teeth but retrieved his hands nonetheless. Despite his tumultuous mind, he at least retained enough rationality to deduce that his loss was inevitable. It was creepy to think that although Wesley could easily dominate him with his superior strength and agility, it was Caz who could play him like a fiddle (even more so when they were both naked and in bed). But even so, it wasn’t in his nature to allow Caz an effortless victory.

An unspoken battle every time, violent in its own way.

Caz was already set for the game as he unbuckled the belt and eased down both Wesley’s jeans and boxers with deliberately slowness, making damn sure his partner feel the liberation inch by inch. When he was finally freed, so relieved was he that Wesley couldn’t help a long sigh, entirely missing Caz’s devious smirk upon witness his hard member in full display, hard, leaking and oh-so-needy. Holding it in his hand, he kissed the head first, a chaste touch as if claiming a virgin’s lips for the first time, before taking it into his mouth without further warning.

Wesley’s respiration halted for a good ten seconds as he felt himself sunk in the hot cavern of Caz’s mouth, a sensation so strong and overwhelming that his system stopped functioning altogether. He had felt death the second time, he reckoned upon coming around, and yet he didn’t mind trying the third.

With the same burning languid pace when he’d done his jeans, Caz took Wesley inch by inch. He’d made it his goal that Wesley could feel his lips stretching around his girth, his mouth closing around his shaft, as though Wesley was actually penetrating him, until he had all of Wesley. Then he slid out; his tongue drew a straight line vertically up the length until it reached the slit at the tip, and dipped in, eliciting sharp intakes of breath from Wesley. He applied a small amount of teeth too, grazing lightly along the elegant glands barely visible under skin – pale while the rest of him sported a golden tan. He was careful enough to keep his unusually sharp teeth in check so that Wesley would only experience a faint tingle instead of actual pain, because pain, he was well aware, extinguished pleasure faster than any other factors, especially when the part concerned was down there.

Wesley’s uneven breaths turned loud broken pants, bouncing between the tight space of their room.

Caz was utilizing the same technique he had performed on Wesley’s nipples, with only a small alteration. He also went for slow this time, but instead of a man savoring a rare delicacy, he was one struck with famine, who was having a scarce meal that could well be his last. So he made sure that every bite was worth a life time.

Wesley was not grateful with Caz’s ‘special treatment’. Due to his assassin lifestyle, he was accustomed to things going fast, not slow. He appreciated it even less when his entire body was akin to a volcano which could erupt anytime. He deliberately bucked his hip into Caz’s mouth and felt a jolt of electricity running along his spine as he hit the back of Caz’s throat. The latter managed not to gag, further proving how adept he was in this field compared to Wesley. He told himself he wasn’t jealous with Caz’s ex-mates, which was a lie because, well, he was. It was every bit unfair that Wesley had been stuck in his awful, frustrating sex life while they had been able to… benefit from such first-class skills.

He made a mental note NOT to share Caz with anyone. Ever!

Raking his blunt, blood-caked fingernails on Caz’s scalp, Wesley gritted his teeth, “Fuck it, Colin, faster!” He heard a low throaty sound from his partner and was unsure whether such sound indicated an agreement or rejection – shouldn’t talk with his mouth full, apparently. Nevertheless, his tongue’s movement answered what his mouth couldn’t.

His eyes went blind with the peak of orgasm and he spilled into Caz’s mouth, unashamed of his lack of courtesy to at least issue a warning; he knew from experience that Caz wouldn’t let him go without taking everything he could give.

He swallowed until he practically drain Wesley’s cock, his Adam’s apple’s movement indicating he didn’t let anything go waste, before he allowed it to slip from his lips. A stray pearly drop lingered at the corner of his mouth, which was swept clean with the pad of his thumb. He brought his finger to his lips, and licked it like he still wanted more despite what he had already received. Wesley would get hard again just by gazing at that scene, provided that he wasn’t too spent and wrapped in the delicious exhaustion of post-orgasm.

He locked his arms around Caz’s neck and brought his head down. He tasted himself on the latter’s tongue, a not-so-pleasant mixture of saltiness and bitterness both thick and faint in their mingled saliva. It was gross and it was weird and it was the perfect taste of lovemaking.

Since when casual fucking had evolved to lovemaking, neither of them raised a question.

“Cheater,” Wesley wheezed. His cheeks was flushed and his eyes, though heavy-lidded, possessed the brilliance rivaled one when he was in full clothes and keen on killing instead of naked, filthy and thoroughly debauched.

“How so?” Caz asked, still hovering above him.

“You said tongue, but used mouth, lips and teeth. That’s cheating.”

Caz chuckled. “Do tell me how to separate them then.”

“There’re ways…”

“Don’t want to know or try,” laughed Caz as he bent down to nibble at the tip of Wesley’s nose. Wesley shoved him aside so that he could turn his back to Caz. Gripping the bed post, he arched his back – a silent offer if Caz had half his wit to catch the hint. He waited and waited, but still the onslaught he’d expected, judging from how hard and aching Caz was, did not arrive.

“The fuck, Colin,” Wesley growled, half-impatient, half-irritated. He hated waiting and this was like trying to stay calm in spite of the burning in his throat so that he wouldn’t kick the hell out of the vending machine because it refused to spit out his drink after inserting the coin. “You fucking want to get blue balls?”

“What happened to your back?” came a surprised answer.

It took Wesley a few good seconds to understand Caz’s reference. “A scratch, no prob.”

Waiting for a few more seconds and still nothing happened, Wesley almost shouted, “Fucking start, Colin, or I swear I’ll rape you.”

“A grievous lack of patience but amusing nonetheless.” Though he didn’t see Caz, Wesley could tell the other man had to be putting on his usual smirk. He would punch him again if not for a wet, tinkling sensation applied to the wound on his back which made his whole body shudder and goosebumps raise under his skin. It started at the top of his right shoulder, crawling languidly down and halted at his shoulder blade, where the cut was nastiest. Moist breath blew over the damaged flesh, accompanied by feather-light caresses – no trace of the roughness and teases was found as Caz painted only the gentlest strokes on Wesley’s skin with his tongue.

It stung, naturally, but apart from the small discomfort. There was a spark of pleasure, rekindling the fire that had partly subsided with his first climax. Heat built up fast and he felt as if he could orgasm the second time with only Caz’s tongue touching him. Caz, he hated to admit, really had one hell of a tongue.

“The fuck you’re doing?”

“First-aid,” Caz replied with nonchalance. “You see how those little pussies lick themselves to treat their scratches.”

“Much time watching them?”

“Yup,” he agreed, “more fascinating than the other kind of ‘pussies’, I suppose.”

Wesley couldn’t help a laugh. Without warning, he twisted his body and grabbed Caz by his shoulder, pinning him down. The battered mattress sunk with their weights as Wesley straddled him.

Their position was an exact replication of one twenty hours ago.

Caz stared at Wesley and tried little to hide his confusion. Wesley tsked, finding this ‘deer-caught-in-headlight’ expression of Caz more annoying than his usual smirk. At the same time he was utterly amused; how someone could be sex-savvy in one minute and totally muddle-headed in the next was beyond his comprehension.

Caz let out a gasp when slick fingers closed around his hard member, sliding up and down with smooth ease. The touch was cool – thanks the lubricant for extra-effect – and coolness fueled the fire within.

“A hand, Colin,” Wesley commanded, tossing him the tube of lubricant. He shifted and sat on his heels to lend Caz an easier access to his entrance.

Caz wasted no time in coating his hand with gracious amount of lube before jabbing one long, lean finger into Wesley. There was difficulty at first – as expected because Wesley hadn’t had it for while, not since the last time he’d allowed Caz to probe into his most vulnerable part. Wesley inhaled a puff of dry air at the invasion of extracorporeal body, squeezing his eyes shut.

One hand massaging the small of Wesley’s back, Caz brought the other to Wesley’s chest, littering bold touches over sweat-slick skin as he tried his best to distract the latter from the unavoidable pain. “Relax,” he cooed, no hint of teases, only warm concern carefully wrapped in Cockney-accented voice. “Though your tightness says how much you miss me, I don’t really fancy the crease of pain between your eyebrows…”

A moment of hesitation before he continued, “we can switch if you…”

“Shut up and fucking prepare me!” Wesley cut him short.

“Yessir,” Caz blurted out, more sincere than amused, and started putting good use to his long finger, stretching the tight muscle with moves he’d acquired from years of practical experience. It wasn’t long before he could add in the second, and the third.

The good thing was, Caz mused with delight, that Wesley loosened up easily, which was a blessing for him. Despite keeping a straight face while preparing Wesley with diligence and adequacy, Caz didn’t hold much confidence in how much longer he could last.

The threat of getting blue balls wasn’t intangible.

And Wesley, ever so sympathetic, lifted himself up as soon as Caz’s fingers left him. Taking Caz in his hand, he gingerly guided him to his entrance and let him in, inch by inch of his impressive shaft swallowed until Wesley could resume his straddling position.

Both moaned lengthily in unison.

Without another word, Wesley took Caz’s hands, placed them on his hip and began to move, prompting Caz to follow suit, their movement in perfect tandem.

The air confined in the small, spartan-furnished room was thick with broken pants and spiced with heavy sweats.

Wesley felt like he was being cooked in his own skin – the tension kept building up within the volcano and its eruption was only a tantalizing step away. He placed his hands on Caz’s hip, not realizing he was gripping onto the exact same place he had left two tell-tale bruises, to coax him into speeding his thrusts as he urged his own hip to move in the same rhythm. Caz wordlessly obliged him.

Their shared climax came like an angry tidal wave washing over them, trying to drown them to the bottom of their ecstasy. They held onto each other through it, tightly, painfully and never minding they would hurt each other with their mutual brutal force.

They went through pain as they went through pleasure, together, now, always.

Such was the thought swimming around Wesley’s head when he collapsed on top of Caz.

For fuck’s sake (now that quite was), Wesley was stinking.

A hideously obnoxious mixture of sweats, dirt, cordite, blood and liberal amount of come, from both inside and out, was clinging to his body like the second layer of skin. Yet somehow he found it much more bearable than before. The fact that Caz, lying beside him and emitting a similar smell, though less with blood and cordite and more with come, could help explain.

“How are you feeling?” Caz asked in soft voice, almost like a breeze. His fingers gently brushed away a few damp locks on Wesley’s forehead.

“Sore,” Wesley said.

Came a chuckle. “Walking funny tomorrow?”

Wesley gave him a glare and sat up, wincing as the movement did naughtily to his sore muscles under. He found his jeans lying not so far from the bed – fortunately – and dragged it to him with his sole. He fumbled through his pocket and found a crumpled packet of cigarette. He tossed it Caz, who deftly caught it.

Grinning, Caz took one and reached for the lighter on the nightstand. “My favorite,” he sighed happily – a child who just got a lollipop – now with a cigarette tucked between his lips instead of the sweat treat.

He returned the packet to Wesley, and didn’t seem too surprised when the latter also took one. Caz was quick to light it for him.

A new kind of smell was introduced to the mixture as both exhaled a puff of smoke, almost simultaneously.

Wesley glanced at Caz, who was closing his eyes to enjoy the taste of nicotine pervading his sense, and a thought crossed his mind.

“You know…” Caz turned to look at him, “you probably should have done it more slowly, more gently…”

“What do you mean?”

“… so that you wouldn’t get too sore. And walking funny.”

“Speaking from experience huh?” Wesley asked, sardonically.

“For your own good,” Caz replied, giving Wesley a dirty look. Hollowing his cheeks, he blew out a small, perfect ring of smoke, which dispersed as soon as Wesley tried to poke its center with his forefinger.

“Colin?”

“Huh?”

“For a moment I thought I would come back to an empty room,” Wesley said, propping himself up on his elbow to look into Caz’s cerulean eyes.

“Why?” Caz’s surprise was genuine.

“There’s no fucking reason you can’t go if you fucking want to.”

The words were almost spitted out in bitterness. Caz’s eyebrows arched up, but he soon resumed his casual half-smile, half-smirk.

“And there’s only one reason I’ll go nowhere.”

“What is it?”

“I love you,” replied Caz with blatantly straight face that left every space to doubt his sincerity.

Wesley looked stunned for a brief moment before bursting into laughter. “You love the smell of kill on me,” he said between laughs, “fucking turns you on like no other. Now that I remember you said the same thing at the bar.”

Caz gave him an amorous look when he brought his face close to Wesley. Placing a chaste kiss on the freckles dotting the tip of Wesley’s nose, he whispered into his ears, “My sole mate.”

“That’s still more preferable than…” Wesley lied back, pillowing his head with one arm as his gaze shifted to the moldy ceiling, the dusty tube, nowhere but Caz’s face as he spoke in low voice, “… than to find your naked, dead ass on the bed.”

Caz laughed aloud.

“I sometimes imagine my death, you know,” he said through laughter, “and it always involves nudity.”

“Exhibitionism much?”

“How about this, nothing but a fur coat to cover my naked self?” he asked, reaching up to stub his half-burnt cigarette on the spoiled leftover of his breakfast on the nightstand. “Nan’s got a very fine one. I imagine before we leave here, we can stop by and grab it…”

“For what?” Wesley scoffed.

“… so that I can parade around in nothing but it…” Caz looked at him, eyes twinkling with mischief. “… and give you a constant Marquis de Sade.”

“The hell does that mean?”

“American equivalence is boner.”

Wesley elbowed him.

Still laughing, Caz rolled on top of Wesley, graceful limbs tangling around the smaller body like a giant octopus. He muffed his laughter into the juncture of Wesley’s neck and shoulder.

“I wasn’t always like this, you know…” Wesley spoke, after Caz’s frenzy fit of laughter had quieted down.

“Don’t tell me you had plastic surgery?!” Caz shot up, a look of shock and disbelief painted on his face.

The corner of Wesley’s mouth twitched and he gave the other man a kick, sending him off the bed in an undignified heap.

“I was an accountant!”

“The type of boring desk job, complete with a silly cap?” Crawling up, Caz asked incredulously.

“Not a cap, a green eyeshade,” Wesley corrected. “And minus that, plus an asshole boss, sack-of-shit best friend and cheating girlfriend who cheats with said best friend.” he punctuated with a huff; the mention of Barry and Cathy always left a bad taste in his mouth. Finding his cigarette no longer tasteful, he passed it to Caz, who snubbed it on his breakfast leftover.

“Quite a dramatic change of career, wasn’t it?”

Wesley nodded curtly. “An organization of assassins took me in, trained me to be one of them simply because they wanted my old man dead and mine was the only head he wouldn’t drill a bullet in.”

Caz’s lips were forming a silent “Wow!”

“… And I ended up successfully killing my old man and the entire organization – at least they trained me well. Now I’m on my own.”

Caz rolled over to Wesley’s side. Bracing himself with his elbow, he looked Wesley in the eyes.

“Why suddenly tell me all of these? Not that I don’t appreciate it but…”

“Because I want to put you in an intense training as soon as we’re on American land,” Wesley explained.

“Training to be…”

“… like me. You don’t expect me to work my ass off to feed you, do you?”

“I thought you needed a housewife.” Caz faked a pout, but couldn’t keep it for long. “Of course not. I intended to get back to my old trade.”

“And find another ass to kiss?” Wesley grunted, heat palpable in his tone. Caz just grinned.

“The only ass I’ll be kissing from now on is yours. Satisfied?”

And to prove his point, he grabbed Wesley’s bottom, placing butterfly kisses on the skin. Wesley shivered with a jolt of electricity running along his spine.

“But a shift in career doesn’t sound half-bad. Moreover, you trust me enough to cover your back…”

His fingers gentry traced the cut on Wesley’s back, brows creasing as he mumbled, almost to himself, “Nasty, isn’t it?”

“I’ve worse,” Wesley scoffed, turning his head to hide the tips of his ears which had turned pink. “This is the least you’ll get from training.”

“Oh, trembling already,” Caz replied flatly, and placed his hand on Wesley’s firm abdomen, drawing little circles with his idle fingertips. Wesley brushed his hand away and sat up; the lukewarm feeling seeping from his entrance caused him to grimace. He didn’t doubt it was not a sight to behold down there: used, swollen and leaking with come.

He was only two steps from the bed when arms intertwined around his waist and a lithe body pressed against his back.

“At least let me have the courtesy to prepare a bath for you.”

Caz’s breath tickled Wesley’s ear as he nibbled at his earlobe, suggesting that he implied more than just a bath.

Wesley elbowed him, hard, earning a soft whimper from behind. Other than that, he made no further protest while walking them both to the bathroom.

End

Note:

*Direct sequel to my previous fic Beyond Flesh & Skin.

*Caz actually wears his Nan’s fur coat in the series. For those of you who wonder how it looks, check out this gif:

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*That blood and violence turn Caz on is canonical (Murphy’s Law ep.5).

*Last but not least, it’s a late birthday gift for a friend of mine, who ships Cazley as much as I do. Thank you for reading and commenting on my stories ^^.

[Cherik] The Wishing Tree

  • All the Cherik Love Around

About the universe: Basically, it’s an idea for a multi-chapter Cherik AU crossover which is unlikely to be translated into proper fanfiction since the author has neither the time nor the effort to do so. So anyone who’s interested in the idea and wants to write a fanfic based on this universe and characters, please feel free to take it. All you need to do is giving me a word and a little credit once the fic comes out. I’d appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Full setting and character introduction: here

  • The Wishing Tree

About the story: a little story taking place in the ‘All the Cherik Love Around’ universe, it revolves around The Wishing Tree at Shaw’s Highs, which centers on the three main couples: Erik x Charles; Stelios x Leto; David 8 x David 9.

Disclaimer : Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom(s) : multiple fandoms – X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Children of the Dune (2003), 300 (2006), Prometheus (2012), Inglorious Basterds (2009), Hex etc.

Rating : K+

Pairing(s) : Cherik- Erik Lehnsherr x Charles Xavier, Stelios x Leto Atredeis II, David 8 x David 9 (Nine). And other minor pairings

Genres : Fanfiction, slash, humor, angst (mostly teen-angst), fluff, high school

———-***———-

Setting: Shaw’s Highs – a school for the privileged and not-so-privileged students from all over the globe who have successfully passed the ‘privileged’ series of exams orchestrated by the Principal himself. The series of exams change annually and nobody on Earth could have the slightest idea of what the eccentric, wicked Principal and his equally eccentric and wicked staff have up their sleeves.

———-***———-

Prologue – The Wishing Tree      

They said no high school was a true high school (what qualified a ‘true high school’ anyway?) without at least a legend to call its own.

With all due respects, Shaw’s Highs had more legends than necessary to be a normal high school: from the peculiar and wicked entrance exam that changed annually to the (Lord) Principal’s legendary parsimoniousness; from David’s alien IQ to Leto’s alien tendency of getting lost; from Erik’s trouble record to Azazel’s former career or Janos’s choice of attire… the list went on.

But there was one legend that beat all others in terms of mystique: the legend of the Wishing Tree.

Again, no high school was a true high school without at least one object attached with ‘wishing’: Wishing Stairs, Wishing Rock… Almost anything students could think of (and pray to) in desperate time of competitions and exams could become a mystical object with a decent legend to suit its name.

Who could deny high school wasn’t a fertile soil to breed creative writers?

Shaw’s Highs’ Wishing Tree was a tall tree of unknown species standing proudly in the middle of the grand school yard. Its leaves were its remarkable feature: They were emerald-green in spring, turned fiery-red in summer, became sky-blue in autumn before they were dyed bone-white in winter. It was because of these unusual colors that the Wishing Tree easily intrigued many students on their first day at school, thus promoted the legend.

No one knew who had grown it or how long it had been standing on this spot; there were students and even teachers who believed the tree to be older than the Principal himself. And just for your information, Mister Shaw was ancient; he just didn’t look his age, though – vivid evidence that God was utterly unfair.

Putting aside its age, origin and species, what mattered here was the word defining it: “wishing.” This was what made this bizarre-yet-beautiful looking tree much more than ‘bark deep’: it was able to grant wishes. No, it wasn’t something straight out of a cheesy teenage fantasy slash romantic movie – such thing truly existed in this school full of abnormalities.

Rumor had it that if a student (or a teacher, security guard, janitor or even the Principal for that matter) strongly wished for something, be it Mister Shaw not being such a miser, Miss Frost not so interested in mind-fucking her students and actually helping them, or Mister Essex not being so extravagant, all they needed was stand under the canopy and voice their wish – one at a time – to the tree (or whatever creature or force lurking inside it), and maybe, just maybe their wish would come true. Almost all students – save a few who thought they were too cool for such childish stuff *cough* Erik Magnus Lehnsherr *cough* – had tried at least once. Some wishes had failed, of course, but some had come true, thus cemented the legends surrounding the tree. As for those who had failed, they only shrugged and accepted that their wishes had not been ‘strong enough’.

But, how strong was ‘strong enough’ exactly?

David & Nine

Nine believed in the legend of the Wishing Tree, perhaps more than anyone.

The first time he had seen it, he was a ten-year-old boy tagging along his mother. It was summer then, because he remembered being mesmerized by the vivid red centered at the grand school yard – like a great wildfire that burned the still landscape to life. So captivated by the tree that Nine stood under its massive canopy, completely motionless until Elizabeth came to wake him out of his trance.

Please, let me one day be a student of this school, he made a wish.

Five years later, Nine was a freshman at Shaw’s Highs while all of his friends had tried and failed.

And then, he met David, also under this Wishing Tree.

At first, he was led to believe that David was making a wish to the tree, judging by his stiff posture and his serious (to the point of emotionless) expression. It was only later, much later that he came to a (shocking) realization that what had been running in David’s mind back then were his various mischief and pranks.

Despite his sophisticated look, David was really a child at heart, a very naughty one, Nine had to add.

Outside classroom, often he would disappear without a trace – as if David was always playing a giant game of hide-and-seek with the whole world, and rather enjoyed it. It had taken Nine a long time (with a big chunk of luck) to figure out where David went to: the abandoned laboratory in the basement of the complex behind the main buildings. Though completely rundown and serving no purpose other than sprouting urban legends, most of which involved a disfigured man with knives for fingers, a hockey-masked man butchering people with a huge knife, or a madman who was keen on playing his victims with several odd devices, the complex had mysteriously survived the fate of being demolished throughout the years. Somehow David had found the lab beneath the complex and  given it a total makeover – how he had done it totally baffled Nine. He called it his ‘lair’ (David’s word) and despite it sounded and looked too much super-villainy for his taste, the place had had Nine greatly amazed the first time he’d stepped down the rusty shaking stairs to its bottom.

And Nine, unfortunately, had also discovered the function of David’s lair besides being his hideout – this was where David had conducted all sorts of mischief and pranks on his one and only victim: his foster sister Meredith, which none other than Nine knew the truth (mainly because David had allowed him). Though he wasn’t approved of David’s doings, Nine had never sought to expose David’s secrets, not when David trusted him enough to share them with him.

That made them partners in crimes, right?

Normally Nine had no trouble finding David since the boy had limited places to go – class, where they both studied, Miss Frost’s office (since David was her ‘favorite client’ – her words) or his self-made lab. Although Nine could only grasp about half of whatever David was doing, he was content just staying there, working on his homework while having idle chats with the latter, who did most of the listening actually.

But today was strange. The first thing Nine had done upon entering the school property was dashing into the laboratory, half expecting to see David there, munching on his breakfast while working on some experience – he had enthusiastically told Nine about some project but as always, Nine only had the vaguest idea of what it was. David was having plenty of time lately, having done two courses ahead of everyone else in their class and while he could have an early holiday, the boy saw it as an invaluable chance to focus on his ‘project’.

And that was why Nine was flabbergasted to see an empty lab, David nowhere in sight.

The truth was, Nine had no idea where David could go. Not minding that he would have missed his first and probably second class (which he had), Nine had searched all the possibilities: the grand cafeteria, the lesser cafeteria (Mister Essex’s idea, don’t ask!), the front yard, the backyard, Miss Frost’s office (and earned a meaningful smile from the school counselor). He had even gone so far as to approach Meredith – a big chunk of courage, no doubt – and received nothing from her other than an icy, scornful glare that ambiguously implied she very much wanted to rip him apart for mentioning her foster brother in front of her face.

Nine was in a bit of despair when he stood under the Wishing Tree, hoping its magical powers would help him find David.

Please, give me a clue to where David is.

A leaf departed from its branch to land on top of his mop of chocolate hair. When Nine took the leaf in his hand, he was mildly fascinated by its color – sky blue – the first one of this year.

“Autumn has arrived early, hasn’t she?”

Nine recognized the familiar voice; it was Mister Frank, his enigmatic music teacher who always wore a large papier-mâché head that concealed his face. Frank was standing in the hallway just opposite from the tree, waving his hand and tilting his big head to Nine’s direction.

“Oh hello Mister Frank,” Nine greeted, beaming at the teacher. In spite of whatever distasteful rumors shrouding Frank, he was still Nine’s most favorite teacher in the entire teaching staff. Frank was eccentric, sure, but his eccentricity was warm-hearted and pleasant, entirely different from other teachers, Mister Essex, for example.

“On your way to the class, sir?” he asked.

“No, I don’t have any class today,” replied Frank, who ‘smiled’ back, or at least his mask expression seemed to speak. “Not having class today, huhm?”

“Actually,” Nine said, voice close to a murmur as he fidgeted with the leave in his palm, “I missed class.”

“Why?”

“I’m looking for David. I can’t find him anywhere this morning, even Miss Frost’s office. Did you, by any chance, spot him?”

“Oh, David’s been with me,” said Frank, his ‘face’ appearing to sport a big, bright smile.

“Really?” A wave of relief washed away the heavy knots in Nine’s stomach and his usual cheerfulness was back in his tone. But then, as though he remembered something, he winced slightly before asking, “…did he cause any trouble?”

“No, he didn’t.” Frank waved one hand in emphasis and pointed to the instrument in the other. “We’re practicing a new song. Care to join us?”

“I’d love to.”

And Nine followed Frank to his office at the end of the hallway, where he found a beaming David toying with the various musical instruments in the room.

It seemed his second personality was surfacing, Nine thought with an inward sigh.

“Hey David. So you’re here. Been desperately trying to find you.”

“Oops, sorry,” David apologized, his head hung a little lower.

“It’s OK. Playing truant once or twice can be fun. Mister Frank said you guys were practicing a new song?”

“I met Mister Frank early this morning and we’ve been discussing about… the most likable song ever!”

“The most likable song ever?” Nine echoed, his eyes wide with surprise.

“Positive,” Frank chimed in while skillfully maneuvering his way through a mess of musical instruments and music sheets on the floor. His office wasn’t small to be fair, second only to Miss Frost and Mister Essex’s offices and obviously much larger than Mister Shaw’s, but however much space was still unable to keep up with the expansion of the artistic soul.

“I’ve been stuck with this song and when I ran into David the day before, the inspiration suddenly overflowed. I thought it would be only fair to share it with him and fortunately, he is also interested in music.”

Was he? Nine arched an eyebrow in disbelief. He didn’t know that.

“Wanna hear it?” David looked at Nine and beamed, his eyes too bright and hopeful for Nine to dare utter a refusal. He still hadn’t fully recovered from the single time he’d experienced David’s singing; however, despite his reason and instinct both screaming “no”, his head nodded on its own account.

This was enough a cue for Frank and David to start. Here it began, Nine’s fifteen minutes of blissful submergence in ‘the most likable song ever.’

And that wasn’t the worst part because a few days later, when Nine came to David’s lair as usual, he was greeted by the sight of a large papier-mâché head disturbingly similar to Frank’s, the only difference being the hair platinum blond instead of dark.

“So… this is your… project?”

“Yup!” answered David in a gleeful tone – second personality still on surface – before he put the head on. “How’s that?”

“… Great…” Nine replied, not trying to hide his wince. He wondered if the Wishing Tree could extend its powers to weaken David’s odd fascination with the head until it faded.

… or strengthen his tolerance of it.

Erik & Charles

That scholarship, unwanted by any students in Shaw’s Highs, was desperately yearned for by Charles.

Really, who would want to acquire a scholarship that granted them the full use of the dorm and its facilities during the long holiday season? Most would want to go home and spend time with their family or travel or both; a year spent in the school’s absurdities frantically screamed for a break. Nevertheless, most weren’t Charles Xavier; most didn’t have a drunken mother, an abusive stepfather and a violent stepbrother; one was enough to make a person want to run away from home, let alone a horrible combination of three. Charles much preferred the maze of cream-colored walls littered with bizarre artworks (Mister Essex’s collection – Mister Shaw’s dismay) than the bleached-white columns and high windows confining a rigid, stagnant air of the Xavier mansion.

Getting a scholar nobody wanted shouldn’t be challenging, yet Mister Shaw and his evil staff just had to make it difficult, making it desirable. Despite all of its ridiculous criteria, so far Charles had managed to meet all requirements. All he needed was another ‘social contribution credit’ and the scholarship was his to take.

“So, I need to help Erik Lehnsherr improve his scores?”

“That’s right, sugar,” Miss Frost replied, shifting her posture so that it looked like she was serious, which she was not – there was absolutely nothing in this world, the Apocalypse included, that could get Emma Frost to at least try to be serious, her students (or ‘clients’ as she insisted) reached a general conclusion.

“You have the highest scores in your class and he had the lowest so it’s naturally our school’s tradition that the better students should provide aid to the difficult students. We’re counting on you to help dear Erik advance in his academic pursuit. Then the dorm and its facilities are yours to use.”

“I understand, Miss Frost. I’ll do my best to help Erik.”

When Charles left Miss Frost’s office, he was entirely confident that he could help Erik get better in his study. He had done a great deal of tutoring before, both fellow graders and juniors and sometimes even seniors; he didn’t see how it should be difficult with Erik. Although Charles had never really talked to Erik – nerds and delinquents (Charles’s classmates’ words, not his) just couldn’t mix – the German student didn’t appear dull to him, quite the opposite if he were to trust his own judgment; all the boy needed was a little aid and his talents would soar.

By the end of his first tutoring session, Charles’s confidence was entirely, utterly shattered. His judgment was right – Erik had no problems in studying whatsoever; he was smart and he could easily top his classmates if he wanted to. That was where the grievous issue lied: Erik absolutely didn’t want to study at all!

Now, it was Charles who had to depend on Erik if he really wanted to get the scholarship. And so far, Erik had been uncooperative at best.

If only Erik would do his homework though, thought Charles with a lengthy sigh as he was standing under the Wishing Tree. Charles didn’t believe in the legends at all, being both atheistic and rational, but then despair (in Charles’s case, the long holiday season drawing nearer) could do funny things to a person’s mind. Before his stressed out mind could come up with a sound solution, one based on reasons and logics and didn’t involve a wishing tree or anything of this sort, Charles Xavier found himself unwillingly making a wish under the canopy of the tree.

The foliage rustled and a leave landed perfectly on Charles’s open palm. Fascinated by the color – sky-blue to signal the coming of autumn – he pressed it in his notebook and headed to find Erik.

The lawn was where he found Erik, stretching his long, graceful limbs on his usual spot, eyes half-closed like a dozing cat. Skipping class as usual, Charles thought with an inward sigh as he approached him.

“Morning,” Charles greeted and Erik cracked open one eye, steel-blue and too bright for someone just waking up. “Charles,” Erik addressed him by his name – his habitual greeting whenever he saw Charles.

Charles allowed himself a tiny happiness every time Erik greeted him in that manner – at least he noticed Charles, acknowledged his presence while he just promptly ignored most other students and even teachers (Mister Essex and Miss Frost didn’t take it very nicely). “A little early for a nap, isn’t it?” he asked and sat down on the lawn beside Erik.

“Been late last night,” Erik grunted a reply and fumbled in his jeans pocket for a cigarette packet and a zippo. The smoke caused Charles to frown in disapproval, which Erik conveniently ignored.

Theoretically speaking, Shaw’s Highs had a strict regulation against smoking on campus, but so far, the principal was the only one adhered to it (out of concern for money rather than health). Considering Mister Essex’s beloved silver case of cigarette he was rarely seen without or Mister’s Howlett habit of lecturing while holding a Cuban cigar between his lips, it was both hypocritical and useless to forbid the consumption of nicotine among students.

“Morning ritual,” Charles told him as he settled his satchel on the grass. Erik’s respond was a light jerk of his head to his duffle bag, which Charles opened and searched for his notebook, despite knowing the result beforehand.

Erik’s eyes shot open when he was about to drift off, at the sound of Charles’s cry.

“Jesus, Erik, you’ve done your homework today!” Charles exclaimed. “It must be a miracle.”

“What?” was the only word reeling in Erik’s confused mind. He was certain as hell he hadn’t even touched the notebook, how the heck had he done it? He didn’t even know what it was about!

“Oh My God! You’ve done it all wrong, even the simplest, most basic exercise,” Charles cried.

Erik had to be some kind of a saint if he didn’t react now, and he wasn’t. He sat right up, his back straighter than a pole, his eyes keen and concealing rage as he grabbed the notebook from Charles.

The hell?

Erik felt a strong urge to facepalm himself. It was exactly like Charles said; every exercise was horrendously wrong, down to the simplest, easiest one. To add salt to the gaping wound of his pride and IQ, Charles was looking at him with his big, baby blue eyes full of sympathy and probably a little pity.

“It’s OK, Erik,” he said, putting his hand on Erik’s shoulder for consolation. “I’m sure if we try enough, you won’t have to repeat a year.”

Repeat a year? His mother wouldn’t like it… Wait a minute!

Was this some sort of not-so-funny prank? Erik was damn sure this homework (and every homework preceding it) was beneath his ability; he could do it half-asleep!

“I didn’t do it, Charles,” Erik deadpanned.

“Then who else?” Charles asked, turning the pages so Erik could have a look. “Your handwriting, right? Don’t be embarrassed for being a good student once in a while. Though I really hope you keep this attitude.”

While Charles was getting his hope for the scholarship up, Erik was sinking into deep frustration. No matter how much he wanted to deny it wasn’t, it was, indeed, his own hand writing, the stupid answers being another matter.

A thought flashed him. Had he been sleep-walking last night? Sleep-walking wasn’t something new to him – he had been told – but this time, instead of the usual sleep-walking, he had been sleep-doing his homework? Well, that explained his hand writing and the answers being retarded. It had to.

“Now, Erik, let’s work on fixing those answers. Mister Essex’s joy of you actually doing his homework wouldn’t last long once he saw what you did.”

Having no way to rebuke, Erik, for once, listened to Charles.

To his dismay, Erik’s horrible sleep-homework-doing continued. Now it wasn’t just math homework but other subjects as well: his essay on Shakespeare’s Macbeth was like a review of Scary Movie (and not a particularly good one); he (no, his sleep-homework-doing self!) had mistaken Canada for Australia and his report on World War II sounded very similar to Mel Brooks’ Springtime for Hitler (Charles had pointed out; Erik didn’t even watch that movie!). Until one day, Erik finally decided that he would take no more insults to his IQ and make sure he finished his homework, every single subject, before going to bed.

By the end of the term, Erik had made an incredible leap, from the bottom of his class straight to the top, making both his teachers and classmates drop their jaws in awe. As a reward for his outstanding effort, Charles earned his scholarship, which he shared with, unsurprisingly, none other than Erik.

Well, who said nerds and delinquents didn’t mix?

Anyone can guess who Mister Howlett is?

Stelios & Leto

Leto wasn’t particularly happy today.

Well, to be fair, every other day he wasn’t particularly happy either. Nor was he sad, stressed or angry; the Crown Prince of Arrakis had learned from a young age to always keep a mild attitude toward everything – to keep his head cool and his mind clear for any matters that may arise, his father had told him.

Everything changed once he’d entered Shaw’s High and befriended Stelios. From the moment the older boy had grabbed his hand and toured him around the campus, his cheekiness had bypassed Leto’s many barriers and found a way into his heart, and the young prince had started to think perhaps he could allow himself to keep a less mild attitude toward everything around him,… toward Stelios.

… especially Stelios.

That was the reason for Leto’s unhappy state today. Stelios had been skipping class for the last two days, which was certainly odd since he was always so eager to study – a stark contrast to the lazy football player stereotype. Moreover, he had been skipping practice for two days; considering his great love for football, it must have been a real torture for him.

It was, indeed, a torture: Stelios Atromitos, who claimed to be a descendant of the formidable Spartan warriors, who had gone through last year’s H5N1 outbreak unscathed, had been afflicted by the common cold. ‘Satan’s cold’ he’d labeled it, for it had been keeping him glued to his bed for four days (weekend included). And things were getting dreadful for him as the National High School League was only a day away and his condition so far had shown no sight of improvement.

Leto was truly worried. It took him some time to realize the tight feeling in his chest – unfamiliar, alien – was his worry that Stelios wouldn’t recover in time for the crucial game, that he would lose his life-time chance to get an entrance ticket to his intended university. Leto had never had worry for anyone before; when he did, it hit him hard enough to spring him into immediate action. He dashed to his flat and made his first willing phone call to his royal butler back in Arrakis, who had the only phone in the entire kingdom. He gave what was his first princely order, that the royal butler would send him the Sreen herb, the holy antidote to the common cold, as soon as possible, and by any means possible.

The package arrived in his flat exactly three and a half hours later.

Sreen was extra-rare this time of the year and the old butler, probably too touched by the young prince’s order, had packed the whole kingdom’s supply (which was only about a small bowlful by the way) and had it sent to Leto. Now if anyone in Arrakis were to catch a cold, well, they just had to endure until it was gone. Though Leto did feel a tiny bit of guilt for taking the kingdom’s supply, he didn’t hesitate to put all the Sreen herb he got into one steaming bowl of chicken soup ready to be delivered to Stelios’s dorm room. (Don’t underestimate Leto; our prince was actually a super-terrific cook, according to Stelios and the Sparta team.)

… and that was the only explanation to his horrible mood at the moment. “Damn cat!” thought the young prince – his very first touch of vulgar words. Some stray black cat had miraculously broken into his kitchen, breaking his elaborate security system (the Crown Prince’s place, what do you expect?) to commit the most atrocious act possible: it had caused Leto’s painstakingly prepared soup to spill all over the counter. Besides having to clean up the mess, all his effort was washed down the sink (quite literally).

Now he was here, under the Wishing Tree, doing the most unbelievable thing he’d thought he would ever do (apart from cooking healing broth for a certain someone): he was making a wish that Stelios’s ailment would go away before tomorrow so that he would be able to participate in the game.

Charles and Nine had told him if a leaf landed on his open palm then his wish would likely be granted. Thus Leto opened his palm and waited while thinking his wish. He half expected nothing would fall, still being rather skeptical about the whole wishing-tree-thing. What he didn’t expect was a bunch of leaves falling over his head, causing the prince to look quite ridiculous provided that someone passed by and witnessed. Leto was definitely NOT amused!

Stelios’s room was dim, with little street light passing through the worn blinds. His lanky roommate wasn’t in, likely to be studying (and sleeping) in the library for all Leto knew. As he entered, Leto tried to quiet his footsteps as best as he could so that he wouldn’t disturb his best friend’s rest. Stelios opened his eyes when Leto’s presence drew near him nonetheless.

“Leto…” he greeted, voice too hoarse and thick to be audible. He reached out for the bed lamp, switching it on.

Leto was quick to push him down the bed when he attempted to sit up.

“Don’t! Just rest, Ste, sorry I disturbed you.”

“Not really…” Stelios replied and cleared his throat. Surprisingly, his voice was much clearer when he continued, “I was about to get up anyway.”

“How are you feeling? Any fever? Chill?”

Leto pressed his palm against Stelios’s forehead; he was half-surprised, half-blessed to feel a normal temperature on his skin.

Stelios obviously enjoyed this gesture of Leto as he grinned cheekily and held his friend’s wrist. “I’m feeling good… refreshed, maybe even a little energetic. I went to sleep feeling like I had been on fire but now I feel really healthy. Like someone had taken the cold while I was sleeping.”

Leto was beaming at him. “That’s terrific news, Ste. Meaning you can play in the game tomorrow.”

“That I can, absolutely… unless the cold returns and catches me in my sleep.”

“Don’t jinx us by saying that!” Leto chided him, not harshly.

“Then please stay and keep it from catching me, Your Highness!” Stelios plead, pressing Leto’s hand to his cheek.

Stelios had been teasing him since he learned of Leto’s royal status. Well, if he wanted to play…

“Touching a royal member is a serious crime in Arrakis,” Leto warned him, trying to sound serious. “You could lose a hand for that.”

“Then I desperately need to find a way to lessen my punishment. Let’s say, pleasing the prince…”

His voice trailed off and he leaned in for a kiss (that may or may not lead to… other things). Leto ducked him.

“Now that’s a harsh punishment!” Stelios groaned.

Leto smiled, quite content with himself, and unwrapped the lunch box he had with him. “That can wait until you truly recover,” he said.

Soon as he opened the box, a warm, sweet aroma filled the tiny space between them. “You’re just afraid you’ll catch the cold right?” Stelios pouted, but his eyes instantly lit up at the sight of food. Extremely good food. Prepared by the prince’s own hand. He had already forgotten his mild frustration for not getting his kiss after days when he had a spoonful of Leto’s soup.

“I intended to cook you a cold-warding broth with the special herb from my kingdom,” Leto said, watching with delight as his friend digesting the soup with eagerness; appetite was a good sign of recovery. “A bloody black cat invaded the kitchen and ruined it all. Talk about bad luck.”

“How could it break into your flat?” Stelios asked, stupefied. Even a ninja couldn’t pass all the tiny hidden traps Leto had set.

“Heaven knows,” Leto scoffed, “if I ever see it again I’ll catch it and…”

“And?” Stelios echoed. He was intrigued by how Leto would treat his invader – Leto, the prince who had never spoken loudly, let alone gotten angry.

“… and give it to Ghanima.”

“… OK… that’s cruel. Totally cruel.”

It sure was.

“Anyway, you’ll come and watch right?”

“Of course,” Leto answered, “I even got the permission from Mister Shaw. To cheer the team, he said.”

A mischievous grin crept its way to Stelios’s lips.

“But don’t expect me to hold a pompom and sing!”

Having finished his soup in minutes, Stelios carefully wrapped the lunch box as it had been before bursting into laughter. The thought had not occurred to him, not until Leto said it out loud. He was grinning just because he knew it would unsettle Leto. On the other hand, Leto would look very fine dancing and cheering, with or without a pompom.

“That’s a true pity… for our team.”

He sighed and licked his lips, bringing his face closer to Leto’s. “But one good-luck kiss is not asking too much, right?”

And Leto, being a hidden tease Stelios had just noticed, put a hand on his lips and whispered, “Save it for the victory.”

Stelios grunted – no real heat – and dragged Leto down to lie next to him on his bed. The prince easily obliged, nestling his head in the juncture between Stelios’s neck and shoulder. From this close distance, he could peek into Stelios’s pajama; the taut muscle of his chest colored up his cheeks, which Leto would be grateful that the faint light wasn’t able to reveal.

“Please ward the cold off should it return, my prince.” Stelios managed to steal a quick peck on his cheek before switching the bed lamp off.

“… or receive it for you,” Leto quipped.

“… or that. Either is fine.” Stelios replied, his smugness palpable despite the darkness that blanketed the room.

“Nothing else?”

“Nothing else. Totally innocent, promise, on the honor of the Atromitos.”

Leto’s soft laughter echoed between them.

They managed to stay true to Stelios’s promise, despite a few accidental gropes during the night. Other than those, things remained innocent enough.

As it turned out the next day, Leto’s good-luck kiss did much wonder as the Wishing Tree.

Epilogue

Azazeal

Sitting up from his high branch, Azazeal stretched his long limbs and started his day with a yawn. It was still a little early in the morning and the weather was so nice that he hoped he could have a lazy day, just dozing off on his favorite spot on the tree. His existence in this world was nothing more than a persistent specter – nothing to do, no purpose to live – he could have all the time in this world to spend dozing on the branch until Apocalypse if he wanted. But then, he was in Shaw’s Highs and in Shaw’s Highs, there was no such thing as a lazy day.

“Oh,” Azazeal arched a fine eyebrow and looked down from his spot. Wasn’t that the boy from…? Pardon his Dory’s brain for not being able to remember the boy’s class. At least he could put a name to him. What was it again? Nine, right! Azazeal had a soft spot for honest, hard-working, good-mannered boys, especially those who shared his star-crossed lover’s face.

“Looking for David huh?” Azazeal murmured to himself as he extended his mind like a humongous cobweb covering the whole school. Various thoughts swam in and he winced, putting more concentration on shutting them down so that he could seek for David’s. It took him some time (which was only three or four seconds at most) before he could touch David’s mind, buzzing with excitement as he was in a vigorous discussion with Frank, something about ‘the most likable song ever’. He focused his energy and sent a mental note to Frank, who answered with a pleasant tone. Excellent, he thought, no need to go the long way to form an idea and have it planted on David’s mind.

A blue leaf left the branch and landed on top of Nine’s head. “Granted,” Azazeal whispered and was ready to doze off.

He could count on Frank – he always did – since the day his wandering mind caught an unexpected reply from Frank. For some reason beyond his comprehension, Frank could see him, could communicate with him, verbally and mentally, though the enigmatic musician preferred the latter.

That someone could hear him, knew of him was a silent wish he only dared to recite in dream, if he could truly dream at all. He would have thanked His Father, provided that He cared to listen to his forsaken son.

Azazeal heard the second wish minutes after Nine had left with Frank; it was Charles’s this time. His curiosity was instantly piqued. Charles was a child of science and logical thinking; the Wishing Tree or anything of this sort was far left out from his perimeter. Azazeal could almost imagine his reaction if someone told Charles there was an Alterum sitting on the branch directly above him. He still loved the boy though. His lover used to have the same light in his bright blue eyes as Charles did – the delightful thirst for learning when Azazeal shared a bit of Heavenly knowledge with him as they were planting the tree – Azazeal’s shelter in Shaw’s Highs a millennia later.

Erik again, Azazeal’s surprise was short-lived. If there was a person who could make Charles stand under the Wishing Tree, he was sure it could only be the German boy. Unfortunately, Erik seemed to copy Azazeal’s stubbornness down to the core, and had it magnified by a dozen.

An idea flashed. It was worth a try, he thought.

He pinched a leaf from the tree and aimed it at Charles’s open palm.

As Charles left, happier than when he’d come, a notebook materialized in Azazeal’s hand.

Apparently, arithmetic was the hardest kind of spell he had ever come across.

Ghanima

“Hey, kitty, kitty!”

After making sure she was alone, Ghanima looked up the Wishing Tree and began calling.

“Hey, kitty, kitty!” she repeated, adding more boldness to her volume.

“Very funny, princess,” a hoarse voice answered Ghanima, from the foliage above her.

Her gaze found a figure clad in black lying, no, draping his long limbs on the branch in a rather undignified manner. Judging by his position, it seemed as if a gust of wind could have swept him off the tree.

A look of concern crossed Ghanima’s pretty face as she studied his countenance. “What’s wrong, Az? You look like dead.”

“Half-dead…” he corrected her. “… I was…”

A sudden outburst of sneezing assaulted him and Ghanima witnessed, half-amused, half-terrified, Azazeal’s series of sneezes cause a flurry of leaves to fall down, together with the Alterum himself.

“Oh dear, are you alright Az?”

She hurried to his side and helped him up with ease; Azazeal, despite his look, was as light as a baby. “Any bones broken?”

“I have no corporeal body, Ghanima,” he reminded her, voice hoarse yet warm. It was wrong to say he wasn’t touched by her concern.

Ghanima was another reason he wanted to express his gratefulness to His Father. Although she occasionally acted princess-ly and colored his days at Shaw’s Highs with so many interesting shades, not to mention her accent always made his name, shortened by her choice, sound a lot like ‘ass’, she was his closest friend.

“Yet this no-corporeal-body person is suffering a frenzy of sneezes,” she said, a touch of sarcasm to hide her relief.

Transferentem.”

“What does it mean?”

“Transferring,” he explained. “I’m having it in place of another person.”

“Let me guess, Stelios, right?” Ghanima smiled, tugging a wavy lock behind her ear. “He’d been bed-ridden for days and suddenly he was all good again. Like someone’d taken away his cold.”

“Leto told you everything right?”

“Yup, we’re close like that.” Playing idly with the end of her hair, she continued, “He also told me a mysterious black cat had broken into his kitchen and ruined his painstakingly prepared remedy soup.”

“It smelled and tasted like poison,” Azazeal scoffed, “the worst kind. If Stelios had eaten it, he would have been hospitalized.”

“You know nothing, Az.” Ghanima clucked her tongue and shook her head ruefully. “Sreen’s supposed to taste like that – bitter swirls the cold away. Works everytime. It’s sort of an elixir in Arrakis.”

Azazeal blinked at her with his red-rimmed, bleary eyes, the corner of his mouth twitching. He said, after a while, “I guess that was all the elixir you and Leto have?”

“Unfortunately yes. Sreen isn’t in season this time of the year.”

“Guess I have to grit my teeth through it then,” Azazeal said with weak laughter. “Lucifer’s cold…”

He was halted abruptly by another heavy fit of sneezing, which caused leaves to fall on them like rain.

…well, on Ghanima actually. Being without corporeal body had its advantage.

“Oh dear.” Ghanima winced as she tried to untangle the leaves from her hair. Her eyes caught sight of an open notebook discarded on the small heap of leaves.

“I still can make you chicken soup though, if you can eat,” she said, looking at the words on the open paper, “… what were you doing with World War II?”

“Transferring,” he replied curtly.

Adolf Hitler was a paper hanger, no one more obscurer,” Ghanima grabbed the notebook and began reading aloud. “He got a phone call from the Reichstag which told him he was Fuhrer...”  Her elegant eyebrow knitted as she continued, “Germany was blue… What was this Az? Sounds a lot like Mel Brooks’ Springtime for Hitler. Great movie by the way. Just not something I expect to find on – what – a history report?! You sure you don’t need help with this?”

“About the movie, I agree. About the report… it’s transferring… it isn’t supposed to be historically correct…” he replied before being reduced to a quivering mess of sneezes.

Patting his back in comfort, Ghanima let the matter about World War II and Hitler being a paper hanger slip. As the state he was in now, Ghanima wasn’t surprised about how little sense he made.

End

Cherik/McFassy Fanvids (2)

[Cherik/Fassavoy]AUIlluminated

  • Nhạc: Illuminated (Hurts)
  • Hình ảnh: Shame (2011) // Filth (2013)
  • Nhân vật: Brandon Sullivan (Michael) x Bruce Robertson (James)
  • Plot: Không có plot cụ thể. Vid chỉ mô tả những đau đớn, tuyệt vọng của hai nhân vật Brandon và Bruce.
  • Ấn tượng: Bạn Joel thích bài hát này từ khi xem một fanvid ghép Mike Cá Mập với Logan Lerman (Vampire AU, Azazeal là vampire và đi dụ dỗ trẻ em mới lớn). Giai điệu cộng với phối màu trong vid cho bạn cảm giác ‘stream of consciousness’; Brandon và Bruce đều mắc kẹt trong ý thức của chính mình, không thể nào thoát khỏi được.

You and I [Charles&Erik AU]

  • Nhạc: You and I (Ingrid Michaelson)
  • Hình ảnh: Fish Tank (2009) // Starter for Ten (2006)
  • Nhân vật: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael) x Charles Xavier (James)
  • Plot: Charles và Erik cùng thuê một căn nhà. Câu chuyện và tình cảm hai người phát triển từ đó.
  • Ấn tượng: Bạn Joel ấn tượng với fanvid này bởi vì bạn xem nó ngay sau khi xem “Das Lauten in der Ferne” – một fanvid Cherik khác (sẽ nói sau). Sau khi lên xuống đủ mọi cung bậc cảm xúc với “Das Lauten in der Ferne” thì “You & I” giống như một món tráng miệng nhẹ nhàng mà ngọt ngào – một lựa chọn tốt nếu bạn muốn thư giãn thay vì giày vò cảm xúc mình với các loại fic/vid chia ly quằn quại.

X-men AU – Das Lauten in der Ferne

  • Nhạc: Das Meer (Diorama)
  • Hình ảnh: đếm sơ sơ thì có Hex (2004-2005) // Penelope (2006) // Band of Brothers (2001) // Inglorious Basterds (2009) // The Atonement (2007) và nghe đồn rằng có lấy cả hình ảnh từ Supernatural
  • Nhân vật: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael) x Charles Xavier (James)
  • Plot: Một câu chuyện hoàn chỉnh, có mở đầu và kết thúc rõ ràng. Erik và Charles gặp nhau trong quân đội (WWII) và nảy sinh tình cảm. Charles hi sinh trên chiến trường và Erik đồng ý bán linh hồn cho quỷ để Charles sống lại – không còn chút ký ức nào về Erik. Erik – lúc này đã là quỷ – nhưng vẫn xuất hiện trước mặt Charles. Tình cảm hai người nối lại và ký ức của Charles phục hồi. Cái giá phải trả là cái chết của cậu. Erik đồng ý thực hiện giao ước với quỷ một lần nữa.
  • Ấn tượng: Điều khiến bạn Joel click vào vid này chính là cái tựa tiếng Đức của nó (tính tò mò nổi lên). Và thật may mắn khi tìm được một vid nhạc hay, hình ảnh ghép tương đối mượt và cốt truyện mạch lạc. Điều đáng tiếc nhất là fanvid này dựa trên một fic Cherik… viết bằng tiếng Nga…

Cherik AU – While Your Lips Are Still Red

  • Nhạc: While Your Lips Are Still Red (Nightwish)
  • Hình ảnh: Hex (2004-2005) // Penelope (2005) // X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • Nhân vật: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael) x Charles Xavier (James)
  • Plot: Erik và Charles là tình nhân. Vì một lý do nào đó, Charles qua đời còn Erik trở nên bất tử (quỷ??). Họ gặp lại nhau và bắt đầu một câu chuyện mới.
  • Ấn tượng: Bạn thích bài “While Your Lips Are Still Red” ngay từ lần nghe đầu tiên và tìm cách down vid này về bằng được (down từ tudou khó hơn down từ Youtube). Ban đầu cũng hơi bị dội khi Erik/Azazeal yêu cầu Charles/Johnny ‘sacrifice’ để giúp anh phục hồi. May mà đến khúc cuối Erik/Azazeal nói: “Love is a sacrifice too”, tức là Charles/Johnny chỉ cần yêu anh thôi là đủ, không cần sacrifice gì cả (vậy chứ ban đầu anh cầm con dao chi cho con nhà người ta sợ vậy =__=).

Michael And James: I Would Die for You

  • Nhạc: Crush (Garbage)
  • Hình ảnh: Wanted (2008) // Murphy’s Law (2005)
  • Nhân vật: Caz Miller (Michael) x Wesley Gibson (James)
  • Plot: Không có plot cụ thể.
  • Ấn tượng: Cazley của bạn ~~. Một fanvid hiếm hoi thấy đầy đủ sự bạo lực của Wes và sự nham nhở của Caz – nhất là cảnh Wes dí súng vào ngực Caz mà anh chàng không những không hoảng còn chu môi… hôn gió Wes nữa chứ. Ngoài lề một tý, bài hát trong vid cũng là nhạc chủ đề của Hex – nói về một bạn stalker with a crush. Tuy nhạc hay nhưng bạn chưa hiểu vì sao tác giả ghép bài này vào đây – Wes với Caz thì ai stalk ai, ai crush với ai?

Stelios/Leto || Make Me Wanna Die

  • Nhạc: Make Me Wanna Die (The Pretty Reckless)
  • Hình ảnh: 300 (2005) // Children of Dune (2004)
  • Nhân vật: Stelios (Michael) x Leto Atreides II (James)
  • Plot: Giống như “I Would Die for You”, vid này cũng không có plot cụ thể. Hơn nữa, tác giả đã xóa bản full trên Youtube, chỉ để lại bản short, và dĩ nhiên là bản short không có đoạn Stelios nói: “I’ve fought countless times, but I’ve never met an adversary who could offer what we Spartans call a ‘beautiful death’. Maybe there’s one down there… who’s up to the task” và ngay sau đó, Leto nhìn anh đầy thách thức: “The answer’s standing right in front of you.”
  • Ấn tượng: Một vid hiếm hoi ship Stelios/Leto so với rất nhiều vid ship Quintus/Leto. Công bằng mà nói, Quintus nhiều hình ảnh hơn, còn Stelios nhà mình toàn phim nói được vài câu, còn cảnh thì toàn quanh quẩn trên chiến trường. Nhưng có lẽ do bạn gặp Stelios/Leto trước nên ấn tượng với cp này mạnh hơn Quintus/Leto (dù bạn không hề phản đối Quintus/Leto).

Mr & Mr Lehnsherr

  • Nhạc: ??
  • Hình ảnh: X-Men: First Class (2011) // Shame (2011) // Haywire (2011) // Trance (2013) // Wanted (2008) // Murphy’s Law (2005) etc.
  • Nhân vật: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael) x Charles Xavier(James)
  • Plot: Đúng như cái tên của nó, đây là parody của phim Mr & Mrs Smith.
  • Ấn tượng: Thêm một crack vid vào list. Sau khi xem vid (và cười một trận), bạn hăm hở đi tìm fic vì nghe thiên hạ đồn vid dựa trên fic/fic dựa trên vid/ whatever. Đáng tiếc, fic rơi vào đúng thể loại cún blood bạn dị ứng – drop sau khi cố gắng lê lết 6 chap.

Note:

Còn tiếp

Cherik/McFassy Fanvids (1)

Roman AU – Butterfly

  • Nhạc: Butterfly (?)
  • Hình ảnh: Centurion (2010) // Children of Dune (2003)
  • Nhân vật: Quintus Dias (Michael) x Leto Atreides II (James)
  • Plot: Quintus là một centurion (một cấp chỉ huy trong binh đoàn La Mã) nhưng bị chính những quan chức La Mã hãm hại. Trong quá trình chạy trốn truy sát, anh gặp Leto. Từ đó, số phận hai người đan xen vào nhau. Trải qua nhiều thử thách, sau cùng họ có được kết cục viên mãn.
  • Ấn tượng: Đây không phải là fanvid Cherik/McFassy bạn xem nhưng là một trong những fanvid bạn đánh giá rất cao vì nhạc hay, hình ảnh đẹp và ghép khá mượt. Và yếu tố quan trọng nhất khi bạn đánh giá một fanvid là plot tương đối rõ ràng do điều này thể hiện tác giả rất đầu tư cho sản phẩm của mình thay vì chỉ cắt cắt ghép ghép hình ảnh lại với nhau.

[Cherik/Fassavoy] Hard Fate

  • Nhạc:命硬 / Hard Fate (?)
  • Hình ảnh: bạn Joel bất lực trong việc đếm hình ảnh trong vid này +__+ (may mà cuối vid có list phim)
  • Nhân vật: …nhưng đỡ bất lực hơn trong việc đếm couples:
  1. George Abernethie (After the Funeral) x Robbie Turner (The Atonement)
  2. Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre) x Tom Lefroy (Becoming Jane)
  3. Quintus Dias (Centurion) x Leto Atreides II (Children of Dune)
  4. Azazeal (Hex) x Johnny Martin (Penelope)
  5. David 8 (Prometheus) x Rory O’Shea (Inside I’m Dancing)
  6. Bobby Sands (Hunger) x Frederick Aiken (The Conspirator)
  7. Counselor (The Counselor) x Nicholas Garrigan (The Last King of Scotland)
  8. Brandon Sullivan (Shame) x Simon Newton (Trance)
  9. Erik Lehnsherr x Charles Xavier (X-Men: First Class)
  • Plot: Mỗi couple có một câu chuyện riêng – có khi là đoàn viên (như Quintus và Leto), cũng có khi là chia lìa, mất mát (như Counselor và Nicholas etc.).
  • Ấn tượng: Bạn Joel luôn cho rằng fanvid Tây và lắp nhạc Tàu vô nó cứ… thốn thế nào ấy, nhưng fanvid này đã hoàn toàn thay đổi suy nghĩ của bạn. Tác giả rất cất công lựa chọn phim cũng như ghép cảnh để mỗi couple có một câu chuyện – người xem có thể hiểu đây là những câu chuyện hoàn toàn độc lập, hoặc hiểu rằng đây là những kiếp sống của hai linh hồn – hầu như kiếp này cũng kết thúc trong tuyệt vọng. Nhưng đến kiếp cuối cùng (Erik và Charles), một tia hy vọng đã lóe lên với hình ảnh Erik và Charles gặp lại nhau (dù không chắc mối tình của họ sẽ đi đến đâu).

James McAvoy/Michael Fassbender Xover

  • Nhạc: ???
  • Hình ảnh: bạn Joel bất lực trong việc đếm hình ảnh trong vid này +__+ (và thật may khi có list phim)
  • Nhân vật: …và càng bất lực hơn trong việc đếm couples +____+
  • Plot: Cũng như Hard Fate, vid này cũng tập hợp rất nhiều couple McFassy.
  • Ấn tượng: Sau Hard Fate và vid, bạn Joel nhận ra mình rất thích thể loại vid ghép nhiều couple vì được nhìn hai anh ở nhiều hình dạng và trạng thái khác nhau, dù có couple bạn ship cật lực cũng như những couple bạn… chẳng cảm nhận được gì cả.

There! Right There!

  • Nhạc: There! Right There! (nhạc kịch Legally Blonde)
  • Hình ảnh: X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • Nhân vật: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael) x Charles Xavier (James) & các nhân vật trong First Class
  • Plot: Hầu như không có plot cụ thể, cả vid chủ yếu là các nhân vật trong First Class (mở đầu là Raven) tranh luận xem rốt cuộc Erik là “gay hay người Châu Âu” (một số người Mỹ cho rằng người Châu Âu ẻo lả, bóng bẩy, không đủ nam tính etc.). Và sau đó tranh luận kết thúc bằng tuyên bố vĩ đại của giáo sư Charles: “Erik vừa gay và vừa là người Châu Âu. (Và không có gì đáng xấu hổ cả).”
  • Ấn tượng: Fanvid crack đã hiếm, mà crack chất lượng chỉ đếm trên đầu ngón tay. Đây là một trong số đó. Điểm trừ của vid là không có sub và người xem phải căng tai ra nghe rốt cuộc nhân vật đang hát cái gì.

Charles / Erik – Watch Me Fall Apart [Dark!AU]

  • Nhạc: Watch Me Fall Apart (HARD-FI)
  • Hình ảnh: X-Men: First Class (2011) // Eden Lake (2008) // Wanted (2008) // Blood Creek (2009) // The Last King of Scotland (2006)
  • Nhân vật: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael) x Charles Xavier (James)
  • Plot: Charles và Erik kết bạn (và hơn cả bạn). Nhưng một ngày, Charles mắc sai lầm khi nói “Họ [binh lính] chỉ làm theo lệnh mà thôi!”. Câu nói này chạm đến nỗi đau của Erik và anh quyết định để Charles nếm thử những đau đớn mà anh từng trải qua bởi những kẻ “chỉ làm theo lệnh mà thôi”.
  • Ấn tượng: Đây là fanvid Cherik đầu tiên bạn Joel xem và nó để lại ấn tượng sâu sắc nhất – nhạc nền ấn tượng, hình ảnh và hiệu ứng thể hiện rất tốt phần dark trong nội dung. Ban đầu, bạn Joel không để ý đến phần hướng dẫn của tác giả mà tự mò plot và kết quả là bạn Joel đã tưởng tượng ra một plot như thế này: Charles và Erik gặp gỡ trong quán bar. Charles dùng khả năng ngoại cảm của mình và ‘đọc’ được những suy nghĩ đen tối trong đầu Erik (muốn tổn thương, hành hạ) Charles. Vid kết thúc mở với câu nói của Erik: “Anh biết gì về tôi?” và Charles trả lời: “Mọi thứ.” Sau đó bạn Joel còn viết ra một fic ngắn lấy cảm hứng từ vid (N – Nightmare trong 26 Shades of Mind and Metal).

FASSAVOY || Will I Find You Again || Wartime Crossover

  • Nhạc: Hymn for the Missing (Red)
  • Hình ảnh: The Atonement (2007) // After the Funeral (2005)
  • Nhân vật: George Abernethie (Michael) x Robbie Turner (James)
  • Plot: Mối tình của George và Robbie là mối tình bị cấm – không chỉ vì cả hai đều là đàn ông mà còn vì chênh lệch giai cấp: George là công tử nhà giàu trong khi Robbie chỉ là con người thợ làm vườn. Họ bị phát hiện và Robbie bị bắt đi lính. Robbie chết trên chiến trường còn số phận George không rõ.
  • Ấn tượng: Một fanvid có hình ảnh đẹp, plot tương đối rõ ràng và nhạc nền phù hợp – lời hát cuối “Will I see you again?” hiện lên hình ảnh George đứng một mình trước ngôi biệt thự rộng lớn đầy ám ảnh.

[Cherik/Fassavoy] You Are My Sunshine

  • Nhạc: You Are My Sunshine (Willie Nelson)
  • Hình ảnh: Frank (2014) // Penelope (2006)
  • Nhân vật: Frank (Michael) x Johnny Martin (James)
  • Plot: Một câu chuyện nhẹ nhàng giữa Frank – một ca sĩ tài năng nhưng hơi có vấn đề tâm lý và Johnny Martin – một nhạc công nghiện bài bạc. Tuy tính cách, hoàn cảnh hoàn toàn khác biệt nhưng chính âm nhạc đã kết nối họ với nhau.
  • Ấn tượng: Bạn tìm thấy vid ngay sau khi xem Frank nên ấn tượng khá mạnh mẽ – thích những hình ảnh hài hước cũng như ca từ của bài hát. Ngoài lề: trước khi có Frank, fangirl thường ghép Johnny với… Azazeal và cá nhân bạn Joel thấy couple này là fail của fail.

Erik/Charles||cherik||AU||1874

  • Nhạc: 1874 (Eason Chan)
  • Hình ảnh: … cuối phim có list, cuối phim có list :v
  • Nhân vật: Erik Lehnsherr (Michael) x Charles Xavier (James)
  • Plot: Charles Xavier thường xuyên mơ một giấc mơ lạ – trong mơ anh thấy những giai đoạn trong cuộc đời một người (Erik Lehnsherr), từ lúc là thiếu gia một gia đình giàu có cho đến khi đi lính, và hy sinh. Một ngày nọ, Charles gặp một người ngoài đời có khuôn mặt hệt như Erik.
  • Ấn tượng: Nếu không có phần giới thiệu bao nhiêu bạn sẽ đoán được plot?? Dường như tạo ra plot hack não là sở thích của tác giả này, bằng chứng là một fanvid cherik khác (cũng trên nên bài 1874) cũng có plot rắc rối không kém – dù bạn đã xem hơn chục lần vẫn chưa thực sự hiểu chuyện gì đang xảy ra (và tác giả lẫn người up đều không giải thích :v). Btw, vid bạn Joel đang nói là đây:

Note:

Còn tiếp

[Cherik] Eden

Asgard

Disclaimer : Characters belong to their respectful owners.

Fandoms : Hex Season 1 & Season 2 (2005); multi-fandoms

Rating : T

Pairing(s) : Lucifer x Azazeal

Genres : Fanfiction, slash, crossover, AU

Characters : Lucifer (OC), Azazeal, James McAvoy’s fictional characters, Michael Fassbender’s fictional characters

Summary :

“Indeed I had a choice,” Lucifer admitted with a laugh, dry and void of his usual cheerfulness, “to leave my love for you or to leave Eden. Now I’m here.”

Though he had a vague idea that Lucifer was fascinated with him in some way, Azazeal was still taken aback by the other fallen angel’s straightforwardness. His eyes widened when he stared at Lucifer, whose gaze was filled with scathing lust.

“Now now, don’t make such a face, Azazeal,” Lucifer said and leaned in until his face almost touched Azazeal’s, distanced only by a hair strand. “My reason to have been cast out from Heaven is a running gag down here. Anyone with half an eye can tell I’m hopelessly smitten with you.”

You cast me out from Eden

My wings burned, and I’m forever banished from Heaven

On this earth where you so scorn

I shall make an Eden be born

And the wretched souls you deny

My own Eden they will find.

Eden

The White Queen let out an earth-shattering howl when the Black King’s lance seared through the tender flesh of her abdomen in one ferocious thrust. Blood blooming on her pristine white dress like wild roses, the Queen stared at her impaling wound, eyes wide with pain and betrayal; then her gaze shifted to the battlefield, where she witnessed her remaining subjects slaughtered by her beloved’s, their whites blanketing the battlefield like snow. Gathering her last breath, the White Queen launched forward, sword in hand and the pitch-black lance still embedded in her flesh. Defeat was pounding at her door, loud and clear, and she had already foreseen the ultimate outcome. But it was despair that lent her its vicious strength to swing her silver sword, cutting down the Black King’s subjects until they were the only ones left for the final showdown. Her mortal wound was bleeding profusely; so were her diamond eyes. Her vision dyed red, she watched the corner of his lips curve up.

“Checkmate!”

A clear voice echoed and the silver sword slipped from her bloody grip as the White Queen succumbed to her fate. Her form lost colors like a picture washed out until she was invisible to sight.

Alone on the once-battlefield free of white or black – the White Queen had taken them all with her – the Black king held his head high like any ruler should during his victorious march to the twin black marble thrones on which two obscure figures were seated. Kneeling on one knee, the Black King held his lance above his head, offering his triumph like a sacrifice.

… to God or Devil unknown.

The air was stiff and silent while the Black King remained in his kneeling position, an ancient statue frozen in time. One figure stood up from the throne and walked over to the King, the mist surrounding evaporating with each step to reveal a youthful form clad in Victorian midnight suit. An ivory-white hand laid flatly against the King’s weapon, the black of the sleeve and the black of the lance gnawing the white boundary to melt into one. “You have proven yourself and thus, accepted,” a voice, the same as earlier, said.

Laying his weapon on the ground, the Black King held the hand in his and placed a solemn kiss on the intricate tattoo on its back. The black ink that made up the symbol bled from pale skin in sinuous threads to weave themselves on the King’s hand, forming a new mark identical to the original. With blue eyes looking down on the king, the youthful face broke into an affable smile.

“Creature of Eden, now and forever. Now rise!”

The Black King slowly stood as per the voice’s command. Black mist rose with him, swirling around his majestic form until completely had him devoured. When the mist cleared out, the King’s presence went with it.

In the ivory-white hand, there was a sleek chess piece – the king.

“To the rest of you, Hell.”

Soon as the words left his lips, a whirlwind of wails ruptured the silence of the space. He spread his arms, lips curving in a half-smile as he fed on the agonies and despairs of the fallen. Eventually the wails died out and silence took reign once more.

“What do you think? He asked, turning around to face the other figure on the throne, which had stood up and was moving toward him with leisure pace.

“Dramatic,” the figure commented, its features clearer with the mist dissipating. One hand reaching into the pocket of his long, dark coat, the figure – a man – took out a silver cigarette case, got one and lit it with the tip of his forefinger. Inhaling a lungful of nicotine, he said, “One hell of a chess match.”

The half-smile was unaffected by the satirical tone as the other closed their distance. “Oh my,” he mumbled, lifting his hand – the hand bearing the symbol the Black King had kissed – to dry a straying teardrop, “much as I love your tear, nothing more beautiful, I find it devastating that you express sadness over… irrelevant matters, Azazeal.”

Though he didn’t flinch from the other’s touch – almost caress – Azazeal’s steel-blue eyes closely followed the hand’s every movement. He smiled, a small smile, untouched by genuine happiness, and said, “Perhaps I’ve changed… weak… sentimental… the result of my soul growing senile, perhaps. On the contrary, Lucifer, not a thing about you has truly changed.”

“Weak and senile? No, no Azazeal,” Lucifer said, shaking his head in amusement, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Just the more sentimental between the two of us, always. He told me once that He was worried – that while your sentimentality set you apart from the rest of us, it would one day lead you astray. How right He was, though I wasn’t surprised. And both He and you have judged me wrongly…”

Pressing his palm to his heart as if pained, he continued, “… that I am cold, heartless, calloused to feelings.”

“Is that so?” Azazeal asked, a hint of sarcasm. “I suppose you’re trying to say you feel sorry for the human souls that failed your ‘trial’?”

“You don’t think I do?”

Azazeal’s reply, or non-reply, was a smile as he took a long drag.

“I do feel pain, but that sensation is only fleeting,” Lucifer said ruefully, “as fleeting as mortal lives compared to ours. And it’s grown number with each trial passed. Moreover, what must be done has to be done…”

The White Queen’s appalling look when she had been pierced with the lance flashed Azazeal’s mind. “Even parents and their children, husbands and wives, or lovers?”

“Whatever they are to each other does not matter. The gate of my Eden only opens to truly worthy souls.”

A soft chuckle escaped Azazeal’s lips, together with a puff of smoke that was swallowed up by the crisp air before it had a chance to linger. “You don’t smoke?” he asked, out-of-the-blue, and held out his cigarette case in an offer.

“No, I find most mortal indulgence to be distasteful.”

“Considering you were the first to descend and has spent the longest time amongst mortals, it rather surprises me. I, on the contrary, find this ‘mortal indulgence’ only second to Eden’s fruit.”

“Alas,” Lucifer exclaimed, “Eden’s fruit I can’t offer you, my dear friend. However, may I ask if you care to join me for a cup of tea?”

He lowered himself in a bow – Victorian style. “And I haven’t got a proper chance to introduce you to my Eden.”

It was hard to deny he wasn’t the least impressed. “Your Eden?”

Lucifer gave him a knowing smile and extended his right hand to Azazeal.

Though he didn’t take Lucifer’s hand, he closed the distance between them all the same. “Briticism suits you, Lucifer, but I have a slight disagreement with the era,” he said, rewinding the brief memory of London’s shaded, filthy streets and the acrid smell of smog burning his nostrils in his mind. “And I suppose a soul like mine wouldn’t be deemed ‘worthy’ of your Eden, no?”

“Victorian era was a fascinating page in history, despite its decadence.” He took a short glance at his outfit before continued, “As to answer you, my friend, you are always the first to be welcomed in my Eden.”

“A great honor I’m uncertain that I deserve.”

Lucifer took a step back and extended his arms, lips chanting in an alien tongue even Azazeal couldn’t decipher. His words drew the curtain that separated his Eden from the rest of his world. For a moment that seemed to last for an eternity, Azazeal’s vision felt blinded and he almost believed he was being washed in the halo of God.

… which was practically ironic, considering everything was Lucifer’s doing.

Knowing beforehand that it was Lucifer’s creation didn’t impede the sense of awe flooding in, filling his ancient void of a soul when the sight of ‘Eden’ was presented to his eyes.

To all angels who had been cast out from God’s world, the image of Eden was the most haunting. It was precisely due to this palpable memory that all the Nephilims, led by Azazeal, were hell-bent on waging war against their once Father, their former Master.

That Eden was reconstituted in the depth of Abyss was a sheer blasphemy greater than the birth of the Antichrist – what had gone through his dark mind when committing such act was beyond Azazeal’s comprehension. Was it a revenge – to taint His most precious treasure in the pit of sins – or was it merely a whim? Either way, Azazeal knew he shouldn’t be surprised; he would never expect any less from the most powerful fallen angel.

As he studied the changes on Azazeal’s countenance, his perpetual half-smile blossomed into a full smile.

“I take that as your silent admiration of my craft,” he quipped and stepped forward, leading the way. The blue flowers that covered every inch of the earth – the second “sky” – inclined to one side to make way for them. “To tell the truth, Azazeal, I wasn’t entirely confident until I witnessed the look on your face.”

“I never take you for the humble kind, Lucifer,” he replied, reaching his hand out to catch a stray petal in the permanent soft breeze. Taking in its subtle fragrance and its silky texture, he continued, “You’re right. I was indeed stunned by the scrupulous treating of details. Even my own memory of Eden couldn’t reach that level of precision.”

“Now you do understand why I only allow the truly worthy souls to enter my Eden.”

A curt nod and a short laugh. Crushing the remaining of the cigarette in his palm until it became nothingness, he said, “I suppose this ‘mortal indulgence’ serves no purpose other than soiling your impeccable work of art.”

“Actually, no,” replied Lucifer as he broke into soft laughter, “I have some residents – quite a lot, truth be told – who are quite keen on this mortal indulgence of yours. Ah, speaking of the devil…”

Lucifer left the sentence hanging to point his finger to a gazebo not a great distance from them, where two figures could be spotted. His eyes traveled to the supposed direction and immediately widened when they beheld the first figure – a man in late twenties looking simple yet sharp in white button-down shirt, beige trousers and a chequered beret. On one hand he was holding a half-burnt cigarette and on the other, a pen which he was using to jot down on a wad of paper. Azazeal believed he should not know this man – he didn’t – yet an almost suffocating sense invaded him when he studied him. It was the same as looking in a twisted mirror to see an alternate version of himself: different hairstyle, different outfit and different air, one free of corruption and devilry.

And if such sight was not ominous enough, the man laying on the bench with his head resting on the other’s lap appeared to be Lucifer’s twin. Except Azazeal knew too well that Lucifer had no twins, or any relatives for that matter.

If Lucifer had witnessed the bewildered look spreading across Azazeal’s countenance, he chose not to mention it.

“Working on your book as always, Archie?” he greeted the man with an amiable smile and a casual tone, dropping all formalities he had with others, Azazeal included. “Still not consider getting an Ipad? Easier to write and edit…”

Soon as Lucifer’s presence entered the gazebo, the man dropped the pen on his sheets, placing them both on the bench and answered Lucifer in an equally casual manner, “Old habits die hard. I guess I’m a little too old for new technology.”

“Nonsense, Archie!” Lucifer chided, not harshly. “How old are you compared to Stelios and Quintus, not to mention Leto? The other day I saw them huddling together with an Ipad – the very first one here it seems.”

Archie smiled in reply.

“How’s Robbie?”

“Robbie has his ups and downs. Today just happens to be in his downs.”

His long fingers gently stroke the short-cropped hair, a loving gesture that elicited a sigh from the other man, still deep in slumber.

When Archie’s eyes – the same steel blue with a light touch of green – met Azazeal’s, his facial expression indicated a mild surprise, but that was all the reaction Azazeal got from him. It was as if seeing his doppelganger wasn’t something out of the ordinary.

Perhaps it wasn’t, considering the other man sleeping on the bench and Lucifer basically had the same face. Azazeal had to remind himself that he was in Hell, Lucifer’s Hell, and here the most bizarre would become common.

“New arrival, isn’t he?”

“Not really,” said Lucifer with a light shake of his head. “Let’s say he’s the sole reason you’re here, as well as the others.”

Azazeal expected more queries from Archie since Lucifer’s answer was vague as best; nevertheless his reply was a low sound – ambiguously intrigued – and he extended his hand. “Oh, really? In that case, my name’s Archie Hicox. A pleasure to meet you.”

The way his posh British accent stressed on ‘pleasure’ gave Azazeal an impression that Archie really meant it rather than a conventional greeting. Either way, Azazeal found himself taking Archie’s hand. “Azazeal.”

His hand was calloused on the middle finger, a writer’s hand if Lucifer’s indication earlier meant anything, but then the palm was also calloused, suggesting he spent as much time holding a gun as he did a pen.

“Take care of Robbie, Archie,” Lucifer told him with a smile. “I’d love to discuss your new book but I’m afraid I have my own company to entertain.”

Archie nodded curtly. He’d already picked his pen and paper to resume his writing, carefully adjusting his position so as not to disturb the younger man. “See you later,” he said.

They said not a word after leaving Archie and ‘Robbie’ – as Lucifer had addressed him – and continued their walk until they reached a belvedere much larger than the gazebo, where a huge table was laid with chairs for two; on it, the most sumptuous tea party Azazeal had ever witnessed despite having mingled in the mortal world for longer than he could recall. Again, this was very ‘Lucifer’, nothing less than the biggest grandeur.

“Archie was a British officer sent to Germany as a spy during World War Two, who got shot in a Mexican standoff at a small French bar, sort of like those Quentin Tarantino’s movies,” Lucifer spoke his first words after taking their seats at the table. His blue eyes were sparkling with light amusement as they shifted leisurely between the pot of tea filling their cups and Azazeal’s face.

Azazeal listened in silence while watching the pot finishing its job and floating back to its neat place on the table.

“Milk, cream or sugar?”

“No, thanks.” Azazeal reached into his pocket for the silver cigarette case. “You don’t mind if I…”

“Be my guest.” Lucifer waved his hand and the cups of cream and sugar floated over to put in his tea a ridiculous amount which would make any mortal scream for diabetes. It was a small miracle that his cup, though not tiny itself, didn’t overflow.

“Robbie was a soldier in the British army, framed with a crime he hadn’t committed and died of septicemia, buried in stranger’s land all alone. Poor chap…”

Azazeal raised a fine eyebrow. “And?”

“And they are our sons,” Lucifer said, blowing softly at his steaming tea before taking a sip. “Archie – yours and Robbie – mine.”

“That does explain the uncanny resemblance.” Folding his hands on his crossed knees, Azazeal said through dry chuckles, “Do enlighten my senile self when and how I begot a son other than Malachi, not to mention one… this old.”

“Not only Archie, my friend. There are others… of various eras and nations,” Lucifer replied before taking another sip of his cream-tea / tea-cream. “A Spartan warrior, a Roman centurion, a world-renowned psychoanalyst – you should be proud of this one, a Nazi occultist, a Canadian soldier, a pair of killer twins… The list goes on.”

Azazeal took the first sip of his own tea. Earl Grey, probably, though he didn’t remember having tasted a cup of such high quality, even when his last encounter with tea had happened in the English Queen’s palace. “And to whom I owned the births of those children?”

“It’s a punishment, my friend.”

“Punishment?”

“One imposed by Him,” Lucifer said, pointing his forefinger upward, “that whenever we share bodily bliss with mortals, they will be implanted with our ‘essence’ – our ‘seeds’ whether we wish it or not. The seeds they will carry and continue to pass onto their children, and their grandchildren… until they blossom into…”

“… men like Archie and Robbie,” Azazeal finished.

“He wants them, the mortals, to remember their sins of laying with us, to be reminded that because of us that they are forever denied of Heaven…”

“No Eden for the likes of them, eh? Even the most saintly, God-worshipping?”

Lucifer laughed, but the amusement didn’t reach his eyes, gone dark like the deepest bottom of the ocean. “Take Archie for example, laying his life for his country and countless others. Little did he know he would end up in the same place as those he fought against. A shock like that could shatter many human souls.”

“It was a wonder he didn’t punch me,” Azazeal quipped.

“He knew it when he first arrived – didn’t take it too hard then, why would he now? You’re his father, after all. It’s Him they should blame for being such a jealous God.”

“I see you’ve managed to convert even the most religious of them.”

“I’ve tried. Some were easy, some were harder,” Lucifer said. “But at the moment none of them think about God now that they’ve all settled with the Devil.”

“Well, to be honest, the sudden knowledge of having that many sons is a little overwhelming. But the good thing is Malachi’s only child syndrome has a cure. How many of them by the way?”

“Can you remember how many times you have engaged in coitus with mortals? Not just women but… men too?”

His deliberate stress made Azazeal arch an eyebrow. Lucifer winked at him before downing the remaining of the tea. The teapot immediately floated over to fill his cup when he put it down.

“No,” Azazeal answered after a moment of faux consideration, “can you?”

“Neither can I,” Lucifer said through suppressed laughter. “You have no idea how I felt when I met my first son. He was an immortal just like us, having exchanged his own youthful skin for eternal life and knowledge. Then he grew tired of his own immortality and asked me to receive him… and almost broke down upon learning that the situation wasn’t much different…”

“Your Eden’s first resident?”

“True. Only until the second arrival that he could be at peace with himself and accept his state. Then came the others after them, yours and mine. No matter what they did, they will always have a place in my Eden. I find myself having an odd joy that He denies them of Heaven; otherwise I wouldn’t have them all down here.”

“You make it sound like your harem,” Azazeal quipped, inhaling a lungful of nicotine, “which is quite unsettling to me since some of them are my sons, in every sense except biology.”

Tilting his head slightly, Lucifer graced him with a meaningful smile. Azazeal felt his own becoming strained.

“You can put it that way if you want to, though I wouldn’t call it ‘mine’ – consensus is an essential point here – the freedom to be with anyone they desire. Most of them eventually find their soulmate, like Archie and Robbie…

The intimacy they unshyly presented should suggest this much, Azazeal briefly thought.

“… But there are others who don’t fancy a stable relationship. And of course, there are some who find my charms… irresistible,” he punctuated with a wink, his eyes glowing bright blue as they focused on Azazeal.

Azazeal gained a sudden fascination with the tea cups, the teapot or the scenery stretching endlessly outside their belvedere… anything to keep his eyes away from Lucifer’s, which seemed to be working their magic on their target – none other than himself.

“There they are,” Lucifer opened his mouth and the enchantment pressing on Azazeal was lifted.

Azazeal took a sip of his tea in an attempt to hide his awkwardness and glanced outside, where he saw two men identical in every way possible, hairstyle, outfit, facial expression, and of course, looking like his long-lost twins.

His ‘sons’, they were.

“Charles and… Charles,” Lucifer called out, greeting them with a smile as they approached him.

Up close, Azazeal noticed that their look somewhat resembled Archie’s. They all had the same face, no doubt, but the differences were patent if studied carefully enough; a perceptive one would not mistake Archie for himself, for instance. However, while Archie had some sort of warm curiosity in his eyes – that he was eager to engage in interaction with another individual – those two had none. Their eyes were a light shade of grey-blue, like ice lake in a sombre day and just as cold.

The pair stood on either side of Lucifer’s chair; the one on his left smiled at him fondly – quite obviously smitten – while the one on his right bowed. Neither seemed to notice Azazeal’s existence, or just chose to ignore him.

“A new one’s arrived,” Right-Charles informed him, tone solemn as though a servant speaking to his master.

“Said he’s called ‘Counselor’,” Left-Charles continued, seamlessly.

“Oh, mine or his?” Lucifer asked, making a polite gesture at Azazeal. It was only then that both Charles looked at him for the first time, studying him up and down with their icy blue eyes.

Of all the ‘sons’ he had met, Azazeal decided he much preferred Archie to this pair of twins. He had also learned that not all of them had the same ‘pleasure’ Archie’d had upon meeting their ‘father’.

“His,” Right-Charles answered, finally.

“How?”

“Beheaded.” The one to speak was Left-Charles, whose tone sounded disturbingly gleeful as he demonstrated a mock act of beheading with his forefinger.

“Haven’t got one this nasty since Steve and Simon, have we?”

“Found him when he was wandering aimlessly…” Right-Charles said.

“… on the streets of Argentina, his head in the clouds,” Left-Charles chimed in.

“Now now, Charles,” Lucifer scolded, “be extra-nice to the poor chap. He must have had a hard time. You see, they mortals accuse us of ‘evil’ while they do most of the deeds themselves.”

Azazeal made no comment. In fact, he didn’t know how he was supposed to react. That was one of his ‘son’, true, yet the bond was just too fragile. If it was Malachi he’d heard, he was certain he wouldn’t sit here, idly hearing the rest of the conversation.

“Summon Mephistopheles,” Lucifer commanded. “Tell the old fool to fix him properly and perhaps I will only take his sight for the folly he’s committed.”

“Mephistopheles?” Azazeal cut in. “Isn’t he supposed to be at Medenham?”

“A change of heart he’s demonstrated,” Lucifer explained and sent the Charles twins away, but not before giving them each a long, sensual kiss. While Right-Charles accepted his ‘gift’ with a solemnity he had been carrying since arrival, the other Charles wasn’t the least shy in proclaiming how much he enjoyed his, making a sound that couldn’t be described with any adjective other than ‘obscene’.

Azazeal suppressed the urge to stare with wide eyes. He had to admit, despite his earlier realization that he hadn’t much concern for his ‘sons’, the sight of Lucifer lavishing them was rather appalling.

“Twins,” Lucifer murmured, chuckling. “Either give them both or give them none. Jealous creatures.”

“You said Mephistopheles had a change of heart?” With awkwardness still somewhat lingering in his tone, Azazeal steered the subject to his preference. Mephistopheles had been summoned to act as Malachi’s mentor, and who or whatever relating to his son was well within his concern.

His only concern these days, it’d seem.

“Rescued a human Malachi wanted dead,” Lucifer deadpanned, “which resulted in Sariel’s death. An act of treachery I cannot overlook.”

“Did his doing affect Malachi’s progress?”

“Fortunately no. He’ll get his just dessert but in the meantime, Malachi needs a new advisor.”

He took a sip of his tea, his gaze distant. His contemplation didn’t last long before he turned to Azazeal and said, “How about Perie? No, no, I like her here – great entertainer, terrible advisor… Huhm, that woman of yours, what’s her name again?”

“You mean Jo?”

“Jo, that’s right. I had a word with her a few days ago and I’m quite certain she’s thoroughly converted. A blissful sign.” A content smile spread across Lucifer’s boyish features as he continued, “She’ll make a wonderful advisor for your son.”

“Jo is a trustable woman.”

“Indeed. I always find women far more trustable than men when it comes to business. Others would argue, no doubt.”

“Was it because I’m untrustable,” Azazeal raised his voice, after a moment of consideration, “that you summoned me to Hell…”

His pitch was higher and there was no hiding of the frustration in his tone. “… when my son needs me the most?”

Lucifer’s serenity was unwavering in spite of the abrupt change of mood. His eyes, however, became sharper and brighter. “Needed, Azazeal,” he corrected. “Malachi has reached full maturity and thus, is independent of you. Your continuing presence by his side, dare I say, would only be a distraction.”

Azazeal’s steel-blue eyes were glowing with a hint of red; however, he didn’t rebuke.

“You want him to choose whatever path he wants to carry on, unfettered by the past, our past. That, to our cause, is quite burdensome.”

“And my son doesn’t deserve that choice?” Azazeal growled, sharp canine visible in his mouth and his handsome features twisted with the early signs of transformation.

With the beautiful skin peeled off, their true self was revealed.

“Rage doesn’t become you, my friend.” Unfazed, Lucifer touched Azazeal’s face with his lean fingers, trying to smooth out the signs as he spoke in a solemn tone, “None of us truly has a choice, I’m afraid, past, present or future. If we had, we wouldn’t be here by now.”

“And yet everyone of us knew how vehemently you’d chosen to abandon His side.” Azazeal smirked, sardonically.

“You knew nothing, my friend,” Lucifer murmured, “you knew nothing.”

His fingers, which hadn’t departed from Azazeal’s skin, traveled down to his lips, caressing them as though a lover would. Azazeal flinched at the touch but didn’t reject Lucifer.

Lucifer was true, that none of them truly had a choice. Still, some of them just had more of a choice while others had less. And provided that Lucifer wanted something from him, wanted him, Azazeal had no choice but to yield.

The thought made his skin stone-cold.

“Indeed I had a choice,” Lucifer admitted with a laugh, dry and void of his usual cheerfulness, “to leave my love for you or to leave Eden. Now I’m here.”

Though he had a vague idea that Lucifer was fascinated with him in some way, Azazeal was still taken aback by the other fallen angel’s straightforwardness. His eyes widened when he stared at Lucifer, whose gaze was filled with scathing lust.

“Now now, don’t make such a face, Azazeal,” Lucifer said and leaned in until his face almost touched Azazeal’s, distanced only by a hair strand. “My reason to have been cast out from Heaven is a running gag down here. Anyone with half an eye can tell I’m hopelessly smitten with you.”

Azazeal couldn’t help himself; his sunken mood earlier forgotten as he burst into laugh. “Who could have thought Lucifer The Great would compare himself to a schoolboy?”

“Why feel embarrassed about being a smitten schoolboy?” Lucifer said nonchalantly. “Life would be much peaceful if everyone, angels and mortals alike, would think like a smitten schoolboy, wouldn’t it? And I have to confess, such was my ulterior motive when I tore you away from your precious baby boy.”

“I was pretty convinced it was because you wanted to show off your Eden.”

“That and showing off my Eden,” Lucifer admitted. “I’ve been burning to present my Eden – my most proud work – to you since I knew you had landed on earth. A pity that I’ve been mostly trapped in this pit.”

“For someone who despises his pit of a home, you’ve spent handsomely for adornment,” Azazeal said, smirking.

“Precisely because I so detest it that I’ve had to make it less detestable.”

“Can’t argue with your logic, right? I sort of regret the two of us never had had a real conversation before we became what we are today.”

“It’s still not late, my friend,” Lucifer said, a sudden change of tone. “ May I ask whether there is a chance for me, for us…”

“I take no pleasure in your disappointment, Lucifer, but I believe the chance is zero.”

“Well, one cannot be sure unless one tries.”

Lucifer’s lips were on his the moment he opened his mouth for a witty remark. Despite taken by surprise, Azazeal didn’t try to avoid or protest. Nor did he show the slightest respond to Lucifer’s skillful tongue desperately trying to coax him to reaction, any reaction, however small.

Lucifer broke the kiss of his own accord. Leaning back against his chair, he licked his lips as if savoring the aftertaste of their encounter, and finally burst out laughing. “I loathe to say this, believe me, but you truly are heartless, my friend.”

“My apologies,” Azazeal said, no real remorse. He put another cigarette, his third since entering this belvedere, between his lips, glistening and bruised with Lucifer’s passion.

“I guess I’m the type that will not give up without a try. Now that I’ve tried…”

“Will you give up now?”

“… I don’t think I want to give up,” Lucifer said through hearty laughter. “By the way, you should really abandon that mortal indulgence. The taste is… discouraging.”

“Oh? Those who find your charms irresistible, they don’t smoke?”

“Not if they want the bodily bliss I’m about to gift them.”

Chuckling, Lucifer leaned forward, his impossibly blue eyes locking with Azazeal’s. “Let me think of it as a challenge, the courting of your heart. And time is my faithful ally…”

Silence stretched between them as Azazeal stared back into Lucifer’s eyes, not avoiding as earlier, a challenge that would go on if he didn’t break it with a puff of smoke from his cigarette. Azazeal stood up, brushing imaginary dust from his outfit and said, “Thank you for the tea, Lucifer. Lovely. But I’m afraid I have to leave first. Need to find and have a word with Jo.”

Lucifer’s gaze lingered on his leaving form as he asked, “Would you do me the honor of being at the banquet tonight? One we have to welcome a new arrival.”

“I’m starting to feel I’m stretching your hospitality.”

“Not at all, my friend. It dreads me to think that you don’t feel at home here. About the banquet, all of our sons will be present at the banquet, in case you’re curious about how many brothers Malachi has.”

“I have a hunch Malachi won’t take it too nicely. Anyway, it’d be rude to decline so, thank you for your invitation. Now, please excuse me…”

Lucifer sipped his tea, watching until Azazeal’s shade faded into the blinding light, and the gate to Eden closed. “Come out boy, I know you’re here,” he said.

A soft chuckle was heard, together with a figure gradually manifested – a young man barely out of his puberty, clad in all white, down to his worn snickers. The color made his pale skin paler, his blue eyes more striking and… haunting, with red rims around them. He draped his arms over Lucifer’s shoulder, leaning his weight on the latter as he pinched a cookie on the snacks plates and stuffed it in his mouth. The crunching noise caused Lucifer to wrinkle his eyebrows in disapproval. “Where’s your manners Martin? I’d like to think I’ve taught you better than that.”

“Come one, Daddy,” Martin groaned, still chewing, “just because I call you ‘Daddy’ doesn’t mean you’re my dad…”

An icy glare made him choke on his cookie. “… well, biologically speaking,” he corrected.

“I assume you were practicing your concealment skill,” Lucifer deadpanned, “because that’s the only reason I will not have you spanked… or sent to the Charles twins.”

“No, no, please don’t!” Martin frantically pled. “I was practicing, truly, completely sneaking under your friend’s nose.”

Lucifer snickered. “Only because I was lending you a hand.”

“Anyway, I think I’ve heard ‘banquet’. God… oops…”

Martin immediately brought a hand to his mouth. “Sorry. You know how I dreadfully miss the banquet.”

“Only the orgy part.”

“That I do, Daddy. The newcomer looks yummy enough…” Licking his lips, he added, “… after patched up, of course.”

“Do me a favor and tell your brothers to show up on time. It’d be rude to let our honored guest wait. And… I’m not finished!”

Lucifer growled and grabbed Martin by his collar with his invisible ‘hands’ as the boy had already taken flight. “Yes?” he asked.

“Untie Richard – I forgot – and get Nicholas to have a look at him. I think I overdid it last night.”

“Oh, major understatement, Sugar Daddy.” Martin clucked his tongue and shook his head ruefully. “I was able to hear him half an Eden away.”

“He did seem to enjoy it though.”

“Can I borrow him?”

“Consensus is an essential point, Martin.”

A devilish smile spread across Martin’s boyish features. “That’s a ‘yes’… And what’s the  reason for this sudden festive mood, Daddy?”

“Well,” Lucifer let out a sigh before replying, “normally I’d say it is to welcome the new chap…”

“It’s not?”

“… But no, I’ll tell the truth: it’s to celebrate my first love confession rejected.”

“Oh, your millennia-old crush,” Martin’s smile turned innocent in mere seconds and he said, sweetly, “Dear Daddy, gotta make it grand.”

End

Note: James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender’s fictional characters – in order of appearance or reference (except Azazeal and my OC – Lucifer):

  • MF: Archie – Archie Hicox (Inglourious Basterds)
  • JM: Robbie – Robbie Turner (The Atonement)
  • MF: Stelios (300) “Spartan warrior”
  • MF: Quintus – Quintus Dias (Centurion) “Roman centurion”
  • JM: Leto – Leto Atreides II (Children of Dune) “first son”
  • MF: Carl Jung (Dangerous Method) “world-renowned psychoanalyst”
  • MF: Harry Colebourn (A Bear Named Winnie) “Canadian soldier”
  • MF: Charles twins – Charles Allen and unnamed twin brother (Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silk Stocking) “killer twins”
  • MF: Counselor (The Counselor)
  • MF: Steve – Stephen Taylor (Eden Lake)
  • JM: Simon – Simon Newton (Trance)
  • JM: Martin – Martin Vosper (Murder in Mind)
  • MF: Richard – Richard Wirth (Blood Creek) “Nazi occultist”
  • JM: Nicholas – Nicholas Garrigan (The Last King of Scotland)

Check out these links for more information on their roles:

This happens in the same universe with my other fics: Fair Trade (Lucifer is ‘Charles Xavier’, as revealed), Beyond Flesh & Skin, Getting Even and Resemblance. There may be more installations in the future.

On a side note, the Charles twins are obviously those who find Lucifer’s charms irresistible. And Martin occasionally frequents Lucifer’s bed too. Dear old Luc refuses no one.

[Cherik] Resemblance

Disclaimer : Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms : Wanted (2009), Murphy’s Law Season 3 (2005), Hex Season 1 & Season 2 (2005)

Rating : M

Pairing(s) : Mcfassy – Wesley Gibson (Wanted) x Caz Miller (Murphy’s Law); implied Malachi x Azazeal, Jo Watkins x Malachi, Jo Watkins x Azazeal (Hex),

Genres : Fanfiction, slash, crossover, AU

Characters : Wesley Gibson, Caz Miller, Malachi, Jo Watkins

Warning: implied incestuous relationship

Summary :

The question was how Caz was able to tell so much about the boy’s eyes. His eyes were striking, yes; still, they weren’t striking as his tailored midnight outfit, and much less than the prominent tattoo on his neck, deliberately left for view by his open-collared shirt. The only reason Caz had been able to get a good examination of his eyes was because the boy had slid into the seat across from him, reserved for Wesley when he joined Caz later for an English breakfast. And also because his eyes were boring into Caz with a vehement passion exclusively saved for his most beloved or greatest adversary.

… Or, on some odd occasions, both.

Caz locked eyes with the boy and greeted him with a grin, taunting menace flaring like wild fire.

“May I help you with something?”

“Nothing,” the boy leaned in, countering Caz’s grin with his own cheeky one as he said, “it’s just you look so much like my dad, is all.”

An unlikely encounter of Wesley and Caz with the ‘messiah of the fallen angels’ – Malachi.

That this city was odd was the thought suddenly hitting Caz’s lazy mind as he sat in a little bistro, sipping his black coffee in the time of breakfast. Wesley had gone to tend to some small business and he’d promised to be back before breakfast was over; thus Caz had ordered a coffee and waited.

The morning was peaceful and the streets quiet, as though a mystical veil had been put over London, compelling its citizen to remain in sleep. The silence was unsettling compared to Caz’s still-fresh memory of this bustling city, and that was when the thought struck him: there were certainly strange things going on in this city. Well, to be fair, London, as Caz recalled, was never associated with ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’; but this time, it was a feeling of dreadful alienation that wormed through every nook and cranny that he felt, irrational yet couldn’t be shaken off, like an itch at the back of his mind he could ignore when occupied but became irritating again once he let himself relax. The dissonant serenity was one instance, another being the bizarre black symbol which seemed to be present everywhere, literally everywhere, even in this little bistro, with this pretty little waitress bearing it on the skin of her neck. Some odd fad he didn’t grasp?

And surely odder was the bevy of youths that just passed through the door, all dressed in black and having the same symbol tattooed on their neck. Their leader – Caz assumed – was a boy about sixteen or seventeen of age, ridiculously good-looking with brown curls and slightly tanned skin. The way he carried himself around the place exuded an air of recklessness and peril which immensely thrilled Caz – the similiar fatal attraction drawing him to Wesley in their first encounter at Belfast. In  a certain way the boy resembled Wesley, despite obvious differences in build and look; Caz had to admit, had he not already established a solid bond with Wesley, he would no doubt go for this boy, his age and sexual orientation be damned.

Another thing to remind Caz of Wesley was the boy’s eyes: piercing and carrying sharp chills within when they gazed at their subject. The color was the same – blue – though the shades were vastly distinct: Wesley’s was the blue of sky reflected in the ocean while this boy’s was the blue tint of ice.

The question was how Caz was able to tell so much about the boy’s eyes. His eyes were striking, yes; still, they weren’t striking as his tailored midnight outfit, and much less than the prominent tattoo on his neck, deliberately left for view by his open-collared shirt. The only reason Caz had been able to get a good examination of his eyes was because the boy had slid into the seat across from him, reserved for Wesley when he joined Caz later for an English breakfast. And also because his eyes were boring into Caz with a vehement passion exclusively saved for his most beloved or greatest adversary.

… Or, on some odd occasions, both.

Caz locked eyes with the boy and greeted him with a grin, taunting menace flaring like wild fire.

“May I help you with something?”

“Nothing,” the boy leaned in, countering Caz’s grin with his own cheeky one as he said, “it’s just you look so much like my dad, is all.”

Best pick-up line ever.

Caz couldn’t help sniggering when he asked with a little disbelief, “Me? Look like your old man?”

“Like splitting image,” the boy added, “to the extent it’d undoubtedly fool mortal eyes.”

Caz’s sniggers turned laughter. “Poetic much? Aren’t you a little too young to speak like that?”

“Can’t help. Dad speaks like that all the time. Kind of gets to me.”

“If your old chap looks like me, he must have had you at, what, ten years old?” Mimicking the boy’s gesture, Caz also leaned forward, cutting the already short distance between them.

“Much older, actually. Mother was young, but dad’s, well…”

Caz raised an eyebrow at his hesitation; he decided not to delve into the boy’s contrast use of tenses.

“…a dirty old man,” he commented between stifled laughter. “In fact, I don’t even know how old he was when he put me in my mother’s stomach.”

“So good for a son,” said Caz as he took out a cigarette. It was a bit silly of him to listen to some stranger’s family story (quite amusing by the way) – Wesley would laugh and call him a gossipy housewife, sure – but this was a good way to kill time; waiting was a truly dreadful bore.

While he was fumbling in his pocket for the lighter, from the group waiting behind the boy a girl wordlessly stepped up to light the smoke for him, as per the boy’s snapping fingers. Soon as she’d done her ‘duty’, the girl retreated to her place and resumed her silence.

Their ‘discipline’ had Caz amazed and struck him as a group of loyal servants following their absolute master, which was rather weird considering how all of them were roughly the same age and wearing more or less the same kind of outfit. His curiosity about the boy’s status prompted Caz to study him as he took in a lungful of nicotine. Holding the cigarette with his right hand, he went for the gun at his belt, hidden by his long coat.

Just in case

“Even your way of smoking is similar to his,” the boy said, after seconds of silent contemplation.

Caz grinned behind tendrils of smoke and threw his bag of cigarette in front of the boy. “At this point, I won’t be surprised if your old man smokes the same brand.”

“Not exactly the same, “ replied the boy as he was playing the bag with idle fingers. “One of his top favorites though.”

“Look, boy, if you miss your old man so much, why not go home and give him a hug, maybe a kiss? I don’t mind your company but my own may not fancy his seat being taken.”

To Caz’s surprise, the boy folded his arms on the table and rested his chin on them, looking up at Caz with those pale blue eyes of his, made less piercing by a thin veil of emotion, perhaps longing.

“He left me some time ago and he isn’t available at the moment. Or anytime soon.”

The subtle addition of feelings in his eyes and the way he sounded made him much younger than his appearance – like a abandoned child – and it somewhat watered down all his strange behaviors since he took Wesley’s seat.

“…which is why I want to ask you a favor.”

“What do you want?”

“Be him for a while and…”

His eyes squinted at the mischievous gleam in the boy’s pale irises.

“…and receive this.”

His words were quick but his move was far quicker. His speed, almost inhuman, broke through Caz’s sharp instinct and trained defense as he pressed his lips firmly against Caz’s.

The boy smirked against Caz’s lips when he heard the twin ‘clicks’ echo dryly and twin rigid muzzles kissed his forehead and the back of his head.

“I believe you’re in MY place, boy, and I don’t fancy my place taken. Fuck off or I’ll make you.”

His mock British accent would be rather hilarious, provided it wasn’t spoken in a deadpan tone, accompanied by a gun. Just by his tone alone Caz could easily tell Wesley was deadly furious and his own code of ‘unnecessary violence avoidance’ was the only latch that kept him from blowing the boy’s brain. Yet the sight of his knuckles went bone-white denounced his hold on it was failing.

Caz reclined against his chair, making a distance with the boy; his gun, on the contrary, refused to part with the boy’s skull. Like Wesley, he, too, was very tempted to pull the trigger.

Despite threatened with two fully loaded guns, the boy was surprisingly unfazed; so were his followers. Their unmoving eyes became an anxiety that put a damp on Caz’s rage.

“Oh, your company’s back. Quicker than I thought. “

The boy chuckled, making a show of his licking his lips while gluing his eyes on Caz’s. “Mine seems unwanted.”

Slowly standing up from the seat, his gaze shifted between Wesley and Caz with obvious interest, all the while without the slightest concern about the guns and Wesley’s seething rage. “Thank you… for being him for a while…” he said, running his fingers absent-mindedly through his dark curls. “…do miss him too much, you know… Anyway, what a lovely company you have, desirable even…”

He wasn’t finished when Wesley’s fist came flying at his face. With a light tilt of his body, the boy dodged Wesley’s attack and caught a hold of his gun, forcefully steering it at Caz, the muzzle barely inches away from his forehead.

Wesley and Caz’s breath both hiked up.

“I really like both of you, which is a little strange for me. I guess, violence is uncalled for, eh?’

Wesley and Caz would remember what they were witnessing for the rest of their life, maybe in the next: the sight of the boy’s pale eyes turning red and his followers’ yellow, coupled with hellish pupils. Even the pretty little waitress that’d served Caz earlier was no exception. Behind them the walls were tainted with grotesquely shaped silhouettes

Quick as it had been cast, the illusion dissipated when the boy graced them with his cheeky grin. “See you later.“ He gave them a two-finger salute and made his way to the entrance, his gang following suit. “I’m called Malachi, by the way. Means Messenger,” he added, before disappearing from their sight.

It took them millennia to gather their wits, with a little help from the waitress’ calling for Wesley, who didn’t seem to notice he was standing frozen on his spot. The sweet smile she was wearing as she placed a glass of water and a menu in front of Wesley didn’t quite erase her devilish impression earlier.

“The fuck just happened?”

Wesley slumped back against the chair, beads of sweat visible at his temples.

“Who the hell is he? And him?”

“The former – no idea. The latter – his dad,” Cas replied between long, haste drags of his cigarette. “That shit of brat walked in, told me I had his old man’s face. Weird indeed, just not as weird as later.”

Wesley’s face went paler than it’d been. “Don’t tell me… father-fucker…?”

Caz winced at his choice of word and shrugged. “Don’t ask me.”

“Fuck!” Wesley cursed, fingers mussing his damp mob of chocolate hair. “Were we on drugs or something?”

“Probably. Except we weren’t,” Caz said and gestured to Wesley’s gun, still clutched in his tight grip like he’d entirely forgotten its existence.

“Holy shit!” Wesley exclaimed, slamming his gun on the table. Knowing how capable and unfazed the waitress was in dealing with ‘difficult situations’, he wasn’t bothered with subtleness.

Half his gun had been melted unshapely; the metal gave his skin a burn when he tried to touch it in disbelief.

Where the boy called ‘Malachi’ had grabbed…

“Crazy fuck,” Wesley barked out a laugh. “I’m scared shitless.”

“Well, that’s new. I thought there was nothing that could scare you.”

“Tell me you aren’t,” Wesley huffed.

“Way more than you are,” Caz admitted, inhaling another lungful of nicotine. “You saw that tattoo on his neck?”

“Yeah, his and theirs, and pretty fucking everywhere. Some new wacky fad?”

“Perhaps some cult.”

“This city’s getting nuttier than my last time here.”

“I suppose we won’t miss it for a while.”

Or a lifetime.

“Yeah,” Wesley agreed, dryly. “Next time someone offers us a job in London, remind me to shoot him.”

“Me first,” said Caz with a shrug. Taking the last drag of his cigarette, he crushed it in the ashtray and reached for the menu, which, of course, bore the same symbol on its hard leather cover.

“Still care for breakfast?” Caz grinned widely, waving the menu to Wesley, who took a side glance at the cover and grimaced.

“Maybe not. Let’s leave here. The quicker we finish our business, the sooner we can return to the States. Seeing that fucking symbol is enough to make me sick.”

Little did they know they’d soon be seeing that symbol in the United States.

——

Multitude shades of night reflected in his pale blue eyes as he watched, through the floor-to-ceiling window, London burn to life.

“Come back to me.”

A female voice commanded, turning his attention to the king-size bed in the middle of the room; on which laid a woman, dark hair cascading over her milky-white skin, barely concealing her feminine curves. He smiled and obeyed, losing articles of his clothing as he made his way back to the bed. When his head rested on her lap, he was like her, clad in nothing but his own skin, vigorous and youthful and sensitive to touch.

…and touch was her expertise.

He let out a soft sigh like a satiated cat as he felt her hand gently weaving though his curls to reach the skin of his neck, reconstituting the unearthly mark there with the tips of her nimble fingers.

“Jo,” he said, turning to look at her with his eyes, half-closed and glassy, “do you think I have any brothers?”

The woman stifled a laugh. “As if one little bastard wasn’t enough.”

“That means no?”

“Yes, that means no. Your father wasn’t very enthusiastic in childcare and your demonic howling almost had him gone mad several times. But for the whole ‘messiah of the fallen angels’ thing, I don’t think he would have ever wanted to make any children.”

“I feel unloved,” he groaned. “Why was I born to this cruel world?”

“To make my life miserable,” she quipped, “you and your daddy both.”

“Sorry to hear that,” he said, grinning cheekily at her. “But he’s been shagging women for millennia, I find it hard to believe I’m the only child.”

“Well, when he wasn’t making little devil bastards, he always remembered to use condoms.”

A laugh. “Someone’s jealous… ouch!”

He yelped, clutching his left ear, where Jo had mercilessly pinched.

“That’s to teach you some respect,” Jo reprimanded him. “But why suddenly bring this up, Malachi? It finally occurs to you that you have only child syndrome?”

Rubbing his ear, Malachi managed a pout before replying, “I saw someone who looks so much like dad it seems he’s dad’s son, not me.”

“Really? How alike?”

“If you see him, you won’t be able to tell the difference. I’d have mistaken him for dad if I hadn’t known he was human.”

Jo arched an eyebrow, half-surprised, half-dubious. “You’re sure you weren’t on drugs or under spell? I won’t be surprised if those angels resort to playing dirty.”

“Don’t take me for a stupid child, Jo,” Malachi deadpanned, his tone losing all previous gleefulness. “I know what I saw.”

Jo was hardly intimidated. “Not stupid, but a child nonetheless.” Gently pinching his cheek, she purred into his ear, “My child.”

Malachi made a derisive sound, but allowed the matter to slip. Arguing with Jo only further proved her point while he had better ways to show her later.

“He’s human and completely unaware of anything going on. He even threatened me with a gun.”

“I’d be surprised if he hadn’t,” Jo said, barely able to contain her snickers. “What did you do?”

“Nothing serious. I told him he looked like dad and…”

“And…?”

“…and I stole his lips.”

“Oh, that’s a surprise indeed,” Jo commented, mockingly. “I didn’t know you were also into men.”

“Not men, just him,” Malachi corrected her. “That he looks so much like dad made me want to take him right there.”

“And why didn’t you?”

“Well, the same fact kept me from truly doing so. Paradoxical isn’t it?”

Jo’s eyebrows frowned into a disapproving scowl she was so used to as a teacher. “Azazeal would beat you bloody if he’d heard you.”

“Oh, don’t speak for him, Jo. I have a feelings he wouldn’t be too repulsed by it. Maybe even enjoy it.”

“You know, Azazeal, like you, is never short of female company. That’s even more so as he’s now in Hell.”

“I’ll make him forget them all.”

A devilish smile graced his lips as he looked at Jo attentively. “Give you some ideas for your erotica. I know you fancy that kind of stuff.”

“Cocky little bastard,” she cursed, unmaliciously. “Aren’t you afraid I’ll tell your daddy?

“I’d rather you did. That way he’ll be motivated to drag his arse up here to see me.”

“I don’t think Lucifer would let go of Azazeal anytime soon,” Jo quipped, recalling her recent visit to Hell. “Everyone down there knows why he was cast out from Heaven. Sort of an ancient crush, that is. His Father is a jealous God after all.”

“Screw him!” Malachi growled, “Next time you go there, tell that old fart soon as I finish here and up, I’m coming down to him next.”

“Last time I check, that ‘old fart’ isn’t quite ‘old’, not in look of course. Blue eyes, boyish face, great fashion sense – Victorian – and bloody gorgeous. No wonder he was His most favorite.”

She punctuated with a touch of sarcasm.

“Does dad fancy him?”

“Can’t speak for him. You have to ask Azazeal that.”

“I’ll put it at the top of my agenda.”

Jo contemplated Malachi for a few good seconds before saying, “You know, Malachi, it’s bloody like Electra complex. Only you are a boy.”

“I thought it was Oedipus complex.”

“Oedipus complex is when you want to kill your dad, not shag him,” Jo scowled. “What were you doing in my class?”

Studying your teats,” Malachi replied phlegmatically.

“Not having enough? I remember having to breastfeed you when you were a baby.”

“You weren’t with child at that time, were you?”

“Well,” Jo said, tugging a dark curl behind her ear, “obviously your daddy couldn’t find any other way to make up for your lack of maternal love, even if I couldn’t really give you what you needed.”

“Must have been hard for you.”

“You bet. I didn’t even breastfeed my own child – died right after birth. Not to mention you occasionally bit me with your demonic little fangs.”

“Didn’t I?” Malachi burst out laughing. “Can’t remember. Anyway, you’re the closest thing I have to a mother. And I’ve been sharing bed with you since forever. Does it qualify as Oedipus complex?”

“Sort of. A mixed case. I imagine Freud and Jung would find it intriguing. They’re both down there, by the way.”

“Remind me to ask them when I meet them.”

“Tell me, if you so wanted that Azazeal look-alike, why didn’t make him yours?”

“He’s owned already,” said Malachi, a brief image of bright blue eyes and sleek black leather flashing his mind.”Lovely one, just a little hot-headed.”

His voice trailed off, a touch of longing added to his tone. “A perfect fit. Body and soul…”

Jo didn’t fail to grasp the subtle change. “Envy?”

“Admire,” he said, “which is why I’ll let them live till the very last day.”

“Quite generous, eh?”

“I’m always generous with what I like.”

He said, and grinned at her. Her reply was a knowing smile.

“So, what’s you next plan?”

“I’m thinking about America. Maybe Florida. I heard the beaches are gorgeous this time of the year. And if we’re lucky, we can celebrate my first birthday on the Empire State Building.”

“Your first birthday? Right, gotta make it special. What do you want, then?”

“You always know what I want, Jo, as I you.”

She couldn’t help a rather undignified yelp as he suddenly turned them over so that she was now under him. He kissed her like the child he was, hungrily, greedily, on her lips. her ears, her neck and her breasts, making her giggle, then laugh aloud.

“Devil boy,” she cursed between breathless laughter.

“Plus, the quicker I’m done here, the sooner I can have dad back.”

His pale blue eyes flared like Inferno as he finished, “And I have a feeling I’ll be seeing that interesting duo in America.”

End

Note: In case you didn’t catch the hint, Lucifer is portrayed by James McAvoy (fancast by me) and ambiguously the ‘Charles Xavier’ in Fair Trade (‘Charles Xavier’ x Richard Wirth). This sort of explains his fascination with Richard Wirth (since Richard looks like Azazeal). He probably has a harem down there, full of men who bear Azazeal’s face (like Archie Hicox, Burke, Carl Jung, Stelios, Thomas Rainsborough, Guy Fawke…)

Jo’s fascination with erotica and her trip to Hell are canonical.

Jo’s comment on God: “His Father [God] is a jealous God” and Malachi’s comment on Wesley and Caz’s relationship: “A perfect fit. Body and soul” are both taken from Hex.

[Cherik] Getting Even

Somewhat a sequel to Beyond Flesh & Skin

Getting Even

Disclaimer : Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms : Wanted (2009), Murphy’s Law Season 3 (2005)

Rating : T

Pairing : Mcfassy – Wesley Gibson (Wanted) x Caz Miller (Murphy’s Law)

Genres : Fanfiction, slash, crossover, AU

Characters : Wesley Gibson, Caz Miller, Cathy, Barry

Summary :

Caz’s face was so close to his that their lips almost touched, his breath ghosting warmly over Wesley’s skin as he spoke, “There’s a couple there. Is it the man or the woman you have eyes on?”

He leaned back into his chair and took a long drag of his cigarette. Softly blowing the smoke to Wesley’s direction, he added, “Or… dare I say, both?”

“Neither,” Wesley replied after taking a moment to contemplate the sinuous tendrils of smoke lacing with his fingers. “Let’s say they’re old acquaintances from Chicago.”

Caz’s eyes widened in realization and he smiled, an actual smile, not his usual smirks or grins. For a split second he actually looked… benign.

“I see. Sack-of-shit best friend and cheating girlfriend. The last you’d expect to run into in Manhattan huh?”

“Weslie ~!”

Cockney-accented voice deliberately dragged put, followed by the leather-bound menu hitting the oaken table with a thud. Killer instincts alerted, his body tensed momentarily, every fiber flaring up and ready to fight when long, lean cigarette-scented fingers seized his chin and tilted his head so that he was met with cerulean eyes.

Piercing. Smoldering. Much like a leopard’s.

Don’t cats loathe sharing attention?

“What, Colin?”

Catching the hand by its wrist, Wesley snorted, feigning annoyance to hide the heat assaulting his cheeks for getting carried away by Caz’s intense look, which seemed to undress him in one second just to devour him in the next. In bed, it surely was a turn-on; in public, it still was, yet what subsequently followed was awkwardness and embarrassment. They hadn’t donned a suit and dined at a five-star restaurant only to savagely tear off their expensive clothes and fuck each other like rutting animals in some toilet stall. Wesley preferred it later, and on a bed, please.

“You,” Caz said between a thin veil of smoke from the cigarette held between his left fingers, leaning back into the big, cushy chair and lifting his gracefully long legs to rest on… Wesley’s lap under the table, “insisted that we try fine dining for a change. And yet you’ve looked at that direction four times in nineteen minutes…”

“You’ve been counting?” Wesley’s eyebrows arched up in surprised blended with disbelief.

“… and fourteen seconds. Yes, I’ve been counting,” replied Caz, shark grin too wide for his own good.

Wesley winced a little when Caz’s calves – all of sudden and no doubt on purpose – rubbed him through the fabric. His body jolted and a deep blush threatened to creep up his neck as he realized how promptly some part of him reacted to Caz’s harassment. He did not miss the wicked gleam in Caz’s eyes, so peculiarly cat-like.

“Shit, put your fucking legs down Colin!”

Before the whole goddamned restaurant notice was a tacit warning.

Wesley wasn’t ashamed by their relationship, to say the least; still, as he had been straight and had a girlfriend (thanks for reminding), he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the whole idea of public teases and flirtations Caz was coercing him into.

Let them see. The defiant look in Caz’s eyes, half-hidden behind the glass of champagne, seemed to retort.

Knowing Caz Miller, Wesley was certain he wouldn’t bat an eye even if every single person on Earth watched as they were fucking.

Is this your way of asking to be handcuffed and whipped tonight? Wesley quirked an eyebrow and countered.

We’ll see who’ll do who. Taking a sip of his champagne, Caz smirked, and refused to move his legs.

If there was one reason for him to regret making Caz the perfect weapon like himself, it would be that things were particularly difficult to win dominance in bed. Sometimes, Wesley could best him while others, well…

“Seriously Weslie, you’ve been distracted,” Caz leaned in, his eyes squinting with a hint of menace. “Is there a beauty worthy of your attention around?”

“Off-work, off-trouble,” Wesley reminded him.

For a freelance assassin, our Wesley Gibson was surprisingly respectful to the law. When he didn’t need to break it, he preferred not to.

“No guns, knives or dynamites,” Caz grinned, placing his glass of champagne on the table and holding up both empty hands.

Wesley snorted. During his training, he had learned damn well that Caz possessed an uncanny ability to make a weapon out of almost anything, this half-full glass, for instance, or the golden liquid inside it.

Caz’s face was so close to his that their lips almost touched, his breath ghosting warmly over Wesley’s skin as he spoke, “There’s a couple opposite from us. Is it the man or the woman you have eyes on?”

He leaned back into his chair and took a long drag of his cigarette. Softly blowing the smoke to Wesley’s direction, he added, “Or… dare I say, both?”

“Neither,” Wesley replied after taking a moment to contemplate the sinuous tendrils of smoke lacing with his fingers. “Let’s say they’re old acquaintances from Chicago.”

Caz’s eyes widened in realization and he smiled, an actual smile, not his usual smirks or grins. For a split second he actually looked… benign.

“I see. Sack-of-shit best friend and cheating girlfriend. The last you’d expect to run into at Manhattan huh?”

Wesley’s answer was wordlessly grabbing the menu and contemplating the options. Since he forced all his attention on the variety of steaks and side dishes, he missed the queer glint in Caz’s eyes as he began studying the couple at the opposite corner with growing interest.

Like a leopard did his luscious meal.

Water was dripping down his chin, threatening to soil his expensive suit as Wesley looked at his reflection in the large, gilded mirror. His blue eyes contracted, cheeks flushed and lips a thin, strain line – all signs had indicated he was aroused.

Whether to mate or to kill, the lust was the same.

Wesley had been agitated since the moment he caught sight of Barry and Cathy entering the restaurant. Cathy was clad in a backless, wine-colored dress, showing as much skin as possible without being nude and pressing herself to Barry, who had his arm wrapped tightly around her waist in a possessive manner. He wasn’t jealous by their show – truth be told – had not felt a sliver of love for that cheating girlfriend the day he’d learned of her adulterous nature; still, just a sight of her being together with his once-best friend was enough to make his blood boil and whether he liked it or not, his attention had unconsciously kept veering back to them.

He scooped a handful of cold water and splashed on his face. Deeply he inhaled, filling his lungs with fresh air and then, exhaled. He repeated many more times to allow the water to seep into his skin and dampened his fire. He was the one to tell Caz they weren’t looking for trouble and going back against his words was the last thing Wesley wanted to do. Nights of leisure when they didn’t have to be on business like this were rare and he’d rather shoot himself in the foot than waste it to the likes of Barry and Cathy.

He took some tissues to wipe away the water on his face and hands. In the mirror his cheeks were still slightly flushed and his eyes were retaining a little murderous air but at least, his heart race had gone back to normal, the result of his rage subsiding thanks to the water. He spent a few more minutes fixing his suit and tie before leaving the bathroom.

Positive thoughts to keep his rage in check, Wesley mumbled as he was making his way back to the dining hall. He pictured Caz, all sharp and pretty like a leopard, in his charcoal suit, casually yet not inelegantly sipping his champagne as he waited for Wesley to join him at their table. He thought of what they could do, would do tonight until the dawn arrived and it spread a grin across his countenance, befuddling a few waiters and customers on his way – Caz’s shark grin was more contagious than he’d imagined. He chided himself for being distracted by Barry and Cathy while he should have been enjoying their time with Caz. Caz was his now, and Caz was far more loyal as a partner and faithful as a mate than Barry and Cathy would ever be.

He felt Caz’s eyes on him at his first step into the dining hall. It would be unsettling to most people, being watched inventively by such sharp, smoldering eyes – like a trembling fawn in the presence of a starving predator, waiting helplessly for sharp canine to rip apart the tender flesh of its neck and drink its warm blood. Not Wesley though. Wesley was no weak fawn and Wesley immensely enjoyed the predator’s attention focused solely on him.

He wondered if Caz would ever fail to blaze up the fire in him.

Caz was savoring some sort of dessert when Wesley came back to his seat. The manner in which Caz enjoyed the finer things in life – luxurious dining, expensive champagne, designer clothing and such – sometimes led Wesley to think if the former gangster-turn-assassin had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Right after he sat down, he felt the weight of Caz’s legs on his lap. Just as Caz couldn’t keep his hands to himself, he couldn’t keep his legs either. Wesley had no other choice but to accept his fate as a leg pillow.

“Try some,” Caz gestured to the same dessert placed in front of him. “Really fine crème brûlée. Took the liberty to order it for you. You don’t mind?”

Wesley shook his head and dipped the spoon into the treat. To tell the truth, he hadn’t the slightest idea about what a ‘crème brûlée’ was in specific and fine dining in general since he hadn’t had a lot of opportunities in the past – the cost of one would have severely damaged his monthly budget. Thus he was fine with whatever Caz picked for him.

The cream was so soft it melted right on his tongue, leaving a lingering trail of sweetness which made his taste buds flutter.

“Shit, Colin, this cream- whatever it is- is so good!”

Caz graced with a smug grin.

All at once he leaned in, his nose almost touching Wesley’s, and he licked at a smudge of cream at the corner of Wesley’s lips. The moist sensation where Caz’d touched sent a ball of flame rapidly going south, which nestled in between his legs. Caz smirked upon witnessing his partner’s cheeks reddened by embarrassment and arousal both. He took a sip of his champagne, his tongue darting out to lick at his own glistening lips.

No, the God of Mischief’s name wasn’t Loki, Wesley seethed, his name was Caz Miller!

He managed to catch Wesley’s fist only a second before it connected with his jaw (which would be very painful for certain). “A kick in the teeth is good for some,” Caz softly sang, from some song Wesley’d never heard of, “a kiss with a fist is better than none. However… “ He placed a haste kiss on Wesley’s clenched knuckles before releasing him, entirely confident that his face wouldn’t receive another blow. ”… I prefer a kiss to a fist.”

Wesley was debating whether he should let it go when the sound of glass breaking caught everyone’s attention, his included, followed by the furious shouts and yells that were definitely inappropriate in a five-star restaurant (or anywhere for that matter). When he turned around, he was startled by the sight of Barry and Cathy engaging in a heated quarrel that climaxed with Cathy splashing her glass of red wine over Barry’s face, having his suit soiled, no doubt. Barry, shamed and enraged, would abandon any social norms and hit her if the restaurant’s security guards didn’t intervene and politely ‘asked’ him to leave.

Quite a show, Wesley thought, amused. What had made Barry so furious when only minutes ago they had been parading their love like the happiest couple on Earth?

He was greeted with Caz’s sardonic smirk when he turned back; the gleam in his cerulean eyes was too bright to trust he had been wholly uninvolved with this little ‘ruckus.’

Wesley arched an eyebrow questioningly, to which Caz only shrugged and signaled the waitress to bring the check.

The waitress’s face turned a shade darker than her mob of ginger hair when Caz blew a soft kiss at her after giving her a handsome tip. Wesley shot him a murderous look, trying to resist punching him square in the face, causing yet another ruckus. One in a night was enough for a prestigious five-star restaurant.

Someone had once told him, “Peace was always an option.” Right now he attempted to act on it. By saving his punches for later.

Wesley strongly suspected that it was a mere coincidence they encountered none other than Cathy, her eyes puffy, her makeup smeared and her mouth spitting venoms – for Barry, of course – as they were going through the parking lot. His suspicion only grew when Caz stopped about two feet from her, their echoing footsteps causing Cathy to look up and saw them both.

Her eyes went wide upon looking at Wesley – did recognize him – before her gaze shifted to the taller man by his side. The color that rose on her cheeks was disturbingly akin to the waitress’s as she approached them.

Fueled by intense jealousy, his rage flared up, threatening to burst out of him. He would have done something terrible (and violating his own code of not causing unnecessary trouble) if not for a pair of strong arms entertwining around his waist, breath scented with nicotine and champagne ghosting in front of his nose and firm lips capturing his.

Caz still tasted faintly of the crème brûlée earlier as their tongues battled for dominance and their hands roamed about each other’s lithe form, seeking control. It was the warning that they were in public and having an unwanted audience that lent Wesley enough strength and courage to not groan audibly when Caz broke the kiss. He cast a brief glance at Cathy, the corner of his lips lifting up and he led them both, arms still around Wesley’s waist, to where they had their car parked. Wesley didn’t need to see Cathy to tell her face had to be very ugly now.

The November winds put out some of the fire in him. Wesley tore off the tie to let his sweated skin kissed by the air; the sudden exposure to the cold caused him to shiver slightly.

Beside him, Caz was having his left hand on the wheel while his right was holding a half-burnt cigarette. He’d unknotted his tie, letting the silk fabric hang loosely around his collar bone, graciously outlined by the amber dome light. He was singing a horribly off-key yet not-so-unpleasant version of Garbage’s Crush.

“Something tells me you’d caused trouble.”

You’re just like me…” Caz finished the line and replied, “Causing trouble is my specialty.”

“How?”

“Easy enough,” a look of arrogance spread across his face. “A few roses, a flattery note and a little of Miller’s charms – there we had a fabulous show.”

Wesley’s snort was his poor disguise of suppressed laughter.

“You saw how all worked out. Plus…” Caz took a drag of his cigarette before he continued, “…she fell easily.”

“Barry even more easily…”

As Wesley burst out laughing, Caz resumed his off-key singing, a small smile playing on his lips.

“Really, Colin, why did that? You don’t know them nor they do you.”

After a while, Wesley’s laughter died out and he asked, wiping some mirthful tear off his eyes.

“Getting even,” he answered, “for distracting you. From me.”

Realization dawned on Wesley’s face and he shook his head, hitting Caz’s shoulders. “Show her I’m queer is hardly getting even.”

“No,” Caz replied with a grin, “showing her my boyfriend is hotter than yours is getting even.”

Another gush of laughter threatened to burst out again.

“You’re a fucking asshole!”

A moment of silence. “But thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

For once, Caz’s tone was free of innuendos or sarcastic remarks.

Wesley smiled. He liked Caz’s tone even when it was inappropriately flirtatious or sarcastic; but he loved it when it was sincere.

“Just to show my gratitude, I may not handcuff you tonight,” he added, after a short pause, “Still top you though.”

“We’ll see about that.”

End

Plenty of teases and fluff and little of plot.

A friendly reminder: Caz is a violent, maniac and bitchy asshole.

[Cherik] Beyond Flesh & Skin

Wes x Caz 01

Disclaimer : Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms : Wanted (2009), Murphy’s Law Season 3 (2005)

Rating : M

Pairing : Mcfassy – Wesley Gibson (Wanted) x Caz Miller (Murphy’s Law)

Genres : Fanfiction, slash, crossover, AU

Characters : Wesley Gibson, Caz Miller, OC

Summary :

“I dream about yours,” Caz’s hands snaked around Wesley’s slim waist and settled on the front of his jeans. Through the fabric he fondled the boy, feeling complacent with the not-so-subtle change. “Hope that’ll please you.”

A click sound echoed in his ears and all of sudden his lips were kissed by cold metal. The same gun he’d used on his cellmate was now threatening to blow his brain off.

“Give me one good reason not to pull the trigger, motherfucker.”

The fire alarm went off, and chaos erupted.

The corner of Caz’s lips, barely healed, curved up in a smile. He’d heard the ruckus echoing beyond the iron bars – “rats” and “explosives” amongst incoherent shouts. He’d smelled the distinct odor of cordite traveling through the ventilation system. Both turned him on, made him want to shout and dance. He couldn’t. Not here. Not now.

That didn’t stop his smile turning into a wide grin, showing more teeth than proper.

“What’re ya grinnin’ at faggot?”

Obviously Caz’s grin, bordering on the edge of mania, had grazed someone’s nerves. Muscular am with a rhino tattoo barely visible under dark, coarse hair raised up and before Caz could retrieve his outrageous grin, he was struck hard across the face.

His lips split and blood dripped down his chin, onto the front of his prison uniform. “Pussy,” he spitted out and attempted to return the favor. For an ex-gangster his move was fairly decent, yet he was far too weak for his opponent, who effortless caught his wrist and yanked it down with enough force to send Caz falling face-first to the linoleum floor. A foot stepped on the side of his face, pinning his head flat against the cold material.

“Who’re ya callin’ pussy huh?”

Caz’s cheek burnt where the bare foot was, pain and anger both. Gritting his teeth, he struggled to remove the foot. It did, but only to plant a kick to his navel. Caz curled up into a ball, clutching himself tightly. He hadn’t eaten anything since the morning, his stomach practically empty, yet at the moment, he felt as if he was about to throw up. His throat stung and he tasted acid in his mouth.

“Pussy…” Caz’s voice was hardly audible.

He felt thick thighs clamping either of his sides, trapping him like a pincer, and a heavy, undeniable heat pressing to his back. If all the violence and pain hadn’t been enough for him to panic, this surely was. He had a very clear idea of what his cellmate could do to him, would do to him, and the knowledge made the pain his minimum worry. Caz squirmed between the stony thighs, kicking with all his remaining strength, which only resulted in the larger man gripping a handful of his hair and banged his head against the floor. The concussion blacked out his vision for several seconds and rendered his already weak resistance weaker still.

Caz shivered under the sensation of wet tongue assaulting the skin on his neck. His hands balled up in tight fists, blunt fingernails digging hot crescent holes into the tender flesh of his palms.

“Ya like it rough, don’t ya?”

Caz could not help a soft groan when a big hand twisted his hair again, harder this time, yanking it back so painfully he thought some of it must have left his scalp.

Robust fingers slipped past the waist band of his trousers, palming his cheeks before slapping them. Shots of pain went through Caz; he ground his teeth until his gums bled, the taste of copper mingled with acid flooding his mouth, threatening to overflow.

His body jerked violently when he felt a single digit enter him. It wasn’t foreign, truth be told – had done it before, had enjoyed it – yet for all the previous experiences he’d had up until now,  Caz wasn’t able to quench the feeling of utter disgust and shame swelling in his empty stomach.

“So eager to get ya ass fucked, right, cocksucker?” Breath feverish with lust and arousal blowing into his ear, finger drilling into him deeper and deeper.

“Not by you.”

A youthful voice edged with winter’s chill spoke up, followed sharp by several deafening gunshots, stunning Caz and his cellmate for a few seconds.

The metal door to their cell turned Swiss cheese and was kicked down, revealing a lean figure clad in leather, a M249 SAW in each hand.

“The fu…”

His cellmate didn’t have the chance to finish the curse, being abruptly shut up by a rigid kiss of the muzzle on his temple.

He would be wise not to test his skull against a M249 SAW.

A smirk spread across boyishly handsome features when piercing eyes looked down to meet Caz’s; the devious gleam in impossibly blue orbs sent a surge of electricity down his spine. His state of pain and humiliation momentarily forgotten, replaced by a raging flame coursing through his veins as Caz drank in the dangerous lithe figure clad in sleek black leather. Were he not trapped, he would have sprung up and ravished the boy like it was the only thing he was born to do.

“Now, please remove your-fucking-self from him and retreat to the corner, hands up, no sudden movement unless you want a taste of this.”

The man’s hesitation only earned him a loud smack across his temple. Blood was dripping where skin broke as he, slowly, cautiously, did as he was told.

“Can stand up?”

A gloved hand appeared in Caz’s vision, fingers outstretching in a silent offer to aid, which he took and borrowed the strength to get up to his feet. His legs were slightly trembling and he was feeling dizzy from all the blows he’d received; still, he managed to stand straight.

“Good. ‘Cuz I hate carrying your ass.”

The last syllable had barely left his lips when Caz wiped out the short gun from the boy’s belt in one swift movement and emptied the chamber’s content into the large man, who was having his face pressed to the wall and hands above his head.

It was either an insane mastery of aim or just some fucked up luck that Caz had missed all the man’s vital spots. Beyond help yet unable to die, he was lying in a pool of his own blood, roaring like a tortured beast.

Neither of them did anything to release him from his agony.

Caz returned the gun to its owner, head unconsciously held low and he missed the iciness in those electric blue eyes he was so intrigued by.

“Let’s go. Truck’s outside.”

The boy tilted his head and led, Caz following suit.

Fluorescent light filtered through the dusty tube on the ceiling cast a ghastly shade on the spartanly furnished room – a coffee table, a drawer, a double bed with tainted bed sheet. There was a layer of grime on the table, where the boy laid his M249 SAWs.

“My dad’s safe house,” the boy explained even before Caz opened his mouth to question. Removing his leather jacket and gloves, letting them fall carelessly to the floor, he turned around and pushed Caz down the mattress. With as much care as he did his jacket and gloves, he kicked off his boots – also leather – and climbed on the bed, straddling Caz.

“Long time no see, Colin.”

“Long time no see, Weslie.”

Their first proper ‘greeting’ after they had reunited.

Using his elbows to support himself so he didn’t sink into the mattress, Caz lifted his head, cerulean meeting electric blue, and he put on a defiant grin, showing his teeth. With his shark-like grin, he managed to appear menacing despite being straddled.

Wesley returned the grin before his fist connected with Caz’s jaw. Blood from his split lips dotted the bed sheet.

“What was that for?”

Caz’s tone – too calm for someone who got hit for no obvious reason – was laced with flirtatious hints.

“Belfast. The bar.”

“Still bitter about being deflowered? Or…”

Wesley’s reply was another blow, surprisingly lighter than its predecessor. On Caz’s bruised flesh, it felt all the same.

“And this?”

“The undercover cop.”

Caz’s pupils dilated for a moment, confusion dominating his facial features until realization came conquering.

“You’re jealous.” Caz punctuated his statement with a hard squeeze of Wesley’s ass. The boy’s slight shudder brought a grin to his lips. “If I’d met you first, I wouldn’t have bothered with that… King Kong.”

“You dream about that King Kong’s cock all the same, don’t you?”

“I dream about yours,” Caz’s hands snaked around Wesley’s slim waist and settled on the front of his jeans as he said. Through the fabric he fondled the boy, feeling complacent with the not-so-subtle change. “Hope that’ll please you.”

A click sound echoed in his ears and all of sudden his lips were kissed by cold metal. The same gun he’d used on his cellmate was now threatening to blow his brain off.

“Give me one good reason not to pull the trigger, motherfucker.”

Caz made no attempt to either stop or retrieve his hands as he opened his mouth. His lips stretched around the muzzle, his tongue darting out and he gave Wesley’s gun first a lick and then a thoroughly suck, making the metal wet and slick with his saliva. He was doing it with a burning slowness that was certainly both annoying and arousing to anyone watching.

Triumph shone in his cerulean eyes when he felt the weight on him shifting awkwardly.

He won. Every time.

“Because I’m good with tongue? That’s not too bad a reason, is it?”

He put his Cockney accent to good use, lengthening each syllable just long enough for the sensuality to sink in. If tone could speak for itself, right now it was giving off an invitation of sex.

Basically the core of their relationship – sex. And more sex.

And beyond sex, neither of them knew what bond could tie an assassin and a gangster together.

“Fuck you, teaser…”

Cool blue orbs turned murky and before Caz could smirk, his jaw received yet another blow.

Gun tasted metal. So did blood.

With blurred vision Caz watched Wesley threw the gun over his shoulders before hastily stripping himself naked, swears and curses freely rolling off his tongue. Then he felt his own prison uniform being tucked at and ripped off with more force than necessary, leaving his body bare and offered to the boy’s hungry gaze.

“Always eager, are we?”

His hands palmed the boy’s firm cheeks and gave them both a squeeze, strong enough to feel but not too strong that it would pain. Carefully treading between ‘rough’ and ‘gentle’, he knew exactly what made Wesley go crazy.

Practice makes perfect, and Caz was talented to begin with.

His deft hands were suddenly caught and wrenched back behind his head. With a soft ‘click’, Caz lost the use of his hands.

Caz craned his neck and got himself an eyeful of the sight of his hands bound to the headboard by a pair of shiny handcuff. He had tasted it too much to mistake it for any pleasure toys.

“What?” His voice came out soft, like a breeze.

“A quaint souvenir from the cops,” Wesley said, smirking. “Thought you’d miss it once out.”

Caz wanted to protest. Caz couldn’t protest. Because Wesley had claimed his lips in an extremely possessive manner.

Sharp teeth deliberately grazed the fresh wounds on his lips and Caz hissed, from pain or pleasure unsure.

Obviously the ‘rough yet gentle’ rule didn’t just apply to Wesley.

“I like to use my hands, Weslie,” he purred into Wesley’s ear, tongue darting out to lick his lobe. Wesley dodged him and straightened up.

His blue eyes were clear again, so clear that Caz could see his own reflection in them. And his eyes were blazing.

He reminded Caz of a panther which had just done playing with its prey. Now was time to devour.

“That’ll remind you to keep your hands to yourself.” Wesley slid back smoothly and situated his ass directly on Caz’s groin; the direct contact and pressure made Caz groan.

“And never touch my guns again.”

One calloused hand gripped his protruded hipbone with blatant dominance, Wesley brought the other to Caz’s bruised cheek, caressing it almost lovingly. The contrast in his gestures seemed to startle Caz to the point of speechlessness. Surely they’d had sex many times before, with dirty talks and shameless gropes never absent; still, any gesture that indicated something more than just venting out their lust was beyond their comprehension.

Sex was the core of their relationship; both tacitly intended to keep it that way – anything beyond flesh and skin seemed far-fetched for the likes of them.

“This time, I’m in control. And I’ll top,” Wesley spoke in a tone that frankly cut off any objection.

Caz’s whole body jolted when Wesley gave his feverish cock a light squeeze.

“Fuck you, teaser…”

“Tell me what you want and I may oblige you.”

His thumb idly drew small circles on the head, already moist. If pleasure was dynamite, Wesley’s touches had lit the fuse, and boy, how the fuse burnt fast!

In his haze of lust and impending climax, Caz felt like he was getting a taste of his own medicine.

“Tell me, Colin.”

Wesley’s hand closed tightly around the base, keeping Caz’s climax just a little out of his reach.

Pleasure and pain were only two ends of one spectrum; at the moment, Caz was trapped on his less preferable end.

“Tell me, Colin, and I’ll oblige you.”

“Just… fuck me… get on with it!” Caz hissed through broken pants, his cheeks flushed despite dark bruises. A fine sheen of sweats coated his fair skin.

Wesley’s eyes were speaking of storm.

“Happily.”

That was all he’d been waiting for.

It was like bathing in his morning porridge, Caz mused. Laying his head on the tiled edge, he slid deeper into the bath tub.

Though it was rather itchy under the skin, the sensation was not necessarily terrible. Moreover, this thick liquid was doing a marvelous job easing the aches worrying his shoulders, chest, hip and below.

When you leave Wesley Gibson in control, pains ensure, which is why you shouldn’t leave him in charge… which is particularly hard considering how much stronger he is than yourself.

Caz’s dilemma.

His head was still spinning from the hunger and fatigue. He would leave the bath at once had Wesley not ordered him to stay at least until his skin knitted.

Caz had taken orders from none except Callard; now that Callard was behind bars, he took orders from none except Wesley.

A pair of arms snaked from behind to cage him in a loose embrace. A mob of unruly chocolate hair rubbed against his neck. Caz tried to ignore the tickling and stayed still. It was harder than he thought.

Post-coital bliss, in Wesley’s dictionary, was tearing Caz from the warmth of his blanket and, literally, throwing him into a tub full of thick white wax, while normally people would just cuddle and make promises of breakfast in bed.

Though Caz wasn’t a fan of cuddling, he could do with a huge breakfast in bed. Irish preferably.

“What’re you thinking?”

Wesley’s hands hovered above the skin of Caz’s chest, deft fingers occasionally playing with his nipples. He grimaced when Wesley’s thumbs brushed the love bite he’d deliberately left there in the heat of sex; however, he didn’t stop the little harassment.

Caz was thinking about a full Irish breakfast, with eggs, sausages, generous slices of bacon and a dose of caffeine; instead he said, “How tender you were a few hours ago.”

“Define tender,” Wesley sighed and laid his head on the juncture of his neck and shoulders, lazy like a satiated cat. “I even prepared a bath for you.”

Caz snorted, but said not a word.

“Still bitter about being deflowered?”

“Do I look like I’m still keeping my asshole’s V-card?”

“By those in jail?”

Wesley’s tone took on a dangerous edge; his embrace around Caz tightened, almost painfully.

“I wasn’t that desperate. Not after I’ve met you.”

Wesley snorted, disbelieving; his arms on Caz’s shoulders loosened all the same.

The wax was lukewarm and cradling him like mother’s womb. Strangely relaxed in Wesley’s arms, he closed his heavy eyelids and was ready to drift off.

“Colin?”

“What?” Doziness made his voice akin to a soft purr.

“Come to the States with me.”

His shoulders tensed momentarily, then went lax under Wesley’s caress.

“Do I have a choice in this?”

“No,” Wesley’s hands reached under the wax surface, below Caz’s slender hip as he said, flatly. “If you refuse, I’ll blow your brain off – you know I can do that – and when the cops arrive, they’ll only find your naked rotting corpse.”

Caz stifled a laugh at Wesley’s bluntness. At the same time, an alien warmth seeped through his skin, his flesh and settled deep into his bones.

“You broke me out of jail to say this?”

“And to fuck you, yes. What, miss all those cocks you could get there already?”

“Jealous much?” Caz teased, barely able to contain his chuckles. “Not when I’m having yours. And of course…” Tapping his forefinger to his temple, Caz leaned back so that his head touched Wesley’s and whispered, “…I prefer my brain in here, not plastered on the wall.”

“That’s a ‘yes’?”

Caz shrugged. “Unless you find otherwise meaning,” he said and captured Wesley’s lips… munching on them with his unusually sharp teeth.

“Fuck it, Colin, I’m not bacon!”

Covering his mouth with one hand, Wesley backed away, putting some distance between them. Caz graced him with his shark-grin.

“I prefer you are. Feeling involuntarily like Bobby Sands here.”

“One and a half hours more. Be patient or else you’ll be walking funny the next few days.”

“Like you did after the bar?”

He laughed out loud when he witnessed an undeniable blush creeping Wesley’s neck.

Beyond sex, sensual teases and playful banters, what bond could tie a cold-blooded assassin and a wanted ex-gangster together?

Caz would like to find out.

End

*This is set in an alternate universe where Caz didn’t get shot by Murphy but ended up in jail. He met Wesley sometime after Murphy and their ‘relationship’ has continued till the time of the fic.

**Caz’s real name is Colin – Colin Miller.

***Callard is Caz’s boss – the main antagonist of Murphy’s Law Season 3.