The blood was seeping slowly down alabaster skin. The rich maroon color was not diluted by air the same way as was per usual, and was instead thick as though it had been leaking much longer than it had. It seemingly sat there, out of place, with no wound to explain the dribbling liquid.
With a sickening crackle, the blood began to shrivel and disappear, turning brown before it flaked off to reveal bare skin, which soon began to burn in the harsh rays. Untouched perfection gave way to raw red sores, burns. As the light stayed on the porcelain skin longer the sores began to fester, smoke started to seep out of them and finally flames ignited; a match to paper.
Only once a fire had appeared did the light abruptly cease. Slowly the flames tapered off until all that was left was black charred flesh, pealing slowly as newborn pink skin began to appear around the edges. Without the spontaneous combustion, the black crumbled, finding the tissue underneath no longer pink, but as flawlessly white as before.
Never once was a sound uttered. A leather-gloved hand softly outlined the area where the blood and burns had been, deceptive in its movements. Motives were cleared as the hand pulled back roughly, returning with a large blade, which it traced along the skin, not hard enough to cut as it had before.
A twist of the wrist found the knife deeply impaled into the victim’s stomach. Still no sound was forthright and the hand twirled the dagger again, trying to elicit a sound from the pursed pink lips. Thoughtfully, the hand drifted higher along cool flesh, leaving the blade where it was, to wrap hands around a slim throat, tightening.
Strong eyes met those of the captor, unblinking, life sparkling clearly despite being choked. The hand knew better then to keep up a charade of taking life in such a form, drawing back. Walking towards the middle of the room that same hand pressed a button and the owner of the hand watched with steady eyes as the curtains opened and a stream of pure yellow sunlight fell from the skylight to the chained victim.
No protest, no scream; the captor stepped out of the room and walked away.
A hushed whisper, not from pain so much as from wondering if it would be heard, “You think you can hurt me.”
Not a question, not a statement, just there, seemingly hanging in the air between would be captor and their victim. Slowly, a reply became evident, as though it pained the owner of the voice to be addressing someone so below their standards. “You like the pain, then?”
“You’re out of your league. Baby wants to play the sadist? I’ll give you a lesson in pain,” words are curled around the tongue effortlessly, invitingly. A pretense of not being in pain, of forcing the pain out of mind and therefore out of body.
As a form of a reply the gloved hand reaches back and grabs another dagger, testing it’s sharpness on the victim’s skin before cocking it to the side slightly; deciding where to place the blade in the expanse of flesh spread out before it. “Enough of your lessons. It’s my turn now.”
Picking a suitably inviting soft breadth of skin, the blade slides through, joining the family of embedded knives; stomach, thigh, neck, arm, back. There is a soft sliding sound as the knife pierces and then the small shifts of skin closing up around it, finally a ripping as the hand turns the dagger around, feeling the skin tear with the movement.
Seeping out of the newly reopened wound, the crimson blood flows over skin, turning in different directions and paths every time the body it lives on moves even in the slightest. Leaving a trail of crisscrossed patterns even the most studious artist couldn’t draw in such a realistic version of perfection.
The voice is slow and sure, decided in a course of action, words having been suitably thought through in the time it took to tear into flesh. “I will have vengeance. Before I am done, you will know real agony.”
“You don’t understand agony,” laughter echoed through slightly clenched teeth. Not a sign of breaking, a sign of tiredness from refusing to give into even a simple reflex to sigh.
Anger surfaces as the daggers are pulled out one by one while the captor waits for the skin to heal fully before driving them back in, to the hilt, deep, hard, fast. Leather coated hands trailing softly over blood splattered flesh, a perverse promise of suffering.
It is a long time before the captor returns to admire their work of agonized glory. Torture of this singular prisoner has been the goal so long that the conqueror’s brain is rotted by it, twisted around until the sight of that person in pain pleases them. An unlikely student has surpassed teacher by way of distorted mind.
Not that the victim will allow anything to show on cherished pallid skin except for thick maroon blood, no emotions forthcoming; always complete control. Eyelids flutter open from a still brief rest; lips open only to reveal a red-coated tongue. Lazily looking over the one that has come to pass judgment on such a soul, teasing an invitation that is unclear, “It’s all about the blood, isn’t it?” eyes flash, mouth turns into a cruel smile.
Laughter by the wielder of weapons as the prey reels from a sharp and unexpected blow to the body, the force of it demanding to throw the sufferer back but the chains firmly preventing such an action. “I’ll teach you to laugh at me. Even monsters have weak spots, and I will find yours - even if it is death.”
This time the eyes flash in anger, blinding, all encompassing anger, making the eyes appear yellow. Straightening back up from the blow as much as chains allow. There are daggers littering the floor from where their wounds have healed and pushed the weapons out. Spitting out some of the blood from their mouth, the victim keeps their face hard as the blood lands right on the captor’s face. “You won’t kill me,” it’s so simple.
The leather-gloved hand wipes at the spit immediately, perverse rage re-ignited, pouring like acid, white-hot, through the entire body. A hard mouth forms into a frown, little creases signaling it’s a well-used reaction, as those same hands lift the heavy metal weapon again, striking out over and over again. Through clinched teeth the bitter voice thrives on the small groans of protest from the victim, “That’s right, you’re not invincible. I remind you of that, don’t I?”
No reply, never an answer, only questions and statements. Only words that will hurt them or edge them on, nothing to quell the anger or apologize for being the cause of it so long ago. Silence but for the weapon hitting skin, crimson blood oozing, and small grunts of pain that can’t be avoided.
And long after blackness has settled over the eyes of the wounded, the weapon keeps swinging, guaranteeing that unconsciousness will bring its blessed oblivion for many more hours.
Finally, once bruises have turned purple-black against the backdrop of ashen skin, some places rubbed pink and raw, does the arm finally lower and stop. Chunks of flesh have been scraped off by the sharp edges of the weapon, all of it leaving a battered painting of flowers blooming dark on snow-like skin.
The captor moves away and leaves only for the sake of their last shred of untwisted sanity and the knowledge that if they don’t stop now, that hand will open the curtains and the game will be over. Muttered, frenzied yet rigid, “Not until you learn the lesson, oh no, not until your pain surpasses my own.”
This time there is no answer because the other person is incapable of giving one, body held up by chains, its owner absent from the conversation.
It’s the alienated feeling of bare hands against their naked flesh that finally wakens the hunter made prey, pulling them from the respite of such a dreamless sleep. It takes a moment to realize that the darkness is because such powerful eyes are still closed, involuntarily. The soft rasping sound of a pained voice that hasn’t been used in… it’s impossible to tell how long, “What now?”
A finger is placed against blood-coated lips, begging silence. Working diligently, one hand is placed around the other’s waist; while the remaining hand twists and pulls at the chains holding the person they have come for. Lips brush against an ear, whispering, “This is going to hurt.”
There’s a pause, then a slight nod even as a gasp slips through now closed lips. The previously diluted pain comes surging back as the chains finally give way and the battered body falls against another, supported only by the arm at their waist. Still a slight chuckle is managed, the pain already forgotten when compared to agonies suffered ten times this trial. “This is it? I didn’t learn my fucking lesson.”
There is nothing to say in response to that, nothing that will relate to the voice of the victim and what they look like, no way to explain. The pain is there also, embedded in the heart of the one holding such a deceptively weak seeming creature. It’s what the sting is from that is impossible to tell, that won’t be examined. “It’s useless,”
But now they’ve been lifted, are being taken to some new place that will undoubtedly mean the end of this adventure, this capture. How, is the question that comes to mind. Is it daylight? Impossible to tell without being able to open their eyes. “Where are you taking me?” the tone is curious and still condescending, despite all that has transpired.
The voice is hard and crisp, determined to avoid all emotion and let none appear - emotions are too dangerous; it’s easy to realize that given the state of the one they are carrying. A slight wind blows uselessly on clothes soaked in the thick, rich blood and inspires neither a reaction of cold or heat. “You’ll see soon enough.”
Sarcasm is recognizable, no matter the state of their body, which is being so effortlessly held. It is highly unlikely that bruises and wounds will heal in time to actually see the destination of the holder’s choice. Light footsteps on gravel and the cooling breeze against exposed skin make it apparent that the brilliant night is here at least, for they are outside. Biting their tongue is unnecessary for the blood is already everywhere and there is no comment to withhold.
Opening the door there is a coat that is wrapped around the body in their arms before the bundle is deposited into a seat. The car is started easily and familiarly, the driver refusing to look at the blood that is seeping from reopened wounds every time the other moves. After the crimson stained rooms and building are left far behind, the achingly remembered voice sighs, “How was that for an escape?”
Finally able to open bright eyes slightly, it is enough to take in the supposed rescuer now covered in blood that does not all appear to have come from them. There is no laughter in the voice this time, only a cold hard violence that is normal for it and yet chilling, “Did you kill the bastard,” it’s not a question.
“Yes,” comforting words are hard to think of given the person sitting to the side of them, how nothing normal would be taken in the intended way. It’s the truth that finally seeps out into the silence of the car, “I assume by now it’s over, at least.”
In the past, suffering has occasionally been forgone not by likelihood of the person deserving it or not, simply by boredom. Yet as hands run over a battered body that hardly feels like their own, watching the blood that is covering everything, is everywhere, it is easy to see that the person who caused this deserved it. It’s comforting that their little champion took the time to impart some lessons of misery on that pathetic creature. “Good,” no more need be said.
The need for blood is impossible to escape but not the blood that spills everywhere, blood from someone else - some innocent, undeserving victim. The predator has been freed, the hero dirtied, and the real victim destroyed. Justice is overrated.
This new room is hard and soft at the same time. There is no cruelness in the surroundings though, simply a dark habitat that has been made suitable for this purpose very quickly. The recovering victim is thankful for that at least, the lights of the previous places were shocking and headache inducing.
Gently, the savior of the day deposits the wounded body on a soft bed, wary of reopening injuries that have already covered both in slick blood, sliding against their skin and wet against clothes. It’s already caused enough questions - with everyone.
Stretching slightly, rolling just enough to escape the confines of the now heavy coat waited down with blood. The feeling of skin soaked in blood sliding against the silk of sheets is comfortingly familiar, so much so that it’s almost enough to forget about the abrasions that caused this vast amount of the tangy liquid.
The champion does likewise, the drive to be away from the blood yet engulfed in it overpowering. Slowly, too slowly, they shed their soaked clothes, wander into a bathroom, wash hands covered with the blood of someone who is now most likely dead.
No mirrors, because what they’d see would be too disturbing when placed against what they desire to see. Something is needed to drown out the screams, the pain, the blood - too much - they had never thought there could be such a thing as too much blood before this.
Shooting down like a mouthful of fire, the alcohol mixture both burns and squelches so many urges that are running rampant at the moment. Dulls senses for only a fraction of a second, but it’s enough and there’s more than enough to dull the mind longer.
They take a moment to offer the writhing creature on the bed the same type of fiery cold escape, descent into hell one liquid moment at a time, just like they all deserve eventually. Then it’s off to find more clothes, despite the fact that the same blood coating both bodies will undoubtedly ruin them. It’s too late now for such mundane considerations.
On the bed, the heat of the drink is enough to dull the burning pain of all the gashes. Enough to lull them into the ever-elusive joy of a dreamless, painless, sleep. There’s still something that needs to be said though, something that is choking them to come out. “Thanks,” a pause, not even bothering to open their eyes, laughing, “you gonna join me or just sit and watch?”
Temptation, take me, thy art so easy to indulge in, to loose myself in. “Tempting, but I think I will watch.” After years it’s easy to make it come out steady and strong, something not to be questioned, face hard if the other person was even looking. No sign of the war internally to take that inviting offer up.
“Mmm,” one last shrug, long enough to be assured that slashed skin is indeed mending and bones are snapping back in place with sharp little cracks. All is as it should be and by the time everything wears off, the blazing sun falling into the depths of darkness once more, most of the cool ashen skin will be flawless once more. “Suit yourself,” seductive pain, with such a wicked tongue.
People, creatures, beings, they have been in and out, passed through and some have stayed. All with mixed emotions of shock, or a few with perhaps something akin to pity. But the champion has stayed, sitting in their plush chair, sleepless, watching; waiting.
The escapee has been in and out of awareness, waiting for time to take its toll and for things to right themselves and heal. They know that things have come and gone, know some of what has been said, and know most importantly that the watcher is still there and has still been there.
When sharply clear eyes finally open and fix themselves on the watcher, they stand, coming over to the bed and gently sitting upon the cool red-stained fabrics. Close, but not close enough, close enough to touch but not to do anything else. “You seem better.”
“Maybe,” noncommittal, angry, bitter, cold as always, light as always. An answer would be too much to give, especially now, when they are so vulnerable, so in need of this truce of protection that has apparently been offered and accepted.
A heavy sigh, that’s it. “Thought you might like a shower, get all the blood off,” then the champion is off to take their undeserved rest. Freeing the predator cost them too much and is taking its demands because all bad deeds must be punished, and it was the greater of two evils.
They are startled by their sudden aloneness, having not been alone in so very long. It’s not something that is liked. Upon quick reflection, they decide that was why the watcher stayed to look on, out of some vague sense of duty and remembrance of that old weakness.
Rapidly they sit up, swinging legs over the edge of the large bed. The bruises are a twisted purple threaded with green now, no longer the black flowers upon white skin. They can move at least, and a shower does sound like a good idea, if carefully approached; things are still broken and still battered.
Cold, freezing… so cold that it burns, slowly sinking into the bone until even that is chilled and the mind and heart is frosted. It flows red, scalds and rips more than washes, but it’s what is needed, what reminds them that they are whole.
As the cold pounds the recovering hunter is reminded that they are cold and they pound; it’s revitalizing, bracing against the relentless water flow, free of the insipid pain that had been inflicted. Reminded that there is no bracing or respite from their anger, their fury, their pounding vision.
It occurs to them not for the first time that it’s a shame their lesson never got to be imparted personally - agony, such agony they could have shared. But perhaps the sullied champion did enough, had learned the lesson well enough to share it with the twisted victim-turned-captor.
All they really want as a reminder are the leather gloves, soaked in their own blood and that of the captor; something solid to hold onto and remember once the bruises are gone. Once better, the victim is considering returning to that place of torture for them - a trophy of their ultimate victory.
The suddenly dim lights are easy to ignore, the naked body in front of them is not. Startled, the champion moves back, brushes out of the silkily inviting grasp of thoughts and actions that would provide such an exhilarating and magnificently wrong distraction. “Your bruises are healing nicely,” there will be no blush, no change of tone.
Slowly, languidly, the monster of once-upon-a-time, long, long ago, fixes those same predatory eyes upon the one who had been previously been watching them. There’s no reflection, just a quick decisiveness - no weakness, just the cold, hard, strength they’ve survived on this long. “I think so, but wouldn’t it be easier to tell if you came over here and checked for yourself?”
“No,” calm in appearance, pleading in the eternity of silence that follows, but strong in finality that such traitorous thoughts as before will not be acted upon. The time for things like that is not now, it’s long past. Despite themselves, a tongue sneaks out to wet lips, revealing everything to the trained observer.
And long before the tainted champion became watcher, their counterpart was the one watching, the one who knew everything - knows everything. Physical sight is for those blinded, this predator can see straight into the champion’s soul, past the lies and to the truth, “Hmm… have you found me some clothes then, or are you planning on keeping me like this.”
The gaze immediately sweeps down steeply, passing the flash of marbled flesh and the dim hardness of the floor until it comes to rest upon a small bundle being carried. It’s soft and silky, in contrast to the surroundings and person that they find themselves with, different even from their own self, “This.”
Few words seem to be the norm this time, but it's eyes that speak volumes, and they note that, before accepting the bundle. Coming close, brushing up against the former hero, so sleek, hard, and cool - perfect. Steps back, allows the other occupant of the room to breathe and open their eyes, before smiling. “Mmm,”
A sharp movement and they turn to go, trying to escape from the spider web that is sure to weave and wind them in yet again. Been there once before and no matter how flawless the web a champion can’t afford to spend their time caught up with such a spider again.
The fabric is discarded to the other side of the room as they lay back on the bed, uncaring of its state of array and reach to the side. Hands encounter the rough and smooth surface of leather and it is pulled towards them, before being wrapped loosely around - yet another invitation, unsure if its meaning is to taunt or please. “Aren’t you going to stay and… watch?”
Head turned back, taking in all that they have left behind and yet risked everything to save and bring here, to this place, now. Gorgeous, the things that could be done, thoughts again moving to that deeper and darker level, enough so that a smirk is present on their lips as they turn again to leave. The kind of look, kind of evil and wicked look, that says it all, and is matched perfectly by the other person in the room.
It’s the steady thrumming of cool water against cooler flesh - tiles, glass - which first draws the champion closer. It’s necessary, they tell their naughtier thoughts, to see the body naked and assess still healing bruises and wounds. The half-hearted excuse does little to ease the throbbing, the pounding, the images threatening.
Twisting sinfully behind frosted glass, the pain from movement and chill from cold only serve to make a monster feel alive. To hear silent footsteps edging closer and to issue a more vocal invitation, “Not gonna stay out there, are you?”
Already stepping away, pulling back from the collision, the frosted door is slid open and perhaps it’s the lack of eye contact – a body bared to be devoured by hungry eyes – that drags them closer.
Muttering, “To see how you’re healing…” but it’s a token protest, a useless expenditure of air and soul and pain.
Careful to avoid those sharp eyes, they slip in behind the other – close the door. Water pounding closer now, drenching the clothing they didn’t bother to shed (another outfit ruined, but what does it matter?). Cool, soapy arms reach back and pull the champion closer to a fate that cannot be eluded.
Closer, closer they come, the only barrier between champion and damned, a thin layer of silky clothing, already soaked so through that it might as well be skin. Their eyes do not meet.
Hands running down a naked and battered body – feeling the swells of bruises and divots of gashes. Skimming gently, gripping harshly – eliciting small gasps that remind the champion there is no difference. No silky layer protecting their insides from the silky hand that snakes around them, pulls them closer, squeezes harder.
Even without the benefit of seeing the champion, the other can see – feel – when the walls crumble. When the cloth is stripped away and their bodies first touch, it is almost an afterthought to the gripping pleasure of the bites and pressures that join the two tainted selves.
Faster now – the world is spinning and no words are there to ease the burning of the water against a mind that has lost itself. The champion blames the water entirely – blames its enticing rhythm and sinful decadence for robbing them of the ability to stay in control.
Fallen, the hero doesn’t even notice as their clothing is stripped – ripped – off and tossed aside. It had been coming too long to be a surprise. This one act of giving in has freed a part of them long thought dead, and it will have its way with both of them.
Maybe the water will wash away the sins. Lifting up the soiled one and slamming them against the harsh tile – chuckling at the pained gasp because it only drives them both on. Sliding in and, of course, it’s not enough. Never will be.
Can’t get a good enough angle, can’t get close enough, deep enough, hard enough. Falling into a vast abyss and the only way out is to embrace the fire. Pulling back and stumbling – a mass of tangled limbs and stilted grunts.
Down… down to the floor, to where all the dirty things go. The champion is gone; in its place there is only another monster, pressing the predator hard against the tiles.
Pressing, pushing, thrusting, grabbing and grasping and it’s not enough. The water is washing away the blood; tinged pink against them and it flushes their flesh, making it all too real and not real enough. If only the blood would stay.
The wounded predator is pulling them closer; embracing the madness left once the champion is gone. If it hurts, they’ll enjoy it, if it bleeds and cries out - all the better. The pain and blood is a secondary appetizer to the rare fulfillment of a lost champion’s abject misery driving them both closer to the edge.
A bite and it’s over. Separating and gasping against the blood-splashed tile and dripping droplets of water. Touching a split lip, the predator laughs and the split hero pulls them close again, sucking on the lip and capturing their mouth harshly. Anything to make that smirk go away.
In its place is an urge to do it again. To hurt them in their own, special way that claims them both as belonging to each other. These bruises and cuts and wounds are from an interloper in their private language of blood and torture and sex and love.
With a shock, the spell is broken. Soiled now by these happenings that the water will wash away but can’t erase. Pulls back and watches the body that temps with its brokenness because soon it will be whole again. They will never be whole again.
“Mmm… you hurt me so good,” the blow is delivered accurately, forcing the fallen to look up and meet the eyes of the recovering monster in such enticing skin that whispers its knowledge of secrets others couldn’t even begin to imagine.
Now useless clothes are gathered up in strong arms that shake so slightly. Giving into a temptation that has brought them closer to hell. To hell. Scrambling away from the pounding of the water on their brain and the laughter and the dirt that is etched into their heart. Wondering what it would take to wash away the memory of liking it so much. Soiled.
By the time the soiled hero returns, an entire speech has been composed during the long, intervening period. "We can't do this - this."
Sitting up, laughter etched across lips that refuse to laugh, the champion is regarded. Regarded for all that they were, are, have lost. The answer is there, etched in blood and pain and regression. "What do you want from me?" The question is full of meanings, double and otherwise, "I was there because I'd done horrible things. Why are you playing nursemaid then?"
The questions fired so accurately back have thrown the entire pre-planned-speech out of tune. All that remains, cluttered up, clutched so dearly, is the truth. "I want it to have been enough." And the champion does, wants so dearly for the monster in front of them to be absolved in blood, to have paid for too many crimes.
Blood never solves the monstrosity - it only feeds it, and the champion should have known better but they continue to wish anyway, to wish that it could be easy for once. A smirk, the suppressed laughter, "It's all blood…"
And it's an inside joke between the two of them so that, when the lost champion turns to leave, the laughter echoing in their wake understands completely.
Sitting clothed in the champion's shirt, dark and open, mostly healed, the other speaks. "If I say it's been enough, for us, will you believe me?"
It is the first time they have spoken since just after the incident, the shower, the water, the blood. The others, the champion's friends, have faded into the background - afraid of what they will find if they look too closely. There is no response as the champion sets down a mug of warmed animal blood, reeking of the insentient being it occupied.
"If I feel up for a real bite to eat, are you going to stop me, keep me trapped here - your prisoner? Will you bloody your conscience with my misdeed? Or, will you offer your own neck instead?" Moving closer, until hands trail a reluctant body and lips kiss said neck - teeth sheathed.
And the champion shivers, either at the words or actions because their resolve is shattered and they do not know which of the options such an event would effect. Or whether it even matters anymore. Silence, stoic, afraid. Of the one in front of them or the one inside, the champion can no longer tell.
The lips whisper in an ear, "How did you find me?"
This, this the champion can answer. It is safe. Mumbled because attention is being diverted by wandering hands that healed too recently to be so adventurous, so possessive. "... Attracted too much attention - the wrong kind."
"How fortunate for me," the words are sarcastic, bitter.
The champion wants the monster to be absolved? It should have been left in the dungeon to rot - there is no absolution here. There is only blood and sex and water and the sticky-sick feel of a soul that is bleeding, dying a slow death under smooth hands that pull at its sanity to get to the monster underneath. The monster like them.
A whisper, against pale skin, begging to be believed and threatening at the same time, "It's enough."
"Darla-" Hands pulling away, trying to salvage what little of the soul they can. Knowing that she will consume the mighty champion - maybe she already has.
"It's been enough."
This time, the words linger as lips and skin crash together, the so seductively donned silk shirt sliding away, as its mate follows. Skin that is flawless, but remembers well-worn paths. Fingers that clutch and sighs that echo.
And she doesn't know what is left, when they pull apart. Where the monster is hiding and whether the soul remains. Not sure if it matters as teeth scrape her neck and strong hands hold her down. The monster, not so trapped anymore. "Angel-"
"I know." He doesn't wait to see which name she'll call out because he's no longer sure where the line between one and the other begins. She makes it not matter, whether they are on the good side or the evil, whether the world has become gray or some violent shade of red. The two of them, enclosed together in each other, can have any shade they want.
And he does. He believes her because it is enough. Petty vengeance cannot make up for lives drowned in blood, choked by it. Nothing can. Maybe that is all the justice there is, that what is enough for them will never really, truly be enough. Be at peace. No rest for the wicked.
If there's blood drawn now, it's by some higher choice that neither consciously made, but it's welcomed, twining them closer together because the same blood runs through both veins and it's always all about the blood. If a little is spilt on silky bodies and silky sheets, so be it.