"You gonna tell me what the hell all that was about?"
Steve flinched and poured himself a shot of Jack Daniels, knocking it back and pouring another one. "Don't use that word," he begged, sinking down into the couch. He stared into the amber liquid, half-aware of Christian on his peripheral vision, pacing back and forth in agitation. "I should be dead," he said quietly. "The hounds came for me and I should be dead." He licked his lips and looked up at Christian, opening and closing his mouth silently. He shook his head and sighed, a muscle in his cheek twitching. "I don't... I..." He sipped at his drink. "I... Thank you.” He swallowed audibly and drained his glass, placing it on the floor at his feet. “I don’t really understand what happened but... thank you, Christian.” He fell silent, Christian sitting next to him on the couch. “Your wolf... is she... I mean, she’s ok?”
Christian nodded and reached down, his hand automatically going to his wolf’s head, petting her gently and scratching her ears. “She’s a little beat up and a little bloody but she’s OK. I’d say she’s feeling damn pleased with herself too.”
“She’s here?” Steve cocked his head to one side, watching Christian’s hand curiously.
“She’s always here,” Christian laughed softly. “She lies across my feet. S’where she is now. You really can’t see her?”
“I really can’t see her. You’re petting thin air.”
“Huh.” Christian ran his hand down her flank, smoothing down her fur and patting her twice before sitting up. He turned to face Steve, forehead creased in a frown. “What’s goin’ on Stevie? What’s all this shit about sellin’ your soul about?”
“I don’t know what you want me to say.”
“The truth?” Christian suggested. “I may not like it but I think I deserve that much.”
“Yeah. Yeah, you’re right,” Steve agreed, “you do. But I don’t know how. You already know most of it. I sold my soul, my time is up and now the hellhounds are after me. More than that, I haven’t got a clue.”
“You sold your soul,” Christian echoed, confusion and disbelief. “An’ there are hell... hellhounds after you. An’ that’s what was happenin’ at Aurora’s earlier?”
Steve nodded. “Yeah. I know how it sounds,” he admitted. “I probably wouldn’t believe it if someone was telling me but yeah. And yeah, that was the hellhounds earlier. They’d come to... to get me but your wolf...well, she fought them off.”
“Because you sold your soul. To a demon.”
Steve winced as Christian snapped. “Yeah.”
“The fuck were you thinking? What sort of stupid fuckin’ son of a bitch goes round sellin’ his fuckin’ soul?”
“A desperate one,” Steve whispered.
“Desperate?” Christian repeated, his voice rising in anger. “Desperate? What, you were so fuckin desperate for your career to take off that you went and sold your fuckin’ soul, is that what you’re saying? That you’re a selfish fuckin’ idiot who doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions?”
“It’s what it fuckin’ sounds like from here!”
“I did it for you!” Steve shouted back.
Christian froze, his eyes widening and his lips parting. “What?” He sank back down on the couch, staring at Steve. “For me?”
“For you.” Steve leaned forward and cupped Christian’s face in his hand, thumb stroking his cheek as he kissed him gently. He pulled back to meet Christian’s eyes. “I did it for you. Back then, nothing was working out for you and you were spiralling down and I hated watching it. I knew I had to do something.”
“Steve, I...” Christian trailed off, closing the gap between them and kissing Steve.
Steve pulled Christian onto his lap, ignoring the hairs o the back of his neck standing up as he wound his arms around him. “I love you,” he murmured against Christian’s lips. “No matter what happens, please remember that I love you.”
“I love you too.
And the wolf stood up and howled as the hellhounds skidded into the room.