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The Orchid's Unfolding

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***

Once a young woman asked me,
“How does it feel to be a man?”
And I replied,
“My dear, I am not so sure.”
Then she said, “Well, aren’t you a man?”
And this time I replied,
“I view gender
As a beautiful animal
That people often take for a walk on a leash
And might enter in some odd contest
To try to win strange prizes.
My dear,
A better question for Hafiz
Would have been,
‘How does it feel to be a heart?’
For all I know is Love,
And I find my heart Infinite
And Everywhere!”

— Hafiz (version by Daniel Ladinsky)

***

Naked, Jaffar lays himself down on the bed theatrically, letting his arms flop on either side of his head.

"Go on, then," he says, smiling, swaying his hips enough so that his erection, too, sways; "have your wicked way with me."

Yassamin undoes the last of her braids and kneels at the foot of the bed, stretching, groaning in delight; like a cat beside a fire, she warms herself in the heat of Jaffar's gaze.

"And what if I should not?" she purrs a coquette, and there, with one flick of her eyes from right to left, she has bound her husband's wrists to the bed.

Jaffar's eyes fly wide; in a moment's panic, he tosses his head from side to side, tugging at the invisible bonds around one wrist, then the other, over and over. "But that's impossible!" he cries, unable to believe his eyes. Yet when the bonds refuse to give, he huffs and lets his head fall onto the pillows. "When I last saw you, you could barely recite the invocations of Mars. How did you develop this skill, overnight?"

Yassamin laughs, massaging her breasts in a tease. "I studied the magics of Venus instead."

Jaffar grumbles still. "It took me three years to learn that binding-spell."

Yassamin raises her eyebrow. "And you were the one who invoked Ishtar into me. She never left."

And she speaks the truth: whatever name the unbelievers will have called Love by, Ishtar or Venus or Anahita, she had entered Yassamin body and soul, giving to her of her magics. Yassamin had been terrified of this at first, despite Jaffar's insistence that this force was but one aspect of the One God, an attribute of the All-Highest: simply the name and form the pagans had called this part of God by. At times, despite Jaffar's reassurances, she still feels this is blasphemous, knowing that should anyone find out, she and Jaffar would both be put to death, be forever damned for the one sin God does not forgive: idolatry.

Yet in her heart, she knows Love and God to be one, and that it is the Divine Jaffar now contemplates through her form; he has said as much. And in equal measure, she, too, has felt the hand of Providence in Jaffar's touch, his guidance; until she had married him, she had not truly known what Grace meant. And just as God's revelation and creation are continuously unfolding miracles, so has their marriage been one revelation after another: one continuous stream of miracles, rebirths, each day a new happiness unveiled. Each day, she finds a new beauty, a new majesty in her husband, and for these, she thanks the Almighty each night in her prayers.

"Show me, then, my Queen of the Night;" Jaffar whispers, his voice husky from adoration, tenderness. "Show me how they danced in Babylon."

She has not had a drop of wine, not a grain of opium nor a whiff of camphor, yet underneath Jaffar's gaze, she reels intoxicated, drunk. Again, she stretches, adorning herself in his lust; the silks of his desire gliding down her breasts, the jewellery of his want a soft tinkle about her ears, the flutter of his eyelashes a daub of perfume across her sex. Even if he is not touching her, he is taking her, loving her ardently with his mind and his gaze: she can feel his will rippling against her skin so that she has to make a conscious effort to move her hands according to her own desire, and not that of his. Thus, she combs her hair out with her fingers, filling the velvet-enclosed bed with its rich scents of jasmine and oudh; only after does she take her hands to her cunny, stroking its lips, relishing the way they have filled out, massaging them to even greater a fullness.

Control, control; it is what excites her the most about him, and it is what he has taught her in turn. He is a man of such power she has never known the like, and what makes him so irresistibly attractive is the mastery he wields over his senses, his skill of self-discipline second to none. She has seen so many princes, tyrants--her own father among them--run amok with their power, wreaking destruction in their wake, uncaring of the damage done to innocents, family, friends. She has heard tales of how before her birth, Harun had been the worst of them all, and has always wondered if it weren't because of him that Jaffar had learned to rein in his desires and rages so utterly.

It cannot have been easy for him to learn this craft: to so consider his each and every action and word, all the ways in which he expresses his feelings, his thoughts, his logics, whether it be in politics or love. His each word so carefully spoken it becomes poetry, his each letter so exquisitely penned so that even mere notes to his secretaries become calligraphic masterpieces, his each caress carrying behind itself decades of learning. And not only from love manuals, but from having made love to boys and girls, women and men and eunuchs; from all his studies in mechanics, physics, medicine.

And behind all of this, power, a power that seems to have tapped into that of God himself, greater than that of many so-called holy men, so-called saints; she has seen thousand-year-old ghouls less powerful. In his eyes, the blue fire of djinn and angels burns bright; like the All-Highest himself, he deals mercy with one hand, but swift and terrible justice with the other. Men had feared him long before he had become Caliph, long before he had become Vizier; the older women of the harem said he had nearly been exposed as a child because he had been born with such evil eyes.

Yet his mother had insisted the opposite, Jaffar had told her: that her son was blessed, to have been born with those exact eyes of turquoise and lapis people warded off evil with. He'd joked that this was the reason his bed had been placed on a step higher than those of his siblings; so that Jaffar's eyes could watch over them, and frighten away any demons that would have wished to harm them. Whereas other children had asked for their mothers to blow on their wounds to heal them, it was Jaffar the other children had asked to glance at theirs, in order to stop bad spirits from entering them and infecting them.

He smiles; he has been listening to her thoughts. "You do know that the hand of Fatima, with its eye in its palm, is a symbol heathen, my love? I have seen it upon a relief of our very own Ishtar, with mine own eyes."

"That is very apt, then," Yassamin says, leaning down to kiss his toes; "that you should belong to me thus," she says, kissing, tickling Jaffar's feet with her lips until he shrieks, wails, kicks.

"Stop it!" he laughs, panting, squirming upon the bed. "Continue the dance."

But she is lost staring at him, adoring him like this: the way his eyelashes are fluttering with excitement, the way his hair has already escaped the little tie he had gathered it back with for love-play. She reaches down to undo the tie and tosses it aside, spending long moments combing Jaffar's hair out with her fingers, nuzzling his face. "I like seeing you dishevelled," she explains. "Debauched."

"It's not difficult!" he laughs onto her lips, light and gay from his love for her. "The moment I so much as think of you, my love, I lose myself."

"Try and hold back a little longer," she says, now opening his legs and kneeling between them. At a cruel whim, she turns around and bends over on all fours, arching her back like a cat, presenting her cunny to him. See what you have done to me in turn? she tells him with her hips, and she knows he must see the way her cunny clenches now--she is so aroused from the mere sound of his breath hitching in his throat. This was something he had told her he had never seen or felt on a woman before, either: that she would lust for him so violently that it showed even on the outside of her sex, whereas with other women, this pulse always remained secret, hidden inside the body. Yet in the minute movement of her vulva's lips, he had said he could see and feel the echo of her womb curling up in its heat to make way for penetration, see and feel as her vagina tightened and pulled itself up, making love to his prick before it had even entered her. And neither had he known that a woman's orgasm, so subtle in its flutters, could even be felt around the cock, when he had previously only recognised it by other signs, psychic reverberations, moans, sighs.

But now it is he who moans, sighs like a woman; he who grows as wet as a woman, he who sighs a houri as a drop of Yassamin's arousal falls from her cunny over his cock. Yet she does not touch him, no, not even as his thighs tremble around hers: again, she rocks her hips and pushes her cunny out, the thick sweetness of her scent now drowning out that of the jasmine and the oudh, of the ambergris candles.

The candles' flames flicker, flicker; his cock shifts and rises off his belly, gleaming, glittering, sweet from their twinned fluids.

His cock slaps back onto his stomach; he draws in a shuddering breath.

"Please," he rasps.

"I have barely even started yet," she murmurs and rolls the muscles of her belly, rolls between his legs, curls; demonstrating how she would move when riding him. It is he she has learned this restraint from, this capability to ignore the pounding, now painful ache of arousal in her cunny; oh, she can barely look at the length and the width of his cock, so much she needs it to push inside of her, to rub this ache out, to pound it out of her.

She closes her eyes, braces her hands on the mattress and sits astride his cock, dragging her cunny across it once, twice, thrice.

And it is he who cries out, again, the noise of it mercifully masking the one she lets out, too; as she rubs her clitoris against his prick, seeking friction, satisfying herself with him, he sobs, moans.

"Take me, Yassamin. I am begging you. I am praying."

But she has to wait a little longer, she must. She glances at him over her shoulder, dips her fingers into her cunny to wet them and pushes two into her arse, keening through her teeth as she continues to masturbate with his body. "It is I who demand to be taken, husband," she groans, pausing enough to gift him with the sensation of her flesh, to transmit to him both the thrusts and curls of her fingers, of the way her cunny squeezes in desperation at being neglected so. If she were to rub her clitoris now, she would come immediately, and she knows it, and she cannot go on touching herself, no, not any longer.

Thus, she takes her fingers out and lifts them to his mouth, gleaming wet. "How hard would you take me, if I let you go now, husband?" she asks, sliding her cunny against his cock, then lifting so that the tip of him nestles against her entrance. "Tell me."

Jaffar makes to bite her fingers, his teeth snapping around empty air, his knuckles white as he tugs on his bonds, thrusting with his hips in vain as she lifts out of his reach. "So hard no tart of Ishtar ever got fucked thus!" he hisses. "I am going to drive that demoness out of you; send her crawling, begging for mercy," he growls and rolls his hips, thrusting between the lips of her cunny with his prick, as hard as a weapon, made to wound. "So that you wished you were still a virgin when I'm done; after I've fucked that little slit into a cunt!"

"Shut your mouth," she hisses, but with a smile, smearing her hand over his mouth and taking his cock deep, deep, deep into her cunny, into the very root of it, drowning out his scream with hers, a lioness's roar of delight. "Fuck me," she commands, now turning away from him, bracing her hands on his legs and slamming her hips down onto him, rubbing at the ache in her cunny with his heat and his width, barely feeling him because she is so wet, too wet. "Fuck me!" she groans, taking him, taking him roughly so that this wetness would be rubbed off a little; she needs the friction, needs it--she rubs her clitoris with her hand and keens through her nose, letting go of the binding-spell.

With an equal lion roar, he is upon her: he hurts her, pulls on her muscles, makes her head spin as he throws her face down onto the bed and takes her. Deep into the mattress he presses her, slamming so hard into her her breath is blown out of her lungs. "Take it," he growls, yanking her head up by the hair, hissing in her ear, gesturing for her to ride her hands. "Make yourself come." Let me feel it.

"Jaffar!" she howls into the sheets, her ululations swallowed up by the mattress as he fucks her and he fucks her. She can barely clasp her hands together for his thrusts, slipping before she can trap her clitoris between her pubic bone and the ball of her thumb. But once she succeeds at her task, she goes noiseless, each and every one of his blows striking home perfectly, perfectly, each wave of her orgasm cresting between his thrusts, as if the head of his cock itself were the last peak of it as it pushes ever deeper into her, pushing her higher, higher, up, up, higher--and she is but a scream--

And he swallows her release from her, drinks it greedily, howling and then gulping for breath, sucking her orgasm from her psychically; each one of her ripples and convulsions he pulls over himself a garment, pours over himself a perfume until his teeth rattle from its force. As her womb sucks, so his body thrusts, and he sends it to her, the white surge from his spine to his prostate to his balls to his cock, shooting out of him, obeying her body's need, her need become his impetus, his motion. Pure, shining, frantic from his love, he buries himself into her over and over, now losing control completely, splashing into her rich and white, his teeth sunk into her shoulder. He judders on top of her, ripples on top of her, coming so violently it is as if his life-force is sucked out of his very fingertips, his scalp, his nose, every hair follicle on his body; a spark from each cell of his body rushing into the river of his ejaculation, continuing on and on, he spinning out his orgasm into that of a woman's, greedily prolonging his pleasure by wearing hers, swimming in hers.

Underneath him, she flutters, flutters, her spine, her cunny so overloaded, full of cold, white sparks; the quick, white sparks struck off the fur of a cat in the dark or off amber, the sparks they call djinn-light. Her body cramps with fatigue; she wants to go on, wants to go on throwing herself onto the bliss of Jaffar's cock, wants to never stop these floods of ecstasy brought each and every time the head of his cock meets the back of her womb, but she cannot go on, cannot. With a quiet sigh, too quiet to even become a whimper, she falls lax underneath him, motionless in his arms.

You are unbelievable, the thought swirls between their bodies, flitting from mind to mind, a soft laughter purring from his chest to hers and from hers to his, but neither can tell who thought it first.

"And you are a thief," she purrs, jiggling her buttocks, knowing how much he loves it, he still firm within her.

"Mm," he says, resting his head beside hers, completely relaxed with his full weight nestled into her. "One day I am going to give myself one of these little cunnies. And you a prick."

"God forbid!" she says, yet her cunny clenches at the idea, not once but twice, squeezing around his length.

"I felt that," he laughs, ruffling her hair, thrusting into her a little. "Don't think I don't know you've been thinking about it. It was you who suggested it, that night I first took you like a lad."

She grumbles a little underneath him and wriggles some more. "I know what's behind this. It's you who want to be taken, that's all. I should never have started playing with your arse; I've created a monster!"

He pulls back and smacks her buttocks, then pulls out and begins to push himself into her arse. "I'd say we were both of us monsters," he laughs, ignoring the way she stiffens and gasps as he slides inside of her with ease, she so relaxed from her orgasm, so slick and wet all over. "Wouldn't you agree, my little sodomite?"

She tries to breathe; she wants to rub her cunny but cannot; she had only just pulled her hands out and they still ache. She tries to clutch at the sheets, but is not capable of even that, all of her but twitching white flesh, pale flesh, the sparks now become her entire being with just a few of his thrusts.

And he can tell, he can feel this; she can feel him fighting the stiffness so that it will not consume him, too, him slipping his hand underneath her so that he might rub her clitoris to ease her discomfort.

"'s not discomfort," she mumbles when he begins to rub, right there, just at the right spot, right over the hood of her clitoris, the pressure of his hand meeting the rolls of his hips in time.

"I know," he chuckles and nuzzles wet hair from her neck. "Overwhelmedness? Is that a word?"

"It is now," she sighs happily and finally, clutches the sheets; she moves her hips a little, but makes no further effort, letting Jaffar pleasure her, knowing how much delight he derives from demonstrating his skill in such a manner. He need not send her his thoughts: she can tell he is calculating the angles and the speed of his thrusts, the circumference of the circle of his hand, of how to vary the pressure to pleasure her the most. She leaves him to it and but melts underneath him, dissolved as she always is by the intensity of anal penetration. She cannot even tell when she begins to trickle onto his hand, but nearly throws Jaffar off herself once she comes, so fast her pleasure peaks: so fast he cannot even ride it. She howls from the bottom of her lungs, her eyes rolling back in her head, but the pleasure disappears as quickly as it had arrived; in moments, she is again a boneless heap underneath him.

"Oh, God," she groans, her cunny still pulsing, pulsing.

"Cheat," he grumbles into her neck, then pulls her into a spooning position.

"Not at all," she smiles and turns her head to kiss him. "It's only that you are too skilled."

"Mm. I will not argue with that statement. Few men can last long inside a tightness as delicious as this," he hisses, rolling into her.

"I wonder how long I would last inside you," she laughs.

"Now, you're just taunting me," he laughs and pulls back the hood of her clitoris. "And I will have none of it," he murmurs, and then his words become some ancient language, no longer Arabic or Persian, and her clitoris swells, swells--

She screams so loudly the entire room rings with it, shrieks so that they can hear the eunuchs' weapons rattling outside.

"Change it back!" she screams. "Change it back right now!"

"Why?" he laughs, holding her tight against himself, clasping her fresh new prick in his hand. "Don't you like it?"

"Jaffar!"

"Mistress, is something the matter?" one of the eunuchs calls from behind the door.

"It's all right, Sonbol," Jaffar cries. "Your mistress had a nightmare, that is all. Go back to your position."

"I will kill you for this!" she shrieks, this--this mass between her legs, this organ that once was her clitoris now wilting in his hand. She is terrified, utterly terrified, staring at it, the pink, swollen thing now protruding out of her cunny.

"You don't mean it," Jaffar murmurs, hurt, now wilting himself, slipping out of her. "I can change it back any moment, trust me--"

"Do it now!" she shouts, regardless of the fantasies she had had, regardless of her curiosity: he has pushed her into it too soon, too fast, without her permission. "Or I will cut yours off. I will, Jaffar, I--"

"I am sorry," he murmurs, failing to mask the disappointment, the hurt in his voice. He whispers a soft spell and the penis sinks back between her cunny's lips, become a clitoris once more. "Did I hurt you?"

She pulls back to inspect herself, to feel herself, now feeling a strange hollow space where her prick used to be, a hollow ache remaining behind her womb--had he given her a prostate as well, for her to feel such a ghostly emptiness there, too? She does not know what to think, her mind a chaos; she is terrified. "Don't ever do that again, or I am divorcing you," she says through trembling lips, then bursts into tears.

"My child!" he cries, then hugs her; despite her protestations and squirmings, he holds her fast. "I thought of but our mutual pleasure, you must know that. I would never force you to do it, nor for the sake of my own pleasure alone. I truly am sorry, my love. I am. Please forgive me," he murmurs, his own voice wavering from shock. "Please."

He kisses her tears away, hugs her so tight her bones creak; she hates how well he does this, hates his tenderness, hates how she can never hate him for long, no matter how stupid he has been.

"You just scared me, Jaffar, that is all."

And she remembers how scared she had been of men when she had been a maiden, before marrying Jaffar; how her father had painted all of them as beasts, and how she had had little reason to suspect otherwise. The only man she had ever loved had been the djinni in her garden, the dark lover in her mirror; Jaffar had never forced her, then, had only caressed her with his thoughts, had been gentle, kind. It has never been like him to rush her into extreme pleasures in this manner, so the suddenness of it all was what had shocked her. To have her body taken from her in such a manner, to have it change shape like that according to someone else's will, to lose control of it, to have appendages grow out of it--she shudders at the memory. Why, she is still frightened even of pregnancy, and Jaffar has not forced her into that either. She had felt monstrous, misshapen just now, too much like the masculine Halima and her kind; not like herself at all.

"Jaffar, I am sorry. I am not sure if I could play the boy to you--in that manner, that is."

He cups her head and kisses her. "If you should ever change your mind, just ask. I promise not to do it again without your permission."

"I am sorry. I would take you. I--I have thought of it once or twice, and it's not a thought unpleasant. I just never realised--"

"It was too soon. Again, I am sorry," he says, then slides down between her legs to kiss her cunny in apology. "Let me make up for it, and prove to you how much I love you, just as you are."

And while he is brilliant with his mouth, tender and sweet, he does not let Yassamin enter his mind: she knows that she would find disappointment lurking within, that sodomite part of him that has long dreamt of being taken by Yassamin the husband.

And pray, who was it who had put the thought of Yassamin the husband into his head in the first place, if not Yassamin herself? All those times she had taken him with the jade phallus, all those times she had taken him with her fingers, had rejoiced in having other men take him--now she feels as if there is something wrong with her, and not him. And as he pushes three fingers inside of her cunny, pushing against her pleasure-centres with his mind, it feels as if he is urging her to forget, urging her to choose pleasure instead of anguish: she relents and lets him push her into orgasm, knowing him to be right. She shudders onto his hand, tears still clinging to her eyelashes as she comes onto his mouth; never, ever would she want to be angry with him, nor would she want him to be angry with her.

After, she offers to take him with her hand and her mouth, but he declines, telling her he is too tired, and that he would rather sleep.

Guilty, she curls up in his arms, staying awake long into the night, drifting in and out of dreams of eunuchs, of tomboys, of sodomites. When she wakes up to relieve herself, she almost urinates standing up; the ghost of her prick remains, hanging heavy between her legs. Again, she sleeps, dreaming of delivering ravishments to men and women, of driving herself into Jaffar's body, of having him scream underneath her, not having realised what he had started.

When she wakes up, Jaffar has already left: this is not unusual of him. He has so many duties at court that each hour they spend together, he has had to fight for tooth and nail, has had to arrange for days or even weeks in advance.

She lies long in her bed that morning, caressing herself, stroking her invisible prick and she dreams, and she dreams.

Chapter Text

Laughing, Jaffar and Yassamin leave the entertaining-chamber and stumble towards the harem. Jaffar had had a new variety of mulled wine prepared especially for them, and it had intoxicated them from just a few sips; it had aroused them both to such an extent that they'd had to excuse themselves early. They'd almost copulated in front of Jaffar's drinking-companions, but Yassamin had had enough sense left within herself to drag Jaffar out before he could make a fool out of himself.

"Better make yourself a fool in my bed," she had murmured and pushed him out of the door.

But as soon as they had made it out of the door, Jaffar had started chasing her; shrieking, they run around the corridors a pair of maniacs, their laughter echoing off the walls. Pretending he's a bird, Jaffar spreads out his outer robe and runs after her, making delirious screeching noises as if he were a hunting-falcon; like a mouse, she skips away from him, both of them playing and tussling like children. Desire rises in them, rippling between them, sparking from them, their minds crashing against each other as their teeth clash together in wild kisses; over and over, they part and begin the chase anew.

And now, Yassamin falters not from drunkenness alone: her cunny is so swollen she can feel the tremors of her footsteps within it, and whenever Jaffar chases up behind her and catches her, she can feel his erection pressing against her back, even through his voluminous robes.

"Wait!" Yassamin cries; she is laughing so much she has to pause for breath. They have just stepped into one of the galleries overlooking the garden that separates the men's quarters from the women's; she leans herself against the latticed window, pressing her face into it drunkenly, panting through the ornamental grille.

"You shouldn't breathe too deeply from the night air," Jaffar laughs and comes to embrace her from behind, kissing her shoulder. "It can cause all kinds of foul vapours to enter the brain."

Yet she cannot stop giggling. "Worse than the ones now consuming us? What on earth did you have them put into the wine?" she hiccups. "Or are we--are we being poisoned this very minute?" She laughs and fumbles with the buttons of her jacket; he had unbuttoned it almost completely and they had come close to scandalising the entire court.

"Mmm," he mumbles, making an exaggerated contemplating sound. "Saffron and camphor to make it go into the head faster; and I may have put in a dash of this new Indian hashish when the chef's back was turned."

"You should never mix hashish with wine," she slurs.

"Unless you want to seduce a boy. Abu Nuwas taught me that trick."

"Mm." She is only half listening. "What boy?"

"The one I hold in my arms right now," he laughs and pushes up against her back, pressing her against the lattice. "I do hope you are wet," he purrs and begins to undo the laces of her shalwars.

"As a matter of fact--" she spreads her legs and purrs right back at him, arching her back towards him. "See for yourself."

"Oh, but you are," he laughs in delight and holds her tight, holding out his glistening fingers for her to taste, making her squirm in his embrace. "Very convenient, as I haven't brought any oil with me."

"You're not going to--Jaffar!" she exclaims, but then his wet hand is over her mouth and his prick is sliding into her cunny, easily, easily, all of her shuddering around his length. He is not going to do it here, in a public corridor, and there are guards on either side of it, people talking in the garden right underneath them, oh, God--

"I'll do whatever I want, my child," Jaffar croons and slips his other hand to her cunny, rubbing it so that she shudders around him once more, he chuckling in delight at the pleasure her shock gives him. "For I am in the mood to steal tonight."

And what else can she do but adore him, flow into him, surrender herself unto him if Jaffar is but incarnating her own secret desires once more? All her life, she had been hidden from the eyes of all men, and thus had developed a perversion to be displayed, looked at; exposed with pride by her master like an expensive courtesan, not this chaste little princess tucked away in her garden like a jewel in the bottom of a treasure trunk. And now, behold: her thief is lifting her out into the light, admiring her, the glow in his eyes refracting through her, making her brilliant, bright; proudly, he wears her, his queen made his crest-jewel, radiant from his love, her delight.

Yes, she is terrified, yet the harlot inside her loves this, loves his outrageousness, her entire body trembling from its thrill. She is so wet, so wet that she is slicking his sack; so wet--and can they smell her in the garden? Can they? If there were but a little breeze, could it carry the thick, sweet fragrance of her cunny to the nostrils of those men now walking past them in the garden underneath? Those men returning from the mosque, the scent and taste of her arousal floating into the mouths and noses of those who have just been reciting prayers? Oh, she could die from the joy of her sin this very moment, she made a heathen demoness to haunt men's dreams, the Queen of the Night opening her wings once more.

And now, her demon-lover is thrusting into her with such force that she is raised onto her toes, and against her tongue, his sticky hand becomes a little cunny, too, a sweet little cunny, as if she were loving a man and a woman at once. The wine, the drugs make this vision so vivid she sobs once more, now making love to Jaffar's cunny-hand with her tongue, flicking her tongue between his fingers as if they were its lips. She shares this thought with him, shares it with her mind and her tongue and the pulse, pulse, pulse of her flesh around his prick.

Surprised, delighted, he suffocates an utterly lascivious groan into her shoulder. "That's it, my child," he pants, changes hands so that she has a newly wetted palm to lick; "you lick a cunny while I fuck a little arse, the greedy little deviants we both are," he laughs in her ear.

And it is at that that he begins to push inside her arse and she freezes, a moan so deep bursting from her that it comes from all the way in her belly, and she is grateful for his hand, so grateful. He, in turn, sends his sensations back to her, sends to her the vibrations: the sweet clutch of her muscles around the head of his prick, the way his spit shimmers in the moonlight as he slickens his cock further. And then, again, the tightness, the terrible tightness that frightens him at times--Yes, my child; this is why I never jest when I tell you I fear you will snap it off. That's how much you love this prick, whether it be with your front cunny or the back, he laughs into her mind.

And as he frames her clitoris with his fingers, rubbing it in its hood, she again thinks of her prick, but now with utter, shameless delight; she bucks into his hand, groans, arches her buttocks towards him, feeling a boy, a boy. A boy at the same time as she is a woman: delirious, she tosses in his grip, digging her fingers into the woodwork, Jaffar thrusting into her so that she fears they will break the entire lattice.

He bursts out into laughter, has to balance himself against her, has to struggle not to fall into the unstoppable laughing-sickness hashish always engenders. "And we would tumble down into the garden with our shalwars around our legs," he chuckles, biting her shoulder so as not to laugh.

She has to bite his hand in turn, heaving from her laughter, clenching and squeezing and rippling in half-orgasm with it, riding his prick with her chuckles' waves. She has to pull back from his hand, saying this before he can cover her mouth again, has to flash him her eyes: "Take me."

"I shall," he rasps against her ear, moving his hips to suffocate his laughter; his gasps soon turn into those of pleasure, a little keening, whimpering noise in his throat. "You feel so good, my jasmine," he whispers, reverent, near tears. "So wonderful, so absolutely wonderful."

His jasmine, his jasmine: the pleasure rises in her so that she feels herself curling out, entwining around the lattice like vines, blossoming in little white bursts of star-flowers. Her toes are curling, her cunny pulsing against his hand, and now she has to let one of her hands join his, to rub harder and harder. She is so close, so close, yet she needs more, needs to feel this joining entire, needs to feel her wellspring in turn. Thus, she rocks herself down onto his cock, asking him to show her more, more; to tell her how it feels for the man, how it feels for a prick to be made love to like this.

Hardness, he answers. Redness. Heat. Heaviness. A surge up the spine, a white surge, as white as her jasmine, him yearning to push into her vines, to be embraced by her over and over. A strain, a pressure, an ache at the root of his cock whenever her hips push down on it; the near-pain when it is bent thus, every time. This is what he sends to her, and again the tightness, the joy that slays him each time the sweet spot underneath the glans is squeezed by the muscles of her entrance. And now, he is pushing so deep into her he has reached that farthest gate, that place he had told her about in his letters, where rectum turns colon, that curve behind her womb.

Yet it is even better than with Fadl, he now thinks at her, but then he can think no more, only feel: for she is flooding him with her sensation in turn, that spot bringing her a pleasure a man could never experience, not having a womb. The white flashes, always so white, always so fast like lightning; her breath stops as he strikes bolt after bolt, blossom after blossom from that curve, and now she is screaming into his hand as she sprays his other palm with her cunny. But it is not shame at the spray itself, nor the vast, white emptiness of orgasm that follows: it is only that now, she has stained the front of her drawers. Oh, everyone will think she has wet herself, now--

But then he chuckles, curls inside that hollow space a laughter and she goes blind, blind. So have I made you like unto myself, my sweet, my sweet, he purrs; you curled me into a jasmine, and thus I made you into a wellspring. Is that not only fair?

And oh, but how he uses her, now, realising she has come, fucking her, now slamming her against the lattice, and her face will bear marks, marks. He stuffs her veil into her mouth to stop her screams, guides her to stroke herself so that he can take her hips with both hands, ravage her with the full strength of his body. He will slay her, slay her, she thinks wildly: even if her orgasm had been a little weaker, the way it always is after wine, the drugs but enhance the full, tearing, maddening terror-rapture she is possessed by whenever he takes her in this manner. She sobs around him, entwines around him the vines of her love; with the last of her strength, she beckons him inside of her body with her mind, pulling at him with the tendrils of her psyche, with the pull of her flesh, as if she could make herself but a pleasuring hand squeezing him--

And it is then that he slams her against the lattice one more time, sinks his teeth into her shoulder so hard her jacket tears, and he screams. On and on, he screams into her velvets, the vibrations of his voice rippling into her flesh, he flooding her insides with his come. He grapples, clutches at the lattice himself, pressing her flat against it, his hips beating uncontrollably, his throat raw from hiccups, sobs, and she thinks that he might be weeping. Gagging, sniffling, sobbing, keening in his nose he thrusts and he thrusts with a strange anguish, as if wanting to wring more pleasure out of his body, and perhaps he is again jealous at the strength of her orgasm, perhaps he envies it, perhaps again he wishes he were the woman.

What a pair of fools they are! "Gladly would I swap places with you," she murmurs and turns around, kissing him. "Let us do it. Now. Make me a boy."

"Not tonight," he laughs, wet from sweat and tears, his hair having drawn kohl from his eyes in streaks up to his temples so that he looks even more like a cat. "We have to do it properly," he smiles, glad even in his tiredness, his fatigue.

"Then give me this taste at least," she but asks and falls down to her knees to face his cock, still wet, shining, gleaming in the moonlight. "How it feels for you as I taste you in this manner; that is all I ask tonight."

The Byzantine pleasure, the dirtiest of all their pleasures, and now it's so dark she cannot tell whether he is clean or not and that's it, that's it exactly: as she swallows him into her mouth, his mind swirls into hers, sparks, explodes into a thousand colours of perversion's delight. A brief panic rises within her, simultaneously with his as she tastes the darkness of flesh, the slight mustiness, something not unlike the spices he always prefers. Yet it is not unpleasant, not unpleasant at all: he throws his head back as he tastes what she tastes, his voice brittle with hysteria.

"You are unbelievable!" he laughs.

She but hums, looks up at him, hums; My favourite taste, I am afraid--cock and cunny and sperm and arse all in one, husband, all in one. But what does it feel like for you?

And his cock pulses a little in her mouth, still coming a little, it seems: he closes his eyes and sends it to her, sends. The pull of her mouth, the sweetness of her tongue, and again he is all length, movement forwards, yet now no longer as painfully erect as before. The need to surge out, the need to drive in is much lessened, and now only the ghost of pleasure remains, the ache of contentment and with it, a terrible fatigue. This last thing she brushes aside, and sends to him the woman's experience instead, each emotion with a new twist of her head, each suck: that of being rejuvenated, energised by coitus, of fullness, gladness, a warm shimmer all over.

"That's it," he murmurs and strokes her hair, combs stray strands of it from her temples, the moonlight glinting through his eyes and off his teeth as he smiles at her; he gazes at her with such tenderness it trips over into sadness. Her chest aches, aches from his love for her; her very bones ache from his care yet she keeps going, her eyes filling with tears not from being choked, but from his own emotion. As Jaffar fills her mouth, so he fills her heart, her entire being, radiating through her a bitter sweetness.

"Yes, my child; this is how it feels to behold you taking me so," he whispers; "the woman I love the most in the entire world, performing fellatio for me, a sin even slave girls abhor."

"And purely for the sake of her love for you," she murmurs as she pulls back for breath, for she has sensed a little guilt in his thoughts, a little wonder at her doing this still. "It is a most wonderful pleasure for me, too; know that."

But now, as she changes her position a little, lifting herself into a squat, his sperm bursts out of her arse and splashes onto the floor. Her eyes fly wide; she suffocates a shriek into his thighs. "Oh, my God!"

"Oh, my God!" Jaffar gasps at the exact same time, still so linked with her he has felt it, too.

"I cannot look," Yassamin laughs, hysterical, pressing her face against his groin, against his now-softening cock.

There is another splash, another, and now it sounds as if the fluid has sluiced off the gallery floor through the lattice and is splashing onto the pavement stones below: this sends both of them into giggles so delirious they must be heard down below, now, must.

"Who goes there?" someone calls from the other end of the corridor; almost the soft lilt of a eunuch.

Hastily, Jaffar covers Yassamin with his robes, throwing the skirts of them over her, spreading his cloak and bracing his arms against the lattice so that it looks as if he is gazing out into the garden below the gallery.

"It is but your Caliph, contemplating the state of his soul," Jaffar shoots over his shoulder.

"You old liar," and now Yassamin can tell it is Abu Nuwas, his voice indeed soft, a sodomite's caricature of a woman's. "I swear I could smell sperm in here. Pray, is there an orgy in the garden? And if so, why wasn't I invited?"

Jaffar laughs a little, shifting upon his feet as Nuwas steps closer; Yassamin shivers, cowers underneath his robes. If Nuwas were to find out, they would not hear the end of it. His insult-poems spare none, and she would be forever shamed, forever ruined--

"You always think you can smell sperm, you old tart. As a matter of fact, I saw a couple of very handsome lads going that way, going into the music pavilion over there," Jaffar says and gestures towards the garden. "You'd better hurry; it looks to me as if they are about to start without you."

She can hear Nuwas shuffling on his feet. "By God!" he says, tiptoeing to see better, peeking through the lattice. "You are right--two little gazelles indeed, by the looks of it." He pats Jaffar on the shoulder. "You always find the best treats, my old friend. And now, I must away. Duty calls."

"Aye, your duty as the high court judge of all pimps and panderers."

"Exactly," Nuwas laughs, and by the pattern of his feet, he performs an exaggerated mockery of a court bow. "God be with you, Your Highness."

"I am not going to wish you the same," Jaffar laughs. "If only for the sake of your soul."

Nuwas but laughs in answer, and then he is gone. Yassamin lets out the breath she had been holding, staggering from light-headedness as Jaffar helps her stand up. She is shaking so much she can barely pull up her shalwars; her hands tremble so that Jaffar has to tie the drawstring into a bow.

"That was close," she mumbles against his chest as he gathers her into an embrace.

"But you loved it," he says, kissing her hair.

She turns to look up at him. "As long as we don't try this every night! When will I see you again?"

"I'll sleep with you tonight, as promised," he says and puts his arm around her as they begin to walk towards her quarters. "As for the... other encounter, do you mean what you said?"

She waits until they are past the guards and well into her bedroom. "I did. But I would prefer we were sober. No wine, no drugs."

"I feel as if I am getting a little too old for this myself," Jaffar winces as he pulls off his turban. "It feels as if the hangover is upon me already."

"That's why they say never to mix wine and hashish. Will you now believe me?" she says, gesturing for the handmaiden at the door to leave them. "I can undress myself, Zahra. Good night."

"Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should," Jaffar says and takes to undressing her himself, caressing her clothes off her.

She does not protest: together, they undress and wash each other, stirring each other's desire just enough for slower, less fervent lovemakings. For long moments, she rides upon his face, he hugging her thighs, his mouth buried in her sex; she filling her mouth with his half-hard cock, no longer hard enough for penetrations but perfect for slow savourings of this kind. Their minds still brush against one another, entwining; it is one of those nights when both of them are so tired they are trembling, but need the other so much they cannot bear the thought of stopping. They will be sore tomorrow, but neither cares; hoarse, she moans against his sack as he draws out one last orgasm from her, her clitoris sucked into his mouth, his thumbs buried deep in her arse.

"No more," she moans, collapsing against him; she pulls him into a kiss shallow, light, fatigued.

His jaw trembles underneath her hand, dark from stubble; it must be three o'clock by now, or later, and his eyes are swelling from lack of rest. "I loathe sleep," he groans into her palm. "It steals away from me so many precious hours I could spend with you instead."

"Then sleep with me and within me, beloved," she murmurs and pulls him to spoon against herself, yawning. "Surely you can step into my dreams and hold me there?"

"Not just yet," he mumbles, still not having had his fill of her. "God, your skin tastes so wonderful after lovemaking, too," he sighs into her shoulder. "Like salt and honey," he murmurs, worrying at the plumpness of her arm, mouthing it, sucking it as if it were ripe fruit.

She smacks her tongue off her palate. "I, however, am going to have prick-mouth in the morning."

He bursts into laughter. "Somehow, you don't sound too bothered about that. And speaking of pricks..." he takes her hand and kisses it. "Don't think I have forgotten about our little experiment. How about Friday, after the prayers? I shall tell them I wish to spend the day in religious contemplation."

"Yes. In contemplation of a heathen goddess," she laughs, turning to face him, drawing the bedcovers over them.

He raises his eyebrows and juts out his lower lip, glancing up in mock-thought. "Or a god. Or whatever you might want to call Hermaphroditus. I wish to try it, too, you know. Becoming a woman."

"I knew you would," she says and kisses his nose. "But let us not go into it in haste. I... I am not sure if I want to do everything the first time. I would like to try first, so that it's just me. In case something happens and you shouldn't be able to undo the spell."

"My child!" he laughs and hugs her tight. "I am not in that much of a hurry. Trust that I will be careful."

"After what we've just done tonight?" She raises her eyebrow. "You are a man of wild impulses."

He kisses her hair. "And you are turning into a nag. No, my love, I promise. Upon my..."

"You have no honour."

"Upon my reputation as a wicked, sinful bastard," he grins, placing her hand over his heart. "Does that satisfy you?"

She laughs and curls up against his chest. "It does."

Chapter Text

That Friday, Yassamin cannot focus on her prayers at all; she goes straight from the mosque to her own quarters and tells the girls not to disturb her for the rest of the day. She washes, goes through her clothes and ponders whether to don a boy's garments or not: she has dressed as a boy for Jaffar so many times, but now, that would seem ridiculous, a mockery of the greater journey they are about to embark upon tonight. Dressing herself as a boy had been but play, a frivolity, but this is something more, far more: for what do clothes matter, if she is to clothe herself anew in flesh? And as she knows Jaffar is expecting to play the woman to her, she is even more nervous, not knowing what to do, how to please a man so used to being taken by other men.

All week, she has been reading manuals medical and erotic on how a man should love, had even asked to borrow some of Jaffar's alchemical books dealing with sexual magic. And now, she lingers upon an Indian manuscript depicting a heathen vision of God in a form half male, half female: another one of their bizarre, many-armed idols smiling at her, as if she--he?--knows something Yassamin does not. The fact that she cannot read a word of Sanskrit does not help at all; oh, she wishes Jaffar were here already, to at least translate it for her.

She half expects Jaffar to appear right behind her the moment she makes that wish, but now, it would be impossible for him to take her by surprise: he has drenched himself in feminine perfumes, the sweet and pungent scent of ambergris drifting into her nostrils well before he himself steps into the bedchamber. He has chosen to use the secret entrance this time, and for a good reason: as he drops the mantle from his shoulders, she can see he is clad entirely in female garb.

"Oh, Merciful Lord," Yassamin gasps, taking her hand to her mouth.

"Come, how do you like it?" Jaffar laughs and purrs, twirling before her a whirlwind of silk, a concert of tinkling gold jewellery. He has draped himself in sapphire-blue silk satin, the tightest of jackets buttoned over a sheer, iridescent shirt, clouds of more blue silk swirling around his legs in the form of a pair of full shalwars and a whisper-soft overskirt. All of these have been embroidered in gold and mother-of-pearl all over, little gazelles and peacocks leaping about his limbs; his hair has been curled and perfumed, his eyes kohled and swept up into sharp cat's eye wings underneath powdered blue eyelids.

"You..." she looks down at her plain white kaftan and feels distinctly under-dressed. "I hate you."

"Oh, but my poor child!" he laughs and takes her into his arms, spinning her around and around, uncaring if he smears her cheek with his kohl. He twirls her until she squeaks, until they both fall onto the bed. "We should pretty you up, too."

"But I had thought--" she looks down at herself, still dizzy. "I thought we would not spend that much time clothed."

"Rushing ahead, are we?" he laughs, picking up her chin and kissing her, staining her mouth with his lip-paint. "I brought my grooming things," he says and nods towards his bag. "Come, let us make a dashing prince of you."

And Jaffar has been wise in this, to have thought of everything, to make such an important transformation into a true ritual. For it is through his grooming that she finally sinks into the mood she had been hoping to attain, the deeper concentration she has only hitherto experienced during their deepest magic-lessons, their longest lovemakings. Prick or no, blood rushes hot and hard between her legs as Jaffar dresses her, makes her into a boy himself--she has only ever done this herself before, and had always found it a little difficult to wrangle men's clothes. He pulls on her legs a pair of silken under-socks and then folds and binds a pair of fashionable calf-skin riding socks over them with practiced ease, when she has always been hopelessly clumsy with their intricate laces and knots. He does not bother with a turban, however: he but combs her hair back with waxes, so heavily scented with animal secretions that she wrinkles her nose at first.

"It's as if I am being rutted against by a bull!" she mumbles, yet drunk from this, drunk as Jaffar ties her hair back with a leather thong, little silver bells dangling from it, and paints a fine moustache onto her face with musk.

"There." He holds out a hand-mirror. "How do you like him?"

Her eyes fly wide. "Give me that," she huffs and picks up the musk-stick. "I am not going to wear your moustache; I am a handsome young prince and not an old lech."

"Why, you--!"

"Besides, why did you not shave yours?"

"People would talk," he mumbles.

"Nonsense. Shave it off and I'll draw a new one on. It's so thin you'll grow it back in a few days," she laughs. "And should anyone notice, just tell them you burned it off during a chemical experiment."

He grumbles, but leaves for the washroom nevertheless. And while he is there, she draws on her face a moustache bolder than Jaffar's, and a little beard-tuft, too, a goat's beard not unlike Fadl's. And in her mirror, she examines herself, this new man she has now become: Yes, I would take this man, she thinks at her reflection, I would take him as a lover. Already she aches between her legs; already she can feel her ghost-prick stirring. All is ready, now, she thinks as she sits down on the edge of the bed, sprawled boldly like a youth, the way she remembers Halima always sitting.

"What kept you?" she asks cockishly when Jaffar returns, her voice now harsher, more aggressive, looking for a tussle, a fight.

"But the care I took to make myself presentable to my master," Jaffar purrs, his gait now more feminine in turn; with the grace of a nymph in the grass, he folds his legs underneath himself and sits between her knees on the floor. "Do I please you, my lord?" he asks, tilting his head coquettishly.

Her heart races: she has never seen him without a moustache. He has rouged his lips again, now with Yassamin's own pomegranate lip-paint, the exact one Jaffar had first requested her to wear for fellatio, and which she has associated with the act ever since.

She lifts his chin with her hand and runs her thumb across his lower lip, and now she narrows her eyes and purrs in pleasure, so much like Jaffar himself, shocking herself at how naturally she falls into the role of the rake. "It pleases me indeed, my dear," she hisses and pushes her thumb into his mouth, her cunny pulsing, pulsing at the outrageousness of the act. "I believe you had something to offer me?"

"Yes," he purrs back at her, sucking her thumb deep into his mouth. And now, he bites her thumb, bites, and she cries out, all of her flashing with heat, her nipples so hard it's painful; she pulls back her hand and lifts it to slap him--

For a second, she hesitates, her hand raised; lust flashes in Jaffar's eyes, and in the swirl of his silks, she can see his erection stirring, stirring.

He smiles at her and nods.

She strikes him on the cheek, and they cry out in unison, swaying, swaying; more from the jolt of arousal they both now feel rather than from any true pain.

"God, Yassamin," he breathes, his voice wet in his throat, his eyes watering; he nuzzles his cheek against her hand. "What are we doing?" he laughs.

"What we should have done a long time ago, methinks," she says and wraps her arms around him, drinking deep kisses from his pomegranate lips, deep, deep. "My cock, husband."

He reaches between her legs and traces her slit, his thumb finding the top of it with practiced ease; she mewls into his mouth and he licks the noise from her lips, rolling his thumb around the root of her swollen clitoris.

"Tell me," he says. "Tell me what it was that you wanted me to change. Would you become a man entirely, or merely have this turned into a prick?"

She shivers into his touch, pressing her forehead against his. "Just the prick, for now. You know my fears--"

That she were to lose the womb if this went awry, that she would never be able to bear children. She would rather take being a hermaphrodite over that; she had specifically requested that they only start with this, so that they could truly learn how to turn back the spell before they tried transforming each other entirely. She feels guilty for this, for not trusting Jaffar's skills at magic like this, but he himself had taught her that magic, like all other sciences, requires practice and care before any experiment can be perfected.

Yet, she swallows, ashamed of herself still. "I am sorry, Jaffar."

He kisses her mouth, soft, sweet. "Don't apologise. I understand." He laughs, a little wryly, caressing the back of her head, playing the little silver bells on her hair-tie. "You know how they say that losing one's prick is every man's greatest fear, but now that I have felt what your womb feels during lovemaking, it seems to me that the Greeks were right. It is as Tiresias said: a woman's pleasure is greater than a man's. A womb is a terrible thing to waste," he says, smiling. "You know, I have the distinct feeling that once it's my turn, you will have to fight me to turn me back into a man."

She swallows her tears and sits back on the bed, gazing at him, caressing his sides with her feet. "You always were the more two-sexed one of us, beloved wife," she sighs. "But come, enough. As we agreed. Give me of your magic, my love; give me the prick you would have me take you with."

"To hear is to obey," he murmurs and undoes her sash, her drawers, until he has exposed her cunny entire.

And it is with his kiss that he gives her this: she has just shaved herself and shivers from the touch of his breath alone, well before his now-smooth face touches her mound. She bites down on a cry and pushes her hips out, spreads her legs so that she is sitting on the very edge of the bed, offering herself to his mouth, to his magic. It truly is as if she is being made love to by a woman: there is something so tender, so soft in the way he sucks her that it's more than the mere smoothness of his face; a grace that makes her melt, flow, flood onto his tongue.

And oh, the way he now sucks at her, drawing her flesh into his mouth, yet now the swelling does not stop, no: little by little, her clitoris grows in his mouth, becoming a boy's prick, then bigger, a man's. Nerves, muscles, ligaments extend far upwards and outwards from her pubis, now, and again she feels grotesque, disfigured, horrified; yet, she suffocates this horror and focuses on but the pleasure he is now giving to her.

Pleasure, pleasure rising, filling her flesh, endlessly growing from her, pushing into the sweet, tight slickness of his mouth, growing pulse by pulse upon his loving tongue. Endlessly, she swells, expands, rushes, power rising from her, pointing out from her and with it, the desire to thrust, to drive into, to take, take, take. It's impossible for her to not move, now; she thrusts into Jaffar's mouth a little, kneads at his scalp a little, and now she cannot stop, oh, oh.

"Jaffar, I--" but even if she is gagging him, apologising to him, Jaffar does not stop; the bastard, the bastard chuckles around her cock and sends her howling, keening. And still, her flesh knits together, her urethra lifting into the shaft. She feels almost like she is about to urinate, as if she needs to empty her bladder, but recognises this for the desire to rub herself into ejaculation instead, the anticipation, the build towards that pleasure-surge. How surprisingly similar it is to her own, not unlike the times she has ejaculated herself, except that the physical length of this channel is now tenfold, so strange, so strange, but not unpleasant at all. The ache that she now feels inside of her cunny--her vagina still remaining where it is--now extends out of her body, as if rolled outwards, the ache the very same, but now extroverted, too. The sensation of needing to be filled and stretched and rubbed and pounded is there within her, but at the same time, that sensation is turned inside out: her cock is made of but the need to be clutched, sucked, squeezed around, to have something to push into, to pound.

And she has to laugh in sweet disbelief; he looks up at her and laughs with her, around her, short of breath from his joy, from his thrill at this. She can tell he is holding back, can faintly sense the same heavy, lifting ache in his own genitals, and now she is starting to understand why he so often holds back: it is as if a knot is being tightened and with it, the pleasure lengthened, extended.

And now, her internal organs, too, shift and rearrange themselves inside of her pelvis, that spot behind her womb glowing, glowing. But of course, of course: he is giving her the male pleasure-gland in his greed, in his need to taste; and now, as soon as that gland appears, the urge to shoot out of her body grows maddening and she wants to surge into his mouth, to stain him, to drench him. Nevermind thoughts of holding back; if he continues for a moment longer, he will undo her.

"Stop," she gasps, tugging at his hair, pulling herself out of his mouth with a wet smack, panting from her ache.

And there it is, there: her cock, her cock; red and fat and full, it now bobs before Jaffar's face, gleaming, shining, beautiful. Oh, but she is heavy--how can one's flesh stand up this way when it's this heavy, so full of blood, so aching?

"Oh, my God," she but moans, stares at her cock, stares.

Jaffar but chuckles and licks up her shaft. "Beautiful, is it not? Do you want it to be bigger at all?"

She laughs and shakes her head. "I don't know. The same size as yours, perhaps?"

"All right," he says and licks his hand, wraps it around the root of her prick and rolls her in his palm. He draws out her flesh, again lengthening it, making all of her moan and vibrate so that she falls on her back onto the bed, panting, clawing at the sheets.

"Jaffar! Sto--stop, or I'm going to come, I--"

He lets go, giving her cock a little slap, the pain of it making her jerk a little, whimper, yet she never grows any softer. "Please!" she cries, hoarse, but she does know what she is asking for; for him to slap her again or to stop touching her altogether. "Please, Jaffar, please."

He peeks between her legs and drops a loving kiss onto the root of her cock, where her folds and the outer lips of her vulva still curve swollen around the entrance to her vagina. "I would like a set of testicles here," he murmurs, toying with her folds, drawing wetness up from her cunny along her shaft, sending her jerking upon the bed again.

The patterns on the canopies swim in her eyes; she can barely think. "Mmh... if you... oh, very well, then."

"Excellent," he laughs, and now, he doesn't waste any time. He tucks and sucks her inner labia into his mouth and with a hum, they, too, grow in his mouth, grow into a pleasant fullness, an ache. He murmurs around them, and as he relaxes his jaw once more, an entire scrotum plops out of his mouth and within it, two plump, heavy balls.

"You are such a show-off," she groans. This is farcical, insane; but oh, what a sensation now to have her balls jumping as she laughs, a sensation not dissimilar to the clench of her cunny whenever she is aroused.

"Mmm. And already, these are so full for me," he laughs. "Look at you! I don't know if that was a part of the spell, but you have certainly filled these with semen already," he chuckles and weighs her balls in his hand. "It'd take me three days of celibacy to be this full," he purrs, practically salivating. "I can't wait to eat this all up," he says and licks his lips.

"Greedy swine," Yassamin moans and looks down at him. "But please, stop touching me. I mean it," she mumbles and pulls herself fully into bed, lying down on her back, breathing heavily.

"Very well," he says and crawls into bed with her, lying down on his side beside her, letting her gather her thoughts, catch her breath. In the meantime, he releases his own genitals and compares them to hers. "Almost identical, I'd say. Exactly the way these looked when I was your age."

But she can barely hear him: her thoughts are drowned by the chaos of all these new nerve endings she now possesses, all these new muscles, these glands, the blood and sap rushing hot--and cool--within her and without her. She had never realised how much cooler a man's genitals were, hanging as they do outside the body; they almost feel cold in comparison to the heat of her cunny and her womb, now pulsing hot and moist underneath them.

And now, for the first time, she takes herself in hand: she does not know where and how to hold her prick at first, only making her hand into the loosest of fists and running it up and down the shaft, hissing a little as she realises how tender the tip is. She has never enjoyed touching the very tip of her clitoris when masturbating, preferring to put pressure on its root or on its side instead, but now that the sensations are stretched over a wider area, she realises she can touch the entirety of the glans without giving herself discomfort, those unpleasant shocks she has always associated with too-direct contact.

Jaffar lays his hand over her heart, nuzzling her cheek, watching as she strokes herself. "You are beautiful," he whispers, his voice rich from awe. "Girl, woman, boy or man, hermaphrodite, even; the most beautiful human being I have ever seen."

And his words are not those of a proud artisan, nor those of a greedy lover who had merely made of her a tool for his own pleasure, she realises: it is something almost fatherly she now hears in his voice, the pride of watching someone he loves learning and growing in her pleasure, a pride in having helped her in the process. He is not sending these thoughts to her, but she can feel them brushing against her mind, and--oh, there are so many conflicting, chaotic emotions in her mind that she is laughing and weeping simultaneously.

"This is madness, absolute madness!" she laughs, watching as they now both pleasure themselves, and she wonders if Jaffar and Fadl had done this as boys, those contests she's heard of boys having, of masturbating together and seeing who can come first.

He chuckles and kisses her shoulder. "We did. But I would touch you again, my love," he asks, fondling the buttons on her jacket, searching her eyes. "Unless you are having second thoughts."

She shakes her head. "No. I mean, don't stop," she smiles. "Show me. Show me how it's done," she says, then closes her eyes in shame. Oh, the way she had phrased it--even that request sounds so foolish.

"Not foolish, my love, not foolish at all," Jaffar whispers against her lips, his voice a sea of tenderness, his caresses an ocean now enfolding her within its waves.

Gently, so very gently he lays half his weight on her, the way she had seen him do with Theo and Fadl, so that their pricks rest side by side, gently touching, rubbing together. "I will show you," he says, smiling so hard his eyes are crossed, and begins to unbutton her jacket.

And there, they kiss and they kiss, undressing each other, as if this were a new wedding night, exposing an entirely new Yassamin, an entirely new Jaffar to the other's gaze, Jaffar marvelling at her, ablaze. "Today, when I was at the baths, my friends told me that I was unnatural," he laughs. "They said that I was mad for wanting to go home so soon, to my wife of all things. That I should love my wife so much when I had all the slave girls of the world to choose from, that I could not give other women or pretty boys a second thought."

"And what did you tell them?" she asks him, cupping his hand around her breast, urging him to squeeze it, adoring the way she can now see her arousal, the weight of it bobbing between her legs, so full, so heavy, so sweet.

"That my wife was a girl and a boy in one, and a slave at that--a slave to love and love alone," he moans, tossing the rest of their clothes off the bed and settling between her legs, worshipping her with his mouth. "But I lied: for tell me, which one of us is the true slave here?" he laughs, adoring, adoring, seeming twenty years younger without his moustache.

"You are the prettiest slave girl I have ever seen," she laughs and wraps her legs around his shoulders as he sucks her into his mouth, pure sweet wet love around her prick, making her shiver, arch off the bed. "And to have you--" and now she shakes her head, tears springing into her eyes once more, "to have you perform this act for me, to have you fellate me, this act even slave girls abhor--"

But then he is above her, his cock in her cunny, his mouth on her mouth, his hands clasping hers: completely unexpected, completely out of order, yet nothing could feel as perfect. And this is too much, too soon, all too soon: he is touching womb and prostate at once, the entire weight of his body upon her cock, rubbing her so that now she is screaming into his mouth, rushing headlong towards release. A release, so soon, so unexpected, a release, release--no, she tries to contain it, but cannot.

Stars burst behind her eyes and she convulses in his arms, howling, curling up underneath him. She had been holding back for so long that now it is all pushed out of her with but a few of his thrusts, all surging out of her, all of her limbs clutching around him; she shrieking and staring into his eyes feverishly, blind, a madwoman, mad. This is beyond all sex vaginal or anal, to feel all of this, male and female at once, and she cannot even tell where it begins and where it ends, her womb or her prostate or her cock, all of them pulsing, radiating, full of rushing hot blood.

And yet Jaffar continues, pounding it out of her, she feeling his curiosity rippling all around her, tasting of her experience--but it is unlike anything she has ever experienced before, far beyond the intensity of even those times he has taken her with his entire hand. She cannot communicate it to him, not in words or even in thoughts, only lies there and feels it, feels it deep within herself and gives to him but the sensations: his strokes hitting that deep, dark, red and white spot inside of her, pleasure radiating out of her, washing over him in turn, but now doubled, tripled, multiplied beyond all measure. Yet her prick is still dry, trapped between their bellies, so she knows this is but the beginning, but the first crest of it, and it terrifies her: will he slay her?

"No, my child;" he murmurs, hugging her tenderly, "don't you dare die on me yet!" he laughs and wraps his hand around her cock. And as he holds her there, cradles her there, he strokes her with such love, strokes her cock just as he rolls his hips into her, both stoking and soothing the heat without and within. Again, he rolls his hips, rolls them, perfectly in time with his hand until she melts honeyed onto his cock, drips salt-sweet onto his hand and she loses all sense, place, meaning. It is too much, too much, all of her but a crackling chaos of nerves, of flesh wet and soft and hard and hurting and pounded and rubbing and surging and flooding and wet and spurting and wet, wet, wet--and she cannot stop staring into his eyes, staring--

"Jaffar!" she sobs into his face, clawing at his hair, his face so that his earrings come loose, so that she leaves marks on his chest with her nails; yet he keeps on staring into her eyes, knowing she would kill him were he to stop now, she pounding, beating his back with her ankles. She feels she looks like a fool, her nostrils wide, her eyes still staring wildly; she howls as she watches herself spurting white all over her belly, over Jaffar's, spurting and spurting, her pleasure shooting out of her so violently she fears her very spine will be pulled out of her with it. Oh, this is what they must mean when they say a man's orgasm begins in the back, all of her back and her cock and her legs and her arms and her cunny curling around Jaffar, curling, hurting, curling up around him and she is dying.

"Still not dying, my sweet, still not dying," he meaows in her ear, soft, soft, slowing down inside of her; "All I wanted was to see this, feel this, to give you this. Forgive me, my love; I am greedy, so greedy--" and now it is he who is shuddering inside of her, coming inside of her, that same spine-curl-lightning of the male orgasm she had just felt now echoing from his psyche into hers, he pulling her back off the bed as he hugs her tight against himself, sobbing as he empties himself inside of her body. Your perfect body, your perfect body, the perfection of all of God's creation, oh, Yassamin, oh, Yassamin, forgive me, for I am but a fool, a fool. I love you so, love you so, love you so.

"You are a f-fool," she stutters in love through chattering teeth, and now she has to slip off him, has to; she hurts too much. She knew men were sore after, but now she feels this soreness inside of her cunny, within her very womb: like those times when she'd had to sate herself without penetration and her pelvis had still been swimming with the pain of trapped blood, a clitoral release not having been full enough. Desperate, she has to have more, more; she aches, her cock slapping against her belly as she turns Jaffar onto his back and sits on him, devouring his mouth.

"I want to take you. I must. I must," she moans, and she sounds exactly like Jaffar himself, exactly like him, brutal in her need.

"Then take me," he breathes and it is exactly like her, he opening his limbs as wide as she always does, unfurling himself, spreading himself open for her to take. He lifts his legs, offers his anus, offers the pink bud of it; her own wetness has streaked down it, her own sperm, and she shivers as she buries her face in his arse.

"Yassamin!" he gasps as she so eats him, tossing his head against the mattress, his tongue trembling against the bedsheets, his kohl drawing streaks upon it. "You don't have to, oh, I am ready--you don't have to--"

"I don't think you understand, my love," she groans, stroking her cock in her fist, spitting upon it to slicken it, moaning into his arse in her greed. "I need this."

"Yassamin, Yassamin, Yassamin," he gasps as he claws at the sheets, claws at his thighs to hold them open for her, his fingers pressed so violently into his flesh they leave white haloes upon his skin. "Take me."

But she does not answer him in words: she devours his arse, devours the salt and the must, pulling him open with her fingers, greedily swallowing each remnant of the taste lurking hidden within each pink fold of flesh. And at each rut of her tongue, each swirl of it, her cock pulses in her hand in anticipation: soon, soon, her hips sing to her in their curling, soon, soon you'll dip this in, dip it in so deep, deep within, past all the sperm and the sweat and the shit--

And going by Jaffar's cry, the cry of a maiden deflowered, he has heard this: already he lies impaled by her thoughts, his eyes feverish as he gazes up at her, sweat beading upon his forehead. "Take me, take me, take me; please, Yassamin, please; oh, God, take me, fuck me."

And it is as husband that she now lifts his legs over her shoulders, slicks her cock with her cunny and presses herself against his entrance. There are no words any longer, only his face, his face rapt in utter surrender underneath her, so helpless, so young, so terrible to look at. She has never seen this terror upon Jaffar's face so close, has never had her heart so broken by it because now she is the one taking him, she that older man Jaffar the child now fears will give him pain. That little boy who had been taken when he had been too young to defend himself, the grown man who still, somewhere inside, expects pain even when swathed in pleasure.

Yet I trust you, he tells her, tells himself, staring into her eyes until his eyes water.

She cannot speak; she but moves into him, shows him, proves to him that despite the aching need in her, she wants to give him nothing but love, nothing but pleasure. And he is so beautiful, so beautiful as his jaw clenches, jutting as she begins to push inside, with little dips, just as he always does with her, just as she always does with her jade toy, slow and then deep. And as his muscles begin to give, to clench around the tip of her cock so that it is as if he is beckoning her in--oh, it nearly undoes her there and then, and now she realises why he had taken her first: so that she would not rush it, so that she would not now be thrusting into him with all her might. He had planned this all along, had tempered her desire with his skill to render this act gentler, to make their mutual pleasure all the greater, and she is so grateful for this, so grateful.

"Yassamin--" Jaffar gasps, strokes her cheek, but then his hand falls upon the sheets once more; for now, with one more pull and push inside, she is inside of him.

She is inside of him. His eyelids flutter shut, and the tears that had been brimming in his eyes now fall down his temples in streams.

Her jaw falls slack, her entire body shudders so that she fears she will lose her balance, never having had to hold another's body in this manner, never having had to balance this way, to make such an effort to control herself in order to not hurt the other. She sways gently, so very gently, knowing how to keep moving so as to not hurt him more, her entire body trembling from the strain so that she will not thrust too fast, too deep.

But oh, to be enveloped this way, to be held this way, to be so buried in his loving flesh: with this act, he is holding the entirety of Yassamin inside of himself, holding her within his love. Just as he has held her heart in his palm, the way God holds the human soul in His, Jaffar now holds her the way she has always held him within the love of her body. Is this what he has felt each time he has taken her? To be so surrounded by the other's flesh, so clothed in this love, this warmth, to so bathe in the other's blood--oh, a sob breaks in her chest, and she hugs his legs against herself, shuddering within him even as the pleasure drives her mad, mad.

And now she can smell it, see it, the cold sweat prickling upon Jaffar's body, his hair standing on end, that nauseating pain that always fights the pleasure at the beginning of sodomy. Her heart breaking with tenderness, she gathers him close and keeps on moving inside of him, rocking her hips, rocking herself in, rocking the pain out of him, out, out as she goes in.

"Am I hurting you?" she asks, an echo of all those times Jaffar has asked the same thing of her, now truly knowing the care, the heartbreak one feels at that moment when one's own pleasure is unbearably great but the other still shudders around her, shudders.

"Not too much," he slurs, stealing a kiss, taking his hand to his own cock and stroking it softly. "I can't believe it. You. Inside of me. Oh--" and again, he shivers, but now in pleasure; his cat's eyes crinkled in utter happiness. "My Yassamin, inside of me, inside of me," he laughs, wild, mad from his glee; he swallows her with his kisses, slides his legs down and around her waist so that he can rock her in his embrace, rock her, beckon her as deep inside of his body as humanly possible. "All I have ever wanted," he whispers against her lips, carding his fingers through her hair, squeezing her with his flesh. "Do not ever stop, please, please."

She shakes her head against his shoulder, barely able to move, her tears mixing with his as she pants against his cheek. "One thing at a time," she laughs. "Is that truly how it feels when I squeeze around you?"

"No. You feel better," he says and rolls his hips. "Another advantage you women have over men; different musculature. But how does this feel for you?" he asks and makes a concentrated effort to squeeze her prick with his arse as much as he can.

"Oh--but that is wonderful," she chuckles. "You forget I have never had anything that could be squeezed before!"

"Mm. Do you want more? I could ride you."

"Be my guest," she says and lies down on her back. Oh, but the air feels cold as she pulls out, but thankfully not for long as Jaffar spits on her cock and sits on it, as unceremoniously as a street whore, and from his grin, he does this deliberately, enjoying his role to the fullest. And oh, the slide, the sweet slide as his entire weight falls on her--she has loved this whenever Jaffar has taken her, the way his weight presses her into the bed, and adores it now as he begins a slow ride, his body glowing in the lamplight.

"My mistress," she murmurs, sighs, sinking into the waves of his lovemaking, into the dark, warm sea of it, enveloped by his body, the heat of his flesh.

"Keep calling me that," he whispers, his voice again a soft cat's meaow, a girl's; and now he is rolling his hips like a dancer, oh, a dancer, around her prick like a snake.

"Mistress," she moans, "please!" she pushes into him as much as she can, and now she knows he is taking revenge for all those times she has tortured him in this manner, now learning how hard it is to thrust in this position. He massages her prick with his arse, pulls upon her flesh and no mental joining could have prepared her for this, the sheer outrageousness, the lewdness with which his flesh now takes her, fucks her.

"Like a little cunt," she hisses, clawing at Jaffar's thighs, knowing he needs to hear it, thrusting cruelly between his moans, stabbing into him, so violently his cock slaps his belly. And on a whim, she slaps it with her hand, slaps his prick from side to side until he curls over her, sobbing in his need, his ecstasy. "Little harlot," she moans onto his lips another Jaffar, "with your sweet little slit," she hisses as she tugs upon his nipples, slaps his chest, slaps his cock again and again; "Dance for me, girl; dance."

He mewls into her mouth, pulling on her hair, kissing her so violently their teeth clash; he rides her so hard that he hurts her, chafes her, yet neither of them cares. He reaches behind himself and slicks her cock further from her cunny, then turns around to face her feet so that he can give her cock the sweet bend, the sweet slide he himself so loves. And it is everything they had told her it would be: that bend makes her eyes roll back in her head, and when they roll to the front once more, the sight of his gleaming, wide, woman's arse sinking down on her cock nearly slays here there and then.

"God!" she groans, slapping his buttocks, clawing at them, now pushing up into him even if her back aches, her arms ache, her thighs ache, all of her aches. "Ride me. Ride me, wife, ride me."

And now it is Jaffar who is keening, stroking his own cock furiously, no longer teasing but fucking her furiously, slamming his hips down upon her with full force. Her toes tingle, all hair on her body stands on end: she is so close, her balls lifting, her spine pulsing with white again, again. And there, there: she howls out loud as she sees it, the white trails of foam gathering upon her cock, white streaked with the slightest hint of yellow, the ring of it gathering around the root of her cock, around the grotesquely distended folds of Jaffar's arse. Her mouth waters, but she has to see it all, all of it.

"Lift," she snarls, "let me see how open you are, my love, let me see, let me see--"

And with the dirtiest of glances over his shoulder, Jaffar parts his buttocks and slowly lifts himself: the tight ring of muscle pulls sweetly over the head of her cock and his arse is open, open, but a perfect, black O. And within it, for but a moment, she can see his flesh heaving, pulsing, and her balls lift towards it, her cock lifts towards it, her entire body howling, screaming, lifting, surging towards him. Jaffar is already lowering his arse back onto her cock as her first spurt hits the inside of his guts, shooting a full inch deep, but then her cock is swallowed, sucked, eaten by the greediness of that hole, those muscles pulsing, pulling, squeezing around her length. She shouts from the bottom of her lungs, roars from the bottom of her belly as Jaffar beats her orgasm out of her, pounds his hips down so hard that he is bruising her, bruising himself, she thrusting back into his slick tightness, his fever-heat.

He groans, rolls, milks her and fucks her, takes her on and on, and she wonders if he has come, but no, no: she had not even realised she was still coming until Jaffar lifts off her cock and swallows her into his mouth. His mouth, his mouth: he devours her last spurts, devours the foam, a white ring around his smeared, red whore's lips and she is coming again, coming: he has pushed his fingers inside of her cunny and is curling them, fucking her as brutally as he had fucked her cock with his arse. Helpless, she thrashes upon him, locking her legs around his neck, pulling on his hair, screaming in his face, wanting to be sick as she glides right down into Jaffar's throat: but it is at that that he groans, ripples, vibrates in his orgasm around her and sprays her legs, her knees with his sperm, pumping his cock furiously as he shuddders there, curled up between her legs.

You are killing me, she floats into his mind, killing me, do you hear me? she wails into his head, and yet he looks up at her and chuckles, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and kisses her. His cock still half-hard, he pushes it inside of her cunny and takes her, ruts into her and feeds to her her own sperm.

But what a way to be slain, he chuckles and dribbles it all into her howling mouth, scoops all of it out of his arse and feeds it to her with his fingers until she weeps; he feeds her and fucks her until she is bent double, completely taken, taken without end. Her world goes black, then white, then black again: she ripples, swallows, pushes, takes, comes, clenches, spurts, all swirling into a maelstrom of blood and sperm; she falls into the darkness of his embrace and then she is no more.

He is still inside of her when she regains consciousness; dimly, she can feel she is fully female once more, now entwined in Jaffar's arms so that they are lying face to face on the bed, her right leg wrapped about his waist. He seems half asleep, yet he is fully hard inside of her, in an erotic trance, swimming in the waves of her red and white sea; he radiating love around her, love and sweet contentment.

Don't speak, he whispers into her mind. If you need to tell me something, tell it to me in sleep, he murmurs inside of her, pulling her back into the blackness and the sweetness, heavy like molasses, heavy as syrup, sweet, sweet.

And like syrup into cream she swirls into him, saturating him, rich and heavy and sweet; she has nothing but astonishment, but awe left in her. Surprises, yes, those this night has given her one after another, and perhaps Jaffar had rushed here and there, but she would not change a thing of it, not a thing, she tells him. But that is her rational mind, and her rational mind is yawning, drugged from the opium torpor of sex, bound with the chains of pleasure, heavy pleasure now weighing down her every limb.

You are a bastard and a whore, son of Yahya, she murmurs into his mind, and I am going to divorce you. So that I can marry you again.

He laughs out loud into her cheek. I love you, too, my sweet; more than I have ever loved you before.

With the happiest of groans, she hugs him with her sore limbs and squeezes him until he squeaks, hugs him until she can hug him no more. Thus, they fall asleep, both of them having claimed the other, he still nestled deep against her womb.

Chapter Text

She has bound him for her pleasure: for her pleasure and his. They are in the observation-chamber and the crystal flickers into life, and with it, the projection on the wall before them: Jaffar, with his face down and his hips up in the air, the beauty of his fresh new cunny bare, offered. His arms are spread out, each one of his wrists bound with invisible ropes attached to the walls, more magic bonds holding up his chest and his torso so that he rests as if splayed out upon an invisible table.

Yassamin gathers up his hair in her hands and tenderly, binds it, too: she attaches one last magic rope into his hair-tie and tugs on it, so that his head is held up and that he might see himself clearly.

"Comfortable?" she asks.

Jaffar draws in a shuddering breath, not knowing what to say--should the one bound and tortured feel comfortable? For now, by his own request, she has made him into a work of the sadist's art, exactly as he has done to her so many times. He floats, bound; his face smooth-shaven and painted, his full, heavy breasts cruelly pinched by the very clamps he had engineered himself, with a heavy silver chain dangling between them. Between his legs there's nothing to be seen, no cock slapping against his belly, only a deep ache going straight from his breasts to the root of his cunny, and he shivers, shivers. Inside, inside: all of his ache is inside of him, within, yearning to be filled, yearning.

Yassamin had been shocked at his demanding of this at first, having expected more tender lovemakings; particularly as it was his first time. Yet as soon as he had made himself into a woman, a violent desire had awakened in him to feel this new body, experience it as intensely as possible. No, he did not want mere tenderness: it was exactly because he might never get to do this again that he wanted to be ravished to the fullest, to be taken in the way he always takes her, to have his body ravaged, possessed, burned to ashes from the power of her passion.

Only an hour ago, he had laid Yassamin's hands over his chest and whispered a spell, and her hands had been filled with soft, beautiful breasts: yet his very first desire had been for her to hurt them, to pinch them, to squeeze them. He could not explain this need, but he knew it within his body, knew that what he wanted was right, and the new cunny between his legs had reacted immediately: the very first time it had clenched, squeezed, pulled up in its lust he had let out a howl of disbelief and collapsed in her arms, panting against her shoulder.

"Is this what you feel each time?" he had asked her, delirious, sending to her the sensation.

"Every time I so much as look at you, my love!" she had laughed. "Mine must have done this a dozen times as I watched you and Fadl duelling in the courtyard."

"Oh, my God," he had moaned. "How are you still alive?"

To compare it to an inverted erection would not have even begun to describe the sensation: an erection was something he could easily rub against something, but this ache, this need to be filled would not be so easily sated. Now, he understood those stories of women who had lusted after donkeys, who could never be left alone with cucumbers in their heat; now, he truly pitied the men with smaller members: his entire being had been howling in its need to be spread and impaled, pulled open wide, filled, filled and filled until he brimmed over with sperm.

And now, he gazes at himself on the wall before them, the ache made greater still: with each pulse of his heart, his cunny pulses, too, and just as with Yassamin, just as with his beloved Yassamin, he can now see this clench in the minutest of tremors of his vulva's lips. He has to struggle to remember to breathe, so aroused is he by the sight, a man who had always been mad for the cunny now possessing one, too. And there, again, he can both feel and see himself clenching, and he bites down on a frantic moan.

"I asked you a question," Yassamin laughs softly, the light from the crystal casting her silhouette on the wall beside the vision of his sex. The shadows of her breasts, the shadow of her erection a promise fluttering against the curve of his hip, oh, oh--now she brings a hand to Jaffar's cunny, stroking but the lips of it, making him squirm in his bonds. "Are you comfortable, my dear?"

"You sound like me," he slurs, soft; "Ah--!" he gasps, trying to brush himself against her hand. "It's fine. I mean, it feels wonderful. More, please."

"Greedy. And we haven't even started yet," she laughs, dropping a kiss on his cheek. "Are you sure you want this?" she says and holds up his riding cane, a little awkwardly. "Women can take more pain than men, you know. All the medical books agree on that."

"Aye, and because of childbirth. But now that I have a womb, would that not also mean the spell would have given me the ability to bear pain bet--"

She swats the cane gently across his cunny, and his eyes fly wide: he howls through his nose, thrashing in his bonds.

"You were saying?"

He is glad he cannot see his face, now: he must look like a hysterical horse, his eyes bulging out of his head, his hair flying out onto his face already. "Yassamin," he keens through clenched teeth. "Careful with that thing."

"That was a caress!"

"I know it was!"

She strikes him across the buttocks. "Well, then!"

"Oh, God!" he rocks forwards, trying to pull his knees together as he sways there, but he cannot; the invisible ropes hold his legs apart. "You are right. I apologise. Something... we should try something else, first."

She brushes his hair aside from his face and kisses him, laughing into his mouth as she sets down the cane. "I am glad to hear that. I would rather caress you than beat you. If you are to be my slave girl, I would have you satisfy my wishes in that at least, you know."

"It would be my pleasure," he says, pursing his lips, greedy for more kisses. "Anything you say, mistress."

She raises her eyebrow. "You will regret saying that."

"You are playing this as me. That's exactly what I would say at this juncture!"

"Focus," she murmurs, with a similar tender firmness Jaffar himself adopts when a bound Yassamin is consumed by restlessness; she knows this mental state, knows it all too well. "I want you to look at yourself; that's why I brought you up here. Look. Isn't she beautiful?"

And now that Yassamin kneels beside him and rubs the top of his mound, pulling up the lips of his cunny so that he can see his clitoris, see his folds, see the way they are gleaming, shining--his breathing stops. "Yes," he whispers, quietly, his heart twisting in his chest.

Yes, his cunny is beautiful. His cunny, his cunny, the cunny he had always wanted, and a real one this time. Not just a distended anus, but a pulsing, real, soft and wet cunny--oh, it makes him want to weep from joy. It is so strange that Yassamin had been, and still is a little uneasy with her cock, whereas Jaffar feels perfected, completed by this transformation, finally given what he had always been yearning for. He should feel like there was something missing, he supposes, but now that his heat has been inverted, now that that which had always wanted to push out of him, surge out of him weighs hot inside his hips, he feels oddly content. There's nothing dangling out of him, nothing external; all his genitals withdrawn inside of his body, nestled inside of him, heavy and sweet.

He feels full, even if he still yearns to be filled; he doesn't feel nearly as restless as he usually does when aroused. He has never believed the female to be as passive as some texts would have it, but now he understands receptivity: the yearning to lie back and to envelop one's lover, to enjoy, receive, receive; take as he is being taken. He is almost replete, almost; he is floating just on the edge of being complete unto himself if he but had her inside of him, yes, inside of him--would her sperm make him complete? Wild visions of being impregnated by Yassamin swirl into his mind: of having a little Jaffar within himself, the man inside the woman, the human being completed; then, he should never need, ever want again.

Yassamin strokes his hair, her voice soft from tenderness. "You are dreaming."

"Perhaps I am," he laughs a little.

"Is that how good it feels?"

"Better," he says.

And it is there that she begins to stroke him, just at the root of his clitoris, making him melt with the pleasure of it, moan underneath the touch of her hand. But he has to communicate it to her, has to tell her.

"Yassamin--"

"Yes?"

I don't want this to ever stop, he says with his mind and does not know if she hears it, but it is a terrible realisation, a terrible need. He thinks of losing this moment after a few hours, of having to walk back into his court a man, of having to sit on his throne with a prick between his legs once more. And what if I should not want to? he thinks, terrified. What if he wanted to stay like this forever? Yassamin had been afraid of becoming a man, of never being able to bear children, but what if he--what if he should not want to be the husband any more, but the wife? Yes, he wants to be a woman more than he wants to be a man, at least this very moment, but what about tomorrow? He does enjoy taking Yassamin, enjoys being the man, the ravisher, but what if this need in him to be female should become greater than that? Is it already greater, or is this just him being overwhelmed by this moment?

And what of Yassamin? She would not want him to be fully female at all times. And what if--oh, it is no use; all his kingly wisdom leaves him, flows out of him as sobs, and now he is but chaos, chaos.

"Jaffar. I don't know what to say," Yassamin says with a nervous laugh, her voice teetering on the brink of hysteria. She kisses the small of his back, continues in her stroking, and he can hear her voice is wet from tears. "I--I suppose would still love you," she says, utterly suprised, yet clearly hurt. "How could I not?" She presses her face against his back, breathing, and he can tell she is trying to be brave, even in her shock. I would love you whatever you were, but I would miss the man, that much I know; she thinks, and even now, he can tell she hates herself for feeling it, thinking it, feeling rejected--no, utterly terrified.

He is a fool. And now he has ruined it, ruined it, and they had barely even started. "I am sorry," he says, closing his eyes, swallowing. "Moment's madness, I suppose," he murmurs. "It's only that it feels so good, Yassamin," he says, his voice breaking into a hoarse meaow, "so wonderful, so good. I would do this again, if possible. Many more times. But I would never rob you of the husband, beloved, never, ever; please believe me. I could never do such a thing to you."

But from her voice, he can tell she is not convinced; hell, he is not convinced himself, so why should she be?

"Do you remember the myth of Adonis and Persephone and Aphrodite?" she asks him.

"Which one is me and which one is you? And who's the third wheel?"

"That's it," she laughs, brushing her lips across his cunny, but she has to pull back to wipe her tears. "I don't quite know. But I do remember that he agreed to spend half the year with Persephone, half of it with Aphrodite."

"You wouldn't lose me for half a year--oh, Yassamin." This has gone wrong. They had started out too fast, and the pain had drawn out of him these visions--he had broken his own rule of starting slowly. This is what he gets for not being a man, for losing his reason, for letting that female side of him overtake his common sense and drown him in excess emotion. And now he has inflicted this upon her, inflicted needless pain upon the one he loves more than life itself. He is such a fool, and he is glad that there is no dagger in the vicinity, or else he would have stabbed himself with it for his stupidity. "Let me go for a moment. Please, Yassamin. Mercy."

She sighs and lets go of the spell, curling up on the cushions lonely, forlorn. "Turn me back."

He winces as he takes the clamps off his nipples and curls up in her arms, shuddering from the pain and the shame of his outburst. That's better; as the excess pain leaves him, he finds he is able to reason better. He will find a way through this, find a way to satisfy both of them, to pull them through to the other side. He has been listening to but his own need, but husband or wife, he now has to listen to her in turn, has to care for her. Thus, he does not even ask her if she is sure; she looks as if she could murder him if he did not break the spell this very minute.

He whispers a rune and her prick is gone. "There. Do you want me to turn myself back?" he asks, warily.

"Not yet," she whispers, looking at his breasts, fondling them with her hand, marvelling at them. "It's not that I do not love these," she says wistfully. "They are beautiful."

"I did not mean what I said."

"You did not say it; you felt it. I heard you, so please don't lie to me," she snaps. "At least be honest with me."

She has rarely been angry with him, and it breaks his heart; now he feels like the most selfish bastard on earth, and perhaps it is the female glands that now push him into such wild emotion, but he is weeping, weeping, hugging her against himself. "Oh, Yassamin. I'm sorry. Can you feel this?" he asks, his voice wet, his chest one huge, empty, aching space, for now it feels to him as if Love itself has stepped out of him, now that his Yassamin is angry with him.

"I haven't gone anywhere," she says and thinks back at him, thinks a vision of herself stubbornly sitting down in the middle of Jaffar's heart, she jutting out her jaw and crossing her arms. "There. Don't you dare think you can drive me away just like that."

"I don't know what I feel," he says, in perfect honesty, his eyes closed, letting Yassamin float inside of him, inviting her to expand inside of him, to examine his heart, his brain, his cunny now grown a little colder but still moist in the remnants of its desire. I only know that I love this, that I feel as if I have come home with this, even if I thought that I would find this body strange, alien. I had thought it perhaps but a joke, a moment's amusement; instead, it feels as if I am finally complete. But you know me to have always been half female, and never have I lied to you about this.

I know, she thinks, and she floats within him, examining the delight he now feels as in the realm of flesh, she takes her hand to Jaffar's cunny and rubs it once more, teases his clitoris into awakening against her touch. And you know my Sapphic streak; do not ever think that I am doing this only to please you, she thinks. I am a greedy woman, a woman of many lusts, and cunny is one of them, she laughs, curling inside his mind, brushing up against his womb, drinking in his gasp of joy with her lips.

But you feared losing me, he thinks, now opening his eyes, cupping her face, kissing her as he rubs against her hand, soft, soft. It would devastate me to deprive you of Jaffar the man. To lose the look upon your face as I take you, he thinks, now sliding his hand between her legs in turn, cupping her mound possessively, with the power of his man's hand, the size of it, the hardness of it. You spoke of Adonis, he laughs, and here, I had always fancied myself something of a Hades!

"And Aphrodite was Ishtar," she laughs out loud. "This metaphor isn't going anywhere, is it?"

"Neither am I, my sweet." He rolls on top of her, sinking his hand into her hair, lacing their thighs so that they are rutting together, making slow, sweet love in the manner of Lesbos. "Remaining a woman would mean losing my kingship, and I do not fancy retiring just yet. Perhaps a few more years..."

"And you did promise me children," she says, rolling him onto his back in turn, bracing her hand on her thigh and taking him with her fingers, she the one of them more experienced in this art. "There is nothing for it but to draw up an agreement, my love, just as the heathen gods did," she says, and Jaffar can barely hear her from beyond the pleasure he now feels, all of him opening, unfolding, unfurling, trembling around the skill of her hand. "A set number of days," she continues still, "upon which we can choose to be whatever we want." She presses her forehead against his, groans through her teeth, sighing against him. "Give me my cock."

"The full moon," he says and flicks his hand, making her virile once more. He swoons as Yassamin's flesh now fills out, hardening in his hand, his cunny pulsing, opening, wetting at the sweet promise of her prick. "Three days a month, I can give you this," he whispers and guides her prick into his cunny. "To have you like this, a man, a man. And more, should you want it--oh, Yassamin--please--"

But she pins him down upon the cushions and devours his mouth, undulating into him, taking him, taking him; the need to possess him, to keep him to herself radiates off her, swallowing him in its heat. He made sure not to make himself a virgin to spare himself the pain of deflowerment, but this, this--he cries out and stiffens underneath her, completely astonished at how different being taken as a woman feels. It's easy, so easy now that he has a channel of flesh made for it, all slick and wet and swollen, readily embracing her cock. This is nowhere near as painful or as intense as anal penetration, so he finds he has been tensing his body all too much, having been prepared to force himself to open. But now, there is no such need; his body opens for her with perfect, simple ease.

And he had expected teasing, had expected cunnilingus, but this is only fair, is it not? He had taken her by surprise last night, and love does not listen to plans--most definitely not on a night like this. He had expected pain, had yearned for it, but now, there is only a little ache as she slides inside of him. Her body so much softer and lighter than his, yet she fills him entirely, perfectly, fitting inside of him just right. The only discomfort he feels is the moment she touches the root of his womb--she searches his eyes as she reaches it, pulling back a little immediately. It is a strange feeling, the strangest, the rectum not having an end as such for the penis to bump against, but the feeling is not entirely unpleasant once she moves against him once more and his body adjusts to being touched so deep. No, no; his womb enjoys her, too, and never could he have expected it to feel so good to have it touched, to feel such love every time she brushes against it. He shivers around the pressure of it, wraps his legs around her and oh, but this is perfect, perfect.

And still, she gives him this, and lets him examine this, the engineer in him filing away each sensation, she laughing at him and nuzzling his face as she feels him thinking these things. But can she blame him? It is the strangest thing to feel, this opening, this gentle warmth: the amount of nerve endings the vagina has in comparison to the rectum astonishes him. He can feel each one of her movements more minutely here, even if the sensations aren't as overwhelming, as tearing, as blinding as those of anal sex. There is but the sweetest of stretches, a soft glide, a fullness that does not ravage; only fulfillment, fulfillment and awe.

But the greatest sensation of all of these is love, a love that shocks him to the very core of his being. He melts around her into tremulous, adoring softness and honey, but the love, oh, the love! The heat he feels from this penetration is greater than any love-heat he has experienced before, the warmth of it, and that warmth now extends into his heart, makes it expand with more love than he has ever felt before. How is this possible? He feels strange, at once cheated, that he's been lied to about love, yet grateful that he is now experiencing this, nothing less than the true meaning of loving and being loved. That a human being should have reached fifty without having known love to this extent! He has known physical love, even the love of two souls entwined, but that the stimulation of the womb could multiply even these, to take him beyond even what he has felt before--

"Yassamin, stop--" he gasps around her, curling around her. "Or, on second thought, don't, don't--"

"I don't think I can," she laughs. "You feel amazing," she says, her voice soft with wonder and awe, her eyes glowing from delight. "It's not as tight, but your heat, your wetness! The way you ripple around me--" she moans and falls into his arms, laughing incredulously into his shoulder, still undulating into him. "That this is how much you should want me," she laughs, hugging him close to herself, "that I can literally feel your love in every clench, every squeeze--is this how taking me has always felt like for you?"

He bursts into laughter and rocks her in his arms. "Now you know." He strokes her back, the soft down of it, rippling on and on around her, letting her feel it, letting her swim in his love, the pulses of it radiating from his hips around his entire being. With these waves, he envelops her, now truly knowing what it means to be the one enfolding the other in his love, all his previous joinings having felt somehow fiercer, more raw, more animal--while this? This is nothing less than sublime.

"This is ridiculous," he huffs, again shaking his head. "I have loved sodomy all my life, and would never give it up, but the womb, the womb--why is it that I feel more in love? More loved? Giving more love, being able to take more love?"

"You mean you doubted the poets when they said women could feel love more than men?"

"No, and I have always felt part female exactly because I loved more than most men," he says and slaps her buttocks. "But this--" he groans and squeezes his cunny around her, squeezes it, adoring the way she gasps when he so massages her prick, "no wonder I always got drunk when I tasted it from you, my love, no wonder! If they could bottle this, opium-farmers would go out of business."

"You don't miss the prick?" she says, now lifting his legs over her shoulders; now she thrusts with such vigour he can tell she is nearing release.

He licks his fingertips and brings them to his clitoris, shivering, squeezing around her once more as he rubs himself. "This little thing feels fan-tas-tic," he hisses. "You know how the plant's essence is distilled into oil, and one drop of that oil is stronger than had you eaten the plant raw? That's how it feels. It's concentrated, made a hundred times more potent when it's this small."

"Engineer talk!" she huffs, thrusting so hard into him he is pushed back on the pillows, he howling, stunned from the blow as she hits the root of his womb. "Now, shut your mouth and focus, my love. Turn around; I want you to watch yourself."

"As you wish, mistress," he laughs and goes on all fours, loving this: he arches his back like a cat, adoring the way his cunny looks in the reflection upon the wall. "Now, that is the most beautiful fresco I have ever seen," he purrs, spreading himself, admiring his gleaming; now, his folds push out from between the lips of his sex swollen, beautiful. His cunny, his cunny made a giant, heaving red flower, drops of his sweet wetness beading upon the tips of its petals, about to fall.

But then Yassamin's face is in his cunny and Jaffar is thrown face down into the pillows: he howls into his arm as she laps at him, sucks the sweet wetness from him, slaps his cunny, slaps it with the full force of her hand. "Narcissus," she groans, stroking her cock with her other hand, continuing in her smacking. It is clear she wants to last, that she now slaps him so that she will not spill herself too soon; he couldn't be more pleased with this fact.

"Punish me, then," he gasps, clutching at the pillows, watching himself, laughing deliriously as some of the drops of his wetness spray upon the crystal itself, distorting the view here and there. "Please, more," he purrs like the filthiest of singing-girls when they pretend to be love-drunk little maidens; "please, master, hurt me."

She chuckles, chuckles deep in her chest, a tyrant's laugh: it makes cold shivers leap up his spine, makes blood rush hot into his cunny, makes him clench so hard he rocks upon his knees, heaving.

"The jade or the gold?" she asks pleasantly.

"Oh, God."

She slaps him on the cunny once more. "I asked you a question."

"The silver," he mumbles. And the cane.

She stills for a moment: they are back to where they had started. He has requested their cruellest toy, one they normally use only to prepare her to take his fist. Yet, she does not ask him if he means it; in fact, he can feel a slight guilt radiating from her in that she has taken this long to give him what he needs tonight, that she has neglected her responsibility as his lover. Yet, she does not apologise for this either, but gives him what he also needs: firmness, strength, showing him she can hold him, herself together, to take them safely through this route they have chosen.

Thus, she walks quietly around him and attaches the invisible ropes around his wrists and his chest once more, binding him with such gentleness that it stills him in awe.

"To keep you safe," she murmurs as she cups his cheek, again tying his hair back from his face.

"Thank you," he says, his eyes brimming with tears.

He kisses her cock, kisses it with utmost tenderness, kisses the cane as she offers it to him, kisses the silver toy she now holds out to his lips. It is not dissimilar to the golden egg they have used before, but gives its pleasure tripled: it consists of three small eggs, each on top of another upon a slim rod, with enough of a gap between each egg to allow the muscles of the anus to close around the shaft, as wide as a man's finger. It is made of a rare metal, a silver-coloured living metal Jaffar builds only his most precious of toys from: infinitely strong, yet infinitely flexible and telepathic, obeying its master's every thought. Thus, it can bend itself inside the body if needs be, may become as soft as flesh, as hard as rock with but one thought-command.

She rests the toy beside him and lets herself rock against his face for a while: he savours her cock, inhales deep from its scent, from the taste and fragrance of his own cunny upon it, so strange and yet so perfect. I taste good, he laughs inside; I had been hoping I would. Thus, he licks at her, laps at her, sucks her clean from his sap, sucks out hers from the tip, murmuring his adoration against the shaft. "I love you so much, Yassamin," he whispers, his eyes closed, nuzzling his entire face against her prick; "woman or man, you must know that; you are all my dreams come true."

"Likewise," she says, squatting before him, her eyes lazy from desire, her smile splitting her face. "Are you feeling better now?"

"Are you?"

"Mm-hmm." She glances down at herself. "And now, my dear, I am going to fuck you," she grins.

He mewls into her kiss, his cunny clenching, clenching. "You had better."

She slaps him on the cheek, then the other. "That was just the start," she says, and he can barely see her, swooning from his lust. When he can open his eyes again, he can see, feel she is working the first of the silver bulbs into his arse and his cunny is dripping. He moans, moans, trickles down onto the cushions in strings, fighting against his bonds: with but spit, spit and his wetness she manages to slide the first bulb in.

"Please!" he cries, hoarse.

"What was that?" she asks sweetly, tapping his cunny, slapping it, so that now Jaffar howls out in broken strings of cries, the slap-slap-slap of her hand ringing in the room, the sticky film of his arousal stretched between her fingers and his cunny, so clear upon the wall before them, oh, oh--and then his moans are drowned again by her laughter. "Just because you have a pretty little cunny doesn't mean I'm not going to fuck you in the arse," she says, twirling her fingers in the air, sucking upon them playfully. "In fact, I am doing this just to see how wet you'll get when I play with your arse--fair's fair, wouldn't you say?"

"Please, continue," he slurs, drunken, all of him vibrating, each one of her slaps now radiating into his womb. "Please, more." He aches, aches inside, so much blood now swirling inside his pelvis, trapped, unable to get out, and he wants to scream. To know that only the pounding of a cock can release this blood, to know that without her cock, without the toys he will be helpless, tortured drives him insane; he is reduced to begging. "Please, take me. Please."

"All in good time," she says, luxuriating in him, tasting of his cunny, sucking strands of glimmering wetness from his depths, lifting these strings proudly into the light for him to watch as she slowly works the toy in and out. "How does that feel?"

"Unbelievable," he breathes, and as she rubs his clitoris again, he can still feel the ghost of his cock, or perhaps it's hers, his want so great that it pushes out of his body, pointing out of it, hard and heavy; he ruts into her hand, ruts back against the bulb, and now each push of it makes more wetness sluice out of his cunny. And as the second bulb slides inside of his arse, so that the first bulb's tip now settles against the back of his womb, his eyes roll back in his head: he trickles from between her fingers, trickles, howling inside soundlessly, falling into emptiness.

"Not yet," Yassamin laughs, but does not stop rubbing his clitoris, not cruel enough to deny him, "I said--oh--you are unbelievable!" she says as he comes between her hands nevertheless, spraying and bursting from between her fingers, she never ceasing in her taking of him with the toy, each press of it against his womb making more fluid spray out. "That's ridiculous," she laughs, adoring him, drinking him; he can but whimper from between clenched teeth, but watch himself through drunken eyelids as Yassamin laps at his cunny, drinks the streams of his ejaculate, clear and clean as it splashes upon her tongue.

"I'm sorry," he mumbles, still rocking, sighing; if his head had not been tied back by the hair it would now be lolling to his chest. "But don't tell me you weren't expecting it."

"Nothing less from my wellspring, no," she says. "I've never seen even a woman get this wet, however. And I thought you were bad as a man!"

"We won't be needing the oil, then," he says, now laughing, and oh, at that, his loosened cunny slurps, making a disgusting, farting noise. "Oh, God. I am so sorry."

"That's normal," she says brightly and slaps his arse.

"Still!" Now he knows why she has always apologised for making that sound; he feels a harlot already. "But I would you took me. Please."

"Mm," she says, still relishing his cunny. "I think we have five strokes of the cane left for the last time we committed adultery. Do you think you could take them?" she says and slaps his arse again. "I would love to make this all nice and warm before I take it, you see."

"Hurry, then," he says, squirming, wincing as she pulls the toy out of his arse. "Why did you do that for?"

"Open up." She holds the toy up to his mouth. "I don't want you to bite your tongue, so bite this instead."

"Oh, well, in that case!" he chuckles and sucks the first bulb into his mouth, adoring it, the taste of cunny and arse entwined, the pure, clean taste of his flesh dissolving upon his tongue like a drug. You had better let me taste it off your cock after.

"Greedy trollop," she says and rolls her eyes. "I wonder what I would have to do to gag your mind as well. You keep giving me far too many orders for a slave, you know," she says, but before he can quip anything back telepathically, she has struck a violent, hard blow across his arse with the cane. "One."

He howls, thrown forwards in his bonds, and he fears he will break a tooth biting into the plug as she delivers the next two blows; tears stream from his eyes and he sobs, in panic, trying to escape, even if he knows he cannot. Delirious from the pain of it, shocks running up and down his arms and his legs, all his hair standing on end, he watches as she beats him: the fourth blow lands straight over his cunny, spraying his fluids everywhere, the fifth right over his anus, and then he is no more.

He only comes to his senses when Yassamin pulls the toy out of his mouth. "It's over now," she says, kissing his lips, stroking his cheek. "You did well."

"Mmmgh." He daren't protest: this is exactly what he had done to her before he had let her play with Halima and Gol, exactly what he had hoped for her to do to him in turn. For just as he had comforted her, eased her anguish while satisfying his cruel whims, she has now soothed his anguish, too: his mind is strangely clear, clean, the muddied, diffused chaos of it wiped clean, him now hollowed empty for her love to flow. I love you, he but thinks at her, drinking in her smile, nuzzling her face with his.

And to think that she is no brute, that she has only done this for him because she loves him--it makes his lungs spasm, makes him choke from his emotion. There are times when I think you love me more than I love you, and here I thought no one could love another as much as I love you, my sweet Yassamin. How are you even possible? How?

It is very simple, my dear, she murmurs into his mind, caresses him as she moves behind him, as she presses the tip of her cock against his slick, open, waiting hole. It is you who have made me thus. It is thanks to you that I can now love you like this, with my mind, with my cock, like no woman in the history of the world has ever been able to love a man--

But now she is inside of him, hugging him, she shivering more than he is, she clinging onto him, onto the firmness of his body. "Hold me, Jaffar," she whispers, seeking his breasts with her hands, filling her hands with them, pushing in so deep she gives him pain, her sack nestled against his cunny. "Take me with your love; take me in your love, husband, wife; please."

And he wraps himself around her, himself, herself, the woman and the man, taking her as he is taken. This is no longer a Yassamin taking a Jaffar, no, no; they have become but the one being, beyond male, beyond female: as she sinks into his body, she sinks into his soul like rain is soaked into the earth. And from his earth, he springs forth, shoots out, grows; with the golden tendrils of his love, he curlicues back into her, beckoning her deeper inside of his body, deeper. He weeps as she moves into that spot behind the womb she has so often told him of, the spot where she has found and felt God: he chokes on his own tears, gushes out over her sack, flooding over her and around her, made a miserable wreck and the happiest of men, women.

And upon his back, he can feel Yassamin's tears, too; the brush of her breasts, her hair, her nails clutching at his chest: it feels as if she is clawing his chest open to expose his heart, but he is already open, open; opening and closing around her, enclosing her in his love like petals. She moves into him and through him, falls a summer rain throughout the forests of his nerves, love sluicing down the branches of his arms, the leaves of his fingertips.

And there, she surges into him, surges into him all white: all this time, the pressure that had been buiding up in her spine, her bones, in her very marrow comes loose. Hoarse, she screams out her orgasm, swirling into him like sparkling wine into a silver cup. And he catches her, swallowing her into his very being, drenching himself with her, her glow of honey-wine. And in their swirling, she lets him loose from his bonds, and he brings his hand to his cunny, stroking himself, stroking; with the last of her strength, Yassamin presses him face down into the cushions and takes him. Just as Jaffar had taken her before, letting him grind himself to orgasm upon his hands, her prick still beating out its waves out of his cunny, swirl after golden swirl. He is so exhausted, so exhausted that his release makes him fall forever, weightless, as if the cushions were gone and he is suspended in but pleasure alone; each one of her strokes washes over him, pulls black and gold waves over him from his cunny up his spine and over his eyes, and he swirls and he whirls and he falls.

He does not know how long they lie there; the fatigue a man feels after his release must now be affecting Yassamin, too. Usually, it is she who gets up first, made energetic from orgasm rather than exhausted by it, but now it is Jaffar who first gets up to fetch the washing-bowl, the towels. He washes himself first, and it seems to take forever to find all the creases and folds he has smeared with his wetness--how on earth do women manage this during their monthly flow?

Only after he has finished, does he advance towards Yassamin, but--well. There is a beautiful, half-hard prick right there in front of his face, and Yassamin is fast asleep, and that prick is still gleaming beautifully from their secretions, from sperm and--oh, to hell with it. He casts the wet towel aside and proceeds to clean Yassamin's cock with his mouth instead, moaning as he can now savour the taste without being bound, without being deprived of the pleasure too soon. And the way his cunny clenches at this, pulses--he is sure his cock would not have the energy to bob this soon, but there he is, rushing headlong into full arousal once more.

And how could he not? This delicious must, now much lighter and sweeter than his usual taste--he must have lost some of the male glands around the anus at his transformation--it is like tasting a woman's arse from a cock, he finds. He loves it, has to rub his own cunny a little as he does, Yassamin still completely oblivious even if her cock wakes up fully in his mouth, now, ready for another round even if its owner is incapacitated.

He wants to ride her, but oh, he mustn't, he mustn't; it would not be fair. He takes the wet towel and now proceeds to wash her properly, wash her sack and the cunny beneath it--she had never wanted to give that up, and fair enough--but even her cunny is pulsing hot, warm, wet, and so is Jaffar's.

"Yassamin," he says, his voice reedy in his throat; he sounds like a besotted youth.

"Mmh?" she says, creaks her eyes open a little, then throws her arm over her face once more. "What is it?"

He caresses the underside of her cock, adoring the firmness of her flesh, the smoothness of her skin; it reminds him of his own had felt when he'd been stroking it as a boy. "Would you mind terribly if I helped myself?"

"Insatiable," she groans.

"Is that a yes or a no?"

"As long as you don't wake me up," she murmurs.

He bursts into laughter, but he will show her, oh, he will show her: swiftly, he straddles her, sliding himself down onto her cock, riding her, riding.

"Oh my God, Yassamin," he sighs in delight.

"Is that your cunny?" she sputters from underneath her arm.

"Mm-hmm. And she was feeling a little neglected; she wanted to get better acquainted with her new friend. Mind if I take him for a ride?"

"As long as you do all the work," she groans and pulls a pillow over her face, pretending she isn't laughing.

"All right, then," he says, caressing her breasts as he does, rolling his hips, now finally able to fully focus on the feel of a cock inside of his cunny, without the heat of the anguish with which she had taken him before. "It feels wonderful," he says, truly savouring the joining, now: he explores different angles to see which ones he likes the best, jumping back a little as her glans hits a very sensitive spot in the front wall, behind his clitoris. Oh, but he remembers that, remembers it as the area the manuals always tell a man to curl his fingertips against, that soft tissue full of pleasure nerves, the touch he can always make Yassamin trickle with.

He cannot decide which way to move: it feels wonderful to be able to sit up straight upon Yassamin's cock, to have it sink as deep inside of him as possible; his womb and his internal organs being pushed up with such force it's almost nauseating in its intensity. Yet, on the other hand, when he is leaning forwards, he can move upon her better, truly ride her, have her cock rub against many different areas at once, make the heat in his belly rise once more. And it is at that that he has to pull the pillow from Yassamin's face and hug her instead: he moans into her ear, his cunny rippling around her prick as he reaches the perfect pace.

"Jaffar! You're hurting my ear."

"Mm." He reaches down to stroke his clitoris, frustrated that he cannot put more pressure on it. It really is true what they say about women not being able to reach release without this little organ, yet he had never realised exactly how important it was. He had thought it but a sharply concentrated point of pleasure, something in which sensation peaked; instead, the pleasure now spreads outwards and inwards from it as he caresses it, as if there was more of this organ inside of the body than without it.

Yes: the very moment he starts rubbing his clitoris, the ripples of pleasure expand from there not just into the outer vulva, but into the entirety of the vaginal channel itself, making it squeeze in absolute delight around Yassamin's cock. And from there, the heat rises up into the very womb itself, filling his entire pelvis with sweet warmth, making him aware of so many muscles there he did not even know existed. Strokes and ripples, ripples and strokes: he is astonished at how with such a small point of flesh he can control so much. He must remember this, he thinks; to use this in conjunction with that trick of leaving space between his strokes for a lover's orgasm to flow.

And now his own orgasm is rising, the ripples of it turning into waves, coursing up and down his cunny, up his womb, up his spine, crinkling up his nipples. He groans and shudders on top of her, thrashing, moaning, so close, now, so close.

"Jaffar, I said you were hurting my ear!" Yassamin laughs and pushes him up, bracing her hands on his chest, fumbling a little when she tries to find a position where she isn't crushing Jaffar's breasts. "Sit up."

"Mm. I--I was close, there," he grumbles.

"It's not easy for me to reach release in that position," Yassamin says, sounding a little astonished. "How is it so easy for you?"

"Well, I haven't come yet, have I?" he sighs, rolling his hips, far more focused on his cunny than on what Yassamin is saying. "God, is this why you are so insatiable? This ache inside--it's maddening!"

"Yes, it is, isn't it?" she grins and rolls him onto his back, now moving into him with her own weight, thrusting deliberately hard against his womb so that he yelps. "Let me help you with it."

"Remember the gaps--"

"I heard your thoughts," she grumbles, lifting his legs around her waist. "There. How does that feel? Or was the angle better when I lifted them onto my shoulders?"

He clutches her hips with his thighs, squeezing her greedily with his cunny until she groans. "This is better, methinks," he says, taking his hand to his cunny. "Go on, then. Ravish me."

And she does, laughing, tussling with him; they break each other's rhythm on purpose, clutching each other's hands, fighting over who gets to rub his clitoris. They roll around and around on the cushions, nudging the crystal's cabinet so that the projection itself judders, two couples entwining upon the bed and upon the wall. But they have forgotten about the projection, now, only observing each other instead of their reflections. After a while, they find the most perfect of positions: Jaffar lies half-sitting, with cushions propping up his back, Yassamin moving inside of him with a steady pace as he rubs his cunny, so close to becoming undone, undone.

"Exactly like the first time I took you," he sighs, squirms, shivers around her in ecstasy, in delight.

"It is a lovely position," she sighs happily, nuzzling his nose, thrusting too fast to kiss him, now. "Please. Use that trick of yours." At the same time, Jaffar. At the same time.

Fair enough, he thinks, closes his eyes and breathes. And with his breath, he calls her to step inside of his mind, just as he had pushed his own experience inside of her before: it is the strangest of sensations to be casting this spell in reverse. Before, he had forced himself inside of her, ravished her with his pleasure, forced her to unravel as he had unravelled. But now, it is her release he yearns to feel inside of himself, drawing it out of her body, pulling it down her spine, rolling it into her hips, licking up her sack. Come for me, sweet Yassamin, sweet husband, come; come and take me with you, sweep me away with you.

And crying out high in her throat, his Yassamin crashes upon him all pleasure, like waves upon rocks: sprays sparkling, glittering in the sunlight. And he soaks her into himself, drinks her into himself, his own orgasm bursting into bloom the moment her sperm splashes against his womb. He adores her, swims in his pleasure around her, the love that he had felt so acutely before now multiplying ten-thousandfold, each wave of his orgasm now saturating him with it. But what follows is something he was not prepared for: that this love-pleasure should rise even higher than this, above this--his eyes fly open and he cries out in astonishment as he finds himself cresting once more. The iridescent love-waves tear through him again and again, making all of his limbs spasm around her and he stares at her, frantic, mad. He would call out her name if he could think, but he cannot: his entire soul somersaults in this chaos that his flesh has become, and he no longer knows which way is up and which way is down.

"Oh, my God," he groans underneath her, still coming, still coming: he squeezes her so violently, throws his hips up onto her cock with such madness that he cannot stop until all his limbs are cramping, spasming. He flutters there, flutters; his hands and his legs fall apart from around her like leaves. And without his own willing it, his cunny squeezes around Yassamin's prick once more: finally, she slips out of his body with a trickle of sperm, and for a brief moment, he wonders if she has just got him with child. What if he is pregnant? A woman can feel the moment of conception, or so it is said, but how would he know?

"Don't you dare," she groans, even as he laughs around her. "I demand to bear any children first!"

He still cannot form long sentences, so he but thinks it at her--with a little wistfulness, he realises that becoming pregnant would be unlikely. I put myself just on the edge of bleeding, as it happens. A little bird told me that that's when a woman's orgasms were at their greatest, so have no fear.

She rests on top of him, clinging to him, her head pillowed over his heart. "Still. If it should happen, you had better transfer the babe into my body forthwith."

She does not ask for it, but he undoes the spell and makes her female once more; from her tone of voice, it is clear she has had enough of this play, and he is only glad to curl up around her a man. It is the strangest of things to feel as he extends outwards from his body once more; his prick is dripping with their combined fluids, now, soft and nestled between his legs, resting lax upon his familiar old sack. There is a little ache within his body, still, but it is not unpleasant: he feels extraordinarily sated, and quite glad to be back, now that he has been fulfilled in female form. That's odd, he thinks; but he shall examine that sensation later. For now that both of them are spent and at rest, he can ask her something he has been meaning to ask her for a while.

"What do you think, could we split childbearing duties once we have retired?" he asks.

"Retired?"

"Mm. I have been thinking about it," he says and strokes her hair. "You know how power changes hands in these times. I have not seen a single Caliph live past fifty, without a dagger in his breast, or worse. I would spend many more years with you by my side; would want our children to have a father."

"I have at times dreamt of escaping, too," she says, playing with the sparse hairs that have now sprung up upon his chest once more. "But I have always thought it but a foolish whim; kings and queens do not retire, do they? And those who are driven into exile are killed as soon as they step outside the city gates."

"We could run away before they even realised we were exiles," he says. "Find somewhere to hide, somewhere so far away they couldn't find us. How about somewhere beyond the Sindh?"

She lifts her head. "You do mean it."

"Yes, I do, beloved," he says quietly, searching her eyes. "But I would not do it without you. Should your desire not match mine, I would not go ahead with it."

"Who would you have rule in your stead? Fadl?"

Jaffar winces. "He doesn't want to leave Balkh; he'd hate it here. But how about Mohammad and Latifa? We could swap places with them; go and move to Samarkand while they take over here."

"They have children, too," she murmurs. "I am not sure they would want to risk them for the sake of a few years in the sun."

"Yes, who would be Caliph?" he laughs bitterly and leans his head back upon the pillows, gazing up at the zodiac signs painted onto the ceiling. The stars moving in their tracks inexorably, just as human souls must live out their lives according to the divine plan, following the destinies God has written out for them in His book.

He wishes he knew his.

"Perhaps these are strange and foolish hopes," he murmurs, "and my assassin is to stab me tomorrow morning at the baths."

"Don't say that!" she cries. "I was not expecting us to have this conversation, now."

"I apologise. But it was impossible not to think of the future, considering."

She drums his chest with her fingertips. "I think I might have a plan, actually."

"Oh?"

"Well, first of all, old husband, you are a fool. For have we not the most perfect of disguises in our hands right here? You could walk out of the palace a woman, as simple as that. And I could walk out your husband, a pair of merchants, and nobody would recognise us," she says, now lost in thought, contemplating their reflections on the wall. "Nobody would ever have to know," she murmurs.

He gazes at her, adoring, stroking her hair; he lifts her into a kiss. "You always were the wiser of us two," he says. "Let us set a date."

"Not before we have set a successor."

"I shall look into that. I am sure there must be someone mad enough," he laughs and takes her mouth with a kiss.

Chapter Text

Do I need these? Yassamin thinks as she lays her earrings back in their box. Do I need these either? she thinks as she removes her bangles of emerald, tourmaline and topaz. And what of this? she thinks as she removes the heirloom coin-chain from about her head.

Well, perhaps the heirloom, because it is important, made even more so now that it has become a part of their love-play--why, one of these past nights Jaffar had looked most splendid wearing it upon his brow. But apart from little things like these, would she not be happier not being a queen? It is a tempting thought, to be sure, but how would she know, never having been anything less than a princess?

She would not wish to be a beggar; this, she knows: she has seen how swiftly death takes those not fortunate enough to be well-nourished and fed every day of their lives. Fasting is good for the soul, yes, but she has seen people driven into desperate deeds for but a piece of bread, and would not suffer a similar fate. And only the richest of the rich can afford their own physicians, their own baths: she shudders at the idea of having to use public pools, the waters of which are only refreshed once a year at Ramadan.

Oh, but she is such a proud woman, so vain, so fortunate--she closes her eyes and begs God for forgiveness. And with this prayer, she also begs God for understanding, for wisdom: for if she has been given all this, is there not a reason for it? God is greatest, yes. But who is it that stands here upon this earth to manifest God's will, if not the Caliph and his Calipha beside him? Had she not been made queen because God had had a plan for her, had chosen Yassamin of Basra to be the instrument of his mercy? And no one, but no one could accuse her of not being merciful, generous. They had always gossiped about her in the harem as one soft-hearted, giving away more alms than other queens had ever done, shocked at the way she had given freely of her jewels to beggars on her way to the mosque.

But charity had always come to her naturally, well before she had even learned to read, before she had even been told it was one of the great duties of every Muslim, as important as prayer and pilgrimage. For ever since her childhood, she had felt a tender sympathy towards the poor: one of her earliest memories is that of her watching other children from her howdah on top of her elephant, looking at their starving faces and feeling sorry for them, wanting to invite them to the palace so that she might play with them. She had begged and pleaded for her father to allow this, and only with the intercedence of her mother had he finally relented. Thus, every month, Yassamin would have a feast arranged for a selection of the poor children of Basra, would play with them as normal children did, sharing her magical toys with them.

All of that had ended when she had reached puberty, of course: then, came the bodyguard of archers to shoot anyone who so much as dared to try and catch a peek of her, the carefully selected company of simple-minded, dull handmaidens hand-picked for her to keep her from developing bad habits. Her time with the ruffians was over, her father had told her as he had locked her garden's gate with a giant golden key: if she wanted to practice charity, she would now have servants to pass the alms on to the poor so that she needn't have her royal hands dirtied by those of the children from the street.

And now Jaffar would have them take to the streets. Or, not exactly: he had had some dreams of perhaps posing as a maharaja, of them quietly taking over some Indian province and living in luxury there for the rest of their lives. That had been on one of his better days, soberer days: but when he had been drunk enough on love or wine or hashish, he had dreamt of them as a pair of wily bandits, their home where they lay their heads. That, or them taking to the seas as merchants, selling silks from Basra to Arabia, or some other high-flying dream of the sort.

And that was the problem, that was the problem exactly: her illustrious husband, God keep his soul, did not have a plan. Only dreams. How he ever even managed to claim the throne, she has no idea--perhaps Yassamin's love had made him soft-headed? For that was the other manner of gossip so virulent in the harem: that Jaffar the Barmakid had become lax as a ruler, not watching for his back as he walked with his head in the clouds. And to think that he had been the most terrible of tyrants before he had fallen in love with her, executing dozens of traitors each week, using up slave girls and pageboys like wash-cloths!

She herself knows how terrible her Jaffar had been, remembers what she had herself thought of him before: she would rather have died than married him, had not the vapour of the blue rose unveiled his true nature to her, shown to her the gentle lover within. Had he not told her that he had been the djinni in her mirror, the only true friend she'd had during the years of her imprisonment in her garden--oh, perhaps she would have run herself through with her dagger indeed. She remembers the way he had looked at her that night he had prayed for Ishtar's spirit to enter her, his face streaked from kohl-stained tears, the way he had held his very soul open for her to step inside. That day, her world had turned upside down, and now she wonders if that had not been so for him as well. For as the incense-bowl had fallen from his hands and shattered upon the floor, so had Jaffar the tyrant shattered and fallen into her arms a new man: Jaffar the lover.

But how could a lover rule an empire? When, whether she liked it or not, a tyrant was what an empire needed to run smoothly and efficiently? Oh, but Jaffar is right; they have to make haste and leave this court behind, for the sake of their lives and the lives of their children still unborn.

But where, when, how? And what sort of Jaffar would await her on the other side? Would she do this, abandon everything for a man who might no longer be the man she fell in love with, but a new person, a new woman, someone she is not sure she even knows? Oh, but all these questions have been keeping her up at night, and she knows that he knows, and that he worries in turn. He had shown her his man-woman soul, had let her look inside of himself and behold all the new discoveries, new pleasures, new terrors that had now made his mind a chaos.

Even he does not know how often he wants to be a woman, now, nor how much of his time he wants to spend a man; and Yassamin hates herself for being jealous, as if this new woman had somehow robbed her of her Jaffar. For she knows in her heart that she cannot play the man, cannot play the husband to him apart from a few light games from time to time: it is not in her nature to live so, preferring as she does the female body and the experience of being taken. And it is then that she curses herself for not having been born two-sexed like him, or man-souled like Halima, so that she could be a better spouse to him, to her, whatever forms he wished for them to take.

She feels helpless, helpless and alone, not knowing who she is any longer, whom she is married to; by God, she does not even know whether she should even call this house a home any longer. She slams her jewellery chest shut and wraps her braids on top of her head for the night; yet her hands tremble and she staggers as she makes her way to her bed. She does not slip into it, but falls upon it and weeps, weeps miserably; even as one of her cats comes to butt at her hand in concern, she cannot stop weeping. She hugs the cat close to her chest, despite its grumbling; she gazes into its eyes, the green of emeralds, as if they were Jaffar's magic gems to tell her fortune by.

"What am I to do, Zumurrud? What am I to do?"

***

Jaffar lies in his bed and watches the clouds drift past the moon. A moon the shape of a cat's pupil, and already he awaits the fullness of it, as with its growing, he, too, shall reach fulfillment. For as the moon waxes and wanes, so does Jaffar, son of Yahya: over these past few months, he has learned the rhythms of women's bodies, has lived according to them, even if his body has for the most part been male. Even as he had withdrawn his female self back into himself, he had been astonished to realise how many of the female senses, instincts, intuitions had remained within him, as if the biological part of his inborn two-sexedness had been but waiting to be awakened: like seeds can lie dormant for centuries and sprout from the first rain that falls upon them, so had these parts in him flourished and continued to grow, hidden within the depths of his mind and his body even as he'd walked the courts of his palace a male.

And with the moon's phases, his senses, his moods, even some of his physical characteristics had shifted from male to female and back again, one part in him waxing while the other waned and vice versa. And to think that his cycles had synchronised with Yassamin's, too, like they do between women who live together underneath the same roof! For now, when Yassamin bleeds, he suffers from an aching back, a heavy pelvis; with her, he suffers from fits of tears, rages, madnesses--and at the same time from lusts violent, demanding to be filled, so much so that at times, he has to sate himself with the jade phallus in secret.

And other times, always closer to the dark of the moon, he becomes more virile, becomes heavier, more masculine than he has ever been: he lets his moustache grow thicker, feels his sack dangle heavy between his thighs, feels every pulse of his blood in his cock, consumed by the need to take, take, take. He returns from his hunting trips vibrating from the thrill of the chase, takes Yassamin as soon as he is through her bedroom door, revels in the way she screams her delight as he so ravishes her.

Never has he lived as fully as man, as woman; never has he smelled the crushed grass under his horse's hooves so exquisitely. Never has he been able to tell that yes, that woman over there is pregnant, that that one over there is bleeding, and that that blushing boy over there has just returned from the arms an older man, his drawers still smelling of sperm. Never has his eyesight been brighter, his aim better as he practices the art of archery; never has he been able to measure chemical substances with such accuracy, fine-tune the weights inside of his clockwork machines with such precision, when it had taken him days to perfect these experiments previously. For the first time in his life, he has gained weight, and muscle at that: for the first time, he can tell the outlines of his biceps and triceps and his pectorals; now, he can only see his ribs when he raises up his arms, when but a few months ago, they could have been seen through his tighter shirts.

He celebrates his fiftieth birthday, and they tell him he looks thirty-five; Dunya arrives to celebrate with them, and she is eager to learn his secret. She has only recently been widowed, and tells Jaffar that he had better hurry and give to her of his potions, so that she might find herself a man before she becomes too old for the marriage market. Jaffar but pats his sister's hand and tells her it is only love that has made him so. It's the eternal problem of the chicken and the egg, he is afraid: if Dunya had a lover as good as his Yassamin, he tells her, she, too, would lose two decades in age. He will look for a husband for her, he promises; he even invites her to stay at the court for as long as she likes, in case it will help her find good suitors.

Only Yassamin sits beside him, pale, with new lines around the corners of her eyes: the wilder of the rumours suspect that the shah is supping upon his wife's life, that he is devouring her life-force in his greed for eternal youth. He squeezes her hand amidst the revels, and she smiles at him in a torpor: she had told him she hadn't wanted to arrive for the celebrations, but had fortified herself with herbal potions to do so. Yet he wonders what she hasn't told him--has she become consumptive? Yet he has not heard a single cough from her, not a rattle in her lungs whenever he has rested his head on her chest after making love.

***

It is the dark of the moon, and they retreat to her secret bedroom, the smallest in the harem, the innermost of all their trysting-places. The room in which they had taken Theo and Fadl; the room in which they had played the most illicit of all their games. Jaffar has refrained from drinking too much; he had secretly been diluting his wine with twice the usual amount of water. And from looking at Yassamin, he is not sure if she even wants to be taken, perhaps too ill to enjoy it tonight. It's fair enough: for it is privacy they have come here for, intimacy, silence; this chamber their safe haven from the hustle and bustle of the court.

"Just let me lie beside you," Jaffar asks, undressing her tenderly, and when she staggers, he lifts her up in his arms with a smile, as easily if she were but a little doll, and carries her to bed. "There," he says as he deposits her gently amidst the cushions, climbing in to sit beside her.

She looks at him up and down, marvels at his new strength as he pulls off his tunic. "My cheetah has become a panther," she whispers, beckoning to him with her hand, caressing his shoulders as he lies down beside her with a kiss. "While I grow weak," she sighs.

He tosses away the last of his garments and laces his fingers with hers. "Tell me. It has to be something serious; I have never seen you this way." He swallows. "Have you--have you lost..."

She searches his eyes. "Have I miscarried, you mean?" she whispers, then shakes her head. "No. At least not to my knowledge, but perhaps one can lose something of the soul in a similar manner."

"What do you mean?"

"I wish I knew," she says and strokes his cheek. "I do not know who you are any longer, Jaffar; or who I am, for that matter."

He holds her close and kisses her forehead. "Perhaps it is a rebirth."

"What into, Jaffar? What into? If I knew where we were going, if I knew whom I held, it would be easier."

"That is what I meant to talk to you about," he says and lifts her hand to his heart. "I think I have found our successor."

"Dunya?"

"Aye, Dunya. What do you think?"

She laughs and kisses his hand. "She's more competent than you and I put together. But who would you marry her to?"

He laughs and shakes his head. "I haven't got the faintest idea. But I am sure my opinion wouldn't matter one whit. And Byzantium was but a few years ago ruled by an Empress, so would it be so strange for Persia to be ruled by one, too? After all, it might take a woman's craftiness to recapture the territories those rascals have stolen from us."

"Perhaps a puppet king, for a brief while, enough to give her a son, and then install her a regent..." Yassamin murmurs.

"Mmm. It is a shame your Ahmad and his boy-beauty sailed off with that Sindbad fellow," Jaffar grins. "Ahmad would have been fool enough."

She raises her eyebrow and grins back at him. "We might cross paths with them soon, as it happens."

"Oh?"

She nods. "Since you refused to decide where we were to retire, I took the liberty of making some enquiries myself. Either we leave for the region of Samarkand--where Latifa and Mohammad would welcome us--or then, we take over some small Indian province, just like in your dreams. I would vote for Samarkand, since it has fewer mosquitoes, for a start, but should you still strive for glory, well. I sent some of your djinni off to India--"

"You did what?!" he gasps, outraged. "Some of them haven't been let out since the days of King Solomon!"

"I flashed them a breast."

"You--you--" she's unbelievable. They could've bitten her breasts off, the silly trollop; she does not know how to handle djinn.

She presses a finger to his lips. "I do. Latifa taught me, remember? And the djinn told me of a very beautiful state north from the Sindh, crumbling away, ruled by a weakling and but waiting for a new ruler to assume its throne. A Persian sorcerer, perhaps; a sorcerer and his demoness. But the only trouble is--well. It is outside of the Caliphate, entirely pagan, and they would not accept a Muslim ruler without a fight."

Temptations of pagan temples, of white and pink pavilions and fragrant jungles swirl into his mind. For a moment, the full-breasted, many-armed goddesses of the East beckon to him, calling him to embrace them, to abandon Islam. Turn your back on your tyrant God and he will soon forget about you, soon; turn away and escape the dire fate he has written out for you, they tell him. Turn your back on your past and lie with us, lie with us who are glory and power: oh, mighty king, lie with us, conquer us.

Yet, he shakes his head: there is but one heathen demoness whose counsel he will ever listen to. "And you want us to retire to Samarkand."

"I do."

He kisses her hand and sighs, closes his eyes and floats into her mind. It would make me happier, too, not to be the ruler, not to have to conquer, as unmanly as it is of me to admit this. I have never been a warrior; you know this. I have always been more inclined to use my brains, and would not waste this new youth, this new health I have been given. You have seen me with Fadl; he has always been the one of us more skilled with the sword, and were it not for my magic, I would have been slain a long time ago. No, no, my love: I would not exchange one court for another if it had the same poisoners, the same plotters, the same intrigues--it would not matter whether the sword that ran me through was straight or curved.

"And never would I turn my back on God," he says out loud, then whispers the creed under his breath. "He has given to me of his divine knowledge through the arts of magic, has given me the secrets only Solomon knew, a promise of the long age of the prophets. No, I would not dishonour these gifts and throw myself into the hands of heathen gods."

She raises her eyebrow. "Not even Ishtar?"

He groans and rolls his eyes. "I told you. She is but the name and form the ignorant gave to God's Love."

"You are a good man, Jaffar; a pious man, far nobler in your faith than I," she whispers, kissing his forehead.

He strokes her cheek with the backs of his fingers. "It is settled, then. Samarkand."

"Samarkand."

"And now you wish to know what your Jaffar has become," he says, nodding. "That is the strangest of things, in fact. You have seen my health improving, yet you yourself..."

She shakes her head. "You have not stolen my health from me. It has been but my worrying, trust me. I feel better already, now that I know where we are going."

"I am glad to hear that. But I do know what your greatest worry is--that now, at all times, your husband is dreaming of being a woman. That you are somehow depriving me of something essential I need, whenever you want me to come to you a man." He squeezes her hand, looking into her eyes, pleading for her understanding. "And let me tell you now, once and for all, that that fear is untrue. It is true that I did not know what I wanted at first, but within these past few months, I feel as if I have reached... a balance of sorts. You may only see me and feel me as a woman on those three full moon nights, but here--" he lifts her hand to his heart. "She is still here, the woman who has always been inside of me, only now have I let her breathe. Only now, have I not suffocated her, and have let her walk this earth once a month... and for some strange reason, I think that's enough," he says, his eyes narrowing in contemplation as he speaks these words to himself for the first time, knowing them for the truth. "Does that make any sense to you, my love?"

She laughs, a little nervously. "It doesn't, but how many people have ever felt such a thing in the first place? I have only heard tell of such transformations in myths. How can but three days be enough?"

"It was for Solomon and Bilqis, was it not?" he grins playfully. "He only travelled to Sheba for three days each month. That's how formidable a woman she was; three days of her lovemaking sated him--or exhausted him--for a month!"

"Now I am Solomon and you the Queen of Sheba?" she laughs, throwing back her head. "You speak in riddles, husband."

"Listen. What I mean to say is that once Jaffar the woman steps out, she takes her fill of life, and lives more in those three days than I sometimes have lived as a man in an entire month," he whispers, caressing her hand. "And then she sinks back into this man you now see before you, yet breathes through him, gazes at the world through his eyes, and so the man has been enriched. Yassamin--and perhaps I sound like a fool--what I mean is that now I am both. I am now man and woman at once, more fully than I have ever been before; at balance. Until now, I had felt incomplete, but it is as if but a piece of me had been missing, and it's now slotted into place. Why are you laughing?"

"I am not laughing at you. It's only that it sounds like the exact opposite of the monthly flow! A woman's body lets out foul humours, bad blood, poisons. It is a week of pain and misery. And you, you lucky swine, have three days of pleasure and fulfillment, of feeling more like yourself than you ever have before, as you put it."

He laughs back at her. "I did not make the rules! Whoever came up with that spell must not have thought of the long-term consequences. I am imagining it was only ever meant to be a brief spiritual exercise, of being fully within the experience of the other sex. Or perhaps it was only meant to be a moment's disguise. But whoever thought it up must not have carried that magic within himself, or herself for this long."

"That is the strangest thing," she says, turning out all but one of the lamps, then bringing that last one close to his face, examining him in the warm yellow light. "You are glowing, as if a woman expecting: it is as if you were carrying a new life within yourself."

"Yet I feel as if I have robbed you of it. But does that soothe your fears, now? That I am already complete, and do not wish for more than those few days of womanhood each month? If anything, my sex matters more to you than it does to me, now, and it's not as if I am unhappy loving you as man. Wearing different genitals feels to me as if I were but wearing different garments; the same Jaffar is present within both. The more I think upon it, the more precious it feels, too, when it is limited thus--I do not want to blaspheme, but you could compare it to the fasting-month. In that setting those few days aside makes me more meditative when I am within that state, makes me appreciate Woman more, the way fasting makes one more grateful for food."

"Aye, and that's because you never have to bear the actual bleeding," she laughs bitterly and slaps his chest. "Mine has just started, and it is as if I carry an abattoir between my legs, and a clawing beast inside my womb."

"Ever since you gave up the potions?" he frowns, resting his hand on her belly. "That's odd." She has been without contraceptive herbs for half a year, has avoided even certain spices; her cycles should have returned to normal by now. "You should be feeling better instead of worse."

"I thought so, too," she sighs. "It's as if I am punished each month for not being with child; as if it was my fault. Sometimes I think I took the herbs for too long, that I--" she swallows and clutches his hand. She does not say it, but he can tell she fears she has done herself damage, that she has made herself barren. "Is there anything you could do? I would welcome nine months without this pain."

But already he has turned towards the bedside cabinet, swearing when he realises he is out of camphor and rosemary oil, but at least there are a few spoonfuls of opium tincture left, and a few grains of honey. He takes these and mixes them into two cups of water, warming them by the lamp's flame, so that they might lie in opium's sweet torpor together. This is a ritual they have often shared during her monthly flow, another thing the imams and judges abhor about him: that he should share his bed with his wife even during the time of her pollution. It is said the Devil himself lurks behind a menstruating woman's shoulder, and that a man might get possessed if he so much as touches her during those days; yet, he knows enough about medicine and djinn to know there are no such spirits in the vicinity of his Yassamin. She's a demoness powerful enough to scare any such minor beasts away, he thinks.

"I heard that," she says as she accepts the tea from him. "And what makes you think it's not you and your demon eyes they run away from, Asmodeus?"

He growls and snaps his teeth at her, groping at her until she squeaks, almost spilling her tea. "We are two of a kind. Come, Lilith; let us toast to Samarkand."

She lifts her cup to her lips and salutes him. "To Samarkand."

And there they lie, the poppy spreading its soft, heavy skirts around them, weighing each one of them into the bed like a lover. He had always marvelled at this particular drug, softer than any other he had experimented with, the way it mimicked the euphoria of love itself.

Yet no drug could ever match the utter ecstasy that is his Yassamin, his Ishtar, Love Herself now curling up in his arms, dreaming against his heart.

He looks into her mind and sees what she sees, blue-domed palaces she has only heard of in legend, of great deserts and vast forests spreading out between Samarkand and Baghdad, putting a good distance between them and any harm. A fine house awaits them at the edge of the city, Latifa had said, a house painted green and blue, a house crowned greener with orchards, girt bluer by channels and fountains: there they and their children could live happily, in peace.

And to these, he adds his own visions, having once visited the city himself: its busy bazaars, its mosques and its temples, the rare sight of snow on the colder winters. He shows her the grand portals, with the moon and the sun framing them in magnificent blue mosaics, and the grandest of them all: the giant Simurgh spreading her wings in protection over the great madrasah.

The wings, the wings, the enormous blue wings glittering in the sun: in Yassamin's mind, the blue merges with that of Jaffar's eyes, she seeing his smile even with her eyes closed. Jaffar the healer, the mother, the lover, the sky encompassing her world from horizon to horizon: that is what you are to me, Beloved, she whispers to him mind to mind, that is what you are.

And soon, I will carry you off, off; he thinks back at her, swirling and curling around her, holding her tight. And we shall live happily until the end of our days.

And perversely through all our nights, do not forget, she thinks and bursts out into giggles against his chest.

He laughs out loud, a loud, hacking laugh; he groans in love and rocks her in his arms. I shan't; I shan't.

Chapter Text

***

Six months later

Near Samarkand

***

"Is it done?" Yassamin the youth asks as Jaffar the matron steps in through the caravanserai door.

"It is done," he says and removes his veil, "it is done, it is done!" he cries in joy as he undoes her turban, moaning into her kiss as her breasts begin to bud, as his prick lifts out to press between her legs. "They believed every word I said. We are now but two merchants, owners of a comfortable estate on the outskirts of the city." He twirls Yassamin onto the bed and pushes her up it, cackling in delight. "We are free, Yassamin! We are free!"

"I cannot believe it," she laughs and shakes her head, her forehead against Jaffar's, supping hungry kisses from his mouth. "You had better hurry up and get me with child, then. We've waited long enough."

"What does it look like I'm doing?" he laughs as he undoes her shalwars, slipping his hand between her legs. "Merciful God! You have been a woman for--what, thirty seconds, and already you are this wet?"

"I'll teach you how to do that tomorrow," she laughs and rolls him onto his back, kissing him and kissing him as she divests him of his clothes. "Although I think we might need another Jaffar for that; I cannot imagine anyone else who could get me ready as fast," she murmurs against his mouth.

"I have spent an entire month as a woman," he groans and thrusts between her legs with his prick; "I think I am going to stay like this for a while."

"God is great!" she cries in delight, her voice raw from want; she hugs him tight against herself, as if she could sink inside of his body if she but tried hard enough. "I have missed you so much." She swirls her mind into his and sends to him all her longing, the ache of her cunny as it returns to its long-lost shape, the craving in her womb, how wonderful it feels when her breasts swell to fill his hands once more.

A month, a month she has spent in a male body without being taken by him, both of them having had to disguise their true sexes from their fellow travellers. They couldn't risk being discovered, so they hadn't undone the spell even at night; but today they had arrived at their destination and had parted ways with the caravan. Today, they are newly born, newly wed, a whole new life ahead of them; a new Yassamin and a new Jaffar entwining upon this bed in the setting sun's light.

And it is a new light, a light she has never known before, coloured by forests so vast she has never seen the like, tinted by the sparkling blue of the great Sogd, a light so beautiful it makes her spirit soar into the new sky above them. All is beautiful and her heart is filled with light, light; and as that light now refracts through the djinn-blue of Jaffar's eyes, as her body awakens to its true shape underneath his touch, the desire in her to be taken by the man she married spills, flows over.

"Take me, Jaffar," she keens and wraps her limbs around him, kissing him hungrily. "Take me now, or I am going to have to murder you."

"But then I couldn't take you," he laughs. "Or would you ride my death erection, is that it?"

"If I must," she moans and kisses him, rubbing herself frantically against him, her whole body aching from the need to be touched. She needs to feel him in every cell of her body, needs to be ravaged by him, marked by him. She will not have become herself fully without having known him thus, consumed by him thus, dyed into her true colours by his love. "Take me as hard as you can, my love; let me feel it, feel it to the utmost, please, please."

"Oh, so it is the beast you want? Hmm?" He raises his eyebrow in warning, his grin so wicked it chills her, thrills her, makes her cunny clench in delight. "That can be arranged."

She falls slack underneath him, displaying a complete lack of resistance, adoring the weight of him atop her, the promise of being claimed, taken. "What is your wish, master?" she asks, her voice soft, yielding as the gazelle yields to the cheetah; the voice she knows drives him mad from desire.

He tilts his head slowly, slowly; he caresses her breastbone idly, measuring her skin like a calligrapher measures a piece of paper, to see how he can work his art upon it. "In that case, my sweet..." he murmurs and slides his hand to her throat, squeezing lightly, capturing her gaze with his. "I would have you kneel."

And so it is that they begin: both naked, he sitting upon the edge of the high bed, she kneeling at his feet. With his magic, he has bound her wrists behind her back, has attached the clamps and the coin-chain to her breasts, the clamps tighter than ever before. He has strung earrings, toe rings, finger rings into the chain so that it swings heavy between her breasts, the pain confining her so that she cannot move, frozen into complete stillness. So that he has her absolute attention, her absolute submission, her absolute focus upon him and him alone--oh, this is all she has ever wanted, and she would weep if she could. Yet the pain has taken her beyond tears, beyond words, beyond everything except her adoration: in the red-white haze of pain she kneels at the feet of her lover, her master, her king.

He sits haloed in the yellow twilight of the room, all of him glowing, glowing golden from the softness womanhood has given to his skin, and it's as if it has but enhanced the masculine in him: as he stands up, his height seems even more imposing than before, the darkness of oudh and musk roiling from him as his body heats up with his desire. He sways his hips like a courtesan, but there is no effort to it, none of the mincing caricature she has seen upon sodomites like Abu Nuwas, no, no: his movements flow out of him naturally, a manifestation of his true self, the same way a cat cannot help but walk sensually with a soft, rocking gait, curling its tail. His cock, too, sways across his belly, proud and erect, and for a moment, she thinks Jaffar wants her to mouth it as he pauses to stand before her.

"Not yet, my child," he murmurs, cupping her cheek, his voice soft and full of love, amusement, adoration at her wanting to offer herself in such a manner without even being asked. He lifts out the silver wand with its three eggs. "I would like to open you with this, if I may."

"It would be my pleasure," she says, laughing, but immediately flinching with pain as the chain moves with her laughter.

He squats before her and nuzzles her face, smiling, his eyes drunk from happiness. "I am going to be gentle with it... for now. Would you lift that delicious rump of yours a little?"

She spreads her legs as much as she can in her kneeling position, the pain from the clamps blinding her so that she can barely feel him playing with her cunny, drawing wetness from it onto her anus and onto the toy. All she can tell is that she is swollen, swollen and full against his touch, his chuckle making her cunny clench in the cup of his hand.

"Absolutely beautiful," he murmurs. "Do you think you could take it with just this?"

"Yes," she whispers, barely audible.

Yet he prepares her with utmost tenderness: she can feel him thinking at the silver, telling it to soften and to shrink to the width of but two fingers, so that he can slide the entirety of it inside of her with ease. And only now, the sensations of what he is giving her push past the pain radiating from her breasts to her back: bulb after bulb, the now-pliant silver settles inside of her body, obeying the curves of her guts, resting inside her rectum. The bulbs cannot be bigger than chestnuts, now, yet as the one at the tip slides past the gate behind her womb into her colon, she dies for a moment, dies. She moans deep in her belly, a terrifying, animal groan, swaying where she kneels, not recognising her own noises, a madwoman, mad; even as Jaffar keeps massaging her cunny, massaging the flared end of the toy she bellows like a she-camel, ashamed of herself in her heat.

Jaffar but chuckles and draws her hair aside from her ear, kissing her cheek. "I am but flattered. Do you think you could take more?"

But she doesn't know. Her mind is a chaos, a swirling whirlwind of red and green and black and red and pain, pain, pain; her mind is now but an open wound. And Jaffar looks into this wound, examines it, turns the silver a little inside of her, commanding it to bend and to flex inside of her. And he loops this movement, telling the toy to curl and uncurl inside of her, to massage her a little, the same way he would curl his fingers inside of her to pleasure her. She hears herself sobbing from somewhere far away, hears her cunny spraying the stone floor as she is so milked; the bulbs grow inside of her until she feels she cannot possibly be any more full.

"That's enough," he says softly and lets go, licking his hand as he gets to his feet and then sits on the bed. "Now, come to me. At your own pace."

She feels like an automaton, an automaton made of but pain and wetness and the weight of metal, the taste of blood in her mouth--has she bitten her tongue or is she imagining it?--as she shuffles on her knees until she is kneeling between his legs. The bed is knee-high, as high as the ones the Franks use, and this must have given Jaffar the idea for this play. For now she is just at the right height to serve him with her mouth, and she bends to her task with relish.

Again, he laughs and takes her by the chin. "Not yet, my sweet. I will tell you when," he says, more amused than irritated, dropping a soft kiss upon her lips. "You wanted to savour us, so I am doing exactly that: letting you savour."

And so he begins to groom himself in front of her, preparing himself, letting her watch as he perfects himself for the art of love. Her cunny lifts, pulses, clenches painfully against the bulbs behind it as she observes his rituals: he massages his groin with soft, honey-scented oil and begins to shave himself bare. Her mouth waters, the sight of him and the scent of him returning her to herself somewhat: oh, but how much she would like to be doing this herself, kissing his sack, his cock, his perineum the way she always does when he lets her do the shaving. But she cannot, so she kisses him with but her mind alone, her breath, her love: each piece of skin that he now exposes to her gaze, she caresses with her thoughts, telling him how much she cherishes each part, even the wrinkled ones.

"A woman is nothing but a wrinkle down there!" he exclaims in mock-shock, then laughs as he mops himself dry. "For that, I think I shall make you wait a little while longer, demoness."

And at that, he does something that surprises even her: as he returns from the washing alcove with an ivory syringe and a chamberpot, she finds herself stilling.

"Oh, don't look so shocked," he says. "You yourself used this earlier, didn't you? It's still a little wet."

She licks her lips and nods. "Yes."

"And I have used it on you once or twice. Have I never rinsed myself in front of you?"

She shakes her head, and regrets it as soon as it sends the chain swaying.

"Well, then. A little more intimacy is what you wanted," he grins as he oils the tip of the syringe and begins to cleanse himself.

He takes three rinses with water, mercifully using the chamberpot so that she does not have to see everything that comes out, although he himself peeks into it to find out when the water finally runs clear. She thinks he's finished, but seemingly upon a whim, he picks up a pot of cream and fills the syringe with it instead, grinning like a maniac as he spreads his legs in front of her. "Would you do the honours? I am told it is excellent for restoring the natural moisture of the gut after an enema."

"You're disgusting!" she huffs, but her cunny still pulses as she watches him insert the nozzle, as he offers the end of the plunger to her.

"Seeing as you are a little tied up," he smirks, "use your teeth. Slowly. That's it."

She would swear at him, call him names if she could; yet it is difficult enough for her to find her balance and to clasp the plunger between her teeth. Jaffar yelps a little as the nozzle pokes him in an uncomfortable spot--serves him right!--but finally, she finds a crouch in which she can apply pressure in a slow enough, steady enough manner.

And he is right, disgustingly, infuriatingly right: she does derive pleasure from this. The way he holds himself open, his legs spread wide and his feet planted on either side of the edge of the bed, holding his buttocks apart with his fingers--oh, it is beautiful. And so is the way he laughs and falls back on the bed in delight, laughing in disbelief at them actually doing this, glee radiating from him, swirling around her mind, sparkling bright. She shivers, heat licking up her cunny as little droplets of water and cream cling to the folds of his anus, as his breathing becomes more shallow, as the fluid slowly fills his guts. Soon, he is completely silent, only staring at the canopies, his breathing slow and quiet, all of him entranced by the sensation.

But then it is over, all too soon: the plunger clicks against the body of the syringe and he has taken all of the cream, all of it. She lets go, her jaw aching so much she has to move it around in a chewing motion; she sits back a little, still holding the syringe in place with her cheek. At that, Jaffar finally looks at her from between his legs, his hair a mess, his eyes lost; his entire body shakes from strain.

"Oh, God," he laughs, but soon catches himself: his arse clenches around the nozzle so that he won't spill the cream. "Take it out," he murmurs, "and give me the chamberpot."

"I can't," she says. "You'll have to untie me."

He clasps his cock, now swollen, enormous, purpling over his belly from his arousal. "God!" he gasps, and now his arse clenches so much that the syringe falls out, clattering onto the floor. Quickly, he squeezes his muscles shut once more, but a little white trickle escapes his guts nevertheless. "Wait. I don't want to use the chamberpot just yet."

In that moment, something inside of her shifts, slots into place, her deviance meeting his--no, no, rising up to challenge his. "I am not going to let you," she hears herself saying, even as Jaffar releases her wrists, even if she is now free to move. She but rubs her wrists, watching herself from somewhere far away as she frames Jaffar's anus with her hands. Yet she is fully within her body, shivering in her perversion as her cunny squeezes again, again, again, so violently she can feel it in her lungs; she moans through her teeth. "Would you let me?"

"You're not going to--" Jaffar stares down at her, his eyes wide, then lets his head fall back upon the pillows once more. "Oh, God. You are going to."

"Yes," she laughs a little nervously as she takes one of her hands to her cunny, as she squats so that she can now ride the silver in her arse, shivering in disgusting, delicious arousal. Has he not done worse, licked her menstrual blood from her like a ghoul supping upon her life, she reasons? Because she wants this, wants it exactly because it's one of the few taboos they have not broken yet, something ordinary people would never even dream of doing. She and Jaffar may be exiles, but their pleasures, their perversions are still those of a king and his queen. "You did clean up well, did you not? And I did promise to serve you."

"Oh, God, oh, God, oh, God--" he cries, but he, too, can feel it, can feel the arousal curling, surging up her body, the way she is near climax from just a few rubs of her hand on her clitoris, how the first ripples of her orgasm rise in her hips as a few more drops of cream escape his arse. He hesitates, does not command her, unable to force himself into making her do this, even if his sack jumps against the bottom of his fist, all of him trembling from this thrill.

And it is at that that she opens her mouth wide, wide; she places her lips tightly around his anus, and with the same psychic force with which he had bound her wrists, she beckons inside of him, calling him to let go. Open for me, husband, open wide; let me drink as deep from you as you have drunk from me.

She touches the tip of her tongue to his arse, and with a soft, pained cry, he falls. Whimpering, he lets go, bursting out onto her tongue; warm, clean cream now fills her mouth to the overflowing, dribbling down the sides of her mouth. She howls back into him, into his body, gurgling a little, coughing as the cream now sprays into her mouth, her throat; she groans loudly inside of his guts, taking him with her voice as she, too, unravels upon her hand, upon the silver bulbs. She may have lost her prick, but with her voice, she now penetrates him, cleaves him open, drinking him dry; he shudders around her just as he has shuddered whenever she has been licking his cunny, his feet slipping off the bed, his knees opening and closing in spasms around her head.

With a low, guttural groan, he takes her head by the hair and crushes her face against his arse; he takes his cock in his hand but lets go of it immediately, and she knows from this he is close, so close, the ripples of her own orgasm now lapping through his body in waves.

"Get up," he snarls and tugs her up by the chain with such violence that she screams, yanking it off her nipples; lightning-strikes of pain rattle her body and she falls upon him, spasming upon him, tossing in agony. Wave upon wave of red-hot, white-hot pain crashes through her from her breasts, the white blending into the blue of his wildly flashing beast-eyes, and she does not know if she is up or down or on the bed or on the floor, oh, oh--

But now Jaffar is on top of her, his cock in her cunny to the root, and he is swearing in her face, shouting, screaming; he barks a loud, hacked "Fuck!" in her face so that again she convulses in terror, in delight. Frantic, he bites her breasts as he takes her, fucks her, tears at her hair, slaps at her face and her belly and her thighs: she sobs in aftershocks around him, howling into his mouth, all of her body burning from the blows of his love. He beats her womb, bludgeons it with his thrusts, no care left in them now, his hips obeying their own rhythm; this was exactly what she had wanted. To be so taken, to have her cunny stretched so--it's always a shock as he enters her, he always so enormous inside of her, but now the bulbs inside her rectum turn each one of his strokes into a small orgasm, peak upon peak so that she can see no more. She is perhaps coming, but she cannot tell; she but lets herself be tossed, thrown, carried away by the sea of his love-rage.

And he drinks this from her, rolling her upon the bed, groaning in embarrassment as a little wet fart of cream escapes his arse with his thrusts. But from this, she knows him to be close to the peak once more, all of his muscles trembling and spasming, his entire body vibrating taut between her legs. Thus, she takes him by the hair with both hands and sucks his tongue into her mouth, beats his back with her ankles, urging him on, wanting him entire, entire, entire. And it is with those kicks that she spurs him spiralling into climax: he moans low in his throat as he floods her cunny with sperm, floods it so that now it is she whose flesh is making noises, splashing and leaking as he keeps on slamming into her, his wet balls slapping loudly against her shaven sex.

"I thought to make you wait," he groans and rolls them onto their sides, still jerking inside of her in the last tremors of his orgasm. "I thought of making you suck me, welcome me, and then you had to do that--!" he moans, thrusting into her violently, just to make her yelp. "God! You demoness, you demoness, you demoness."

"Who says I would not welcome you with a suck?" she says and slips off him, still burning from her need: she presses him into the bed and swallows his cock into her mouth. His cock, his cock, that which she has longed for for an age; this wonderful sceptre of flesh that has brought her the greatest pleasures she has ever known. She is close to weeping from her emotion as she takes him into her mouth, as much of his length as she can. Despite his protests, she forces her head down, forces him down her throat until tears leak out of her eyes, leak down and over his sack, mixing with her fluids; he smacks her arse and thumbs the root of the toy to distract her, but she refuses to stop. She relishes him, sucking out each last drop of his sperm, of her own taste from him, shivering in delight as she realises just how thickly she has coated him, glazed him with her honey. She had forgotten what this was like, forgotten, had spent too long without this and now she wants to never leave, ever.

But it is at that that he lifts her legs and rearranges her so that she can sit on his face: he hugs her hips to himself and buries his mouth in her cunny. She screams around his cock as he so sucks at her, laps at her, taking her with his tongue; strings of thick saliva lash out from her mouth as she pulls back to drag in heavy gasps of air. "I had missed this," she keens, stroking his cock furiously in her fist, always such a marvel at how thickly he fills her hand, almost as thick as her own wrist. "Please, let us stay like this for a long while, now; please, husband, please."

"Shut up and worship me," he hisses through his teeth, trying so very hard not to laugh; he is utterly failing at trying to keep up the facade of the cruel tyrant. "Suck me, woman, like the harlot you are."

She but laughs at that, laughs; she takes his mouth with her cunny, with the same exact rolls and blows of her hips with which she had taken his mouth when she had had a prick. "I shall, master," she simpers, but before he can answer, she swallows him into her mouth once more and hums. Merciful God, but the taste of him, even after he has washed himself; the must of his glands rich and fragrant and dark as she laps at his shaft, his balls--this taste, she could never get enough of. She ignores his whimpers and devours him, strokes him until her mouth and her hands are sore, adoring the way he claws at her buttocks in his love-throes, marking her, moaning his delight into the depths of her flesh.

"We shall make love every night, now," he groans, slapping her buttocks, now working the toy in and out of her, making her ululate around his cock. "Every night, with no courtiers awaiting audiences, no blasted diplomats yammering long into the night, no banquets apart from those of our own bodies, God, Yassamin, God--" he pulls the entire toy out and spreads her buttocks, sending to her the vision of her hole gaping wide, wide; as she howls and her arse clenches shut, he tugs it open again with his thumbs and spits inside once, twice, thrice. "Get off me," he snarls, his voice thin and reedy from desire. "On all fours. Now."

She obeys, watching him over her shoulder. He is so heated, so frantic he can ease the toy inside of his own arse with but her wetness and a little more of his own spit: he kneels there, working the silver bulbs inside of himself, stroking his cock, swollen into an even greater a size than before. "I am going to bugger you back to Babylon," he laughs and kisses her. "You just watch."

"Promises, promises," she laughs and shakes her buttocks at him, stretching in front of him like a cat in heat as he spits upon his cock and advances.

But then she can speak no more as he is pushing inside of her arse, clasping her throat underneath her jaw, his fingertips upon her jugular, his cock and the pressure turning her entire flesh as white as the desert sun. She cannot breathe, for it is Jaffar who controls her breathing with his mind, now: it is as if he is crushing her lungs in his fist, stilling her entire body with his magic so that she bends over a statue, screaming out chaos in her mind. That he could so still her, so freeze her--but she loves this, she realises as she falls, she the sun dancing in his sky. She spins, spins, but then even her mind is suspended, calmed, stilled within his vastness, and within his blue she is but a point of light, shining bright, bright, bright.

His cock moves in and out of her, he moving across her like clouds, a soft breeze as he lets go of her from time to time to let her breathe: one, two, three breaths, and again his hand squeezes around her throat and her lungs are stopped. She marvels at this, marvels at the swiftness with which he gathers her up like this, condenses her like this, and soon their bodies are but one white star hanging in the twilight of this bedchamber, in the darkness of the entire earth, light suspended in the darkness of space.

But now he lets go and lets his own darkness wash over her, embracing her like blue velvet, black silk, Jaffar herself the gentle night; warmth spreads into Yassamin's limbs once more and she once again recognises her cunny as he cups it within his hand. He holds it with such tenderness, as if it were a little bird in his palm, as if he were afraid of breaking it, caressing it with such sweetness she could weep. But no, no; she is too far gone to do that: instead, it is his tears she now feels falling into the hollow of her spine.

"My Yassamin," he sobs. "Were it not for you, I--" he chokes back his tears, never ceasing in his moving inside of her, now well past her womb, laughing a little as she trickles past his fingers. "Were it not for you, I would have died a long time ago, my Yassamin. Had it not been for you, I would have remained in Baghdad, would have had my heart torn out by traitors years ago, would now be but dust upon the wind, Yassamin, dust. You are God's pardon to me, Yassamin, God's pardon, the hand of his Mercy, oh, Yassamin, the way you now hold me, carry me--"

And then he can speak no more, surging into her: perfectly in time, like vaulting acrobats she falls into him in turn, pulling him into release with her own. As he falls into her, so she rolls back into him like a wave retreats into the sea to return, return, return: his white foam crashes into her, yet she rolls, rolls, rolls, pulling him deeper into her depths, flowing around him, heavy and sweet and warm. That after such violence, their orgasm should be this calm, this sweet, this heavy, this dark, this exquisitely contented: all brightness is gone, both of them now enveloped by the other's flesh, by this sweet orange twilight, by the glow of the brazier by the bed. Incandescent like coals, incandescent like the clouds veiling the sunset, incandescent like the heat of her flesh veling his, they glide down into utter, silent satiation, warm and lax from love.

He remains inside of her for long moments as they lie spooned there in the setting sun's light, the sweat drying upon their bodies, warmed by the last rays of the sun. She smiles at him a little within her mind: that a man of fifty would remain this hard for so long! She feels proud, she tells him; honoured.

Imagine the feats of love I could've been capable of had we escaped earlier, he laughs into her mind as with a little groan, he finally slips out of her, so that he can nuzzle into her more comfortably. I am but making up for lost time, starting now, tonight. He falls into her, floats into her and through her, basking in her warmth, groaning sweetly as she pulls the bedcovers over them.

And she gives to him of her warmth, gives to him of this expansion she now feels within herself: she has never felt as free in her life, as healthy, as if her long illness had been but a little cold that had come and gone. A warm ripple goes through her, a flash of light, and for a moment, colours dance in her eyes, as if rainbows, the way little flashing dots dance in one's eyes after having stared at the sun for too long. Yet now she feels this in her belly as well, a ripple of light and colour in her hips, and then it is gone. It is the strangest thing to feel, and she wonders if she is already half-dreaming, or if this is Jaffar working some new magic inside of her.

What are you doing? Inspecting me? She murmurs to him with her mind, curling up so that they are now face to face, nose to nose, mouth to nuzzling mouth.

If it's a boy, I'm naming it. If it's a girl, you decide.

What?

Al-Fadl was what I would've named my and Fatima's son had he survived, and had Fadl not been such a bastard. So I am suspecting that that name would be unlucky; let's cross that one off the list. But how about Anwar? As in 'light?' It is a beautiful evening light we are enjoying here--

"Jaffar! Are you saying I'm pregnant?"

He blinks. "What do you call that, then? I was inside you and felt... something; a bursting light, as if a new beginning, a spark. I am told women can feel conception, and you are in your fertile days, are you not?"

She groans against his chest. "What's the world coming to when the husband's maternal instincts are better than the wife's?"

He laughs into her hair. "I might be wrong. But come, surely you must have thought of names?"

"I suppose," she murmurs. For there is indeed a strange new flush over her, greater than the one she usually feels just around this time of the month, as if she were now experiencing the fertile humours doubled. Perhaps she is with child, perhaps she is not, and only time will tell whether her body decides to carry it to term or not. But even if she feels wonderful, absolutely wonderful, the more she wants to guard this new happiness, so that it might remain uncrushed. It is far too early to celebrate; this, she knows. "Jaffar... I would like to wait for now, however. So as not to tempt fate. Ask me again in three mon--"

But Jaffar is already crawling underneath the bedcovers and kissing her belly in benediction, murmuring prayers.

"Stop it!" she yelps and kicks.

He lifts his head out, his hair a black and silver cloud around his head. "Just making sure," he says, blowing strands of hair from his mouth. "And before you say it, don't even think this means an end to the orgies."

"It had better not," she says, hugging him tight, holding him for a long while as she watches the last rays of the sun disappearing beyond the horizon, beyond the endless green forests of the Samarkandian Sogd. "And here I thought my life began anew when I married you; yet tonight I feel as if I have only just been born."

"A new beginning," he murmurs, gazing at the forests with her, his hand clasping hers over her heart. "Praise be to God."

"We should have a wash, and pray," she whispers, but she cannot keep her eyes open.

"Mmm. Don' wan' take it out. Nap first."

"It's still inside you?" she rolls her eyes. "Insatiable."

"We're two of a kind," he mumbles into her cheek. "Hush, now. Sleep." He pats her belly. "You too, Anwar."

With a resigned sigh, she pulls the bedcovers over him and bids him good night, waiting for a long while until she can be sure he is asleep. Then, quietly, she washes and prays, prays in his stead, prays for the sake of his soul and hers, the new life she may now be carrying in her womb. After the familiar recitations, whatever worries she may have had have all fallen from her shoulders; she is too tired to remember all the things she should be worrying about, and decides to lay her worries in God's hands for once. Now, she thinks she can finally sleep; she curls up next to Jaffar, nestling into his warmth.

The last thing she sees before she falls asleep is his smile, the red curve of his mouth more relaxed and beautiful than it ever has been before. For now, before her lies not a king, not a tyrant but a lover, a would-be father; tonight, she has been made wife anew, and a whole new life awaits them at dawn. She has to kiss his cheek in blessing, her heart aching from her love for him, for all that she wants to give to him, for all the joy she wants to fill their new life with, so grateful for what he has already given her.

"Good night, then, my mad husband-wife, and God keep your soul."

He creaks one eye open. Good night, my sweet Yassamin, the one through whose root and branch and blossom this wellspring escaped the confines of the earth and was lifted up into the sunlight. He captures her in a crushing embrace, an embrace exhausted, yet full of sweet tenderness. "And God keep your soul, Yassamin of Basra, now and forever; may he forever keep you bathed in his light."

"Meaning you," she murmurs and smiles, kissing his shoulder; she falls asleep in the blessed circle of his arms, the blessed green circle of the forests of Samarkand.

***

END

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