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To Zeke, the best thing about being passed between Idris and Aizen was how they’d hurt him when he asked for it.

The bad thing was how often they’d hurt him when he didn’t ask.

Sometimes, and it’s really just often enough that Zeke actually  gets used to the hot sliding shame in his mind, Zeke misses it. He misses choking on Aizen’s dick and having Idris pull his hair hard enough to yank some of it out and leave the floor covered in long black strands. He misses waking up to pain and pleasure and knowing his place without having to ask. He misses serving and wearing a collar and being told how good or bad he’s being for them.

So no matter how happy Zeke is to be away from them and certain that he’ll live to see another day, there’s a part of his mind that misses it. That misses the pain-pleasure of a good spanking and the humiliation that comes from being fucked in front of strangers that think they’re next in line to get a turn.  There’s a part of Zeke’s mind that misses the hurting and the fear and the way that they trained him to react to the slightest touch or the harshest pain.

Sasha does her best to find clients that are into that sort of kink but aren’t likely to kill him, but Zeke still feels shame that he has to ask for something like this. He feels so upset and useless that he can’t go longer than two weeks without needing to be held down and hurt until he no longer feels like jumping right out of his skin or throwing things.

Tavares doesn’t complain about him working at the brothel and that makes Zeke feel bad enough.  That he has to notice how sometimes, Zeke comes back with his back turned into a canvas for bright bruises and a dopey look on his face makes Zeke feel worse.

Tavares, with his gentle eyes and soft kisses, should be enough for him. Zeke should be happy that he has someone that knows (if not everything, just close to enough) about him and his past and wants to wake up to him in the morning anyway. He should be happy that Tavares thinks he loves him and not doing his best to figure out what to do with the few bruises that get bad enough that several days of healing leaves them as green and purple marks over his back.

Being with Tavares should be more than enough for Zeke who’s had more good than bad happen in his life over the past few years. Forgoing a hard, humiliating fuck someplace that he shouldn’t for a lover that kisses him like he wants to keep him safe

But Tavares would never hurt him and while Zeke eventually, learns better than to ask for it, there’s still this hole --

It’s the kind of hole that Zeke doesn’t even like to think about when he’s with Sasha who is the one real constant in Zeke’s sad, short life so far. Talking about it with Tavares and letting him know what he wants and how much he wants it isn’t -- it isn’t something that Zeke can do. Not without shame bubbling bitterly against the back of his throat because Zeke didn’t need it before and he shouldn’t need it now.

What Tavares gives him -- love, seemingly unconditional, tender kisses, and comfort in the form of lingering hugs -- should be enough. It would be enough for someone that was normal and Zeke can’t be normal if he has to hide what he wants from the only person mixed-up enough to want him despite how messed up he is.


When Zeke gets back to the apartment that Tavares shares with Mickey and Aries, it’s late at night and he’s in a state. He aches all over, from tingling pinpricks of pain in his scalp where he has to be missing more than a few strands of hair down to his ankles where Sasha’s teeth left perfectly shaped marks in his flesh due to a whim. Forcing himself not to limp, Zeke makes his way past the kitchen where Mickey and Aries are busy mixing something nasty in one of the bigger pots.

Tavares is on the couch. At first, it looks as though the older incubus is sleeping, but when Zeke comes closer, Tavares’ green eyes slide open and he smiles at Zeke. When Tavares sits up and pats the cushion next to him with one big brown hand, of course Zeke goes to him.

“You’re home late,” Tavares says, pulling Zeke close and rubbing at the side of his hip. “Is everything alright?”

For a moment, Zeke feels overcome by the urge to say “No” and let it all spill out. He opens his mouth with the words trembling on the tip of his tongue, but before he can speak, Mickey stumbles out of the kitchen with a streak of something purple smeared across his face. The moment shatters to pieces.

Shaking his head, Zeke says, “Y-yeah. It’s fine.”

He doesn’t look to see if Tavares believes him.