Despite the fact it's been shuttered for years, the state of the decay of the Bathford Hotel manages to surprise you.
You remember it like it was when you were young, tall and proud and forever beyond your reach. The shining feat of architecture and wealth was a crown jewel in the city's heyday, a beacon of respectability even into the early days of the war.
The storefronts, once full of designer fashions from across the world, have long since been looted. There are boards scabbing over the broken glass of the first floor of the building, the doors all blocked off. You circle around the back to where your informant said the real entrance was. The loading dock is closed up, but you have another way in.
You make tracks through the silent, dusty kitchens, rusted iron stoves bearing stoic witness to your passage. Entering the vast foyer, the grand stairs loom overhead, tattered carpets and ancient light fixtures framing the luxurious corpse of a bygone era.
“Tragic, isn't it?” Sighs a soft voice from just beneath your ear.
You do not turn. You hadn't heard her come up behind you. You're not even sure she's really there. You wait until you're certain your eyes won't betray your surprise before looking at her.
Somehow, she's plenty of feet behind you, lounging in a chaise, her long body stretched over worn velvet. She is wearing earrings that glitter down her stormy grey neck, and a sheer beaded robe. It's translucent, feathered like a moth's wing, and the patterns make your head hurt. She's not wearing anything under it.
“This hotel was once the most glamorous place in this entire rotten city. And now it's ruined, just like everything else...”
She purses her lips, elegant brow arching upwards. “...well. Maybe not everything.”
There is someone behind you again. You turn quick on your heel, but Pernicious Innovator is a tall, pale shadow at your elbow and he catches you by the wrist. He smooths his hand over your cuff.
“...leaving so s-soon, Mr. Detective?” He is not wearing a shirt, his pants slung low around his bony hips.
You wonder what you interrupted them doing.
“Oh, no,” Nefarious saunters over. “That simply won't do. You only just joined us, Mr. Detective.” She places her hand on your chest, brushing down your lapel. She folds her fingers over your heart. She smiles. Her teeth are... odd.
“Oh, y-yes,” Pernicious replies, “You must s-stay with us, Mr. Detective.” His hands are on your wrist and your waist, now, and Nefarious is touching your lips with her fingertips.
“...Diamonds.” You say, and they both smile. It's the same smile.
“Diamonds,” they agree as one.
You remember the elevator – the accordion screen of burnished metal, how it looks like a cage as it folds around you, how the small space feels like a coffin. Nefarious slides in first, smiling at you like a lioness, and Pernicious closes the door behind you. He must have operated the ancient thing, but all you remember about the ride up is how the hard angles of Nefarious' body caught the shadows from each floor as they passed.
You remember the penthouse suite they had claimed, how they had draped it in old rugs and curtains, how they had filled it with stolen statues and paintings and unsettling mannequins (presumably from the storefront down below) decked out in purloined jewelry and high end clothing.
You remember the bed, vast and crowned with a gilded canopy, the very image of the opulence for which the hotel had once been known.
You remember Nefarious as she lays back, her hands on your shoulders, yours on her waist, and the way she looks up at you, her dark eyes ancient and unfathomable. You remember Pernicious sliding his hands down your hips, back up, removing your jacket. You remember Nefarious unbuttoning your shirt.
But you don't remember which one of them bites you first.
There's a surprising little pinch of feeling, not quite pain, not quite pleasure. The quick press of teeth against your skin, the brief pierce of sensation. It aches down between your legs. You might have drawn a breath.
“Oh, Diamonds,” Nefarious whispers hot beneath your ear, “We're going to have so much fun,”
Pernicious laughs against your shoulder, and you feel with great certainty the cool tips of his teeth.
“Just relax,” Nefarious coaxes, twining her hands around you, and she and Pernicious press you down to the bed between them.
“H-handsome,” Pernicious notes, his hips pressing yours into Nefarious'. He undoes your cufflinks with great care, sliding them into your coat pocket. He watches you watch him. His lips tilt up into a smile. “Don't w-worry, Diamonds... we'll take c-care of you.”
“We'll make you feel so good,” Nefarious adds, her voice catching, and you can't help but look back down at her. There is a violet hue in her eyes you hadn't noticed before.
“You s-smell so good...” Pernicious murmurs against your neck, and that purple tint to Nefarious' eyes flashes. She smiles, licking her lips, and you realize that is not lipstick painting them. Blood smudges in the corner of her mouth.
“Bite him.” Nefarious says, simple as oh, what a lovely day, or thanks for taking out the trash, and before you can reply, Pernicious buries his teeth in your throat. Heat lances down your body, your world gone still with shock. His hands hold you tightly in place against him. Your head presses back into his shoulder, your vision swimming as sensation pours molten-hot down your spine.
“Oh, Diamonds,” Nefarious whispers, but you don't hear it so much as you feel it. “We are going to wreck you.”
Pernicious rolls his hips in a spasmodic twitch, and then another set of hands is unbuckling your belt. It must be Nefarious. You know that it is. But Pernicious bites you again, and it fills your head with light, and pressure, and an electrifying haze. You feels as though plasma is pulsing inside your skull, ready to crack you open and pour down your body.
Lips touch to your cock, almost soft enough to be a kiss. You glance down in time to see Nefarious take you in her mouth to the hilt. You groan, and she laughs around you.
Pernicious cradles your head with his hand, the other down on your waist to keep you steady. What had started out as a bite deepens into something else, and you jerk your head back up involuntarily.
“Good boy,” Pernicious growls in your ear, and you snarl, baring your teeth. He grips his hand in your hair, a giggle tumbling out of his mouth. “W-would you prefer to be bad, Diamonds?” You want to rip out his condescending tongue. And then fuck his mouth.
“Shut the fuck up and bite me again,” You hiss.
They stop what they're doing and glance at each other.
Then, Nefarious is stripping you of your pants, Pernicious what remains of your shirt, and they push you further into the bed.
Pernicious' hands grip your legs, spreading them wide and leaning down over you, and when he grins you can see the blood on his teeth.
“With pleasure.” He bites into your thigh. His teeth sear your skin, the pain bright behind your eyes. The ache burns into a pulsing low pressure. You can hear the obscene sound of him drinking from the wound. The sound is in your head.
Nefarious places her hands on your chest. Her earrings catch the low light, her eyes glinting.
“I want you to fuck me, Diamonds,” She takes your hands, placing them on her breasts, guiding your thumbs against her nipples. She rubs the plush wetness of herself against your cock. Your throat has never felt so dry. They must have been fucking before you came, because she is already...
Straddling your waist, Nefarious rolls her hips, shifting to take you into herself in a single, dizzying motion, without ever removing her hands from your chest. You arc upwards, hips shuddering into her. “Ahh...!” She is greedy for everything you have, clenching around you so tight your head spins.
Pernicious digs his fingers in your thighs, lifting you up, and then he's dragging you down into his lap, Nefarious laughing between the two of you. He must be monstrously strong, you think, although it's a distant little thought. Almost giddy, as if the air were thinning. You feel drunk.
It might be the blood loss.
Nefarious is kissing the line of Pernicious' jaw, flashes of her white teeth glinting against the dark red of her lips. Pernicious has his hands on you, his head tilted up to let Nefarious do as she wills, but his eyes are locked down on you.
You are not the kind of man to feel fear. It is simply not in you. But you feel... something. A thrilling new something, in a place of yourself you didn't know existed. You accept this newfound aspect to yourself with an unflappable calm.
So, you want them to rip you apart. What else is new?
Pernicious' lips tighten over his teeth in a parody of a smile, the violet gleam of his eyes brightening. “D-diamonds...” He whispers, and Nefarious mirrors his look at you, her hand on his cheek and her nose brushing his throat. She presses her back against his chest, leveraging herself to roll her hips. She's so warm. You can feel your skin prickling with cold, everywhere she isn't touching you.
She drags her tongue up Pernicious' throat. She nips him, giggling, and it must have been harder than it appeared, because he's bleeding. But it's black, and thick. More like ink than blood.
Nefarious coats her lips with it, but Pernicious doesn't seem to mind. He's panting, gripping you tighter, and you can see the tips of his sharp, white teeth. He's drowning in air, mouthing at it, lips cracked and dry with thirst. His fingers are digging into you.
Nefarious kisses you. Her tongue is slick with Pernicious' blood.
You've tasted blood before (yours and otherwise), but you've never tasted anything like this. If you were trying to describe it like alcohol, you'd say it was dry, coppery, with notes of rock and salt, and flowers on the nose.
If you were trying to describe it like a dangerous man making love to monsters, you'd say it tasted like fun.
“Oh, Diamonds,” Nefarious whispers, her mouth forming words on your lips, “You look good enough to eat.”
“Nefarious,” You reply, voice catching, “Talk is cheap.”
She grins, bright as the moon. “You're delightful. I think we'll keep you. Don't you agree, Pernicious?” She settles back against his chest, staring at you like a work of art.
“Of c-course,” Pernicious replies. His hands haven't let up. He's going to leave bruises.
Nefarious leans forward again, pressing her hands over your shoulders, down your back. “Then it's settled.” You see her teeth in a smile one more time, and then they're claiming your throat. She pushes you down, claiming you, and you don't even feel Pernicious leave the pair of you. You're too distracted by the hot pressure of her fangs inside you, and the velvet tightness around you.
When he does come back, his fingers are cold and slick and you groan as he slips one in. Then another. It's never been so easy, before. You hear Pernicious make a curious little sound, and then you're certain that's not his hand fucking you. You are so full, and it's happening so fast, and you love it. You grit your teeth and let yourself laugh, because it feels so right. Mania grips your spine. You're shaking, and Pernicious is curved over Nefarious like an animal, his heat slapping into you over and over again.
With a roll of your hips upwards you snarl at him, at her, and yourself, and Nefarious' teeth jolt deeper. You think you surprised her. Nefarious pushes you deep into the bed, her hips grinding down on yours. Her hair is a messy white halo around her head, her eyes just rings of purple swimming in a deep black sea. She licks your blood off her lips and her teeth are much larger than you remember.
Behind her, Pernicious rolls his hips, sending a deep ache up your spine. You're spread as wide as you can be around him. You raise your hands to press tightly against your eyes. You grit your teeth. Somehow, he presses deeper. You might even sob a little, he's so deep inside. You catch a glimpse of him over her shoulder and his eyes are so dark they burn. He snarls at you – thrusts again – and you are undone.
Then Nefarious traces a long, red nail against her clavicle. Black wells up at the line on her skin, beading inky and thick, more like paint than blood. You are limp in her arms, in his, maybe, too, and you are pressed against flesh cold as a marble tomb. Sweat slips down your spine like icicles plunging towards the ground. You feel like you're on fire. It's impossible for you to keep track of what's happening. Hands are pressing all over you, within you, gripping your heart and your lungs. There is a fever in your body about to break.
It pours down your throat. You're drinking fire.
You're not sure when you lose consciousness.
You're aware of yourself in one moment, and then the next happens. But something's changed. You're not where you last remember yourself. There's a disconnect in your internal chronology.
The ceiling looks like marble, but a crack in the peeling paint shows drywall underneath.
You look down. There are a pair of legs stretched out in front of you, tinted a very odd pale grey. You watch closely and focus on the big toe. It twitches. That's your toe, on your foot.
Sticking out of a bathtub packed with ice.
You stretch and the ice cubes shift around you, making a pleasant clacking sound as they grind together. The bathroom is unfamiliar to you, but the décor is not entirely alien. It's old, elegant, and decomposing. You're still in the hotel.
You hear a door slam open.
“What the hell did you do to him?” Peccant Scofflaw shouts on the other side of the door, down a hall, then through another door. He's several rooms away, but you can hear him as clearly as if he were yelling right in your ear.
“To whom?” Nefarious asks. There's a television on in the same room she's in. There's a rat scuffling in the wall several floors down. Pigeons nesting in the watertower above. You can hear the groan of the building as it settles, cars rumbling in the city below.
A hand touches your chest.
You heard everything but Pernicious sitting in a chair right next to you. He smiles, and you can see that his hair isn't white. It's iridescent. A rainbow of hues slides over his hair follicles in the dimmed light of the bathroom, settling like stardust. He raises a hand to his lips. He doesn't make a sound, but he doesn't need to. He is deathly quiet.
“Don't give me that shit, Bawd. I know you're involved. You or Inny, one of you sick fucks. You've been eyeing him for ages, and now you went and did it.”
“Did what, Scoff?” Nefarious yawns, and you can imagine it. Her, stretched out across the bed, the very picture of decadent malaise. Him, positively glowering with indignation. But why? “You'll have to be more specific. Inny and I eye a lot of people.”
“Droog!” Scofflaw sputters, “Diamonds Fucking Droog! Slick's been up my ass trying to find him-”
“Hmm. I'd like to see that.” She murmurs.
“You goddamn know what I mean!”
Her voice lifts, as if she were standing up. “Do I, Scoff? You're making a great deal of assumptions, and you know how I despise things going unsaid. So tell me what you think we've done. Spell it out for me.”
“Am I the boss of this coven, or ain't I?”
“You am.” She hisses, her smile audible through her teeth.
There's a sound of flesh on flesh. Pernicious' nostrils flare. His eyes are wide, his irises black pinpricks. His hand is splayed over your chest. You hadn't noticed his nails being quite as sharp as they are now when he was fucking you, and you definitely would have. Now his fingers look like claws.
There's a moment of silence.
Then, “Got another one in you, tough guy?” Nefarious' voice is a hot, low swing of brandy, swirling golden in a glass.
Scoff snorts at her. “Maybe later. I'm looking for Slick's man. Did you or your psycho boy-toy put him somewhere? If he's in pieces, I'm going to find out eventually, and I will be pissed.”
“He's in one piece.” Nefarious turns away from him, the sigh of fabric audible to you as she puts on a robe. “And we didn't do anything to him that he didn't like.”
There's another moment of silence.
If the last was heated, this one is deadly cold.
“...god damn it, Nefarious.”
“Exactly,” She chimes, all sunshine.
“Where is he?”
“You can't see him,” She replies, and you hear her hair rustle as she tosses her head. “He isn't ready yet.”
“He's in here, isn't he?”
A door opens.
“...that's a closet, Scoff.”
A door slams shut.
“I know he's in here! You wouldn't let him go far. I bet Inny's with him right now. I even bet they're listening right now!” Scoff calls, voice raising, “Hey, Inny! Get your ass out here so I can kick it!”
“Relax, Scoff, you'll get to see him, I promise!” She's patting him on the shoulders. Or maybe his butt. You can't tell from here. “...you'll like it. Don't act like you weren't planning on turning the Crew, eventually. We just... sped things up, a little.”
“I hate people messing with my plans, Bawd, and you know it.”
“Yeahhh, but we love messing with your plans. Plus, he'll be great leverage against Slick once it's time.”
You don't look at Pernicious. You don't have to. You can tell he's looking at you.
“...yeah, I know. But it's still my plan!” Scoff retorts.
“Of course it is!” Nefarious soothes him, “We're just doing our part a little early.”
Pernicious studies your face, which you know is completely neutral. You have had many years of practice looking as though your own ambition is nonexistent. As if you were a perfect piece to put into any plan. You're going to need that skill, in the nights ahead. The expanded senses you've gained are only opening your eyes to the complex world around you.
“Fine. Don't show him to me. I'll stall on Slick. But! Diamonds Droog better get in line, I swear to God, and if he doesn't, I'm blaming you.”
“Of course,” Nefarious hums.
“I'm STILL the boss around here!”
Yes, you think to yourself, Pernicious Innovator's hand on your chest.
But not for long.