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Should I speak of love? (I want him so, I love him so)

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"The rhythm of my footsteps crossing flatlands to your door have been silenced forever more; the distance is quite simply much too far for me to row, it seems further than ever before, oh no, I need you so much closer."

- Transatlanticism, Death Cab For Cutie

***

The pub smells of weed and cheap whiskey. The combination of the two creates an acre scent that burns the inside of his nose down to his throat and lungs. It's so bad he takes into consideration the idea of leaving, but as he remembers why he's in this rat hole, he forces his body to relax and slides further into his seat.

It was a friend's suggestion. Frankenstein had been vague about his circumstances, but the man nodded deeply as he understood what he was going through and slipped him a piece of paper with the name of the pub. "The best way to forget is through a flask or two warm legs" it's what his friend had said, and now Frankenstein is there, ready to drink himself into oblivion.

It's not like he hasn't tried forgetting. God knows how hard he has tried, how deeply he longs to wake up one morning with no recollection of his past - of the past that hurts him the most. But it's been harder than this, Frankenstein remembers, bitterly smiling at his reflection in the murky liquor. The first years spent searching were unbearable: his face was everywhere, from the paintings hanging on palaces' walls to the lively people chatting in front of market stalls, to the faces of the victims of senseless wars, to priests, beggars, even famished kids and Arabian princes. He'd been on the verge of insanity for centuries, his name constantly on his lips wherever he turned, wherever he ran, wherever he escaped. A ghost that had no intention to let him go. And he kept searching.

It feels better now, after almost eight centuries. The memories of his days spent inside a manor too big for two people, let alone for one, are not as haunting as they used to be, but they're still there. As much as Frankenstein wishes, desires to be relieved of this burden, he knows all too well he can't allow that to happen: forgetting is not an option - if he forgets, there is no one left searching. If he stops searching, then he's as good as dead.

But even if he had, indeed, forgotten, the sight appearing in front of his drunk dishevelled self would be enough to bring all his memories to surface once again.

«Master—» he chokes, throat tightened in a way that makes the simple act of breathing painful.

The black-haired man turns with a coy, dirty expression, slowly licking his plump lips. His hips sway in a suggestive way as he walks toward Frankenstein, straddling his legs and pulling his chin closer with a finger.

A prostitute. He mistook a prostitute for his Master – God, if this isn't enough to say how deeply distressed he his, nothing will ever be. He is not Cadis Etrama di Raizel, but their physical appearance is so similar it's unsettling: they are of the same stature, same build, their hair is exactly of the same shade. Only a mole at the corner of his lips and his lustrous green eyes betray his identity if he doesn't take his behavior into account.

Frankenstein is momentarily distracted from his self-deprecation by the pressing of the prostitute's body on his lap, the slow grinding, his captivating scent.

«You are not my Master,» Frankenstein stutters as the prostitute licks the corner of his lips. It feels all wrong. This man is not who he wants and desires, if yet so similar; he's not Cadis Etrama di Raizel. And his thoughts – shameful, lustful thoughts that make his skin itch, his body shiver in pleasure, the long nights spent pleasuring himself thinking about his pale skin under his sinful hands, mouth, body – those thoughts are wrong.

«I can be anyone, for you,» is what is purred in return for his observation, coated in hot, moist breath and followed by lips closing on the shell of his ear.

Frankenstein closes his eyes and breaths in the scent of the man wrapped around his body. Can his Master feel it, the unpent desire mounting and burning in the pitch of his stomach as the prostitute swirls locks of his blond hair between his practiced fingers? Can he sense the arousal through his bond, does he wonder what is happening?

Part of him hopes he doesn't. How shameful would it be if his dearest, innocent Master could feel his carnal desires in this moment and how they all have his name! And his feelings, all his carefully hidden feelings he personally locked away in imaginary safes buried under years of controlled expressions – how embarrassing would it be if his Master could finally see them all, access the remotest parts of his mind and soul, read him like his favorite book!

But another part of him, one he has never known was in his possession, hopes he does. Part of him wants his Master to feel every minute, every second of the sexual intercourse and maybe, just maybe, feel his possession of Frankenstein waver. He wants Cadis Etrama di Raizel to hear the moans and grunts and screams, to smell the scent of sex, to feel on his skin every scratch and bite and suck. He wants him to feel deprived of his own belonging. Frankenstein is supposed to be his – body and soul, although his Master would have stiffened if he only mentioned being his possession, because Frankenstein, in his Master's kindness, was his own person – and now he's going to belong, though for a brief moment, to someone else. He wants the prostitute to fuck his mind out and hopes his Master will feel it, maybe be hurt by it.

But this thought also makes him nauseous. It's wrong; Cadis Etrama di Raizel has never made him feel less than what he is, never humiliated, never a monster, always ready to let him go on his own when, if the time had come. It never came. Every moment spent together has its place in Frankenstein's heart – it's the highest form of regard Frankenstein knows. He doesn't want to hurt him – his Master doesn't deserve such a cruel treatment.

His mouth clashes on the prostitute's – it's all teeth and tongue, ferocious, hot and wet. It lasts enough to make Frankenstein feel exhilarated by the lack of oxygen and only then, only when his head feels dizzy, he accepts to part. He follows the prostitute into a room to resume the action being devoured, stripped of every piece of sanity from his mind.

He abandons himself to the most primitive of pleasure. The man bites at, licks at, scratches every inch of his skin, tugs on every hair on his head, does and undoes him over and over again and Frankenstein is unbelievably pliant for someone who swore to never be pushed around by others again. With his eyes closed it's easy to pretend the succubus he's laying with now is his Master, too easy, and it serves to tear him apart in the innermost parts of him as the prostitute has his way with him against the door, the wall, half on the floor and then the bed, top, bottom, his hands everywhere, his mouth, Master, nails digging half-moons in his skin, sweat, moans, teeth against teeth, tongues, Master, here, sheets tangled around their bodies, the scent, there, hot, there, there, hot, God, Raizel—

The light pouring from the single window traces figures on their naked bodies. The prostitute's eyes shine, those emeralds, and Frankenstein feels sick all over again. He's so fucked up.

The prostitute redresses, winking and smirking at him as his pale, moist face glints under the dim lights. Frankenstein does not move nor return those gestures; boneless, he lays over the messy, dirty sheets and spaces out looking at the ceiling. The sex burns. It burns his skin where the prostitute has scratched or bitten too hard, burns his twisting insides, but mostly burns his soul like it's a wood on summer. Regret is gall-bitter, tastes like the herbal medicine he was served as a child – so bitter that he's tearing up, ashamed, nauseated. He can't allow himself to cry. He doesn't deserve to, either. He wanted this – the casual sex, the man resembling his Master, the regret.

«Hit me up whenever, hun. I had fun,» the prostitute says, playfully kissing his lips before rushing outside.

Frankenstein realizes he's never asked for his name – he didn't need to know. After all, he was but a mediocre replacement for something, someone he could never obtain. His name was not important.

***

His Master curiously watches outside the big window in Frankenstein's loft, captivated by the amount of bright multicolored lights in Seoul. In his hand, elegantly held with his pinky finger outstretched like he's always done, a refined porcelain teacup filled with honey-colored classic brew tea. He stands, beautiful and slim, with his back turned to Frankenstein, who smiles bitterly: just like in the past.

Then he clears his throat: «Are you comfortable with the current setting, Master?»

His Master nods slowly, features extremely serious as his gaze fixates on the blinking light of the radio station. Time doesn't really change much, does it?

«May I be of any service?» he further inquires, hardly concealing his eagerness to be of help, to finally serve again. But his Master shakes his head, and Frankenstein finds himself anxiously staring at his feet, hands fidgeting behind his back, hoping he'll be finally asked to do something, whatever it is.

«Frankenstein.»

His head jolts up, electrocuted by the sound of his own name escaping his Master's lips. He stutters out a questioning 'Yes?' straightening his back and waiting for orders like a good soldier.

Cadis Etrama di Raizel stares with an undecipherable expression, head slightly cocked to a side, thoughtful. Frankenstein is hyper-aware he's sweating cold, apparently for no reason.

«You have questions.»

His Master accommodates on the couch, straight and composed, legs smoothly crossed as to not crease his clothes, and waits. Frankenstein mirrors his movements, sitting across him, legs weak and trembling. Of course he has questions. So many, so terrifyingly many questions.

«Uhm,» his thumbs roll around and against each other in an attempt to ease his discomfort, and he bends forward, elbows resting on his knees. Cadis Etrama di Raizel patiently watches, silent, eyes unwavering.

«How did it feel, being asleep for so long?»

His Master slightly furrows his eyebrows and Frankenstein is quick to retreat the question.

«I'm sorry Master, this is obviously none of my business, I don't want to trouble you with unnecessary questions about—»

Cadis Etrama di Raizel furrows his brows deeper and it's the cue to shut up and give his Master the time he needs.

«There is no need for apologies, Frankenstein,» he declares. Then, quieter, he adds: «Your curiosity has not once troubled me, and it will not trouble me now. I was merely trying to understand the meaning of your question.»

«...Oh,» he scratches his neck, embarrassed. «Of course,» he cringes at the awkwardness of his own smile. God, this is unbefitting.

He regains some of his lost composure and rephrases his question: «Were you, perhaps, aware of the world? As in, could you perceive with your senses what was happening around you?»

His Master appears in deep thought, then shakes his head.

«My consciousness while I was asleep existed in a dimension different from this,» he calmly explains. «I was where Soul Weapons await summoning.»

«Could you feel me through the bond?» he asks, hands now torturing the fabric of his black trousers, after what has felt an eternity of silence. «Could you still... still feel my soul?»

Cadis Etrama di Raizel rests his intertwined hands on his knee. Frankenstein waits, and waits, and waits. Somewhere inside he feels like he doesn't really want to discover whether his Master could feel him or not. If he couldn't, it would be most sad for the both of them, completely alone in their hardest times; if he could, then he knows everything about Frankenstein's sordid, shameful feelings for him.

«No,» his Master finally answers, sipping the last drops of his tea before it grows too cold, and thus no longer of his taste. «It is not possible to call through a bond during slumber.»

Frankenstein is aware of it. He's studied all about Nobles' functions – except for the bond because he didn't quite get it right at first. «My question was different. I asked if you could feel me, not call for me. Thank you for refreshing my memory on the matter, Master: it was most appreciated.»

His Master's cheeks tinge with a faint blush from his unwilling mistake. It's a blade piercing through Frankenstein's body.

«No. Sadly, my bond with you was momentarily numbed. I could not perceive your existence, nor your soul.»

The part of him that did not want Cadis Etrama di Raizel to know rejoices, victorious. At least all his disgusting, dirty thoughts and actions are still just his. He must be careful not to slip from now on.

 

***

The fight against the Union and their latest killing machine is over. Wounded, exhausted, and aware that this was not the end, they all return home to recover. M-21 and Takeo have sustained major injuries by fighting outnumbered in open field, whereas Tao might be the only one in the household without a single scratch. He was, after all, too busy hacking the safety system to take part in the assault. Regis and Seira received minor damages despite fighting the longest, but Frankenstein is unsurprised: they are pure-blood Nobles both possessing their Clan's Soul Weapon, thus stronger and more resistant than their enhanced-humans companions. Surprisingly instead, his Master also sustained mild injuries. Of course, this has to do with the fact that Frankenstein singlehandedly decided to handle alone whatever the Union decided to shove in their ways, engaging into combat as soon as enemies appeared, before Cadis Etrama di Raizel could step forward and reduce his lifespan again. The only wound on his body – a grave overlook on Frankenstein's part – is a superficial slash on his back, caused by a pathetic, yet initially successful, attempt to catch the group off-guard. Frankenstein had later made sure the attacker could never pull stunts like that one ever again and felt satisfaction when he witnessed Dark Spear devour his body whole.

The plan worked just fine, but obviously, the enormous amount of enemies Frankenstein entertained by himself hadn't let him out unscathed. In fact, Frankenstein has to admit that not once in his long life he had been so close to surrender his body and soul to Dark Spear.

There's plenty of things that need to be done, like the many food-tasting sessions to prepare the ultimate ramyeon, or the analysis of M-21's development and adaptations to his werewolf side, or the data intercepted by Tao. He had tried his hardest to assure everyone he was fine enough to return to his tasks, only to be proven wrong by a painful hole as large as a golf ball in his side. His attempts to persist with his statements were, finally, brought to an end by the combination of deep concern and exasperation behind his Master's frown.

His stomach churns when he's lead to his Master's room. Cadis Etrama di Raizel stares, feeling the sudden uneasiness, and then glances to his bed.

«Rest,» it's awkwardly gentle, but it's an order, Frankenstein knows it. The scent of the room is suffocating, and he feels like choking.

«I don't understand,» he controls his voice and breath to sound collected, but his insides are turning upside down every time he inhales. The wound burns on his side: he does not show the pain.

Cadis Etrama di Raizel slightly scowls as he glances to the wound. «You must take care of yourself,» he murmurs, and Frankenstein is gently pushed toward the bed. The nausea is so strong he fears he'll throw up on the linen sheets. He can't stay here.

«I promise I will, in my quarters—» but he's cut short as his Master places a hand on his chest, tentative – has Cadis Etrama di Raizel ever touched him? Frankenstein can't remember – and helps his head to the pillow. There is no way out, and Frankenstein feels like he's been standing on a carousel for hours, spinning and spinning and spinning...

«I will watch over your recovery, Frankenstein. Rest, now.»

But it feels so bad. The pillow, the sheets, the whole room has his Master's soft scent and Frankenstein's senses are overwhelmed. His mind plays dirty tricks on him by digging up desires, scenarios long repressed to keep himself sane, and enriches them with the newfound scent – their tangled bodies on the sheets, the sweet lovemaking, the blissful feeling of completeness. The picture of a quiet morning, their hands intertwined on the pillow, how nice it feels to share those intimate moments with someone as trusting and pure as Cadis Etrama di Raizel, followed by the realization that it will never happen. It brings tears to his eyes.

His Master closes on him – he's worried, so worried, and Frankenstein, too, is worried, but for a completely different thing. He can feel his Master's concern flow through the bond and it only makes things worse.

Frankenstein.

Frankenstein casts those thoughts away before Cadis Etrama di Raizel explores the bond too carefully. His treacherous mind has different plans: as his Master reaches the side of the bed where Frankenstein lays, the vivid memory of that night with the prostitute that looked like him resurfaces.

When Frankenstein throws up, it's with the memory of the prostitute fucking him as he chanted his Master's name like a mantra.

«Frankenstein.»

A soothing hand rubs circles on his back as he gags on air and saliva. Frankenstein feels humiliated to the extreme. It worsens when his Master – kind, lovely, perfect Master – uses a damp towel to clean him up, taking care of him in the most intimate way.

He's almost thankful when Cadis Etrama di Raizel spends just a sprinkle of his powers to force him asleep.

 

***

It's two past midnight and no one's at home when he leaves the room – Master's room – to retrieve a glass of water. Barefoot, Frankenstein slowly walks to the kitchen and his eyes fall on the coffee machine with longing. His mouth waters at the thought of a black coffee, but he's aware it wouldn't be a wise choice given how sensitive he's been in the last days. Water feels refreshing in his throat, relieving some of his pain and clearing the fog in his head.

But he was wrong, he's not really alone: with the corner of his eyes he spots light coming from the living room and approaches it, careful and quiet until he can feel it's his Master.

And here he is, sitting straight and composed on the couch, looking in his direction with an undecipherable expression. Frankenstein gulps, water threatening to spill on his clothes and floor because his hands are shaking so much it's embarrassing, but he steps forward.

«Good evening,» he greets. Cadis Etrama di Raizel acknowledges him with a nod. Frankenstein glances around: «where is everyone?» he asks, and then more worried adds: «did the Union strike again?»

But the atmosphere is peaceful, and when the Union attacks it's never like this, so he calms down. There must be another reason – a party with the human kids? Some sort of event at school that needed the Trio away from home? – and, from the way his Master acts, it's clear he knows.

«I asked them to leave,» it's the unexpected answer. Frankenstein doesn't get the reason, but more than everything, the truth is so shocking he's sure he's still dreaming. His Master shifts into his seat: «They won't be home until morning. I want you to be at ease,» his eyes glance briefly to the seat next to his and Frankenstein, uncertain of everything except "I don't want to be here", obeys. His throat feels dry again.

«You are distressed,» it's how their private conversation starts. Frankenstein is already dreading for whatever comes after – it feels like sitting on the edge of a cliff, blindfolded and swayed by the winds: he's going to fall, and it will hurt.

«And you won't tell me why,» his face darkens almost imperceptibly, then softens: «You are my bonded. I do not want you to be unhappy.» Frankenstein feels so, so guilty, stung by the honesty and innocence in his Master's preoccupation.

Eons of silence go by; a desert of words left unsaid, and Frankenstein has already decided it's where he'll stay forever. He cherishes and loves his Master too much to burden him with his troubles, and he is also aware that his loving Master would amuse his desires if he thought it would make Frankenstein happy, and Frankenstein can't let him.

He doesn't reach for him through the bond to know what his Master is thinking, and that turns out to be the worst decision because, had he done that, he would have been prepared for Cadis Etrama di Raizel's soft continuation.

«I am aware to be the cause of your anguish.»

He freezes. His Master does not move nor speak, the angles of his mouth slightly curled downwards.

It comes out strangled, his opposition to the statement. «That's not—» he starts, and then tenses, looking down to the floor in shame.

Cadis Etrama di Raizel speaks again, softer: «Through our bond, I have felt several times feelings I assume you had wanted to keep from me. As such, I had not inquired; however...»

Frankenstein knows. He must have slipped during his breakdown, when he felt vulnerable and not in control. No matter how much his Master might have tried to stay out of his mind: in such a deranged state, Frankenstein's hidden feelings and thoughts must have poured out like a waterfall.

He's glad his Master isn't voicing what he's seen or felt because Frankenstein can't stand to listen his inner, most intimate emotions laid bare before his eyes by the most important person he has ever had in his life. The thought of it is enough to wish for immediate death.

«Forgive me, Master. It appears that my carelessness has caused you trouble,» he mutters, sighing, «I will pay more attention so that you won't be disturbed by my human emotionality—»

«I apologize for not noticing how troubled you have been,» Cadis Etrama di Raizel interrupts, speaking softly and bowing his head. Frankenstein's heart is stung by thousands of needles at the sight: it's all wrong because if it's anyone's fault, it's Frankenstein's. His Master – pure-hearted, generous Master – is not to blame. «If there is a way to relieve you of this pain, I will pursue it.»

But it's not just pain; it's a confused cluster of desire, heart-wrenching love, and devotion, all thread with the awareness of how those feelings, belonging to such an unholy human being as he is, should not even exist around his Master. They are understandable because Cadis Etrama di Raizel is who he is, but no sane person would ever deem them worthy of his attention. Cadis Etrama di Raizel is supposed to be adored from afar like a God, revered with the highest regards and respect. An existence you can desire but it is to never be obtained.

«You can't.»

His Master frowns. Frankenstein inhales sharply, ready to end the conversation: «This is a matter only I can solve. As you know the nature of my feelings I won't lie about them; however, as these feelings of mine are inappropriate, I will make sure to not let them hinder my work or my position,» he is aware of the subtle changes in his Master's expression, but goes on, «that said, Master, I am pleased to know that, despite the inconvenience, you were still willing to help me.»

«There is a way for me to help, but you keep it from me,» Cadis Etrama di Raizel's eyes are narrow as they look at him.

«Because it would not be a wise path.»

«Do you think me incapable of making decisions?» he asks, with curiosity rather than irritation. Frankenstein wonders if he has managed to, unwillingly, insult the man in front of him.

«That is not what I meant,» Frankenstein's headache worsens; he rubs his fingers on his temples to soothe the pain, but it does not seem to work.

«Then explain yourself,» again, despite the passive-aggressive looking words, his Master only seems sincerely interested.

«It's just—» how is he supposed to explain it in a way that does not sound insulting? His brain scrambles to find the most fitting and adequate words, but nothing seems good enough. «I do appreciate the offer, but it is not something you can do out of sheer obligation. That won't help me feel better – it will, but only on a certain level. Only for a brief moment. Then I'll just be even more miserable. But above everything else, I can't ask that of you. I know you would engage with me on that path, but it would be wrong

«Why would it be wrong? Whatever you ask of me, if it's in my power to give, you shall receive. And that,» Frankenstein can't believe his Master is really talking about sex and physical contact, «is in my power.»

«But you would do it because you feel like you have to, not because you want to. You have seen my feelings for you, you know what they entail; I can't accept your suggestion with things as they are.»

Cadis Etrama di Raizel allows him to finish and catch his breath. Then, as softly and sweetly as possible, he looks into his eyes and states: «You love me.»

«Yes,» saying anything else is unnecessary because his Master has seen, and his Master understands. Further words are unneeded, his soul has spoken loud enough.

«You never told me.»

«And I would have kept it a secret until my dying breath, but I guess that isn't possible anymore,» he answers bitterly, leaning his body, limp from exertion, against the back of his seat.

«Why?»

«Simply standing by your side was enough to make me feel fulfilled. Asking, hoping for more would have been silly; expecting you to require my feelings, wishful thinking.»

«Why?» his Master insists, and Frankenstein is tired. He already knows everything – he's seen it through the bond – so why does he keep asking? Perhaps he thinks that talking about it will somehow ease some of his anguish, but Frankenstein isn't sure it will work. He has nearly two thousand years of unrequited, secret and strong feelings that want to burst out now that he and Cadis Etrama di Raizel have been reunited, and they've settled so deep inside him that, to eradicate them, he would have to directly rip his heart off his chest and throw it in the fire.

Cadis Etrama di Raizel stands from his seat so suddenly that Frankenstein flinches; he closes in with slow, controlled strides until they're face to face. «Frankenstein,» he says after a long time. Frankenstein feels impossibly small under the towering, powerful presence of the Noblesse, and unconsciously tries to put more space between their bodies by leaning flat against the back of his seat. His Master's red eyes glinting in the dim lights put shackles all over his body, paralyzing. «Easing your burden is not something I would offer to do out of obligation. Were it not you, I would not try as hard as I am – you underestimate my affection for you.»

«Master—»

«Allow me to show you.»

Frankenstein's mind goes blank. In an attempt to clear up what is clearly being misunderstood – he can not pinpoint what, exactly – his Master opens their bond and allows his feelings to flow freely to him.

It's the most intense experience in two thousand years of life. Intense, but mostly confusing, because Frankenstein realizes he did, in fact, assume his Master's feelings for far more time than he'd thought. How could he miss all those warm, gentle things he's being shown? How could he, in all those years, fail to notice something this powerful? Was he really blinded by his own self-deprecation that he could not see the signs?

He rushes to his feet, glasses knocked off the table when his leg clashes against the wood. He's eye to eye with his Master, blood drained from his face and heart hammering in his head like a jackhammer.

«Is it the truth?» he asks, fully aware of how needless the question is when he's had the truth shown so clearly not even a minute before; still, his human nature seeks for confirmation and reassurance. And his Master concedes him that, because his Master will truly give everything he has the power to give.

Cadis Etrama di Raizel tentatively reaches out with a hand: «Deceiving you is not my intention, Frankenstein. It never was. Had I noticed before and had you not been exceedingly good and scrupulous at hiding your feelings, we would have had this conversation centuries ago. I regret not having listened better to your heart.»

Their bodies grow closer. A deafening shrill pierces inside Frankenstein's ears.

«I have neglected you and caused you pain,» he goes on. Frankenstein shakes his head. Their eyes meet, faces separated by the distance of a whisper. «I am sorry.»

He takes the offered hand, eyes scanning his Master's face – from up close, he can see small, faint freckles on his nose and cheeks.

«You have to tell me,» he starts, mouth dry and ragged breath, «you have to tell me you're sure.»

«I am sure.»

Frankenstein corners his Master to the couch, never breaking eye contact. He swallows visibly and grips both his Master's hands in his.

«Tell me.» He doesn't say what, but he's sure Cadis Etrama di Raizel knows.

«I desire to be with you,» it's what he gets in response. He leans in in a rush, but a hand on his chest stops him mid-track. With his eyes, he questions the reason behind the gesture.

«I trust you,» his Master only says, removing the hand from the clean fabric of Frankenstein's shirt.

The space between them ceases to exist.

 

***

 

As soon as their lips touch, Frankenstein wants more. The contact has helped opening the bond to its fullest and he's overwhelmed, emotions and feelings he can't claim as his or Raizel's swirling frantically inside him, electric like the spark ignited behind his shut-closed eyelids the second he processed they were kissing.

Kissing his Master - Raizel - is everything he ever expected and more.

He presses harder into the contact and Raizel welcomes it with a shift of his body, slightly angling his head in a more comfortable position and sliding his hand from Frankenstein's side to the back of his head, treading his fingers into Frankenstein's hair to pull him closer, closer, closer than Frankenstein had ever deemed, dreamed possible. They will never be as close as they are now, and the thought flips all of Frankenstein's internal switches, even the one that loudly chants "danger!", promptly ignored for the sake of indulging and prolonging the contact before Raizel, sighing, ends it almost regretfully.

Their foreheads touch. Frankenstein's hands have migrated to Raizel's waist and shoulder blade, clutching at the fabric and the skin beneath with exhilarated desperation. They gaze at each other for interminable minutes, breathing the wet of each other's breath, and Frankenstein feels something shift, something change.

His Master, Cadis Etrama di Raizel, wants him. To which extent, Frankenstein doesn't know, but through the bond and Raizel's own voice it was made clear - I desire to be with you, he had said, and while Frankenstein is still on a certain degree completely horrified by the impetuosity of his feelings, he also has all the intention to satisfy that desire in whichever way his Master deems fit.

And so Frankenstein asks, showing Raizel the many, uncountable possibilities, and yet leaving space for everything his Master might like. He's ready to give and do and make everything his human body and mind can; whatever the request is, Frankenstein will flawlessly fulfill it without delay or misunderstanding.

Raizel answers by pressing their lips together again, chests rising and falling against each other and with the same rhythm, and soon enough Frankenstein abandons what his left of his demolished, self-imposed self-control and runs his tongue along the seam of Raizel's lips, finding them parted and welcoming - this is what his Master wants, and Frankenstein is glad to give. He was shown with extreme clarity, with no room for misinterpretations, and that's why he can set aside his worries and troubles.

A single, pleased hum reverberates in Raizel's mouth and Frankenstein pushes again, finding his silent request for permission already granted and reciprocated, granted from the moment they touched for the first time. A few heartbeats, and then Frankenstein is pushing Raizel on the couch and climbing on top of him, hands flying everywhere on his sides and back to feel every inch of Raizel's lean, solid body under his. It feels too good to be true, but Raizel makes small noises at the back of his throat and it sends Frankenstein off the trails making him push more, ask for more than he considers appropriate, and find that his requests are, too, readily granted by his ever-giving Master.

Who is, by Frankenstein's extensive experience, an excellent kisser despite it being the first time - Frankenstein is positive Raizel has never done this before, because Raizel has never showed or talked about lovers or people he was interested in before, when they were in Lukedonia; and through the bond Frankenstein feels nothing but his Master's sincere surprise in finding such an intrusive human custom satisfying and fascinating, so much, he craves to explore it and others further.

Frankenstein shamelessly moans in the kiss when Raizel's perfectly manicured nails scrape against the sensitive skin of his neck, and pushes the man back into the cushions with a searing kiss that is nothing about sweetness and everything about need. The atmosphere is scorching, their very bodies on fire, and it should be alarming and uncomfortable, except it's not, and Frankenstein only wants to feel the burning heat scar his body, to throw himself in the flames and burn, inside and outside.

He has just sneaked a leg between Raizel's thighs when the man shifts beneath him, escaping another open-mouthed kiss that ultimately lands on his neck, to press their foreheads together; the urgency, the 'I want everything and I want it now', dies down immediately. Usually, Frankenstein would be upset about it; but now he can see Raizel's lips swollen by kisses, his pupils blown so large his eyes might as well be black, how the flush that a few seconds before was smeared only on his cheeks has surfed down to his collarbones and maybe further down, and decides it's so worth it.

Frankenstein retreats in a less predatory stance, hands flying to cradle his Master's head, fingers ghosting on his face, tucking away stray locks of jet-black hair and tracing the blush on his cheeks, sometimes placing small kisses on his forehead or his nose or the top of his head, adoring. Raizel's hands loosely grip the fabric of his shirt, but the wrinkles mean a great force was applied on it - Frankenstein will not question, both because he has no need to inquire and because he does not care much about his messy clothes in this moment.

«Frankenstein,» Raizel's voice is breathy and awestruck, and it says his name so sweetly and with so much affection Frankenstein is ready to cry. When Raizel's hand caresses his cheek, Frankenstein leans into the touch like a starved man rushes to food. Nothing else is said, both of them descending from the high of their first physical connection and basking in the bliss of the afterglow.

That is, until Raizel places a hand to Frankenstein's chest - in the same, careful way of the day he put Frankenstein to sleep in his bed - and lifts his body, gently pushing Frankenstein away from his personal space. Frankenstein already misses their intimacy, but Raizel is not rejecting him and looks positively content; only, maybe he just wants to breathe without Frankenstein weighing on him.

«Are you okay?» he reaches out to smooth some of Raizel's hair and helps him to a sitting position. Raizel looks dazed, but definitely unharmed - or not. Frankenstein has not missed the curious, if not unusual, way his Master tilts and bends his neck. His Master himself looks quite troubled by it, almost upset, and Frankenstein can't help but wonder what is distressing him so much.

«Is your neck in pain?» he prompts, gently reaching to its back and drawing circles into the muscles and bones.

Raizel nods. «It is inconvenient,» it's what he says with a spark of irritation, followed by a troubled sigh. «I would have liked to keep indulging you.»

Frankenstein's stomach churns. Among the many things he could expect to hear, that definitely wasn't one. Yes, he is more than aware that his Master was greatly enjoying the contact, but to hear he is displeased they had to stop because his neck hurts? No, this was definitely unimaginable.

And while he dwells on those words, his Master is already moving a suggestion: «Another room would be suitable for the purpose.»

Inside, Frankenstein feels like he's having a stroke. He stutters an answer, a broken 'Yes, sure' to his Master's statement, and then he's up on his feet.

«I suppose the bedroom is the most suitable room,» he smooths the fabric of his shirt out of habit, and then his lips quirk upwards for a brief, precious smile that lights his eyes with a certain shyness «I have found the experience rather... Pleasant.»

To Frankenstein, those are words that nothing in the world will ever compare. Because they sound cold and disinterested, but Frankenstein knows better, like he knows for a fact that Raizel never suggests or asks, but waits for others to figure out his needs without expecting them to be met. Frankenstein will meet them, every single one of them, because Raizel desires to be with him and because he likes kissing Frankenstein so much he is upset they've been interrupted and because he's ready to blindly throw himself into something unknown only for Frankenstein's sake, ignorant to whatever it entails but ready to entrust Frankenstein with everything, and if this doesn't show just how much Raizel truly cares about, how much Raizel loves him, then Frankenstein doesn't know what else does.

That's why he blindly follows Raizel to his bedroom, eyes fixed on his back like many times before, only this time is different because Frankenstein knows that, if he only reached out with a hand, he would be allowed to touch.

There is no hunger, no hurry when they reach the room. Frankenstein simply leans in to brush their lips together and Raizel sinks forward and into his chest, eyes fluttering closed and his dark, long lashes tickling Frankenstein's cheek as they stand, embracing, a few steps from the bedside. Neither of them moves towards it nor into any other direction; they indulge with each other savouring, tasting, exploring what they can reach both physically and through the bond, where they can express themselves and their feelings at their finest, where words are unnecessary because emotions speak loud enough and their minds and souls are one and the same.

When his trembling fingers reach Raizel's first button, they share a single quiet look, a request of permission and an equally silent approval; one by one, the buttons are undone with religious attention and care. Frankenstein is not touching anything else, focused on the specks of skin that he is slowly revealing, before being ripped from the trance by Raizel's own fingers on his shirt, mirroring his gesture with the same reverence. They do not speak - and what need is there, when their conversation flows so smoothly inside their hearts?

Frankenstein kisses Raizel while sliding the clothing off his arms and to the floor, where, soon, his own shirt is abandoned. The feeling of cold fingers on his heated skin is breath-taking, but also is the soft, almost whispered kiss Raizel leaves under his square jaw, tracing the shapes of his face with his lips, exploring nooks and crannies of it as to create a map.

«What should I do?» Raizel sighs, eyes closed, into Frankenstein's ear. Frankenstein motions to the bed and gracefully sets Raizel down on the covers, and affection explodes again in his heart as Raizel pulls him close again almost impatiently, as if the mere thought of being apart for a small moment was unbearable.

Once again Frankenstein is on top and on his knees, chest flush to his Master's, alternating kisses to small bites and licks his Master seems to enjoy immensely, fingers tracing the body under his with scientific precision: he slides the tip of his finger against the tendon of his neck, down to the collarbone and pectoral, then his cleavage, feeling the accelerated heartbeat in the palm of his hand and knowing his own heart beats in the same way. He ghosts, lingers, on the ribbon of skin over the waistband of Raizel's pants, and Raizel shivers. He could spend hours, days, months just looking at all the different reactions he elicits in Raizel, but they have time for that; for now, he only wants to grant his Master's wishes, which apparently match Frankenstein's own in every aspect. Awfully convenient.

For a brief, fleeting moment he is back to the motel room and the prostitute. His rational mind dissects the feeling and emotions he'd felt, comparing them to this new, desired experience; how it felt wrong and unnatural back then, and how this feels like the only thing he's ever done right in his life. It's stupid to even compare a night of fleeting and unimportant passion to something so enormous. Frankenstein knows Raizel can see what he's thinking, the images and vivid pictures, and rushes to reassure him that, with him, it will never, it can never be the same.

«I know,» Raizel says as if it's something obvious - and it is, of course - and stops Frankenstein's hand as it carefully pulls his pants out of the way, bringing it to his lips and placing a warm, affectionate kiss to his knuckles. «I know,» he repeats, and Frankenstein can see himself reflected into the enlarged pupils of Raizel's eyes.

Two pairs of elegant black pants join the shirts on the floor with a deaf thud. Frankenstein leans down one last time, and then pulls the covers up.

 

***

«How do you feel?» Raizel is flush against him, hair still wet from the shower, occasionally leaving small kisses along his jaw or pulse point, one hand lazily playing with the fabric of his wrinkled shirt. Frankenstein holds him by his slim waist, thumb gently stroking the curve of his Master's body. The room is comfortably quiet, and the darkness is disrupted only by the lights of the city outside the window; lulled by the sound of traffic they bask in the feeling of bliss that comes with the absolute sense of fulfillment humming through their resonating souls, legs tangled together under the sheets and disheveled clothes that still smell of fresh laundry.

There was a kiss in the living room after they laid bare their feelings and intentions: tentatively, Frankenstein had leaned in as if still unsure whether it was a dream, a hallucination, or it was real. Raizel's lips under his were all too real and he had teared up from affection and relief. There were several other kisses after that one, gradually becoming more demanding and confident, an then there was Frankenstein pushing Raizel on the couch, exchanging open-mouthed kisses that had nothing to do with the uncertainty of before – they were wet, and hot, and greedy, and Frankenstein had lost himself so deep in them, raw emotions unbottled after centuries, that he ignored at once his body's need for oxygen – and then there was Raizel suggesting to move into another room as Frankenstein regained his breath and composure. And then, there was more.

Frankenstein.

Frankenstein blinks those scenes away, reminded by the gentle call through their bond that his Master voiced a question, and thus expects him to answer.

And he does. «Elated,» he sighs as Raizel's fingers scrape against his cleavage, squeezing his body tighter in response. «And tired. Emotions are draining, and I went through a lot of them in the last hours.»

Raizel shifts in his arms, head secured under Frankenstein's chin, and hums positively as he places his ear on Frankenstein's heart.

«I can't get over the fact that this,» Frankenstein refers to everything that has happened, the discussion, the kisses, his Master loving him back... «That this is real. It's not a dream.»

«It's not,» Raizel's voice is muffled by the fabric of his shirt.

«It's not,» he repeats in a whisper, the sound of those words sounding incredibly pleasant as they leave his mouth. It feels right. «But I have dreamed of this for so long – in my head, this is still a fantasy. Perhaps, I just need more time to convince myself.»

«You have all the time you desire; I am here, and I will not leave you again. That, I promise.»

This, too, feels good. Frankenstein knows that it's a small lie – a fool would not have noticed the dangerously shortened lifespan of his Master, but Frankenstein is no fool; he is an attentive caretaker, and with their souls so deeply connected, he can feel the flickering flame of life gradually reducing. He wonders how much time will it take before it fades, if there is something he can do to prevent a premature departure – if yes, he's willing to give up on everything he has, no hesitation and no regrets. Truly an unfair fate, to be reunited on such a profound level only to be separated again.

But now it's no time for sadness; Frankenstein shifts further under the sheets with Raizel still laying on his front, smoothing the linen on their sides. He hears the front door open followed by a fair amount of footsteps reaching the living room – he counts them out of habit, to make sure everyone is back at home, where they belong. He's been doing it for a while without anyone noticing, because he is Frankenstein, and no one expects him to care so much about them. But he does, because his Master cares about them and because, since they stormed into their routine, his life feels full. They will never know, however, because that level of softness is reserved to Raizel and Raizel alone; he's content with the place he was given and would not change it with anything else. After all, the household is in desperate need of a responsible adult, and who better than him can fill that role?

«It was a smart move,» Frankenstein praises Raizel for asking them to leave before their conversation. «Did they ask you why they were supposed to leave the house for so long?»

«Indeed, but they asked out of worry that something could happen to me while they were not here and you were unwell.»

Frankenstein smiles. The children might have gone through many hardships and, in some cases, terrible abuse, but they have remained good at heart and caring.

Their voices run down the hallway – Tao says something about the hamburger he had for dinner and then Frankenstein hears them discuss the reason why Raizel had asked them to leave: Takeo shushes the theories saying it's no one's business and Seira agrees, and apparently, it's enough for them to change the subject.

It's the last image in his mind before Frankenstein finally falls asleep, still cradling Raizel's body in his arms: waking up every morning with his Master at his side, kissing him good morning, and finding the children having breakfast in the kitchen.

He would not even mind the mess of crumpled wrappers.