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here in the dark is where new worlds are born

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Harry had never liked his office.

It was tucked into the very back hallway of the house, only accessible by seven stairwells and nine hallways that all twisted off into other endless series of rooms, the route only accessible to those who knew exactly where to step. It was the biggest room in the house, a hair bigger than his bedroom, since until the last several years he had worked more than he had use to lay down.

It was a beautiful office, with floors and furniture that was darker than any wood should be, gleaming thanks to the light fixtures he kept all around the room to make up for the lack of windows. He had a fireplace that took up an entire wall, an extra set of bookshelves despite the library that laid just down the hall, velvet-lined furniture, and behind his desk, taking up an entire wall, was a portrait of his own face, painted in meticulous detail on a dark background, something he had commissioned years ago and didn’t feel like getting rid of yet.

It would have been a fine place to stay for most people. Nearly everyone that stepped foot in this office gazed around with dazed, wide eyes, taking in the ancient Serbian carpets, the stained glass domes of the lamps, the jewels that glittered on each of Harry’s fingers before their eyes even got to his face. It took so long, the staring, the gaping, but he let the humans have their fun until he eventually asked them to sit, only to have to bring their attention back to the matter at hand countless times as their eyes kept wandering.

But despite how beautiful it was, his office meant work, and work was so dull. He didn’t relish in it, not when he had better things to do. Travel, be in the sunlight, go to New York to impulse buy another suit he didn’t need. But instead, he had to stay here, behind his giant desk, and do paperwork.

It was a horrible way to spend eternity, really.

Today, the human on the other side of his desk was a man, older, with a too-big sports coat, a bad haircut, and quivering lips. Harry had seen his type before, and he would see it again. But he was very good at treating humans like they were unique.

“Bradley,” he said pleasantly, leaning back into his chair and cradling his chin in one hand, “Can I call you Brad? You look more like a Brad.”

“Um,” the man said, licking his lips, “Sure you can.”

“Wonderful,” Harry said, “I’m Mr. Styles. I’ll be handling your case for you today.”

He tapped the surface of a thick manila folder in front of him, one that he already knew the contents of.

“Brad,” Harry sighed, “You’ve backed yourself into a corner, I see. Public school teacher salary, three kids, and what’s this – right, yes. Five mistresses in five years. One of them was seventeen. And you blew through your kids’ college funds to buy them Gucci purses. And not even the in season ones. Really, Brad, I don’t take you for a man of enormous taste, but can’t you do better than the Spring 2015 collection?”

“How do you know that?” Bradley said, his voice pitching up a bit.

“Bradley,” Harry sighed, “I’m going to call you Bradley now. You’re in Hell right now. The outer layers, sure, the ones you can get out of once you come in, but it’s still Hell. You knew that when you came in. You got a brochure. Did you really think you would have to tell me anything I didn’t already know?”

“Well,” Bradley said, “I suppose – “

“I’m going to cut you off, Bradley, because I assume you don’t want to sit here very long. Anyways, your son, Collin, he’s fourteen, right? Great kid, really. Varsity baseball, honors society. He’s already got his sights set on Columbia. He’ll get one scholarship, maybe, but you think you can afford travel fees, Ivy League tuition and an allowance for New York City? I doubt that, your wife still doesn’t know you applied for food stamps.”

Bradley opened his mouth, but Harry tapped the file in front of him.

“File, Bradley, it’s in your file. Now,” Harry sighed, “I’m going to be honest with you. Your soul isn’t especially valuable to me, because you’re a very average, very terrible person. That drives down the value of things. Do you know how house values work, Bradley? Your wife watches a lot of HGTV. Maybe it would help to take interest in her hobbies.”

“My soul?” Bradley interrupted, and Harry stared at him blankly.

“What else do you think I trade in? Bitcoin?” Harry said blandly, “Yes, souls, Bradley. You wanted a miracle, but you don’t deserve miracles. So you got me. Sorry about your luck.”

Harry tapped the table, and a moment later, a stack of papers appeared in his hands, already outfitted with Bradley’s name and his exact terms and conditions.

“Let’s see here. The base value for a human soul is roughly two hundred thousand pounds in this region’s currency. I’m going to tack on an extra twenty thousand because I’m feeling generous. I’ll give it to you, in allowance over the next several years, nice and divided up. Straight into those college funds. You can even buy your wife a vacation.”

He looked across the desk at the human man, who just gazed at Harry with wide eyes.

“And what – happens to me after you take my soul?”

“Eternal damnation after death, but, you were on your way there anyways,” Harry listed off, “Also, I get one aspect of control over your life. I’m going to go with, hm, maybe violent sickness every time you try to fuck a woman who isn’t your wife. That sounds fine to me.”

Bradley blinked at him, wetting his lips.

“Can I ask a question?”

“Sure.”

“Are you --- “ he swallowed hard, “Are you the Devil?”

Harry snorted.

“No. I make far less money. Now – “

He started to speak again, but before he could, he heard the door behind him creak open, the one that blended seamlessly with the wall and led directly into his bedchambers. He heard the soft sound of bare feet a moment later, and Harry closed his eyes, breathing in the smell of spiced coffee and roses as the footsteps came closer.

“Darling,” a soft voice said, “Are you frightening the humans again?”

A small pair of hands appeared on his shoulders, pressing down, and Harry smiled softly.

“What are you doing up, little love?” he murmured in reply.

“I’m bored,” Louis’s soft voice replied, kissing his temple, “Take a break, play with me.”

“In a moment, my love,” Harry said, “I’m just finishing this deal.”

“Mm,” Louis hummed, “Can I watch?”

“Sure,” he said, “Go lay down, make yourself comfortable.”

“Wonderful,” Louis said, “Because I was already planning on taking my lunch in here.”

Harry chuckled and reached behind him, squeezing one of Louis’s hands and pulling it forward enough to kiss his knuckles. His back was turned, and yet he could practically feel Louis smile – the air always seemed to lighten when he did, the office becoming less dreary for one brief moment.

Louis slid away from Harry, his hands falling, and he wandered around the desk, casting an amused smile to Bradley as he walked. He kept a hand at his waist, fiddling with the velvet sash on his robe as he padded across the office floor. The rest of the fabric dragged at his feet, sheer and not leaving much uncovered. Today, he had apparently decided to at least put something on at all.

Harry took a moment to watch his mate float to the side of the room and make himself comfortable on the big wine-red velvet chaise in front of the fireplace, the fabric of the furniture the same color as that of his robe. He settled down, and a moment later, the back door of Harry’s office opened softly, and one of the house’s servants silently slipped forward and settled a tray and a silver carafe in front of Louis’s seat before disappearing once more. Louis smiled as it happened, his lips moving in a “Thank you” and Harry only turned fully away when Louis started to open the pots on his tray.

“Isn’t he pretty?” Harry said to Bradley, “That’s my husband.”

He folded his hands in his lap and leaned back, smiling at the man across the table. He knew the mortal had been staring at Louis. Most did, regardless of sexuality or gender. The man didn’t make it easy not to. And usually, their eyes skated up, over the fire place, to more carefully examine the painting that took up the entire back wall. A twin of Harry’s; painted with a dark background and slashes of red. In the foreground, there was the expanse of Louis’s golden back, his head turned back, with sharp eyes glancing over his shoulder. Mouth parted and red, a bolt of red silk painted at his hips, just below the curve of his arse, his hips turned enough that in front there was a shock of dark, wiry hair and a small bulge clearly visible over where the silk gathered again in the front.

It had only been in Harry’s office for five years but it was a favorite of every visitor, and for himself as well. And it was where Bradley’s eyes stayed fixed now.

“He’s in the painting,” the mortal man said evenly.

“Mm, yes. His portrait came out much better than mine. But it still doesn’t do him justice.”

Harry blinked slowly at the man, how his eyes still followed Louis. Louis was currently balancing a silver ladle in his hand, dipping into a deep pot of vegetable stew. A plume of smoke wafted off the spoon each time he puckered his lips to blow on it.

“Bradley,” Harry said, making the man finally turn, “You’re straight, aren’t you?”

“Oh,” he said. He coughed hard and shifted in his chair, looking at Harry carefully, “Uh, yes.”

“Tragic,” Harry sighed, shaking his head, “But do you think my husband is beautiful?”

The man swallowed, and Harry smiled.

“You can tell me,” Harry said, “Our deal is nearly down, I’m just making small talk. Tell me. Do you think my husband is beautiful?”

He just stared evenly at the mortal man, keeping his smile pleasant and light. Over Bradley’s shoulder, he could see Louis glance at him and then roll his eyes before tucking the spoon into his mouth once more.

Right across his desk, Bradley was swallowing. Very hard, very fast.

“Are you thirsty, Bradley?” Harry asked, and lifted a hand, “Water?”

The man looked to where Harry had lifted his hand, and blinked blankly at the heavy metal pitcher and two poured glasses that hadn’t been there the rest of the meeting.

“It’s not poisoned,” Harry chuckled. One of the glasses inched forward on its own, “I don’t kill people, Bradley. That’s not in my line of work.”

Harry blinked, once.

“Drink, Bradley,” he said softly, “And answer my question.”

The mortal man reached out, and slowly got a grip on the glass. He brought it to his lips and drank, and Harry just stared at him, lifting one arched eyebrow.

“Um,” Bradley said, “Your husband…is very beautiful, yes. You’re very lucky.”

“Mm,” Harry hummed, pressing his lips together, “What do you like about him?”

Bradley just stared at him, and then leaned his head forward.

“I’m sorry?”

“You think he’s beautiful,” Harry said, “Why don’t you tell me what you find beautiful about him? We have plenty of time.”

Harry reached for his own water, the cup morphing into a tall mug of black coffee as he lifted it to his mouth and drank from it.

“Can we just – “ Bradley started, but Harry interrupted.

“My husband has very beautiful eyes,” Harry said, “They are my favorite thing in the world. Some people don’t take money from these deals, you know. Some want other things. Fame or beauty, namely. I give many people blue eyes. It’s a popular request. I don’t think I could make something as beautiful as Louis’s eyes, though.”

He smiled and tilted his head.

“What do you think of his eyes, Bradley? Did you notice them?”

“I – yes,” he answered, “I did.”

“Good,” Harry said, and then set his mug down, “But not first.”

Bradley chuckled weakly, his breath rasping a bit.

“I – “ he started, “I don’t know what you want me to say, Mr. Styles.”

“I don’t want to hear anything,” Harry shrugged, “Because I already know you were staring at my husband’s cock, I just would rather you muscle up the balls to admit it to me.”

He tapped his nails on the desk, the sound echoing. Bradley glanced to his hand, and his eyes froze there, watching the sharp, black points emerge from under Harry’s neatly trimmed nails.

“You know what’s funny, Bradley,” Harry said, “About stupid people like you? Your thoughts are very easy to read. It’s like I can hear them in my own head, and they’re exhausting to listen to. But. A few of them stand out.”

Harry stood, his chair scraping, and Bradley’s eyes widened, tipping up as he stared at Harry.

“Do you want to tell me what you were thinking about my husband, Bradley?” he asked, “You said it very confidently in your head.”

His shoulders bristled, and Bradley just kept staring, his chin titled up. Harry was taller than he was when he sat down, probably by at least a foot. He tapped his fingers on the table, and then titled his head.

“Don’t want to answer. Alright,” he said, and then lifted a finger.

Bradley’s chair clattered to the ground as the man flew across the room, landing a moment later on the carpet, sprawled out directly in front of Louis’s seat. Harry appeared over him, staring down at the other man on the floor. His tongue pulsed in his mouth and then pushed out, the length turned thin and with a fork on the end, testing the air. His eyes felt the same, although if he looked in the mirror he was sure by now they would have gone golden, the pupils horizontal and thin.

“Why don’t you say out loud that you think my husband is a whore?” he whispered softly, “You have such a beautiful vocabulary, Bradley, do you want to look my Louis in the eyes and tell him that he think he’s a ‘slut’? Or a ‘fine piece of ass’? That you’re ‘not a homo but you’d show him a good time’? You seemed very sure in your head.”

“Please,” Bradley rasped out, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I was just thinking. I didn’t mean anything!”

“Hmm,” Harry said, “Given your history, I have a hard time buying that.”

Harry squatted down, then, pushing his face closer to the man on the floor. He pushed out his tongue a little more, making the man wince. Louis had laughed when he first saw Harry’s tongue.

“That’s fucking cliché,” he had said back then, “Do you have pointy horns, too? A tail? Do you keep a pitchfork in your closet?”

Maybe it was a little predictable. But it scared most other humans.

“Do you know how old I am, Bradley?” Harry asked.

“N-no.”

“There are carvings of me in fucking Egypt, Bradley, and I was 800 years old when they were made,” Harry hissed, “And do you know how many times I am allowed to take a mate in my life?”

“No,” the man got out. His face was turning red, as if Harry had a hand around his throat. Which he kind of wanted to do. But he’d wait.

“Once,” Harry said, “Just once. In my entire life. Do you think I would be flippant with that choice?”

Bradley didn’t answer, he just shook and then glanced into Harry’s eyes and murmured, “Oh, God.”

“I wanted thousands of years for my husband,” Harry continued, “I love him. You’ve never loved anything in your life.”

Finally, Harry reached for him, and grabbed his chin, squeezing his face between two fingers.

“You’re a very bad person,” he said flatly, “And no one would miss you if I ripped your throat out and left it on my carpet for the maid to clean up.”

He heard a soft exhale behind him, and glanced over to see Louis dipping a piece of garlic bread into his stew.

“Harry, sweetheart,” Louis sighed, “Isn’t this a bit excessive?”

Harry just stared at him, and then frowned, flicking out his tongue.

“I thought you were bored.”

“I didn’t ask for dinner and show, I just wanted you to finish your deal,” he huffed, “You promised this was the last of the day.”

“It is.”

“Then stop dragging it out. I can’t wait all day for you to throw tantrums at every confused straight man who looks at my ass in this office,” he said. He reached for his stew and bread again, dipping the bread inside once more, “If you make me wait any longer, we have to go to Versace in the city. I will make you carry so many pairs of shoes your inhuman strength will be tested.”

Harry just stared at his husband, who gazed back evenly, until he finally lowered his gaze.

“Give me five minutes,” Harry sighed.

Louis hummed approvingly, and Harry let go of Bradley’s face and stood, not yet retracting any of his inhuman features. In a moment, the contract from his desk materialized in his hand, and he extended it to the trembling man on the carpet.

“Sign,” he said softly. A pen materialized in his other hand, and he extended it alongside the contract, “Please.”

Bradley lunged for the pen and scratched down his signature. As soon as the ink was laid down, Harry snapped his wrist up, and the paper disappeared.

“Pleasure doing business with you,” he said pleasantly, “Now get the hell out of my office.”

Bradley scrambled to his feet, his face red and his jacket askew, and quickly turned and ran, tripping over his own feet as he did.

Harry didn’t turn back to Louis until the door slammed closed, and Louis just sighed when he did. 

“How boring was he that you felt that was necessary?”

“I saw four just like him yesterday,” Harry said, “They keep sending me boring adulterers. I want a murderer. Or an arsonist, at least.”

“I’m sorry for your difficulty,” Louis said, “Now come here.”

Harry took a step forward, and Louis flicked his eyes to Harry’s claws as he picked up his wine goblet.

“Come to me as my Harry,” he said, “I’m not in the mood for goat eyes today, I’m afraid.”

Harry just sighed and keeping walking. His claws retracted as he did, as did his tongue. His body shrank, and his vision shook for a brief moment as his eyes changed back to their normal shape and color. By the time he sat down on the end of the chaise and rested a hand on Louis’s hip, he was back to his normal mortal shell. It made the other man smile and extend a hand, rubbing Harry’s cheek.

“Hello, gorgeous,” he murmured.

Harry lifted his hand off his cheek and instead held it to his mouth, pressing his lips hard over Louis’s diamond laden ring finger.

“Hello, my angel.”

Louis smiled softly, and then pulled his hand back and instead held out one finger, tracing Harry’s lips with the tip of it.

“Are you really done for the day?” he asked, “I know sometimes you forget.”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Harry replied, “No one will be coming to visit me for the rest of the day.”

“Good,” Louis nodded, “Because I was wondering if you’d forgotten what today is.”

“I haven’t.”

“And you still saw clients.”

“Only half a dozen,” Harry said, “I’m sorry, my love. Work just came up.”

“I understand,” Louis sighed, closing his eyes. Harry leaned forward and pressed his lips to his, the other man smiling under his touch. Harry pulled away slowly, and Louis just smiled at him lazily and blinked.

“Happy anniversary, my darling,” Harry murmured, squeezing his hand. Louis just smiled at him and hummed before he took Harry’s hand and guided it down to his waist, to the velvet sash holding together the sheer robe.

“Is the door locked?” he asked.

Harry smiled, then shifted a finger. The click of a deadbolt rattled his office door.

“Is it now.”

Louis smiled, and then tilted his head.

“Good,” he said, “I just wanted to make sure you still remembered how to lock the doors and just chose not to.”

Louis plucked Harry’s hand off his middle and shifted his legs, going to stand. Harry huffed, watching the sheer fabric fall neatly over his body.

“Baby,” he sighed, and Louis just rolled his shoulders and picked up his goblet again.

“You can wait for me,” Louis said, “Until after dinner.”

He started walking back across the office, to the bedroom door, and Harry just shook his head and collapsed across the back of the sofa, watching the love of his very long life go back into their bedroom.

*******

Harry only used the main dining hall for special occasions.

There were thirty-five dining rooms in the house, all for differing occasions, seasons and party sizes. He didn’t use many of them anymore, instead usually choosing to eat with Louis in their room or in his office. Neither of them needed to eat, but Louis was still human at heart, and Harry still had working taste buds when he wanted them to appear. Most days there was no use for a formal dining room when he could lay on his bed with his husband, watching the human man pick at plates of strawberries and grapes for hours.

But Louis had asked for the main dining hall, so Harry had gotten it set up.

Some of the lower demons had already lined the walls – a handful of the dozens that worked under Harry, scrabbling through eternity looking for a high rank that most likely would never come – holding trays of food and making sure the room was perfect. The dining room was decorated like Harry’s office, with no windows, walls covered in velvet, and brass lanterns emitting light around the room. In the center of everything was a dark wood table and chairs for a crowd of around two hundred people. Behind Harry’s chair at the head of that table, a large oil painting presided over the room, another in the set he had had commissioned five years ago, when Louis first moved in. He didn’t have to turn to know its every detail: Louis and himself together, his husband’s head thrown back over Harry’s shoulder and his mouth open wide; Harry holding him from behind, a clawed hard scrabbling over his chest, a forked tongue lapping at his shoulder, his hair flying behind him as he pleasured his mate from behind.

Louis had once told him it was the last thing he wanted to look at while he ate. But he had still requested this room.

After a few minutes of sitting and waiting, the two doors on the other side of the room split open, and Harry stood immediately. Louis stood in the darkness of the doorway, smiling at the two servants who held the doors open for him. He took a step into the room, and they shut the doors behind him a moment later, closing the room off once more. Harry stayed standing, watching the other man approach. He hadn’t seen him in hours; waiting for his husband to get ready for their dinner before he could see him again. Harry had lived for a very long time and yet any hour without Louis always seemed longer than anything else he had experienced.

And yet, they were worth every moment.

Louis was dressed in a long yellow gown, the light fabric floating behind him in waves, running off his arms like sunflower-colored water. A slit in the front of the dress shifted every time he took a step, revealing a flash of tan leg and a bare foot before it disappeared into the folds of the dress again. His wrists, fingers, and throat glittered, countless of diamonds and gold bands decorating his skin. The demons against the wall stared straight forward, refusing to either look directly at him or to even look away. The events of the day had certainly spread through the house by now, and they were reminded more than ever that there was no correct answer to being asked if they found the master’s husband beautiful.

Finally, Louis reached the head of the table, and smiled at Harry as he gazed at him.

“You didn’t even change,” he sighed, shaking his head as he reached out and pressed a hand to Harry’s three-piece Armani attire.

“You like this suit.”

“I like every suit.”

“I know,” Harry said, and lifted a hand, rubbing it under Louis’s chin, “You look dazzling, my darling.”

Louis smiled at him, his teeth sharp and white. It was the same smile Harry had first seen five years ago, at a blackjack table on the floor of one of Harry’s London casinos.

Harry didn’t ever visit the gambling house; it was a side project, really, and an excuse to have such a large mortal house, even if the outer shell was nothing compared to what was inside. That, and it drew in new clients well; people with nothing to lose and plenty of negative actions behind them.

But Louis had been different. Different enough to have a file with his name and photo dropped onto Harry’s desk. The best gambler in the city, good enough to take eighty thousand pounds off the house each night, even with Harry’s paid-off demon dealers that made sure most humans couldn’t win more than once in one night.

What Louis took from him was pocket change. But Harry didn’t like to lose, and it had been enough to draw him in.

Louis still drew him in.

The other man tugged on Harry’s chin, and the demon lowered himself back into his chair. Louis took his seat next to him, and kept his hand laced with Harry’s as the servants bustled around them, setting down trays and bowls and cups. They were having all of Louis’s favorites; red wine and grilled fish, roasted potatoes and ripe watermelon, chocolate gelato and buttered breadsticks. Still, the other man didn’t go to touch anything yet. He knew the food would arrive on his plate eventually. And Harry was content to look at him as long as he would let him.

“You have given me a wonderful five years,” Harry said softly, “And you look just as beautiful as you did when I first spoke to you at that casino bar.”

Louis shook his head, pressing his lips together.

“I don’t know if you’re complimenting me or your own immortality spell.”

“You, always you,” Harry murmured. He tucked his free hand into his jacket, and in a moment, the object he wanted materialized in his hand.

“I got you a present, my love,” he smiled, and Louis tilted his head with interest.

“Thank God. I thought my present was supposed to you torturing that poor mortal earlier. You have bad taste anyways, but I thought it had reached a new low,” Louis said, making Harry chuckle.

“Close your eyes and hold out your hands.”

Louis huffed in annoyance but still did it, dropping Harry’s hand to hold both of his own out. Harry withdrew his hand from his jacket and instead placed it into Louis’s palms. He was just about to tell him to open his eyes when Louis’s smile twitched into a smirk.

“I know what this is, you bastard,” he said. He opened his cards and gazed down at the card deck that had been placed in his hands. It was pure black, the symbols in gold and silver, and he kept shaking his head as he shuffled through them, turning them over.

“You know, a gift for five years in the human world is usually wood,” Louis said, “And that is not a pun.”

Harry shook his head, laughing.

“I’ve just been feeling very sentimental lately,” Harry said, “Give an old man that.”

Louis didn’t look up, just went on shuffling the cards.

“You know when I first met you, you had no decent lines,” Louis said, “And then you came to my hotel later and offered to play Russian Roulette of all things. Is that how you usually seduce humans?”

“I didn’t seduce any humans before you,” Harry rolled his eyes, “And your next suggestion wasn’t the best either.”

“Strip poker,” Louis chirped, “I recall.”

“If my memory serves correctly,” Harry said, “You told me ‘I’m not afraid of dying. But I think you’re afraid of showing me your cock.’”

“The sentiment remains,” Louis said, “And you still married me, huh.”

“It took a few months,” Harry said, “And a few games.”

Louis just nodded, and then folded up his cards and settled them neatly on the table.

“We could play later, if you’d like,” Harry said, but Louis just shook his head.

“What’s the fun in playing when I know I’d win?” Louis said, with a hard shrug of his shoulders, “Besides. When I was playing cards I was an orphan with sisters to support and quite literally had nothing to lose. And now I’m here. I don’t need to gamble anything anymore.”

Louis finally looked towards the food, and opened a couple of silver pots closest to him, revealing creamy pasta and tomato soup.

“Now come on,” he said, “Let’s eat before the food gets cold.”

The food would never get cold. Nothing here would ever be less than perfect for Louis. But Harry still served Louis his food quickly, and held a hand on his back as the immortal man ate.

At one point Harry went to take the cards away, but Louis just placed his hand over top Harry’s own, flashing him a small smile and keeping him still.

*******

Harry had let Louis decorate the bedroom.

Before, it had been all black, the bed barely distinguishable from the dresser or the closet or the rug. Harry didn’t need to sleep, and he didn’t really need a place to store things, not when he could conjure anything he wanted out of thin air. But when he had opened the door for Louis five years ago, the other man had just scoffed.

“You’ve just given me eternal life,” Louis had said, the fresh enchantment still sparking off his skin, “I am not spending it here.”

So he had changed it. It was still full of cherry wood, red and black, velvet and fur. The bed was enormous, piled with blankets despite the constant ideal temperature in the room. There was a silver mirror in the corner, next to Louis’s set of dressers and the door to his closet. Harry kept his own dressers now, although they were much smaller and didn’t hold much. There were fresh, burgundy colored roses in vases around the room, and paintings and photographs dotting the walls. They weren’t Harry’s commissions; there were Louis’s favorite paintings for museums on Earth, paintings his little sisters had made before he lost custody of them seven years ago, photographs of his family before his parents had passed and left everything to him. Harry had been unsure about letting Louis kept so many souvenirs of his human life here, but as soon as it became clear that they brought him comfort, not guilt or torture, Harry had left him up and uncovered.

Now, Louis stood in the middle of their room, with his back to Harry, fiddling aimlessly with the latch on one of his Cartier cuffs. Harry took a step forward, reaching out a hand as he did.

“Here,” Harry said, “Let me help you with your dr —“

He stopped, because in the next moment the yellow chiffon was gone, laying in a pile at Louis’s feet, and his husband was turned around and gazing at him. Even with the dress gone, the jewelry remained. His arms were still laden with bands, a thick group of diamonds dripped from his neck, when he tilted his head, Harry saw the long string of rubies hanging from each ear.

“I planned on being imprisoned in my bed all day,” Louis sighed, “But you had to take clients and make me play hard to get.”

“That was your decision.”

“And your fault,” Louis said. He took a step forward, holding out his arms, “Now, I’ve already taken the wrapping off your gift, why don’t you enjoy it.”

Harry shook his head as he shrugged off his jacket.

“You couldn’t have gotten me a card?”

“I ran out of time.”

“Brat,” Harry sighed. He tossed his jacket to the side and then extended a hand, and a moment later Louis was tucked into his embrace, even though he hadn’t taken any physical steps to get there. The other man blinked at him, narrowing his eyes.

“Don’t move me.”

“Sorry,” Harry murmured. He pressed his lips to Louis’s shoulder, mouthing at his soft, tender skin. “Won’t happen again.”

“Then I suppose you’re forgiven,” Louis said, “Now let me blow my husband, please.”

Harry laughed weakly, the noise quieting in his throat as Louis lowered himself down, his chin titled up when as he brought himself down to his knees. His hands lifted, and he undid the front zip of Harry’s trousers faster than Harry could’ve willed his own clothes away.

“Happy anniversary, darling,” Louis said, and then pulled Harry’s thick length out, pumped it once, and then tucked it into his mouth.

Harry closed his eyes, groaning at the warm, tight feeling of Louis’s mouth. It would never get old, he’d decided. He hadn’t been alone before Louis, or unsatisfied. There were plenty of his kind roaming around who never took a mate, demon or mortal, or were willing to offer one easily forgettable night to interrupt the loneliness.

But five years ago, in a casino hotel room, Louis had straddled him on the floor, before he even knew what Harry was, and in one wine-heavy kiss Harry knew he would never experience anything better.

Now, Louis gazed up at him, his eyes bright even in the dark room. His lips were swollen and his cheeks were tight, and yet Harry stayed transfixed by his eyes, wide and shining. He pulled a hand through his hair, and Louis’s cheeks flushed, nearly as red as the jewels on his ears. His eyebrows only furrowed when the claws slipped out of Harry’s nails to scratch out of his scalp, and Harry quickly retracted them.

“Sorry,” he murmured, “Not tonight?”

Louis pulled his lips back and Harry felt the hard drag of his teeth on his prick, and he hissed.

“Alright,” he sighed.

Louis closed his eyes then, and his mouth hollowed once more, going back to his job. His tongue laved over the underside of Harry’s length, mouthing over the warm flesh, the heavy veins. Harry’s hands shifted to the underside of his jaw, and Louis’s eyes popped open once more, gazing up at him with watering eyes. Still, his mouth twitched around his length, his lips smiling.

Harry’s heart lurched.

It had taken him months before he had taken Louis to his home. They had had dinners, a few drinks, a few rushed kisses before Harry had left Louis’s penthouse hotel room, refusing to let it lead to anything else.

And then suddenly, Louis had been sitting in his office, the same place he had signed so many contracts and collected souls like they were butterflies in jars.

But that wasn’t what Louis was there for. It just took a long time to explain it all to him.

“You’re a demon,” Louis had said. The words had been flat, and Harry had had trouble finding any real emotion in them.

“That’s your word for it,” Harry said, “But yes.”

“And what do you want with me?”

“I want to marry you.”

It had taken everything in him to say that aloud. He still remembered how he had held his hands tightly in his lap, how they had shaken.

But Louis had just smiled, and then lifted his hand.

“Did you at least buy me a ring?” he had asked, and Harry had just stared at him.

“What?”

“I’m asking if you bought me a ring,” Louis said, “That’s what humans do when they want to marry someone.”

“You’d want to marry me, then.”

“I don’t see why not,” Louis shrugged, “This is a little weird, but, seems like a good time.”

Harry’s throat had never been drier. The echo in his chest that vaguely resembled a heartbeat had never gone faster.

“Most humans are afraid of me,” Harry eventually said, “Even before they see my other form, they sense something is bad. Something is evil.”

“You’re not evil.”

“I’m the definition of evil.”

“I don’t think you are,” Louis shrugged, “Didn’t you just explain to me that you only hurt bad people? Murders, pedophiles?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Then that’s a good thing,” Louis said, “And I’m not scared of you.”

“You don’t know what my true form even is,” Harry blurted out, making Louis lift a brow, “I’m eleven feet tall. I have no physical form, I’m just a mass of pure darkness, a mortal would go mad looking at it. And I don’t use language. I just wail.”

“Sounds fun,” Louis said, “Count me in.”

Harry had stared long enough that Louis stood up and walked around the desk, and then settled himself on his knees in front of Harry’s chair.

“Harry,” he said, “There is nothing on Earth for me. My parents are dead. I don’t know where my sisters are anymore, not since the state took them. I have no education; I have money now but I don’t even have a real job, something I love to do. I don’t care what happens to me now. So I’ll marry you. I don’t know what that means yet but I’ll do it.”

He had lifted his body up and brought his lips down to Harry’s, and Harry’s had held his waist tightly as they kissed in his dark, dreary office that he hated.

They had been married two hours later, and Louis had been promised that he would get to live forever, and Harry would take care of him the entire time.

And five years later, the same man was dripping in gold and diamonds and sucking Harry’s cock enough to make tears prick at his eyes.

“Louis,” he said, his voice shaking, “I’m going to come, darling.”

Louis nodded and brought his mouth down, sucking on the end, and then when Harry pulled on his hair, his mouth popped off of his prick, just in time for Harry to come. His claws popped out once more, and he felt his tongue shift as he opened his mouth and shouted, the sound of it shaking the room. He came for a long time, the waves of his release splattering over Louis’s face, into his hair, over the jewels on his neck, soon covered in pale gold.

His husband eventually blinked, and then just stared up at Harry with narrowed, bright eyes.

“Get your weird golden demon cum off me,” he said, “And then fuck me in our bed.”

“Do you want to take your jewels off first, darling?” Harry asked as he held his hands out, his release disappearing from Louis’s skin as his hands moved.

“I absolutely do not,” Louis said, “Then where would the fun in your present be?”

Harry grinned, and then as soon as Louis had risen to his feet, he held him around the waist and then in the next moment, they were in their bed, surrounded in satin sheets and a fur throw.

“I told you not to move me,” Louis huffed as Harry leaned down to kiss him, the edges of his tongue tickling his skin. But the fight had gone out of his voice, and he merely lifted an arm and circled it around his neck, and brought a leg around his waist. He didn’t comment on the claws scratching at his sides, or the sharpened teeth nipping at his skin, or even the morphed eyes that looked at him when Harry lifted his head.

“Oops,” Harry said, making Louis scoff and squeeze his leg harder around Harry’s waist. Harry reached between Louis’s legs, rubbing over the spot between his legs, calling forth lubricant to build up there. Louis tipped his head back and gasped softly when Harry rubbed over the edge of his hole, widening it, wetting it more, without having to dip one of his clawed fingers in first.

“That feels pretty generous,” Louis said, “You better not be making your cock any bigger.”

Harry chuckled weakly and readjusted his hips, taking his heavy length in one hand, angling it towards his husband’s entrance. The diamonds around Louis’s tanned throat winked at him as he gazed down.

“I adore you,” Harry murmured as he pushed his cockhead in, and Louis winced.

“Fucking bastard,” he snapped, “That’s bigger.”

“No it’s not.”

“I know your cock, you made it bigger.”

“Fine, maybe I did,” Harry sighed, “Would you like a change?”

“No, that’s fine,” Louis sighed, “Just make it hurt less, please.”

“Yes, my darling,” Harry smiled. He leaned down to kiss Louis, thrusting his hips forward and making Louis whine. He pressed his hands to the smaller man’s hips, pushing an enchantment into his body, easing any pain or discomfort he might have. Louis preened appreciatively pushing up and puckering his mouth until Harry offered him a kiss.

“Take such good care of me,” Louis sighed against his mouth, scratching at Harry’s hair.

“It is my lifelong pleasure to care for you, my love,” Harry said. His voice had gone rougher, closer to his natural growl, and it made Louis laugh.

“You’re so ancient,” Louis sighed, “Fuck me harder, old man.”

Harry growled, the sound of it making the bed tremble, and Louis whined as he thrusted harder, his hips snapping hard against Louis’s own. The bed shook like an earthquake, and Louis gripped hard onto Harry’s skin, digging his nails in.  Harry could feel Louis’s body seizing up hard and tight over his enlarged cock, milking every inch of it and holding it in, taking every bit of it. His husband writhed between him, pushing hard against Harry’s sides with his generous thighs, arching up into Harry’s body, gasping and whining loudly.

Harry had been in the audience at the first performances of some of the most famous composers in history – Mozart, Bach, Chopin. And nothing had ever been sweeter to his ears than Louis’s cries and moans.

He kept pushing in, feeling the tightness, reveling in the sweat and flush on Louis’s skin, the way the skin of his belly pulled tight over the slight bulge Harry’s cock was leaving. He gasped weakly when he left Louis’s short nails manage to pierce his own skin, the dark purple of it no doubt gathering over Louis’s hands.

“Harry,” Louis cried out, pushing his hips up hard, “Harry!”

Harry pushed himself, lifting his hands. Louis’s head was pressed firmly into his pillow but his body had gone vertical and rigid, and Harry grabbed to hold his back, grip onto one of his ample cheeks. Louis’s body shook as Harry pushed hard into him, his swollen balls flush against Louis’s arse.

“Come for me,” Harry whispered, “Let me see you, come for me.”

Louis whimpered and his body trembled like ocean waves, his muscles twitching and contracting, his hard pink cock sputtering and send sticky white all over himself. Harry groaned, brought his mouth down to lap at it with a forked tongue.

“Stunning,” he murmured, “Like a work of art, you are. All mine.”

“All yours,” Louis echoed, his voice shot through, “All yours.”

He closed his eyes again and cried harder as Harry came as well, Louis’s belly growing swollen with cum as Harry released into him. Harry kissed under his tight naval and then slowly pushed on his hips, easing him back down onto the mattress. Louis turned his head, his earrings flashing once more. He reached for Harry’s face, his blood-covered fingers searching for his mate’s face, already draining of its otherworldly features.

“Thank you,” Louis murmured, “Thank you.”

“You do not need to thank me. But you’re welcome,” Harry smiled. He encompassed Louis’s face in his own hands, and the man smiled at him as Harry drank him in. Sharp cheeks, brilliant summer-sky eyes, caramel skin, eternally twenty-one years old.

As Harry held him, he didn’t tell Louis he loved him again. He just brought his lips down to Louis’s and kissed him, slow and softly, taking in every ridge of Louis’s mouth, every sharp tooth, every flick of his tongue.

He would have time to tell Louis he loved him. They had all of eternity to do that.