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be not afraid of the quiet dead

Chapter Text



Part One




The citadel in Icecrown is huge. Spare and bright, it's icy from spire to stay, with two notable exceptions - the velvety dens in which the san’layn dwell with their glassy-eyed victims, and a small wing of ordinary seeming rooms that Arthas was assured by those with the affinity for it would allow no mage cast within their walls. Kel’thuzad had secured the space at his request, without question or inquiry beyond how many rooms it should encompass. So there are three full suites, sealed from the reach of any arcane power. So far, he has only a single prisoner.

Though that may change. There are a few people he can think of who would be a great boon to his forces, should such an opportunity present itself again.

And how opportune Silvermoon had been - delicate spires and intricate golden patterns on everything, smashed like the finest glass beneath his fists. A triumph to delight in when so little can, now; so many of his emotions are muted, trapped behind a thick and clouded glass except when edged with something darker to throw them into relief. He remembers the full force of jealousy, of spite, but affection and happiness are impossible to call forth except that they’re encircled by the former, and even still fade towards cold static to be forgotten unless he draws them out. He has no regrets - he has gained far more than he lost, and soft is very much like weak.

Anasterian had fallen as quickly to Frostmourne’s endless hunger as his rangers and magisters before him; Arthas had no quarrel with the old man, but he also had no need of him. But his bright and shining son, who had stood spitting fire and hatred at the gates of the city - for him, Arthas held malice aplenty. And for him, this airy and well-appointed dungeon had been created, to keep still in time and extract satisfaction when and howsoever he might wish.

Kael had been so proud and determined, before Arthas had stolen consciousness away. Exactly the sort of figure to inspire, for his people to stand tall and rallied behind. The repetition of horror on so many faces from their citizens to the raging grief of the old King, held against Arthas on his horse in a parody of tenderness, that they might recognize him sooner - that had made the whole thing even better than he’d imagined, sweet and heady as his first boyhood mouthfuls of honeyed mead.

“Maybe I shall take your throne the traditional way,” he’d called to one of the Magisters, grim and wrathful where his fellows were scattering, increasingly obvious in their terror, “you think your prince would make a good queen?”

He'd laid a kiss on Kael’s warm brow, held eye contact and laughed as the magister had screamed, incoherent with rage. His fellows had dragged him through a portal with them as they all abandoned their red and gold home to its fate, and it had been disappointing to see him go without the opportunity to dispatch the man himself. He was strong, fierce - Frostmourne may have been slaked, for a further, bare moment. The great sword sits now quiescent at his hip, no more an implacable background hum in his mind, quieter even than the constant, cold presence of his liege.

The halls seem empty at first glance as he nears his goal, but even in this far-flung an area it is not unguarded - shades and gargoyles permeate all corners, visible in the rafters to those who know how to look.

When Arthas enters the room, Kael sits pensive by one of the great, frost-rimed windows overlooking Corp’rethar. He rises to meet him, fingers of one hand grazing the tabletop as he pulls himself to full height - he's taller than Arthas, though not by much. He's been reduced in the weeks since his capture, line of cheekbones and jaw just a little sharper than they were, but he holds himself still and sets his face to an expression of calm, lofty arrogance. Even so, trepidation is stamped so deep it shows through at his edges, like a drop-sheet hints at the furniture beneath.

“What do you mean to accomplish by keeping me here?” his voice is whip-sharp, and Arthas doesn't even try to help himself - he smiles. He'd not quite decided when he began his trek through the Citadel, but seeing the way he holds himself decides the matter.

“A great number of things, Prince Kael’thas,” he returns with mocking formality, “and you'll become aware of them only as it's convenient to me.”

That stillness breaks, and Kael punches him square in the face. It's a good punch - nice form, economic movement, and Arthas’ head snaps back.

He comes up laughing.

Arthas was already powerful before his metamorphosis, broad and well muscled with paladin training, but there's an extra edge to his strength now - a dulling of pain and a lack of fear that caused his strength to explode.

He's prepared for the next move, bats Kael’s fists away with very little effort and spins him with a hard hand on his shoulder and a forceful shove in the middle of his back has him sprawled face-first across the table.

The glow of his eyes make them seem to literally blaze as he wrenches his head around to look at him, teeth bared. He struggles until Arthas seizes one of his wrists, fine-boned and easy to break, twist an arm around to pin painfully far up his back. Kael goes still, glaring balefully up at him.

He doesn't seem to have caught on to Arthas’ purpose, though. He's angry, but not yet afraid; his struggling lacks the desperate edge Arthas searches for.

His long hair is a mess, some of it caught under his arm, holding his head back at a difficult angle. Arthas lets up the pressure just enough to pull it back with his free hand, let it run through his fingers like water, or the liquid golden depths of the Sunwell - his very own, taken square and in full. That baleful stare fades a little as he does, just enough to let confusion shine through.

“Tell me, princeling,” Arthas asks him, “how many men have you bent over for? I won't flatter myself to think I could be the first.”

“You will not,” Kael says, harsh and a little high - does he think Arthas one of his citizens, to be ordered around so? Does he think himself in a position to negotiate?

He actually manages to draw his arm free and slip out, throw himself sideways in the little bit of space created by Arthas’ surprise. He may not be as strong, not by a long shot, but he's slippery. No matter - he’ll find no hidden weakness in the lines of these rooms.

Arthas has refrained from using anything but his own raw strength until this point, not for deliberate choice, just convenience - it hadn't been necessary to do otherwise. But now, as Kael darts across the room, he reaches for the slippery shadows that gather to him so easily, and slams Kael back, puts him down as he was and holds him to the table with that dark, ethereal grip tight on the back of his neck. Ignoring his choked objections completely, Arthas pushes his robe up, divests him of the thin pants mages seem to favor, and bares him to the air.

He has a fucking fantastic ass hidden beneath all that cloth, high and firm, attractively rounded. Not as pale as Arthas would have thought, either - that light golden tone apparently not a gift of sunlight, but simply his natural born coloration. His skin is also surprisingly unmarked from what Arthas can see of it, despite his certainly having been trained in sword-work, none of the same lattice of scars and dips he bears from years of practice and it's indulgently soft to the touch over lean, hard muscle.

Kael’s saying something frantic, about honor or decency or some such nonsense. It’s distracting. “If I wanted your permission, I would ask for it,” Arthas tells him, and kicks his legs apart.

He grabs one cheek of that firm ass, keeps his legs apart by grasping his thigh tight in the other, and passes the pad of his thumb back and forth over Kael’s hole, watching the deep, peachy skin quiver in response. He pushes against it slowly and when his thumb breeches his tight ring to slip suddenly inside, Kael lets out a single horrified, choked-off cry. He jerks, but the ethereal hand on his neck and Arthas’ own fingers biting into the meat of his thigh mean it doesn't help him any.

“I'm going to fuck you now,” Arthas tells him, “so you should probably try to relax.”

Arthas frees himself quickly, already fully roused by the desperation in Kael’s snarls, and the attractive planes laid bare by his own hand through force and victory. He spits into his palm, smears it onto the head of his dick in a token effort to mitigate the worst of his intentions, but doesn't bother beyond that - there’s nothing of lovemaking, here.

Kael has largely shut up, breathing gone rapid and shallow - maybe held a shade too tight by death’s grip, maybe simple panic. It's hard to tell.

It's difficult to push in - too dry, uncomfortable, and scorchingly hot against his own still newly cold skin. Beneath him, Kael’s ears pin flat against his head, and air hisses from him as Arthas seats himself deep inside the tight channel of his ass. He’s reminded of nothing so much as a barn cat caught unawares.

Arthas leans over him, holds his wrists to the table level with his shoulders, and lets go of that wisp of darkness. Kael makes a high, croaking sort of noise, and starts struggling again, if more weakly. It's pleasing, in its way, the helplessness of that movement. And pleasing too when he seems to give up, tense and still as Arthas drives relentlessly into him. When he sees the glimmer of tears on those long, pale lashes, he wants to lick them away, taste the salt of victory on his tongue.

But his sense of taste is largely gone anyway, or at least much reduced, so he doesn't bother.

Those ridiculous long ears are limp, wilted as the grass stalks left to die in the wake of his army’s march on Kael’s delicate, overly dramatic city, and Arthas feels giddy on the high of his clear humiliation, grows fast and erratic in his fucking into this fucking elf who thought to try to take what was his.

He could crow, could laugh and devour him whole, feast on the hot meat of him for the joy of it. His orgasm is building, approaching fast and raw and as Arthas gets closer he leans down to bite one of those bladed ears, hard and high.

Kael squeals with shock and pain, wrenches his head away so abruptly that skin tears, separates against his teeth and he's left with a gush of thick, hot blood in his mouth, flesh caught against his incisors, and he comes like he's dying again, a rush of cold so intense he’s blinded and lost to the maelstrom.

He comes back to himself lying across Kael, fine tremors against his fingertips - he'd tightened his grip unconsciously around his wrists. Arthas lets them go, pushes himself up and off entirely, pulls himself free with a grimace. For all he enjoyed it at the time, his dick feels rather raw in the aftermath.

Kael lays limp, long lashes cobwebbing against flushed cheeks, and when Arthas steps away he straightens up painfully. His robe falls back in place, long enough it hides he's still naked beneath it, and leans his back against the wall, hands held to his chest protectively. Small, petal-shaped bruises will bloom around them over the next few days, a mockery of shackles when nothing so banal could hope to hold him captive.

His ears are still back further than normal, and the one Arthas bit bleeds freely, a jagged hank torn from that perfect, up-swept curve, bright red river running clear to his shoulder already. It will scar, and there'll be no hiding it - Arthas thinks of cattle, ears notched for ownership, and laughs.

Kael opens his eyes at the sound, though he doesn't look at him. He's much smaller, like this. More fragile, and Arthas knows now that the lean planes of his chest and the striking arrogance of his usual countenance are nothing more than a spun-glass illusion of strength. It almost touches something in him, where pity might have resided before Frostmourne bore his weaknesses and doubts far away.

Arthas catches Kael’s chin, turns his face up so he’s forced to look at him.

He’s gimlet-eyed and defiant, still, though Arthas is quite certain he's created a fault line. That just in this moment, it would not take much more to shatter him like the crystal he is - pretty, expensive, useless for any real purpose.

“Remember this, next you seek to take something of mine.” Hatred twists his face as Arthas looks him over, and he’s satisfied with that. Let the fire of it reform him. “I have great plans for you, little prince, so don't sulk.”