"That's not going to be enough for you."
Purred into his ear, the words sent a tremor down Lasswell's spine that had nothing to do with the sweet scarlet benediction sliding down his throat, nor even the arm thrown around his ribs that held him in place. Unnerved, reluctant, he still lifted his head away from the slash above Sephiroth's collarbone -- so surgically placed -- and stared into the man's slitted eyes.
Those eyes glowed faintly in the dimness of their passage-prison, wierdling and tempting. Lasswell licked stray droplets from his mouth, self-consciously, and waited; but not for long. Even in the dimness he could so easily see the thin mad smile as Sephiroth spoke again.
"You heard me. We're down here until the rest clear out the rubble, and you haven't tapped me for more than mouthfuls. When do you plan to feed yourself? Another two days? More?
"You think you'll last long enough? Not likely to happen."
Lasswell stared. This was the most lucid he'd ever heard Sephiroth speak since he'd summoned the man. Yet there was still, beneath the veneer of sensibility, still something ... no, wait. The richness lingering in Lasswell's mouth turned sharp and sour as he realized what was -- who was being excluded from that little recital.
"What about you? Don't think I didn't catch the omission --"
Sephiroth's laughter brought Lasswell up short. Then Sephiroth dropped the loosely restraining arm he'd slung around Lasswell as he drank, gesturing widely -- taking in the feeble phosphorescence of the magelights, the half-smoothed walls of the cave chamber, the rockfall and its smaller siblings, his own battered legs -- in a single motion that was almost lazy, almost a benediction.
"Myself? Don't concern yourself over me. I'll join with the world and it into myself if it comes to that, perhaps, and you'll summon me back again. But until that time, Lasswell --"
Sephiroth surged suddenly away from the stone wall, seized the startled Lasswell's shoulder, locked his mouth to the knight's, still stained with his blood. Just for a moment; just for long enough.
"-- Until then, I'll be your messiah."
He let Lasswell go again, settled back against the stone.
"Now pick up a blade larger than my hand this time. You're going to need it."
He meant ...
Lasswell shook his head, hair rippling like a flag in a windstorm. Sephiroth meant ...
"You will. How is it different than draining me by mouthfuls? And I know how much you enjoy that, you realize. You can't hide it, not from me."
Green eyes like witchfires gleamed.
"So consider this a gift. Do it."
Before he'd finished speaking Sephiroth was pulling the ragged remnants of his longcoat free, exposing pale skin surprisingly free of bruising from the rockfall's assault. Scrubbing at his mouth, watching the man, Lasswell felt his pulses surge and his breath hitch. There was ... it was a sound argument, in its way. It was That was the terrible, terrible clarity of it.
And ... there was something about Sephiroth, something in him, in every drop that crossed Lasswell's lips, that was alluring as it was. But drinking from a carefully placed puncture was one thing -- what Sephiroth offered was -- it was ...
It was unthinkable. But he himself, he was already unnatural by his own needs, wasn't he? Was it, truly, not so different? Lasswell's gaze traveled to the still sluggishly-welling wound so close to the man's throat, weeping scarlet tears down that pale skin, and he heard the low mad laughter once again while Sephiroth watched where his attention strayed. It echoed weirdly in time with the roaring of his own heartbeat in his ears.
"If you sit there and do nothing I'll take the choice out of your hands altogether. I'm sure you know this."
Of course he would. Lasswell licked his lips quickly.
"... If you die, you'll -- that body's going to disappear. That's not exactly useful for any kind of --"
"Then you're going to have to work by stages, aren't you. Living meat lasts longer. Now pick up a blade and make your choice."
It was wrong. It was wrong, surely. It was also tempting and the days had been so long and hollow already and there was no doubt in Lasswell's mind that Sephiroth knew that, with that thin cunning smile and the knowing look in those eyes. So tempting, and after so long trapped in the half-dark ...
And -- he'd said that ...
The sound of leather and flesh against stone snapped Lasswell back to attention; Sephiroth, making good on his threat to lever himself within reach of ... of ... Lasswell wasn't sure, his monster of a sword maybe, but the man still smiled that maddening, burning smile.
Lasswell swore and moved the few paces to snatch up the dirk he carried as sidearm. Chuckling, Sephiroth settled back a second time.
"Ready now, are you?"
Yes, damn it, he was ready. It shamed him, unnerved him, but a sudden jolt of fire along his veins compelled him, and he was ready and, if this was how he'd damn himself, so be it. And he could fancy he could already taste on his tongue ...
Sephiroth shrugged his hair out the way, lifted an arm lazily. Lasswell eyed him, measuring.
A flash of steel in the dimness; the sound of a razor's edge striking home through yielding flesh. Sephiroth did not flinch -- hardly flickered those pale lashes -- as he struck. And it was a kind of beauty, it seemed to Lasswell, how pale skin and darkly promising flesh beneath curved away from the severed muscle and deeper bone of Sephiroth's forearm in a shiver of richly crimson blood. reflexively Lasswell scooped up the morsel with his free hand and, amused, Sephiroth studied the hollow left in his flesh as the blood began to flow --
"Shallow. You're being too timid."
-- though he, with a chuckle, tugged a strap free from the ruins of his coat to stem the crimson tide. Lasswell, was, after all, occupied with other thoughts, thought revolving around what was to come next.
What would it be like? Lasswell's fingers moved of their own accord as the thought wended through his mind, slicing the smooth muscle into slivers with the bloodied dirk. A second thought occurred, not to be wasteful; he paused, licked the blade clean once, twice, then turned his attention to the tidbits now cradled in his hand. Delicate dainties, blood-crimson and darkly shining, faced with a pale skin like some exotic fruit of richness and desire like a gift offered up to him.
The first sliver of warm flesh went slowly, hesitantly still, between his teeth, some small part of him still reluctant, before the sweet-salt headiness struck him and shook him. The second, and those following, went far swifter, each slippery morsel velvet against his tongue and sweet with that indescribable presence; and Lasswell couldn't even mind -- could not find it to care -- the low throaty laughter from Sephiroth, who watched his every move.
It did not take long. And that was a great deal of blood, it seemed to him, pooling and trailing down Sephiroth's bared arm. Setting the dirk aside, Lasswell moved in closer and, without a word, applied mouth and tongue to bloodstained skin, working his way from curling fingers downward; grazing teeth and tongue across the tendons of Sephiroth's wrist as he worked upwards and came in the end to the wound itself, warm and inviting.
Sable hair spilled over silver as Lasswell lapped at rawness of the flesh there, then -- ever so delicately -- brought teeth to bear. He heard Sephiroth' liquid murmuring and still did not care; his attention was on the salt velvet of muscle against his tongue and the flesh of warmth, the roaring in his veins.
"I won't be moving from here.
"Next time, go lower."
The low whisper licked into his ear, teasingly, promisingly.
"You need more than this to put an end to me, Lasswell. Why don't I demonstrate that to you? And you'll live and take me with you, don't you worry. I'll be everything you need ..."
Blindly, Lasswell groped for the dirk. He barely lifted his head clear before carving away another portion, widening the wound that marred Sephiroth's skin by a crescent moon of flesh, pale and bleeding sweetly as it lay against the flat of the blade. There was no delicate dissection this time, but mouthfuls taken straight from the knife, quick and demanding and ravenous.
Then, heavy-lidded, Lasswell dropped the dirk again -- the blade pressed against Sephiroth's thigh as if promising later attentions -- while he leaned in to batten onto the puncture nestled so close to that pale throat, to bite at the scarlet tears and drink freely, his hair falling around them both in a curtain of darkness.