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The door closes with a click, the lock turns, and Duyere once again finds himself all alone.

It’s a good thing. A bad thing.

In what felt like no time at all and an eternity, Zulwarn’s influence on his mind left—intentionally, he’s sure. What amusement is there in keeping an unaware pet? That’s exactly the sort of thing Faulkner would think.

He sighs, grips the headboard until his fingers ache, and sits up to take stock of this time.

A few new bruises have been added to his collection. Hand prints on his wrists and thighs, overlapping old marks. Semen beneath his butt, greasing the cheeks.

He hadn’t even done anything to earn the bruises. He knows better than to resist by now. But that’s just Faulkner again, all over---not because he has to, but because he wants to.

The most troubling thing left behind, however, is this uneasiness in his body. The undecided stiffness between his legs. This feeling shames him, this sight shames him, for how can this happen after being used by the man who killed his father, Matisse, the Empire?

Perhaps Zulwarn’s influence lingers in him more than he thought. Or perhaps it results from the environment he’s trapped in. He has seen no one else since his imprisonment and given not so much as a book to distract his mind with. Faulkner’s hands on him, his fists, his cold voice, and the rape are all the stimulation he has, sick as they are.

To a neglected body, heat is heat, regardless of the source… if Duyere thinks of the situation like that, it’s more bearable. Being hit is still touch. Being mocked is still hearing someone else’s voice. And sex is the most intimate of connections, even in this brutal form.

So it’s really no wonder why his body reacts like this, or why deep down, in the midst of hating himself, he misses Faulkner when he leaves.

Heat is still heat.

For the first time in his captivity, he touches himself. It feels good, yet disgusting. Somehow he gets harder. His member fills out in his palm. Warming up. He leans into the headboard and looks up at the ceiling, eyes closed tight. It’s not like he hasn’t done this before at all. Get it over with.

The pace picks up once he begins to pre-come. Skin on skin glides smoothly, making loud, wet noises, bringing back memories of before, some only a few years back. There had been something satisfying in such a loud notice of arousal, and he’d never needed to worry about being interrupted in his own suite.

Orgasm hits like a punch in the gut, with the force of all the tension he’s accumulated. Sunbursts go off behind his eyelids. All he can keep moving is his hand; everything else stiffens and pauses. His ribs ache over his starved lungs.

Then, with a hard exhale, everything is released. He relaxes back, chest heaving, shoulder blades spreading. Now there’s semen on top of him too, on his belly and in his hands, in his wiry pubic hair. He sucks off whatever he can and rubs the rest into his flesh. Whatever he feels, the need to do, no reason for Faulkner to know of it, even though a cowering, unthinking part of his brain believes he somehow will. Not like magic, but like

(a god)

his father had always known when he misbehaved.


He turns and curls up on himself, noting the fatigue of his body, and the sweat like he had just finished sparring instead of masturbating. Another thing he’s missed. Stretches work out the daily kinks, but it’s not the same.

All he can do now is wait. For his next meal, if Faulkner decides to give it to him. A one-sided conversation, the verbal parading of his father’s corpse, of his sister, his grandmother. The next brutality of his body.

Duyere fears it, but there is anticipation. Heat is heat.