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Take It There

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 Songspiration:  Cola, by CamelPhat, Elderbrook, Robin Schultz Remix

 

 

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11:09 pm. Saturday night in the SoDo.

 

Icy rain fell in sheets, illuminated in the artificial halos of streetlamps. Rey peered out of the cab window, squinting through the deluge to map the route to her destination. She thanked the driver and flipped her hood over her head, exiting fast to make a mad dash down the alley. Her footfalls sent up small splashes as she ran, dodging deeper puddles to finally dart beneath the shelter of an incongruous awning.

 

At the back of the alcove was a set of heavy double doors, nondescript but for the red hieroglyphic symbols that crawled vertically down their surface. A beefy man in a bomber jacket stood at the threshold, his arms crossed and expression guarded by a mirrored pair of sunglasses. To his left was a built-in, glass-fronted booth housing a sullen cashier.

 

Rey glanced at the bouncer from under her hood, making eye contact before approaching the pale girl in her dimly-lit booth. Neither smiled, which suited her just fine.

 

She wasn’t here to make friends.

 

An exchange of bills and several swipes of a wand later and she was pushing through the double doors and into another world entirely. She paused, her eyes adjusting to the dimness. The heavy pound of percussion vibrated through her body like an old lover come around, and Rey bit back a satisfied smile.

 

The club was a throbbing, cavernous wonderland – just the way she liked – a perfect place to disappear.

 

She located the coat check and discarded her wet jacket before exploring a little. There were several hallways behind her lit with an eerie green light, like portals to unearthly realms. A long bar thronged with people sat to the left, while the dancefloor opened up to the right, taking up the majority of the vast warehouse.

 

Rey ignored the bar entirely, passing through banks of dappled fog to skirt around the frothing sea of dancers.

 

Reaching a back wall, she leaned back against it and scanned the scene with hooded eyes. The DJ perched above the action in his crows-nest booth, and half-naked dancers contorted in cages. On the far wall was a stage. She could make out various props set up there: lengths of chain swinging above the raised platform, sporting an assortment of manacled bars. A glorified sawhorse-contraption and various other paraphernalia. From the look of it, there was to be some kind of BDSM show later.

 

Her eyes passed dismissively over the setup, moving on to that which drew her in the first place: the floor. Emerald laser lights lanced through the thick fog as the music began its abduction. Her hum of bliss went unheard as the rush of energy bled through her muscles, infecting her. The relentless beats drove that antsy feeling higher with each passing second, demanding she move.

 

Setting a water bottle down against the wall, she gave in to it, shimmying out to the edge of the floor. Her slender arms joined the ranks, raising up in anticipation, hips beginning to swing as the heavy, repetitive percussion built into an unsustainable frenzy. When the beat dropped, her eyes closed and she was a goner. There in the altered reality of the club, all her cares dissolved as she became a live conduit for restless energy. The music was in her, and she obeyed - her body undulating to the jagged beats, head tossing, lips parted blissfully.

 

This. This was the reason she came to these stash-spot industrial clubs: complete anonymity and utter submersion.

 

Disappearing among the throngs of drugged-out kids, she found deliverance from the stresses of her life, giving herself over to the high born of tireless, frantic dance. Nobody gave a fuck who she was, and nobody bothered her. This sort of place wasn’t for hooking up or socializing  - it was for sweating your kidneys out into sweet oblivion. Rey found the release crazy-addictive, and she came back to it time and again, losing herself in the synthetic beats, dancing until her clothes were soaked and body threatened to collapse from sheer exhaustion.

 

She was caving to a heavy mix of darkwave synth when she saw him.

 

He stood out because he wasn’t dancing, a tall figure frozen in place as sweaty club kids writhed about him, oblivious to the statue-like man in their midst. She frowned slightly, struck by the odd sight. The strobes flickered hypnotically, freezing frames in their brightness.

 

As she stared, his eyes lit a terrible red. She blinked and the unnerving color vanished. The lights were messing with her spun pupils. Had to be...but even so...

 

He was watching her.

 

Her frenetic pace slowed to a series of distracted undulations, watching him back with muted interest. He was handsome in a way that promised trouble. His pale skin virtually glowed in contrast to hair so black it looked blue. His eyes were very dark, though she couldn’t really tell the color what with all of the light effects.

 

Red, her mind supplied sarcastically.

 

He had a charismatic look that belied the ink that crept tantalizingly up the side of his neck, hinting at much more hidden under the collar of his black leather jacket.

 

The man was tall, looming over the kids around him - a modern-day Adonis, his white t-shirt stretched over wide pectorals that tapered to a solid, V-shaped build.

 

With his distinctive looks and height, he belonged in a GAP photo spread, not standing rooted amongst a throng of sweat-soaked, tweaked-out dancers.

 

Hot as he was, she shivered.

 

Something was off. The way he was looking at her was intense, unwavering, focused. He had the kind of dark, unblinking stare that made you feel pinned in place from way across the room, and it was having an effect. She realized she’d stopped dancing and was now standing stock-still, as if he’d cast some kind of creepy-ass spell.

 

This guy was ruining her vibe.

 

She found herself frowning in annoyance, unwilling to admit that his behavior was disturbing. Turning her back, she snatched her water bottle from the ground and tipped it to her lips, muttering curses. Rey took her time drinking, hoping that when she looked again, he’d have moved on.

 

When she turned back around, he stood a foot away staring down at her, having crossed the distance with preternatural speed.

 

She squeaked, stumbling back against the cool cement wall in surprise. Recovering herself quickly, she brushed the plastered strands from her forehead and leaned toward him aggressively, twisting her features into the best rendition of pissed-off she could muster.

 

“What the fuck, dude? You need to back it up!” she spat, her eyes flashing.

 

One corner of his generous mouth turned up in a smirk, a completely inappropriate reaction to her anger. He leaned forward, forcing her retreat as he cupped an ear like he couldn’t hear her. His voice was deep, almost metallic, and his eyes sparkled with amusement.

 

“You want me to do what?” he asked with a sidelong glance. “Did you say you want me to...back it up?”

 

His amusement only served to piss her off further, and her scowl deepened. This guy was a serious dickhead.

 

Up close, the details of his face were way too clear: a scattering of moles over pale skin, strong nose, dusky eyes framed by low brows. The knuckles of both of his hands crawled with strange symbols, the tattoos appearing black against his fair skin. What a creep.

 

He was completely ignoring both her words and body language, towering over her and boxing her in.

 

Rey did her best to hide it behind her scowl, but uneasiness had its icy finger upon her breast, and the chill was spreading with each second that passed. He was so much bigger than she and had no qualms about her upset.

 

Instead of backing off, he stared down at her with a hungry expression, his intensity meter cranked to 110%. Much as she hated to admit it, it was unnerving. She felt her muscles tensing as she prepared to bolt sideways and not stop until she was as far as she could get from this asshole.

 

He must have seen her intent, for his expression devolved into something truly predatory as he locked his forearms at her sides, using his superior size to trap her up against the wall.

 

“Oh no. You aren’t going anywhere,” he stated, frightfully calm and assured.

 

She stared up at him with wide green eyes, shocked by such a bold move. Her heart pounded against her ribs, and she wished for the first time she hadn’t mouthed off to him. Her gaze darted over his broad shoulders, hoping somebody was seeing what was happening, but the same obliviousness that welcomed her into its fold now forsook her. With a sinking feeling, she shifted her attention back to him. Her captor.

 

His attention was hyper-focused on her, and she felt the drip of true fear begin to slide down her spine. The club bumped around them, pitching into black as spindly white laser beams sliced erratically through the air.

 

“Something about backing it up…?” he drawled, his smile barely visible in the fractured darkness.

 

She watched with dawning dread as his hand shot out to the side, fingers widened in a gesture for those behind him to stop…

 

A strange rushing filled her ears, like the sound of wind becoming a gale. Then all at once, it cut off. An abrupt termination. It took only a millisecond, her mind tripping over itself as she perceived the wrongness. Her ears rang in the sudden silence.

 

What the fff--

 

Words, even those in her mind, utterly failed.

 

Her heart spasmed as she stared over his shoulder.

 

Everything and everyone had stopped.

 

The back of her neck crawled as fine hairs stood on end, her body physically responding to the eerie stillness. Her eyes moved dazedly over dancers paused in motion. Colored beams slanted through unmoving plumes of fog. The DJ was a statue that guarded frozen turntables. She stared in bewilderment as her eyes spotted tiny dust motes suspended in flight. All of reality had just been halted as easily as hitting the pause button of a remote.

 

She heard herself swallow noisily, her mind failing to understand how this place of overwhelming sound, light, and movement had been brought low by a simple gesture. Fighting, and loosing.

 

Overwhelmed, she closed her eyes, beginning to whimper as panic flooded her veins, cold and paralyzing. Her hand crept up to pinch herself viciously, bidding herself to wake up, her mind babbling that this had to be some kind of fucked-up dream…

 

A large hand tipped her face up and a gravelly voice cut through the silence.

 

“Is that ‘backed up’ enough for you?”

 

She wrenched her chin from his touch, making to bolt. Large hands gripped her biceps, slamming her back into place against the wall.

 

His voice slid through her mind like a snake in a cradle. Leaving so soon?

 

Her wide, frightened eyes met his stare and she quailed, realizing he hadn’t spoken out loud, but that she’d heard him anyway. Realizing that, in all this vast cavern of horrors, they alone remained animated and unaffected.

 

He’d isolated her.

 

His gaze was alive once more with sanguine red, and her knees liquified as it dawned...he wasn’t entirely human.

 

Every second she remained left her more immobile as secrets were revealed in that bottomless gaze: ancient, malevolent, powerful, hungry. She shrank against the wall, wishing she could slip free of the vise of his hands and merge with it.

 

Her eyes fluttered with the need to faint, incapacitated as he lowered his mouth to hers.

 

Their lips met.

 

Her heartbeat shorted as a bolt of electricity zipped up her spine. It was involuntary—the way she arched in shock against him, her head tipping back to give him better purchase.

 

That jolt awoke every nerve ending and they hummed at attention like well-trained pets. Like she was attuned to him. Locked in her head, Rey let herself scream. His tongue was hot and wet as it plundered the cavity of her mouth, lips ravishing her with the most sensual moves, and she!—she didn’t fight, her mouth opened against her will as she allowed the kiss.

 

Rey moaned in real confusion as her body reacted all wrong. Languid pleasure spread through her bloodstream, and she felt herself throb in unsanctioned arousal as a surge of wetness dampened her panties.

 

Her whimper morphed into a muffled sob of dismay. How was this happening?!

 

He paused his assault, breaking their contact to hum in pleasure - a cocky, triumphant growl. Thus released, she lowered her head and gasped for air, one hand rising between them to press unsteady fingers into her temple. She stared at the strip of white tee shirt peeking from the dark leather of his jacket, seeing nothing as she clawed desperately at her departing sanity.

 

He chuckled, well-aware of the effect his touch was having.

 

It was that mocking laugh that galvanized her, breathing life into her frozen limbs. When he allowed just a fraction of space between them, she summoned every ounce of courage and took a wild chance.

 

Utilizing the moves from that long-ago self-defense class, she drove her knee up between his legs as hard as she could, hitting him squarely in the balls. Success was sweet as the air left him in a whoosh and he doubled over, cupping his crotch. His jaw lined up beautifully to catch the quick swing of her elbow, and her boot descended with a furious stomp on the top of his foot. Then she was pivoting lightning-fast, dashing away from him with all of her fright as jet fuel.

 

She didn’t look back as she fled through the surreal scene, darting between bodies frozen in whatever action they'd been in the middle of.

 

His voice cracked like a whip behind her, causing her to crash into a club-goer, the impact sending the stiff body toppling to the floor.

 

“Yesssss, run—make me work for it.”

 

His implied promise had her doubling her efforts, fleeing in concerted panic. There was no destination, anywhere was good. Anywhere, so long as it was away from him, away from that voice, those eyes, that logic-defying kiss and the fucked-up effect it had on her.

 

She careened through the crowd, bouncing off of frozen people, humans who had not moments ago been alive, enjoying a Saturday night out.

 

Mannequins, her mind blubbered, desperately trying to cope with the insanity. They crowded the floor, effectively hindering any direct escape, much as they would have in a world where the laws of physics and logic still applied.

 

Risking a backward glance, she keened like a wounded thing.

 

He followed

 

A bar materialized and she darted under the counter flap, searching for something, anything she could use as a weapon. Short-lived relief lit through her as she spotted a paring knife near a bowl of cut limes, turning in time to see him saunter up to the bar opposite her, cocky and self-assured. She brandished the knife with hands that shook, baring her teeth like a cornered cat as she flattened herself against the shelves of liquor.

 

“You look like a tall drink of water,” he rasped, “and I’m thirsty.” His eyes shone red for a moment, flashing at her like discs of brimstone.

 

“What the living fuck are you?” she hissed.

 

His debonaire smile had no soul; he looked at her with the flat, hungry appraisal of a reptile regarding its next meal.

 

Without looking away, he delicately lifted a lit cigarette from the fingers of a girl frozen next to him. Lowering his head, he brought it to his lips for a drag. The cherry glowed, casting a hellish tint to his eyes where they narrowed at her. Smoke poured from his lips like a sluggish river, lending an ominous haze to the space between them.

 

“I am your reckoning, Rey,” he growled in that smooth, metallic voice. “You drew my eye, and now I need a taste…”

 

“But I-I don’t understand,” she managed, struggling to hold it together and not break down right then and there.

 

“It’s not for you to understand, mortal girl,” he breathed, casually snuffing the cigarette on the back of its owner's hand.

 

The stench of burnt flesh spread, and Rey’s face crumpled as she choked on a sob, shaking her head in horrified denial.

 

A slow smile spread over his face and he blinked at her very deliberately, as if they were flirting.

 

The smile faded as quickly as it had come, replaced by something else. Her eyes widened as he vaulted over the bar with fluid ease, landing directly in front of her.

 

Without thought, she plunged the knife as deep into his chest as she could, crying out in disgust as she felt it hit a bone.

 

Time held for a moment, his face motionless, and in that pause, she allowed herself the smallest flicker of hope…

 

His eyes flared to hellish red, an evil smirk crossing his lips as he began to lean into the blade, his weight causing her to tremble even more wildly than before.

 

Her hands fell limply to her sides as her head shook in faint disbelief, moving away from him as one dazed. Ohmygod, ohmygod, please no—

 

The hilt of the blade protruded sickeningly from the sculpted expanse of his chest, a dark stain spreading around it like a cloud of ink.

 

“Please,” was all she managed, her whisper cut off as she was seized and tossed into the air like a doll. He was strategic, using the side of her body to clear all glassware as he flipped her onto the bar.

 

She was too winded by the hard landing to do anything but wheeze as he leaped up to straddle her. With a sharp yank, he tugged the knife from his breast. It made a sickening squelch, leaving a ragged tear in his shirt.

 

Don’t do that again,” he warned, shooting her a scathing look as he brandished the blade. It glittered red in the dimness and he brought it to his lips, giving its flat a long, obscene lick front and back.

 

She wanted to cry but couldn't, swallowing as the knife flashed in his hands, suddenly between her breasts. Her breath was a series of terrorized puffs as he slipped it beneath her shirt, sawing at the fabric violently.

 

Her boots were torn from her next, followed by her cargos which he yanked roughly from her legs. When his furious assault finished, she lay before him in nothing but her panties and the tattered remains of her bra and favorite Death Star t-shirt. 

 

He gazed down at her, his stare avid as he drank in the sight of revealed skin against the dark wood of the bar.

 

Rey slid one arm protectively over her breasts, the other over her hips as she shrank before him in abject misery. He allowed it, seeming to relish her pathetic attempts to shield herself from his gaze.

 

She could hear the mild amusement in his voice as he spoke.

 

“So miserable…” he remarked, searching her face with smoky eyes, reading her emotions like script. “You think you’re going to hate every second of this, don’t you…?”

 

She grew still as the statues around her, unbreathing as he lowered his mouth to her ear. His breath was a warm feather against her skin.

 

“My poor baby,” he crooned, sounding deceptively sympathetic before reverting back to true form.

 

“You’re gonna cry when I fuck you. Only not how you think…”

 


 

* * *

Couldn't resist a mention of that GAP campaign spread. Y U M. For those unaware, feast your eyes on the hotness that is:

 

 

 

Glossary

SoDo: The district south of downtown Seattle, mainly industrial.

Chapter Text

 

Songspiration: Where Is Everybody, Nine Inch Nails

 

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She lay against the tacky wood of the bar as he lowered himself, caging her like he had earlier against the wall. Only now, she was naked but for the hipster panties she wore, and the feeling of exposure was unbearable.

 

A trilling cry wrenched from her lips.

 

The lament rang through the stillness, and she was shocked for a second that such an animalistic sound could come from her...and really, that’s all she was—an animal caught as his face drew close, staring her down. His eyes were hungry as he basked in her misery, savoring it like a cat in a sunlit window.

 

She cringed as his large thumb brushed her hair from her brow, gentle as the tip of his tongue snaked out to trace the track of a tear on her cheek. Toying with her. She closed her eyes, unable to watch.

 

“Shhh—” he crooned, breath feathering over her jaw. “You’re in denial.”

 

His concerned tone was but another form of torment. He dispensed false comforts like a consummate abuser, cruelly painting her a damsel in distress and he, her savior.

 

Fucking monster.

 

A tender kiss he pressed near her lips. Then another. A whimper slipped out and she turned her face away, resolute as she called his bluff. Her breathing sped as she felt his energy change, carrying her on a fresh wave of panic.

 

“Hell is right around the corner, angel. Come. I’ll show you...”

 

His teeth found her throat and the false lull was over.

 

Enormous hands slid under the globes of her ass, yanking her hips from the bar and up into his lap. She let out a strangled squeal as she was descended upon, her own petite form eclipsed by his sheer size.

 

All of her fight reignited and she beat at the breadth of his shoulders, scratching and rending as she was ravaged in turn. Her fury began to pale in the wake of his violence as he took great mouthfuls of her, scraping sharp teeth over swiftly bruising skin.

 

He ate at her as one starved, growling as he ground an obscenely large bulge into her sex. She latched onto the pain of his bites, clinging to discomfort for the sake of her sanity as she fought the perverse pleasure that had begun to radiate from his lips, from the massive, hardening cock pressed between her legs.

 

Her mind tripped over itself at the sheer wrongness and she moaned in misery.

 

How the *fuck* was any of this feeling good?!?

 

The throbbing only worsened, and she felt the telltale slickness seep through her folds, heightening her sensitivity. Reality floundered—a sinking ship on an oil-dark sea—and she clung to it as a retched truth dawned. She wanted this.

 

She cried out, venting the violation as she shook her head, denying him, denying her bewitched body, denying this warped dream she found herself in.

 

“No!  Please, no!” she shrieked, her struggles weakening as she felt herself caving, the pain dwindling as pleasure swamped her body.

 

“Stop…” she faltered, feeling her hips twitch, her body hungry to ride the steady thrust of his dick.

 

Please…” she murmured, small, childlike.

 

He only laughed softly against her throat, grinding harder, making her back skid on the sticky bar. His hands caressed her breasts, kneading them, thumbs tracking over dusky nipples that were painfully hard.

 

Sparks of delight mapped her nerve endings, following the path of his fingers, and Rey felt her remaining fight capsize. She gasped and he seized the opportunity, capturing her open lips in a firm kiss, tongue sweeping in to taste her relentlessly. Her groan vibrated through his mouth, pleasure lighting through her to trigger another gush of wetness between her nether lips.

 

He was going to fuck her. Right here, atop a bar. Before a host of people, frozen or not.

 

Her brain galvanized, fighting through the seductive haze.

 

She couldn’t betray herself this way—couldn’t fucking give in so easily.

 

Even as the surface closed over her head, she fought her way back up for one final breath of defiance. Her jaw tensed, closing to bite with every remaining ounce of strength.

 

His hand was in her hair instantly, tightening into a vicious fist and yanking her away even as he reared back.

 

The snap of her teeth rang through the silence, jarring the bones of her cheeks.

 

Her eyes had been instinctively squeezed tight as she bit down. They now flew open to find him staring down with a grim smirk on his flushed lips.

 

“Ah, ah, ah,” he tsked, shaking his head disapprovingly. He lowered his face to hover inches from hers. “If you bite me, I’ll bite back,” he promised ominously. His eyes darkened as his lips peeled back, revealing a white set of normal-looking teeth.

 

Her snort of derision died stillborn as, before her very eyes, his canines elongated into dreadfully long, scythe-like fangs. She choked on her own scream, blinking furiously in disbelief as she tried to unsee the horror that even now was reverting back to normal.

 

Shock was a paralytic. Her eyes unfocused and she went slack in his hold.

 

“Oh god,” she mumbled, her voice cracking. “Oh god, please. This can’t be happening...please, no. Oh, please, no.” Her words trailed off in a fervent whisper, and she felt him sit up, those wretchedly large hands sliding down to pause over her thighs. Against her will, she refocused to see—him, it, whatever the fuck he was—staring down at her with subdued pleasure, swaying slightly like a charmed cobra.

 

“You may call to Him all you like,” he intoned, eyes glowing with interest. “Hearing you do so would give me great pleasure.”

 

Her head rolled limply aside, focusing on the rows of colorful bottles lining the backlit shelves, but there was no mercy in him. A hand shot out and seized her chin, forcing her to look at him.

 

“Only know. He can’t save you from me,” he vowed, his smooth, metallic voice gaining a hard edge.

 

His rough grasp of her chin snapped her out of her despair. She tore her head free of his hand, fixing him with teary-eyed fury. “If that’s how it is, at least get me a drink first,” she hissed.

 

Dark brows shot up in amused surprise, followed by a knowing smirk.

 

“Why, Rey,” he purred silkily, “am I driving you to drink?” he asked, affecting a scandalized tone. “This is so unlike you. Well, go on, then,” he encouraged, “pick your poison.”

 

Her heart was pounding as she eyed the unfamiliar options, trying to think of the strongest spirit she was aware of. Her panicked stare landed on a lurid green bottle, and she recalled reading something about its contents being on the stringent side.

 

“Chartreuse,” she blurted out.

 

His eyebrow arched in recognition. “Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreuse...the only lasting contribution of those pathetic, hypocritical, god-fearing Carthusians.”

 

He was magnanimous, smiling widely as he reached toward the glass shelves to the right.   

 

“A very good choice indeed,” he praised, staring at her as the summoned bottle floated over to land squarely in his palm. With that, he seized her wrist, pulling her abruptly up and into his lap.

 

She couldn’t stifle her gasp as his cock slotted into the cleft of her cunt, applying pressure where she wanted it least. Her clit throbbed embarrassingly. He planned this. Summoning what pathetic vestiges of strength remained, she scowled, bridling at the intimate press of their loins.

 

It only made him hungrier, snaking an arm about her waist and pulling her bare chest flush with his. He leaned close, lowering his voice to just above a whisper. “Oh, are you…?” he broke off, a little smile on his lips as he lapped up the distress that rolled off her in waves.

 

She squirmed, hating the mock surprise in his tone, growing still when the movement made their contact even more arousing.

 

His hips tilted up, reminding her of everything she wished she could forget—the juicy mess of her sex notwithstanding.

 

“Is that wetness...you?”   

 

His warm breath was a whisper over her neck and she shuddered, her pussy tingling with sensation. She pushed weakly at his shoulders, despondent as her body obeyed his call. She might have had more luck were he a marble statue.

 

He thrust lazily again, applying pressure that sent chills of pleasure up her spine. His voice was sensuous and intoxicating, flooding her mind with criminal thoughts.

 

“That’s your body begging for some punishment,” he murmured, biting his full lower lip as he punctuated his assertion with another thrust. “And it shall be delivered. But as you will see, I am a slave to my honor and have first promised you that drink. Allow me to show off my gentlemanly side.”

 

He pulled back, offering her a shot glass filled with the potent green liqueur. She snatched it from his fingers, spilling a little as she knocked it back. The burn hit her and she grimaced, entirely unused to taking shots. Her lips parted, huffing out the alcohol fumes as immediate warmth spread through her belly.

 

“More,” she demanded, shivering at the instant ache of intoxication that spread through her muscles.

 

He cocked his head, withholding the bottle with a sly look. “What will you give me in return?”

 

“I, I’ll—“ she paused, at a loss for anything she’d readily give him. Her brows knitted together, suddenly outraged as she focused on his monstrously handsome face.

 

“What would you have that you won’t take anyway?” she all but yelled.  

 

He remained unruffled. “Something given willingly,” he hedged, “it needn’t be anything serious...something small perhaps—a kiss, or personal belonging…” 

 

She didn’t know if it was the alcohol or his attempt at contrition that did it, but all at once, a reckless fury possessed her. “How in the name of all that is holy am I sitting here bargaining with you—fucking SATAN or something for all I know!” she thundered, her voice spiraling higher. “If you’re gonna fuck up my life by freezing time and—and hunt and molest me like a fucking animal, the LEAST you can bloody do is GET ME DRUNK!”

 

Darkness gathered around his face, turning her fire to ice in an instant. With a sinister smile, he pressed a hard finger into her sternum, pushing her back down with frightening ease to lie flat on the bar.

 

“Very well,” he said, his tone quiet and lethal.

 

In a flash, he flipped the shot glass to sit between her breasts, pouring into it with a celebratory flourish at the end. The liquor splashed her skin, translucent green rivulets dripping down the side of a breast, drawing her gasp.

 

“You did that on purpose,” she accused weakly.

 

“What makes you think so?” he shot back, grasping the hem of his shirt and smoothly pulling it over his head to reveal a swath of tattooed muscular perfection. Her eyes widened. Tilting his head back, he stared down at her with a cold, appraising look, taking her measure of him.

 

Her heart plummetted as she battled a wave of instant attraction. His physique was fucking deadly. The inked designs she’d glimpsed over his collar covered his shoulders and arms. They weren’t blatantly morbid—there were no flames or reapers or skulls, but somehow, the interwoven symbols were worse.

 

She swallowed, trying not to look too closely, and then it hit her—no puncture wound. There was nothing to indicate he’d very recently had a paring knife protruding from the slab of his pectoral; no blood, no torn flesh or gaping hole.

 

Her attention was redirected by the sight of those corded muscles flexing as he crawled forward and reached a hand behind her neck. Gently he pulled her head forward as he brought the shot glass to her lips and tipped it back.

 

She sputtered, struggling to swallow the potent alcohol lying down. When she’d taken all of it, he slammed the emptied glass upside down next to her head, enjoying her flinch. Then, he seized her ribcage in both massive hands, yanking her into an arch.

 

“Now it’s my turn. Give me a taste, little girl.”

 

He lowered his mouth to her skin, tracing the tracks of the sticky liquor with his tongue.

 

Her nails scraped at the wood of the bar as tiny sounds of distress slipped free of her pressed lips.

 

With intent that left no doubt as to his designs, he finished each lingering stroke with a pass over a puckered nipple. Her chest heaved as she endured it, trying valiantly not to give him the satisfaction of her cries.

 

When he’d licked her clean, he latched onto her nipple, sucking as much of her sensitive flesh as he could into his mouth.

 

Her moan was his reward, and she thrashed miserably. The pleasure that radiated from his mouth was impossible.

 

Unable to stand the implication of it all, her hands found his shoulders and she pushed, bracing against him in an attempt to wriggle up the bar and out of his grasp.

 

She was surprised when he didn’t yank her back down, and as his face drew level with her hips, she saw why.

 

His head was down, intent as he stared at her calculatingly.

 

She berated herself for a fool as she realized her mistake.

 

He glanced up with a cat-that-ate-the-canary smirk on those sinful lips.

 

Her muscles tensed to fly but he was one step ahead, one massive palm flying up to cover her navel, pressing her into place.

 

“Always trying to leave before the party even starts,” he scolded. “We’re gonna have to break you of that bad habit of yours.”

 

Holding her down, he lowered his face, nuzzling the soaked spot on her panties and taking a leisurely inhale of her scent. He exhaled through his mouth, flooding her oversensitive flesh with heat.

 

“Mmmmm, you haven’t been fucked in a good long while, have you?” he mused, speaking directly against the wet, polka-dotted cotton that shielded her.

 

Rey whimpered as the vibration of his words triggered several darts of pleasure, her cunt clenching involuntarily. She tried to press her thighs together, but his wide chest was immovable.

 

Her desperation grew as his fingers stroked along the elastic at her groin, hooking under the edge to draw her panties aside.

 

In a blind panic, she reached out her hand, spastically patting along the edge of the bar to close around a cylindrical object.

 

So busy was he with unveiling her that he didn’t notice she’d gone very still.

 

“These panties are darling, by the way,” he observed, as if they were just a couple having a civilized chat. “There’s something about polka-dots on a grown woman that is just, mmmm-”

 

He broke off, looking up as her muscles tensed.

 

Too late.

 

Her swing was good, catching him square in the temple. His head whipped aside with the impact as the bottle exploded in a shower of glass and gin.

 

Taken utterly by surprise, he released his grip on her and she slipped free, vaulting clumsily down and racing between frozen clubgoers for the door. Careening into rock-hard bodies that tumbled stiffly to the floor, she heard an ominous snarl behind her, its sound giving her extra speed.

 

Her bare feet flew over the dirty ground, nimble and quick, and she let out a sob as the exit sign came into view. She didn’t care if she was naked but for her panties, didn’t care that it was thirty-six degrees and raining outside—just please, please, please let her make it through—

 

She closed in on freedom, daring to hope. So close!  Twenty feet. Then ten. Five. Tears blurred her vision as her hands reached out to hit the bar that would release her. She heard it just as her palms hit the cold metal—that warning sound, ominous and low as her ability to move was taken. Her heart staggered like an animal shot.

 

He’d stopped her mid-sprint, frozen like all the club around her.

 

She couldn’t move, not even a twitch, but she could think, and it had to be the ninth ring of hell. Unable to turn or see anything other than what was in front of her, she railed internally, panic a living creature that scurried about, eating her from the inside.

 

His voice was the most terrible thing she’d ever heard—the ominous grate of a blade passing over a whetstone.

 

Reyyyy. You were about to have it so good, baby girl. I was going to show you my sweet side...”

 

Her body was spun around to face him, still completely immobile.

 

He stood twenty feet away, just watching her with eyes that flashed carmine-red. The shadowy outline of dark, feathered wings hung over his shoulders, and her mind wailed in silence.

 

He shook his head with disappointment.

 

“But you are determined to make things hard for yourself—” he paused, crooking a finger in her direction.

 

An invisible string pulled her forward, stopping her in a kneeling position suspended in the air before him. He lifted her head so that she could see his face, look up into those hellish eyes and lament.

 

“My pet name for you was too weak…‘angel’ just doesn’t fit, now does it,” he mused idly.

 

She could do nothing as he gazed down at her, ebony hair dripping gin onto her upturned face.

 

Reaching up, he stroked her cheek, angling for her lips and pushing a finger into her immobilized mouth.

 

She could only dream of biting as he rubbed along her gums, forcing her teeth apart to push lightly at a canine, testing it.

 

His eyes narrowed slightly. “Vixen,” he pronounced, an odd mix of accusation and awe in his voice.

 

That dreadful hand continued its torment, exiting her mouth to trace downward, passing collarbone and sternum to curl lazily about her breast.

 

Her mind sobbed its misery but all she could do was stare. Surely this was the hell described by victims of failed anesthesia—the ability to think and process things around you, but no way to make them register.

 

He cocked his head. “With all of that insolence, I’m starting to think it wasn’t only your pet name I got wrong.” His hand, once gentle, now delivered a stinging slap to the underside of her breast. “I’m starting to think gentle isn’t your preference, Rey…”

 

Her eyes were huge, muscles trembling as she stared beseechingly up at him, unable to react. Salty tears mingled with the juniper-scented drops that ran down her cheeks as she endured an agony of eternity in the span of each second.

 

His unyielding gaze softened into something even scarier. Fondness. “What are you trying to do? he asked softly, “give me the night of my life?”

 

Rey felt all remaining hope exit in a soft sigh, passing from her as a soul departs a body.

 

Now he smiled, wicked as he bent to scoop her up, tossing her decisively over one strong shoulder.

 

Her body was limber and cooperative, molding itself to him and swaying limply as he walked them back into the nightmarishly quiet warehouse, casually patting the back of her thigh. He strolled smoothly between the club-goers, their faces frozen in various expressions, and Rey thought she might faint when she realized where he was going.

 

Ascending the stairs, he brought her onstage, weaving through dangling chains with their various restraints.

 

He stopped before the contraption she'd seen earlier and considered it for an endless moment.

 

A little of her died inside as she was lowered onto the bench, still unable to resist as he arranged her limbs methodically against its upholstered black leather.

 

It positioned her in a jockey’s pose—bent over in a loose kneel with padded rests that braced her knees and forearms. These were equipped with buckled straps that he nimbly locked around her wrists and ankles.

 

When she was caught to his liking, he crouched down where she could see his face.

 

His voice was close to reproachful.

 

“I told you earlier you were in for some punishment, but my, oh my. I didn’t know what a bad little girl I had on my hands...didn’t know we’d have to take it here.”

 

Dread percolated in her belly, a cruel drip of fear for one without the ability to speak or even move. He stroked her head like he would a beloved pet, letting his gaze wander the length of her restrained body and back up to pin her soul.

 

His eyes blackened, danger thickening about him like smoke.

 

“I’m gonna blur the lines, Rey,” he warned, his voice full of dark promise. “You won’t know right from wrong...pleasure from pain. I’m gonna make hell feel like heaven...”

 

His smile was a weapon, sharp and piercing. “Shall we begin…?”




 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

image

 

 

Songspiration: "Take It there," Massive Attack

 

  

 

 

 


 

He snapped his fingers, and Rey’s autonomy returned...along with the rest of the club.

 

Her head whipped up to stare in horror as her heart beat out of her chest. The chair to which she was strapped was angled so that she faced the crowd, making it easy to pan over the sea of dancers. The DJ continued his set right where he’d left off and the dance floor writhed, oblivious to anything out of the ordinary. Toxic dread flooded her bloodstream as her vision broke into dots. No one was the wiser.

 

Her head dropped to the padded bench, eyes squeezing closed as she gave up trying to cope. Her mind howled at the unfairness. Noooooooo!!

 

She heard a short-lived uproar at the bar as broken glass was discovered, and the shrill cry of what had to be the girl with the cigarette burn. Just like Rey, her agony went unnoticed—swallowed by the deafening pound of bass and reanimated plumes of fog. The club scene continued as if nothing untoward had happened, people blissfully unaware of the atrocities that had occurred not moments before.

 

In a last-ditch attempt to do something, anything to save herself, Rey called out to the dancers closest to the stage. It wasn’t a stretch to infuse the terror she felt into her expression, begging frantically for help, but her words were drowned by the merciless rhythm. Those that made eye contact met her panicked expression with conspiratory smiles.

 

Understanding sank into her mind like a poisoned dart as she pictured what the crowd was seeing: he—with his raven-dark hair and tattooed skin, stalking around her like a carnivore with the scent of blood—and she, staked down like a sacrifice, undressed and whimpering like the seasoned submissive from a BDSM performance group…

 

Her eyes slipped closed and her breath departed.

 

They thought it was a performance...they thought that she, that *they* were there to demonstrate

 

A numbness swept over her, aborted instantly by the first stinging spank to her buttock.

 

Rey yelped in shock, her eyes wide. His broad palm connected with the opposite cheek in a crisp, resonating clap. He smacked her again, square in the middle, jolting her cunt. She felt a sinking sensation in her gut as she responded to his administrations, her skin flushing with blood. These were not the light, childish spankings of youth. They were a much darker breed— merciless, precise connections designed to elicit compliance...and something else.  

 

Again. And again.

 

The impact vibrated through her most sensitive areas, heightening the illegitimate thrill in her core.

 

Biting her lip, she tried to muffle the cries that threatened to tear free with each brutal crack of his palm. She schooled her face into an expression of defiance, determined not to give him anything.

 

He bent low over her, his ebony hair dripping juniper-scented drops of gin up her back.

 

She moaned softly, feeling that massive dick press up against her panties, driving home how indecently wet she was.

 

“How does that feel?” he asked solicitously. “Am I being too gentle, hmm?”

 

He pressed cloudlike lips against her skin, kissing her shoulder in worship, playing the part of a dedicated Dom. It was pathetic, but she struggled anyway, baring her teeth at him as best she could from her position.

 

“Fuck. You.” she seethed, biting off each word.

 

“I think I will,” he drawled, sliding his body from hers as he straightened again.

 

She jumped as he replaced his dick with a hand, engulfing her pussy and rubbing up and down. “But first, this—barrier—is a problem. Besides,” he added, the wolfish smile easily heard in his tone, “you’ve made a terrible mess, little girl.”

 

The warmth of his body departed, and there was a pause as she waited in agonized fear of the next debasement...her body jerked against the restraints as her soaked panties were ripped off, leaving her fully nude and incredibly vulnerable.

 

Rey heard some asshole yell an approving, “Fuck yeah!” from the crowd, the majority of which had paused whatever they were doing to watch the heated interaction on stage. She pressed her forehead to the padded bench, fighting back tears. How can this be really happening? What in the actual *fuck* have I done to deserve this?!

 

She heard him hum with pleasure, soaking up her distress as he brushed light strokes over her buttocks, circling...circling, smack! Again, on the opposite side, stroking her gently, so terribly gentle, followed by the delivery of a ringing slap.

 

He took his time with her, alternating between shows of tenderness and discipline. Pitching his deep voice so that only she could hear him, he proceeded to torment her further.

 

“Do you have any idea how enticing you are, hmmm?” he murmured, his palm circling like a shark.

 

“The flush of your skin...so red.” His voice lingered on the word, idolizing it as he lifted her chin so that she faced the ceiling, her neck arched vulnerably.

 

“Your tears. Devastating,” he whispered, low and sincere.

 

“How am I supposed to stop when you’re so perfect, so addicting?” he asked, smiling indulgently as he released her, gently lowering her head to its leather-covered pillow, stroking it lovingly before returning to his work at her backside.

 

She shuddered in response, too much of her fight removed to think of a comeback.

 

Smack! She clenched her teeth on a whine that threatened to escape. It was impossible to remain stoic. With each impact against her abused, over-stimulated flesh, her lofty ideals crumbled a bit more—fanged silence becoming soft whimpers, soft whimpers giving way to desperate whines, desperation escalating to full-throated cries.

 

He praised her for it, whispering soft encouragement, bidding her to let go, telling her how beautiful she looked.

 

It was working.

 

Even now, she could feel a divine relaxation spreading through her limbs, warm and soothing. She’d begun to sync her breathing in anticipation of each impact. A light sheen of sweat covered her body, and she could feel the hair that had slipped free of her ponytail clinging to her forehead.

 

Rey was momentarily grateful for the placement of the bench, angling her ass toward the back wall. At the very least, her greatest shame was bared to him alone, though the knowledge of his prime view crippled her.

 

Arousal slicked her spread thighs, dripping down the black leather unchecked.

 

He had paused with his merciless spankings, and she panted in the stillness, her heart pounding. Something stroked her drenched, splayed-open sex, and she moaned in agony.

 

“With all that fight in you, I knew you’d like it rough,” he said casually, bringing his finger level with her eyes so that she couldn’t help but see how it ran with her juices.

 

He made a show of it, staring her down with hooded eyes as his tongue stroked up his index finger.

 

All smugness faded as his eyes widened in shock.

 

It was with a morbid fascination that she watched understanding dawn, his eyes deepening to primordial black, endless and hungry as her secret was revealed...

 

“A virgin…?” he asked, awestruck.

 

She swallowed fearfully. He could tell...by the way she tasted? Rey ducked her head in defeat.

 

He was quiet for a dreadfully long time, just watching with those fathomless eyes...

 

“Oh baby girl, you waited… ” he praised.

 

His delighted laugh sent a phantom shiver running the length of her exposed body. “I’m going to ruin you for all who come after,” he gleefully declared. “You’ll never have it so good. Mortal men can’t compare with what I can do to you, what I can make you feel…”

 

She shook her head weakly, trying to deny his words. Willing them to be false.

 

A whisper of skin, air moving over her and something warm stroked up her slit, gathering the clear juices that dripped from her like tears. She made a strangled noise, frantic as she looked back to see what he was doing.

 

He was crouched behind her, his dark head of hair visible above the spread rounds of her bottom. “Mmh, Rey,” he groaned, “you’re so fucking pure.”

 

His breath feathered over that most sensitive place, causing her to panic as she cried out in fear. “No! Please! D-don’t!”  

 

“Shhh. Hush. Let me show you,” he said, soothing her like he would a skittish animal.

 

She whimpered as his hands closed around the front of her thighs, bracing for the feeling. He muttered something about fucking perfect and pressed his mouth over her quivering cunt. He engulfed all of it with ease and sucked hard.  

 

The pleasure was so startling, she nearly screamed, drowning in sensation as her back arched hard toward his mouth, instinctively giving him a better angle. All of those spankings and she was flushed to the brink, teetering on the edge of orgasm.

 

His tongue... fuck! It was unlike anything, unspeakably good, his mouth sliding over her so soft and hot. Unable to contain her emotion, she gave it voice, her cries ringing out into the hazy air.

 

All of the faces in the crowd disappeared, leaving only her body and the criminal thing he was doing to it. Her lips fell open, face the picture of shock as she came hard, hands balled into fists as she pulled at her bindings. The restraints only made it stronger and she faltered, curling her head against the padded bench as she wept through the scintillating pleasure that radiated from her core. She heard her voice whispering brokenly, begging him please, please, please, all dignity abandoned.

 

He had hummed a low, vibrating purr into her flesh the whole time, and now he lapped up the aftermath with fastidious, discriminating strokes that made her twitch violently.

 

All at once, the tension in her muscles released, like a machine powering down. Her body trembled as a towering shame rushed in with the return of reality. The awareness that she’d been thoroughly debased before hundreds of strangers was almost too much to bear.

 

In a moment of pure masochism, she looked up, facing the audience through lashes spiked with tears.

 

She could never have prepared for what she saw.

 

Her lips parted as she breathed through the moment, panning the crowd in shock. Their eyes were glazed and warm as they stared, a trend that was repeated in every countenance. Raw lust reflected back at her, and something else, something completely unexpected...wistful adoration.

 

She scanned their upturned faces but couldn’t find a sneer or smirk to speak of. Her shame was forgotten as she tried to process it. It was utterly surreal having the floodlight of such distilled human emotion turned on her.

 

She was at a loss for how to describe it. It was almost…

 

“Godlike?” he supplied, his gravelly voice pouring over her skin like liquid metal.

 

Her head turned to see him standing behind her, those large fingers deftly undoing the zipper of his black jeans. The sight unleashed a tidal wave of terror, her vision greying at the edges at the thought of being fucked before a crowded room of clubgoers.

 

“Please,” she croaked, brows furrowing together pleadingly.

 

Then again, stronger. “Please! Please, don’t. Not like this,” she begged, keeping her eyes riveted on his, trying to will his compliance with the scale of her desperation. “Not in front of all these people.” Her voice cracked. “Please—I’ll—I’ll do anything. Anything you want.”

 

He just smirked, pants sliding down to reveal rock-solid thighs and a punishingly massive dick that was barely contained by the black briefs he wore.

 

She fought the static that threatened her vision as he stalked alongside her, pausing with his crotch level with her head. With infinite purpose. Ever-cruel as he gave her an up-close-and-personal with her fate.

 

“My poor little vixen,” he murmured, brushing the damp strands from her forehead. “You had the chance to bargain with me earlier, and now...well. Now you’re not in exactly the best position to negotiate, are you.”  It really was more of a taunt than a question, effectively abolishing what common sense remained her.

 

He sank down to better meet her teary eyes, one finger stroking the angle of her cheekbone.

 

“So beautiful in distress,” he mused, his eyes flashing like stoplights before returning to fathomless black. “What can you offer me that would exceed the delight of impaling your virgin flesh before this sea of worshipers?”

 

His voice was low and intimate, and she shivered miserably, casting about in her mind for something, anything to offer him that might spare her further atrocity.

 

She met his intent stare with her weak one. “What is your name,” she breathlessly asked.

 

His sable brows inched up as he appraised her anew. “Good start,” he murmured, “I am Kylo, Archfiend of the Hellcniht of Ren,” he paused, that smirk she’d come to know returning. “But from you, ‘Master,’ or ‘Daddy’ could also serve.”

 

Rey was all business—his jabs flying under the radar in her single-minded quest to avoid public defilement at the hands of some sort of demon hellspawn.

 

“Kylo, please. Don’t—” she met his eyes, struggling with her appeal, “—don’t do it like this.”

 

He waited, giving her time to decide how low she wanted to go, savoring her descent.

 

Her breathing was shallow as the damning words tumbled forth again. “I’ll do anything.”

 

He cocked his head at her, appearing interested. “Anything, you say?”

 

She nodded frantically, biting her lip as she stared back at him, feeling some part of herself float away.

 

His eyes were magnetic, the darkness in them swirling, pulling her in. His voice was soft, so soft as he very clearly spoke the words. “Bind yourself to me, and I’ll honor your request.”

 

“Prove it,” she blurted, unthinkingly.

 

Without looking away, he pointed toward the crowd with two fingers, twitching them subtly down. As one, every person in sight slumped to the floor bonelessly.

 

Rey felt a softening about her ankles and wrists as her restraints slipped loose, and she sat up slowly, oblivious of her nakedness as she stared around at the sea of bodies that littered the floor. The silence rang deafeningly in her ears once more, and she felt a floating disconnect from reality.

 

“You didn’t—they’re not—” she faltered, turning sharply to search his face as her voice became a squeaky whisper. “Are they dead?”

 

“Alas,” he drawled, “they yet live. I am entertaining the notion that you might actually keep your end of the bargain. For now, they merely sleep.”

 

There was no fight left as his hands closed around her biceps, making her feel no lighter than a child as he hauled her effortlessly up to wobble before him. No fight, but the mindless desire to flee remained, and her brows knit together with the effort it took not to follow her instincts and bolt.

 

Every time you’ve tried, you’ve failed, whispered an unpleasant little voice.

 

She told it to shut up as she struggled to calm herself, trying not to think about what he had just done to her, willing herself to unfeel the slippery wetness between her nether lips.

 

Glancing down, her eyes passed over the people lying entangled on the floor, their bodies spotted with beams of colored light. A ghostly memory came to her—that of an illustration that had captured her imagination as a child: a castle where things had gone very wrong, the whole royal court lying wherever they’d fallen, victims of the enchantment that had claimed their young princess in her forgotten tower.

 

She blinked and the random thought departed with the swiftness of a darting swallow, returning her to the unreality that towered before her, all sleek, inked muscles and sinister intent.

 

“Now, it’s your turn,” he said, his voice dark, expectant.

 

She rubbed at her wrists, glancing nervously up at him. “What do you need?” 

 

“The smallest of things—a drop of your blood, given willingly.

 

A pang of premonition sounded through her mind, hollow and wordless.

 

She looked down as a flash of silver caught her eye, eyes widening as she beheld the dagger that had materialized in his grasp. Without thought, she traced its make appreciatively, her current plight momentarily forgotten as she drank in the weapon’s details.

 

The blade was graceful, forged with languid swirls that wafted through the metal like bands of drifting smoke. She stared at it, trying to recall if she’d ever seen a spearpoint dagger with quillons such as these. The crossguards were fanged like the jaws of a great serpent, and the scaled hilt terminated in a pommel of faceted red stone.

 

Rey stared at it, unable to keep a touch of covetousness from entering her heart. It looked ancient and had been crafted with a master's attention to detail.

 

He twirled it several times, lazily playing with the blade like a child with a particularly dangerous toy. His deft motions made the light wink from the snake's scales, dazzling her eyes and bringing it to life.

 

When it stopped, the point faced her expectantly. He made no further move, standing still and just watching her with his sable eyes. Waiting.

 

She felt oddly removed as she watched her hand reach slowly for the blade, parting air that felt thick and sluggish. Beads of silvery light danced along the razor edge, deceptively beautiful as they gathered at its sharp termination. The light reflected in her eyes as she stared, dazzled by how it winked at her, beckoning...

 

Her finger met the point in a feather-light touch. She gasped as the tip parted her skin with ease, recoiling instantly as she heard the rattling hiss of a snake. Pain bloomed through her finger and she flipped her hand over, examining the puncture that hurt far more than such a tiny wound should.  

 

So intent was she that she didn’t see him repeat the motion, didn’t see it until his hand was extended, index finger bleeding freely in a mirror of her own.

 

She stared blankly at his hand—offered in a rendition of that age-old gesture of solidarity. Blood pooled into droplets at the tip of her finger, steady drip, drip, dripping to spatter the floor with the rich, red essence of her body.  

 

His face was solemn, betraying nothing as he watched her hand reach out, bridging the distance between them.

 

Their fingertips met in a mingling of blood, and her lips parted in a sharp, instinctive gasp as all air left the room. She stared in sightless horror, her pupils expanding, eating the light until they were bottomless mirrors of his own.

 

Pain. Not of her body, not of this earth.

 

Agony forked through her soul like lightning as she realized too late that she’d made a grievous error. At light speed, she launched from dismay to fright, landing somewhere far beyond frantic as she pulled at her hand, trying to sever their contact to no avail.

 

They were fused in an unbreakable bond.

 

She cried out in horror, yanking harder, struggling against the marble-like form of the demon she was soldered to, falling to her knees as the violation began in earnest now.

 

Rey arched violently, her head yanked backward by an invisible hand, baring her breast to the heavens. She caught a glimpse of his face through eyes slitted with pain, and she trembled at the victory she saw there. Her body spasmed as a piece of her soul split asunder and was wrenched forth, passing through the mingling of their blood. A wordless lament spilled from her lips as she felt the missing piece of herself fill with his inky darkness.

 

All at once, she could feel his nebulous elation as if it were her own. The lines blurred, just as he'd said.

 

My name is written. You are mine now, mortal girl.

 

The bond seared and she doubled over as she felt it cauterize, bowing before him as she was released to slip to the floor. Her hair hid her face as fat, salty drops dripped down to pool on the dented wood of the stage. He loomed over her, above her, in her, a black miasma that swirled and churned. She shrank from it in wretched despair, her hopes of salvation dashed like a fallen nestling on a hot sidewalk.

 

It was done. Only one thing remained as he gathered her from the floor.

 

In a daze, she clung to him, seeking comfort in all the wrong places as he held her tight, cruel as he slow-danced her about in a half-circle.

 

She was rigid, gazing at him brokenly through her veil of tears.

 

Tears of loss, tears of defeat, blurring his beautiful, unkind face.

 

His muscles flexed languidly beneath her fingers, bringing the inked symbols that decorated his skin to life as he leaned back against the angled bench she’d been strapped to.

 

Her mind stumbled as powerful hands slid her thighs apart, pulling her atop him as he reclined. Only vaguely did his nakedness register through the cushion of dulled shock as she perceived the third limb that jutted massively between his legs. Between hers, now, as he lined her up, preparing to take what was his.

 

Amorphous voices whispered in her mind, sowing rapture and ruin in a guttural tongue not of this plain.

 

His spongy tip crushed her delicate folds before he pushed, slipping his dick into her untried opening.

 

Her stasis crumbled as her body was breached. She blinked furiously, her brows furrowing in distress at the unfamiliar feeling. The initial pinch was supplanted with a warmth that lapped at the hurt, washing it away on an incoming tide.

 

He pumped shallowly, his eyes enrapt as he watched his head bob in and out. His voice was soothing as he crooned to her about how lovely and pure she was, slowly working at her, testing the vise of her body.

 

She could hear the wet sounds that accompanied his movements and her senses ignited, whipping the swarm of bees within her into a buzzing frenzy.

 

Wasn’t this supposed to hurt?

 

Looking up, his eyes glittered, a smile forming on his lips. Do you want it to, my sweet?

 

“No,” she whispered, unable to be anything but honest as she was held in place, her helplessness punctuated as his cock slipped ever deeper.  

 

He toyed with her, plying her mind with sacrilegious thoughts, narrowing his eyes as he savored her.

 

Oh Rey, feel that. Your tight little pussy was made to take my dick. Such a good girl, waiting for me. I’m gonna reward you. Such delights you’ve never dreamed.

 

She moaned, high-pitched as she vented the build of her emotions.

 

His tongue flicked out, licking his upper lip hungrily. "You're MINE now, little girl, and I’m going to teach you. Night after night. You’re gonna drown in pleasure as you learn your place."

 

Her mouth fell open and she panted in fearful anticipation. She couldn’t think of his words or what they meant. Her body and mind were trapped in the now, and now commanded all of her.  

 

She whimpered, hands splaying and curling into fists against his tensed abs as he slid in further. Despite the splitting tightness of their fit, he felt way too good.

 

His deep voice whispered incantations, speaking in a tongue that sounded like seduction itself. It lulled her, and her taut muscles relaxed around the pillar of his cock.

 

She was full of him, so full with more still to take. Conflict electrified her mind as fearful ecstasy lit outwards from where they were joined.

 

When he bottomed out, her mind blanked, every thought unmade by the completeness between her thighs. She knew what it meant and stared in glassy-eyed shock over his head. Receding in her mind’s eye, her lost virtue sparkled—something shiny and pure—eaten by the dark and lost forever.

 

The long, wet slither of his withdrawal roused her from the vague sense of mourning and she gasped—an extended intake of breath that released with a sharp cry as he thrust back in. Her inhibitions waned with each second they were joined, on the brink of a full eclipse.

 

His voice was blood in the water, scarlet unfurling sinuously through her mind. The pleasure is the punishment, Rey.

 

Her head fell back as she caved, entirely overwhelmed.

 

Distantly she heard him chuckle darkly before his hips began rolling beneath her, pumping his massive shaft in and out with a heavy, wet slide. Her hands, once limp at her sides now flew to his waist, gripping him for stability.

 

The deep, carnal grunts he made corresponded with each thrust, resonating irresistibly through her mind. Drugging her further.

 

She didn’t realize when she’d begun to answer him, her feminine cries coerced by the deep push in her womb. But somewhere along the way, she crossed the line, now serving them willingly. His pleasure bled into hers, and she succumbed to the otherworldly rapture that bloomed within her, toxic and addictive.

 

He fucked her slow, insistent, delivering his cock with measured strokes that caused her to arch gracefully for him. Her head lolled on her shoulders bonelessly, lips parted as she gasped for air, breasts thrust forward in the most pleasing of offerings.

 

She was utter perfection right where she was, and he skipped the frenzied, brutal coupling he’d planned in favor of breaking her in leisurely, each gentle meet of their hips making it crystal clear that he had all the time in the world now.

 

His eyes were alive with the primal darkness that was his sanction, watching her carefully, gauging the depth of depravity he’d wrought in her. The light in her was lost, eaten by blackness as she rode his thrusts, her fingers splayed over his stomach.

 

He knew she was his when those delicate hands slid down to grip his sides, nails imprinting as she gained the purchase she desired and began to fuck him back. His eyes fell closed in wicked pleasure, growing still to appreciate the sensuous roll of her hips as she rode his cock. Her skin shone with exertion, nipples rock hard as she panted and cried with every downward plunge.

 

Rey’s mind was gone. Everything had come down to this. He raced through her veins like every indulgence she’d ever known, all at once. He hijacked every sense until there was only him and the way his dick filled her, so warm and hard and heavy. Her hands gripped his sides, kneading at him with feline pleasure. His tongue darted out, tempting her as he licked lips she longed to suck on. She eyed them hungrily, remaining in place, riding the magnificent cock that was her imperative.  

 

He smiled, charming her with his devious beauty, his tattooed hand reaching up to capture her chin. His hand was gentle, framing her face lovingly as he hooked a thumb under her jaw.

 

Beautiful. His voice caressed her mind, and she shivered in pleasure at the praise.

 

Very deliberately, he turned her head to the crowd, once again on their feet and as they stood riveted, watching with glassy eyes as they fucked.

 

On some surface level, she knew; it was salacious, obscene, vulgar. But this. This couldn’t be reality.

 

The vision of their coupling reflected in a hundred worshipful stares, hollow and covetous, and she didn’t break stride. Luxuriating in the perfection buried between the apex of her thighs, she tipped her head back, letting the rapture show in her half-lidded eyes.

 

She arched her breasts into the air, biting her lower lip, teasing them.

 

The crowd swooned. Decadent, addictive, ravishing.

 

He groaned beneath her, his massive hand releasing her chin to splay over her face, gently pushing her head back farther and holding her facing their audience. She felt his other hand roam up her body, rubbing enticingly at her breasts before seizing her waist as he began to thrust again.

 

Her lips parted, so flushed and red as she gasped, and she felt a distilled wave of lust roll off the spellbound watchers.

 

With her head thrown back, captured within his palm, she finally called his name.

 

“Kylo,” she murmured, softly, prayerfully.  

 

His voice cracked like a leather whip through her mind.

 

“Again.”

 

“Kylo!” she called, pleading now as the unknown built higher.

 

His growl was decadent, its sound dripping like sugared heroine down her spine. Still, he kept her locked in place.

 

“Kylo, please!” she cried, breasts bouncing as his thrusts sped up.

 

“Mmmh. I’ve got such a soft spot for you—already,” he growled, gripping her as he sat up, flipping her still impaled and pinning her to the padded bench.

 

She slid against it, writhing and slippery as he began to fuck her in earnest, making her cries ring out with each slap of his hips.

 

“Feel this,” he ground out, reaching down to press her hand over her abdomen.

 

Her mind flickered like a faulty light bulb, threatening to short-circuit as she perceived the bulge of his cock pumping wildly in her body.

 

“Feel me inside of you Rey,” he commanded, pulling her down into the firestorm of his endless stare.

 

She plummeted into it, her spine locking as his dick stroked, bringing her to the brink of irreconcilable rapture. He paused as she teetered.

 

“Feel me deep in that tight little pussy,” he purred, thrusting in with a well-aimed strike.

 

She shot off the precipice, a scream of shock rending the air as her body immolated with destructive pleasure. Clinging to his body, she sobbed aloud, unable to do anything but take it, riding out the lurid waves of ecstasy, tumbling under him like a puppet with its strings cut.

 

Her mouth formed a silent O as she felt a visceral explosion within her, his cock firing deep in her womb. The hot fount of his pleasure was inhumanly strong, filling her in an instant, pressurizing her body and triggering a renewed cascade of rapture. Distantly, she felt wetness stream out of her as the pressure ebbed to liquid warmth.

 

Darkness took her eyes as her nails skinned his chest in retaliation, her body convulsing on his still-fountaining cock. Galaxies burned behind her eyelids, bursting and weaving tracers down into nothingness.

 

His voice was the very last thing, cinching the noose of his ownership.

 

Feel me in your soul…

 

* * *

 

Chapter Text

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Softness.

 

Soft all around. Wrapped in a familiar cloud-like nimbus as awareness slowly grew. Her eyelids fluttered before sliding closed again, unwilling to register anything but the cocoon that cradled her. It was so soothing, so safe. Rey sighed drowsily, moving her feet a little to feel the brushed cotton smooth over her skin. Minutes later, she cracked an eye and took in the wash of light that filled her flat, indicating she’d slept in. A little smile formed and she burrowed deeper, relishing the fact that it was Sunday.

 

The silence in her top-floor corner unit was peaceful. After enduring the tedium of undergrad dorm living followed by several years of roommates, she’d finally made it to a place where she could afford solitude. Everything just as she liked it; her decor, her music, her schedule. It was well worth all the years of busting her ass, and when she remembered her roots and the life she came from, it only made it sweeter.

 

She dozed on and off, up to her nose in the feather-down duvet, her naked body wrapped in 1000 thread-count heaven.

 

Gradually, thirst crept in and prodded her into a greater state of awareness. Giving in to the need, she groggily raised up on both elbows and leaned over, reaching for the tall glass of water on her nightstand. A deep ache in her core made itself known and she paused. Her brows furrowed as she grimaced, sitting up further.

 

Why was she so sore there?

 

Frowning a little, Rey reached for the water again. Jeez. What a night...I don’t even remember pouring this…

 

She was parched and guzzled the entire glass, tipping it up to finish it. When it was empty, she stared blankly down at it, turning it in her hands as her frown deepened.  

 

How did I get home? She glanced down at the floor and blinked. No pile of clothing.

 

“Where the fuck are my clothes?” she mumbled, sweeping back her bedding in annoyance.

 

As she swung her legs over the side, the ache in her core resurrected with a subtle throb. What is that about? A lock of dark hair fell over her eyes as she curled over herself and gently explored her sex. Ouch! She was tender, the folds of her labia feeling sort of... bruised ?

 

She didn’t know if it was her low blood pressure or fear that caused the faint cold prickling feeling over her cheeks and forehead.

 

She needed a mirror. Her hand shot out, gripping the edge of the nightstand as she gingerly stood. Her dismay stacked itself higher as she noticed that the rest of her was abnormally sore as well, more so than was usual after a night of frenetic dancing.

 

“For fuck’s sake, Rey, what did you do?” she muttered nervously, shuffling toward the bathroom.

 

Her inner thighs hurt so!

 

The ache brought to mind a memory from her first year with Maz, one that had gone a long way in garnering Rey’s hard-won love and trust. The old woman had fulfilled one of her fondest childhood wishes, signing her up to enjoy a week of riding camp. For an underprivileged child fresh out of the foster system, every second of it had been magic, even if she’d been unable to walk properly the entire time.

 

The price of hours in the saddle was fresh on her mind now as she paused, looking down with a grimace as she stretched out a leg. Rounding the corner, she came face-to-face with her reflection in the floor-to-ceiling closet doors.

 

Her world shrank dizzyingly and she gasped in shock.

 

A blotchy collar of purple and red adorned her throat, and her breasts sported several lurid marks as well.

 

She sagged against the doorframe, her eyes round as she took in the bruises. All of them roughly oval, about the size of a mouth.

 

A warbling keen burst from her, breaking the fragile silence as she sank to the floor. With a growing sense of dread, she did the next logical thing. Fixing her eyes on her reflection, she slipped her fingers through her moist folds, spreading her outer lips so that she could see.

 

Her inner labia were a bit swollen, otherwise, everything looked normal.

 

Finding her feet, she lurched for the toilet, suddenly needing to pee. It stung a little, and when she dabbed gingerly, the toilet paper came away pink.

 

Her heart slammed in her ribcage... had she …?

 

No...there was no way she would’ve...

 

She let out a snort of skeptical laughter before lowering her head into her hands, the hollow flare of humor guttering out as quickly as it had come. She stared blankly at the hardwood under her feet. How the fuck was her memory so fucking useless?! Why couldn’t she remember?!

 

She wasn’t a drinker, there was no reason why she shouldn’t recall the night. Her frustration grew, combining with her growing panic to form an explosive amalgam in her gut that suddenly ignited.

 

Where the fuck are my clothes, how the hell did I get home, and how in the living *fuck* did I get these...hickies?!—she shook her head, grimacing before continuing her mental tirade—all fucking over, and...and possibly even have  

 

“NO!” she shrieked, pinching her eyes shut as she rejected the thought. There was no way she’d have slept with anyone—for the first fucking time—and not remembered it.

 

Doubt echoed traitorously through her mind, seeding its poison. Then why are you so sore down there, hmm? And the bruises...their shape...so many...places you’d never bruise any other way…

 

She took a couple of deep breaths, mentally fumbling for the steely determination that was her backbone. It was there as it had ever been, lending her strength.

 

Standing again, she regarded herself over the sink with a look of dismay. “What the fuck is wrong with you…” she slurred, half-pleading and half-scolding, squinting at her reflection as if the truth could be discerned by a shrewd stare.

 

Her hands shook as she fumbled with a bottle of ibuprofen. She popped four and turned on the faucet, drinking from cupped hands and splashing water over her face.

 

S’okay, babe. You’re a survivor, you’ve got this . Just keep moving. Never back, always forward .

 

Leaning over the sink, she stretched her neck out and pressed gingerly at the bruises, drawing back to give herself a worried stare. How had she gotten them, and how could she deal with any of this properly when she couldn’t even recall what had gone down?

 

She breathed deeply, wrestling with her unwilling mind, trying to force the memories to return. Time ticked by, the silence of her flat suddenly unwelcome. Nothing came to her, not even the faintest glimmer. It was like shoveling snow in a white-out; she got nowhere in a hurry.

 

Gnashing her teeth and rejecting the haunted expression she wore, she grabbed her toothbrush, swiped it with toothpaste and stalked to the shower, desperate for an epic scrub.

 

While going through the motions mindlessly, she filed through what she could recall, trying to retrace her steps. Hot water washed over her, soothing achy muscles, and the tough logic that had kept her afloat in rough situations kicked in. She cross-examined each memory of last night that she had, searching their facets for clues to her current state.

 

She’d caught a Lyft to that club in the SoDo. It had been raining. She remembered the bouncer and door girl, and checking out the club scene. Picking her spot at the edge of the dancefloor. Dancing hard, losing herself like she always did. Colored fog and strobe lights. The DJ spinning in his crow's nest. The stage with its twisted array of bondage equipment....and nothing. Nothing after that. Just dancing in her favored spot near the edge of the crowd...

 

How could this be?! Did she have a concussion? She felt all around her skull. Nothing tender, no lumps or abrasions. All of her ailments appeared to be lower down.

 

Rey faced the spray, letting the water pour over her face and rinse her hair, lips parted so she could breathe. Beneath her excruciating frustration was a tiny, cold stone of dread. It sat there, a kernel of disturbance deep in her tummy—bringing a nagging certainty that something was really fucking wrong, and that whatever it was lie just around the corner, waiting to spring and catch her in its jaws.

 

She turned off the faucet and exited, drying herself and slipping on her fluffy white bathrobe. Wrapping her hair in a towel, she made her way to the kitchen and put the kettle on. Her hands were a little shaky as she readied the french press, as desperate for a strong cup of coffee as she’d been for a shower.

 

Maybe it was the constant overcast or the company of Seattleites that had turned her into a coffee addict. Whatever the case, she’d arrived at a place where mornings weren’t okay without it. And holy fuck. There was never a morning when she’d needed it more.

 

With a cup of life-giving brew cradled in both hands, she paced over to the antique bathtub couch that faced her wall of windows, grimacing at the stiff ache of her legs. She sank back into a pile of pillows the color of sea glass, blowing absently at the rim of her mug before taking a sip. The coffee was good. It’s warmth spread soothingly through her chest and belly, lending a lifeline as her eyes traveled slowly over the lay of her living room.

 

There was a subtle, unobtrusive solace to be had in the act, in cataloging the familiar and unchanged. Her gaze skirted over the dual bookshelves stuffed with favorite books and the treasures she’d brought back from Kure Atoll; three glass fishing floats with their etched salt rings and the sun-bleached skull of a Laysan albatross.

 

Votives in mercury glass bells dotted the shelves, and her only “housepet” crowned the top shelf: a low-maintenance ponytail palm that had lived through her college days.

 

There were several framed photos of her and Maz. They were laughing in one, covered in color dust and glitter as they crossed the finish line of the 5k she’d talked Maz into before her freshman year of college. The next was a shot Chewie had taken six years later, the two of them all decked out at the top of the Space Needle, toasting the achievement of her Masters in International Affairs.

 

Staring at Maz’s weathered, smiling face, Rey felt a pang of emotion. Her foster-turned-adoptive mother was the only person she’d ever needed in all her life. The only one who’d ever walked the walk, proving her love with a steady hand and reliable actions.

 

You should call her, tell her something bad happened... she’d find some way to help you figure this out.

 

As quickly as the thought had formed she shot it down. Talking to Maz was out of the question, at least until she had some idea what the hell was up. For god’s sake, she didn’t even know what to tell her! The corner of her lips twitched in annoyance. Whatever happened needed a clearer definition before she’d go troubling her aging mother with it. She sipped her coffee, swallowing to do away with the lump that had formed in her throat.

 

Inevitably, her attention wandered to her custom-made glass showcase and the treasure it housed. The tense set around her eyes softened as she traced the forms and eccentricities of each blade one-by-one. Navaja, Andalucia. Khukuri, Persia. Nimcha, Algiers. Kindjal, Russia. Keris Dapur, Java. She recited their names and origins like one would a rosary, losing herself in the sight of her most-prized possessions.

 

That she’d be drawn to collecting antique daggers fit in with the rest of her—she’d always taken an interest in edgier things. During her school years, her book reports had favored venomous sea snakes over furry mammals, and Egyptian embalming techniques held far more appeal than venerable Italian fashion designers. In eighth grade, she’d convinced Maz to let her keep a pet tarantula rather than a hamster, and when she’d finally obtained a driver’s license, her love of speed had landed her more tickets then she cared to admit.

 

If she were examined under the lens of “nature vs. nurture,” it might be tempting to believe that “nurture” had played a substantial role in the formation of her tastes. Her fascination with knives, for example, was something she could trace to the day.

 

At the age of six, she’d been placed with a temporary foster family in Eugene, Oregon. Sumner McAllister was the name of her foster father at the time, a gruff but kind veteran who’d sustained a career-ending injury during Desert Storm. The man had kept an array of hand-held blades under locked glass in his garage, nothing with cultural or historical value, but a well-represented modern assortment of styles and purposes.

 

One day, he’d caught little Rey hovering over the case, utterly enrapt. Instead of punishing her for trespassing where she didn’t belong, he’d sworn her to secrecy with threats of a good ass-whipping. Then he’d sat her down on a barstool and unlocked the case with a reverent quality that wasn’t lost on Rey.

 

With his rusty smoker's voice and an obvious sense of pride, he’d taught her about knife anatomy, showing her the difference between a spear point and a drop point, a long, slender boot knife and an elegantly curved khukuri.

 

Throughout her short-lived stay, Sumner had invited Rey back several times on good behavior, regaling her with adventures from his boyhood while demonstrating the proper way to oil and sharpen a blade. Though he never let her handle them, she had loved it, sitting there with the neon beer signs lending a colorful glow to the darker corners, feeling like she’d been initiated into some magical world.

 

She’d really liked the McAllisters, going so far as to cry when the social workers relocated her. They were brisque, salt-of-the-earth people, but you always knew where you stood with them. Their expectations were straightforward and fair, and they were loving in their own way.

 

Rey had taken many of the things she’d learned there with her, including a healthy vocabulary of swear words that was likely one of the reasons she was moved in the first place. Certainly, her time in that dark garage had seeded her aichmomania, leaving her hopelessly fascinated with daggers and knives.

 

One of the things she loved was a blade’s honesty. Unlike guns, they were not insidious by nature; their hazard was born with pride, flaunted in mirrored edges and honed points. A dagger was useful, lovingly crafted, and every culture had its own venerated designs and purposes. They were antiquities, one of the very first tools crafted by humans, and yet they remained as valuable now as they were back at the dawn of humanity.

 

She was a selective collector, preferring pieces that hailed from different parts of the world and were as old as possible. It gave her a thrill to hold an ancient blade and imagine the artisan who’d crafted it and the world it had been born into. Whose hands had held it and how had it served its owners? What were the homes it had been a part of, and what events had come to pass around it?

 

Her imagination wandered like it always did as her eyes moved from piece to piece, and she relaxed a bit more. The fragrant steam from her mug wafted her face, and she inhaled, feeling soothed by the familiarity of her morning routine and the sense of normalcy attained by simply sitting in her living room.

 

Drawing up her knees, she peered over the rim of her coffee and out the wall of windows. Even after six months, she still got a little thrill out of it. That she’d been able to get this place was a wonder. It was spacious and spoke of bygone days, with the high ceilings and exposed brick you’d expect of a near century-old building. As if that weren’t enough, her fifteenth-floor corner unit boasted the sought-after commodity of a sweeping view of Elliot Bay.

 

All of the plumbing and heat had been retrofitted a decade ago, and they’d added glass sliders and balconies that awarded tenants on the upper floors a ninety-degree slice of the Emerald City. The dichotomy of an urban landscape with all that water to tame it was indescribably lovely, and being able to admire it from the comfort of her own couch was worth every penny of her extortionate rent.

 

Today, the sky was gray as a pigeon’s wing. The sound met and raised it, glowering a severe shade of pewter. Sipping at her coffee, her eyes traveled downwards, drawn by the sight of something out of place. It was a crumpled dark pile on her patio floor.

 

She frowned. What the hell is that?

 

Leaning forward, she absently set her coffee down and rose to stand. The backlit glare washed out the details of the thing, making it impossible for her to tell what it was from where she stood. She stared hard at it as her frail sense of comfort fled, replaced by a pensive sense of foreboding that coiled in her gut. Cautiously, she approached her slider with a heart that sped with each step.

 

Her brows furrowed as she looked down at it, swallowing hard as she recognized the thing on the other side of the glass. A tremor lit through her as she perceived the vast yawning chasm at her feet, her instincts screaming she was at the edge of understanding that which had eluded her.

 

Fuck.

 

Slowly, unwillingly, she slid the heavy, double-paned door open, admitting a cold gust of salty air. As she stepped over the threshold, her stomach dropped out.

 

Tucked neatly against the wall were the boots she’d worn last night.

 

And at her feet, the missing cargos, shirt, bra and panties, the former three bearing the signature of a violent demise.

 

She sank to her knees before them, green eyes wide and unfocused. The sharp cold was lost on her as she gathered them up on her lap, her hands trembling like leaves.

 

Her pussy throbbed. Part pain, part something warm and stealthy.

 

A muscle memory. Something sliding.

 

It was coming, it was- -her eyes flew wide, back stiffening ramrod straight.

 

Like a bolt illuminating a darkened sky, the missing memories slotted into place.

 

Her face crumpled into a frozen sob as she scrambled backward on hands and knees, mindlessly fleeing the impossible images that pummeled her.

 

Him.

 

Dark eyes flared red in her mind’s eye.

 

She heard his name called in her own voice as she collapsed on her back, caught in the bunched folds of her robe as she stared unseeing at the ceiling.

 

Hot tears flowed as she relived the unspeakable all over again.

 

All of time stopped to create the nightmarish game in which she was the quarry and he, her hunter.

 

The rawness of her desperation, her unmet need to escape him.

 

People with their unresponsive faces, their bodies frozen in aborted motion.

 

The impossibility of the temptation that had accompanied the press of his body.

 

The damnation of each sinuous, addictive kiss.

 

How he’d punished her for attempting escape.

 

The way he’d restarted time with a little snap of his fingers.

 

The intimate murmur of his voice as he’d alternated between tender and merciless, slipping elegantly through her defenses as he broke her before the gaze of strangers.

 

Her heart throbbed fearfully as the memory of her vow returned.

 

Anything...I’ll do anything

 

The dagger.

 

She wrenched her finger up for inspection, whispering in wordless denial. Panic closed about her throat as she beheld the small puncture. How had she not seen it earlier?! Lurid threads emanated from the wound like poisoned veins, flowing artfully into a scrawl that appeared to be some sort of archaic writing.

 

His words spread like ink through her mind. It’s nothing, really. A single drop of blood, given willingly.

 

Fear like she’d never felt knifed through her body as she curled into a fetal position, instinctively shielding herself.

 

What had she done?!

 

* * *

 

 

Chapter Text

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Songspiration: Darkfield, Caspian

 This song is absolutely perfect and sooo heavy. It sounds for all the world like a chase with a tragic end, like the sound of evil winning. Give 'er a whirl. <3

 

 


 

Run.

 

It was all she could think of, the only remedy for the spiraling horror that festered in her mind. The only thing that made sense as her sanity lurched sickeningly.

 

Run it out. Until you collapse. Until you don’t feel.

 

She rooted through her dresser with hands that shook, blindly snatching leggings and a sports bra and yanking them on. Somehow, her running shoes made it onto her feet even as she battled the sob that lurked at the back of her throat.

 

She glanced down at her fingertip and it made her want to crawl out of her own skin. The writing on her flesh remained, as did his bite marks, visceral proof that this was all real.

 

No!!

 

Her jaw clenched, barely containing the sob that had crept forward onto her tongue. Jamming her key into a zippered pocket of her jacket, she yanked on her doorknob and bolted from her flat. She left behind the scene of the crime, that place where she’d been made to remember.

 

Not having the patience or fortitude for the elevator, Rey took the stairs.

 

She raced down the fifteen flights, her desperation growing as the stairwell seemed to close in on her. Finally, she reached the exit, spilling onto 2nd and Cherry Street with a small cry of relief.

 

Cool, muted light and blessedly icy air greeted her, but these small favors were nothing compared to the endless path that stretched before her, merciful as the open arms of the Mother Mary. She let gravity pull her into a sprint as she streaked downhill, cutting across First Ave and making for the waterfront as if chased by rabid dogs.

 

Rey let the soothing cadence of the run take over her mind as she focused on the efficiency of her stride. She forced herself not to think of last night, of him. There is only this; move one foot forward then the next. Watch the ground underfoot. Inhale, two beats, exhale, two beats. Again.

 

Reaching Alaskan Way, she headed north along the docks, zipping through the tourists that thronged the waterfront. Distantly she became aware of the recurring incidence of appalled looks directed at her neckline. A surge of bile burned in her throat as she yanked her collar up and zipped it, concealing most of the lurid red and purple discoloration.

 

Fuck, fuck, fuck!!!

 

Anger lit through her and she accelerated, wanting to hit something.

 

What the hell is happening?! How is this even real?!

 

She struggled with her options, torn between the need to process what had happened and her instinctive desire to repress it. Lost in the snarl of her debate, she continued onto Elliot Bay trail, passing Olympic Sculpture Park but seeing only the way his eyes had winked blood-red.

 

It had only taken the most casual of motions and he’d stopped time, isolating her in a sea of human statues. That in itself would have been horror enough, but then he’d...nononono!!

 

The sob-in-waiting tore loose, giving voice to the agony that now overflowed. He’d taken her virginity. And she? She had enjoyed it—enjoyed her own rape at the hands of a monster. Could there be anything in all the world more vile or depraved?

 

The pleasure is the punishment.

 

Tears streamed back over her cheeks as the full meaning of his words dawned.

 

She fled from the awful truth, oblivious to the occasional sympathetic look from people she passed. Her surroundings were a blur as she continued on, tracing the curve of Interbay and into Magnolia.

 

The aches of her body were an anchor of sorts. They were real, and normal, and sane. They made sense, reminders that some of the laws of cause and effect still were in play around her. So long as she lived in the now and didn’t think about how she’d gotten them, it would be okay.

 

A whimper snuck from her throat as she considered the very real possibility that she was losing it. Sweat dripped into her eyes and she swiped at her forehead. Maybe it would better that way. Then what happened last night could all be a figment of her imagination. That warm ache between her legs, the bruises, her fucking finger—all part of her psychosis. All the fault of a sudden chemical imbalance and synapses that misfired in spectacular fashion.

 

The steady cadence of her run dictated the sharp puffs of her breath, each fueling the other as her mind warred with itself. All around her, residential neighborhoods gave way to a well-kept meandering road, and as she crested a hill, the gates of Discovery Park came into view. She raced toward them blindly, fighting not to rail at the low ceiling of moisture overhead. After all she’d been through in life, all the sketchy situations and fucked up years she’d spent under Plutt’s roof, it was nothing short of a miracle that she had retained her virginity.

 

She recalled something that had been said, and the injustice of it was near unbearable. At the horror-movie sight of his elongating canines, she’d cried out to God in a desperate plea for divine intervention. His response had alluded that there was indeed a God. But what God would allow such a cruel, twisted thing to happen to one who’d endured all she had?  How could any benevolent deity let her retain the purity of her body, against all odds ...only to let a creature of nightmares claim it?

 

Her rising fury banked itself into cold ashes as that little voice whispered in her brain. Your virginity is the least of what you lost last night.

 

Her eyes widened unseeingly, her smooth cadence breaking into a stumbling jog as she remembered the anguished moment when their blood had mingled. When all reality had fallen away, leaving only the ephemeral light she knew to be her soul and the towering red-eyed menace she was soldered to. Terror and pain of the likes unimaginable as part of her being was torn away. She relived her own electric despair as his darkness filled the rift, sealing her to him irrevocably. And there at the last, crushing defeat, too heavy to bear.

 

The gravity of her situation sank in and she wept freely, passing beneath the gates and veering down one of the numerous jogging paths that wove through the 500-odd acres of coastal rainforest.

 

Douglas fir and western red cedar formed a canopy, their branches curving toward her protectively as if trying to shield her from her perilous new reality. The usual sense of calm she derived from natural surroundings was utterly lost as she drowned in her own woe.

 

Through the blur of her tears, she spotted an open field. At its center were public restrooms, a playground and several pavilions. Pausing amongst the trees, she wiped at her face furiously, pacing the trail like a caged tiger as she attempted deep breaths.

 

Calm the fuck down. You’re still vertical, and that means forward-moving ONLY, sister. It doesn’t matter if it was real or not, we leave it in the past, and that’s how we roll.  

 

It worked, as it always had—that inner core of strength sustaining her. In through the nose, out through the mouth, and forward you go.

 

With a final deep breath, she emerged from under the canopy. Her throat was parched, and the water fountain looked like salvation itself. Several children chased each other through the trappings of a primary-colored fort while their parents stood aside talking amongst one another.

 

It was the first time she’d halted since the start of her fear-fueled run. In the stillness, Rey realized how fatigued her body was. Her muscles trembled finely as she stooped over the stream to guzzle draught after draught of icy water.

 

She’d straightened and was wiping her mouth with a sleeve when she heard a male voice speak behind her.

 

Hellooo, beautiful.”

 

Her eyes went wide as her heart launched itself off a cliff.

 

That low, intimate purr was proof that nightmares were real, that they weren't constrained to the lightless hours, that they came back to get you. She didn’t, couldn’t turn, too afraid he’d become a fixed part of her reality if she looked and saw him.

 

Here, with her, in the light of day.

 

The seconds crawled like years as she remained rooted to the ground, every muscle frozen in paralytic indecision. She felt him draw near, the heat of his body warming her back. A solitary finger traced down her spine.

 

“How are you even real?” she whispered hoarsely, shivering at the casual way he touched her.

 

His answer was silken, warm breath fanning the back of her ear. “My little vixen. Your delusions are the best sort of flattery, but still—your body can’t lie. The proof of our bond is literally at your fingertip, amongst other more... delectable places.”

 

His innuendo was what she needed. Her blood lit with a sickening jolt of adrenaline and she catapulted from him without a backward glance, launching into the sprint of her lifetime.

 

Forget her odds of escape, fleeing was a necessity. She applied every muscle to her speed, racing swiftly down a wooded jogging path, trying to pound the fright from her body with each reverberating connection.

 

As before, he followed.

 

It was unearthly. Whenever she turned to look, he was there. Walking calmly. Never running, but never falling behind either. She choked back her cries of dismay, valiantly trying to keep her shit together, but desperation was taking hold and making her clumsy. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t seem to shake him.

 

Light filtered through the trees ahead, glimpses of the wan gray horizon becoming visible through the understory. A flighty hope seized her, and she focused on it, using it to keep herself upright even as her body threatened to give out, her energy near completely spent.

 

Breaking through the understory, she took in the high cliff and dark waters below. Her feet stumbled in an effort to slow as her mind cycled rapid-fire through her non-existent options, trying to gauge the distance of a fall. Her need to escape by any means necessary was strong, and the forbidding growl at her back was her deciding factor.

 

Wild panic seized her as she increased her speed, sprinting over yellowed grass as she neared the edge. She said a hasty prayer that there weren’t any rocks below as she flew off the cliff, putting all remaining strength into her leap.

 

The jade-green waters rushed up terrifyingly fast. Rey knew a split-second of relief as she registered the surface, strewn with kelp and free of rocks.

 

The terrible sound of aborting reality filled her ears, drowning out the sound of the whistling air. Just as she was about to impact the surface, her body froze as time stopped.

 

She floated a scant foot above the water, her arms held out instinctively to break her fall. Her eyes were wide as she stared at the surreal reflection she cast before a fresh wave of tears blinded her. Held in a state of suspension, she folded in upon herself, breaking down internally and bawling, unable to make a sound.

 

The rhythmic drafts of wingbeats fanned her back, making the surface of the water shimmer and dance as he descended to claim her. Hard hands clasped her waist as he yanked her impatiently into his arms and folded her against his broad chest. Those black-feathered wings she’d glimpsed beat the air, lifting them up the vertical rock face to the cliff she’d just fled. As his feet touched down, they folded neatly at his back and grew translucent before fading like a shadow at high noon.

 

Facing him now and still in the grips of his spell, she had no choice but to meet his anger. She quailed, staring into the roiling darkness of his eyes, so close she could see the little embers sizzling in their depths.

 

Lying helpless in his arms, she wished herself dead as she observed the way his nostrils flared, lips twitching with the effort to restrain his fury. It was unspeakably terrifying, made worse by his silence. The second she felt free will returned to her, she was shrinking in his arms, caving in upon herself like a slip of paper thrown to the flames. Her hands clapped over her mouth as she fought the urge to vomit.

 

His hands were huge, eclipsing her ribcage and both knees, holding her in a bruising vise.

 

Despair rocked through her, blinding her to thoughts of further escape.

 

His voice rolled over her like a breaking storm. “Was it so bad that you felt the need to risk your life? Is my company so dreadful?”

 

She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. He waited in silence, still glaring at her.

 

At last, a pathetic semblance of speech returned. “What does it matter what I want or don’t want?” she replied, her cracked voice betraying her hopelessness. “You’ll just use your power over me regardless.”

 

“You know nothing!” he thundered, shocking her into silence. “I have largely spared you from the brunt of my abilities. But if you continue to persist with this foolishness—” he threatened, furiously tipping his chin at the cliffside with obvious disdain, “—you’ll force my hand.” 

 

A current of anger flowed through her core, thawing the numbness and returning some of her spunk. “I’ll never stop trying to get away from you. Death is preferable,” she declared lowly, returning his glare.

 

“Is that so?” he inquired ominously, giving her a long look. His lip quirked as his eyes narrowed.

 

Then he took a deep breath, and as he exhaled, his face relaxed, growing serene and statue-like as he held her gaze unblinkingly.

 

A change was coming over him. It was as if he’d chosen to cast aside a great smothering shadow that hid his true being. Light grew around him, in him, and Rey found herself unable to look away.

 

He was suddenly guileless, and stunningly beautiful. Her eyes widened in mute shock as she beheld what surely was an angel staring calmly back at her. His eyes were soft and dark, containing in them sonorous delight and profound sorrow, captivating her utterly in their warm depths. Serenity became her as all of the angst and strife drained away, leaving her empty.

 

An empty vessel, awaiting his command.

 

His gaze flickered over her face, measuring her before his perfect lips parted, unleashing the imperative she’d been waiting for. It came over her like absolution, his lyrical voice speaking words that stirred the waters of her soul. “You will never again attempt any escape that risks injury.”

 

Every cell and fiber of her being responded to the chance to do his bidding. “I will never again attempt any escape that risks injury,” she repeated solemnly, her heart full.

 

Her vow rushed through her arterial pathways, a golden thread that flooded into every cell of her body, binding her resolutely. It made its circuit and settled, solidifying in her subconsciousness as a part of the codex that defined who she was. She lay in his arms in a state of bliss, docile and at peace. Slowly, the glow about him faded, taking her sense of contentment with it.

 

He was walking when her mind registered, carrying her beneath a high canopy of familiar evergreens. A lacy branch of red huckleberry brushed her cheek, and she blinked, her awareness returning fully. She looked at him in growing bewilderment, not knowing what had just transpired but understanding that something had.

 

“What did you just do?” she whispered, dreading the answer even as she had to know.

 

“I overpowered you,” he replied shortly, not deigning to explain further.

 

Bitterness returned. “That’s nothing new,” she sulked.

 

“No.” His retort was sharp, as was the look he leveled her with. “This is the first time,” he snarled, eyes narrowing into primordial darkness. “And it had better be the last. I have no desire to alter your persuasion.”   

 

Something cruel tempered his fury and his eyes winked red as the light hit them just right, revealing the predator that hid beneath his human disguise. “Besides,” he said spitefully, “you become agreeable enough, given the right...conditioning.”  

 

Instantly, she saw herself as an onlooker might; her naked limbs shining with sweat as she gripped his hips, in complete control as she undulated sensually over him, riding his cock with shameless delight.

 

Rey stared sightlessly as her face went sheetrock white. The understanding that he’d sent this image into her brain registered and it was more than she could take.

 

“You lied to me!” she shrieked. “You promised that if I gave you something willingly, you wouldn’t, wouldn’t—” her voice quavered, unable to continue as the moment was invoked, replayed for her unwilling mind to absorb every unspeakable detail.

 

The hint of amusement kindled in his lidded eyes as he watched her struggle. “Wouldn’t what, Rey?”

 

She swallowed, exhaling, hating with every inch of her being how hard it was to say it.

 

“You fuckingbastard…” she slurred weakly.

 

“How I’ve missed your pet names,” he said dryly, making it obvious she wouldn’t get an answer until she asked properly.

 

Finally, she came to grips with herself, speaking through the clench of her jaw. “You promised me you wouldn’t rape me before a fucking club-full of people, you heartless, lying son-of-a-bitch!”

 

He remained unmoved, his brows arching in nonchalant surprise. “Come now,” he chided. “You made a bargain with a demon. Did you really think I might uphold my end of the deal?”

 

“I had no choice!” she cried, her hands balling into fists as she glared accusingly at him.

 

“All in my favor, little vixen.”

 

Her short sob spoke of unfairness, catching bitterly in her throat.

 

Finally, he gave her a direct look, studying her face for a moment. “You were the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, breaking yourself in on my cock.”

 

Her heart dropped as his soft words sank into her like darts, sending a foreign thrill racing. She felt her nipples tighten in response and hated herself.

 

He pulled her chin up roughly, forcing her to look at him. “It would be a sin for such an exquisite sight to go unappreciated.”

 

She tore her head away wordlessly, unable to stand it.

 

“Ah, Rey,” he coaxed, “they weren’t awake as you are now. They watched with only the id of their conscious brain, worshiping the raw carnality of how we fucked.”

 

He enunciated the last two words clearly, winning her cringe before continuing in an amused tone.

 

“They won’t remember you, or me, or anything out of the ordinary about that night. So you see? I did indeed upkeep my end of the bargain. And as a sign of my affection and the brand of my signature, I even brought you home and tucked you into bed. Why, I even thought to pour you a glass of water.”

 

She saw him smirk from the corner of her eye, the first time he’d smiled since her leap from the cliff.

 

“Now tell me. What sort of demon provides aftercare, hmm?”

 

She snarled in disgust, wanting nothing more that to backhand that smug look off of his face. Her muscles felt physically weak after the furious run she’d subjected herself to. Even so, the discontent became too great and she twisted in his arms, desperate to take some action in opposition.

 

“Put me down!” she cried, twisting again. “I don’t want this,” she whined childishly, panic rising up in her breast with the mindless imperative that she struggle.  

 

The look he leveled her with froze the blood in her veins. It said everything she needed to know, realizing her fears. A pathetic whimper snuck from her throat at what passed unspoken.

 

There will be no escape.

 

“My name is upon you, mortal girl, and you’d do well to embrace it. I’ll come for you whenever I want, and I’ll take you on your plane or mine. Since you are dissatisfied with yours, you should taste the alternative, to better help you decide how you want it in the future.”

 

His eyes flared their awful carmine, and suddenly they were tipping sideways. Rey’s perception spun as she clung to her captor’s neck, certain they’d crash upon the ground...her ears popped and she blinked, shaking her head slightly to clear the vertigo. Her lungs were still, not breathing as they stood firm on the forest floor.

 

Something was amiss.

 

The hair on the back of her neck rose. Looking around them, she tried to place it, noting how the always-muted light under the canopy had thickened, as though the very quality of the atmosphere changed.

 

A deadening.

 

She swallowed as disquiet sank needle-like claws into her skin, sharpening her vision as she peered over his wide shoulder for the source.

 

She was still being born through the forest, but the trees were all wrong.

 

Their branches forked into menacing claws that scraped desperately at the air, and sap wept down their trunks like milky tears. Outbreaks of fungi sprouted from the deeply grooved bark, unwholesome and strange.

 

Rey’s stomach tightened at the stillness that blanketed them, feeling as if the whole scene waited with bated breath, the forest alive with an air of malignant awareness that made her skin crawl.

 

He walked onward, navigating through the foreboding place with purpose. She now clung to him in real fear of their surroundings; he, the only anchor she had left in what had become alien and nightmarish.

 

Something flew into her eye, blurring her vision for a moment. She wiped at it and peeked upward, blinking cautiously. What looked like tiny flakes of ash fluttered lazily down through the canopy, and a charred smell laced the air.

 

Strange things skittered and slithered through underbrush coated with ash. She heard cries that sounded eerily like those of children, once catching a glimpse of a scaly hind leg and a long, misshapen tail before the creature slunk out of sight. Unnatural.

 

Rey’s dread percolated into a churning brew in her gut. She was dying inside, wanting to know where he was taking her but too terrified to ask.

 

A pale glow came from up ahead, ghostly and impure. The trees obscured it partially, but as he closed in, it became clear that the source of the frightful light was their destination.

 

Her heart froze against her rib cage as it came into view. A monstrous tree; its canopy vast and wider than any she’d ever seen on earth. For certainly, they weren’t on earth any longer. She shivered as her eyes wandered over it unwillingly, noting the pods that dangled from the boughs like monstrous spider eggs.

 

They hung suspended from the branches by thick ropes that glowed with a sickly gray light. Rey felt her gorge rise. Their sizes were unnervingly human-like.

 

She jumped as his voice cut through the stillness like a knife through jello.

 

“This is a Tree of Lost Souls. It is a holding cell, a purgatory for those released through the act of suicide. They languish here in an agony of waiting...”

 

Rey shook her head, her mouth working silently, begging him to stop, that she didn’t want to know anymore.

 

He set her down beneath the tree, but she found herself pressed against his chest, unwilling to part from him. His eyes were dark as a moonless night as they held hers.

 

The inked symbols on his knuckles danced through the veil of her tears as he reached slowly for her face. He trailed the back of a finger over her cheek, confusing her with tenderness as his voice echoed in her mind. Ti sei quasi unito a loro.

 

The words meant nothing, and she’d opened her mouth to beg him for mercy when she caught the sight of movement overhead. Her head jerked up, watching in horror as one of the pods moved, bulging as something shifted within its luminescent prison.

 

Her hands tangled in the dark fabric of his shirt, locked into claws as she trained her blurry vision on his collarbone, determined not to look up again.

 

She didn’t see how he reached up to summon a thick glowing rope, peeling one of her locked hands from his shirt and binding it. Terror made her numb, like a shell-shocked bystander.

 

Surely none of this was really happening…

 

Whatever he’d slipped over her wrist felt like the kiss of a cloud, ephemeral and light, nothing that could actually restrain her. Her other wrist was peeled inexorably from his chest, quickly meeting the same fate as its twin.

 

Too late, she looked up at him tearfully, pleading as her wrists were drawn over her head. “Kylo, please, please take me away from here.”

 

His face was unreadable as he made a casual upward motion with his fingers. The gossamer ropes obeyed, pulling her body taut before lifting her from the ground.

 

Deep, heart-wrenching despair lit the pathways of her nerves as she was hoisted up into the canopy to hang amongst the damned. Her eyes were locked on the creature staring up at her, unwilling to look around at the trapped souls that were her company.

 

His face was cold and impassive as his wings unfolded, stretching high over his head before sweeping down, lifting him into the air with a single violent stroke.

 

He ascended to face her, wings spread over him like feathered sails of smoke. She focused on them, glad to have something, anything to distract her from her nightmarish surroundings. Her eyes blearily traced their structure, noting that they were stationary as he hovered effortlessly in the viscous air.

 

She’d been too afraid to cry or whimper or make any sound that might rouse the things that hung all around them. His hands engulfed the span of her hips, and she found the strength. “What do you want?” she managed, face crumpling as her throat closed off again.

 

His voice was a low growl. “I want you to remember this place. This is what awaits those who take their own life.”

 

Rey stared imploringly at him, tongue-tied as his fingers hooked in the waist of her pants.

 

“And I want you,” he paused, beginning to pull in opposite directions, “to understand, unequivocally, how good you have it when I come to you.”

 

The seams split slowly, threads giving one by one as he stared her down expressionlessly.

 

Her pants slipped from her legs in pieces and spiraled to the ground. She felt dizzy. It was happening again. Here. He was going to fuck her—

 

His hands slipped beneath her thighs, pulling them up about his hips before drawing her panties aside. He was going—

 

She felt the nudge of his cock, it's head broad enough to encompass nearly all of her sensitive pink flesh.

 

She blinked rapidly. He was—

 

Pressure as he pushed. Her head fell back and she arched as her body gave way. She wasn’t wet and his shaft dragged against the walls of her sheath as he took her.

 

She cried out; a long, desperate lament that echoed through the sluggish air.

 

He took his time with it, drawing out the achy stretch of her body as she hung there helplessly. His dark eyes were fixed on her face, watching her misery with silent interest.

 

The first several thrusts were a battle, his mobility hindered by her terror. The way he slightly narrowed his eyes indicated that he seemed to enjoy waging it on her.

 

Tears flowed freely as she gazed at him, imploring him in a silent mantra. Please, please, please take me down.

 

He remained unmoved, penetrating her body as her sanity teetered at the edge. She gasped for breath like a fish out of water, sobbing as quietly as she could.

 

His hands released her thighs but they remained immobilized, locked in a vise around his waist. She felt gentle support behind her neck and the back of her skull as one massive hand cradled her there.

 

Then came the velvet slide of his voice in her head. There, there, little girl. Let’s put your nightmare on ice.

 

It became mercifully dark as he slid the other hand down her forehead to cover her eyes.

 

Her whole body convulsed in shock as a wave of destructive rapture poured through it.

 

The low vibration of his hum purred in her ear as he released that which had been withheld. Her head jerked within its warm prison, mouth forming a perfect O of surprise as a shiver wracked through her, so deep it shook her very bones.

 

In a hot instant, his shaft was slickened, bathed in the flood of moisture that was unleashed. It flowed down the portion of his cock that wasn’t buried in her, dripping lazily to the forest floor.

 

Dangling blind amidst the Tree of Lost Souls, he fucked her, pumping her full of him, giving her the only concrete reality on which to cling. She couldn’t see, couldn’t hang on to him. All she had was the one thing that was given. Her tense body came apart for him over and over, embracing the rock hard shaft that pistoned within it as though it were life support.

 

Her arms were weak from fighting the vaporous binds and her heart ached. “Please,” she faltered, her voice cracking, “give me something to hold—I need…”

 

“Shh. I know,” he soothed, freeing her hands.

 

Instantly, her arms were around him, clinging to his massive form in relief, pressing herself as tight against him as she could get.

 

She could breathe and drew in a lungful of air in a staggered gasp, still blissfully blind to their surroundings and entirely aware of the slippery place where he penetrated her.

 

“Hang on tight,” he warned.

 

His hands stayed locked over her eyes, and she felt his body tense, every muscle becoming inhumanly hard for a moment. At the same time, icy cold flashed over every inch of her, as though she’d been dipped into a cryogenic chamber and then removed instantly. Her skin stung a little, but the feeling passed as quickly as it registered.

 

The blind of his hands released but she kept her eyes closed, tucking her face against his neck, trembling, unwilling to look.

 

A familiar click and a heavy slide behind her and her head jerked up, eyelids flying open.

 

She stared in dumbfounded silence at a very familiar view as he strode into her living room, her thighs still wrapped securely around him. The slider closed like magic as she was carried towards her bed.

 

So great was her relief that she found herself planting mindless kisses of gratitude upon the column of his neck, nails digging into his shoulders as his dick tensed within her.

 

He seized her waist, throwing her off of him. She landed with a bounce upon her bed, given only a moment to stare up at him as he tore his clothes off, revealing that devastatingly gorgeous body.

 

Then he was yanking her down to the edge of the bed, muttering about how he was going to fuck the lights right out of her.  

 

In he slid, every decadent inch buried in an instant and she was crying out at how he filled her once more, arching as his mouth engulfed a breast and sucked, taking as much of it into his mouth as he could.

 

Pleasure rippled through her limbs, debilitating her. She needed to unlearn how good he felt.

 

He seemed to hear her thoughts and turned his mouth to her face, the words hard and absolute. “You’ll be made to know,” he promised with a dark smile, picking up his pace.

 

Her back dragged against the mattress with every thrust, the bed frame banging indecently. Anyone in the units around would have no doubts as to what was happening to her, and she couldn’t find it in her to care.

 

His dick pumped in and out, working her pussy into compliant mush, the pleasure raising chills over her entire body. It was so indecent, so luxurious, that the wrong word fell from her lips, damning her.

 

“Yes! Oh God, yes.”

 

His eyes glittered as an arrogant smile caressed his mouth.

 

She threw her head aside, closing her eyes so as not to see how he gloated.

 

“That’s a good girl,” he coaxed in his rumbling voice, ever the devil’s advocate. “Give in to the pleasure, let it take you.”

 

His teeth bit into her exposed neck and he sucked hard.

 

She keened, arching her much-smaller body up to meet his, rubbing her breasts against the tattooed expanse of his statuesque pectorals.

 

The pleasure of it, the pain caused her dam to break, all dignity bleeding out in a sudden torrent.

 

The words came tumbling from her breathlessly, sullying her with their complicity. “It’s so, so fucking good. How do you—ah!—how do you do make it so good? Please! mmh!—give me more, I need—”

 

She broke off with a yelp as he pulled free and flipped her over, yanking her back into his lap. Suddenly she faced her headboard, her mind returned for a split second before that massive dick retook her.

 

Her body tipped back, head meeting his chest with a heartfelt cry, stunned all over again by the sheer control he exercised over her. How stumblingly delicious it felt being split in two by him. He began to pummel her from underneath, catching her outthrust breasts in his hands, rubbing at them. His voice was nearly a snarl as it spoke filth that made her want to cry.

 

“This perfect little pussy is mine, and I’m going to violate it over and over.”    

 

The new angle caught her g-spot perfectly and she felt the growing warmth of a climax. "Yes, ple-ease, ta-ke i-it—" she gasped, her words broken by each pounding thrust.

 

Suddenly she found her fingers directed to her splayed-out sex. He held her hand in place, whispering as he fucked her, making her feel his slick girth sliding in and out.

 

Taking it. Just like she'd asked him to. 

 

She didn't stand a chance, her world shattering as sure as her body. Plunging over the edge, she convulsed in red darkness upon his length, no sight, no sound, no awareness of anything but destructive, carnal pleasure. Then through the void, she heard the whisper of his voice. Oh, Rey, feel how your body sucks at my cock, so hungry for me, baby...don’t worry, I’m gonna quench your thirst…

 

Sound returned and she heard herself keening, heard the deep rumbling purr of his approval as he bathed in the homage her body paid.

 

A hand engulfed her throat, squeezing lightly as its mate gripped her hip in a vise. “My turn now,” he growled, hips whipping his cock up into her in a brutal frenzy.

 

His voice became breathy in her ear. “Gonna fuck you every day, pretty girl. Gonna train your body with this dick...feel how your body loves on it...”

 

She was too far gone to answer but cried out when his hand slapped her pubic bone lightly, jarring her clit.

 

“Wake for me,” he hissed, two fingers pressing down on her tiny bundle of nerves. “Take every drop I give you.”

 

With a final brutal thrust, he paused for a beat, his cock pressed deep. A sharp jerk even deeper as the first spurt shot into her, then his groan was a sigh as he began to fountain, hips pressing urgently against her ass. His fingers and the soft pulses of dreamy warmth conspired against her. Her body responded as she tripped into another climax with a cry, her pussy wringing the marble length buried within it.

 

As she moaned in ecstasy, he murmured things against her skin, speaking in that arcane tongue that made her think of the creep of shadows. Somehow, in this warped new reality, the sound was oddly comforting, and she sagged back against him, panting for air.

 

At last, he stilled his lazy thrusts and lifted her limp body free of him. A river of spend released in his absence, joining a large, viscous puddle that had already dripped onto her down comforter.

 

She couldn’t even think to care as he arranged her useless limbs to his liking. When he hunched low between her sticky thighs and began to lick her clean with long swipes of his tongue, she only sighed.

 

“My plane,” she mumbled, so softly she couldn’t have faulted him if he didn’t hear. “My plane, from now on.”

 

She hadn’t the strength to even open her eyes, but she could hear the smile in his voice.

 

“A very good choice, indeed.”

 

Her last coherent thought was a curse aimed at the monster between her legs.

 

Bastard.

 

 

* * *

 


 

 

Glossary:

 

Kylo to Rey, reprimanding her as they stand beneath the Tree of Souls. "Ti sei quasi unito a loro." 

Italian, translates to, "You almost joined yourself with them." 

Chapter Text

image

 


 

  Songspiration: Be Mine /Ofenbach

 


 

Rey awoke to a knocking at her door. She sat bolt-up in bed, holding the sheet to her chest as she scanned her flat with weary eyes, but there was no sign of him.

 

“Who is it?” she called, grimacing at how hoarse her voice was. Still, she scouted for the bane of her existence, relaxing a tad as seconds ticked by without his cocky ass emerging from the bathroom. What time was it?

 

“Special delivery for Rey uh, Ken-- Kena-tuh?”

 

“Yeah, that’s me--” she ran her hand through her disheveled hair, frowning as she looked down at her naked body. There was no way she could do anything in a hurry. How the fuck had delivery gotten into the building?

 

“Just leave it at the door,” she snapped, feeling as irritable as she sounded. Everything hurt, and she would have murdered to go back to bed.

 

“I—I’m sorry, ma’am, I would, but I need a signature…”

 

Fuck! “Can’t you slide it under my door?” she hedged, already knowing the well-sealed frame wouldn’t allow it.

 

The voice on the other side of the door was hesitant. “Um, no, I uh--I’m terribly sorry but I actually need to see you in person, and, uh--”

 

“Alright, alright,” she groused, cutting him off. “Gimme a minute.”

 

She sat up and hoisted herself from bed, muttering obscenities directed at a certain dark-eyed demon as she hobbled to the bathroom. Her body ached like that of an eighty-year-old woman.

 

Donning her bathrobe before the mirror, she snarled at the vivid new love bites that adorned the swells of her breasts, splashing cold water on her face and chugging some from cupped hands. Maybe if she took long enough, this ill-timed delivery person would leave her in peace.

 

Walking past her bed on the way to the door, she was struck dumb by the absolutely disgusting mess that they’d--no, he’d made of her beautiful goose down duvet.

 

What in the actual* fuck*?

 

A growl of frustration ripped from her clenched teeth. She was pretty sure that a normal human male didn’t make that big of a mess, not that she had anything to compare with...but really?? Her bed looked like a bloodless crime scene—utterly riddled with cum stains, including an obscenely large puddle that had spread as it soaked into the fabric.

 

By the time she reached the door, she was veritably seething. She wrenched open the handle, looking like she was ready to murder the unfortunate soul who dared disturb her.

 

The poor dude was a gangly youth no older than twenty. He swallowed, his adam's apple bobbing as he stared wide-eyed at the glowering creature in the robe.

 

Her scowl lost its ferocity as she tracked up the tower of richly textured black boxes on his dolly.

 

“I didn’t order anything,” she said, squinting to read the script embossed on the boxes. Opulence of Southern Pines. She frowned, perplexed.

 

“Th-this order has been paid in full, ma’am, and I can guarantee that it wouldn’t have been packed and shipped if it wasn’t.” The delivery boy held out a clipboard and pen, cautiously keeping an eye out for the dragon-lady who’d first emerged at the door.

 

Still frowning, Rey signed her name. “You can leave them here,” she said, scratching the back of her neck distractedly. “I’ll bring them in myself.”

 

The kid needed no further encouragement, hastily sliding the boxes from the dolly, his mistrustful eyes darting to hers.

 

She stood in her doorway feeling unreasonably taxed as he unloaded the last box and bolted for the elevators, moving as fast as his gangly legs could carry him.

 

When he’d gone, she moved the lightweight boxes into her living room. She stood there, just staring at them as she swayed a little on her feet. It felt for all the world like she’d been hit by a Mack truck; she was achy, bone-tired, and incredibly discombobulated. What day was it? And what was the time anyway? She groaned, wanting nothing more than to go back to bed and sleep for a week.

 

Locating her phone, she saw that it was--Tuesday?! What the holy high FUCK?!!

 

The last time she’d checked it’d been Sunday...had she slept for forty-eight hours?! Or was it possible that time was distorted in that fucking place- -

 

A shiver of dread wracked through her. No. Let’s not go there. Once was enough, thank-you-very-much.

 

Yet, it was with a morbid, inescapable curiosity that she opened her palm, staring at the flowing glyphs that marked her pointer finger. They were a deep, dark red, looking to be under her skin rather than etched into it.

 

She was exhausted, but not so tired that she couldn’t worry about what it meant. Or be a watery semblance of pissed. None of this freakish, fucked-up game was fair.

 

Shuffling over to her bed, she tore the ruined comforter from the bed with a surge of passion. Then she fetched a glass of much-needed water and returned to sit on the edge of her mattress, staring resentfully at the fancy boxes, wanting and not wanting to know what was in them.

 

Finally, she caved, knowing she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep without knowing. Settling on the ground in a sea of finely-grained boxes, she opened them one by one, revealing several incredibly fine sheet sets and not one but three feather comforters of exceptional luxury.

 

In normal circumstances, it would have been deliriously funny. Could’ve been, should’ve been. But given the implication of his gifts, the maniacal giggle that bubbled up in her throat emerged as a muffled sob that slipped through her fingers.

 

She sat there, unsure of whether to laugh or scream, but 100% certain of something else; if she ever had the chance, she’d rip him limb from limb.

 

 


 

 

Rey stood at the head of a well-appointed conference room, feeling her tense muscles soften incrementally as she closed in on the 30-minute mark. Her relief grew as she drew her pitch to a close.

 

“As we’ve seen, successful formalization of the sector is going to require a multi-disciplinary effort. It will begin with larger entities such as government agencies and NGOs, but really, it will be the grass-root collaboratives and individual community leaders that will decide success.”

 

She discreetly shifted from one foot to another, regretting her earlier decision to wear the blush peep-toe Louboutins. The price for turning your foot into a work of art was steep, and she was 99% sure high heels were a torture device invented by men. On the other hand, dressing sharp for these high-priority deliveries always lent an edge, playing upon that unconscious human tendency to judge a book by its cover.

 

Tactics, she thought wryly, ignoring her discomfort as she panned the attentive faces in the crowd.

 

As she paused and turned her attention to the screen, the door at the back of the room opened to admit a latecomer. She ignored the interruption and clicked to her final slide, surreptitiously checking the lay of the scarf that wrapped about her throat as she launched into her closing remarks.

 

“As we move into the initial stages of planning, the focus should be on vetting and securing the support of community-based partners. You’ll find a new link on our website providing additional resources. As we begin implementation, we encourage you to share stories of success and the challenges that are encountered on our message board." Rey paused, forcing a smile as she struggled to maintain a confident demeanor. "We all learn from another, and through sharing, we seed a mutually beneficial community of effort.”

 

That she was so anxious to wrap this talk up and bolt was a sign of the times. Rey loved her line of work and the autonomy of being a hired gun. This was the stuff she thrived for, and she was frustrated and resentful that he was having an impact on her work life.

 

Given the irreconcilable turn her life had taken and her consequent doubts for the integrity of her own sanity, it was a wonder she’d even been able to go forward with her delivery today.

 

It had been Tuesday when she’d emailed Rose, her program director-turned-friend, informing her she had the flu and would be out of commission for a few days.

 

Rose was nothing but understanding, offering her a supply drop-off and even hinting they could possibly reschedule her presentation. Rey had responded with hasty assurances that, no, she didn’t need anything, and yes, she’d be ready to deliver her keynote as planned on Friday. Her director was a complete sweetheart, and as she met Rose’s eyes, she felt a pang of guilt at the lies she’d told.

 

But really. What was she supposed to say? Hey, Rose, I had this unfortunate mix-up with a demon...I know, what are the odds, right?! And now I’m like, I dunno, bound to him or something? And he’s been dropping in and fucking me senseless throughout the week and it’s been really inconvenient and a bit of a distraction…

 

She fought the grimace she felt, smiling radiantly as she clasped her gloved hands together and thanked everyone for their attendance. Rey would have killed to hightail it the fuck out, but as the lights came up, she coached patience and announced she’d take several questions, knowing full well it was expected.

 

After a lively discussion about the data points she’d presented and hashing through concerns, she thanked her audience a second time, making it clear that she was through. With no small sense of relief, she gathered her laptop and things, getting ready to run the gamut to reach the door.

 

As she made her way out, a member of the Peruvian delegate engaged her with several more items he wanted to discuss. She was making a valiant attempt to squash her irritation when she noticed a subtle murmuring punctuated by an occasional girlish titter at the back of the room.

 

The sound was more appropriate for that of a bar than a conference room, and Rey found herself distracted as she turned her head toward the back wall.

 

Her blood turned to ice, tightening her skin with a prickling sensation.

 

There he was, looking like a secretary’s wet dream, his flawless physique decked out in a crisp button-down tucked into charcoal-grey slacks. The sleeves of his white dress shirt were rolled up over his sculpted forearms, and he iced the image with a pair of slick black-rimmed glasses that she knew he didn’t need.

 

Rey felt her knees wobble threateningly as fear made her weak. Not here, please, no.

 

He leaned against the back wall, watching her lazily as he made small talk with several women from her presentation. They seemed oblivious to his marked disinterest, blushing when he spared them a word, gazing up at him from under their lashes and tucking stray locks of hair behind their ears. Several other women lingered nearby like fans waiting for a close-up with their favorite celebrity...as if they just couldn’t help themselves.

 

Probably they couldn’t.

 

A surge of bitterness arose. Such a wicked little game he played, engaging them just enough to encourage their overt flirting, all the while stripping her down, burning her casually with the latent heat of his eyes. He was ever finding ways to twist the knife in her, flaunting the interest of others when she knew full well who he was here for. When all she wanted was for any of these women to strike his fancy, freeing her from the nightmare of his attention.

 

Her stomach churned and she fought the impulse to bolt. She was vaguely aware that she was being rude to the poor fellow talking to her, but she couldn’t tear her eyes from him.

 

Her lips parted, brows furrowing a tad as she shook her head near imperceptibly, sending him a silent plea. Her obvious distress was met with an impudent smirk and a single nod.

 

Yes. Here. NOW.

 

It was hard not to want to cry as he pushed off of the wall, excusing himself from the group as he prowled gracefully through the crowd to intercept her.

 

She finally broke their eye contact, murmuring a hasty apology to her companion and begging his leave.

 

With an effort that nearly killed her, she fought her instincts and moved numbly toward him, under no illusions that there was any possible escape.

 

“Rey!” Rose popped into her line of vision, her face bright as she claimed her hand. “You killed it,” she whispered enthusiastically. “The suits were so impressed, I hope you’re ready for a major extension of your contract, because--” she broke off, suddenly noticing that her friend looked rather pale.

 

Rose stared blankly at the tattooed forearm that slid around Rey’s trim waist, her gaze traveling up the broad expanse of a chest to behold its owner.

 

Her chocolate-brown eyes widened. “Ohh, hi,” she breathed stupidly, staring at him in the exact same manner the other women had. Utterly spellbound.

 

His voice was rich and warm as he greeted them. “Ladies, you must forgive the interruption but I just couldn’t stay away.”

 

He extended his other hand to Rose, favoring her with a charming, crooked smile. “I’m Kylo, Rey’s new boy-toy,” he deadpanned, pulling Rey against him affectionately.

 

Rose took the bait, giggling at his cheekiness, completely oblivious to Rey’s distinct lack of reaction.

 

“Yeah, that’s me,” Rey muttered weakly, “game for miles…”

 

Rose tilted her head, giving her friend a comical look of outrage that said she expected Rey to fess up later. “Look at how cute you two are together!” she gushed, beaming at them with all the subtlety of a smitten high schooler.

 

The lack of her characteristic shrewdness was galling, and Rey fought off the sinking sense of dismay at the effect he had on everyone. Everyone but her.

 

Rose continued, totally hoodwinked and oblivious of her misery. “Rey, I’m so happy you found someone!”

 

She leaned toward Kylo, smiling at him with stars in her eyes. “I’ve never seen Rey with a beau before. She’s a discerning customer,” Rose said, her voice lowering into a conspiratorial whisper as she waggled her brows. “You must be doing something right.”

 

He smirked back at Rose, his hand subtly rubbing up and down the curve of Rey's waist. “Oh, believe me, I had to chase her relentlessly before she tried me on for size,” he murmured, his eyes sparkling like those of a willful child.

 

Rey’s eyes closed as her hand tightened into a fist, taking a handful of his shirt in a vise. You didn’t just say that you *fucking asshole*. They snapped open and she expelled her breath in a soft hiss. “Rose, would you excuse us for a moment?” she managed, smiling woodenly.

 

“Why, of course! Call me later, and really, Rey, amazing work today,” said Rose, retreating a few steps. “Kylo, it was just fabulous meeting you. Take care of my girl and I’m sure I’ll see you around more often.”

 

“Affirmative on both fronts,” he replied smoothly, giving Rose a captivating smile as she departed, leaving them standing together in the still-crowded conference room.

 

Then he was leaning down to speak in her ear, his dulcet voice just above a whisper. “Fuck, you’re delicious,” he swore, lifting one of her gloved hands, stroking a thumb over the supple material. “How dare you wear such an enticing outfit in public?” he scolded playfully.

 

She looked down the length of her body, seeing only a well-tailored, office-appropriate blouse and skirt.

 

“Do you have any idea what I’m going to do to you, right now? ” he continued, his hand tightening at her waist, jerking her tightly against him.

 

A whimper of dread formed in her throat as she felt the hardness of his cock pressing against her pubic bone, closer to the mark thanks to the four-inch lift of her heels.

 

By some unknown grace, she found the strength to look him in the eye. “Anywhere else,” she said, her voice strained and urgent. “Please, don’t do this to me in front of my colleagues, please.”

 

He chuckled, spinning her lightly in a half-circle, as though they were alone rather than in the middle of an executive boardroom. She fought the urge to push him away as his lips pressed a soft, discrete kiss below her ear.

 

“What color are your panties?” he asked, ignoring her low, impassioned plea.

 

She looked away, unable to suppress a twitch of frustration. “What the fuck does that have to do with anything?” she hissed quietly.

 

He was silent long enough to force her hand, and she looked back up to his face, fearful she’d overstepped.

 

His dark eyes stared down at her, fathomless but for the faint kindle of mischief. “Maybe everything, maybe nothing.”

 

Gripping her hand, he stepped back from her, holding her arm aloft as his eyes again raked down her body, taking in the feminine silk blouse and heather gray pencil skirt she wore.

 

“But if they’re black,” he warned, “I’ll do something unspeakable.

 

“Pink!” she blurted, “they’re pink.”

 

A small, triumphant smile curled about his lips as he pulled her back into his arms.

 

His behavior was shameless, and Rey peeked over his shoulder, expecting the whole room to be staring. Somehow, they weren’t, still talking in little groups that had begun to disperse.

 

“Pink,” he mused thoughtfully, his hands whispering over her hips, stroking lightly as if he were trying to get a feel for what lay underneath her skirt. “What kind of pink? Describe it to me. Fuchsia, or champagne, orchid or cotton candy? Are they saturated or demure?

 

He had a way of enunciating his words that was crafty and so calculating. She was beginning to realize that speech was just another weapon of his, and that he relished the many ways he could leverage it against her.

 

She shivered, half from the feel of his massive body and half out of the agony of suspense.

 

“Pale,” she replied in a hoarse whisper, “blush pink...like my shoes.”

 

He groaned emotively against her ear, and she was mortified to feel her nipples tingle in response to the sound, her body reacting to the sordid images it conjured.

 

She exhaled the dismay, her brows furrowing as she hung her head.

 

“Ah, yes,” he mused, tipping her chin up, appraising her as he would a fine object. “Like the break of dawn; that gentle flush, so hopeful and effervescent.”

 

She blinked up at him, momentarily captured by the beauty of his face and words he spoke.

 

He released her and stepped back, gazing into her eyes, his stare both penetrating and intimate. “‘My plane, not yours,’ she says. ‘Anywhere but here,’ she says…” he shook his head disapprovingly as the teasing little smile slipped from his generous mouth. “My, but I am accommodating of your demands.”  

 

Chills of dread ran her skin in icy rivulets as that ominous red flashed in his eyes.

 

“The road goes both ways,” he said warningly, “you will remember my generosity when I demand something of you...won’t you, little vixen?”

 

The quiet threat in his tone was clear. Her eyes were wet as she forced a jerky nod. “Yes,” she added in a husky voice, sure that only a verbal agreement would satisfy.

 

His amusement returned like the sun breaking free of a storm cloud, and he savored her struggle a moment before delivering the relief she so desperately sought.

 

“Very well. I had planned on taking you to lunch to celebrate…” His eyes drifted up her body to meet hers, and the dangerous thing that lurked beneath his suave exterior flashed its teeth.

 

“I suppose ravishing you could wait until then,” he murmured darkly.

 

She didn’t so much as flinch, entirely willing to cut her losses elsewhere. The tension she’d felt earlier had returned tenfold and her muscles were rigid as a day-old corpse. Without a word, she clasped his arm and let him lead her from the room, trying to brace for the possibility that he might break his word.

 

He was, as he’d so horribly proven, a demon.

 


 

 

The shocks to her heart kept coming, and she didn’t know how much more she could take.

 

Her light grasp had restructured into a claw on his bicep when he led her to the Maserati Alfieri that sat at the curb, glorious and sleek as sugared sin. How badly she wanted to stalk its voluptuous, low-slung curves, to pop the hood and drool over the engine that lurked like a leashed tiger, to beg him to let her drive it...but she’d be double-damned if she gave him such satisfaction.

 

Why, oh why couldn’t he just be a normal, human, rich-as-fuck, non-satanic boyfriend?

 

With an exceptional will of effort, she gagged her inner torque-loving fangirl on behalf of what dignity she still managed to retain. His hand rested at the small of her back as he ushered her to the passenger side and opened the door for her, giving the appearance of a doting partner.

 

It didn’t even register as she slid onto buttery leather the color of dried blood, biting her lip to stifle a moan.

 

He paused a moment, smoldering down at her as he lounged against the door. “You like fast machines, don’t you.” It wasn’t a question, and the hint of smugness in his voice won him a silent, resentful glare.

 

She did her best to ignore his lithe little chuckle as he closed the door, focusing instead on the smooth whirring of the seatbelt sliding over her lap, running wondering fingers over the detailed stitching of her seat.

 

While he circled around to the driver’s side, she discreetly cased the interior details, drinking in the polished console and sleek silver-trimmed dash. The nicest car she’d ever ridden in was a Porsche, and it didn’t even come in a close second to this sexy beast.

 

Her heart beat with an enthusiasm she tried to temper as he folded himself into the driver's seat and fired the engine. His cocky smirk told her he knew, the bastard .

 

“It’s just a cheap thrill is all,” she shot defensively.

 

“Keep telling yourself,” he drawled, peeling out with a scream of abused rubber, causing her stomach to drop deliciously as her back instantly molded to the seat.

 

He drove like the monster he was, aggressive and confident as he tore out of Belltown, leaving her breathless. Every road rule was broken, treated as if they didn’t apply to him. He darted through traffic like a stealthy black needle, only half-paying attention to the road as he moved them effortlessly from one open space to the next.

 

Cars in the path of his trajectory didn’t react with the justified panic they should have, and it was telling. The intolerance of city drivers was legendary. If they’d been aware of a fraction of his antics there would have been blaring horns, crashing vehicles and general mayhem left in their wake. After several tense minutes of clinging white-knuckled to her seat, Rey relaxed, drawing confidence from the way he handled the car and the lack of upset around them.

 

One massive hand stroked the length of her thigh, causing her to tense up all over again.

 

“So sorry I’ve been kept away from you darling,” he murmured, giving her sincere looks with his large, dark eyes. “My services have been rather in demand this week, and I regret how little time I’ve been able to afford you.”

 

Rey bridled at the way he spoke to her--as if they were a loving couple with busy working lives.

 

“Your... services?” she asked, turning to peer at him skeptically. A sharp, bitter laugh escaped her. “I’m not sure I should ask you to clarify exactly what those are…”

 

“Now, now,” he chided, “you’d be surprised how similar our jobs actually are. I too deal in the molding of international opinion, although I should confess that the outcomes we seek are decidedly different.”

 

“No doubt,” she bit out, though her sarcasm sounded flimsy in her own ears. She stared out the window, debating with herself before turning to face him. “And who exactly is it demanding your services? Satan, I suppose?”

 

His pupils winked fire as he turned to her with a brittle smile that froze the marrow of her bones. “After a fashion,” he replied, his eyes wandering her face as the vehicle maneuvered itself expertly through the city. She felt him considering her, weighing his words before speaking.

 

“Satan is a contrivance of Christianity, a figure on which religious zealots can blame their baser nature or the misfortunes that befall them. The one I serve is so much more than a convenient scapegoat for the vices of weak-minded mortals. However, for the sake of ease, I think it’s safe for you to consider them one and the same.”

 

The breath left her lungs in a whoosh and she realized she’d been holding it. For once, she was bereft of anything wise to say. She wanted to mock him so badly, to deride and deny the terrifying things he said, therefore rejecting the implications. Instead, her refute lie stillborn, frozen in the fell light of all she’d seen and been subjected to. The Pandora’s box, once barely cracked, was now thrown wide open.

 

Angst was a live wire within her as she faced the evidence that backed his claims; there existed supernatural elements that could affect the real world in tangible ways. The club. The park. The Tree of Souls. Her apartment.

 

Almost unconsciously, she found herself looking down at her hand. The taut fabric of her glove crinkled as she flexed her index finger, feeling the ache of the brand hidden just beneath.

 

“So, then, what is his name?” she asked, her voice a hollow whisper.

 

“His name is best left unsaid, unless, of course, you’d care to meet him?” he asked, giving her an inquiring side glance. He smiled when she shook her head hastily, her eyes wide. “Suffice to know; he is the Lord of the Fallen and Keeper of Darkness. I carry out his aims and serve him to the best of my abilities.”

 

Rey felt dazed, the gorgeous vehicle in which she sat meaningless and forgotten. The Devil existed. He and his forces actively worked amongst the doings of humans. Demons were real. She was bound in unknown ways to one. A sob bubbled halfway up her throat only to shrivel into nothingness.

 

With an abrupt spin of the steering wheel, he pulled into a curbside spot clearly marked, “no parking.” He kept his silence as he killed the engine and slid from the car.

 

She stared blearily through the windshield, trying and failing to keep up with the rearranging of reality. Their location was lost on her. She had no idea where they were in the city, that detail becoming irrelevant during what easily qualified as the craziest conversation of her entire life.

 

A final question pressed at her lips, begging to be answered as she shifted against the soft leather of her seat.

 

He opened her car door and she numbly accepted the hand he offered.

 

Her voice was quiet, childlike. “Your...abilities,” she said, breaking off as she was pulled to her feet.

 

He hemmed her in between the door well and his body, keeping her flush against him with one massive palm as he stared her down. “You already know,” he purred, his hand bold as it slid down to cup the globe of her ass, yanking her hips against his with a quick jerk.

 

“What have I been doing Rey?” he taunted, lips skimming the angle of her cheekbone.

 

Her brows knit tightly as fear and self-pity mingled in a potent, unwanted cocktail. “Hunting me,” she answered mechanically, staring over his shoulder at the climb of steel and glass across the street.

 

“Indeed I have,” he murmured, pulling the back of her hand up to his lips in a parody of chivalry. His eyes were alive and endlessly dark, drawing her unwilling stare. “And?”

 

She swallowed, determined not to shy away from it this time. “You’ve been fucking me,” she choked out.

 

“Mmmm,” he hummed appreciatively, biting lightly at her gloved finger. “With more pleasure than you’ll ever know. What else?”

 

She felt weak as she watched those sharp white teeth nipping at her, her heart speeding uncomfortably. “Y--you’ve stopped time--”

 

“There,” he interrupted, laying a disturbingly large pointer finger lightly upon her lips. “There it is, but on a broader scale.” His voice lowered, each word branding indelibly into her mind. “Time, places, things, and people all bow to my will. Mine is the power of persuasion...and it is absolute.”

 

Her eyes blinked rapidly as her brain stalled on that one meaningful word. Persuasion.  Then came the fallout as the pieces fell into place, completing the puzzle that had become her waking nightmare. People obeying. Music stopping. Her falling body halted in mid-air. The effect he had on all those women. Rose, shrewd Rose, her eyes sparkling like a smitten teenager.

 

His angry words from the forest breezed through her mind with their full meaning revealed. “I have no desire to alter your persuasion.”

 

Her mouth opened but nothing came out. She shook her head faintly, as if apologizing for her wordlessness.

 

His eyes were suddenly soft, so soft and dark. “I could tell you to love me, and that would be all it would take.” He caressed her upturned face as he dipped to nibble delicately at her quivering lips, treating her fear like a confection. “I meant what I said to you in the forest. You’re perfect the way you are, and I won’t change a thing if I can help it. That's about as good a vow as you’ll ever get from me.”

 

He drew back, keeping her hostage as he pivoted her and shut the car door. The city around her swam, reality distorted by the impossibility of his existence, the fact that he was here, radiating heat as he pressed her against the car. The last question she’d wanted to ask was silenced by the look he leveled at her, the build of his hunger as threatening as an electrical storm on the open plains.

 

She could hear it in his voice, the low fanaticism and a conviction so ironclad, she had no shield or recourse to match it.

 

His eyes flashed, molten pools of living heat. “Never have I been denied with such fierce resolution,” he murmured.

 

She cringed, knowing he’d meant it as a compliment.

 

“You resist the effect of my touch like you were born to do it, and that is the finest nectar in all the galaxy.” He paused, smirking blackly as his voice became quiet, each word succinct. “Oh, I could easily give the command and get plenty of fight… but therein lies the beauty, the pricelessness of what you gift me.”

 

She shifted against him in mute shock, unable to look away as he continued to illuminate every horrible, captivating detail surrounding her fate.

 

“Over the eons, I’ve never had need of my abilities; my presence alone is enough to turn the chaste willing.” Something predatory kindled in his expression and she quailed.

 

“But you have something in you--something special,” he continued, “a foundation that is impervious to my charm. That mettle is what drew me to you that night—your unflinching ability to resist, the strength of your will to escape.”

 

The words were rushing from him now, overtaking her mind like a boreal tide.

 

“I kissed you in that club and felt you respond, but instead of succumbing like all the rest, you fought it!” he exclaimed, seizing her face in one hand and drawing close to press her against the car yet again. She whimpered helplessly, pliant in the heat of his intensity, suddenly afraid she might be taken right then and there.

 

“You managed to do the impossible. Fought me off not once but twice,” he hissed, his eyes glowing with firelight, “you, a mere mortal who should have been writhing on my cock from the first, begging me for more of whatever I wanted to give. You were so fucking perfect that when I first caught the clean scent of your ripe little pussy, I thought there was no way.”

 

He released her face and took steps to realize her fears, one hand slipping down her throat to cup her breast as the other claimed her ass with a possessive squeeze.

 

“Never would I have guessed you a virgin. It was too good to be true.”

 

Rey’s heart plummeted as she remembered, her panties awash in illicit warmth. His tone now lowered, becoming a breathy growl as his massive hands began to rub and knead at her erogenous zones.

 

“That you could resist me, that your body was untouched was treat enough...but then came the most brilliant stroke of fortune ever to befall one of my kind.” He paused, the fanatical light in his eyes tempered with a look of wonder that made her sick to her stomach. “You bound yourself to me in blood,” he continued breathily, “a pure soul, mine forever.

 

She was about to deny him when he crushed his lips to hers and nudged her mouth open, sweeping his tongue against hers so expertly, she could only receive him. It was the kiss from the club all over again--positively dismantling her resistance with otherworldly pleasure. A tear slipped from her eye as he plundered the cavern of her mouth, taking and taking in rapturous delight, merciless until she whimpered low in her throat with the need to breathe.

 

His hands were doing wonderful, unspeakable things and his lips were a thief--making her forget everything--where they were, what their purpose was, what happened before. There was only him and his mouth, overwhelming her as he demanded she give him everything.

 

She whimpered, a broken, tortured sound that he devoured, strengthening his onslaught with a growl.

 

Spinning. She was spinning as her hands fisted in his shirt, trying to push him away even as her traitorous hips ground unconsciously against his marvelous cock.

 

You want this, came his voice in her head, and there was no justice in the world, for she did. Her hands had utterly failed, relaxing against the planes of his chest as the enticement of his body dawned on her. She moaned, supplicant against him as her lips slid willingly over his, the beginning of the end. Right here, pressed against his sexy car, in the light of day on S. Main street.

 

All at once he let up, releasing her lips and leaving her panting in a fog of desire. Her perception was hazy but she saw the way he mirrored her pained expression. For all that he seemed affected, he recovered far quicker than she, straightening her clothes and smirking as he took in her glazed eyes and flushed lips. “So beautiful,” he murmured, being sure to stealthily graze a finger over a pebbled nipple, inconspicuous after that blatant show of dominance.

 

In a daze, she took the arm he offered, her legs shivering like those of a newborn fawn. She felt way too out-of-control of the entire situation. Her panties were positively swimming with arousal, and she swallowed painfully as desire greyed and confliction set in, swiftly followed by guilt. He led her toward a red door inset in an alcove, its glass etched with the word, Tsukushinbo.

 

With every step, she could feel her labia slide enticingly against her swollen clit. It was indecent, all of it, and suddenly, she wanted to cry.

 

He glanced down at her with a cunning smile.

 

“Come, little girl,” he said, “I’ve worked up quite an appetite.”

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Songspiration: 

Blue Orchid, The White Stripes

Surrender, Green Ice Mix, Trafik (feat Rachel Lamb)

 


 

 

image

 

 

*All translations are provided in a glossary at the chapter's close

 

 


 

Chapter 7

 

 

 

Words swam about on a sea of disorientation, vital, yet difficult to grasp. 

 

...you resist the effect of my touch...

 

She reached for the words, bits of phrases, trying to piece them together into something comprehensible as her body was moved along.

 

...bound yourself to me in blood...

 

His tall, dark presence loomed next to her, providing physical support--warm, solid, perilous. She paid him no mind, her need to make sense of the unanchored words taking precedence.

 

Words he'd spoken before her ability to reason had been taken away. 

 

...the pricelessness of what you gift me...

 

A door was opened for her and she was guided into a humble but well-appointed restaurant, just eight lacquered black tables and a small bar that fronted a cold case filled with cuts of fish. Time started, the change of environment just enough to distract her from her futile attempts to understand all that he'd just revealed.

 

Rey took in her new surroundings with glassy eyes, her mind dully registering the fact that they were the only customers.

 

A trim, middle-aged Japanese man emerged from behind the bar with a young man in tow. The proprietor greeted them with the traditional welcome. "Irasshaimase,” he said, making eye contact and giving a short, stiff bow to each of them in turn.

 

“Konichiwa, Toma-san,” Kylo replied, inclining his head and shoulders.

 

“You must be Kylo Ren,” the man replied, his accent thick. "We are honored to have you. This is my apprentice, Kenji, who will be assisting me today." He gestured to the seating with a second short bow. “Please, sit where you are most comfortable.”

 

The demon patted her gloved hand absently as he led her to a padded bench seat built into the back wall and guided her into a sitting position, as though she were drunk and couldn't be trusted to accomplish the feat without assistance. 

 

She didn't even take offense. That sense of drifting unanchored still possessed her, and everything felt surreal.

 

Her eyes drifted to her lap, her daze not enough to shield her from the slippery warmth contained within her panties. She clenched her thighs tight, childishly wishing it wasn't so. Pangs of mortification zipped like pulses of electricity on a faulty wire, unable to fully power the engine of her mind, but uncomfortable nonetheless.

 

Her tormentor, meanwhile, had settled himself in a chair opposite her, moving with a fluid, measured grace that didn’t match his height and stature. 

 

The chef had dismissed his apprentice and now moved to deliver a ceramic tea set, providing her with a fleeting distraction. In this state of mind, it was difficult to be a keen judge of anything, but Rey thought offhandedly that the man looked tense. His body rigid, he kept his eyes glued to his little notepad as he took their order, his unobtrusive manner straying perilously close to discomfort. 

 

You and me both, she thought, coming back to herself just a little. Her bleary gaze wandered to the bamboo forest scene painted on a set of shoji screens as Kylo ordered for them in proficient Japanese. She recognized several terms, but most of it was lost on her. Then he said something to the man in plain English that fully woke her attention.

 

“Toma-san. It’s high time I confess. Today we come to test your venerated skill.”

 

Rey shifted her eyes to the fellow in time to see his skin grow a shade paler. He locked eyes with Kylo in a long, unblinking stare, reminding Rey of a deer caught in the headlights.

 

Goddamnit. What the hell does that mean?

 

Her brows furrowed in alarm as she looked back and forth between the two, trying to suss out what was happening. A pooling darkness grew around Kylo, and she blinked a few times to make sure she was seeing properly. The effect only grew, and Rey could feel something invisible mounting between the chef and her captor.

 

Her stomach dropped as she watched the spectacle unfold, a living shadow that swirled and condensed, playing hypnotically about Kylo’s features. His eyes were dark and endless, holding the proprietor hostage. All the air drained from Rey's lungs a sympathetic huff.

 

Still, it was mesmerizing, and she couldn’t look away as the man’s face grew reverential, his eyes becoming visibly moist as he returned the demon’s stare.

 

In a moment of clarity, it dawned on her. This is what he does...what he did to me after I made that leap...

 

Hairs arose on the back of her neck and her vision sharpened, honing in on tiny details as she bore witness to the abilities of which he’d spoken. She blinked, tearing her eyes from Kylo to see that the chef looked to be on the verge of ecstatic tears.

 

Her captor’s voice was like dark velvet, warm and resonant as his words enveloped the man before him. “Anata no geijutsu wa kanzen ni jikkō sa remasu. Erā wa arimasen.”

 

He paused, waiting as Toma repeated the command in English. “My art will be perfectly executed. There will be no errors.”

 

Slowly, the mysterious shadow cleared from Kylo’s visage.

 

Toma stood in place, his limbs loose, his face the picture of serenity.

 

Air returned to Rey’s lungs and she swallowed nervously, still watching the chef with no small amount of dread.

 

The corner of Kylo’s mouth quirked mischievously as he redirected his half-lidded stare to her. “We’ll have the torafugu, and make it hot.

 

Very clearly, she saw life return to Toma’s eyes as he registered Kylo’s words. They darted furtively to hers, lingering before he gave a short incline of his head. "Hai," he murmured, turning to head for the kitchen.

 

Rey felt her heart sink, well-aware that he had something planned for her, and that it wasn’t good. Fuck. She fidgeted as that now-familiar knot of dread grew in her stomach. There was no way she’d be able to eat anything in his harrowing presence.

 

He scrutinized her as warm sake was delivered, catching the server before he departed to quietly order one more thing.

 

Turning back, his intense stare once again settled upon her, utterly languid where he sat dwarfing his chair. She continued her nervous fidgeting, pausing when he directed a pointed look at her hands. “The gloves you wear,” he began, “are you afraid that people will see my brand?”

 

“Is that what it is?” she asked, her tone weakly venomous as she tried a sip of the sake. It was smooth and warm and altogether pleasant. Her eyes flashed to him. “Yes,” she spat, “it’s hideous, and I hate it!

 

He sipped his sake in a civilized way that was somehow infuriating. The least this fucker could do is comport himself like the monster he is. She snapped her mouth shut and followed suit, chasing an unfamiliar warmth as the alcohol spread soothing fingers through her muscles.

 

“Mortal eyes can’t see it,” he remarked, looking up with a polite smile as the young man returned with another drink. A ceramic tumbler was set before her, the server nodding hastily before heading back through the split curtain that lead to the kitchen.

 

She stared at the new offering a moment before looking up at him with a mixture of annoyance and curiosity.

 

“Shochu iichiko,” he said by way of explanation, “a little stronger--if you feel you need it.”

 

His half-smile needled her, but she raised the tumbler and cautiously tried the beverage anyway. It smelled of grain and burned fiercely on the way down. She grimaced, preferring the benign rice taste of the sake.

 

“As I was saying,” he continued, “no one will be able to see the mark of my ownership but you and I, and those to whom it really counts.”

 

Ownership. She repressed the itch to throw something at him with another good slug of sake. “Those being…?” she asked waspishly.

 

“Others of my kind,” he replied, smiling good-naturedly, acknowledging the way she paled with obvious pleasure. “What, did you think I was the only one?”

 

“One could only fucking hope!” she blurted loudly, her eyes wide. “More?” she squeaked, her voice getting higher as she panicked. “How many more?” 

 

He laughed, ever-amused by her distress. “I'll inform you that, aside from our Lord, there are several Archfiends of my stature and many lesser demons such as the Hellcniht I lead."

 

His finger stroked idle circles around the rim of his glass, tracing it as he watched the reactions play over her face. "But it needn't concern you," he casually added, well-aware that soothing her was well outside the suite of his abilities. "You, my dear, are protected by the power of my name. Our bond is unbreakable, and my claim leaves you impervious to the designs of my kind.”

 

His eyes flashed their red hazard at her. “Only I may touch you,” he intoned.

 

She opened her mouth to reply but was interrupted by the arrival of the chef's apprentice bearing several dishes. Kenji kept his eyes on his task, saying nothing as he unloaded his tray with hands that finely trembled, placing the elegant ceramic dishes before them. When he'd finished, he murmured a hasty, “douzo meshiagare,” and hurried off, leaving them alone again.

 

Frustration bubbled up in her as she glanced over the spread before her; the last thing she wanted to do right now was eat. “What do you want from me?” she moaned, hating the slight whine on her voice as she yanked her gloves off jerkily and slapped them down on the bench. Comporting herself some, she leaned toward him, meeting his eyes pleadingly as she made her case. “I can’t stand not knowing. This is my fucking life, Kylo, and it may not mean anything to you, but it’s all I’ve got. At least give me some understanding of what I can expect-- please!

 

Not an ounce of mercy was in him, and she should have known.

 

“What you can expect? Of me, you mean?” His lip quirked a little. “Hmmm...”

 

He cocked his head, narrowing his eyes as he pretended to think about it. “You can expect--what is the charming term you people use?--ah yes, that's right...you can expect to be fucked six ways from Sunday, whenever I have the time to spare.”

 

Her muscles went rigid as a board. “You’re such a fucking monster,” she seethed, pretty sure he was serious.

 

He methodically dipped a bite of ahi and raised it to his mouth. His eyes winked red again as he chewed meditatively. “You have no idea,” he replied with a lazy smirk. “Now come here and have a bite of this delicious food. I insist.” He pushed back his chair and patted a broad thigh.

 

Fury was alive within her, spitting and hissing, demanding she let it out. “There is. No. Fucking. Way,” she snapped, biting each word out.

 

He sighed, his shoulders slumping like a defeated boyfriend...then his gaze darkened as he placed both tattooed forearms on the table, leaning forward to pin her with an expression that meant fucking trouble.

 

His voice slithered the length of the table, low and threatening. “I’ve been terribly generous with you. Don’t make me regret it, Rey, because there’s always tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. You’ll be had again and again, and on the rare occasion, like today, that I give you any leeway in where or how you get fucked, you’d do well to show me how grateful you are.”

 

His eyes pierced her like twin daggers, and he didn’t smile. “Now get that tight ass over here and sit like a good little girl.”

 

Her face had paled as he spoke. Standing shakily, she tipped her head up defiantly as she looked down at the demon seated before her. His threatening visage swam out of focus as she entertained madness. Slip out of your heels and bolt. Reach for that door and fly through it--move as you’ve never moved before, like you have a pack of rabid hellhounds breathing down your back --

 

The fantasy of escape died as his voice echoed in her mind, taunting and cruel. Do it, Rey. Do it and see what happens.

 

Her eye caught the stronger alcohol he’d ordered on her behalf, and she seized it, quickly knocking it back before crossing the short distance. Defeat was getting familiar as she numbly settled on the bench of his thigh.

 

The heat of his hand was easily felt through the thin silk of her blouse. She swallowed a little sob at the way he rubbed the small of her back, deceptively gentle for the moment. “There, now. This isn’t so bad, is it,” he coaxed.  

 

She favored him with a look of watery skepticism. No way would he ever get service with a smile, not while her mind was her own.

 

He was unperturbed, one hand holding her possessively close as he pulled the dishes nearer. “Do you know,” he said conversationally, wielding his chopsticks one-handed as he selected a pink cube of poké, “that I have brought you for the finest sushi in all of Seattle?” She remained silent and he continued. “I can say with complete confidence that Toma-san’s skill and the freshness of his ingredients set the bar. Come now, and try a taste,” he coaxed, holding the bite near her mouth.

 

She hesitated a beat before leaning forward and nervously accepting his offering. He was gentle and some of her fear ebbed as she chewed the tender morsel. Rey enjoyed sushi well enough, though she wasn’t a straight-up Japanophile like some people she knew. She could openly admit, though, that she’d never had anything so good. The fish was firm and delectable, and whatever it had been marinated in was addictively flavorful.

 

She licked her lips without meaning to and was rewarded with another bite before he moved on to the golden-battered karaage.

 

Again, she was fed morsels of an exquisitely tender whitefish, the crunchy tempura balanced by the bright, citrusy ponzu. She couldn't help it; a small moan of appreciation slipped out when he fed her a second, and then a third bite. All the while he was silent, apparently satisfied as he watched her eat.

 

He moved on to the agedashi, retrieving a piece of tofu and some of the shredded daikon and ginger that topped it. The tender little cube swam in broth, and a droplet of dashi slipped from the corner of her mouth as she took the bite from him.

 

Before she could reach for a napkin, his hands were on her, turning her head to meet the swipe of his tongue. He did it slowly, licking up toward her frozen lips, nibbling a little at the corner of her mouth.

 

Slowly he pulled away, his gaze dark as he watched her begin to chew the bite that had paused in her mouth. He waited patiently until she’d swallowed before asking his question. "Leave the snark at the door and tell me. What do you think?"

 

“It’s delicious,” she replied instantly. “It’s delicious, and you’re horrible.” 

 

She didn't know if it was the matter-of-fact way she said it, or just that she'd said it at all. Whatever the case, something in her statement really got him. His laughter rang out through the empty room, head tipped back in utter delight.

 

She grimaced sourly, wishing she could enact the very strong urge to hit him, but too afraid to provoke his ire. "Such an asshole..." she muttered, looking away.

 

When he sobered, his spirits were high, hands beginning to roam in a way that promised trouble.

 

“You make it fun to be horrible,” he purred, his eyes sparkling as they followed the path his hands made over her body. “You make me want to do worse,” he added, tugging at the soft cashmere scarf she’d wound about her throat in an effort to hide the fading marks he’d left her with.

 

She held herself stiffly, determined to embrace martyrdom and accept her fate with some kind of dignity. Anything to prevent deeper atrocity.

 

Her scarf slithered into her lap, tugged by an insistent hand. His voice was softer as he turned her head this way and that, critically examining the state of his handiwork. “My, my, but you bruise so well…” he mused, half to himself and half to her.

 

Her breath, which she’d been holding, escaped her lips in an exasperated hiss as she jerked her chin from his grasp. She glowered at him. “In-fucking-deed, asshole. It’s been a goddamn pain-in-the-ass all bloody week,” she snapped, feeling sorely tested as he continued to caress her throat, undeterred.

 

“I’ll have to get you some dit da jao,” he murmured, as if she was supposed to know what that was.

 

A hiss of exasperation escaped her lips. She'd been pushed to the brink and about to say something stupid when Toma emerged in dramatic fashion from the kitchen, the curtains billowing as he passed through with Kenji in tow. He bore himself with dignity, carrying the wooden tray in a way that suggested it contained something of great worth. The fact that both men accompanied the dish spoke volumes.

 

Her stomach knotted at the scandalous sight they must make--she, perched atop his thigh like a lovesick teenager whilst he openly caressed her body. She stared at the blush-pink tips of her shoes, trying not to think about it as the younger man cleared their table and refilled their sake in nervous silence.

 

Rey knew that the Japanese were renowned for their appreciation of understated simplicity, humility and perfection rather than their flair for the dramatic. So when Toma placed the wide ceramic plate before them with a definitive flourish and bowed deeply, Rey's brows quirked up.

 

She peered at the esteemed offering, her embarrassment momentarily forgotten. It appeared to be some sort of meat, fish very likely, cut into sharp-edged petals and artfully spread to look like a chrysanthemum. The pale, milky slices were cut paper-thin, and she could clearly see the hand-painted indigo design of the exquisite platter underneath. Even the accouterments were exceptionally beautiful. There were edible flowers, sprouts, daikon, and sudachi citrus.

 

It occurred suddenly that Kylo had paid the showy dish and its presentation no heed, his attention instead fixed unwaveringly upon the sushi chef.

 

The seconds ticked by in silence as Toma awaited his patron’s approval, each one increasing Rey's urge to squirm.

 

Keeping one hand wrapped securely around her waist, Kylo again retrieved his chopsticks and nimbly lifted a translucent slice, offering to the chef.

 

The whole affair had a ceremonious feel to it, and Rey was baffled as the man stepped closer and accepted the bite that Kylo offered him. She saw that his forehead shone with pinpricks of sweat as he chewed and swallowed, maintaining direct eye contact with Kylo the whole time. 

 

The young apprentice stood a respectful step back and side of the chef, his eyes trained on the ground but for the occasional pensive glance he shot his superior.

 

The charge in the air affected all but her captor, who coolly watched the man before them, waiting. He was perfectly still where he sat, a statue that casually held her captive on his thigh.

 

At long last, he spoke. “Dōdesu ka, Toma-san?” he inquired quietly.

 

Rey felt the heft behind his words, a sense of weighty expectation that was palpable even if she didn’t understand them.

 

“Watashi wa shibirete imasu,” the chef replied, his response hushed. “Sore wa chōdo īdesu.”

 

The shadow of a smile played about Kylo’s lips, and Rey felt weak.

 

“Very good, Toma-san,” he praised. “We thank you for your art and exceptional hospitality.”

 

The chef betrayed a hint of relief as he was dismissed. He bowed, turning to Rey briefly before departing. “Please. Forgive my humble fare, miss,” he murmured, meeting her eyes with a dark, sorrowful look. Then he turned and departed, his apprentice practically running at his heels.

 

She turned to look at Kylo, who was nonchalantly squeezing a small halved citrus over the sashimi.

 

“Are you going to tell me what that was about?” she asked wearily, afraid of his answer.

 

Her heart sank as she saw a pattern emerging. Her demon was a blight, rife with dark surprises and unpleasantries she’d rather not know...but would be subjected to regardless of her wishes. It dragged at her like a ball and chain and she let out a long sigh, deciding in that moment that martyrdom totally sucked.

 

By then, Kylo had claimed two of the delicate slices along with several sunflower sprouts and dipped them in ponzu.

 

“It is customary for a fugu chef to sample his own wares as an assurance of the steadiness of his hand, the precision of his cut,” he said by way of explanation. He took the first bite, gazing at her with an intensely she found unnerving. It made her heart skip along spastically, trying to stay abreast of the churning sea of her fear and helplessness.

 

“Mmm-mmm,” he hummed, closing his eyes in pleasure as he chewed.

 

It was a sensual sound, one that stirred memories she’d just as soon forget, a baritone purr that raised goosebumps over her skin.

 

“A delicacy worth the wait,” he pronounced crisply, fetching a piece of fish and swiping it through the sauce before topping it with ginger and an edible flower. He held it within range of her mouth, waiting. “A perfect bite, for my perfect girl.”

 

Her core was a ball of nerves as she accepted his offering, plagued by a sense of déjà vu. She chewed cautiously, finding the delicate slice rather tasteless short of the nip of ginger and the citrusy ponzu sauce. Her eyes followed him as he ate two more bites of the sashimi. There was more comfort to be had in the fact that their chef had also eaten a piece of the mysterious dish, since he too was human and subject to the same rules of engagement.

 

Plagued by her helplessness, she accepted a second, then a third bite.

 

It was only after she’d swallowed that third piece that she first felt a tingle, a sensation of lightness that blossomed insidiously on her tongue. A sip of the sake did nothing to dispel it, and she frowned, staring down at her lap. He was busily decking out another bite for himself, and she reached up to touch her chin, sliding light fingers down the column of her throat.

 

She wasn’t imagining it; a numbness was there, and it seemed to be spreading.

 

Her lips parted as it increased, breathing through it as the feeling in her mouth and throat faded into unsettling lightness.

 

With a sinking feeling, she turned to face him. He watched her with predatory interest, like a wolf whose patience had just been rewarded by the long-awaited reappearance of its prey.

 

His hand reached out, cupping her cheek as he slowly, purposefully slid a thumb down over her lips, dragging her plush lower lip with it.

 

Her heart faltered. She felt nothing.

 

He met her look of dawning horror with an avid expression that further sharpened. She was hauled to her feet as he stood abruptly, causing the chair behind them to topple to the ground. He released her waist only to seize her wrist, pulling her impatiently along as he strode to the back of the restaurant.

 

Her heart was frantic in her chest, a trapped thing begging for release as she stumbled behind him, barely able to keep up in her Louboutins.

 

She was pulled through a door and into a dimly lit room painted a dark, sanguine red. In the dimness, she registered a toilet and a glass sink with a koi motif before the door slammed closed.

 

There wasn't time to startle at the sound or even think as she was hurled up against a wall.

 

In a rush, he was on her. His hands were talons, pulling at her skirt, opening her silk blouse with a decisive yank. She gasped as the pearlescent buttons hit the floor and scattered. At once, his teeth buried themselves in her newly-liberated shoulder.

 

For all the numbness in her mouth, his bite was keenly felt. She keened like an animal caught, her knees giving out as he locked onto the bridge of delicate muscle. His body pressed her in place, disallowing her fall as he succeeded in his effort, her fitted skirt pooling about her hips.

 

A loud whine of protest escaped her as his massive hand cupped her groin, engulfing it in heat and rubbing her obscenely. He began to apply steadily increasing pressure and she squeaked, feeling his middle finger slipping up into the slickened fabric that was her only protection.

 

Panic lit through her as her feet left the ground and she pushed at him, an effort in futility. She may have been pushing at a Sequoia tree for all the good it did.

 

He released her shoulder, and, with a surge, lifted her up, her back sliding against the wall. Higher and higher, until her hips were level with his face.

 

Invisible hands gripped her wrists and pinned them near the ceiling.

 

“Noooo,” she moaned, protesting on autopilot and without any real hope as her thighs were yanked apart. He manipulated her with ease, arranging her legs over his shoulders in a reverse piggyback.

 

"Yes," he countered, giving a lithe little chuckle as he pressed his mouth and nose against her cunt, flooding the sensitive area with his hot breath. “Such a pretty pink,” he murmured, nosing at her clit before yanking her panties aside.

 

All panic ceased to matter as he crushed his mouth to her sopping folds, delving in to suck and lick with the ferocity of a starved beast.

 

Her cry bordered on a scream and he growled in response, his tongue slipping down to thrust into her tight opening. It was so depraved, the way he slurped at her, sucking at her juices like they provided him nourishment. 

 

Her moaning and soft cries filled the air, along with the wet sounds of his mouth eating at her. She tried to arch but couldn’t, finding that not only was she restrained, but her whole body was locked to the wall, unable to even writhe as he forced her to take it in stillness.

 

“No,” she insisted, her urgency breaking through the engulfing pleasure as she tried to remind herself how crazy wrong this was, that he was a fucking demon, and that she had never, in all her life, contended with a more formidable threat.

 

But it was hard, so very hard as his mouth carried out the crime. Those dark eyes stared unblinkingly up at her, and she sank into their smolder just as his tongue sank into her clenching cunt. So hot and wet

 

He set a tormenting cadence, penetrating her several times before swirling through the tender folds of her labia, laving and sucking at her clit before slipping down to pierce her again. It was too much and not enough, for he didn’t stay in either place long enough to allow a climax.

 

She sobbed softly into the blood-red darkness, held in place as his mouth sculpted her longing into a masterpiece.

 

Her whole pussy and groin area throbbed like a beating heart, the arousal excruciating. Having achieved his aim, he gave a ponderous final lick and unhooked her thighs, his invisible grip softening to allow her to slide to the floor.

 

She knelt before him in a daze, breasts exposed in their delicate lace bralette, skirt around her waist.

 

He sank into a crouch, knees on either side of her as he tilted her chin up to meet him. “C’mere for a sec before I put that mouth to good use,” he rumbled, claiming her in a messy kiss. He groaned into her mouth, plundering with apparent delight.

Rey could hear the low purr of the sound, could smell the scent of herself on him...but of feeling, there was nothing.

 

As he released her, one hand tangled in her hair, pulling her head back. Understanding lit through her as her eyes settled on the inhuman length of hardened flesh now freed from his pants. 

 

She focused on it, watching with glazed eyes as he stroked himself with a dauntingly large fist that matched the rest of him, thinking only of how it looked like the perfect answer to the terrible craving he'd awoken.

 

“Open for me, angel,” he whispered, guiding his bulbous head to her mouth.

 

A thumb manipulated her, prying her jaws open to receive him. She couldn’t feel it as he penetrated her mouth, but she could see it as inch by inch, the length of his cock shortened as the gray fabric of his slacks closed in on her face.

 

Hands gripped her head, holding her in place as he slid in further, cutting off her breath. There was nothing but a vague sense of pressure as he submerged to the root, so deep in her throat.

 

He whispered breathy praises, lingering as his hands stroked her hair, rocking gently against her face. Her need to breathe was becoming urgent, and as her nails sank into his hips, he withdrew, letting her pull in several sputtering lungfuls of air. She saw that his entire length was wet with her saliva, and her mind floundered at the thought that he had fit all that inside her. She was gonna hurt tomorrow.

 

Then his cock was nudging at her numbed lips and she was opening for him. He reclaimed her throat with a deep groan of pleasure.

 

The lack of sensation was bewildering; she could feel nothing, only pressure and her airway being unavailable when he was anywhere past midway-seated in her mouth.

 

It was crazy knowing full well what he was doing but not being able to feel it. Even crazier was how turned on she was, the beast of her unmet need whipped into a lather by the wet sounds of him fucking her face, pumping in and out with smooth strokes. He was doing it again—abducting her logic and sense of self, reducing her to an animal with but one imperative.

 

He held her head gently now, almost lovingly as he pumped into her with soft little growls of delight that made her pussy gush with envy.

 

His praise dripped down her spine, turning her mind to mush. “You should see how your throat swells when my cock is in you. Just like that taut little tummy of yours. Fuck, Rey, such a Dirty. Little. Girl. Taking all of this dick.”

 

His hands were ever-moving on her face and head--pulling her hair into a ponytail, caressing her face, cradling her chin upwards. “Don’t you worry," he said, his strokes whipping wetly in and out of her mouth, "I’m gonna spill inside you, gonna fill that pretty mouth until you choke, and then I’m gonna split that tender pussy on my dick and come again.”

 

She moaned around the gag of his flesh as her body responded, a fresh surge of wetness dripping from her spread thighs to form a little pool of want on the concrete floor. 

 

Still, he didn't let up. “I’m going to fill you till you overflow, til you’re so thoroughly marked, every entity in the cosmos will smell my scent on you.”

 

She blinked in shock as her spine arched, her body desperate for him.

 

“Are you ready?” he breathed, thrusting harder now.

 

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she unsuccessfully fought to regulate her breathing with his thrusts, and all she could think of was that she might die if he didn’t shove this dick into her cunt.

 

All at once he buried himself deep, her nose nestled in the fabric that covered his groin as he jerked sharply.

 

She couldn’t so much as moan or feel the pulsing, but his passionate groan was accompanied by the vague warmth that coursed into her core.

 

Without warning, he pulled out, his huge body shuddering with pleasure.

 

Her body gasped for air, teary eyes wavering on the stream of milky spend that spilled lazily from his tip.

 

One hand pinched the base of his monstrous shaft, white-knuckled as the other hauled her up against the wall.

 

In a daze, she found her hands wrapped around the rock-hard muscle of his biceps as she clung to him shakily. Her heart pounded overheated blood through her veins, flushing her skin and making a laughingstock of coherent thought.

 

He licked his lips, eyes glittering with checked hunger as he angled his resplendent length toward her pussy.

 

Anticipation was a drug as she fixated on the engorged head of his dick, biting her lip as she watched how it subtly overflowed from the slit, milky opulence sliding enticingly down his length.

 

As his hand relaxed its vise, a jet of cum released to shoot into the heart of her over-sensitized flesh.

 

His warmth coated her, bringing with it an illicit bloom of pleasure that radiated through her sex. She moaned aloud, her head falling back against the wall as her nipples tightened into aching buds.

 

The taste he gave had her hips arching toward him, trying to connect with him in desperation. A plea sat barely restrained by flushed, unfeeling lips.

 

“That’s right, angel. It’s mine, all of it,” he crooned, letting her draw his body closer and giving a shallow thrust. The tip of his head breached her and she moaned as she felt it again; a stream of his spend so strong, it parted her like an arrow, shooting deep inside her.

 

The muscles of her sheath clamped down, tightening around his head invitingly, needing so much more. Still he waited, maintaining position as he filled her with forceful spurts. His hands were firmly planted on her hips, engulfing them with heat and keeping her immobile as he teased her mercilessly.

 

Her chest rose and fell sharply, feverish with need and barely able to see straight. He wasn’t giving her release, so her hands strayed from him, cupping her breasts, fingers pulling the dusky lace down to bare her nipples. She didn’t even realize how she toyed with herself; pinching and pulling at her aching nipples in an instinctive bid to satiate her own exquisite need.

 

His dark eyes branded her, lingering on the movements she made, murmuring approvingly in that seductive, shadowy tongue. The obscure meaning of his words ceased to matter as a dark stain of pleasure spread through her blitzed mind. His hips twitched, pushing another inch in, widening her as he drew forth a tortured moan.

 

The shooting feeling inside her had subsided, leaving her luscious with his molten seed and fucking ravenous for more of his dick. She wanted him to fill her, needed him like the air she breathed. Never had she wanted anything so badly, not autonomy, nor freedom, nor her prized independence. Nothing had ever been more of an imperative then the need she had for him to fuck her right now.

 

How naturally it came, her low, agonized plea.

 

“Please. If this is yours, take it.” Her eyes never wavered from those of the demon as she begged him to sully her further.

 

“As much as watching you struggle makes me feel again…” He paused as his hips flexed, smoothly driving his cock up into her sheath. He smiled wickedly at the sound of her cry before continuing. “There are so many ways I enjoy you, but speared might just be a personal favorite.”

 

After all that edging and erotic play, the sensation of being so suddenly filled triggered in Rey an avalanche.

 

The pent-up need and shored tension released at once, and were she thinking coherently, she would’ve cried bitter tears at the way her body rewarded him for the depravity he subjected her to. As it was, she felt only relief as he gave her what he’d trained her to want. She sobbed brokenly as the delicate muscles of her sheath seized on his rigid length.

 

His voice sliced through her mind with that metallic purr. Does my dick feel good inside you baby, hmm? Do you want a little more? 

 

He began pumping subtly in time with the throbbing of her body, letting each pulse carry him deeper.

 

She keened, venting the rapture as her head fell back against the wall, suddenly silenced by the magnitude of the pleasure that rolled up through her belly and all the way down the quivering muscles of her thighs.

 

One hand gripped her chin, forcing her to look him in the eye. His pupils flared to fiery life as he fixed her with a near-fanatical intensity. “Look at me as you come,” he growled roughly, ”see who it is making you feel this ecstacy. Only me, little vixen, I'm the only one. My cock in that pretty little pussy,” he flexed his hips, fucking into her tight sleeve with a groan of satisfaction. “You’ll never know another,” he promised, flashing a murderous smile.

 

Her body sucked him with fluttering little pulses, and he continued to hold her pinned with his narrowed stare, daring her to revive.

 

“I don’t want another,” she hissed, eyes flashing as she grasped the front of his shirt and tore it open in a mirror of what he’d done to her. She took in the sculpted perfection of his bared torso and felt something feral descend. “I only want this,” she growled, raking her nails down his washboard abs, her hands curling into sharp talons on his hips.

 

She gave him a quick jerk forward, like a jockey commanding speed of her mount. “Now show me,” she snapped, “and don’t hold back.

 

He chuckled, watching with a lidded stare. “As you wish,” he said silkily.


She panted with anticipation as he drew back his hips. There was the long slide of his withdrawal before he rocked into her with a thrust that rattled her teeth.

 

She gasped, blinking rapidly at the startling sensation, the swiftness with which he entered her.

 

With a devious little smirk, he began to fuck her well and truly, each brutal connection eliciting an abrupt cry from her numb lips.

 

The inked symbols on his body danced sinuously to life, hidden imagery revealed as he pistoned into her, taking as he gave. Every flex brought newfound meaning to each angle and curve, and she stared at the malefaction, a tale of mortal sin made captivating by the hands of a master.

 

Her breath constricted in her throat, cutting short the longer she stared.

 

“See something you like?” he taunted, landing a sharp thrust that lifted her feet from the ground.

 

Rey shook her head weakly as she bounced on his cock. There were no words. Only moans, sobs and whimpers remained, and as he snapped his hips forward in another vicious thrust, screams added themselves to her vocabulary.

 

The sound poured from her in a carnal symphony that synced with the cruel percussion of his hips--desperate, cut-off cries that rang through the small space, easily heard several doors down.  

 

“Make it louder for me, angel,” he rasped, beginning to break a sweat as he upped the ante, pounding into her ruthlessly. “Let them weep for what I do to you.”

 

He pulled her thighs about his hips, leveraging an even deeper angle that had her obeying instantly. They were so wet down there, such a terrible mess, and the lewd, indecent sound of their coupling frayed the remaining threads of coherent thought.

 

Her lungs burned, unable to keep up with the brutal pummeling that beat each breath from her before it could provide the oxygen she needed. Darkness bloomed at the corners of her vision, alive with stars. They grew bright and she chased them, her eyes slipping closed as her head fell aside.

 

Time seemed to slow, or was it him, tempering the fiery storm between her legs, rolling into her with a deliberateness that won him a throaty groan.

 

She called his name worshipfully, heard him reply in his arcane tongue. His whispers threaded through her mind and coursed through her bloodstream, easing the frantic energy from her body.

 

Suddenly he was tender, his chest pressed lightly to hers. His lips kissed the skin below her earlobe, as lazy as the gentle pistoning of his cock.

 

Still, her eyes remained closed, just feeling the luxurious tingling in the wake of his violence.

 

As she moved into a deeper state of relaxation, she felt him jolt against her. Between her legs, deep inside her, she felt that first celebratory spurt of his cum.

 

Her lips parted in a small, wondering smile as she gave a staggered gasp at the feeling. Again, he anointed her from the inside, waves of milky warmth that lapped into her so sweetly, tears trickled from her closed eyes.

 

She knew not if his pleasure was her own, or if his spend held some magic. All she knew was that it was divine. "Kylo," she trilled softly, exultingly as he flooded her body with a tide of liquid rapture.

 

Her body was limp as a rag doll, only upright due to the press of his own. When the lush pulses of his release subsided, she felt his hand engulf the side of her face, so warm as his voice spoke, low and commanding.

 

“You’re mine. I’ll give you everything you’ve ever wanted, things you’ve never dreamed of, little vixen.”

 

His lips pressed a cloud-like kiss to her temple, and she groaned as the decadent pressure of his cock eased from her, leaving her absolutely bereft. Her cunt ached as the warm wet flood poured forth, running down legs that shook uncontrollably.

 

Her eyes felt glued shut, unwilling to cooperate, but her mind was submissive and she accepted her fate unquestioningly.

 

His body never left hers, and she sighed his name once more as he supported her while straightening her skirt.

 

When he scooped her into his arms, she felt only gratitude, a compliant victim born away from the scene of the crime.

 

 


 

Glossary/Random terms of speech used:

 

Irasshaimase = A polite form of welcome given to visitors of an establishment

 

Konichiwa = Good afternoon

 

Douzo meshiagare = Bon appetite

 

Kylo’s imperative to Toma : Anata no geijutsu wa kanzen ni jikkō sa remasu. Erā wa arimasen. “Your art will be perfectly executed. There will be no errors.”

 

The exchange during the fugu presentation

 

Kylo’s inquiry: Dōdesu ka, Toma-san?  “How is it, Toma-san?

 

Toma’s reply: Watashi wa shibirete imasu. Sore wa chōdo īdesu.  “I am numb. It is just right.”

 

The food :

 

Sashimi tuna poké = Cubed tuna sashimi, flying fish roe, scallions, and seaweed in poké sauce. So many variations on this, especially in Hawaii. Message me for recipes!

 

Karai karaage. = Crunchy fried sole served with grated white radish (daikon) and ponzu (soy-citrus) dipping sauce

 

Agedashi tofu = Lightly fried tofu served with grated white daikon, ginger and bonito flakes in a dashi broth.

 

Shochu iichiko = A Japanese spirit distilled from barley, rice or sweet potato. 25%-35% by volume.

 

Sake = Fermented rice drink, served cold or warm. 13%-18% by volume.

 

Torafugu: The tiger pufferfish, so called for its tigerlike markings. The tetrodotoxin level of a torafugu, when compared with common fugu, is dramatic: A single common blowfish contains enough poison to kill up to 30 adults, while the torafugu’s ovary alone has enough deadly neurotoxin to kill 20. It once was but is no longer served in licensed fugu establishments.

Dit Da Jao: Translates to “fall and strike wines,” in Chinese. An analgesic liniment traditionally preferred by martial artists. Liniments are an extract or infusion of herbs, usually in alcohol; hence, the name "wine" in Chinese. From the Chinese medicine perspective, alcohol invigorates the blood and qi and allows for better penetration into an injured area. Liniments are applied topically with the intention of reducing pain, swelling, inflammation and to speed healing. Often a martial arts master blends his unique mixture of many aromatic herbs such as myrrh and ginseng, which are combined to stimulate circulation, reduce pain and swelling, and improve healing of injuries and wounds.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 


 

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Allow me to spice your imagination with these pics of Rey's gracious old high rise, the Dexter Horton, circa 1892.

 

 

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Chapter 8 

 

Songspiration: Soundgarden, Girl You Want

 

 

 

She wasn’t quite unconscious as he carried her from the restaurant. Her eyes were closed and there was no strength in her limbs, but a small bit of awareness remained, barely keeping above the still, dark surface of total oblivion. 

 

Not moments earlier, he’d reluctantly withdrawn from her body, catching her as she slid bonelessly down the wall. Kylo had inhaled deeply against her sweaty skin, relishing the scent of sex that clung to her. Righting her skirt, he’d swept her into his arms, tucking the torn silk of her blouse over her lace-clad breasts. 

 

The bathroom door opened with a sharp bang for them as he headed for the car that sat idling at the ready. He looked down at the table where they’d sat, glancing over the remains of their order and the stack of bills that had appeared in their absence. Money meant less than nothing, and he left it even though he knew the itamae wouldn’t want to touch it. A little salt in the wound.

 

He could just make out the muffled sound of sobs coming from where the chef and his apprentice cowered in the kitchen. They’d heard everything and were sure that he’d literally fucked the life out of the girl draped in his arms. Looking down, his eyes traced the graceful line of her throat, her delicate jawline, the lips he'd so recently tested. No death for you, fierce one. You're mine to toy with...

 

Listening to the distraught sounds of the men, he briefly considered wiping their memories in a show of mercy before deciding against it. With a wicked smirk, he pitched his voice toward the traumatized men. “Domo, Toma-san,” he called, exiting the door.

 

His metal steed purred throatily at the curb, its glossy coat undimmed by the threatening sky. Opening the passenger door, he reclined the seat and settled her limp body against the supple maroon leather. Then he straightened, lounging against the open door as he admired the ruined girl where she lay. Her face was pale and lips so swollen, the wreckage of her clothing and tracks of his seed marking her as thoroughly debauched. 

 

A powerful draught of satisfaction rolled through his being, more than he could ever recall feeling. Such a prize. Ah, the jealousy she’d inspire when word got out.

 

He shut the door and crossed over to the driver’s side, gloating as he revved the engine with a low roar. 

 

With only an idea of where he needed to go, the car guided them effortlessly southeast toward the international district. As they drove, he projected his will outward and located the thing he sought.

 

It was only four and already getting dark, the twilight aided by a thickening bank of rain clouds. The Maserati's mirror finish reflected the bright red lanterns strung overhead, each one a little bastion of cheer in the low winter sky. 

 

Rey stirred listlessly as they pulled up before a cluttered row of storefronts, their windows busy with the vertical scroll of hanzi. Her head lolled toward him, eyes fluttering open to focus on a silver-haired Chinese woman standing outside of the car. She smiled benevolently at them both before handing Kylo a small, paper bag through the window. 

 

“Xièxiè, qīn'ài de nǚshì,” he said, nodding his head in thanks.

 

The lady peered in through the window, tipping her chin at the semi-conscious girl laying in the passenger seat. “Nǐ huì zhàogù tā ma?” she asked, reproachful as she turned to Kylo.

 

He responded with a hurt look. “Shì,” he replied, “Dāngrán. Tā shì wǒ de tiānshǐ.”

 

The shopkeeper bestowed them with a radiant smile, satisfied that all was right in the world. “Hǎo, hǎo,” she said, bobbing her head as she stepped back from the curb.

 

Kylo glanced over at Rey, savoring the hint of worry that surfaced through her daze. “Shhh," he soothed. "Rest your head. You’ve never been safer in all your life, little girl.”

 

Naturally, she rejected his assertion, turning away from him as her eyes slipped closed. He caught the trailing thread of snark that dragged her down into true sleep. He looked up, smiling approvingly at no one in particular as he floored it in the direction of her apartment.

 

The Dexter Horton was located mere minutes from the international district, reduced to seconds as he tore carelessly through the city blocks. 

 

Pulling up to the stately old building with an obnoxious screech, he exited and straightened to his full height. Ever-so-casually, he scanned the people passing on the busy sidewalk fronting 2nd Avenue, twirling the keys on a long finger as he allowed the unseen nebula of his presence to expand.

 

Under his influence, public alarm at his reckless arrival mellowed instantly. In the span of a second, the perceptions of bystanders skewed, the logical part of their thinking turned off as simply as one would flip a light switch. 

 

The frown of strangers morphed into smiles as feelings of benevolence eclipsed all else. 

 

Satisfied, he crossed over to the passenger side and opened the door to claim his precious cargo. 

 

Sliding his arms beneath her, he dipped his head and licked appreciatively at the lace-clad curve of an exposed breast, hoisting her easily into his arms. He didn’t bother to rearrange her clothing as he had earlier - no one would remember seeing them, and she was unaware of her state of dishevelment. 

 

Not a passerby so much as blinked as he carried the half-dressed, unconscious girl from the car, pausing at the threshold of her building to toss the keys to a homeless man with a wink. 

 

The glass doors opened for them with a quiet whir, and Kylo bore them over the threshold. He strolled lazily, taking in the ornately coffered ceiling of her lobby, the palms in their marble planters, the mailroom of gilded bronze mailboxes. 

 

A lobby attendant looked up and drank in the sight of them, his eyes following appreciatively before returning his attention back to his desk.

 

Kylo knew he cut a striking figure, glancing down to behold his reflection upon the polished marble floor. He hadn’t bothered to button his crisp, white button-down since she’d torn it open in a fit of passion, and the stark fresco of ink that covered his chest was revealed above the drape of her body. 

 

One of the two elevators arrived, its doors opening to admit an elderly matron walking a gooey-eyed bichon frise. A fierce blush rose in her cheeks as her eyes swept over the pair of them. "Oh my!" she muttered in a scandalized tone, failing to hide a smile.

 

Her dog, on the other hand, was less than impressed, its growl erupting into a volley of frightened barks.

 

Kylo’s dark brow arched as he traded places with her. “Ma’am,” he growled, inclining his head with a hint of sarcasm. He spared the yapping animal a glance, his nostrils flaring as he sent a push of hostility its way. The animal halted mid-bark, jumping as if shocked. The doors closed on the sight of the woman being dragged along, trying to calm her squealing pet as it flailed and strained at the end of its leash. 

 

As they began the ascent to Rey’s fifteenth-floor unit, Kylo gnashed his teeth in annoyance. He’d wanted to see more of the place where she lived, and now he had. Next time, he’d use more dignified means to reach her apartment. 

 

Her unit was dark as they entered and he left it as such, the door closing quietly after them. Through her wall of windows, the geometric rows of randomly lit offices and apartments climbed all around, lighting the night like living circuit boards. 

 

He strode across her flat and saw that she’d remade the bed with the linens he’d sent – a sign she was coming to accept the permanence of her fate. He chuckled quietly, amused as he lowered her into the cloudlike softness that draped her bed. 

 

She was five pounds lighter than she’d been when he claimed her. He’d never taken a thrall before, and no demon or demoness had ever been fortunate enough to bind an unwilling soul. Accordingly, there was no baseline for understanding the ripple effects of such a claiming, but weight loss was unsurprising given the stressors she’d been subjected to... 

 

Still, she needed to eat, and by the time she awoke, the fugu venom would have metabolized out of her system, making choking an impossibility. 

 

He crouched beside her, stripping off his shirt with the sinuous grace of a snake shedding its skin. With growing anticipation, he turned his attention to her, intent on laying her bare before commencing with the intimate act. 

 

His hands were gentle as he began to strip her of each article of clothing. She’d never know the mercy he afforded her by doing this while she was unaware, for a conscious takeover was an affront of the worst kind. The unfortunate would writhe, blinded with horror as their mind was hijacked, fully aware of his presence but unable to halt or slow the complete pillage of their secrets and memories. 

 

In the past, the misery of his victims had been something he’d either passively enjoyed or viewed indifferently. 

 

With her, it was different. 

 

Learning her wasn’t an order or a means to an end, but something he very much wanted. She belonged to him; their blood had mingled and his name was written in Darkness upon her. Invading the mind of this fiery, resistive creature promised a much richer, more personal experience than ever before.  

 

He shivered with uncharacteristic anticipation, his dark eyes beginning to swim with heat as he took in the naked girl before him. Leaning over her, he brushed his fingers lightly over her temple and entered her mind. He hadn’t had a chance to know her this way since they’d bonded, ever being called away to pursue the aims of his Lord or completely distracted by the pleasures she so unwillingly provided.  

 

Now he hummed, his cock standing at attention as he merged with her, reveling in that first taste of her passions and dislikes. He shrugged off the urge to thrust into her body as he penetrated her mind, liberating her habits and history, every unique quirk and every experience that had carried her into womanhood. Back he traveled; a spectral observer of the defining events that had sculpted her independent nature.

 

As he soaked in her unique story and perceptions, he thought he might understand...why she was so exceptional in her ability to resist his effect, how she remained stalwart until he brought out the big guns and positively dismantled her. 

 

The girl was special. She possessed grit and an ironclad will to overcome adversity. Her reality had been defined by a series of sink-or-swim moments, and each one had tempered her mettle.

 

She was alone, with nothing between her and the world but her psychological armor. There had never been siblings or parents to form lasting connections with, and her adoptive mother had come into her life at the age of eleven. 

 

Friendships she kept superficial and romantic love meant less than nothing. She didn’t date and had never been physical with anyone, largely due to her trust issues and general devaluing of physical intimacy. 

 

She was deeply content on her own and didn’t lack for self-esteem. Her idea of happiness revolved around self-reliance, and she’d succeeded against all odds, raising herself from an impoverished orphan into a successful young woman. 

 

Traveling deeper into her past, he arrived at a traumatic time within her formative years that gave him pause. His focus honed to absorb minute details and feelings as he poured over this time in her childhood, carefully sorting through the tangle of hardship. 

 

She whimpered in her sleep, the part of her that was connected to him reacting as a seed flared to life within him, its fire burning not with heat, but cold, ice cold fury. Unseen by her, his jaw worked as he inhaled deeply, exhaling in a sharp, impatient rush. 

 

He’d seen enough. 

 

Releasing her from his invasion, he arose and stalked over to her display case of daggers, his red gaze taking in the array of blades on their bed of dark velvet. His eyes lingered on each one in turn, fists balling and relaxing as a dull rumbling filled the room. 

 

His erection was long gone, arousal replaced by a different sort of passion. 

 

He spun sharply on his heel and made his way to the slider, his shoulders hunched threateningly. It opened and he stepped into the cold dark. The heavy, double-paned glass slid closed behind him with a quiet click

 

He breathed in the mineral scent of rain as he reached out, his will spanning distances that slipped between the laws of spatial physics. The glittering city and the living blackness of the bay were rendered in red as they reflected in his eyes. 

 

His sooty wings unfurled, a reflex born of impatience as he waited for his summons to be answered. He positively itched to do this errand himself, restrained only by the crafty instincts that defined his nature. 

 

Not moments later, his favored Hellcniht arrived, plummeting like a lightless star to hover before him, it’s cloaked head bowed in a show of respect. 

 

“Master,” Azrael intoned, glancing up to meet Kylo’s burning stare. “How may I serve?” 

 

“Find him,” he said, projecting the name and face he’d plucked from her mind, “and report back to me with his status. I want to know everything. And Azrael,” he added, waiting as his second raised his head to meet his eyes again, “under no circumstances will you make yourself known, and above all, leave him for me.”

 

“As you say,” his servant replied, departing on a sharp gust of wind. 

 

Kylo stared broodingly at the black waters of Elliot Bay, his ire cooling as he considered various means of retribution. Up until he’d claimed her, his only concern had been satisfying the needs of his Lord, followed closely by his own impulses. Hence, the process of said deliberation was somewhat novel. It wasn’t that he suddenly cared about what she thought or might want, more that she was an exceptional, unlooked-for treasure that had wandered through his door, a belonging worthy of special attention. 

 

A curtain of rain arrived, each drop housing a small kernel of ice. He didn’t notice as they pelted his skin, steaming slightly when they encountered the elevated temperature of his body. 

 

Idly, he ordered one of her favorite meals from a little hole-in-the-wall in U-district, rattling off the dishes he’d gleaned from her mind directly into the proprietor's thoughts. Then he turned his back on the night and headed inside her apartment, drawn to the sleeping girl laying so peacefully atop her bed. 

 

He sat beside her, devouring her nakedness with the heat of his stare. Her skin was pale in the dappled indigo darkness, her face serene as she slumbered. 

 

The near-anesthetic quality of her deep sleep was due in part to him. He knew that human bodies mended best during states of rest, all energies going into repairs while other bodily functions were on the backburner. He’d fed her the neurotoxic flesh of a poisonous fish, slipped his dick down her throat and fucked her untrained body rigorously. And that only covered the physical strain of their engagement. She rather needed her rest, and he aimed to give it to her.  

 

His eyes wandered over the myriad of bruises that peppered her skin and found himself disagreeing with her, thinking each discoloration an artful show of his affections. He arched a brow, summoning the paper bag and retrieving the glass bottle within it. Deftly, he unscrewed the cap and dabbed some of the dit da jao onto his fingertips. 

 

Kylo began at the top, rubbing the liniment into the bruises that collared her slender throat. He was methodical as he moved over her, somewhat reluctantly treating each lovebite. 

 

When he reached the perfect, rounded curves of her breasts, he allowed himself a reward, sucking at a mouthful of her soft flesh, laving at her even as he scraped his teeth over her skin. The bright fuchsia mark he left was treated too, first with a few indulgent kisses and then with the liniment, same as all the rest.

 

Upon finishing his task, he decided to bathe her. He parted her legs and slid languorously onto his front between them. Starting at her ankles, he began to lick, his warm mouth sucking at the tackiness that coated her, a mixture of their cum now dried in tracks that streaked the length of her shapely legs. 

 

He was fastidious, plying her with long, wet licks as inch by inch, he groomed her clean. A low, rumbling hum emitted from his chest as he worked, tasting the mingling of her juices with his. It was an incredibly satisfying experience, one he’d never thought to have before, and he drew it out, sampling the nuances in her flavor.

 

He was involved with sucking enthusiastically at her inner thigh when his emissary made his presence known. With a single thought, he bid him enter, not bothering to look up as Azrael's presence materialized several respectful feet from the bed. It was only after his second had knelt for a few moments that Kylo spoke. 

 

“Well?” he asked between licks.  

 

“Unkar Plutt was charged for labor law violations, child abuse, money laundering, and bribery. He is in poor health and currently incarcerated in Monroe, on the fourth year of a twenty-eight year sentence.”

 

Kylo had paused as he listened, his eyes sweeping over the dappled spots of light that peppered Rey’s skin. “His age?” he inquired.

 

“He is sixty-eight, Master, and grossly obese. He will likely die in prison before his sentence is served.”

 

Kylo shot his favored Hellcniht a keen glance. “I think the odds of it are in his favor,” he mused. “Thank you, Azrael, I am satisfied for now.”

 

His henchman swept low in a bow, his dark robes pooling like oil. He straightened and gave his master and the girl a final curious look before turning to go.

 

Kylo paused his ministrations and turned to fix his servant with feral eyes. He’d felt Azrael reach out, skirting along the periphery of her energy, unable to stop himself as he sought confirmation of what his demonic instincts were screaming. 

 

He smiled lazily, deigning to answer the unasked question. “You aren’t mistaken; she was untainted.” 

 

The stunned awe rolling off his underling was palpable, and most pleasing. “Master. Forgive me, but...you bound a pure soul – without utilizing your craft? How is it possible?”

 

“In her desperation to escape, she made a bargain and willingly gave of her blood,” he replied. “She was unaware of the magnitude of consequence. A costly decision for her, a boon for me.”

 

Azrael cocked his head a little, reading the branded scrawl of Kylo’s signature that threaded up her delicate finger, marking her as untouchable. 

 

“Such a gem she is, Master,” he murmured, shaking his cloaked head. “Maul will fly into a red rage when he hears of your luck.”

 

Kylo looked up, his lips widening in a villainous smirk. “Indeed. He is terribly predictable with that temper.”

 

Azrael nodded. “He is one with his ability, as are you, Master.”

 

“Ever the diplomat, Azrael,” he said dryly, before changing tracks. “I’d kill to know if Traya saw this coming.” His eyes gleamed catlike in the dimness. “Of course, if she had, the Dark Lord would know, and I’m sure he’d have paid me a visit by now.” 

 

“Perhaps you should beat her to it,” Azrael offered. “It would serve in your favor to be the one to disclose the binding of a thrall, given you haven’t seen fit to do so until now. And particularly one so...unusual.” 

 

“She has been an extraordinary dish and quite the distraction...I admit to wanting to keep her existence quiet.” He licked his lips, looking like a predator hunched over a fresh kill. “It’s in our nature,” he remarked, turning his attention back to the supple flesh of her thighs. “However, your advice is sound.” 

 

Clearly dismissed, his second departed with a bow, merging silently back into the night.

 

Kylo finished his task, battling the rising gale of possessiveness that lashed through him. As much as he didn’t like it, Azrael was right. He couldn’t keep her a secret much longer without risking the wrath of his lord. He’d already passed up an opportunity earlier in the week, when he’d been summoned to weight the dice of a high-stakes meeting in Beirut. 

 

With a heavy sigh, Kylo arose, gazing down on his sleeping captive. She looked as immaculate as she tasted, her youthful face pale and lovely in the dark. 

 

Walking into the middle of the room, he knelt woodenly and opened the channels of energy that bound him in service. His eyes began to glow like red hot coals, casting a hellish light over the planes of his face. In an instant, he felt the presence of the master, a dark nimbus of awareness that metastasized, filling every corner of his mind. With their connection bridged, all he saw and thought would be shared.

 

He directed his burning stare at Rey.  

 

Master, he began, I have claimed and bound a soul.

 

Kylo braced for the forthcoming reply. He knew that the effect of the dark lord’s voice was magnified in the hearing of mortals, it's lure more appealing than that of the fabled sirens of Greek lore. No one was totally impervious, although demons had some immunity to its sway. Chills broke over his skin as his master replied, his voice a resonant vibrato through his head. 

 

Have you now? An auspicious occasion, indeed. I’d given up hope that you’d ever find a pet that lived up to your exacting standards. Pray tell; from what ideology does she hail?

 

With a short breath, Kylo divulged the more crucial information, that which set her a world apart from all other thralls. She was not of the indoctrinated, my lord. Her soul was untainted when she agreed to bind herself to me. 

 

The silence was deafening and had Kylo possessed a heart, it would have skipped in the weighted pause. When at last his lord replied, the elegant resonance of his voice had become a slick, calculating purr.

 

My, what a treasure you’ve found. Tell me about her.

 

Kylo swallowed, feeling a lightness in his chest that was very human in quality. But then, the fallen had the power to unnerve even the brashest demon. 

 

He took a deep breath and continued. She is exceptionally strong of spirit and possesses the ability to resist my influence to a point. In the end, that strength was her downfall, for it was her will to escape that led her to bargain with me. 

 

The dark lord let out a peal of mocking laughter, its sound rolling through Kylo’s head like thunder. A mortal girl...resists YOU?! What am I to make of it? Are you losing your touch, boy?

 

Kylo kept his head down, lips pressed into a thin line as he endured the barrage of amused scorn. Silently, he revisited the memories of that fateful night in the club, allowing his liege to see it all. 

 

When the dark lord spoke next, it was with pleasure, inky and black.

 

Ensnaring her was well done, my child. She is special indeed, and a fitting thrall for one of your stature. Her resistance is a delightful answer to your abilities, and she will provide you much sport. You may do with her as you please. 

 

The deep, resonant voice began to fade as his master severed the connection. His parting command floated down the final threads of their bond. Be in Khartoum Bahri at dawn on the morrow. I have need of you.

 

Kylo exhaled as the all-encompassing presence faded, his shoulders releasing their tense set. 

 

His disclosure had gone well and the lull in his reporting went unpunished. He knew his infraction was eclipsed by the precedence of binding a pure soul; one who had not come forth on their knees, groveling pathetically in the hopes of being indentured to the Dark. 

 

Like most of present-day society, Rey was entirely unaware of the theological entities from which thralls were occasionally taken. She went about her life oblivious to those who were keen to serve the Dark, and up until she’d met her fate was entirely innocent of the supernatural.

 

Rising from his knees, his eyes lingered on said prize, his mind alight with the word that had always merited scorn. It now held the sweetest ring to it, the warm, dulcet taste of victory. 

 

Pure.   

 

Deliciously pure.

 

 

 


 

Glossary

 

 

Kylo to Toma-san on the way out: “Domo,” is slang for thank you in Japanese.

 

Hanzi are the characters used to write in Chinese. 

 

Kylo’s exchange with the shopkeeper (Mandarin): 

 

“Xièxiè, qīn'ài de nǚshì.” Translates to “Thank you, sweet lady.”

 

Shopkeeper’s reply: “Nǐ huì zhàogù tā ma?”  Translates to, “You will take care of her?”

 

Kylo: “Shì! Dāngrán. Tā shì wǒ de tiānshǐ,” Translates to “Yes! Of course. She is my angel.”

 

Shopkeeper: “Hǎo, hǎo,” Translates to “Good, good.”

 

Hellcniht = Knight of hell

 

Dit da jao: Translates to "fall-and-strike wines."  Chinese linament used by martial art practitioners to treat bruises and cure pain. 

Chapter Text


 

Songspiration: Future Starts Slow, The Kills

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The unmistakable scent of Indian food brought her to. That and the finger tracing lightly through her slickened folds.  

 

Her eyes flew open, blinking a few times as her brows knit together. He was there, petting her in a leisurely fashion, so casual as he touched her. She repressed the instantaneous sense of desperation that assailed her as details other than where his fingers were registered—she was home, splayed out and fully naked atop her bed. Beside her lounged the demon, his eyes dark as a moonless night. His tattooed chest was bare and he wore only a pair of pants. 

 

Besieged by the threat of his proximity, her mind tore through courses of action as she fought to ignore the sensual slide that was happening between her nether lips. He rolled the pad of his finger across her clit and she gasped at the little dart of pleasure he wrought, her knees rising as she pressed her feet into the mattress.

 

The race of her thoughts stalled, caught in the mud of futility. Every time she found herself in his presence, a little more of her understood...each time she fought and failed, it became clearer: escape was not an option. 

 

With a heavy heart, she clenched her teeth, biting hard to suppress a moan of real misery. How did he feel so fucking good? Turning her head, she glared weakly up at the monster beside her, hating the familiarity of their pose almost as much as she hated her vulnerability. 

 

He was propped up on one elbow, his leonine head braced against a palm, so lazy as he watched her face with idle amusement. She exhaled in a frustrated huff as her nerve endings sang for him, her hands tensing around cloudlike handfuls of comforter. 

 

“I was hoping you’d be gone,” she groused, aiming for bitter and failing miserably. His finger rubbed slowly at her clit and her voice cracked, becoming a whine. 

 

“Soon, little vixen,” he replied with the hint of a smile. “What kind of daddy would I be, leaving my baby girl without taking care of her first, hmmm?”

 

She was about to insist she’d been fucking great without him when he rolled atop her and wedged his hips between her thighs with a decisive shove. Her lips were parted to speak but the words were already dead and forgotten, her mind sabotaged by the ungodly weight of his cock slotted against her sex. 

 

“Are you ready to eat?” he asked, flashing a devilish smile as she paled beneath him. 

 

He began to slide down her body, not breaking contact with her panicked eyes. 

 

“You must be hungry,” he said, still smirking, “all you had for lunch was me.”

 

Her head fell aside, stunned by the purposeful reminder of what he’d done to her. 

 

“You horrible bastard!” she swore weakly, distracted by how his hands dwarfed her body as he took each leg in turn, arranging them over those broad, tattooed shoulders. 

 

She squirmed against him, not with any real hope of breaking free but more for the principle, on behalf of whatever pathetic dignity she managed to retain. Her head fell back on the pillow, staring weakly at her ceiling as his arms locked over the tops of her thighs, pinning her hips in place.

 

She felt fragile against the hardness of his limbs, a lost cause trapped in the tightening coils of a constrictor. He was so fucking BIG! Everything about him was massive. How the honest fuck had he fit down her throat?! 

 

“Fuck, I hate you!” she hissed, livid all over again when she thought of it.

 

Instinctively, she reached up to caress her poor, abused throat and was relieved when she could feel the touch of her fingertips. Sensation was returning. She swallowed gingerly. By some miracle, it only ached slightly.

 

Her rising fury was paused by the feathery warmth of his breath blowing on her. It was soft, soft and so light. Again a stream of air hit her, heightening her awareness as her pussy tingled with anticipation. 

 

She shook her head in frustration. It was fucking bullshit the way he made her body respond!—the way every inch of her skin longed for a brush of his fingers or a warm trailing lick of his tongue. Her cunt spasmed pleasurably, defiling her mind with the memory of how good his cock felt. 

 

Unable to escape the treason, she let out a besieged moan, hands pressing at the corded forearms that crossed her hips. She heard his amused chuckle but was too enmeshed in her own conflict to be outraged. 

 

He spoke, keeping his lips millimeters from the moist petals of her cunt. “Are you struggling with it, baby?” The taunt in his voice chafed her further, each word a feather of hot breath. “Is it terribly hard...to crave what you hate?” 

 

Horrible, evil bastard!! She choked on a sob as the tip of his tongue parted her inner folds, slipping up to pause, quivering at the hood of her clit. There he lingered, applying a ghostly pressure that had her throbbing with want of more. 

 

All of a sudden, the way he owned her body became too much to bear and something inside her broke. The pressurized build of her anguish burst forth in a raw-throated cry of despair. 

 

“NNNNNNOOO!” 

 

Her hand flew back, a possessed thing that released as she slapped herself hard. 

 

“Snap out of it!” she shrieked, striking herself again. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!-- what the fffuck- -”

 

Her tirade was halted mid-sentence as her arms were seized and slammed to the bed, pinned out at her sides like a crucified saint. He’d ceased his torment, now staring up at her with a burning dark gaze.

 

The energy in the room was changed— it swept up her body with a static crackle that caused the fine hairs to rise. She let out a dry sob, mind overflowing with stunned despair, barely able to keep up with what was happening. 

 

His shoulders flexed sinuously as he unwound his arms from her thighs and began to stalk up her body in a low, ominous crawl. 

 

She panted, half-crying as she strained at binds she couldn’t see. As he drew level with her flushed face, she whipped her head aside, fiercely determined not to look at him. Her heart pounded desperately against her ribs, threatening to burst free of its cage.

 

If these tiny acts of defiance were all she had left, they were still better than nothing. While her mind was her own, she’d do anything to thwart his designs, even something as small as refusing to look at him. 

 

“There it is,” he snarled. “That fire, that wildness and will to escape your fate. You do know that it’s what led you to the place you are right now, don’t you?” His metallic rasp contained an amalgam of contradictions; pleasure, mockery, and there at the heart of it all, a kernal of well-disguised awe. She refused to analyze it, continuing to scowl tight-lipped at the hall to her bathroom.

 

Look at me, Rey.

 

“I do nothing for your pleasure!” she vowed bitterly. 

 

Reyyy... the sound of her name sent golden ripples through her mind, like wind over a sunlit river. The sound was startlingly beautiful, and so shocked was she that her head turned of its own accord. Her eyes met his and a single whimper of trepidation was all she managed before all that came before ceased to matter.

 

The angel gazed down upon her, his porcelain skin emanating a soft, radiant light. Her eyes widened as all of her fight atomized in the glowing warmth of his stare. There were no words to describe his eyes, gloriously dark and profound as they drank her in. Her surroundings fell away as stunned emotion surged in her chest, rising up and causing her to swallow painfully. Words were unnecessary, and she projected her reverent desire to serve as tears threatened to overflow.

 

In the worshipful silence that cradled them, he delivered his mandate.

 

You will not engage in harming yourself in any way, nor will you deny yourself sustenance.

 

In his words was the ring of salvation— the soft patter of rain after a hundred-year drought, the gasp of life-giving air in the lungs of a drowning soul, the sweet sound of a child’s laughter in the ears of the deaf. 

 

Joy leapt within her as she solemnly replied, “I will not engage in harming myself in any way, nor will I deny myself sustenance.” 

 

With her vow secured, the angel did the unthinkable: he lowered his luminous head to brush the lightest kiss to her lips, humming soft praise in a language she couldn’t speak. The tears that threatened finally spilled down her cheeks in salty rivulets, completely unnoticed as they soaked into her hairline.

 

He placed a second heavenly kiss upon her brow and withdrew, a pair of soft black wings fanning over his stunning form. 

 

Her heart soared at the sight. As if she needed proof of what he was. 

 

His voice resonated through her mind once more, golden and pleasurable. I’ll return for you little vixen. Be a good girl for me while I’m gone.

 

The breath left her body at the intimate way he spoke to her. His words triggered a cascade of carnal scenes that were surely all wrong. They flashed through her mind like a deck of cards thrown to the wind, wickedness revealed for a split second before spinning out of her mind’s eye, leaving her blinking and startled.

 

He only smirked, giving her a look decidedly less-than-holy as he crouched low, muscles stacking beautifully. His wings flashed and he was gone, a blur of shadow rather than light. 

 

She lay there, staring quietly up at her ceiling, content to just be

 

Sometime later she became aware of the glorious scent of spices permeating her flat. Her mouth watered as her stomach made itself known. She arose from her bed wrapped in a cocoon of tranquility, meandering catlike into her kitchen. Several white bags sat upon her counter in a neat little row. 

 

Delight flooded through her as she unpacked dish after dish of her absolute favorites – butter chicken and malai kofta, vegetable jalfrezi and garlic naan. She experienced a little pang of joy when she unpacked the last item—a container of dreamy, cardamom-scented kheer pudding. 

 

Settling her naked body atop a barstool, she indulged in what somehow felt like a much-deserved feast, thinking of nothing other than the richly-flavored delicacies set before her like an offering.

 

 


 

 

The following afternoon found her struggling to control the tremor in her voice as she rattled off information to a travel agent, cradling the phone between her cheek and shoulder as she hastily tossed things into a suitcase. Her hands shook and it wasn’t due to the three cups of coffee she’d ingested earlier. Her life was unraveling at a frightening rate, and no amount of caffeine would remedy the disaster of her day.

 

The first shock had come with the unobtrusive ring of her phone. A lawyer named Mark L.S. Hamill called at ten in the morning to announce she’d had been named sole benefactor of an estate. He was brisk and authoritative, overriding her protests that it was impossible, sympathizing in a somewhat patronizing way that he’d seen it all and that her reaction was understandable. 

 

She was stunned into silence as he informed her that the probate had completed and that an outlandish sum of money was to transfer directly to her, along with the deeds to multiple properties and a yacht. 

 

A mothertrucking yacht. If Mark could have seen the look on her face, he’d have snort-laughed himself right out a window. 

 

The man continued in the way of one to whom time was money, pressing smoothly along with business. If she’d please arrange to swing by his office on 5th and Pine to sign with the notary, the transfer would be ready by the start of the week. 

 

She’d hung up in a daze, feeling like she’d just been steamrolled and pretty sure it was all some asshole’s idea of a joke.

 

A very specific asshole- one whose name she refused to so much as think.

 

She made her way into the shower on the shaky legs of a newborn colt. The hot water washed over her, sapping some of her tension as she considered how to move forward. There really were only two courses of action. Under normal circumstances she wouldn't condone avoidance of her problems, but her situation was anything but normal. Scrubbing her skin vigorously, she worked out the logistics of an escape plan, prioritizing the few loose ends that should be dealt with before departure.

 

As she speed-dried herself, she glanced at the bruises on her throat and breasts. They were fading surprisingly fast but for one lurid red mark on the underswell of her left breast. It was fresher than the rest and she scowled at it, fastening her bra in a hurry and donning a white cashmere turtleneck and jeans. She distractedly pulled on a pair of maroon leather boots and rushed into the kitchen. Priorities were priorities – she refilled her to-go mug with espresso – her caffeine addiction was code-fucking-red this morning – and snatched a camel pea coat before rushing out the door.

 

She hadn’t gained the street when the next blow came. 

 

Passing through her lobby, she chanced to see her landlord engaged with the maintenance director. Mr. Watto’s heavy-lidded eyes widened and he began to beam when he spotted her. He quickly cut off the conversation he was having and waved her over. 

 

Rey tried to suppress her frown as she joined him. Instead of his usual calculating air, the man was all-smiles.

 

“Miss Kanata!” he rasped in his thick accent, reaching out both hands to take one of hers and shake it vigorously. “My warmest congratulations on becoming an owner, and at your age–?”

 

Rey returned his shrewd stare with a shocked one of her own, unable to process a reply. “I, uh–”

 

Her landlord smiled broadly as he shook his head in surprise. “If I was a betting man, my money would have been on the wrong tenant. You settled the sum of your unit in full – that’s impressive, no?! What’s your secret, eh?” He gave her a penetrating stare but her mind had flown to unholy places; all she could see was a set of intense eyes flashing their fatal red promise–– 

 

He’d bought her apartment outright...bought it in her name...  

 

Her chest tightened as if she’d inhaled a lungful of smoke, and suddenly the need for fresh air was nonnegotiable. She retracted her hand from her landlord’s grasp with a nervous jerk and clumsily aimed for apologetic. “I’m sorry, Mr. Watto, I–I’m a bit late and really must g-go––” 

 

He paid no mind to her off behavior, bowling ahead with another round of congratulations. “Sure, sure, you can tell me some other time…”  

 

She lost the tailing end of his words as she beat a swift retreat. 

 

Stumbling out into the muted daylight, she slumped weakly against the cool stone of her building. An owner– sum settled in full?! Fuck! She dry-sobbed, a single expulsion of breath that felt punched from her diaphragm. He had bought her place out from under her, and all in her name. She was sure the “inheritance” was his work as well, and all of it boded poorly. Worse than poorly.

 

Rey took deep breaths of air, ignoring the occasional concerned glance from passerby. The icy breeze off the sound had never been sweeter, and after a few moments, her legs felt sturdy enough to carry her. With her crumbling sanity as in place as it would get, she set a clipped pace down Second ave, heading to Rose’s office to let her know she was going to take a hiatus from work projects for the next few weeks. 

 

The day had gone from bizarre to spooky. It was, however, her visit with Rose that pushed it over the edge into the realm of truly fucked-up. 

 

The signs had been there from the start. 

 

As Rey scaled the wide stone steps, she spied John sitting at the security desk between the building’s dual glass doors. Despite how out-of-sorts she was, she smiled at her friend, looking forward to their teasing back-and-forth. Instead of their usual banter, John greeted her with a courteous nod. The familiar greeting stalled on her lips, and another stone of dread settled in her core as she entered the lobby in conspicuous silence.

 

Feeling distinctly unanchored, she took the elevator to the ninth floor and headed over to Rose’s department. Rose’s secretary looked up from her screen as Rey approached, and she greeted her, heading for Rose's open door. “Hey Julie. I'm in-and-out to speak with Rose--” 

 

Julie shot to her feet and darted in front of her. “Excuse me, ma’am!," she exclaimed, "you can’t just go in unannounced!” 

 

Rey gaped openly at her alarmed expression. Ma’am? She was so surprised, she didn’t protest, numbly allowing Julie to point her back to the armchairs in the waiting area. 

 

Julie’s face was dubious as she watched Rey sit. “What’s your name, and what is your business with Miss Tico?” 

 

Her mouth felt like sandpaper and she swallowed, trying to wet it in vain. “Rey,” she said hoarsely, wishing she could muster an easy laugh. “Rey Kanata?” Julie continued to frown, still not registering who she was. “I–I’m an independent contractor on the formalization board, and Rose is my department lead,” she finished, her voice sounding weak in her own ears.

 

Julie didn’t bother to hide her skepticism, nodding wordlessly as she settled back at her desk. Rey stared straight ahead, seeing nothing as Julie phoned Rose to inform her of a visitor. 

 

A cold, fluid dread replaced the blood in her veins. The minutes felt like hours, and when Julie finally ushered her into Rose’s office, the worst shock of all awaited. 

 

She rounded the corner, her eyes wide as Rose, her project coordinator and only real friend, met her with a polite smile. The cordial sort that doesn’t quite reach the eyes, the kind that clearly says we don’t know each other.  

 

Rey held tight to the back of the chair in front of her, unable to sit and needing a solid something to hold to. A fissure opened in her heart, and she couldn’t quite hold it together. “Rose,” she entreated, sounding like a lost child. “D-don’t you remember me?” 

 

Rose’s worried stare said it all. “I’m so sorry, but your name honestly doesn’t ring a bell at all,” she replied cautiously. 

 

She had always been a loner, and yet this sudden isolation tore at Rey, paining her in a way she could never have predicted. What was worse was how sweet her friend was, responding to her anguish with concern.

 

“Hey,” Rose coaxed, leaning forward across her desk when she saw Rey’s eyes begin to swim. “Hey, it’s okay. Please tell me how can I help?” 

 

Rey felt a lump in her throat at Rose's natural kindness. She didn’t treat her like she was totally nuts, actually trying to get her to stay and talk. It was too much. “I–I’m sorry,” Rey stuttered, the tears finally falling as she backed out of Rose’s office, “it’s my mistake.” 

 

Rose was at a loss for words, following her to the door with worry in her dark eyes. Rey turned away and beat a hasty exit, fleeing unrecognized through the NGO she’d contracted through for well over a year.

 

She couldn’t so much as glance at John as she passed the security desk on the way out, unable to take another reminder of the sudden anonymity imposed on her life. 

 

Ignoring the stares directed at her, she ran the seven blocks back to her apartment and then took the stairs. She cried her way up fifteen flights, her broken sobs and slurred curses echoing through the stairwell. 

 

Approaching her unit, she saw that someone had left an extravagant floral arrangement and card at the threshold of her door. 

 

Her slog up the stairs had her winded and she panted for air as she snatched up the envelope and viciously tore it open. 

 

The card inside featured an embossed picture of the Dexter Horton and was addressed to her in gilded gold: Dear Rey Kanata, we are pleased to welcome you to the Owners Circle...

 

It slipped from her frozen fingers, see-sawing lazily to the floor as she stood rooted in place. What in the blue fucking blazes was he about?! “FUCK!!” she shrieked, kicking the flowers out of her way as she entered. 

 

That had been forty-five minutes ago. Panic became desperation as the puzzle pieces had all slotted into place. She’d torn through her apartment in a panic, packing what she needed as she hastened her escape. 

 

Nothing motivated like fear, and his designs were terrifying – the sudden influx of money, her apartment purchased and paid-in-full, effectively resigning her from her job – absolving her of monetary responsibility. Erasing her identity. Isolating her.

 

Well, she’d be double-damned if she went along with that shit. There was no fucking way

 

She phoned Maz at last and was relieved to get her machine, unsure if even her adoptive mother would know her and unable to take it if she didn’t. There was also no way she’d be able to put on a good front while this upset, and Maz was crazy intuitive. It was hard enough to sound all sunny as she lied about taking an impromptu trip into the field. She said she’d call soon and finished by saying “I love you,” hoping it sounded nothing like the goodbye she felt in her heart.

 

Striding back to where her L. Vuitton lay open on the floor, she grabbed a bathing suit and hurled it in along with a sun hat. The swimming was good where she was going, and she had plans to drown her woes in the warm sea.

 

Catching sight of herself in the mirror, she felt her stomach lurch. The girl staring back at her had haunted eyes, the kind you see in PTSD victims who have lived through hell of one kind or another. A wave of dizziness washed over her. Or another…

 

The kaftan in her hands slipped from her fingers as she stood woozily, maintaining eye contact with her reflection as she walked over to the vanity. 

 

She looked deep into her own eyes, examining herself frankly, refusing to hide from the state she was in. “This isn’t you,” she told herself in a low voice. “You are not a passive recipient of your own life. You don’t break, not for anyone, not for anything.” 

 

Determination returned. She repeated her mantra, the one that had always floated her in the past. “You move forward, one foot in front of the next. Always forward.”  

 

Her heart fortified in the wake of her pep talk, and she finished preparations feeling a bit more put together. She glanced around her place but didn’t linger long enough to let herself feel any sentimentality. Slipping a pair of Kate Spade torties over her eyes, she grabbed her suitcase and strode out. 

 

Passing through the doorway, she shot a withering glare at the scrawling red glyphs that marked her index finger before pulling on a pair of supple leather gloves. “Fuck this bullshit,” she muttered, “I’m out the door.”

 

 

***

Glossary/Notes:

 

Jewel of India in the U District of Seattle has hands down the BEST Indian food I’ve had anywhere. I mean anywhere. As if that’s not good enough, the owners, a husband-and-wife team, are honestly the sweetest most genuine souls you could hope to meet. You can straight-up taste the love in their food. Don’t be a goddamn fool. Just go there. And thank me by never ever mentioning this fic to them. :)

 

Chapter Text

 

Songspiration: Dramamine, Modest Mouse

image

 


 

Chapter 10: Garden of Eden

 

 

Rey spent the first half of the flight to Papeete making good use of the free Wifi. The second half, she dedicated to the unfamiliar pastime of self-medication, courtesy of the unlimited liquor cabinet in first class. Prior to descending into alcohol-fueled numbness, hours of scouring the net had landed the information she sought: a small list of scholars renowned for their study of the demon occult and possession. As she’d assumed, most of them were located overseas, which well-suited her current modus operendi.

 

Resentment didn’t alter the truth that Rey had become a refugee. The streets of her own city were tainted, her sense of belonging skewed until the open road felt safer than the walls of her own home. The aspect of travel had been part of her motivation in pursuing a career in international affairs. Foreign places beckoned, offering a world of wonder to a child of little means, and now even that pleasure was besmirched– overshadowed by the unavoidable fact that she ran from him.

 

Her living, breathing reality had become an Escher painting that only she was privy to. She stewed through the entire nine-hour flight, crunching viciously at the ice in her drink as she thought of the hubris of science and its frail disciplines, relying only upon what man, in his infinite wisdom, could prove. She cast dark looks at her fellow passengers, so put-together and self-assured – all fucking blind. How faulty it was that people trusted only what they could detect with their five senses, forget that only a week prior, she had been one of those logical thinkers. The kind that doesn’t jump at shadows or believe in ghosts, whiling away their days secure in their belief that man was the worst kind of monster. 

 

The most distressful thing was that Rey knew – knew with every last fiber of her being – that the things she’d seen were merely the tip of one gargantuan, royally fucked-up iceberg.

 

Of its own accord, her hand shot out to flag a dusky-skinned stewardess with a plumeria on her ear, not bothering to hide her desperation as she ordered another Sapphire and tonic. She was oblivious of the frown that pulled at her face as she slipped back into grim, brooding silence.

 

He was wearing her down. 

 

The stewardess returned with her drink, which she accepted like a lifeline. Sipping at the deceptively benign-tasting libation, a pang of darkness rippled through her, cold and prophetic. Find a way, whispered that small voice, Live long enough to find a way to make him pay for what he’s done to you..

 

Dark thoughts continued to haunt her all the way over the equator and into the South Pacific. She had to be the gloomiest person ever to disembark the small, twin-engine otter that delivered guests to the ring of sand and trees that formed the atoll of Tetiaroa. 

 

A short ride on a solar-powered golf cart delivered her to the gracious lobby of the Brando where Rey was greeted with the perfect answer to the humidity: a fragrant ginger lei and an icy glass of Tahitian limeade. 

 

The lei bearer introduced herself as Tiare and informed her that she’d be her personal butler for the duration of her stay. The woman politely inquired if she was expecting company, pausing for just a beat at Rey’s lackluster response of, “I certainly hope not.” 

 

Her butler surreptitiously nodded, continuing with the check-in process as if it were a common occurrence for single young women to check-in alone, their eyes haunted and voices bereft of inflection.

 

After explaining the layout of the resort, the restaurants and available amenities, Tiare escorted her along a sandy path planted with the Tahitian gardenias that were her namesake. 

 

The cream-colored beach they skirted was a flawless, unending ribbon that stretched off into the distance before disappearing with the curve of the islet. Water like liquid glass lapped invitingly at the beach, the lagoon of the atoll so clear and sheltered, one could see each coral head, every fish or wandering sea turtle for miles around. 

 

The resort was situated along the shore, each private bungalow separated by lengthy thickets of naupaka bushes and low-growing hau trees. Tiare chatted amiably as they went, explaining some of the histories of the resort along with that of the atoll. Her butler was a quick study, refraining from asking her quiet young guest much about herself, and for that Rey was appreciative. 

 

It was a seven-minute walk to the fare that was her temporary home, and Rey smiled, genuinely pleased when she saw that hers was the very last one, bordered by endless shoreline on one side.

 

The modern, airy cottage was as lovely as she’d heard, fronted by a rectangular personal swimming pool, which Rey thought excessive given the jaw-dropping ocean only a stone's throw away. 

 

Coconut trees swayed high overhead, their fronds rustling soothingly in the breeze, and the crystalline waters of the lagoon were framed by verdant naupaka and tiare bushes rife with angelic, white blossoms.

 

Rey’s eyes passed over all of it, soaking in the serenity as she felt her tension soften. She thanked Tiare, favoring her with a wane smile and excusing herself to settle in. 

 

* * *

 

Three days later found Rey in a somewhat improved mood. Tetiaroa lived up to its reputation, getting into her bloodstream with its pristine beaches and vibrant, cornflower skies. 

 

Mostly, she spent her time in or near the water, making good use of the healing properties of the sea. She snorkeled and paddled, exploring the colorful coral heads that dotted the lagoon, and in the afternoons took long, exploratory walks along the surreal coastline. 

 

Invariably, her thoughts would turn to him as she revisited the conversations they’d had. She’d pour over details as her mind fought to stay subjective, holding at bay the frustration and awe and fear that accompanied thoughts of him. 

 

Even with all she’d been through, her emotional reaction vexed her, especially when it rose to create a din too loud for rational thought. Save it, Rey, she’d tell herself, reclining on a hammock over gentle seas. Save it for when he’s here and it’s entirely warranted. Don’t let it get in the way of figuring this shitshow out.

 

But even her tough-love pep talks weren’t enough to soothe the fear that she might not be able to alter or undo what had been done. 

 

She’d cursed herself, of that she was sure. Visions of him haunted her sleep. The scene was ever the same: her dream-self standing bare and supplicant before the beast, her face serene and aggravatingly unaware of the threat he posed. Her voiceless warnings went unheeded as she watched the insidious creep of his hands begin to map her naked curves, taking what she so willingly offered. 

 

She tasted the discarnate forbidden, bartering pieces of her soul for each kiss he bestowed, her head lolling bonelessly on her shoulders, body arching as he plunged into her core. Red eyes scalding her skin as he fucked her with jarringly decadent strokes. Taking. Leading her to that place where all she wanted to do was sacrifice herself to his darkness.

 

These dreams unraveled her, leaving her shaken and conflicted in the gentle light of morning. Wanting him was condemnation, a direct afront to her already-besieged sense of dignity and pride, and it couldn’t stand. She had to take action. So, like any logical thinker who required change, she’d accepted that there was a problem...ignore the fact that hers happened to be a bit more dire than the usual culprits to plague humankind. He was real, he was upending her life, and he wasn’t going to go away.

 

The next step was addressing this unholy, totally-fucked up bond-thing. In order to plot a course of action, she needed more information on a subject she knew virtually nothing about. Did accounts of such happenings exist somewhere in the world? What had been done, if anything? What were the outcomes? Never had she been more motivated, whittling her list of authorities in the occult and composing emails to the two most prominent leads, one in Rome and the other in Istanbul. 

 

Along with her plea for assistance and information, Rey had attempted to include photos of her branded left pointer finger. She was dismayed but unsurprised to find that film was unable to capture anything but a perfect, unmarred finger. Over the course of the week, she’d found the monster’s claim to be true: no one around her could see the scarlet writing that inscribed her flesh. After many frustrating tries, she’d managed to sketch a passable rendition of the arcane lettering, which was a feat considering her writing hand was the aggrieved appendage. She included the attachment in her email inquiries, hoping it would lend her claim credibility or provide a substrate for more pertinent information. 

 

Each passing day that he hadn’t shown up to torment her was its own sort of vacation. His continued absence fueled her fantasy that maybe he wouldn’t find her here, that there was a way to exist unmolested by him. Her current surroundings were so sublime, it wasn’t hard to entertain such whimsy. How could an abomination exist in a place so heavenly?

 

Late afternoon on day four found her in high enough spirits to eschew room service and emerge briefly from her hermetic existence. 

 

She walked the path that wound through the landscaped grounds back to the resort itself, making her way to the more casual of the three restaurants. 

 

The Beachcomber was composed of a single large, pavilion with a thatched roof under which sat a bar and mesquite-fired grill. Half of the tables were arranged in the shade with the others scattered about in the open, allowing guests to soak in the sun. Teak bench swings with aqua cushions hung from the rafters, swaying beckoningly.

 

Settling into a seat at the edge of the pavilion, she scanned the horizon, admiring the distant waves that broke on the protective fringing reef. The undersides of the fluffy white clouds over the lagoon were a whimsicle aqua green, reflecting the mezmerizing color of the water below. A light breeze soothed her sun-kissed skin, stirring the hem of the palm-print kaftan she wore as she kicked off her sandals and burrowed her feet into pale sand. 

 

Feeling relaxed, she glanced around the open-air restaurant, appreciating that the tables around her were only half-filled. It was one of the things that drew her to the property – it hosted only thirty-five bungalows, assuring her of lots of space no matter where she went, or what time of day. 

 

One of the beautiful, dark-eyed Tahitian waiters came around, and Rey ordered what had quickly become an obsession: coconut lime ceviche with microgreens and baguette crisps. 

 

She looked up in surprise when her server returned and, with a gracious smile, placed a pale yellow cocktail before her. “On behalf of the gentleman,” he said, gesturing to a conspicuously pale, broad-shouldered man sitting in the sun by himself. 

 

Rey scanned his profile, her suspicion waning as she took him in. He looked to be in his mid to late sixties, the picture of a bygone era in a Panama hat and classic off-white suit, styled more for the Caribbean and in complete disregard of Tahiti’s humidity. A dark-papered cigarillo dangled from his fingers, the blue smoke catching the sunlight and adding to his charisma. 

 

His body was stiff as he turned to acknowledge her, moving at the waist rather than neck as he lifted his own identical drink in salute. She nodded politely and returned his brief smile, raising her drink in return. His hat and sunglasses didn’t quite conceal a distinctive vertical scar that ran the right side of his temple and clipped his eyebrow, and Rey found herself curious.

 

Due in part to her time with Unkar, she was adept at picking up on people with less-than-noble intentions, and this eclectic-looking fellow felt legitimately non-creepy. She watched him a moment longer before inspecting the drink in front of her. The hurricane glass was garnished with a violet orchid and topped with a dark brown sprinkling of something. 

 

She pulled the decorative orchid from the rim and sucked the stem discretely. It tasted amazing, and she thoughtlessly tucked the orchid behind an ear as she brought the rim to her lips. Her intrigue deepened as she caught the fragrance of freshly shaved nutmeg. A sip yielded the taste of coconut and pineapple, which, along with the spice was exceptionally refreshing. Whatever alcohol was present was expertly cloaked by the meld of flavor and fragrance.

 

She looked up and studied her pale benefactor a moment longer before doing something well outside her character. Standing with her drink in hand, she approached his table, padding through the sand to thank him in person. 

 

He caught her approach in his peripherals and turned, stiffly making to stand.

 

“Please don’t get up,” she said, raising a palm. “I just needed to thank you; this is very good.” She jiggled the ice in her drink and offered a crooked smile. “You’re too kind, Mr…?”

 

“Skywalker,” he replied, his voice a deep, resonant baritone that was distractingly lovely. “ Anakin Skywalker.”

 

Rey was silent a beat longer than was polite, watching her own surprised reflection in his mirrored sunglasses. His voice was extraordinary, the sound of it blanketing her mind in warm honey. “Uh,” she shook herself, abashed by her awkward start. Jeez, Rey, pull your head outa your ass! “Wow, that’s uh, that’s quite a name you have.” 

 

He ignored her off behavior, chuckling ruefully. “It is a little different in these parts. You could say my parents were out-of-this-world,” he drawled, forming a one-handed air quote. “But please,” he continued, smoothly gesturing to the empty chair next to him, “call me Ani, and have a seat if you wish.”

 

Rey faltered a moment. The man had one of the most captivating voices she’d ever heard, and the crazy thought that she might like to extend their encounter just to hear him speak further passed through her head. She watched a small smile play at the corners of his mouth, as if he knew her thoughts and found them amusing. 

 

Settling into the chair, she extended her left hand. “So nice to meet you, Ani. I’m Rey.”

 

He reached over to shake her hand, holding her a beat longer than was necessary as he stared at where her hand was captured within his own. 

 

Rey grew puzzled as the moment lengthened. Was it possible? Did he see the script on her finger? It was hard to tell exactly where he was looking with the way his sunglasses shielded his gaze.

 

As soon as she thought it, the moment was over and he released her with a charming smile. “Rey, you say? Why yes, you shine with the light of the sun, my dear. It is a fitting name for you indeed.” 

 

Astonishingly, she found herself blushing. Her whole life, she’d had to endure the whole “ray-of-light” thing ad nauseam, but something about his delivery and that warm, lyrical voice melted her. She ducked her head down, struggling to find her normally unflappable composure. “So um, tell me what it is we’re drinking,” she tried, taking another sip.

 

He dragged leisurely off his cigarette, exhaling a fragrant cloud of smoke that the breeze carried in her direction. “Am I to believe that this is your first Painkiller ?” he asked in a scandalized tone.

 

“It is. But don’t feel so special about it,” she cautioned, wrinkling her nose in a mock-grimace. “You could order me near anything from the bar and it would be my first. I’ve only recently begun to imbibe.” 

 

He turned to look her straight on with raised brows, pausing as he considered her. “Now what am I supposed to make of a statement like that? I’m not sure whether to congratulate you or give my condolences.”

 

She laughed self-deprecatingly. “I think a little of both are fair,” she murmured, sipping her drink as she gazed out on the cerulean tapestry of the bay. “I see,” he said, nodding sagely. 

 

The smoke from his cigarillo continued to creep in her direction. She’d hated the thick, caustic stench of Plutt’s cigars, how he’d smoke in closed rooms, subjecting her and any other unfortunates to the acrid stench. It had shaped her dislike of secondhand smoke, but somehow, her unexpected companion’s cigarette was a departure. It smelled exotic, like the cloves Maz liked to stud oranges with during the holidays.

 

“What are you smoking?” she asked, breathing in the spicy scent.

 

“It’s a kretek , my dear. And don’t you dare ask me for one,” he added. “How could I have known when I sent you that drink that I was an unwitting party to the corruption of an innocent soul?” He looked remorsefully up to the sky with exaggerated drama. “I won’t be responsible for any further sullying of your character, young lady. The good Lord knows I’ve done enough already.”

 

She giggled, amused at his sarcastic sense of humor. “I’m sure I can find my way downwards without one little drink making much of a difference.”

 

“Touché,” he murmured, his even, white teeth flashing in a subtle smirk. “Now tell me in all seriousness, what’s one such lovely lady as yourself doing in a place like this unaccompanied?”

 

“Is it so hard to believe that a girl might enjoy traveling alone?!” she asked, her eyes twinkling.

 

“Why no, of course not,” he replied placatingly. “But here? Look around and all you see are couples and families.” He smiled, exhaling a drag of fragrant smoke that wreathed them in a sunlit cloud. “And then, there’s the matter of your flower,” he added, nodding at the orchid on her ear.

 

“My flower? ” Her fingers reached up to touch where she’d tucked it.

 

“Indeed. It sits on your left ear, yet here you are without a beau.” Taking in the blank look on her face, he explained. “In Tahiti and other Polynesian locales, the placement of the flower is meaningful. A blossom on the right indicates no romantic involvement. Worn on the left is a signal that you are taken.”

 

“Oh no, I most definitely am not taken,” she stated a little too forcefully, switching the orchid over to her right ear. She fidgetted, hating how unconvincing she sounded in her own ears.

 

“This place,” he continued, “it isn’t a big draw for singles, and surely you’ll admit that business is unusual in such a lovely and isolated locale.” 

 

Rey took another sip, staring at him with dawning amusement over the rim of her glass. He didn’t wear a ring. “You’re so right. How is it then, that you happen to be here all by yourself?” she asked sweetly, sitting back and folding her arms triumphantly.

 

He too sat back, gazing at her with a little, satisfied smile. “Why, I’m here to meet you, of course,” he nonchalantly murmured.

 

Said by so many others, it might’ve been creepy, but the spellbinding rumble of his voice and his subdued confidence pulled it off perfectly, and she laughed aloud. It didn’t even occur to her how odd it was that she was so comfortable around him, as if they’d known each other for a good, long while. 

 

“You’re quite the charmer,” she accused, shaking her head.

 

“I try,” he said, “but in all truth, my flirtations are harmless, my dear. They are residual echoes of a boy far in my taillights.” Rey quirked a brow at him, watching as he lifted the discarded orchid from his drink, tucking it behind his left ear with a crooked smile. “I lost my wife long ago, and my heart remains in her care,” he murmured, puffing on his cigarillo and gazing out over the still lagoon. 

 

Rey felt a pang of sorrow for him, unable to imagine what it was to be in his shoes. “I’m sorry to hear that,” she muttered, feeling a bit relieved as the server arrived to deliver her meal. 

 

He waved her off. “Don’t be. It was long ago, and it’s good she isn’t here to see what I’ve amounted to–” he broke off and smiled faintly, “–an old devil steeped in degeneracy.”

 

Her mouth opened to protest his self-assessment, but she was waylaid by the Poisson Cru that was set before her, a decadent showcase of French Polynesian bounty spilling artfully from a halved coconut. The lush fragrance of lime zest and cut chives arose and she felt a small twinge in her cheek as her mouth flooded with want.

 

Rey totally missed the discrete way her companion signaled for a second round of drinks, fixated as she was with the enticement set before her. Taking that first heavenly bite, she forgot herself completely as the creamy, piquant mixture hit her tongue. Tender chunks of marinated fish and the lush crunch of vegetables. Coconut milk laced with fresh ginger, the sharp bite of lime. She moaned softly, utterly unabashed.

 

She’d devoured at least half of the dish before she roused from her descent into gluttonous pleasure. Glancing up with wide eyes, she found him watching her with a contented look, slowly exhaling streams of bluish smoke through his nostrils, a dragon in human guise. 

 

“Mmh, please,” she managed, spooning some of the mixture onto a baguette crisp and offering it. “Have some of the ceviche. If you couldn’t tell, it’s a life changer that no one should miss.” 

 

He shook his head, still smiling that mysterious smile. “Alas, my dear, I must decline. I thrive on vice, you see, and proper sustenance is anathema to my health.” 

 

She shrugged, reclaiming the offering with an enthusiastic crunch. “Your loss,” she said, pausing mid-chew to flash a sheepish smile at the server who stopped to deliver two fresh cocktails.

 

“Why no,” he answered a little distantly, his gaze following a flamebearer who moved from torch to torch, lighting the wicks of each with a small puff of ignition. “It isn’t a loss at all. You must keep up your strength, my dear girl.” 

 

She glanced up, watching the dance of flames in his mirrored lenses. Such an odd thing to say . Her chewing slowed as she turned his statement over in her mind. 

 

“But let me answer your question of earlier,” he said smoothly, moving the moment into the past with the ease of a seasoned politician. “You wondered what brought me to Tetiaroa. I come here to escape the demons that plague me at home,” he said, his voice bereft of any of its former teasing. “This place has a magical way of separating cares from the weary, wouldn’t you say? Marlon knew what he was doing when he decided to plunk a resort down on this remote little atoll.”

 

He raised his glass in a toast. “Cheers to the distinguished old bastard,” he declared. 

 

“Cheers to Mr. Brando,” Rey giggled, taking a deep drink. 

 

“And you? Have you visited before?” he asked, cocking his head at her.

 

“I can’t say that I have,” she admitted. “I told my travel agent what I was after, and she recommended it.” Rey considered him for a moment before speaking. “I suppose you could say that I too am here to escape. It’s good to be in the company of another refugee,” she said amiably, finishing the last of her drink and frowning at it in surprise. Her cheeks felt flushed, and her head was buzzing pleasantly.

 

He made to flag down their server but she stopped him with a forbidding look. “Absolutely not!” she exclaimed. “I know for a fact I’ve never gone through two rounds so fast. These things go down waaay too easy.” 

 

“Hence the name,” he drawled, smiling lazily. 

 

“Agreed, and warranted!” she laughed, getting to her feet. “Ani, it's been a delight but you must excuse me. If I stay, they’ll have to cart me back to my cottage.” She reached for his hand, her eyes again drawn to that scar over his right eye. “I've enjoyed the Painkillers and your company even more.”

 

He stood to full height, his large frame unfolding with a lumbering stiffness. “As you say, my dear. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.” 

 

Red glinted off his sunglasses and her stomach flip-flopped uneasily. Surely just the torches...  

 

Ani smiled genially. “It’s a small world. I’m sure we’ll meet again,” he said, releasing her and returning to his seat.

 

“I certainly hope so,” she said, recovering enough to grace him with a wobbly return smile before departing without a backward glance.

 

***

 

Glossary of Terms

 

Tiare: Tahitian gardenia, very fragrant and celebrated all over the Pacific

Naupaka: A thick bush with vibrant spring green foliage. Grows along the beaches of Tahiti and Hawaii.

Fare: Tahitian word for house

Ceviche: Fish or seafood cooked in citrus juice, usually lime juice. The Tahitian version is called Poisson Cru and is accompanied by coconut milk. Delicious.

Kretek: A clove cigarette

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 


 

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Chapter Songspiration: St. South, Slacks

So many excellent versions of Sea of Love! I know many prefer Cat Power, but the island allure of the ukulele and slight melancholy of the vocal duo made this version perfect for my purposes: Lily & Madeleine, Sea of Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ch 11: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

 

The sun set fast in the tropics, the warm darkness of night following close behind. The path back to her bungalow was already lit with small landscaping lights and merrily flickering tiki torches. Rey’s head was all abuzz and her body felt light thanks to the rum. Painkillers. Could there be a more aptly named drink to fit her current need? The corner of her mouth twitched in morbid amusement.

 

She was on day four and still no sign of him. Maybe he was like a vampire and couldn’t cross bodies of water or the equator or something. Or maybe she’d finally up and lost it. She smiled, nervously stretching her arms up over her head and thinking alcohol-fueled thoughts: that insanity was a fair price for freedom, coaching herself to soak in the mild night and not think about the future. Hope was a magical thing, tenuous and frail and easy to believe in while surrounded by such unreal beauty.

 

Arriving at her cottage, she paused to pluck a tiare blossom, inhaling the heady scent as she bounded up the three stairs and entered the french doors. 

 

She passed through swiftly darkening rooms and beelined for her bedroom, flopping joyfully down on the memory foam mattress. “Play island magic playlist,” she commanded, bringing the bedside speaker to life. The pillar-shaped speaker cast an ambient glow and the charming strum of an ukulele filled the room. She lay there, smiling happily before noticing that her ears were ringing slightly. 

 

The alcohol had gone to her head, and she desperately needed to hydrate and find a toothbrush and toothpaste. Up you go, she coached, discarding her kaftan and slipping clumsily into a white cotton eyelet nightgown. She guzzled a glass of water and sashayed her way to the bathroom, not caring an inch that it was still early. 

 

The song playing was a wistful, stripped-down rendition of an old love song, and she hummed the familiar tune, swaying a little as she brushed her teeth. A second glass of water and she was falling into the stellar memory foam bed. “Showers are for the morning,” she mumbled into her pillow, then, belatedly, “lights and music off.” The island sounds of crickets and steady murmur of the sea filled her ears, lulling her into a deep, dreamless sleep. 

 

When next she awoke, the shadows had abandoned their bluish tinge in favor of the blackness of true night. The ocean’s rhythmic susurration continued, but something was amiss. Her heart hiccupped in her chest as she listened, realizing that the incessant chirp of crickets had fallen silent. 

 

In her room, darkness gathered itself in a vacuum, and she slowly raised her head to meet the red stare of the demon at its center. 

 

He stood, a silent sentry watching her sleep. Fear deadened her muscles with a heavy ache. Was it a dream? Her hand stole to her outer thigh and she pinched, biting her lip at the pain. With a defeated thump, she lay her head back down, fighting the urge to cry like a child.

 

He’d found her. 

 

Her thoughts, like the rest of her, were not sacred. Of course, my dearest, came his scoffing reply. 

 

She stiffened as his voice filled her head, low and toxic and evocative of all she wished she could forget. 

 

It’s part of the blood bond that ties us. I’ll always be able to find you, no matter how far you flee or how often you run. 

 

The air left her body with a soft hiss of sorrow. 

 

At last, he broke the stillness of the room, solidifying her nightmare into reality. “Such a lovely destination you've chosen,” he mused, “I couldn’t have done better myself.”

 

“Piss-the-fuck-off,” she breathed, her voice weak. 

 

“Ah, Rey. My little spitfire, how I’ve missed you,” he replied with a shark-like smile she could only just make out in the dimness. “Come here. I have a gift.” 

 

Her eyes flew to him and she saw that something dangled in shimmering ropes from one hand. “I want nothing from you,” she declared, her voice low and passionate. “Not now, not ever. Go—and leave me in peace.”

 

“Now, angel, that’s no way to greet your lover,” he chided lightly. “I’ve done nothing but think of you day and night, crossed oceans to be with you and taken pains to dress you in jewels… and you see fit to reject me?” He tsked, and the timbre of his voice dropped ominously. “Your behavior is in need of remediation.” 

 

He lowered his head and narrowed his eyes at her. “Now, come. Here.” His finger crooked once and a force seized her body, pulling it from beneath the sheet. She yelped helplessly as she was drawn through the air to where he stood and set on her feet, quivering before him in fear and shock. 

 

He stared her down with those dark eyes, drawing the moment out, letting her mind writhe in dreadful anticipation of whatever he had planned. 

 

When at last he spoke, she detected a note of fondness that burned her like salt in a wound. “This place has worked its magic on me, and I have a taste for your compliance,” he murmured, and she cringed as his massive hand stroked her cheek. Out of the corner of her eyes, she noted the twisting designs inked over the back of his fingers. “I’ll have it from you one way or another; the how of it is up to you.” 

 

Her mouth opened, voice failing as he lifted an exceptionally long strand of black pearls over her head, looping it once, twice, three times, and still the longest loop hung down past her navel. She watched him with wide eyes as he dipped low, lifting each foot to balance on one of his knees, fastening a short strand about each ankle. Satisfied, he arose to cuff her wrists with a triple strand of the glossy, dark jewels. 

 

He stood back and considered her, cocking his head a little. “You are exquisite. There’s only one thing we can improve upon,” he said cryptically, closing in once again.

 

His fingers crept beneath the straps of her cotton shift. She averted her eyes, her breath catching in her throat as he continued with the pretense of civility, delicately slipping them off her shoulders, letting the loose garment fall from her body.

 

She stood bared wearing naught but pearls. They shone in the dimness, draping over her breasts, concealing nothing. She stared down at herself dumbly, fingers brushing over the lustrous strands at her wrists. Beautiful, but her heart sank, for she knew them for what they were. Glorified chains.

 

He chuckled at her thoughts. “You wear them now no matter what earthly things you adorn yourself with.” 

 

One enormous hand cupped her face, thumb tracing under her jaw as he tipped her head up to meet his stare. “You are mine,” he stated mildly, his hands pulling her hair free from the ropes of pearls at the back of her neck.

 

He paused a beat, a ghostly frown appearing on his features. One of his fingers snagged a lock of her hair and he lifted it to his nose. Puzzlement lit through her as he inhaled deeply, gazing at her with a loaded stare.

 

An inscrutable something kindled in his eyes and his brows shot up. “Had some company recently?”  

 

Her mind stumbled as much over the question as it did his inquiring tone. She watched him turn his head to the lock of her hair and inhale again. Could he—? Could he smell...smoke on her?

 

“Yes,” she answered slowly, frowning as she mirrored his motion, lifting her hair to her nose. There it was; the spicy, exotic fragrance of clove cigarettes. “Yes, I did,” she repeated, scowling. “A lovely gentleman.”

 

He reacted in a way she would never have predicted, bursting into mirthful laughter, the sound startling the quiet in her bungalow.

 

She gawked at him open-mouthed, her ire spiking, sure that she’d never seen him so genuinely amused.

 

His eyes were actually watering when he sobered. “And was he refined? Did he treat you with civility, as a perfect lady?”

 

“Yes!” she spat, pushed to the end of her wits by his mockery. “As a matter of fact, he sure fucking did! He was more a gentleman than you could ever be!” All of a sudden, a red fury welled up, flooding her brain and robbing her of all thought and all reason, of everything but the need to make him hurt. “Hellspawn!” she shrieked, spittle flying from her lips as her palm flashed up, lightning quick. She struck his cheek hard enough to make her palm sting, and his head whipped aside with a ringing slap. 

 

Grim satisfaction soothed the anger that still simmered high. She’d got him good. The slight curve of his lips registered in the murkiness; he was smiling, enjoying her violence like one savors a well-crafted dish. Instantly her seething fury cooled, sputtering out as he turned back to face her with a wicked look. The air punched from her lungs and the room spun as her body moved through space. She grunted as a hard surface materialized at her back, stopping her trajectory. Opening her eyes, she found herself up against the wall, hemmed in by his body with her wrists pinned at her sides.  

 

He didn’t move but gazed at her a long while, a sardonic smile on his full lips. His body burned hot against hers, even through the clothes he wore. When he finally replied, it was quiet, a low purr. “You have no idea, do you, little vixen...” He shook his head incrementally, and she started when his massive hands dwarfed her rib cage. 

 

Her arms twitched as she tried to raise her pinned wrists to no avail, unable to prevent the creep of his hands up her body. The pearls clinked together, a lustrous curtain that parted as he cupped the underside of her breasts. She swallowed the whimper that threatened as his thumbs slid up, stroking slowly back and forth over her budding nipples, leaving tingling skin in their wake.

 

“No idea how good you have it,” he continued, continuing to thumb one breast as his other hand dropped to cup the whole of her sex. His fingers began to press as he rubbed his heat into her, his movements causing her clit to throb. “And how could you?” he mused, conversational as he worked her in circles. She swallowed reflexively, closing her eyes as she felt that first telltale slickness wet her nether lips. 

 

He rumbled suggestively, a deep purr from the depths of his throat. Mortification set in as he continued to rub, a little harder now, more vigorously, filling the silence with the subtle, mortifying sound her wet flesh sliding. Still, he refrained from addressing what he was doing, using her own body as a tool of punishment as he continued to air his thoughts. 

 

“Once again, I find you in need of a reality check. A comparison is wanting. When we return, we’ll pay a visit to the Akeldama, where you may observe other mortals who are enthralled. It’s the only way you’ll ever know how special you are, how very good you have it.” 

 

A wave of nausea rolled through her, and she pinched her eyelids together even tighter. The last time he’d stated that she needed something to compare to he’d been merciless, taking her amidst a forest of horrors she’d give every last dime she owned to forget. “Wh-what’s the Akel–”

 

“Look at me!” he said sharply. 

 

She obeyed instantly as his hand closed around her throat. He drew close, lips inches from hers as she stared into the unblinking, ravenous void of his eyes. His teeth flashed, white and sharp in the gloom, and the static crackle of energy ghosted over her skin.

 

“I’ve never taken another,” he growled threateningly. “I have no use for the roving herds with their pathetic chants and nauseating subservience.” His grip on her groin tightened. “You break the status quo. You, Rey, are the first, and you will be my last.”

 

Her head felt weightless, hollow upon the column of her neck, as if her spirit was half-fled. She wouldn’t, couldn’t analyze what it meant. Not here, in this moment. Not as he released her and stepped back, leaving her body cold. Not with the certainty of debasement flaring molten-hot in his eyes.

 

His finger caught in a loop of the pearls adorning her breast and he pulled, unwavering in his intensity. Dread escalated in her mind as the necklace slithered elegantly over her throat with a subtle clicking. When it was taut, he gave it a little tug, like a jockey twitching the reins of his mount. “Come,” he commanded, releasing her wrists as he turned toward the door.

 

She bridled and stood fast, projecting as much dignity as she could muster. I am NOT your fucking pet.

 

The menace about him swarmed, thick and dark as he turned back to face her. His eyes flared red in the darkness of her room, and she felt a knot come undone, her fight scattering in the light of those hellish coals.

 

Come with me ,” he snarled, each word grating like a whetstone on metal. “Come with me or I’ll not muffle your screams. Are you aware of how sound carries over water? Your pleas for mercy will sail across the sea like little winged nightmares...rousing the sleepers on nearby islands.”

 

She huffed softly, choking back a sob as he again gave another pull, rougher this time. Her neck jerked bonelessly forward and she complied, letting him lead her through the darkened faré and out into the balmy night. She breathed choppily, failing to calm the storm of emotion contained in her breast. 

 

The night was rife with the perfume of the tiare, and beneath that, the mineral scent of sand and ocean. He lead her past the mirrored surface of her plunge pool to the edge of the naupaka bushes. There at the edge of the beach, he paused to divest himself of what clothes he wore. 

 

She stared at him with glassy eyes, feeling shell-shocked. How badly she’d wanted to believe that this idyllic paradise could never house the presence of such pure, unbridled evil. And yet here he was, the stealthily inked designs on his chest and arms glaring back at her, his naked perfection framed by the strip of white sand and darkened waters of the lagoon. 

 

And here she thought she knew how fucked this world was.  

 

“You have so much to learn,” he murmured, tightening his fist so that the pearls cinched around her throat with a dainty rattle. 

 

There was no moon in the sky, just thousands upon thousands of stars to bear indifferent witness as the demon led her to the ocean’s edge. 

 

The sand was cool beneath her feet as she trudged after him, staring despondently at how the wide bridge of his shoulders was adjoined by marvelously sculpted lats. Her mind wondered stupidly where his wings sprouted from, and how wonderful it would be to have that power right now. 

 

She jolted as the sea washed over her feet, warm and alive. Looking down, she was surprised to see an electric-blue sparkle to the water. The sight of bioluminescence momentarily roused her from her misery, and she stared as each disturbance they made mapped itself in vibrant, glowing ripples. 

 

All at once, his voice broke the silence, low and melodic. “Come with me––my-yy love—to the sea, the sea of love…”

 

Her head jerked up and she stared in mute horror. It was the song she’d heard earlier that night, when she was alone and at the height of her optimism that maybe, just maybe, she might have found freedom. Her frail hopes of evasion were already in tatters, but this––

 

“I-I wanna tell ya, how much—I love you…” He didn’t look back as he sang, a tall, dark presence leading her ever deeper.

 

Self-pity waned as true despair flooded in. She’d never be free of him . She swallowed the overwhelming urge to sob as his words twisted in her mind, making a mockery of their situation. 

 

Warm water closed over her knees as internal alarms blared. What the hell was he going to do? The pearls tinkled and tugged at her throat, his rough, sonorous voice causing goosebumps to rise in defiance of the comfortable temperature. 

  

“Do you remember the day we met...that was the day—I knew you were my pet…”

 

Deeper. The vibrant water swirling as it closed over her hips.

 

“I-I wanna tell ya, how much—I love you…”

 

Even deeper, her breath becoming erratic as the sea lapped at the undersides of her breasts. 

 

At last, he stopped and turned to face her, drawing close so that her breasts met the solid planes of his pectorals. With the same tenderness a parent shows their child, he gathered her hair into one hand, moving unhurriedly as he hummed the tune. She began to hyperventilate as he applied pressure, slowly pulling her head back. The erect shaft of his cock bumped at her beneath the surface, and as his hand slid about her lower back, she caved to her fright. 

 

“Kylo!” His name burst forth in a desperate sob. 

 

“Hush,” he scolded, the amusement clear in his tone. “You’re not allowed to sound that broken– not yet.” 

 

Her nails sank into his biceps as he pulled her head back, bowing her body, the night sky filling her vision. She lost sight of him, whimpering as the sea kissed her scalp, and a breathless moment later she jolted as his lips slid over a bared nipple. She hated the startled cry that tore forth as he attacked her breasts, and she vented her emotion with the scratch of her nails. He was neither quiet nor elegant, slurping and licking, feeding at her while keeping her folded backward in a nearly unbearable arch. 

 

She felt the water glide over her body as he pulled her along, her legs drifting behind her when it became too deep to stand. 

 

Terror warred with pleasure, swirling in a reckless mix, too potent to contain. “Please!” The word burst forth, venting her fright even as her core throbbed. Be gentle with me, she silently added, not wanting to say it aloud.

 

He laughed softly, the bastard, laughed as he released her hair. Her back ached as it uncurled, and she flew upright as his massive hands closed around her waist, making it clear she wasn’t going anywhere. They were in deep enough that she knew she couldn’t stand, though it was impossible to tell if he was treading water to keep them afloat. The terror of drowning added to her fright, and though she was a strong swimmer, she held no qualms that he could drag her under with a crook of his finger. 

 

She clung to his biceps instinctively, her wide eyes riveted on him as she tried to anticipate his next move. His hands had slid up to engulf her ribcage, and he squeezed her gently, almost as if he were curious. “So fragile, so delicate,” he mused, before looking up, gazing over her shoulder at the pale stretch of beach at her back. His attention lingered on the shore, eyes flashing a carnivorous red before returning to their usual blackness. The tiniest smirk pulled at his lips, as if he savored a dark little secret. “A rare prize, indeed,” he murmured to himself, so low she almost missed it.

 

The moment ended as he shifted his focus squarely back to her, ducking his head against her chest. She bit her lip, heart hammering as he licked a hot stripe up her throat as he sank lower in the sea. “Fragile – but you’re tougher than you look, Rey,” he purred, nipping at her earlobe, tightening his hold on her. “I think you’ll survive what I’m about to give.” 

 

In a single move, he lifted her higher as he plunged underwater. The surface swirled a vibrant blue around her breasts as she was held aloft by her unseen captor. She blinked stupidly at the dark surface where his head had disappeared before shrieking as he began to rearrange her submerged legs. She felt like a toy in his hands as he manipulated her, pulling and tugging at her lower limbs. The silky curtain of his hair brushed her belly, then all thought obliterated as his hands tightened on her hips, holding her still for the spear of his tongue.  

 

Her cry of denial split the night as she began to thrash against him. Bioluminescence sparkled as she fought, the cold light dancing in a vivid wash around her chest and torso. She whimpered at the sensation of being fucked, sight unseen. Every part of him was concealed beneath the surface, and any passerby would only see her struggling silhouette, lit by starlight and the quick flash of bioluminescence. 

 

The rhythmic thrust of his tongue continued to alchemize her distress, compounded by the thumb that now rubbed lazily at her clit. She moaned lowly, despondently, locking her arms against the stacked muscles of his shoulders. His growl was something she felt rather than heard, and she shivered in unsanctioned pleasure as his thumbs spread her apart, clearing the way for his tongue. He plied her flesh with long stripes from her taint up to her sensitive peak, pausing every so often to delve into her slickened channel, as if he just couldn’t stop himself.

 

His hands were everywhere – kneading tense muscles, thumbing at her cunt, and now, as his mouth latched against her clit, stroking the ring of muscle between her buttocks. 

 

She keened, alarm renewed as she struggled in the vise of his hands. His teeth nipped warningly at her nub, followed by the thundering growl of his voice in her head. Don’t fight it, or this will hurt. 

 

Some wise part of her responded to his threat and she stilled her thrashing. Her chest heaved for air as she stared at the horizon with wide, unseeing eyes. You goddamnedbastard, don’t you fuckingDARE–– 

 

She knew he’d hear her thoughts and kept with the curses, pulling hard at fistfuls of his hair. A deep chuckle of amusement rumbled through her head as that finger continued to test, dipping deeper into her untried opening. 

 

As he penetrated her ass, part of her mind unmoored itself and began to drift, even as her stomach performed somersaults. She heard herself whimper wordlessly. He wasn’t going to stop. 

 

In the lull, all appeared serene; the night was silent save her desperate, panting gasps and the gentle slosh of water at her breasts. Such a cruel deception, one that fit seamlessly into the impossibility of all that he was. Beneath the surface, so much was happening to her, unseen, like a dirty secret– his fingers pressing where they shouldn’t – so sensitive! – tongue busily lapping her clit – decadent and slippery – the perfect foil to confuse the issue below. She blinked furiously, overwhelmed by sensation as his finger fully breached her, sliding smoothly into her ass. 

 

Her back arched and she gave an unsettled groan, her protest resurrecting as she tried in vain to disentangle herself. She wriggled but felt him all the more. “No!!! No no nonononoooo…” 

 

Her litany trailed away into the balmy night, unacknowledged. He only tightened his grip as he devoured her greedily, her writhing serving to deepen his penetration into that forbidden part of her body.

 

Without warning, two fingers plunged into her softening cunt. The move was fatal, and she gasped as if shot. Her head fell back and the stars above swam and faded, replaced by a vision. Her eyes stared unseeing at the sky, beholding her own silhouette limned with starlight, hair oil-slick with seawater, breasts strewn with pearls. She stared wide-eyed at the sight of herself rocking with his underwater onslaught, distantly aware of the real-time sync of what she was feeling and what she was seeing. The vision was accompanied by an overwhelming sense of approval that was not her own, and strangely, didn’t feel like him either... 

 

It faded as quickly as it had come, leaving her taut, quivering with waning shock. His mouth sucked at her clit, not letting up the pressure for even a second. When he withdrew his fingers partway, the double slide had her pitching forward, at last emitting a strangled cry as he thrust back into both openings at once.

 

Rey heard herself pleading, words slurred as she pulled at him weakly. She was so full of him, the strange heaviness inside her ass becoming less foreign as he continued to finger both openings. The feeling of double penetration was unbelievable, melding with the luscious pulses of his tongue, and she was alarmed to find herself lightly rocking against the stimulation, riding his thrusts without conscious thought.

 

You’ll have it whether you want it or not. The thought was ambiguous, so subtle that she couldn’t tell if it was her own mind caving or something he’d planted. She groaned and spread her legs wider for him, giving in to the onset of lust with a fevered shiver. 

 

His clever fingers curled against the upper wall of her channel, rubbing her so exquisitely that she ground her hips against his face. Up she rose to meet him, throwing back her head as her mind shorted out. White-hot pleasure arced from her groin, lighting up the network of her nerves, spreading out like a bomb blast. His fingers stroked harder, jolting her pelvis with each connection, ratcheting the intensity until she thought her bones were melting. Everything from the waist down – gone, distilled into liquid sugar. 

 

Vaguely, she realized how she loud her moans were, throaty cries that joined the rhythmic susurration of moving water. Some vestige of logical thought crept onto the demolished plane of her awareness; were there any witnesses? Had the sounds of her cries drawn any poor souls to observe the strange sight of her being fucked sight unseen? Her head swiveled drunkenly to face the shoreline, too far gone to feel anything but muddled curiosity. The night played tricks on perception, but she thought she saw a figure, dark and solid amongst the thickest shadows. And was that… a glint of red? A serpentine curl of smoke rising lazily into the air? 

 

Kylo burst from the sea in a shower of electric blue droplets, filling her sight with the planes of his formidable body. His hands held her buttocks in an iron vise, and he kept that finger anchored in her ass. 

 

His eyes locked with hers, dark and commanding. We’re not done yet. 

 

She felt her insides liquefy as he pulled her roughly to meet his kiss. He tasted of salt and arousal, and she moaned around the thrust of his tongue. His skin was pyretic, all slick, ungiving muscles in contrast to the fluidity of the sea. She embraced the temptation, rubbing her body against his, absorbing his heat as she locked her thighs about his waist. 

 

He began to croon in that orphic language, filling the space between her ears with dark enchantment. Auktoi Is Kia Zhol. Tegu Zhol Vykti Tu. Antai Kash Nie Lausk. Nie Irus'. Nie Tarnas. She clung tighter to him, whimpering as he repeated the refrain, a hedonistic call that lit down her spine and fanned through her muscles like wildfire.

 

He continued to finger her ass, a filthy reminder of how much she ached for that motion elsewhere. The sea flowed like liquid stars, lighting up with their movements as she returned his kisses, boldly slipping a hand down his chiseled torso to find the object of her desire. Her fingers slid lovingly over his monstrous shaft before palming what she could and stroking. 

He’d stopped kissing her, allowing her to suck at the corner of his lower lip as she reveled in the danger of him, the infernal temptation of his velvety skin.

 

A hand crept up her back, skirting her throat to hook a thumb under her jaw. Holding her firmly, he tipped her face up to meet his stare. The demon gazed down, very nearly purring with smug pleasure. Tears welled, and the forgotten vestige of her humanity spilled over her cheeks even as she lifted herself over the shaft that bobbed invitingly against her stomach. She needed it in

 

His fathomless eyes glittered, dark, knowing. 

 

Absorbing his damning smile, she wedged the plush tip of his cock into position, shivering at their size difference.

 

“Go on,” he coaxed, licking his lip suggestively. “You're so close… take it.”

 

Choking on the ash of her own downfall, Rey sank upon the pillar between her legs, slow and deliberate. She bit her lip, grimacing as each delicate band of muscle gave way, stretching tenderly on his widening shaft. When she could take no more she pushed him deeper, her mouth falling open as she embraced the sacrificial ache of his penetration. 

 

His eyes narrowed, glinting blood-red as he savored the action. Oh, how you please me. 

 

Her brain spun out at the praise, and she lay back into the water, her upper body floating in mock serenity. She throbbed violently around the hard outline of his shape, trying to remain still as she teetered on the edge of an orgasm. 

 

“Thaaat’s right,” he crooned, letting her languish in the salty sea. “Just relax on that cock, angel. Feel it within you...” Her hair floated in a silken nimbus about her shoulders as she panted lightly, the strands of pearls tickling as they drifted over her chest. His words barely registered with the roar of blood in her ears, what was left of her mind asking itself how the ache of a wound could feel so damn good. 

 

He bent over her, the star-studded sky replaced with his dark silhouette. She felt the torrid breath of her monster, a wash of heat over her offered throat. He did nothing in half-measures, and the lush caress of his mouth was followed by a sharp bite. She gasped, waiting in morbid anticipation as his hips rocked back. 

 

“It’s been too long since I dismantled you,” he murmured darkly. 

 

His cock jackknifed and she shrieked, unable to reconcile the intense wedding of pleasure and pain. Her hands wound into his night-black hair, holding tight as he began to fuck her with deep, jarring strokes: once, again, and on the third thrust, she broke dutifully for him. She lost track of what her body was doing as her core convulsed hard, crying mindlessly in the throes of inky, toxic rapture. 

 

There was no strength in her body as he yanked her head back, and she was only distantly aware of his savage growl. “Good girl, now drink me in. Take it– every fucking drop.” He gave several bruising thrusts, carving a place in the shape of him before unleashing a hot flood within her. 

 

She gasped, her nails gouging blindly as the visceral pulse of his spend filled her, surging like a beating heart. Red rapture bloomed behind her eyelids as, with a long, undulating wail, she tripped straight into another orgasm. The fearful parade of her cries echoed across the calm seas as her cunt contracted on his length, milking his demonic essence in utter supplication. 

 

Without warning, the kaleidoscope of night sky dissolved into a play of images; an aberrant moment when his supernatural awareness bled sideways into her brain. Visuals of strangers asleep in their darkened bedrooms smeared across her mind, their breath erratic, faces contorted in horror – they lived her torment and carnal ecstasy, felt the cut of the blade as the demon’s name scored ever deeper into her mortal soul. 

 

Their night terrors born of the sound of her cries. 

 

She lay in his arms with him tucked deep inside her, marooned amidst the roiling storm of his triumph, the fathomless delight he took in defiling her; knew he’d do it again, and again, until there was nothing left of her but an empty husk.

 

Unable to bear it, her mind folded in on itself, turning away and fleeing to the very core of her being.

 

There in the primordial darkness, a tiny, impermeable flame drew her attention, steady burning like a forgotten candle. She flitted to it, her night eyes flinching at its hot, golden light. It dazzled her, and she cupped it tenderly, basking in the glow. It flickered, cognizant, knowing, fierce.  

 

Find a way… It guttered, before flaring even brighter. Live long enough to make him pay...

 


 

 

Glossary

 

Akeldama – Field of blood. A biblical name with Aramaic roots, referring to a field outside Jerusalem which was purchased with the thirty pieces of silver that Judas Iscariot received for pointing Jesus out to his arresters. The field was acquired with "the price of his wickedness," which is largely symbolic in an upcoming chapter. The story goes that Judas somehow came to fall, and that in such a way that he burst open in the middle and spilled his guts. Henceforth, it was called Akeldama, the Field of Blood (χωριον αιματος). 

 

Fare – Tahitian for house.

 

Naupaka – A thick, leafy shrub found growing along the beaches of Hawaii and the South Pacific.

 

Kylo’s refrain, translated from Sith: There is no hope. No light. No salvation. Give in to it. Let it take you.

Chapter Text

 


Songspiration: The Dead Weathers, The Difference Between Us

Tim Schaufert, Falling

 

 

 

 

The stars had turned when he finally exited the ocean, the world quiet in the waning hours before sunrise. Rey hung from his arms like a vanquished sea goddess, her head thrown back, eyes closed, black pearls trailing from her dripping body. 

 

His eyes raked over her, taking in the even rise and fall of her chest. He’d discovered that he rather enjoyed carrying her while she was unconscious. Without the terrorized racing of her heart and mind, she was still and silent, and he could savor the mortal thrum of her body— the miraculous spark that animated fragile bones and tender muscles. For all that she was lovely and limp and unaware, this was not one of those times.

 

His master’s visitation left him distracted, and he wasn’t able to savor the moment. 

 

Anakin Skywalker, Keeper of Woe and Lord of the Fallen, he who struck the most invidious demons with dread and caused the harpies to rend their hair in throes of agony… HE had seen fit to come— in person.

 

Why had he called on Rey— a lowly thrall?

 

The question had gnawed at Kylo from the moment he’d caught his master’s scent in her hair, the ominous, titillating fusion of spice and brimstone. When Kylo asked whether she’d had recent company, Rey had mistakenly thought him jealous, her face defiant as she spat her answer back at him, amusing him endlessly as she summed up the Lord of Darkness as charming, a real gentleman. 

 

Stalking up the moonlit path to her bungalow, Kylo grit his teeth, his canines lengthening as he stewed. Just the thought of her— alone, with her beautiful, haunted eyes and her lush airs of deep, soul-abiding injury— sitting and conversing amiably with the one being more powerful than he made him distinctly uneasy.

 

If his master had seen fit to harm her, there would have been nothing he could have done to circumvent it.

 

The instant she blacked out, Kylo had entered her mind, summoning the thread of her memory to see what had transpired between them. 

 

Anakin had appeared to Rey in the older human guise he favored, sending her an aptly-named drink and wielding his irresistible influence— not to seduce, but to set her at ease and get her to open up. 

 

Kylo saw the moment his master had examined the brand on Rey’s finger as they shook hands. He watched as she paused, wondering if Anakin could see it (which, of course he had and was examining it with keen interest). Her suspicions were no match for his master’s cunning, and she was soon conversing with the dark lord as if they were old acquaintances reunited. 

 

Not a single word left Anakin’s mouth that was not a double entendre. He’d toyed with her throughout their time together— letting the glow of his eyes reveal through the tint of his glasses, giving her tiny glimpses of his nature and then smoothing over her instinctive alarm with unparalleled guile. Still, the dark lord’s behavior was restrained, and he never aimed to cause her true fright. Rey had departed his company unharmed, thinking of him as nothing more than a delightfully eclectic gentleman with a peculiar name. 

 

Kylo stewed over it, feeling unreasonably disturbed. 

 

For time immemorial, he’d done his master’s bidding without thought. His job wasn’t to question or have an opinion, it was to execute, and his status as an Archfiend was born of unparalleled fealty.  But now, after eons of unencumbered existence, Kylo had claimed a personal belonging and found that his motives were suddenly… involved. 

 

He burned with the need to know why the sudden interest in his thrall.

 

One thing was certain; the dark lord did nothing without purpose, and he had absolutely intended that Kylo be aware of his presence. 

 

The exact moment Kylo detected his master’s proximity was etched into his undying memory, like a brand. 

 

Rey had been clinging to him when it happened, her arms looped fearfully about his neck as they floated in water well over her head. 

 

Looking over her shoulder, he picked out a dark silhouette standing amidst the shadows of the palm trees, brimming with power. Out across the water came a seething wall of inky blackness that Kylo responded to instantly, the hellfire in his soul flaring bright in recognition. 

 

His lord was come.  

 

Instantly, he paused his seduction and pitched a silent obeisance, his muscles tense as he awaited his master’s pleasure. 

 

Though his sudden appearance was startling, It seemed that all Anakin wanted was to observe. Kylo relaxed a little as his master’s irresistible voice echoed silently over the waves, granting his blessing to continue and remarking that Rey was, indeed, a delectable prize. 

 

With his lord’s approval secured, he commenced with making a show of her. Kylo had plunged beneath the sea to fuck her relentlessly, making sure she serenaded his lord with just the right tune of broken desperation. When she’d succumbed to his ministrations, Kylo had risen from the sea to defile her properly, whispering debasements in high Sith, watching with something like pride as his pet split herself wide on his cock.

 

Anakin had refrained from interrupting, watching like a father observing the performance of a favored child. His lord’s attention was avid, and Anakin had waited until that white-hot moment when their loins were locked in spasming rapture… and then Kylo had felt something more than approval from his master: it was unfamiliar— an unseen detonation that spread outward, engulfing them in malignant energy. 

 

That was the exact moment he’d felt Rey’s confused, wild-eyed presence in his mind. For a split second, Kylo had known her profound horror as her mind was smeared with the visions of every sleeping mortal for miles all around, their minds overrun with nightmares of her violation. 

 

Rey’s moment of enhanced awareness had no doubt been instigated by whatever his lord had done. It would be very much in character for him to find yet another way to torment a mortal. But Kylo wasn’t privy to all of his liege’s designs, and not knowing, particularly with regard to Rey, felt endlessly wrong.

 

While the mystery of his master’s visit needled him, it wasn’t too surprising. It’s possible that Traya had foreseen some vision of portent, or perhaps his lord had simply wanted to meet the only thrall in existence who had come into the fold unwillingly. It would seem she was as novel to his master as she was to him – a mortal with partial immunity to his gifts. Or maybe it was less Rey and more that Kylo’s interest had been captured at all.

 

Prior to stumbling on Rey, the nature of his powers left him disinterested in the binding of thralls. The Satanistic ideologies consistently offered mortals who stumbled over themselves, begging to be indentured. But all of them— corrupted, impure, willing. It wasn’t worthwhile to take what was freely given, and Kylo had always disdained the practice, viewing Maul’s peons and the flock that accompanied Traya as ungainly and ridiculous. 

 

He’d never understood the allure of having a mortal plaything. Until her.  

 

How pure she’d been when she bound herself to him, her body untouched, her soul free of the fanatical subservience that marked all other thralls. She was not indoctrinated into the ideologies of darkness, and the last thing she wanted to do was serve him. On top of that, she possessed the unique ability to resist his allure, the influence that accompanied his persuasive abilities. It turned him on to no end— that she was unwillingly bound to him, that the corrupting of her body and soul were his alone to attend to. 

 

Kylo’s arms tightened protectively around her body as darkness lashed within him, bringing his blood to a boil in a hot instant. 

 

Mine. She is MINE. 

 

He looked down at the bared line of her throat, the lushness of her breasts and how they jiggled fetchingly with each footfall. His hunger grew, along with an explosive need that snapped and sparked in a volatile brew. Staring down, his eyes flared to life, revealing the hellfire at his core. Red light washed over her peaceful face. 

 

Violence. I’ll awaken her with violence.

 

 





When the sun finally rose, her body was a testament.

 

The eastern sky streaked with pale pink and orange as light grew to illuminate the night’s carnage. It seemed his lust for her couldn’t be quenched, and with black-hearted delight, he had honored his instincts—riding her without reprieve, taking her until he felt sure her body retained the shape of him. 

 

She now knelt before him on the polished teak floor, her expression dazed, body adorned with lurid lovebites. Cum dripped down her thighs in creamy streaks, sliding warm from her fevered body. Little milky droplets of it hung from her nipples, quivering with the shallow rise and fall of her breasts, and her knees and palms were abraded from the pounding she’d taken on the floor of her bungalow.

 

How he’d praised her as she worked her lips up and down his engorged cock, making endearing little sounds of effort as she struggled to keep up with the white-hot fountain that filled her mouth and streaked down her chin.

 

Now her mind was as shot as her body, every fiber of her being crying silently for mercy. Would he ever get enough of this extraordinary girl? At the moment, it didn’t seem likely, and he’d have to take care not to seriously damage her in his quest to slake his thirst.

 

He stood overbearingly close to her face, the length of his ever-hard cock jutting just past her cheek. “So beautiful,” he praised, running a thumb along her jawline, gathering an opaque drop of his essence. His hand tipped her face up and slipped it between her flushed lips. Her eyes were half-lidded as she gazed up at his chest, sucking listlessly at his offering. 

 

“Beautiful when you fight, beautiful when you break, beautiful in a state of decadent ruin.” 

 

She remained passive, bereft of even the energy to react.

 

“Come,” he commanded abruptly. “On your feet.”

 

She tried to stand but couldn’t, her head falling forward in defeat as she crumpled back to her knees. 

 

He smirked in black-hearted delight. Not an ounce of strength remained after what he’d subjected her to, and he could feel how her consciousness staggered like a drunk, threatening to topple any minute. Still, he couldn’t resist tormenting her.

 

He twisted so that the heavy length of his shaft stroked her cheek. “What’s wrong, angel? Have I fucked the life right out of you, hmm?” 

 

Her body swayed a little, lips parted, breathing shaky. Even her mind was unable to curse him, and he conceded. “Ah, Rey,” he murmured, crouching down next to her and cocking his head. “It’s so hard with you – so hard for me to stop.”

 

That got a response, and she turned her head to regard him with dark, soulless eyes. “Then don’t,” she whispered flatly.

 

He arched a brow, impressed and maybe even a touch offended. She would let him wear her into the ground— offer herself in sacrifice— just to evade him. 

 

His eyes glittered with interest. “As delicious as it would be to take you up on that offer, you know I’d never deprive myself of your charms.” With that, he swept her limp form up off the floor and strolled over to the bed, his pride oddly piqued. “Oh no, I’ll not have you expiring at my hands… after all, what would my cock do without its favorite sleeve?” 

 

His barb had the desired effect and she let out a short, defeated sob. He was taken aback when, a beat later, she threw herself against him and looped trembling arms around his neck. He rocked back, shocked by her embrace and how desperately she clung to him, as though he were the high ground amidst a rising flood. 

 

His arms came up, hovering over her trembling form before embracing her. A dark, forbidden thing filled his empty breast, and he lay his cheek against the top of her head. All of his razor-edged witticisms were rust upon his tongue, so he didn’t speak. 

 

The silence whispered all the same.






The afternoon found Rey lay slumped over the back of a tufted settee, gazing sightlessly at the parade of cumulus clouds outside her window. It was quiet in the private jet’s soundproofed cabin, and if she closed her eyes, she could pretend she wasn’t soaring through the mesosphere at 600 miles an hour. The linen shorts she wore revealed the length of her suntanned legs, but she barely noticed the chill of conditioned air that whispered from overhead vents.

 

Bone-deep exhaustion made her eyes blurry as she glanced down into her lap, absently touching the script of scarlet glyphs that marched up her index finger. 

 

His name, etched into her.

 

Her gaze wandered to her notebook, sitting next to her on the seat. 

 

Earlier that morning, as he packed up her things, he’d seen her crude attempt to sketch the brand on her finger. His dark gaze had lingered on her work, and the seconds had felt like hours as she sat paralyzed— wondering if he knew about the scholars she’d sent it to, dreading what he might do about it. 

 

Her demon had flashed an inscrutable smile before settling at the desk and taking a pen in hand. Her horror had mounted as she watched him writing, his motions flowing and precise. Then, he abruptly stood and strolled over to deliver his handiwork. Her hand shook as she accepted it from him, unwillingly looking down to see the flawless characterization he’d rendered. 

 

His name, her brand— flawlessly scripted for her to share in her quest to learn whatever she could— to escape him.

 

And what he’d said to her then: “Little vixen—you play a game that was over before it began.” His voice so gentle, almost as if he sympathized.

 

It had destroyed her.

 

She’d gone numb after that, more unsettled by his cooperation than anything else he could have done, saddled with the chilling awareness that he knew of and wasn’t worried about her mission to thwart him. 

 

He had drawn near, tipping her face up in that way of his, handling her with such care that the contrast with his earlier violence hurt too much to dwell on. “But if you want to play cat and mouse, I’ll chase you for as long as you see fit to run. Just know; no matter where you go or whom you meet, you and I are irrevocably bound. Until the eternal balance is upended, until your last breath and beyond that—you belong to me—and nothing, in this galaxy or the next, can change that.” 

 

Her tears had flowed as she accepted the notebook, triggered by the gentle way he cleaved her only plan. There was barely any emotion left to muster when he twisted the knife deeper, telling her that he’d be conducting her to the Old World.

 

Perhaps, no thought was sacred anymore, and he could indeed read her like he claimed. After all, he’d known that Rome was her next destination, and though he didn’t say it verbatim, he’d strongly hinted that he knew about the meeting she’d set with Mr. Jinn. Now, she suffered the uncertainty of what Kylo might do to the poor man who’d agreed to try and help her. It was like some fucked up film noir where the woman endeavors to leave her abusive partner and is caught red-handed.

 

Nervousness twisted her gut, and her bloodshot eyes drifted to the opposite of the ornately paneled cabin. 

 

Dominating the space was her own personal monster, shirtless and utterly devoid of body fat, the sprawl of arcane symbols adorning the flawless musculature of his upper body. It had been several hours since they’d departed Tahiti, and still, he sat cross-legged with his eyes closed… floating several inches in the air. 

 

Earlier that day, when he’d ushered her briskly onto the Brando’s tarmac, he’d been distant, lacking his signature laser-like focus. Even in her defeated state, she’d noticed his distraction, which was different enough to pierce through the fog of her lethargy.

 

He’d been quick to situate her amidst the extravagant furnishings of the private jet, pointing out the sleek espresso maker and fridge before explaining shortly that he needed to commune. Whatever the hell that meant

 

Then, he’d settled into some sort of trance and hadn’t moved since, but for the occasional flutter of his closed eyes. Each time his eyelids cracked the tiniest bit, an eerie wash of light escaped, coloring the tops of his cheeks a sanguine red.

 

The thought of pounding on the cockpit door had come and gone like a bird on the wing. 

 

She was positive it was locked, and even more so that the pilot was under Kylo’s control. The notion of attacking the demon himself didn’t even register. In this moment, she was too overcome to even consider it. Or maybe she was simply accepting her lot; getting smarter about how to cope in this mad new existence.  

 

Rey sipped her espresso with hands that shook, sure that she didn’t want to know which more accurately described her apathy. 

 

Her muscles felt like jello, body completely spent from his merciless passions. The state of her mind was equally compromised, and no amount of caffeine could buoy her. Despite her edginess and his close proximity, her eyes inevitably closed as the movement of the plane ushered in a dreamless sleep. 






The cabin was dim when she came to, and the faint drone of the engine placed her surroundings. Her pillow was warm, and it shifted under her, confirming her suspicions. The myriad aches in her body made themselves known as she pushed off of his thigh and slowly sat up— all the usual culprits— her swollen, tender sex, aching inner thighs, abdominal muscles that had strained themselves well past the point of what was healthy. She turned her head, heart thumping a little faster as she beheld him with a tired stare. 

 

Kylo lounged beside her, looking like every girl’s fantasy come to life, his heavily muscled arm draped over the back of the settee. “My sleeping beauty awakes,” he purred, the corners of his lush mouth curling up a little. 

 

She blinked, saying nothing and still unsure of how she wanted to react. For the first time ever, she felt detached from the threat of him, her insides scoured and left a hollow shell. 

 

He reached his opposite arm over the settee and produced a tall glass of water, handing it to her wordlessly.

 

Instantly, her thirst took over and she accepted it, drinking without pause. It tasted better than water had any right to taste, and she unapologetically tanked the whole thing, coming up for air only to ask for more. 

 

As ever, he was two steps ahead and produced a pitcher, refilling her glass. “I thought you’d be thirsty,” he remarked, sounding far too sure of himself for her liking. 

 

Her annoyance rose, though it was more like sluggish sap than anything. She placed the glass down and propped her elbows on her knees, shooting him a watery glance over her shoulder. “Don’t,” she said, clearing her throat when the word came out ragged with sleep.

 

His sable brow arched. “Don’t what?

 

“Don’t do that thing where you pretend to care about my welfare. Don’t act like you are anything more than the creature who hunts me down and takes whatever he wants.” She looked down, her listless gaze skimming the sand burns on her knees. “We both know better,” she added dully. 

 

His mocking laugh didn’t come. Instead, she found his hands locking around her upper ribcage as he hauled her over his lap as easily as he might a petulant child. Rey hadn’t the strength or will to fight, her limber body flowing smoothly over the hard muscles of his form. 

 

As she settled against his furnace-like body, a sharp, bittersweet pang of conflict spiked through her breast, settling in a pool at the base of her throat. He cradled her with a familiarity that bordered on affection, and the way they pressed so intimately together roused memories of all the times she’d been in this position before. Her heart accelerated, and she blinked, trying to recall what she’d said to prompt his action.

 

His voice was warm, but as ever there was a blade buried just beneath the surface.

 

“Oh, but you’re wrong,” he asserted, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ear. “I care very much about you, and assessing me using the measurements of humanity is a mistake. By now, you understand I’m most assuredly not human, and my doings are far removed from the weak, soft-hearted motives of mortals.”

 

Oh, you’re inhuman, alright, she thought, easily rejecting the implication that he cared, not wanting to give his statement even a moment’s extra headspace. Instead of discussing it further, she erred on the safe side and changed the subject.

 

“I can’t believe you penned your name for me,” she said, frowning vaguely as she scanned the contrast of his features. 

 

His hand claimed hers, enclosing it utterly as he stroked a finger over the inflamed scarlet lettering that marked her. He gazed at it with subdued pleasure, his energy unusually calm. “None of that matters, as you’ll soon come to find,” he replied, equally soft as his eyes lingered on the glyphs of her brand. “My name is inscribed where it counts most,” he murmured, his tone one of complete self-assurance, “and there isn’t a soul alive who can change that.” 

 

Almost against her will, she found her eyes tracing his lush pout, the way his lips parted as if he hungered, like he might attack her any second now. She felt a strong impulse to lean forward and bite first, to sink her teeth and nails in and bleed him for all he’d done. 

 

Staring at those lush lips, her eyes swam out of focus. The Archfiend of Persuasion, he’d named himself. She’d seen his influence at work, how he commanded people and surroundings, and he’d certainly stopped time more than once. Her eyes refocused and she sank into the void of his stare. There was nothing to lose.

 

“Your powers, Kylo,” she began, “you’ve told me before that you are able to manipulate people, objects, and time to do what you want. But...how does your ability work? What actually happens to a—” she paused, taking a deep breath, “—to a person. ..when you unleash your power? What happens to them?”

 

His stare was dark and sharp as obsidian as he gazed back at her. He was silent, and she’d begun to think he might not answer when at last, he spoke.

 

“Are you familiar with Aristotle?” 

 

“Somewhat; I know he was one of the great Greek philosophers,” she replied, fidgeting with her hands so she wouldn’t have to lay them upon him. 

 

“You are correct. The man was an exceptional study in tactical persuasion, the most masterful that has ever lived. He recognized and defined the motives governing human persuasion— ethos, pathos and logos— and he utilized them to great success.”

 

Rey stared into his eyes, entranced as he continued his explanation.

 

“He was astute, for a mortal, but of course in the end, he was confined by the parameters of his own humanity.” 

 

Now he smiled a carnivorous smile, and the back of Rey’s neck prickled like any good prey animal. 

 

“You see, my dear,” he purred, beginning to toy with a strand of her hair, “my power goes well beyond appealing to your ethics and emotion, your sense of logic. These are all tenets of the cognitive mind. My commands slip so much deeper. They court the psychi, or soul, and my targets are only too happy to inscribe my imperative with its ink. Even if they were reduced to walking zombies—all sense of logic, emotion, and ethics erased—they would still obey the unbreakable vow I elicit...for even when the mind is gone, the soul remains until released by death.”

 

The breath expelled from her lungs in a rush, letting her in on the fact that she’d been holding it. “So, the commands you give when wielding your power are permanent?” 

 

“That is correct.”

 

Her mind reeled as the implications sank in. “And once given, do your orders require any, uh… any maintenance or further interaction from you?” 

 

His eyes glittered. “No. My victims will continue to upkeep the vow I’ve exacted, without any recollection of how they’ve given it.”

 

Rey stared back at him, horror warring with fascination.

 

He chuckled at her expression, winding the errant strand of her hair around his finger. “Don’t look so horrified. Were they to recall the moment of their vow, it wouldn’t be unpleasant… rather the opposite,” he murmured, cocking an eyebrow quizzically at her.

 

She recalled the spectacle she’d witnessed, the way their chef had grown devout as he stared at Kylo, his face aglow as he repeated Kylo’s command back to him.

 

Suddenly, her mouth was bone dry, and she licked her lips, her voice growing small. “Why do you make them say it, then...aren’t words superfluous?”

 

“Repeating my charge aloud is like sealing wax on a completed contract, an unnecessary flourish.” He paused, smiling a dark little smile. “It pleases me to hear the words that represent my will...and a direct takeover of theirs...spoken back to me.”

 

Rey swallowed down her revulsion as weakness stole through her limbs. “You’re horrible, you know that?” 

 

He licked his lips, savoring her emotion. “Feel no shame for what you are,” he murmured, still favoring her with that vulpine smile.

 

She turned her head aside, unable to look at him any longer. Nausea burned its way up her throat, and now she came to it— the reason she’d brought the subject up in the first place. 

 

“And you—you’ve done this to me, haven’t you... ” She expelled the words with great effort—as if each were an unwilling mule dragged before a branding iron. “How many times—and for what purpose?”

 

It was a subtle change, but she could still see it: the displeasure in his roguish expression, how it crystalized on his ever-expressive face. “Twice,” he answered woodenly, “when your spectacular ability to resist led you to risk your very life, and again when you threatened a hunger strike.” He narrowed his eyes, looking at her with a mix of respect and something like bitterness. “Such a little fighter bee. Who would have thought I’d see the day...when I was given proof that there existed too much of a good thing?”

 

She flinched, falling silent as she opened her hands and placed them lightly on his chest. 

 

Her intuition wasn’t mistaken, He HAD charmed her several times. The hazy memories of fading tranquility, of coming out of a trance-like state with the afterglow in her mind, sure that she’d just been privy to some spiritual reckoning but unsure just what… they were founded. She couldn’t recall just what had happened, but at the least, now she understood.

 

He’d removed the possibility that she could pose a threat to herself in all capacities. Even now, when she tried to envision self-harm, her mind couldn’t even get to the stage of mental imagery, so averse was she to the notion. 

 

She swallowed, a useless gesture with such a parched mouth. Staring at his chest, she couldn’t help but notice how fucking small her hands were against him. 

 

“Please, don’t a-alter me anymore.”

 

His voice hinged on reproachful. “Little vixen. I don’t want to, but I can’t have you jeopardize your existence or well-being.”

 

Her mouth fell open in blatant shock. “My well-being? ” she sputtered, suddenly indignant. “You don’t seriously—”

 

She stopped cold as he struck, his lightening-fast hand seizing her throat in a vise. Her heart launched into an instant sprint. “You belong to me—” he growled, leaning closer to whisper fiercely in her ear, “—and I am the only one who gets to hurt you.” 

 

Chills wracked her spine, and she felt the tightening sensation of her nipples as they hardened in response to his manhandling, to the hot breath that feathered over her skin. Confusion overtook her, and her eyes slipped closed as she relaxed in his grip, unable to do much else at this juncture. His hand around her throat was firm but not strangling, and she gripped his wrist in both hands, fighting to steady her breath.

 

All at once, his possessive grip relaxed. Her eyes opened as he sat back against the settee, stroking her throat with his long fingers. “Come,” he said, his voice a passable semblance of concern. “You need to eat, little one.”

 

At that, he slid fluidly from beneath her and pulled her to her feet. He kept an arm looped about her waist, anticipating that she’d be a little unsteady. 

 

Her head spun with the information he’d given, and his mercurial behavior had her feeling meek all over again. 

 

It was no feat to let him lead her to a table laden with food. She blinked when she saw the sheer variety, easily enough for a party of six. There awaited baskets of bread and pastries, paper-thin slices of meat and cheeses, lush green grapes and olives and little violet artichokes.

 

Her stomach growled instantly, and she saw him smile. She sat in the chair he pulled back for her, unable to resist the needs of her own body, and now, privy to the fact that he’d used his persuasive powers to ensure she couldn’t not eat, even if she tried. Damn it all and damn him.  

 

But still. The selection looked incredibly delicious, and…when was the last time she’d been this hungry?

 

A small frown crossed her face as the seemingly innocent thought hit a deep nerve. No. Not now. With a concerted push, she repressed the specters of her childhood, shuffling the memories aside with the familiarity of a lifetime of practice.

 

Rey remained unaware of the hawklike way he watched her, the flare of his nostrils and the way his fists clenched. 

 

Leaning over the spread, he uncurled his hands and assembled an assortment on a plate of bone china, setting the offering before her. 

 

She shot him a questioning glare but he just smiled in dark amusement. “I am sorry to report that none of it is laced or...anything other than what it appears. You’re safe....” 

 

... for the moment. He left the rest unsaid, but her brain got the memo.

 

“Can you blame me for wondering?” she snipped, casting him a dark look as she tore into the food. Her body slowly relaxed as the much-needed sustenance soothed the ache in her belly.

 

She ate everything and didn’t have to ask before Kylo set another plate before her. He was silent, a captivating presence, and against her better judgment, she spoke to her monster.

 

“So what?” she asked, eyeing him as she crunched into an almond croissant. “You don’t need to eat, I guess?”

 

He leaned back in his chair, looking deceptively casual with his long legs stretched out under the table. “No. Food is pleasant, but unnecessary, as is air, drink, shelter. ”

 

“Huh. Must be nice,” she muttered, more sincere than she cared to admit. She looked down at her nearly-empty plate and couldn’t help but remember a time from her past— another monster, very different from the one beside her now.

 

The rich sound of his voice broke her reverie. “I regret that you were forced to experience the uncertainty of sustenance.”

 

She froze mid-chew, her eyes locking onto him. “ What? ” she whispered, unsure if she’d heard him correctly. 

 

“He withheld your meals.”

 

Her heart plummeted to her feet, leaving her face tingling and pale. The demon didn’t mince words, direct as he’d ever been. Even with her ears ringing, she couldn’t miss the cold anger in his tone. Not directed at her

 

“H-how,” she stopped and reflexively swallowed the paste in her mouth. Still, her voice remained hoarse. “How did you know about—about that?”

 

Darkness swirled in his eyes as he watched her fumble. His face was stern, unfathomable, and for all the world, he didn’t seem to be relishing her distress.

 

“I know everything about you, Rey; I’ve been inside your mind. The places you’ve been, the things you’ve done, the events that have befallen you. I know the face of each and every person you’ve had dealings with… those you’ve cared for… those you haven’t.” 

 

His voice lowered into a venomous growl. “And one, in particular…” 

 

She continued to stare at him with wide, haunted eyes. “Unkar Plutt?” Her soul recoiled as she voiced his name for the first time since the trial. 

 

Kylo continued to regard her with his sphinx-like stare. Then, his countenance altered as something truly monstrous rippled beneath his surface. “Yesssss,” he hissed, his eyes flashing with terrible heat. They appeared brighter in the dim light of the cabin, infinitely more disturbing.

 

Alarmed by the spike in hostility, she found herself pressed against the back of her chair, having instinctively moved as far from him as possible without getting up. 

 

His fury departed as quickly as it had come, the unearthly red of his pupils cooling instantly. As they dimmed, his voice returned to the self-assured drawl she was accustomed to. 

 

“I saw what he did to you...I saw the punishment. As is usual, justice would seem to have fallen well shy of the crime. But, don’t you worry, angel” he murmured, his voice dark and velvety, “Mr. Plutt has been made to pay… properly. ” 

 

The word hung in the air between them, a dark, glittering bauble. 

 

Blood churned through her veins, and she couldn’t breathe. She was riveted, like the first witness to stumble upon a scene of unspeakable carnage— no matter how desperately she wanted to, she couldn’t look away. A quiet voice inside her issued a stark warning —there is danger in knowing—don’t rise to the bait!

 

What did you do ?” she burst out, the words tumbled from her lips with something close to guilt.

 

How he smiled, so bright and sharp.

 

“Only exactly what was done to you,” he supplied unhelpfully. With that he stood, offering her his hand with the air of a challenge. “Would you like to see?” 

 

Rey was stunned, speechless at the prospect. Her brows knit together, her face a perfect picture of conflict. “I…” she paused, gazing up at him as opposition raged within her, a cacophony of vindictive self-righteousness and soul-deep, instinctive alarm. 

 

She shouldn’t do anything willingly with him— anything. Taking his hand had only led to sorrow and misery, and yet… the temptation was undeniably strong. He had taken so much from her, and she had so little left of herself. Now, he offered her a chance to see what retribution he’d taken upon the man who had hurt her and so many others. 

 

It was tantalizing, seductive. And the fact that he’d exacted revenge on her behalf at all… That which he offered was tainted, clearly immoral, nonetheless, she found herself incapable of turning away from it. 

 

What have you got to lose? Asked a voice, very different from the one that had tried to warn her from this path. After all that unctuous toad has put you through, don’t you deserve the chance to savor a little revenge? It’s familiar sound threaded through her thoughts, sinuous as a meandering cat and twice as provocative. 

 

Her eyelids dipped, lips parting as something deep within her broke with a soft snap. There was no pain, but rather, a feeling of hardening resolution. At once, her frown smoothed into a cold, hard mask. She refocused on the demon standing before her.

 

“Show me,” she said, slipping her hand into his without hesitation.

 

He drew her chair out from the table and pulled her to her feet, eyeing her all the while with evident satisfaction. 

 

“It would be my pleasure,” he declared, leading her to the white leather settee and guiding her to sit. 

 

He took a seat next to her and, without preamble or any explanation of how it would work, reached for her face. 

 

Uncertainty pricked at her newly-minted armor as those massive hands wrapped around her skull, cradling her in place.  

 

“Let us go,” he murmured, leaning down as if to kiss her. 

 

Too late for second thoughts now. She felt her will drown in his hypnotic stare, lashes fluttering as he sealed his mouth against hers, parting her lips with his tongue. Slowly, deftly, he worked the kiss up into a crescendo, and she felt reality begin its slow crumble. Suddenly, he began to draw, his mouth sucking the breath from her. 

 

She found herself panting, short, irregular breaths through her nose as the strange kiss continued unabated. An odd rushing of something— not her breath— flowed from her into him, as if he were devouring more than simply her mouth. 

 

A low moan escaped her as inky darkness began to threaten at the corners of her vision. She blinked as his voice reverberated within the confines of her mind, commanding and deep.

 

Give in to it, Rey.” 

 

The strange transfer continued and her chest began to bow toward him as if drawn forward by a string.

 

She didn’t have time to even whimper as the darkness in her peripherals closed in, devouring her sight. His arms encircled her, gathering her tight as the lightless void swept her away.

 

 





An unknown amount of time passed, seconds, hours, days— she couldn’t have made an educated guess if she’d tried. When awareness returned, he was at the heart of it. 

 

They were locked in an embrace, her head tucked securely against a warm pectoral, the firm muscles of his back beneath her fingers. He held her tight, as if she were something dear, not a living, breathing doll to play with. 

 

A pang of bitterness chimed through her, and she opened her eyes and turned to stare at his chest, eyes drifting up the column of his powerful neck, lingering on the spears of ink that jutted from the collar of his shirt. Her mind cringed as the memory of her first impression of him resurrected: trouble with those dark good looks, a modern-day Adonis under the strobes. Her eyes reached his face and she trembled at what she saw.

 

Kylo stared over the top of her head, an ashen, dark-eyed sentinel. Fluorescent bulbs buzzed overhead, lending a sickly, greenish quality to the air. Cautiously, she disentangled herself from his embrace, watching his face closely for any signal as the hissing silence around them grew thicker.

 

She turned slowly in the direction he stared, one hand instinctively keeping ahold of the fabric at his waist. They stood in the middle of a square concrete room with no windows, its furnishings consisting of a metal toilet in the corner and a single twin-sized bed… upon which sat a prisoner. 

 

Rey squinted at him hard, brow furrowing as she absorbed the alarming change.

 

Once a man of immense size, he had been whittled down, skin hanging from his body in heavy sheets, like draped fabric. The ridges of his bones poked up from underneath sallow skin, and the shiny porcine eyes she remembered looked even more demented. 

 

Unkar Plutt.

 

A shudder of loathing rippled through her, and she felt the living tissue of her heart fossilize into cold stone. He was obviously he sick, but whatever illness he contended with hadn’t humbled him. He still scowled like the corpulent man he was, and Rey would’ve recognized him anywhere, even in this reduced form. 

 

“He can’t hear or see us,” Kylo said, his words trailed by an odd, watery echo. 

 

Rey stared at this living, breathing nightmare of her childhood, feeling the slow build of disgust, and beneath it, something far blacker. 

 

“What’s wrong with him?” she asked, each word clipped and utterly devoid of concern. 

 

“He’s on a hunger strike,” Kylo replied simply. 

 

It staggered her, halting the build of hostility. She gasped, blinking as she sagged blindly against the pillar of Kylo’s body. Caustic memories streaked through her mind like acid rain, ugly things she preferred not to recall. 

 

Unkar’s beady-eyed glare as she pleaded futilely for food. The chop shops and dirty junkyards she was forced to frequent as she carried out his errands. Her foster father’s garbled voice bellowing insults as she fled for her room, knowing there was no protection anywhere. The horrified look in the nurse’s eyes as she weighed a 10-year-old Rey for the second time, sure the number had to be in error. The final words he’d spoken to her as Social Service had pulled up in his driveway: “If you squeal on me girl, there isn’t a place on earth you’ll be able to hide. I have connections everywhere. I’ll find you AND whatever pathetic family they send you to. And when I do, I’ll send the dogs in first…”

 

It was the slow, steady circling of Kylo’s thumb that brought her back to the moment, his hand having found its way to her back. It distantly occurred that the world was indeed fucked up— that this creature of her waking nightmares would be the one to soothe her, to enact retribution on her behalf, to punish the monster from her childhood and take an eye for an eye. 

 

She turned her body into Kylo’s solid form, absently placing a hand on his chest as she accepted more of his toxic, soothing touch. I’m damned to keep the company of monsters. They surround me, no matter where I go or how far I run.

 

Looking over her shoulder, she refocused once more on Unkar Plutt, facilitator of her childhood woe.

 

“How long will it last?” she asked, her voice flat and inflectionless. In her peripherals, she saw Kylo look down at her, felt the darkness of his regard wash over her like a floodlight.

 

Unable to ignore him, she tilted her head back and made eye contact. 

 

He raised a hand and ran a single finger along her jawline.  “He starved you, and he will never eat again.” His voice was indifferent as he reiterated a sentence already passed.

 

An odd fluttering filled her breast at that quiet condemnation. She nodded, feeling a breathless sort of gratification.

 

When Kylo once again began to wrap her securely in his embrace, she went quietly, her eyes dry and unblinking.  

 

Antipathy swelled within her, and for Unkar, there was not a drop of pity.







Chapter Text




 

 

The Rome skies were heavy as Rey stormed down the jet’s airstairs, her ankle boots splashing through small puddles as she made a beeline to the jet-black Alfa Romeo Guilia that idled on the tarmac. She avoided the eyes of the impeccably dressed chauffeur who held the car door open for her, certain that every step she took was a tell. Her color was high as she slid into the car wordlessly, tucking the fabric of her polka-dotted dress in around her thighs. 

 

From her peripherals, she saw Kylo standing at the top of the plane’s landing, a tall, dark figure. The heat of his stare burned holes through her, but she refused to so much as look at him.

 

“The trainer stays in.”

 

His terse voice crackled through her mind, and Rey bit her lip, nearly choking on her own fury. She held herself stiffly, trying to remain motionless so as not to feel the silicone plug— or, at least, to feel it less. 

 

“If you take it out, I’ll know, and your punishment will be… memorable.” 

 

A portentous shiver raced up her spine as his growl again sounded between her ears, and her muscles clenched involuntarily on the obtrusive cone-shaped thing buried between her cheeks. Horrible, unimaginable BASTARD!!! She wanted to writhe at the full sensation, to flail and fight and wrench it out and THROW IT AT HIM.

 

The car began to drive, headed toward the tarmac’s private service exit. 

 

“Fuck!” she cursed, hitting the door panel in frustrated fury.

 

The eyes of her chauffeur flickered nervously at her before refocusing on the road. He remained silent but pushed the Guilia a little faster, maneuvering the sleek machine onto the arterial that connected Leonardo da Vinci International with the sprawling metropolis of the Eternal City.

 

“Forgive me, signorina, but where to?” he asked. Even with his heavily-accented English, she could discern his hesitation.

 

“San Lorenzo,” she choked out. “C'era una volta, il caffè.”

 

“At once.”

 

Aware that it looked very much like they were engaged in a lover’s spat, she swallowed a surge of bile and turned her attention out the tinted window, marking the appearance of the River Tiber as it began to meander alongside A91.

 

Deep breaths, Rey, deep breaths. She had roughly two hours before her meeting with Qui-Gon Jinn and needed to get her shit together— gather her fragmented thoughts and not waste the man’s time. And her own.  

 

It was frightening to realize that she was beginning to regard time spent without Kylo as a precious commodity. With the current rate of his comings and goings, this might well be her only opportunity to attain some small bit of information, some hope of severing the bond she’d errantly forged.

 

But oh, how her ass stung, skin prickly and sensitized from his spankings. It was difficult to decompress after what he’d done not minutes before.

 

The plane had just begun its approach to the Italian peninsula when the demon had descended on her. Just like that, his lapse into decency was over. 

 

She was hoisted unceremoniously over his knee, protesting with all the manners of a cornered stray as the hem of her dress was pushed up around her waist. 

 

The asshole had shredded a pair of her favorite French lace panties before silencing her with a series of flat-palmed spanks. Blow after blow landed upon her exposed derriere, the searing pain quickly diluting her outrage. In the end, she had lain passively over his thigh, her hands fisted in the crisp fabric of his slacks as he punished her for crimes she could only guess at. 

 

Only when the first desperate “please! ” had burst from her did he pause, chuckling as he swiped his finger through the folds of her sex, gathering the slickness that had come without her approval. 

 

Keeping her pinned, he had proceeded to fuck her with two long fingers until she was a mess— thighs widening, back arching to give him deeper access. Her curses broke down into moans, hips riding the motion of his hand as she tipped into mindless ecstasy. 

 

He waited till the spasms of her orgasm had her in their teeth, and she’d barely noticed the slippery object pressing at her furled hole. His voice was whispering, filling her mind with that sinuous, toxic language, and she’d arched in shock, braced by his unyielding arm as he slid that thing neatly into her ass.

 

Now riding into the heart of the city, she squirmed discretely against it in mindless protest. Even with its ergonomically designed crown— a C-shaped handle that followed the cleft of her derrière— it could not be ignored. 

 

Forcing herself to still, she rummaged for the phone he’d slipped into the pocket of her coat as she'd stumbled from the plane.

 

She retrieved it and turned it over in her hands. It was a black Samsung Galaxy emblazoned with the visage of a popular sci-fi villain, his ominous black and silver mask etched into the phone’s shell. Her lip curled derisively. Fucking perfect. 

 

Kylo had halted her at the door of the jet, explaining that the waiting driver– Matteo –was hers to direct, and that he would take her to their prearranged lodgings when she’d concluded her business. The phone contained Matteo’s contact along with their reservation info, and she was to utilize his chauffeur services exclusively for any local travel. 

 

Her jaws clenched as the internal tempest raged within, eyes prickling with tears of rage. 

 

Fuck him for-fucking-ever.

 

Without a second thought, she activated the car window. It descended with a smooth hum, letting in a blast of air rife with the mineral scent of wet asphalt. She cocked her hand back and chucked the phone hard toward the river, feeling a surge of righteousness as it disappeared beneath the jade-colored surface with a splash. The gesture curtailed her fury and humiliation to a more tolerable level, and she imagined her exhaled breath to billow with the toxic emotion she housed.

 

Turning back, she saw Matteo watching her in the rearview mirror, his almond-shaped eyes wide, skin a shade paler than before. Oh YES, I did. She returned his look with a grim smile, challenging him to say something. He kept his silence, his face stoic as he refocused on the road. Rey watched him calculatingly as they drove in silence, progressing through the flatlands and into the tangle of urban Rome.

 

They passed towering basilicas and crumbling buildings emblazoned with graffiti, modern hotels and the well-kept ruins of Ancient Rome. The city was as she remembered it— thinly veiled chaos, its sprawl a garish mix of old and new, well-loved and delinquent. 

 

Matteo was unflappable, navigating narrow cobblestone streets and the reckless antics of Roman motorini with equal finesse, weaving through back roads like a deft black needle. It was a thirty-minute drive, and Rey was able to cool her blood by the time they neared Sapienza University and their destination.

 

Her chauffeur pulled smoothly to the curb before a small coffee shop, its signage depicted in a font reminiscent of the fairy tales of old: C'era una volta, il caffè

 

Rey had spent the remainder of the ride deciding on the best way to deal with Matteo, and now she waited dutifully for him to round the car and open the door for her.

 

She made it a point to smile as she exited the Giulia. Although the fellow was likely innocent, he was undoubtedly Kylo’s man, and it was imperative he believe she was in a cooperative frame of mind. 

 

“Grazie, Matteo,” she said, holding out a €100 note, which he promptly declined. 

 

“No, no, signorina, Mr. Ren has ensured I am well compensated, thank you,” he said, giving her a reproachful smile. “But please, you’ll need this.” He handed her a business card with his contact information.

 

Of course he did. He’d seen her toss Kylo’s phone and knew she had no way to reach him otherwise.

 

“Very good,” she murmured, accepting it smoothly. “My business here could take a while,” she hedged, readjusting the strap of her messenger satchel. 

 

He opened his mouth to reply, no doubt about to insist that waiting wasn’t a problem. 

 

“Would it be too much trouble to run several errands for me?” she interrupted, her face composed into a hopeful expression.

 

He blinked, nonplussed, and she quickly pushed ahead before he could respond. “This is a little embarrassing, but I rather abruptly left the tropics and didn’t have the time to launder my belongings. Would it be too much to see my things to the cleaner while I’m detained?”

 

Matteo’s warm, brown eyes clouded over at the request. The fellow looked so worried, she almost felt bad for him. Almost.

 

“Well,” he replied, wringing his hands, “I suppose I could…”

 

“Also, I am in dire need of a pair of stilettos for tonight and fear I’ll not have enough time to shop… would you be so kind as to procure me a pair in ivory? Any leather but patent would be my first choice. Barring leather, velvet could work as well. I wear a 37, and I’ll require a 4” to 5” heel— no more.” 

 

Matteo was speechless, his mouth working like a fish out of water.

 

Rey ignored his distress, flashing the most charming smile she could muster as she lay a hand over his. “I fully trust your taste and discretion, Matteo,” she murmured, curling his fingers around a fat fold of euros. 

 

Before he could protest, she began to back away from the curb, still facing him. “I have your contact information and will phone you as soon as my business concludes,” she promised, patting the pocket where she’d slipped his business card. 

 

“Please,” he called, starting after her with an outstretched hand. “I am not hired to do anything but wait for you, signorina. Of course, I’m much honored to be of service, but you must promise to call when you require transportation!”

 

“Of course!” she called brightly, continuing to retreat toward the cafe entrance.

 

“And you know that Mr. Ren has booked the penthouse at the Fendi Private suites, yes? I want to be absolutely sure you are aware, just in case you need…” 

 

He was still speaking when she made it to the door, flashing a hasty smile. “Yes, Matteo, thank you! I’ll phone as soon as I’m ready,” she called, waving as she entered the cafe. 

 

The moment he was out of her hair, priority number one took over. Approaching the counter, she caught the eye of a server. “Dov'è la toiletta?” she asked. 

 

Moments later, she sat in a private bathroom stall, hissing softly as she gingerly pulled the trainer from her ass. She stifled a grunt of discomfort as the widest part crested the protective band of muscle, at last slipping free of her body. Ire burned, molten-hot as she examined the silicone plug. As if the brand on her wasn’t enough, he had to impose this form of control, ensuring she’d be reminded of him with every twitch of her muscles.  

 

After wiping herself to a serviceably dry state, she stood, yanking the full skirt of her black and white polka dot dress back down, cursing him for leaving her without panties. Storming from the stall, she whipped the hated plug into the trash can, watching to make sure it disappeared beneath the crumpled paper towels. Good fucking riddance. 

 

Her ass felt strange as she made her way back to the front of the cafe, ordering an espresso and one of the pistachio cornetti that just emerged from the kitchen. With her simple repast in hand, she located an out-of-the-way table and sat, shrugging out of her belted coat and draping it over her chair. Taking a sip of her coffee, she let the heat seep through her core, trying to relax as she pulled out her laptop.

 

She’d be damned if she allowed Kylo’s lackey to lead her back to him, like a mindless animal to the slaughter. His appearance in Tahiti was hard proof that fleeing wasn’t an option, and she had very little faith in the idea that he might be more merciful based on her cooperation. After the affront she’d suffered prior to his releasing her from the plane, obeying his orders was too much salt in the wound to bear. 

 

Connecting to WiFi, she began to peruse lodgings in the vicinity. After scrolling for a few minutes, she landed on an option located fifteen miles northeast of Rome, a working farm that offered several stand-alone cottages. The property was hosted by a 6th generation owner named Cristina and offered home-prepared meals and transportation to and from the airport. Perfect. She booked one of the rentals and sent the hostess a quick note to say she’d be taking dinner that evening. 

 

Opening her email, her heart twinged with heartsick longing. There at the top of her feed was a message from Maz, who was on the last leg of a repositioning cruise aboard the Queen Mary.

 

She clicked it and began to read, imagining the deep sound of her mother’s voice narrating. Without awareness, Rey smiled.

 

Rey my dear, I’m never letting Chewie talk me into another cruise again. Please remind me of this the next time he gives me the sad eyes—you know I have a hard time saying no to him. 

 

The Queen Mary is a gracious, floating castle of a ship, but twenty-seven days is simply too long a voyage for my tastes. Dubai was an interesting place, bustling like a gilded beehive. I found it opulent to a fault but of course, Chewie loved it. His wanderlust remains unsinkable and I swear he’d be happy to continue sailing from place to place if I let him…

 

Rey took another sip of her coffee, drowning her smirk. 

 

Maz and Chewie were opposites in so many ways; she was a soft-spoken A-type personality while he was loud but so easy-going. Chewie was a hairy human sasquatch while Maz barely crested 5 feet tall and kept her thinning hair tucked up in a variety of sassy headwraps. She was a homebody who was happiest in her “castle by the lake,” as she called it, whereas Chewie was beholden to his love for outdoor adventure. 

 

For all their differences, the two met in the middle with their personal values, and Rey was frankly overjoyed that her mom had found such a devoted partner. No one deserved it more. As she continued to read, a lump formed in her throat. 

 

We dock in New York in several days and I can't wait to get home and tuck into my favorite bathrobe. Will you be back home soon? We're overdue for a girl's date.

 

Keep fighting the good fight, babe. Love, Mom (and Chewie)

 

Rey swallowed painfully. Here Maz was, saving her again without even knowing it— her email transporting Rey from the circumstances she now found herself in, gifting her a rare moment of emotional levity.

 

She blinked furiously as she typed out a reply, commenting on the picture Maz sent of her and Chewie enjoying champagne at the top of the Burj Khalifa building, poking fun at how uncomfortable Chewie looked in the Arabian heat. 

 

She finished with a false update on her well-being, lying through her teeth about how, if business allowed, she’d be back in-country soon. They hadn’t spoken since before Maz had disembarked, but she and her mother shared a kinship that didn’t rely on constant contact. 

 

Rey knew how incredibly lucky she’d been to be adopted by someone who not only understood her, but accepted her for who she was. Maz was an old soul who viewed the world through a lens of kind-hearted pragmatism, and from the beginning, she seemed to really get Rey, as though they knew each other from another life. In fact, Maz’s ability to read her daughter bordered on uncanny, and there had been times when Rey was sure she had some kind of telepathic awareness.

 

That sensitivity was precisely the reason Rey dreaded direct contact with her mother in her current state. There was little doubt in her mind that Maz would know something was really wrong, based on her behavior alone. And that was assuming she didn’t spot any of the bruises that dotted her throat like visceral jewelry.  

 

Rey hit “send” and stared at the screen a moment, her mind racing. Nervousness was her constant companion these days, a living thing that stretched and coiled in her core, never fully dissipating. And no fucking wonder. He was ever supplying reasons to emote the full spectrum of unease— from little misgivings to abiding worry to full-grown, white-out panic. There was no respite from it, even when he wasn’t sharing airspace with her, and it was frankly exhausting.

 

She downed the rest of her espresso, unable to blend into this laid-back locale where the fare was habitually savored without rushing. Focus, Rey, focus.

 

During her time in Tetiaroa, she and Mr. Qui Gon Jinn had exchanged several emails. He had forewarned her that renouncing a pledge of service to a demon was hard— distinctly arduous was the term he’d used — and that she should prepare for the possibility that he might not have answers. He had asked about the interactions between herself and Kylo, and she had supplied him with some of the details, largely scaled back to an R-rating for the sake of dignity. 

 

His reply to her description of Kylo’s abilities had been like a spot of sunshine through the gloom that clung to her; he knew of the existence of Kylo, naming him Archfiend and Master of the Hellcniht of Ren. Just his awareness of her tormentor was intensely liberating. It let her know she was not crazy, and that there were sane people who were aware of the dark forces at work. Even if Mr. Jinn had no evasive options to share, the solidarity he offered was richer than gold. 

 

Only the threat of possible retaliation on Kylo’s part worried her. But he had penned the brand for her to share...couldn’t that mean he was utterly secure in his claim on her? 

 

She continued to brood over it for the next half hour, nibbling absently at her pastry. 

 

At 2 pm sharp, a man with sandy, shoulder-length hair approached, smiling cautiously in the way of one looking for the right stranger.

 

“Mr. Jinn?” she asked, rising from her seat and extending her hand, which he took. “I’m Rey Kanata.”

 

“Rey,” he said easily. “It’s good to meet you. Please, call me Qui Gon.” 

 

She studied the theologian discreetly as they took a seat. The fellow looked to be in his late 50’s and was in excellent shape, moving with the smooth grace of a martial arts practitioner. Serene blue eyes regarded her from above a prominent nose, and his full beard and mustache were well-silvered.  

 

He wasn’t what she’d expected, having pictured more your stereotypical plump, bespectacled professor in a tweed vest and coat. Qui Gon looked more like a biblical prophet than anything else, and Rey hoped he wasn’t too outlandishly mystical. Even with her indoctrination into the realm of supernatural possibility, her threshold for too much woo woo remained.

 

She smiled hesitantly at him. “You’re at the top of your field of expertise. I can’t thank you enough for meeting me.

 

He absorbed the praise with a gracious nod. “You’re the one who’s come halfway around the globe. You made it only too easy,” he replied, his voice betraying the hint of a Scottish accent.

 

Though his face was gentle, Rey detected the gravity beneath, like the seasoned oncologist who is accustomed to bearing bad news. 

 

“The story you’ve shared is most alarming, and I only hope I can be of some help.” 

 

As Rey searched his eyes a moment, a hint of desperation began to fray her composure. Best get it over with. “I hope so too, I really do, but before we begin, there’s something I have to tell you.” She pursed her lips, then blurted out the necessary evil. “I really don’t want to alarm you, because I wouldn’t know whom else I could turn to for help, but… he, uh, the demon, that is— he didn’t say it verbatim, but I’m pretty sure he knows about our meeting…” 

 

Qui Gon merely frowned, intent as he settling further into his chair.

 

His body language spoke volumes, and relief flooded through her immediately. He wasn’t scared off. She exhaled her held breath and scrambled to explain.

 

“I fled to Tahiti—thought that maybe I could escape him by traveling far enough. It was foolish of me, but I had to know if it was an option.” She looked down, stroking her branded finger like a wounded thing. “He came for me, and he—” she broke off, grappling with how to say the unspeakable. Then she straightened, raising her head to look at Qui Gon with a blunt stare. “He said that I played a game that was over before it began.”

 

“That sounds about right,” Qui Gon acknowledged, his face sober. “It’s just like an agent of the dark to want to crush your spirit, to try and erase all sense of hope.”

 

Rey retrieved the notebook, flipping it open to the renditions of the unseen brand— his flawless, hers sloppy and rudimentary. “This is the marking on my left index finger, the one that appeared the morning after…” 

 

His eyes widened as he cocked his head to examine it. “Kittât,” he murmured, his soft, blue gaze sharpening as he glanced at her. “The hieroglyphic language of the Dark,” he explained, accepting the notebook with the air of one handling an artifact. 

 

“It predates ancient Sumerian, a language some scholars believe to come from beyond the bounds of our solar system.” He turned his attention back to her notebook, appearing utterly entranced. “We have very few written records of it. May I keep this?”

 

“Sure. After all, I have to look at the damn thing every day. He says it’s the brand of his signature. Says that it marks me as his… whatever the hell that means,” she added under her breath, grimacing sourly.

 

“Of course it does,” Qui Gon murmured distractedly, his eyes still glued to the runic glyphs. At last, he looked up at her, his face grave. “None of the other devils would be able to touch you because of it. His brand is a twofold claim: it signifies the bond while protecting you from his kind—they who are wicked and spiteful and ever looking for weaknesses or faults in their own ranks.” 

 

The slightest hint of remorse could be heard in his explanation, and Rey knew. He pitied her. Surely that wasn’t a good sign, but she’d come here prepared that he might not be able to offer her a solution. 

 

She breathed in and exhaled.  

 

Qui Gon glanced at her finger before retracing the glyphs. “As we discussed in our emails, the demon you described is known to me. There is power in the saying of true names. We won’t say his aloud for fear of summoning him, but I can still share what I know without naming him. There are some records of his terrible import, and it is said his powers are employed to create strife. Lucifer abides by his nature, reveling in carnage and bloodshed, but nothing pleases him more than the sowing of chaos within the ranks of mankind. The demon who has claimed you—it is his specialty.” 

 

“Wait,” Rey interrupted, “didn’t you just say the name Lucifer? ” she squeaked, her voice dropping to a whisper.

 

“I did, but there is nothing to fear. Lucifer is a style given by humans, deriving from the Latin for the morning star, bringer of light. What matters, in this case, is that it is not his true name.”

 

Rey exhaled, recalling the conversation she had with Kylo as he’d driven them through Seattle. “When I asked him about his master, he said the same thing— that if he voiced his name, I’d get to meet him.”

 

Qui Gon shook his head, his brow furrowed as he took in her haunted expression. “You poor girl. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through.”

 

“Trust me,” she mumbled numbly, “you don’t want to.”

 

He glanced at her empty coffee cup. “Can I get you another drink before we continue?”

 

She nodded, feeling weary. “A cappuccino, please.”

 

Qui Gon called out to one of the fellows behind the bar with a loose familiarity, ordering fluently in Italian for them. 

 

Turning back, he fixed her with a perceptive stare. His voice was low and soothing, like that of the counselor Rey had seen in the aftermath of Unkar Plutt. “I know it might not be pleasant to recollect or talk about, but—”

 

She shook her head and held up a palm to stop him. “No. This one opportunity might be my last. I’ve been trapped, literally, in a private hell I can’t escape from! He’s taken much from me— the career I worked so hard for, the few friends I have, my independence,” she said, her voice cracking. “I can’t even tell my own mother! You’re the first person I can speak honestly to—you know I’m not crazy and I don’t have to hold back. This time I have with you; it’s priceless to me.” 

 

She battled the swell of emotion within her, regulating it to a sheen of tears that refused to fall. What was the saying? A trouble shared is a trouble halved? It was true— even if there was nothing he could do to absolve her of the grievous error she’d made, it was cathartic to speak freely. 

 

“I’m glad to hear that, Rey,” he said with a sad smile. “I want to be sensitive to your situation and mindful of the atrocities you’ve endured.” He paused, considering his next words. “On the flip side of that sentiment is a harsh reality: you are indeed unique, as your demon has stated. To the best of my knowledge, human thralls are collected strictly from the willing—from various sects of Satanists who pledge their souls to serve the dark powers.” He folded his hands together on the table. “As you might imagine, they aren’t forthcoming with what they know.”

 

Despite the warmth of the cafe, Rey’s skin crawled at the notion. She hugged herself, rubbing her upper arms vigorously. “I can’t imagine someone choosing this.” 

 

Qui Gon grunted in agreement, falling silent as the server arrived to deliver their order. “Grazie, Marco,” he murmured, pushing Rey’s cappuccino over to her and taking his own. He waited until they were alone before continuing where he’d left off.

 

“I will say that from everything you’ve described in your emails— the excessive possessiveness, the gifts, the way he seeks to isolate you— your demon seems to be rather, ah, smitten with you. Strictly guessing, and without downplaying the duress of his attentions, I’d hazard that your treatment is very different than that of most thralls.” 

 

He sipped at his steaming beverage, setting it down as his eyes clouded over. “You haven’t… met any others, have you? Demons or thralls?”

 

She shook her head faintly as a distant pang of dread rippled through her. “No, but… he says that he’s going to make sure I do. Says I’ll never understand how “good” I have it without seeing them…”

 

His face grew pale as the seconds stretched between them. At last, he spoke, the words compulsory. “May God have mercy on you, child.”

 

This small slip in his cool felt a little too close to being forsaken, and bitterness pooled in her belly. 

 

The corner of her lips twitched. “This is so fucked, Qui Gon,” she said, her voice low and raw. “I have moments where I really can’t believe this is happening to me, where I just can’t buy this bullshit rearrangement of reality. It is all so unfair. ” 

 

Qui Gon nodded compassionately. “I can sympathize. To learn of the dark powers is to abandon all the logic you’ve ever learned. It makes one feel marooned— a tiny vessel on an endless sea.” 

 

He reached across the table in a comforting gesture, and her heart skipped a little as his hand froze, hovering inches from hers. She stared at it a moment before meeting his eyes. Shrewd and not a little fearful . Slowly, he retracted his hand, very obviously having reconsidered the wisdom of touching her. 

 

Rey swallowed, her throat suddenly thick. How could she blame him? Meeting with her was dangerous enough as it was.

 

“I’m so sorry for what you are enduring, for all you already have,” he stated, his face dark. “I’m hoping you can recount what happened at the exact moment you were bonded to him. The details will help me understand what options you may have. Are you up for that?”

 

“I am,” she said, squaring her shoulders, preparing to speak what had never been voiced aloud. Taking a deep breath, she launched into it, trying to remain objective. “The night it happened was surreal, the worst of nightmares. He singled me out and revealed his nature, stopped time, froze humans into statues, took a knife to the chest. He hunted me, tied me down, tormented me in the most humiliating ways before a crowd of onlookers… I was wild with the need to escape him using any means.” 

 

She paused, cupping her hands around the warm porcelain as she stared unseeingly, her vision absorbed with nightmarish memories of that night.

 

“He… promised to take my virginity before the crowd, and I–I couldn’t bear it. I pleaded with him, said I’d do anything if he’d stop, and it interested him. ‘Bind yourself to me,’ he said, and I—” she paused, shaking her head as all resolution to remain staid crumbled. “I accepted!” she choked out, meeting his eyes with bright, watery despair. “I didn’t understand what it meant—I just couldn’t take any more!”

 

Again, he reached out, attempting to soothe without quite touching her. “Please, go on,” he encouraged softly.

 

She grimaced, wiping her eyes in annoyance. “He froze the scene again and untied me. An ancient-looking dagger appeared in his hands, and he spun it between us. It was beautiful, the hilt wrought of twining snakes that appeared to dance… the sight mesmerized, seemed to suspend time, emotion, thought, consequence— all of it. It drew me and I touched the blade—” she pointed to the tip of her marked index finger, “—here. It hurt like hell, and in my distraction, I didn’t see that he’d repeated the motion himself… didn’t see until he was holding out his hand to me.”

 

Qui Gon’s calm expression shifted into alarm.

 

Rey felt the stir of misgiving as she continued. “It bled, like mine, and I—we touched hands. The second our blood mingled, I knew how grievous an error I’d made. I could feel him tear into me, feel his towering triumph, and then… then I felt some deep part of me cleave apart —”

 

“Your soul,” Qui Gon interjected in a stilted whisper.

 

“—and he claimed it, filling the space with his cold darkness.” She hung her head now, unable to bear his expression of horrified disbelief. “I only remember bits and pieces after the bond set. What came after—the physical part—was trifling in comparison to the real desecration.” 

 

“Rey, this is—” Qui Gon faltered a moment, at a loss. Then the words came fast, blundering out of him with no pretense. “His blood is in you, the blood of a fallen angel. I–I've never heard of such a claiming before. It is less a reaping and more of an exchange —one of body and soul.” 

 

Rey glanced wearily up, feeling cursed all over again by the look on Qui Gon’s face.

 

“All accounts of the claiming of human thralls include blood sacrifice, but nowhere in recorded history is there an instance of a mutual transfer…” He looked pained as he shook his head. “Demons only take—they never give. There is no earthly renouncement that could make a difference. I’m so sorry, but… I don’t know how to help you.”

 

Numbness spread and Rey let her eyes unfocus, still cradling her cup. Staring at nothing, she heard herself say that it was okay, that she simply needed to learn what she could from an authority and exhaust her options. 

 

“Hey,” he entreated softly, trying to jog her to no avail. 

 

Withdrawing from him, she settled deeper into herself. “He’s used his powers to alter my persuasion twice now— first to prohibit suicidal escape maneuvers and second to ensure I wouldn’t attempt to starve myself.” She chuckled mirthlessly as she refocused on his worried countenance. “I guess he’s protecting his little pet-investment.”

 

Qui Gon gave her a pained expression. “I’m so sorry—if I am able to find out anything that I think might be helpful, I won’t hesitate to reach out to you—”

 

He paused mid-sentence, halted by the dead look she leveled at him.

 

“Of course I’d welcome it, but you should consider carefully. This one connection was risky enough for me… and for you,” she added, numbly gathering her things and standing. 

 

The man had confirmed what she’d feared, maybe even known all along. She’d cursed herself, and there was no way out . There was no reason to endanger Qui Gon any further. He stared at her now with such deep pity, and she just needed to flee. 

 

“Mr. Jinn, I appreciate your time. Don’t think this meeting has been worthless to me—knowledge is power, and at least now, I know. While the outcome isn’t what I’d wanted, you confirmed what I felt to be true all along, and at least I can focus my energies more productively going forward.” 

 

She attempted to smile, aware it was a futile gesture. “My ordeal has been lonely, and being able to share some of it has been therapeutic in its way. For that, you have my eternal thanks.”

 

She didn’t wait for a reply, nodding dismissively and making for the rear exit she’d spotted earlier.

 

“Wait, Rey,” Qui Gon called, bending down to scribble something on a napkin. Hastily, he folded it up and made his way over to her, the napkin extended. 

 

She observed him warily. His expression was grim and impossibly troubled, as if meeting with her alone was enough to transfer some of her damnation by proximity. Maybe it had. She pushed the thought aside, accepting his offering without looking at it. 

 

“The name of Lucifer,” he said lowly. “Don’t say it aloud when you read it, or he’ll know— they’ll know.”

 

She tucked it into the pocket of her belted overcoat, nodding mechanically. “Thank you,” she said, quickly turning and exiting the cafe through the back without a second glance. 

 

The small alleyway merged with a busy arterial, and she quickly hailed a cab, rattling off the address of the vacation rental she’d booked earlier, a distant peal of foreboding rippling through her as she did so. 

 

The urban sprawl had given way to rolling hills and farmsteads when she finally fished in her pocket and withdrew the white napkin. Her fingers felt stiff as she unfolded it, everything in her world coming to a full stop as she registered the name printed there… 

 

Anakin Skywalker.







Chapter Text

 




Americans have holes in their brains.  

 

Cristina Torelli, 6th generation farmer and hostess of Angolo di Paradiso, muttered in her native tongue as she bustled about the kitchen. Their penance for too much television and all that—how do they say?—fast food? 

 

She made a noise of disgust, setting herself to zesting a lemon over a plate of artichoke bruschetta with unnecessary vigor. Here it was— December, for the love of the Christ! —a miserable time for outdoor dining—and what was she doing? strolling out her servers kitchen and into the cool air to set an antipasto before her guest.

 

Picking her way over the lawn, she looked up from the plate in her hands and observed the girl— Rey, her name was — a lone figure seated at her family’s hand-carved picnic bench. Despite all common sense, the young woman had insisted on being outside. 

 

Cristina’s exasperation waned as she drew closer, again struck by the girl’s bleak demeanor. Everything about this Rey — from her last-minute booking to her arrival to her body language— all were steeped in mystery. 

 

She had come by taxi, alone , moving with a sort-of numbed grace that suggested her mind was far away. Her face was striking and she was impeccably dressed, but her eyes were somber and she’d absorbed Cristina’s welcome with all the enthusiasm of a funeral attendee. 

 

When Cristina offered to carry her suitcase, Rey had muttered that there wasn’t any. An American, and an attractive young woman at that...with NO LUGGAGE?! Cristina was scarcely able to keep from gaping stupidly at her strange guest. 

 

Most unsettling was the girl’s melancholy. All attempts at polite banter were met without a reaction. While Cristina had no firsthand experience, the girl’s behavior was eerily similar to accounts she’d read about survivors with extreme trauma-related PTSD. 

 

Watching Rey now, she found herself feeling a pang of sympathy, unable to miss the gravity on her youthful face as she stared off over the hills of shorn wheat.

 

“Buon appetito!” she declared as brightly as she could, setting the bruschetta alongside a duo of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

 

Rey didn’t look at the fare, but at least acknowledged the offering. “Grazie, Cristina,” she deadpanned, nibbling absently at a quartered persimmon. 

 

“Prego,” Cristina murmured automatically, thankful at least that the girl was eating something.

 

She watched Rey cock her head, looking at the fiery orange fruit as if only noticing it now. “This is really good.”

 

Even with her deadpan voice, it was the first time Rey had commented on any of her surroundings or exhibited any personality at all, and Cristina felt hope stir. 

 

“I’m so pleased you like them,” she replied, smiling benevolently. “Persimmons are a seasonal delicacy we Romans enjoy every winter. We plant the trees here on South-facing slopes,” she said, gesturing vaguely behind them, “where they get the most sun and grow heavy with nectar.”

 

While Rey took another nibble of the wedge of fruit, Cristina chanced a peek at the heavens. The late afternoon sky was a milky indigo that deepened where it met the pale, straw-colored hills. Her keen eyes tracked the bruised clouds on the horizon, and thus it was that she spotted the man— a tall dark figure walking between the columnar cypress that stood sentinel along her half-mile-long driveway. 

 

She frowned at the odd sight. “Signorina,” she said hesitantly, “there is a fellow coming on foot… by chance, is he with you?”

 

Rey animated, training her nuanced, golden-green eyes on the approaching man. She only replied after an extended pause, her voice wavering with something like fragility. “Yes, he is come to meet me.”

 

Cristina frowned, feeling a pang of motherly concern. The words were right but the girl’s tone was...off. 

Turning back to the driveway, she marked the man’s progress, noting the wide-legged swagger and set of his broad shoulders— he moved with a smooth arrogance that could be seen even at a distance. He was dark-featured with skin that appeared all the paler for the black clothes he wore, that which showcased rather than concealed the sculpted, statue-like form of his body. Under one arm he carried a rectangular box. 

 

Cristina’s frown deepened as she continued to stare. The man appeared like a traveler on a pilgrimage— on foot but with no backpack or personal items, short of the box. Exactly as the girl had come—without luggage. So very odd.

 

Also odd was the behavior of her young guest. She hadn’t missed the way Rey’s body language had responded to the sight of him— the tense set of her back thawing, every muscle seeming to relax as her head tilted back, lashes lowering with something like reverence. Cristina had seen similar reactions in the devout, moments of spiritual rapture as the sins of this world were unburdened and true lightness achieved. If she were a betting woman (which she surely was not), she might have wagered that the man approaching was a lover. 

 

Which was why she couldn’t understand... why the young woman had then turned to the previously-ignored carafe of Chianti, all but choking on it in her haste to down a cup, then refilling her glass with hands that shook. 

 

The proprietress shifted her weight, trying to shake the growing tension in the pit of her stomach. The strangeness of the day was only getting worse, and she had no idea what to expect. She braced herself, forcing a welcoming smile as the enigmatic man crested the hill and strode toward them.

 

Cristina’s last cohesive thought was that he perfectly fit the bill of a tall, dark and handsome stranger. Then he met her eyes and her heart stuttered in her chest. All of her misgivings ran like melting wax, and the breath flew from her in one long sigh. How soft and dark his eyes were— the eyes of a Renaissance angel. His motions were sinuous and power radiated from him, barely contained by his physical form. Her mouth worked silently as she tried to drum up a proper greeting, tried and failed, her mind slipping beneath the surface of mindless adoration.

 

Then he acknowledged her by name, and she felt her knees grow liquid. “Cristina,” he said with a debonaire nod. 

 

His voice slid through her like a molten river of gold, sinuous and spellbinding. And to hear her name, gilded thusly… 

 

Newfound devotion expanded in her mind, blocking out all else. She watched as what surely was a heavenly deity turned to her guest. Cristina blinked when she saw that the girl didn’t meet his eyes, surprised it was even possible to ignore such a compellingly radiant presence. 

 

“Rey,” he intoned, locking her guest in his dark, immutable sights.

 

Cristina shivered involuntarily, unable to tell if it were dread or delight she felt in that instant. There were fangs in the way he said the girl’s name, the ominous tone of things to come.







 

Rey had downed a full pour of wine by the time he crested the plateau where they awaited. As he closed the final distance, she kept her eyes trained on the burgundy color of her refill, clinging to it with all the will of a drowning woman to a life preserver. She didn’t want to see the dawn of reverence in her hostess’ eyes, or how the poor woman blushed like a schoolgirl when he acknowledged her in his resonant voice, her mind incapable of questioning how he happened to know her name. 

 

Still, it’d be a lie to say the effect of his powers held no fascination...the process was captivating in a morbid sort of way— watching from a safe vantage point as he wielded his influence, his targets subjected to whatever manipulation best suited his current need. She’d seen him use his power to ensure both life and death, to manipulate time, objects, thoughts, perceptions, actions. And the way people fawned over him— every motive, every bit of what made them unique replaced by an earnest, near-worshipful desire to please. 

 

Intriguing though it was, observing Kylo’s power in action was a double-edged sword, and, like all dalliances with him, came with a cost. 

 

It reminded her that she couldn’t recall her own time under the gun. She’d been the subject of his persuasive ability several times, yet she only knew the outcome: that he’d ensured she would be unable to harm herself, in all respects. 

 

She could only imagine how it had gone when she was spellbound— a thought that made her squirm. It also brought to mind Rose and few others she cared for; those he’d deprived her of using his magnetic presence. 

 

And here and now, as she wallowed in a morose fog of utter defeat, it was just too much.

 

She swallowed another gulp of wine, trying in vain to moisten her hopelessly dry mouth. No amount of liquor would save her now. Her blood was leaden with acceptance, and gravity seemed to triple as it pulled at her limbs. Even without his massive form dominating her peripheral vision, she could feel him, his darkness commanding her. Finally, she caved to the urge, shifting her hollow stare up to meet him. 

 

His dark, intense gaze burned even as it froze her in place. 

 

“Rey,” he murmured, the simple greeting failing to conceal the dark pleasure beneath. 

 

Her wine glass trembled, forgotten as she drank of him instead. He was dazzling as he stared, his beauty too sinister to be real. A frisson of some unnamable emotion blazed through her, a hot arc that cut through the fog of her apathy. She fought the trance-like urge to go to him, forcing herself to look away.

 

Kylo turned to her hostess, smiling as he addressed the two of them. “Ladies, do forgive my tardiness. I might have moved heaven and earth to be here sooner...especially had I known my company would be so lovely.”

 

He smiled at Cristina, and the woman’s lashes fluttered. 

 

At last, her poor, spellbound hostess found her voice. “Y-you are, are ever welcome here, Mr…?”

 

“Ren,” he supplied, inclining his head. In the muted light, his thick mane looked blacker than ever. 

 

“Your property is very lovely,” he commented, gazing about with an appreciative eye.

Rey’s eyebrow quirked, but she said nothing. It was impossible to know if his interest in any given thing was real or contrived or just a natural extension of his charm. 

 

His eyes came to rest on the bowl of persimmons, and he sauntered over to the table and picked one up, turning to Cristina with raised brows. “You grow cachi here?” he asked, casually bringing the slice up and taking a bite. 

 

Her hostess nodded wordlessly, looking like she might burst with joy.

 

Rey blinked slowly, feeling drugged as the scene played out.  

 

“So sweet and juicy,” he murmured, flashing Rey a deviant side-eye as he licked a drop of nectar from his mouth. “I’ve never had better.”

 

“I am honored you think so,” Cristina replied, completely innocent of his innuendo. 

 

Rey wanted to shake herself. Where was her usual disgust?! She couldn’t summon it, not after the bomb Qui Gon had scribbled on that napkin. She tried hard not to think that name, still reeling with the knowledge of just who, what had paid her a visit on the tiny atoll of Tetiaroa.

 

Kylo seemed to know anyway, honing in on her thoughts as if they were a beacon.

 

He discarded the persimmon skin and turned to her, his body shifting all-too-smoothly. “So, Rey,” he said conversationally. “How was your little meeting with Mr. Jinn?” 

 

Her shoulders slumped. He knew, likely all along.

 

She looked up and found him gazing down on her, a mocking little smirk on his lips. His voice honed into a point. “Learn anything...interesting?”

 

Instantly, her thoughts scattered, trying to grasp all the ramifications of possible fallout, of what reaction might be more advantageous, of what she should or shouldn’t say. She was so fucking tired, yet the revelations kept coming, each like a sharp backhand to her constitution, leaving her mind bruised and bloodied. He was right. She was well out of her league, and he held all the pieces. 

 

“I—I,” she stuttered, as lost as Cristina had been in search of a reply, though for entirely different reasons.

 

He leaned down and set the pale blue-gray box he held to the left of where she sat. “Shhh,” he hushed, caressing her cheek as he straightened. “Angel. Just relax. We have all the time in the world. You can tell me all about it later.”

 

Automatic gratitude flooded in, dousing the panicked firing of her neurons. Rey blinked up at him, relieved he was giving her more time, confused by the meek “okay,” that sat at the tip of her tongue. She frowned, clenching her jaw to keep quiet.

 

His eyes were keen, missing nothing as he cataloged the play of her reactions. “Presently, I have a delivery for you,” he said, redirecting her to the box with a nod.

 

She glanced down and registered the print— Prada. Oh shit.

 

A distinct rust-colored smear tracked down the side of the box. She honed in on it, her brows furrowing as she gripped the edge of the bench harder. Oh god , oh no, oh please let it not be—

 

“Your earlier request has been granted.”

 

Her stomach dropped at the deadly quiet of his tone, fear sparking like a live wire as he stepped nearer and reached down to grip a knee in each hand. Just like that, she could hardly think, her full attention commanded by his touch and his stare and the threat of his physical proximity. He lifted her legs up and over the bench seat, swiveling her body around as he sank into a kneel facing her. 

 

How gallant he appeared, a prince dressed all in black. 

 

An illusion. Her breathing grew shallow as he lifted one of her legs. With the deft touch of a master, he caressed the sculpted muscle of her calf, one hand sliding down to trap her ankle while the other pulled off the boot and sock she wore. 

 

His eyes darkened, keeping her pinned as he very deliberately dropped her shoe to the ground. Again, and she found herself barefoot. 

 

A rogue drop of rain hit her shin, barely felt as he lifted her leg a little higher, tilting his head to place a sensuous, open-mouthed kiss to her ankle. 

 

The sound of Cristina’s sigh registered over the ringing in her ears. Rey bit back a moan as his teeth scraped over her vein, understanding it all too well; Kylo appeared saintly in the eyes of her spellbound host, no matter what his conduct. 

 

Rey shuddered, alone as reality stared her down with the eyes of a lion, heartless as it lashed a sandpaper tongue over her flesh.

 

He shot the proprietress a hooded gaze from over her captured ankle. “Vai, ora,” he murmured with a dismissive twitch of his head.

 

Rey swiveled in place, watching with a curious mix of panic and relief as the woman’s back retreated, leaving them alone beneath a bruised, oversaturated sky. 

 

With a familiar sinking feeling, she turned back to her demon. His stare speared her in place, and the gravity between them continued to build. She swallowed hard as another emotion pierced her with its barb— regret. She shouldn’t have disobeyed so spectacularly, should have just weathered his earlier abuse. Her throat constricted as the sentiment welled up. 

 

Fuck. What would it take for her to learn? 

 

He arched a brow as a ghostly smirk formed on his lips. “Don’t rush it,  little vixen,” he taunted, replying to her train of thought. “The best lessons are learned through failure—” he paused, smiling wickedly, “—and I could do this all--damn--day with you,” he purred, slowly opening the box to reveal... a pair of stilettos—ivory velvet, size 37. 

 

Exactly what she’d asked Matteo to procure. But they were...they were… 

 

Her eyes widened, mind backpedaling in horror. The shoes were dotted with irregular spots of dark crimson. She turned pleading eyes on him, paralyzed but for the way her throat worked.

 

His pale face was masklike, all airs of sensuality fled. “What’s wrong, Rey?” he asked, “Not the pair you wanted?” 

 

Guilt choked her, and she had nothing. It was all her fault. She shook her head in a futile motion, wishing for the billionth time she could reverse a decision. 

 

His eyes grew hooded again as he watched her, utterly unmoved. “While I do adore how prettily you suffer, your emotion is wasted on a fool.”

 

“What did you do to him?!” she burst out.

 

He deigned to make her wait, ponderously retrieving one of the stilettos and examining it, the shoe appearing toylike in his large hands. Some of the spots were bigger than others, their outlines indistinct where they spread upon the pale cloth. 

 

Rey fought the urge to gag, her mind overrun with the gruesome possibilities.

 

A breeze stirred the hem of her dress, heavy with the scent of rain. 

 

“Matteo failed to fulfill his contract with me several times; once when he accepted your currency, again when he allowed himself to be duped—” he paused, leaving the rest unsaid. He didn’t need to; she was keenly aware of the role she’d played. 

 

His dark stare pinned her in place as he bent down and ever-so-intentionally slipped the high heel onto her foot. 

 

It fit perfectly, and a chasm of pain yawned inside her. 

 

“Leaving you to your own whims was not what I paid him so handsomely for,” he continued, “and he was not to accept any currency from you. I permit no deviations from those I employ.” 

 

His explanation was only half-heard as the sea inside her overflowed. Tears rolled down her cheeks; not for whatever punishment was on the way, but for the terrible fate her actions had wrought. At the time, all that had mattered was thwarting Kylo’s aims. She’d been furious, sparing no thought to repercussions as she used Matteo in her plans to escape. Even if she already knew it was futile, a petty reprieve taken out of spite . And that was the heart of the evil. Kylo had already proven he could find her anywhere she fled to; she’d simply wanted to spit in his face and cut her losses elsewhere. And the cost of her actions? 

 

“What did you do?” she repeated, her whisper filled with self-loathing.

 

He retrieved the second desecrated shoe, and she could only watch as he slid her other foot into it. 

 

“I spared his pathetic life, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he said dismissively. “He disobeyed me, twice , and two did I take.” His pupils flared their threatening red before cooling, pulling her into fathomless black, where she witnessed the image of a pair of severed hands falling to the street.

 

She jolted as if physically struck. 

 

“Let’s just say his chauffeuring days have hit their stride, shall we?” he said, speaking as if they discussed the mundane.

 

Rey doubled over, clutching at her chest as if shot. “That’s horrible,” she stammered, her insides twisting, “you- you’re --” The accusation faltered, still-born on her tongue as he chuckled in amusement.

 

“Be honest with yourself. You already know he would’ve been fine if you’d just behaved yourself. Come now,” he coaxed,  pulling her smoothly to her feet and into a loose embrace. “That boat has sailed and I tire of wasting breath on the past.”

 

She gripped his biceps and peered at the dreadful shoes. Wearing them is no less than I deserve . Her tears dried even as she withered inside, adjusting her balance to the new height they afforded. 

 

A hand tipped her chin up to meet his stare.

 

“Let’s talk about what really matters. You’ve been a naughty little pet, haven’t you...” 

 

The ominous rumble of his voice conspired to sap the remaining strength from her bones, rendering her pliant as a newborn fawn and just as breakable. 

 

Another fat raindrop spattered the back of her hand and she shivered, nodding miserably. 

 

His eyes lit with an inner fire, glowing hellishly as he smiled down at her.

 

“You’ve taken every opportunity to disobey me,” he said, slow and deliberate in his motions as he turned her to face away from him. “So much insolence in such a short amount of time,” he tsked, lowering his head and lightly biting the sensitive spot below her ear. 

 

One arm looped securely around her waist, holding her close while the other crept the length of her spine. She offered no resistance when it tightened at the nape of her neck, bending her at the waist, guiding her down into a supine position. 

 

Her cheek rested on the tabletop as she stared breathlessly out over the barren hills, waiting for the axe to fall. 

 

You would’ve reaped this whirlwind no matter what, and you’ve never deserved it more, whispered that quiet, dubious voice in her head. For once, she was in full accord with it. 

 

Deep beneath the layers of outward thought was a child who found peace in the surety of routine. Being able to rely on her monster was strangely comforting, even if it was for punishment. 

 

Solid muscles brushed against the back of her thighs as he fully enclosed her waist in both hands, reminding her of just how much smaller and more fragile she was. She bit her lip as an anticipatory glow awoke inside her. He made of her a monster--a fucking abomination. 

 

Still, it was there, undeniable.

 

Even as she stood in shoes soaked with the blood of an innocent, she wanted him. She was damned, and it felt so good to revolt against all good sense and just accept it. 

 

“Let’s see if I can name all your transgressions of the past few hours, hmm?” 

 

She exhaled in a hiccuping sigh as he stroked down her flanks, smoothing her dress just so before tightening around fistfuls of fabric. “First, you chose to throw away the phone I gave you,” he remarked, so calm as he slowly tore the fabric at her back open from collar to hem. She held still as he did it, a small whimper sneaking out when her bra too was rent with a sharp yank.

 

A cool breeze caressed her exposed body, bringing another fat droplet of rain that spattered on her shoulder blade. Short of the blood-stained stilettos, she now stood bare, her nether region displayed for his perusal. Her heart pounded, and she strangled the urge to writhe with the live wire tension within her.

 

The warmth of his hands was a stark contrast to the cool, damp air, and he stroked down her back. “Sending poor Matteo on falsified errands” he continued, “finding your own lodgings, and... oh !” 

 

His soft exclamation of surprise rang false, tainted with far too much dark enjoyment. 

 

She knew what it was he stared at.

 

“Such insolence I’ve never seen from a mortal,” he mused, massaging the sensitive innermost flesh of her ass cheeks. She endured his foreboding chuckle, yelping a moment later when he landed a punishing slap on her buttock. 

 

“Re-ey,” he growled warningly, his voice rather than the cool air causing her flesh to break out in goosebumps. “What was it I said about removing your trainer, hmm?”

 

The distinct purr of a zipper sounded behind her, and her breathing turned erratic. I deserve this. This and so much worse, after—after I...

 

She jumped as fingers caressed the lips of her cunt, parting her deftly and sliding their way to her sensitive peak. The sound of air parting was all the warning she had as his free hand landed another precise spank, this time on the opposite side. 

 

Her cry was heartfelt as pain danced over already-tender flesh, bracing and raw and a stark counterpoint to the rich waves of pleasure he coaxed from her. Her hands, once resting passively alongside her head, flew out to cling desperately to the edges of the table.

 

“I’m waiting,” he prompted, fingering her so deftly he might have invented the motion.

 

She cycled from arousal to crushing guilt to self-loathing and back again. The grain of the wood in front of her blurred as hot tears fell. “You-you said that I’d be punished,” she choked out, starting when the warm weight of his cock draped over the rounded globe of her buttock.

 

Her eyes were wide as she glanced back, some sick part of her drooling at the sight of him twitching, elongating on the pillow of her ass.  Her pussy throbbed and she found herself arching her hips up, chasing the motion of his hand. Monsters, both of us.

 

He laughed softly, amused by her train of thought. “Mm-hm, I did say you’d be punished,” he purred, continuing his incessant circling. 

 

She whined, her breath stuttering as he continued to build the pressure into something electric and uncontainable. His enormous dick was now fully erect, its tip slick with precum.

 

“In fact, I believe the exact word I used was memorable …”

 

She shrieked, arching beneath him as violent pleasure detonated beneath the press of his fingers. Her eyes pinched shut as vicious waves spread outward, swamping her mind. Her whole body spasmed with it, all thoughts of crime and punishment melting away as his rich hum of approval flowed through her. 

 

The hand pleasuring her slowed, and she felt him shift, moving his hand up to press on her upper back. “I’d like to add another word—” he muttered, holding her securely to the table. “— spectacular.

 

A sudden stream of liquid poured between her buttocks and over her sex. Her gasp was a winded cry, and he chuckled darkly when she pushed at the wood, her struggles tepid in the wake of orgasm. “Delicious girl, you’ve given me every reason in the world to indulge myself—” 

 

Liquid pooled in the dimples of her lower back, ran down the backs of her thighs. It felt odd, coating her skin with a consistency thicker than water.

 

“To glut myself on every inch of this lush, impertinent little body,” he growled. 

 

She jumped as something hit the ground with a dull thud. Her eyes widened as she honed in on it. Olive oil?! What tha—

 

“And I’m going to take what’s mine,” he breathed, his strong hands kneading the muscles of her lower back and buttocks, spreading slickness over her skin. “Better hold on.” 

 

It was all the warning she got before the spongy tip of his dick pressed into her, opening the ring of muscle he’d so recently staked an interest in. 

 

Oh, OH! He was, he— Alarm shrieked deafeningly in her mind. She’d been prepared to get fucked, but not like this

 

He was glossy, slipping forward way too easily. The wide head of his dick breached her ass, and she keened aloud at the unfamiliar stretch of him. 

 

Her head whipped back and she fixed him with a frantic stare. “Kylo, please,” she begged, shaking her head vehemently. “Not this... please!

 

He paused, his hands still holding her immobile. His large, dark eyes were bottomless, swallowing her whole, looking for all the world like he was considering it. Then he smiled, glittering and sharp. “When in Rome, my darling,” he purred, continuing his slow, agonizing slide deeper.

 

She lowered her head to the table with a soft thump, panting as she struggled to take the heavy fullness of his penetration. Sweat broke over her and she hissed, her body clenching instinctively at the illicit sensation.

 

He groaned in abject pleasure as she gripped and relaxed around his intrusion. “Feel those tender muscles open for me, mmmm, so very tight ,” he hissed, rocking his hips, plying her with little nudges that inched his dick deeper each time.

 

Rey huffed and moaned, unaware of the little, inarticulate pleas she made as her body gave way. 

 

“You are mine to fuck,” he rasped, “anyway I choose, and I’m going to have every part of you.” 

 

Her lizard brain responded to his dominance, going belly up. She relaxed as he slid deeper, marveling at the ungiving hardness, her mind tripping over the immensity of sensation. The walls of her cunt spasmed as he gave her more, the pads of his fingers digging into her hips, denying her movement. 

 

All at once, she found her voice. “Plllease, Ky—Kyl- oh! ” she sobbed brokenly. “Mmh, ohhhh—Oh god, oh god, please—!” 

 

“Yesssss!” he snarled, “cry to Him —let the Heavenly Host despair of your fall!” 

 

His hands were in her hair, head yanked back to face the glowering sky as he hilted himself with a fierce grunt.

 

She keened, her nails scoring ten lengthy grooves in the ancient surface where so many had been nourished. 

 

The heavens opened above them, releasing a barrage of heavy raindrops. They fell to earth like little stones, spattering their interlocked bodies, darkening the wood on which she lay, displacing the air with a soft pattering.

 

His groin pressed tight against her buttocks, and his fingers relaxed their death grip. The deep rumble of his groan sounded a little unsteady, as if he too were shaken by what he’d done. 

 

She could only quiver, pinned to the table beneath him.

 

“Oh, Rey,” he slurred, “look at you.” 

 

At once, the image flared to life: his erection, massive, throbbing, buried all the way in her ass. She blinked, her besieged mind soaking in it, lapping up his provocation like warmed milk.

 

His sense of victory bled into her awareness, and she groaned when his once-punishing hands became seductive, massaging into her, sliding through the water that beaded on her oil-soaked back. Her eyes closed as she fell into the sensations around her; the susurration of rain, the way it soaked her scalp and dripped down her face into her mouth, his warm hands plying her body, his shaft twitching subtly inside her. 

 

The walls of her cunt gripped, frustratingly empty. Her heart slammed against her ribcage, pushing the intoxication of him through her veins, yet he remained statue-like. Why wouldn’t he move?! She inhaled a stilted breath and exhaled in a whine, venting her need. If he let her linger in this throbbing stillness, she’d lose her mind. 

 

All pride had atomized, flown to the wind along with her sense of self. She was helpless, open, so pliable under him.

 

The rain hammered, trying in vain to rinse her sin away.

 

Her voice was raw, desperate. “Please.”

 

He leaned down, sweeping over her like a great bird of prey. 

 

Seizing the chance, she turned her head to lock their gazes, trying to compel him with the mirror of his own darkness. “Please, Kylo—I need you.”

 

His body was a warm shelter as he stared unblinkingly, their faces inches apart. “I know you do,” he replied, so tender while being utterly cocksure of himself. 

 

She shivered, feverish with desire. As she tipped headlong into his inky depths, the only thing she was capable of thinking was that he was just too fucking beautiful for a demon. 

 

The throbbing where they joined was exquisite, and she caved to the urge, writhing minutely in the cradle of his hips. 

 

He dipped his head, brushing his lips over the corner of her parted mouth. “No part of you can be withheld from me, Rey,” he bit out, each word rumbling into her skin. “Not your body, not the secrets you think to keep. I own all—all of it.” 

 

She swallowed, nodding as she blinked the streaming water from her eyes. 

 

He reared back, towering behind her prone form. “Now say it ,” he thundered, every inch her conqueror.

 

Her mind blanked when he began to ride her, a heavy slide that ached dully but felt fucking incredible . Her light in her eyes zeroed out and a little line of drool slipped from her open mouth.

 

She couldn’t seem to draw breath properly, let alone answer him. Unfamiliar nerves began to light up, responding to the hedonistic feel of him fucking her there —such a wicked, dirty pleasure— her back beginning to arch, lining her ass up to cushion his thrusts.

 

He became impatient, smacking her left, then right buttock in lightning-fast succession. 

 

The will to obey presented, each word expelled between the impact of his thrusts. “You do, Ky— unh! —Kyl-oh! You—own—me!

 

His voice roared through her mind like a freight train, drowning out the din of the rain. I am in your blood, your mind, your soul, and I’m going to fuck you through that realization.

 

Every cell in her body thrummed with energy, so alive. “Yes, please, take it!—take it all—” she cried, straining to take each stroke as deep as her body could allow. 

 

“You’ll never be the same.”

 

His words made her crazy, her mind seething with the desire to make of herself a perfect vessel, to let him fuck her till she could feel him up in her throat.

 

He chuckled and the world spun, her body suddenly bereft in a flash of cold rain and movement. She blinked once and her back was on the table, the horizon barely settling. 

 

She keened as he entered her ass again, her eyes rolling back at the intense pleasure-pain of it, totally oblivious of the rain that ricocheted from her now-exposed front. 

 

He seized her legs and draped them over his forearms, pulling her open while he stared wolfishly at her cunt. She was limp, a ragdoll whose back skipped against the wood of the table with each thrust he gave. 

 

She turned her head aside, luxuriant as she let him fuck her, licking the sweet rivulets of rainwater from her lips. Her eyes fluttered, lashes spiky with rain and tears. Drunk . She moaned mindlessly, high on the power riding inside her, watching hungrily as the muscles of his torso strained with each connection.  

 

“Pretty little thing likes my dick in low places, hmm?”

 

Yes,” she whined, completely unmoored by lust. “Anything—” she moaned pleadingly, “I’ll give you anything —”

 

“Yes, you will,” he grated, bending over to reward her with a deep, sensuous kiss. 

 

She strained to meet the thrust of his tongue, licking him back as he continued to pump smoothly between her thighs. Everything was sleek and wet. His lips were lush against her own, their texture so improbably fine it made her want to cry. The thrust of his tongue mimicked the devious slide below, and she clung to him, whimpering at the decadence of having him above and below.

 

If only she could have him there.. .

 

He halted the kiss and gave her a foxy smile. “Does that sweet little pussy of mine miss getting all the attention?” he murmured, his head sheltering her face from the pounding rain. 

 

There was no question. “Yes,” she whined, her cunt sending a sluggish drip of arousal down the curve of her body. 

 

“Oh, dear,” he purred, “we can’t have that, now can we?” 

 

His hips stilled and he stared down at her, those dark eyes narrowing with calculated wickedness. Something prodded her labia— something blunt and silken. She could still feel him lodged deep in her ass, and she gasped, brows furrowing in confusion.

 

His hand fisted in her hair and tightened. “Vykti Zhol,” he hissed, his teeth bared. “Naudot Tave Jena'tes Siela Tu.”

 

A thing that felt exactly like his cock pushed into the slippery channel of her cunt. 

 

Oblivious to all but a staggering fullness, she flung her head back and dragged a choked breath into her lungs. Surely she couldn’t take it? A low sob ripped from her throat, yet her body, somehow, made room for both enormous shafts. 

 

Every muscle in her body was rigid as a board, and she was wholly unaware of his deep groan, of the sharp sting of his teeth at her shoulder. 

 

Still, he murmured beguilements that strange, shadowy tongue, his hands riding over her body possessively, cupping her breasts, stroking her waist, kneading at her twitching buttocks. The network of her nerves responded to his touch, lighting up with each seductive pass. Slowly, surely, the tension ebbed from her limbs, leaving her supplicant, a vessel to his whims.

 

His hips began to pump, so slow it was almost courteous. 

 

Tears slid down her cheeks, indistinguishable in the rain. He continued to work her, the wet friction awakening a sultry warmth inside her, hinting at implausible pleasure. He was licking her, sucking and biting as he crooned in his ancient language.

 

Teetering on yet another edge, she gave a single breathless sob, sure that this time, he’d break her, positive that she really fucking wanted him to

 

He seized her knees and yanked them wide open, rearing back to loom over her. She stared weakly, absorbing the sight of him, stark and majestic against the bruised sky, his shoulders bracketed by her spread legs and a pair of blood-stained stilettos. His eyes lit with their inner fire, hypnotic and all-encompassing as he struck up a relentless rhythm, his cock moving in alternating strokes with the unknown member in her cunt, creating a push-pull sensation that was maddening. 

 

Stimulation such as she’d never known hijacked her mind, her teary eyes reflecting the red glow. 

 

“Gonna cry for me, Rey?” he taunted, soft as crushed velvet. “Well, then, go on…”

 

She hadn’t a choice, her piercing, emotive cries timing with the stroke of dick and the phantom appendage—in and out, in and out of her ass and cunt, his thrusts alternating, fucking her to mindless, intoxicated ecstasy. 

 

And at the end, when he gushed deep in the fragile confines of her body, he held her tight so she might not see his composure fly apart, the very core of his being shaken by the glory of her downfall.

 

She lay spent like always when he was through, fucked within an inch of her life. He stared down at her boneless form, tracing every graceful line and curve as he pondered the insidious weave of their bond, brooding over the way it took and received in equal measure, utterly careless of the dynamics of power.








Translations/Footnotes

 

Cachi = Italian for persimmons. YUM.

 

Kylo, to Cristina: “Vai, ora.” Go, now .

 

Kylo, to Rey:  “Vykti Zhol. Vykti Tave Jena'tes Siela j'us.”  “Take it. Take the darkness inside you.”





Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

 

7:45 pm.

 

First Hill, Seattle.

 

A man hurried down 8th Avenue, the collar of his trench coat turned up, his head tilted to avoid the brunt of wind-driven rain. He turned sharply and strode up the walkway of Trinity Parish Church, passing the front door and skirting the perimeter of the eighteenth-century building. Reaching the back of the church, he descended a recessed staircase and paused before a cellar door. 

 

Hunched against the weather, he fumbled for a minute, rooting around in his pocket for the key. With shaky hands, he unlocked the heavy door and hastened inside, gratefully shutting out the dismal December rain. He hurried through the cellar, past boxes of bibles and hymnals, wracks of chairs, luncheon supplies and other storage items. Overhead, the sounds of the choir filtered through the low ceiling in a haunting echo, concerted voices raised in praise.

 

He paid no attention as he approached a back wall where there hung a dulled tapestry depicting a shepherd with his flock. Beneath it was a wooden door without a handle. He licked his lips and exhaled, pressing a sweaty palm above the cast-iron hinge and pushing. It swung open with a grinding noise, releasing a cloud of dislodged rust particles. He breathed in, coating his tongue with a taste eerily similar to blood. 

 

The man stared into the murky dark beyond for only a moment before stepping into it, the heavy door closing behind him. Slowly, his eyes adjusted and the waifish figure of his guide became known to him. Always, they were young, and never male. She stood in the subterranean gloom, eerily silent, an unlit lantern hanging from her pasty hand. The man shuffled closer, peering at the strips of gauze that blindfolded her. It was then he noticed the dark stains that had bled through. A new initiate, then. 

 

The realization sent a bolt of white-hot envy through him, acrid and sharp. This mere girl was at least half his age, and surely hadn’t provided their Mistress half as much service or value…yet she’d been awarded the intangible privilege of exchanging her mortal vision for the third eye. She—not he—was chosen to receive the heightened awareness that channeled directly from the Mistress herself. 

 

Exhaling, he examined his guide with undisguised bitterness (not that she could see him anyway). She was just like all the rest, ghostly pale, from her skin to her hair to the white robes she wore. He wondered, and not for the first time, if the lack of pigmentation was natural—a prerequisite—or if every inch of them was subject to bleach…

 

The woman interrupted his musings by offering him the lantern, which flared to life the moment he grasped the tarnished handle. He reined in his jealousy and followed her as she turned and led him down the narrow, sloping corridor. 

 

Seattle was home to an endless maze of serpentine tunnels and rooms that went for miles—an entire subterranean city lurking beneath the glittering metropolis. A perfect lair, mused the man, and not for the first time. The Mistress took greater advantage of the underground than her peers, but then, she’d always spurned the trappings of modernization, keeping to her robes and traditions and rituals.

 

At length, his guide turned beneath a crumbling brick archway, bringing them to a halt before yet another door. He looked up at the dirty light that filtered overhead. A pair of feet strode over the thick glass panels—a pedestrian walking the city sidewalks above ground. He was so close, yet, as he watched, he felt a strange sense of removal from the city, as if he were miles beneath the surface, and the man walking but fifteen feet overhead was just an illusion. 

 

High Sith cut through the air, commanding his attention. The sound of that ancient language spoken in her clear, youthful voice sent another wave of jealousy rolling through him. He clenched his fists with the effort it took to battle it back. Now was not the time.

 

The door opened, spilling a rectangle of flickering orange light over them. Lowering his eyes and taking a deep breath, he smoothed his sandy, shoulder-length hair and followed his guide over the threshold. 

 

The dance of candlelight enclosed them, and he was led without preamble to a stone throne at the center of the room. At the foot of the Archfiend, he knelt, pausing a moment before looking up to behold her. She was dressed in the hooded black vestments she favored, her ashen face appearing to float in the darkness. Around her sat her retinue of white-robed acolytes, all of them with that characteristic albino coloring. 

 

With her duty now complete, his guide drifted from his side and melted back into the ranks of her sisters. Together, they turned unseeing eyes on him. The eeriness of their collective stare raised the fine hairs on the back of his neck. For all that he envied their station, he couldn’t quite repress his shudder at the sight of their youthful faces, the hollow sockets of their eyes sunken and stitched shut. 

 

The demoness at their center stared down at him, waiting.

 

He took a deep breath and greeted her. “Revered Mistress Traya, I am returned with news.” Rather than launch directly into the details, he withheld, petulant that he still failed to make the cut. She could have had it directly from his thoughts if only she’d lay a claim…  

 

Silence greeted him, the air growing heavy as it stretched on. The fine sheen of sweat that layered him doubled, despite the sepulchral cold of the underground. For one moment, he wondered if perhaps she could hear his thoughts, and if his pettiness would bring down her wrath…  

 

At last, the demoness acknowledged him. “Go on then,” she intoned. 

 

Relief seeped through him and he dipped his head. “The girl is bound, and more than a little distressed about it. She was—unwilling—when she made the pact," he said, managing the word with difficulty. "Based on her accounts, she does possess an unusual degree of resistance to Ren’s power—"

 

"How so?" she demanded.

 

"Well, she does not consort with him willingly. Far from it, in fact. The aura he carries, the one that makes humans amenable—it doesn't affect her. And he appears to take great delight in testing her resistance. He claimed her by conjuring a ruoverg blade—" the man paused, having saved the most significant parcel for last, "—and you'll be interested to know, Mistress, that he exchanged his blood with hers.”

 

The almond-shaped eyes of the demoness were hard and utterly black, like the shiny carapace of a beetle. As she absorbed the news, they narrowed, and she shifted forward on her throne, causing the man's stomach to involuntarily tighten. 

 

“Yesss. It is as I foresaw... ” she muttered, falling silent as she digested the news.

 

At length, she refocused on her emissary. “And has Ren wielded his stronger aptitudes to compel her in any way?”

 

The man nodded, eager to be the purveyor of useful information. “Indeed, Mistress Traya. He has exacted unbreakable vows that prohibit suicide and all conscious actions that could result in self-harm.”

 

“Such as?” she rasped, drumming her bony fingers on the stone arm of her throne.

 

“Risky escape maneuvers, self-injury, hunger strikes.”

 

“Ridiculous!" spat the demoness, scowling. "An unwilling thrall is a useless thrall. Only he could find value in such foolery.” 

 

Her lips pressed together and she fell silent. Her scathing expression slowly evened into its implacable mask. “Still, it is a precedent. Ren has always relied solely on his Hellnchiht and has never shown an interest in taking humans to thrall...it would appear he is most invested in the girl, and her more unique... tenets.” 

 

He stared into her black eyes, entranced by the twin images of his kneeling figure caught in those bottomless pools. They flared molten for a split second, and he felt himself grow uncomfortably warm. 

 

“You’ve done very well,” she purred, her voice lowering with what he could only hope was fondness.

 

This was his chance, and possibly the last. He made up his mind and pushed ahead. “O wise Mistress Traya, I humbly beg of you—I have been nothing if not loyal and have proved my worth time after time—”

 

“Yes, Qui Gon,” she interjected, her tone indulgent, “you are invaluable to me, but the fact remains—my thralls are what they are, what they always have been.”

 

His posture crumpled. She wouldn’t claim him. Even with his hopes dashed, his heart, already clipping along, began to rise in a crest of anticipation as he felt the first tendrils of her power. They caressed him welcomingly, like a lover, sliding up his arms, over his sternum and up his throat. He shuddered ecstatically as they slipped easily beneath his skin, unfurling along the branches of his veins.

 

The eyes of the demoness now glowed a swirling orange, flaring and cooling with the power that simmered within her. Her smile was hideous as she leaned toward him, perching at the edge of her throne like a great, black-plumed vulture. 

 

“Now come, and receive your reward.”

 

Qui Gon Jinn went quietly, giving himself over to her blind acolytes. Moving as one, they removed his coat, their fingers working at his sleeves, the hem of his pants, rolling them back to expose his wrists and ankles. When it was done, he was led to an altar carved in runic glyphs and directed to lay upon it, his limbs arranged in the mime of a crucifix. He blinked languidly as her servants faded back, leaving a silent sentry at each of his four extremities. The firelight glinted off the sharp, sickle-shaped knives they held, and his skin prickled as dark energies twined, building into something ominous. 

 

The sallow face of the demoness came into view as she took her place at his head, her hypnotic stare sweeping him up like a leaf in a gale. Qui Gon winced at the stinging slash at his wrists and ankles, momentarily yanked from the trance-like state he was slipping into. Their cuts were practiced, shallow things, designed to collect the nominal amount of blood that was their due. But pain was pain, and it still hurt.

 

Relief came with the cool, dry touch of her fingers at his temples, and the transfer began. All bodily sensation was forgotten as his blue eyes widened, glazing over. Into his mind, she fed her secrets, revealing things no mortal had ever dreamed of, truths horrible and profound.

 

He was, at the very heart of things, a scholar. Nothing was as important to him as his single-minded obsession to learn—neither family nor personal morals nor the integrity of his soul. And of course, the Archfiend of Foresight knew it, and wielded it, keeping him complicit, as willing a servant as he would be if she took him to thrall. 

 

He stared up at the demoness, his face frozen an expression of fanatical awe as she bequeathed the thing he craved above all—esoteric knowledge of the blackest kind.  



 




 

Spectral. Who would’ve thought it was a way to feel? A sense of otherness, a vast, indistinct removal from the world all around.

 

Rey steeped in her new reality as she jogged, entirely dislocated from the humanity around her—families with their little ones bundled up against the December chill, men in performance gear hunched over expensive-looking road bikes, couples walking their dogs, laughing, coffee cups in-hand. City people enjoying leisure time on a rain-free Sunday—all of them blissfully ignorant of the nefarious forces at work amidst their tidy, orderly lives.

 

Not long ago, she had been one of them. That window of time, now irrevocably lost, felt like a bright summer day in her mind’s eye—surreal and carefree in hindsight. How nice oblivion had been, how joyous to care only about things like taxes and project deadlines and global politics, what to wear on a Thursday and whether she’d check out the latest club scene. Who would’ve thought the trivial things would become so novel.

 

Move one foot forward, then the next. Watch the ground underfoot. Inhale, two steps, exhale, two steps. Again. 

 

Her breath was methodical, a tried-and-true system of rationing oxygen, feeding the need of each starving muscle. Thinking of the past didn’t serve, it never had. Her mind drifted instead to the dreamy SUV she’d driven to the arboretum—a phantom-black Lamborghini Urus that had turned the head of nearly every man she’d passed, and not a few of the women too. It was the latest in his line of over-the-top gifts, one that had appeared shortly after they’d returned from Rome.

 

 


 

 

“You need a proper ride.”

 

She’d thought it was more of his innuendo. Though to be fair, in the exact moment he’d chosen to drop that line, her ability to recall her own name had been rather compromised. Her wrists had been restrained for hours, his clever mouth nursing at her, sucking and licking and stroking her breasts until the ice thawed, her protests melting into moans, moans shifting into praise. She had lain beneath him, dazed by the unrelenting way he worked her nipples—so tender and adoring, she was sure she’d begin to lactate. When he’d finally released her, she dove straight for the waist of his pants, reckless and half-mad with hunger.

 

“You need something fast, powerfully built, something that will protect you…”

 

His words hadn’t mattered. She just needed him in her, needed him to fill the throbbing void he’d created between her thighs. Her hands scrabbled to free his erect cock, reveling in the way he toppled down to the bed at her push. 

 

The rush of power spread through her brain like a hemorrhage as she mounted him, taking advantage of his rare moment of passivity. His eyes had glittered intently as she sank upon him, tripping into immediate spasms as he stretched her open. 

 

Even when her orgasm tapered off, the mindless arousal of dominating him remained. How perfectly, deliciously satisfying it had been to be the one taking, riding the exquisite body beneath her like she owned it. How intoxicating, to turn the tables for even a moment, to wield the reins of dominion over a creature of seemingly untamable power. 

 

He’d seemed mesmerized as she’d ridden him, perfectly willing to cede her control for the moment. The dark pools of his eyes reflected the city lights outside her windows, his massive hands caressing her thighs, her waist, her breasts. 

 

Their sex had been immersive, an indoctrination of the darkest sort. The sight of him as a supplicant—it had conjured something inescapable and fiery—the need to force him to his knees and brand him with her name, to claim him in the manner he’d taken her and avenge her weaker self. It had been both frightening and terribly arousing, sweeping her quickly to the brink of a second orgasm.

 

Only then had he reanimated into his ruthless self. Without flipping their positions, he reclaimed control, baring his teeth as he seized her hips in a vise. 

 

“I know—exactly—how the thrill of speed sings beneath your skin…” he’d snarled, each word imprinting through the electric surge of her adrenaline.

 

She had thrown back her head and wailed as he fucked reality back into her, making sure she understood her place with each jarring stroke.

 

His stare was incandescent, burning holes in her skin. 

 

“I know how your heart pounds when you feel that acceleration...the thrill when you are thrust so forcefully back…”

 

The blur of dick between her legs had her sobbing, inarticulate as her climax launched off a cliff. Her nails had scored his corded forearms but he didn’t falter, continuing to jackknife into her ruthlessly.

 

“...your mind drunk on the rush of power beneath you…you can’t resist that craving, Rey. It’s in your blood. It always has been. And I’m going to give it to you...”

 

His climax was torrid as always, flooding her loins as she silently screamed, his cum ushering in a third, gratuitous meltdown.

 

She’d awoken hours later, alone and more than a little sticky with their combined juices. A little box sat at the foot of her destroyed bed, and in it was a key emblazoned with a charging bull. 

 

 





Jogging down the easy incline, she reached into her pocket and closed her hand around the remote key, pressing a finger to the horned creature that adorned its surface. It was an opulent thing, studded with gemstones and lavish enough for her to feel self-conscious and leery of flashing it around. He spent money like it just didn’t apply to him. Her lip twitched with bitter humor as she approached the place where she parked, her ride coming into sight right on cue.

 

The Urus was stupidly beautiful. Even when parked, it stood out conspicuously—sleek and formidable, a jaguar among house cats. Her knees were already loose from the run, and the sight of it set her even further back. Go on and admit it, Rey. There are some things about belonging to him you could get used to. Bitterness lit through her, curling like a sheet of paper thrown into a fire. The truth hurt.

 

Only partially true, she insisted, clinging to the key in her pocket like a drowning soul. Goddamnit and damn him and damn the whole bloody thing.

 

Nearing her parking space, Rey noticed a person loitering directly in front of the Lamborghini. A woman lounged against a picnic bench, cutting a striking figure with her sleek bob haircut and long, belted coat. A cigarette smoldered between gloved fingers, and her stare was jarringly direct as she watched Rey approach. 

 

“Excuse me,” she called, “but is this your car?” 

 

Rey gave a short nod. “It is,” she replied warily.

 

The stranger flicked her cigarette to the ground and snuffed it with a twist of her boot. Alarms began to peal in Rey’s head as she watched her push off of the picnic bench, closing the distance between them with feline grace. Something about her felt off, and Rey gripped her key a little tighter.

 

“Oooh, good. I’m glad you’re back,” the woman said, her worried tone not quite matching her guileful expression. “I was passing by and noticed two men,” she continued. “It looked to me like they were casing it, snooping around and looking in the windows. They saw me watching and slunk off, but I thought I’d kill some time—to see if they tried to come back.” 

 

Rey frowned, her intuition now in all-out riot mode. Was this chick working in tandem with a crew??   

 

“Yeah, that’s definitely creepy,” she said slowly, glancing around for anyone else in the near vicinity. She, above all people, knew exactly how deceiving looks could be, and thieves were common in busy urban parks. The woman appeared to be alone, but that said nothing for her oil-slick energy. And what the fuck was she doing here anyway? She looked like she ought to be hanging in some uber-hip cafe on Capitol Hill, not doing random acts of kindness for strangers in an arboretum. Still, it would suck if she was legitimately trying to help.

 

Rey forced a hesitant smile that she didn't feel. “Thanks for staying and keeping an eye on things. I really do appreciate it,” she said, unlocking the door and sliding into the driver’s seat. 

 

“Sure thing,” the woman replied, her stare drifting over Rey’s hands. All at once, her mask of concern slipped into a faint scowl, her lip curling as if she’d bitten a lemon. “It really is a gorgeous car,” she drawled, the compliment failing to hide the unmistakable flash of malice in the woman’s eyes. “Must be nice…”

 

Rey froze halfway through shutting the door, halted as much by the woman’s baleful tone as she was by the odd phrasing. Must be nice??? What the fuck do I say to that!?  

 

The slight frown on her forehead smoothed as she locked eyes with the brunette, meeting her sudden display of hostility with impunity. Nothing. I don’t need to say a goddamn thing.

 

She shut the door and push-started the ignition, glad to put some distance between herself and the woman. “ ‘I was just passing by,’ my ass, ” she muttered to the car, blaming the twin-turbo V8 engines when she peeled out a little harder than she’d meant to. 

 

Glancing in the rearview, she watched the woman at the curb recede. 

 

Creepy-ass bitch. With a little conscious effort, Rey loosened her hold on the steering wheel and straightened her shoulders, dismissing the odd incident. Buttery black leather cradled her body in obscene comfort, and she relaxed further. 

 

It was eleven o’clock in the morning. The streets were free of traffic, and she drove aimlessly through Madison, no real destination in mind. 

 

Kylo had roused her from sleep at some unknown time, informing her of his departure and promising to be back within twelve hours. She’d nodded, half-alive, wanting absolutely no details and glad for the chance to get some downtime. As far as she was concerned, the less she knew about his unsavory errands, the better. 

 

So it was that she’d been released to her own whiles for the day. The freedom and lack of work or any obligation felt alien, and she longed for the familiar. Caffeine. I need a good cuppa joe. She took the next right and followed E. Madison to an old favorite—Belle Epicurean. 

 

As she waited in line to order, her gaze came to rest on a plate of mini Bundt shaped delicacies behind the glass, their surface impeccably glazed. Caneles; Mom’s favorite.  

 

Just like that, the thought was seeded. Rey shifted her weight as a tide of nervous longing churned to life. There’s no reason you can’t, but—are you ready? Can you actually hold it together in front of her? 

 

She felt stronger, more settled than she had at any point since that fateful night. Her time in Rome had been pivotal, marking the moment she fully acknowledged that fleeing Kylo was both impossible and unwise. She didn’t have to embrace the situation, but she was done with running. 

 

Rather than feeling depressed, she’d found an odd peace in the wake of acceptance. Forward-moving always, ever forward.  Discarding a dead end wasn’t invaluable. Maybe more importantly, the edge of her frantic, fever-pitch emotions had been dulled. 

 

You’re readier than you were before

 

When her turn came, she ordered an americano and four caneles, to-go. Besides, she told herself, if you lose your shit, you can always just drive by. Even if all you see is the house, it will be therapeutic for you.

 

Her heart throbbed with acute longing. It felt like true, actual centuries had passed since she’d last seen a familiar, friendly face. Someone who knew her, loved her unconditionally. Someone she loved in return.

 

With the box of French pastries sitting in the passenger seat, she headed north toward I5, heading for her old home. 

 

Since the Rome debacle and their last email exchange, thinking of her mom had been bittersweet—bitter in that she lived with the dread that Kylo might cut off the last remaining and most important relationship she had, sweet in that Maz represented love and life and the far-off, golden realm of normalcy. To which she’d likely never return, yes. But knowing it existed! Knowing that within her mother, the memories of their life together remained, enshrined in one precious human being; it was her reason to continue, a light in the darkness of her new reality.

 

Yesterday, Rey received the most beautiful voicemail—a recording of her mother being her usual blunt self. Relief had coursed through her as she listened to Maz affectionately grumble about Chewie’s snoring problem, talk about the latest read from her book club, and ask about when Rey could carve out time for a visit. 

 

It was hard evidence, it was current, and it was exactly what she’d hoped for—he’d left Maz untampered-with. 

 

Now, as she navigated toward her childhood home, Rey gave that precedence headspace, wondering at Kylo’s reasons.

 

The Archdemon had been privy to all her memories. He’d known about friends and colleagues, about Plutt and the meeting with Qui Gon Jinn. He’d certainly known about the afternoon she’d unwittingly spent with his boss, Ani—Lucifer. A frisson of nervousness ran through her and she itched to cross herself.

 

Oh, come ON. You are SO far from a Catholic, it’s a goddamned JOKE. She pursed her lips and took the northbound ramp for I5, lapsing back into her train of thought. 

 

Kylo absolutely, undoubtedly knew about her mother. But why would he leave her this one lifeline when, in every other capacity, he’d taken action to dissolve her old life? She spent so much energy hating and dreading and fighting him that she’d never been in a frame-of-mind to really think about the handful of anomalies in his conduct.

 

But there had been several big ones. 

 

He claimed that she had it good when compared to other thralls, and if the measure of “good” was luxury, he wasn’t lying. To her unending chagrin, he seemed to truly relish spoiling the living crap out of her. The bedding, the cars, the meals and flights and clothes, the offshore bank accounts and properties in her name, all of it made her feel like a reluctant, top-of-the-line mistress; a woman kept, and well-kept at that. 

 

He’d come and go without warning, always treating her like his own personal feast, fucking her senseless and leaving a trail of lavish wealth in his absence. His carnal appetites were bewildering, and his gifts were nice in an unwholesome, barter-your-soul kind of way. But then, he’d used his power to maroon her in her own town, a stranger with no roots or connections. What did she have left to enjoy but the tempest of pleasure he drowned her in and his stunning offerings?

 

Money meant less than nothing to him, this she knew. The monetary gifts were a strange aspect of his conduct, but the real puzzlers had nothing to do with earthly wealth. As she drove through Northgate on her way to Lake Forest Park, she made a mental tally of the more mystifying things.

 

  1. Kylo had responded to the child abuse she’d suffered as if it were a personal affront, holding Plutt accountable with his own special version of justice.
  2. He’d left her mom and Chewie alone, and—
  3. He hadn’t cared a blink about her consulting with Qui Gon Jinn, even though it was all in an attempt to learn something, anything that might break his hold.

 

He’d also shown a reluctance to use his powers of persuasion on her and liked to make dramatic declarations about their bond while she was wrapped around his dick and half-coherent. Which was more than frequently.

 

The thought awoke a warmth between her thighs and she scowled at the oncoming freeway, rejecting it firmly. Why do demons do the things they do?  

 

She knew he had reasons, but up until now, she'd been more obsessed with fighting him than questioning his motives. Now, with nothing to distract her from him and so much free time on her hands, she found herself morbidly curious about what drove his decision making.

 

The image of Matteo’s severed hands flared to life in her mind’s eye, and she swallowed down the bitter pill of guilt. Rather than repress the gruesome visual, she made herself look it squarely in the face. She owed the poor man that, at least—an owning up to her sins, even if it was just within her own mind. 

 

There was no outfoxing him.

 

That lesson and the brutality with which it was taught was one she wouldn’t forget. But without a roadmap as to what drove him, she didn’t know what actions on her part might fetch an undesirable response. It was like trying to foresee the rulings of a mercurial, enigmatic king whose affairs were entirely over her head. 

 

What she did know was that he was excessively possessive, and she couldn’t be sure that asking about his conduct pertaining to Maz or Qui Gon wouldn’t bring unwanted attention down on them. 

 

But Unkar? Her fists tightened on the steering wheel, the embodiment of her hardening heart. There was no harm in asking about that...because if that slimy excuse for a human being wasn’t dead yet, it couldn’t be too much longer.

 

A car lingered conspicuously in her left peripheral, and she glanced over at it. An Audi kept up with her, its interior filled with four young men, all of them wearing dark sunglasses. In Seattle. In December . Annoyance zinged through her and she twitched her lips. Fucking coeds. They were unsubtle, shifting between ogling the Urus and blatantly checking her out. This. This was the unforeseen cost of driving a rare, attention-grabbing machine. Thank God she couldn’t read minds. She stepped on the gas and darted to the next lane, relishing the deliciously fast response of the SUV and her ability to evade at least this bit of unwanted attention. 

 

The Shoreline/Edmonds exit came up quickly and she exited the freeway, rehearsing a cover story as she coasted down familiar roads, past lots that grew larger and increasingly landscaped as she approached Lake Washington. Making the turn onto Riviera Pl NE—her old street—the nervous feeling in her stomach buzzed like a swarm of bees. She measured her exhale. You can do this, you can do this.  

 

The familiar layered branches of a coral Japanese maple came into view, elegant even in its leafless winter habit. Opposite the maple towered a stand of Douglas fir, their columnar trunks straight and majestic. Rey’s eyes traveled between the evergreen and deciduous specimens, following the curve of her old driveway to the front entryway of their “castle-by-the-lake,” as mom called it. A well-worn, well-loved baby blue 1979 Saab was parked in the driveway. Mom was home .

 

A poignant note twanged in her breast . It’s cool, it’s cool . You got this. She squared her shoulders and pulled in, following the curve of the familiar circular driveway and parking behind her mother’s car.

 

Rey exited the car with caneles in hand, walking through the sculpted stone statues that flanked the awning. Because the visit was impromptu, she hadn’t brought her key and retrieved the spare from its hiding place. Key in-hand, she paused on the threshold, trying to name the feeling that swept over her. The familiarity of standing in this exact spot, on the doorstep where her pre-teen, then teen feet had skipped over daily...it was overwhelmingly surreal. She’d taken it all for granted, and now that sense of removal she’d felt earlier crept back in. She felt like a stranger visiting a place she’d seen many times in a movie; an imposter who called herself Rey, but was no longer. 

 

Knock that shit off, she thought, shaking herself. Now is the time for happy thoughts, and happy thoughts only. A-game face on, or do you want to tell mom what’s REALLY been going on?

 

It was the pep talk she needed. Straightening up, she squared her chin. The familiar sound of her mother’s jazz drifted through the door as she unlocked and swung it open. “Ma? It’s me,” she called out, stepping in and closing the door behind her.

 

Her heart beat a double step as Maz peeked around the corner from her dressing room, her warm, brown eyes blinking before she broke into a smile that could melt all of Antarctica. “Child!” she exclaimed, rushing out half-dressed to hug her adoptive daughter. 

 

“Hey, mom.” Rey swallowed the lump in her throat as she stooped to receive her hug. “It’s so good to see you,” she mumbled against her mother’s shoulder, memorizing every little nuance of the feel of her embrace. “These are for you,” she said, handing her mom the box of pastries.

 

“You brought me caneles?” She inhaled at the edge of the box. “Ah, and they’re fresh! You shouldn’t have.” Her eyes sparkled mischievously. “Chewie’s getting fat,” she said, setting the box on a console and taking Rey’s arm in hers. 

 

“But why didn’t you call?” she asked, searching her daughter’s face and leading her back to the dressing room. “Professor Allium is in town and I’m meeting her for lunch in half an hour.” Maz cocked her head, considering her daughter more carefully. “And dear, you look exhausted! Have you lost weight?” she added, frowning critically.

 

Rey was counting on that reaction. She gave her mom a wan smile and launched into her rehearsed speech. “I’m sorry, it was spontaneous. I’m embroiled in this high-stakes formalization project, and it’s been taking up all my time.” Maz nodded, her focus unwavering as she sat Rey on the circular ottoman at the center of the room and continued dressing.

 

“I’ve been so tied up navigating red tape with participating countries, doing the dance with the bureaucrats at the UNEP and I just—it’s been totally nuts,” she finished in a rush. I had a spare moment of breathing room and thought I’d swing by.” 

 

“Well, I’m so glad you did,” Maz said, hobbling a little as she bustled about her walk-in closet, donning a knit blouse and vest. “I only wish we had more time, that’s all.” 

 

She motioned for Rey to follow as she moved to a lit mirror and sat.

 

“Mom, your limp is worse,” Rey noted, the mirror reflecting her concern.

 

“Bah!” she scoffed, picking an indigo headwrap and winding it over her thinning hair. “It’s just this old hip. It acts up when the weather is bad. It’s nothing,” she said dismissively, finishing with her hair and glancing up. “I’m more concerned about you, dear child,” she said, standing and turning to face her daughter. 

 

 A stone settled in her belly and Rey blinked, feeling exposed.

 

“From the moment you graduated, you hit the ground running and have thrived in your field,” Maz said earnestly. “I’ve never seen you look so...harried over the work you do.” Her mother turned in her seat, facing her as she put a pair of earrings on. “Is anything else the matter?” she asked gently.

 

Here it was, the moment of truth. With an ease she didn’t feel, Rey met that perceptive gaze and mustered a wry smile. “Other than the fact that Rose keeps trying to get me to date her brother?” she quipped lightly, “Nope, all’s well in the world.” 

 

Maz snorted, breaking into a smile, and the relief Rey felt was instant. 

 

“Well I for one would love to see you go on a date,” Maz chided, gathering her purse and looping her arm through her daughter’s. “Doesn’t mean it has to be Rose’s brother,” she added breezily. “Maybe someone a little...taller might be nice.” 

 

Oh, mom, that ship has sailed. Rey fought to keep the sorrow out of her chuckle as they strolled out to the foyer. She stopped in front of the door, pretending to consider it. “Taller, hmm? And you wouldn’t happen to have a preference for massive, over-sized, tree-like men or anything, would you?” 

 

Maz smiled cheerfully, her eyes crinkling at the corners. “I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.” She opened her arms out for a hug. “It was marvelous to see you child, even briefly.”

 

Rey stooped down and wrapped her mother in an embrace.

 

“This doesn’t count as a date,” Maz warned. “I expect you to carve out some time for your old mom soon.” 

 

“Said and heard,” Rey replied, banishing the tremor from her voice as she pulled back to smile affectionately at the woman who had saved her in so many ways. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

 

She held the door open for Maz, who stepped through and stopped so abruptly, Rey nearly crashed into her. Shit! She had been so busy with schooling her emotions, she hadn’t even thought about how to explain the Urus.

 

Maz stared, issuing a low whistle before pivoting to regard her with an expectant look. “Well?” 

 

Rey gave her mom a guilty smile. “It’s a loaner,” she said weakly, seizing the opportunity to turn and lock the front door behind them. “Mine’s in the shop, and they were fresh outta the usual.”

 

“Uh-huh,” Maz deadpanned, turning back to the shiny Lamborghini in her driveway. “Be sure to refer me to your garage next time I need some work done.” She shook her head at Rey, unlocking her Saab with a smile that indicated she expected a better explanation next time.

 

Rey paused at the door of the Urus, unwilling to disappear into the sleek, sexy vehicle just yet. Wanting to remain in this place of light for just a little longer. 

 

“Mom?" she called, wanting to say it, needing to hear it said in return. "I love you." Please let it not sound like goodbye, please.

 

Maz looked back at her. “I love you too. Hang in there kiddo.” She smiled in that wide, kindly way of hers. “This too shall pass.”

 

 






Glossary

 

Ruoverg: Sith term for the act of enslaving another. 







Chapter Text

 


 

5:15 pm, Lagos, Nigeria.

 

The Skybar, Federal Palace Hotel and Casino.

 

Kylo stared out over the pale green waters of the Gulf of Guinea, a bottle of Legend Extra Stout sweating in his hand. From the bar’s penthouse vantage point, he had an excellent view of the Niger Delta oil blocks. A series of fire stacks diced up the horizon, their terminus emitting random puffs of flame as combustible gases vented from the refineries. To his eyes, the coupling of nature and industry was neither beautiful nor unsightly; it just was, a state of affairs that had always been—humans obeying their nature, extracting resources like the apex consumers they were. 

 

He stretched the fingers of his free hand wide before curling them one by one into a fist, cracking each knuckle. Without turning from the wall of windows, he scanned the reflection behind him for the eleventh time, observing the gathering of well-heeled Nigerians and their contacts. They sat talking at lacquered teak tables, sipping their libations while discussing business in a colorful mix of English, Yoruba and French. 

 

They were an exclusive bunch; access to the Skybar was regulated by a pair of guards set at the elevator doors twenty-five stories below, and those guards answered directly to the hotel owner. Kylo was the only party sitting alone, and the only one who was there uninvited. By mortal will, at least. 

 

The ever-compelling voice of his master had roused him in the dark hours of the night, while Rey had slumbered on in blissful oblivion at his side. 

 

My son. Your talents are needed in Lagos. A Nigerian politician and an oil magnate have arranged to meet with a representative of the Niger Delta militant groups, a young man named Abeo Adwalé. His head brims with lofty ideals and he fancies himself a liberator of the down-trodden and oppressed. You will attend and exert your influence on Adwalé, exclusively. Ensure that he is amenable to partnering with these corrupt interests. Adwalé will return to his freedom fighters with false hope—the building of great heights will precede a momentous fall. Maul will succeed you with his own set of instructions. Be at the Federal Palace Skybar, 1700 hours, West Africa Standard time.

 

Anakin’s decree rippled through every particle of his being, and there was only compliance. Still, he’d lingered as the order minimized to a haunting echo, bathing in the sublime pleasure of Rey’s sleeping mortal energy and reluctant to leave. His fingers had brushed the hair from her face, tracing over fragile bone, feeling the subtle flow of her blood through the tiny, fern-like blood vessels beneath her skin. Fragile. A spun-crystal shell so easily broken. 

 

Kylo heard the chime of the elevator and his head snapped up, muscles tensing at the ready as a pair of men emerged. Both wore the long-sleeved tunics that were common in West Africa, their heads capped with cylindrical kufi’s. Not his mark. He disregarded the new arrivals, trying to divert his mounting frustration by taking a long pull of his stout, attempting to savor the heady malt. It only led him back to thoughts of her— mouth trembling, muscles fatigued from stretching wide to accommodate him, of plundering her sweet lips, drunk on the taste of his cum in her mouth, finer than any spirit from this plane or the next.  

 

He closed his eyes and gathered the miasma of his will. With a sharp exhale, he sent it questing...  

 

Satisfaction bloomed as he found her, a spark of life that drew him like a single candle flame in the void. Ah, my pet. There you are. She was moving at a steady rate, heading north of the downtown corridor. Apparently making use of the vehicle he’d chosen . He smiled at the knowledge, darkly pleased that she hadn’t been able to resist the lure of his gift.

 

The thread that connected them seemed to be strengthening. At first, it was just her location that could be tracked, but he could now perceive the spark of her well-being, her light.  

 

It had led him to wonder if his peers experienced the same connection with their thralls, or if the phenomena were a byproduct of the more exhaustive, unconventional way he’d bound Rey to him. 

 

His counterparts would rather amputate a wing than tell him, a fact that had him gloating to no end. Traya’s inquiry into his newly-claimed thrall had been delightfully amusing. The Archfiend’s divining abilities were spotty when it came to predicting events relative to the supernatural, and that extended to thralls involved with the dark powers. It must have irked the demoness to no end to rely on a mortal to gather information for her.

 

She was fortunate her little lickspittle happened to be a storied specialist in the occult, and exactly the resource Rey needed.  

 

Kylo managed a smile at the irony of that happenstance, unable to feel anything but smug that his cohorts felt the need to pry. Well, now Traya was privy to some of the details, and likely knew that Kylo had shirked tradition in how he’d bound Rey.

 

He’d seen a thousand claiming ceremonies over the ages, and knew well that the blood of thralls was harvested, not exchanged with their masters.

 

The giving of his own demonic essence was entirely instinctual, an appropriate response to the unlooked-for gift he’d stumbled on in Rey—a mortal girl with an unheard-of ability to resist the influence of his persuasive aura. And a virgin, as though further tempting were necessary . In the moment, he’d obeyed his own desires without thought as to why, needing to supersede the mere taking of her blood, ravenous to possess her in every conceivable capacity.

 

His obsession hadn’t waned. Rather the opposite seemed to apply, the fascination metastasizing behind his eyes, growing perilously strong and all-encompassing. Now separated from her by multiple oceans, he felt distinctly restless, impatient to conclude his business and return to where she was. 

 

He took another swallow of his stout, snarling inwardly over the local culture’s relaxed views on timeliness.

 

At long last, Kylo detected the sound of the elevator ascending from the lobby far below, the discrete mechanical whir rousing an emotion perilously close to hope. He couldn’t be bothered to analyze his own feelings, utterly intent as he swiveled in his seat and concentrated on the approaching lift. Two souls were aboard, moving smoothly through the bowels of the skyscraper. 

 

The chime sounded and the doors parted, revealing… yesss. At last.  

 

The two men inside were separated by a generation and dressed distinctly different—the elder in a crisp Western-style suit, the younger in impeccable, military-style fatigues. The pair was already engaged in a tense conversation, the young man speaking in rapid-fire Yoruba. 

 

Kylo’s vision sharpened as he identified the fool he’d spent the last twenty-fucking minutes waiting for— Abeo Adwalé. With a deep, measured breath, he summoned the elemental darkness in his core, savoring the way it lashed and frothed like a chained thing clamoring for release.

 

He got to his feet and uncloaked the aura that surrounded him. A shadow swept forth in a wave, overtaking every mortal within his eyeshot and hijacking their perception. Each one of them visibly changed as autonomous thought died—shrewd gazes becoming doe-eyed, bodies relaxing in their seats, all cultivated airs fluttering to the floor like grounded kites. Logic and reason were atomized in the wake of his power, deftly replaced with a hazy, all-encompassing beneficence.

 

As the last soul capitulated, Kylo abandoned his seat by the windows, prowling meaningfully toward the duo exiting the elevator.

 

The men had paused their conversation mid-sentence and now wore identical expressions of slack-jawed wonder, both riveted to the spot by his approach.

 

Kylo paused before the younger of the two and glowered, not that it mattered. His mark was utterly incapable of recognizing the threatening expression Kylo wore. Such was the extent of his influence, he could have transformed into a three-headed revenant and it wouldn’t have been cause for alarm. 

 

“Abeo Adwalé?” he inquired, staring intently and sorely tempted to retaliate for making him wait.

 

The man nodded at the sound of his name, swaying as though possessed by some inner melody. Next to him, his elder companion blinked at Kylo with soft, dark eyes.

 

Stepping closer to his target, Kylo grasped Adwalé’s throat in his hand and leaned in, inches from his ear. “O ti wa ni rilara ti gba loni, bẹẹni?” he asked, his voice a lethal purr.

 

The enthralled man nodded without pause. 

 

“O wa ni sisi, ati nigbati o tẹtisi awọn igbero ti a gbekalẹ ni ipade yii, wọn yoo dun anfani pupọ si awọn ire rẹ. Iwọ o kọlu adehun pẹlu awọn ọkunrin wọnyi ati pe iwọ yoo mu ifiranṣẹ igbega fun awọn ẹgbẹ rẹ. Nje oye ye wa?”

 

Kylo watched the man’s face as his mandate sank through the layers, past human logic and emotions, past all pre-conceived notion of ethics. Within a fraction of a second, the hooked talons of his directive found their mark, permanently mooring in the core of his subject’s soul.

 

His eyes flared red, bathing Abeo’s smooth, dark skin in a hazardous glow. “Now, say it,” he growled, his impatience audible.

 

The young man started, muscles jerking in his haste to comply. “I-I am open, and all suggestions will be advantageous to the interests of my people. I will agree to a new partnership and seed the ranks of my factions with a message of hope.”

 

“Good,” Kylo snapped, releasing the man’s throat. “Now go have your meeting,” he muttered, moving past the spellbound pair with a dismissive hand gesture. He passed through a set of glass doors and into a deserted rooftop atrium adjoining the bar. Sable wings unfurled at his shoulder blades as he strode between the decorative planters, displaced air stirring red hibiscus blossoms. 

 

His skin tightened as he sensed an all-too-familiar malevolence directed at him, and he fought the urge to snarl as he paused at the edge of the building. What the actual FUCK is he doing here this early?

 

Before glancing up, he swallowed his vexation, unwilling to give the irrepressible ass the satisfaction. Then he tilted his head, meeting the baleful glare of his counterpart with icy disdain. The archfiend of animosity floated twenty feet overhead, ebony wings spread, the red and black tattoos that covered his face lending his scowl a skeletal aspect. 

 

“To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?” he muttered.

 

Maul hovered rather than landing, taking obvious delight in maintaining the higher ground. Singular, boorish cretin.

 

His counterpart disregarded the greeting. “That was a rather impatient performance,” he spat, each word grinding abrasively against the next. “You wouldn’t happen to be in a hurry to return to your thrall? How typical—making your first claim and instantly wrapped around her pathetic, breakable little finger…”

 

White-hot fury lanced through Kylo, even though he knew the insinuated threat to Rey was just empty bluster. Kylo veiled it with a caustic volley of laughter, unwilling to let his rival know his accusation had cut to the quick. “Maul,” he purred with mock affection, “how you flatter me with this sudden rush of attention.” 

 

Kylo’s wings flashed in an inky blur, propelling him upwards with a powerful stroke to face the other Archdemon. Maul's face twisted into a deeper scowl as his age-old adversary drew level with him, glaring back at Kylo with his beady, amber eyes.

 

“It’s not like you to take such a keen interest in my doings. Are your own thralls losing their luster?” he mocked. “You’re knee-deep in mortals clamoring to serve your whim, the same, run-of-the-mill indoctrinated sort that you’re used to.”

 

Maul bristled, his upper lip skinning back to reveal honed, blackened teeth. “I’ve already seen your plaything. You fawn over her like a feckless, lovesick moron. Your treatment of her begs the question: who rules who?” 

 

Rabid delight surged through him, and Kylo threw his head back and laughed, his form beginning to change as true aggression surged through him. His eyes lit, burning with red triumph as he grinned at his cohort. Maul, too, had taken an interest in Rey. 

 

Now I see why all the unlooked-for attention; you’re jealous,” Kylo sneered, his fangs elongating into sickles as he unleashed that which he ever kept in check—the hostility that was his by nature. His wings flexed, pushing him higher as he began to circle Maul, forcing him to follow suit with a furious growl. 

 

Kylo’s voice deepened into a preternatural rumble, losing all human pretense as the demon beneath was revealed. “If I’d known claiming a thrall would infuriate you this much, I might have done it long ago...but then...she would have been like all of yours—a dull, mindless, bootlicking fool.”  

 

The evening sky reacted to the expanding cloud of combined menace, atmospheric turbulence forming from nothing, folding and condensing into bruised thunderheads that crackled with static. Unseen to mortal eyes, they rose amid the sudden tempest—seven hundred feet, a thousand, higher—their wings outstretched in feathered black canopies, jostling as they circled in midair. 

 

Maul pushed closer, literally quivering with the need for violence. Like Kylo, his mouth had become a nightmarish maw of bristling teeth. “You," he accused, saliva flying from his curled lip. "You with your lofty airs and discipline. You’ve always thought you’re so fucking special...and now you go claiming a thrall and think that applies to your precious little b—

 

E-NOUGH!!!” 

 

The command tore through Kylo’s mind as the ether split open, unleashing a blinding bolt of violet energy. He roared in pain, barely aware of Maul’s echoed howl as his nostrils filled with the smell of fried ozone and burning skin. With dizzying speed, both Archdemons were hurled to the earth as easily as swatted flies. 

 

Fear doused his belligerence at the fury in that voice. The Dark Lord was most displeased

 

He stirred in the crater his impact had created, groaning as he breathed in the mineral smell of cracked earth. Some of his bones had fractured—a lamentable part of being wrought in the exact image of mankind—and he grimaced as the uncomfortable process of healing began in earnest. What wouldn’t alleviate was the invisible fist in his core—a severe twisting that locked into a vise-like cramp of pure tension. The displeasure of the Master, transcribed in the flesh of the servant.   

 

Moving gingerly, he flipped over onto his stomach, fingers scrabbling for purchase amidst the ragged shards of broken asphalt. The shredded muscle on his back had already begun to knit over an exposed shoulder bone, little bits of embedded rock ejecting from his injuries as he started crawling to the street. 

 

The weight of his lord’s disapproval lay heavy, and Kylo kept his head bowed, wings dragging through the dust alongside him. From his peripherals, he saw Maul, equally disheveled and trailing blood as he slunk forth from a sizable hole of cracked earth. 

 

Both Archdemons hoisted themselves into a pained kneel, waiting as the Keeper of Darkness stalked forward to stand over them. 

 

Kylo risked a glance and saw that their lord had assumed his favored guise, that of a trim, well-dressed young man. His handsome face, normally so charming, wore a hard mask of disdain, and the mischievous blue of his eyes burned with a molten hue they could only aspire to.

 

Anakin Skywalker let them suffer his displeasure in silence before finally speaking. “You both infuriate me to no end,” he seethed, watching as both demons groveled miserably under his condemnation. 

 

“What does it take to get you two to leave off your idiotic rivalry? Each of you has a vital role to perform, and you can’t even complete your given task without bickering like rabid curs?! Unacceptable!” he thundered, erratic threads of energy snarling through his fingers. “If you want to brawl like heathens, do it on your own time. You will NOT engage in any independent action while completing my bidding, or I’ll cast you into the pits myself. Is that understood?”  

 

“Yes, my lord,” came the echoed response, both sets of eyes locked on the pacing of his impeccably polished shoes. 

 

“Kylo!” Anakin barked, glowering down at him. “Your control is askance. You will right it. Immediately,” he added. “Go.”

 

“At once, Master,” Kylo replied, bearing his master’s withering stare with a somber nod. The intense cramping in his core subsided as the invisible fist finally relaxed, allowing him to unfurl his crumpled wings and take a proper breath. 

 

Kylo lifted into the air, aware of how the dark lord now turned to his counterpart. Under the pretense of shaking his wings out, he delayed going to lightspeed. Hundreds of feet in the air and still his attuned hearing caught the drift of their master’s scolding. 

 

“Maul! I don’t give a shit if it’s in your blood—you will rein in your rancor! Your talents exist only to further MY purposes, do you understand? Now go do your godforsaken job!”

 

Far below, Anakin left off, muttering darkly about the eternal chore of keeping his children in line. 

 

Kylo allowed himself the hint of a vindictive smirk. Before his lord could catch him lingering, he locked his trajectory on the spark of Rey’s location and accelerated, his wings stretching taut as time and space blurred all around him.

 

 





Kylo traveled in silence, a comet of invisible will streaking toward its goal in the Northern Hemisphere. After a very brief stop in Los Angeles, he arrived in Seattle, slowing as he cut through the low, gray cloud banks that covered the land. Currently, Rey was en route home, so he settled into her fifteenth-story flat to wait, amusing himself with the illusion that she came at his beck and call. 

 

In her closet, he deposited a box of strappy, black gladiator stilettos and the beaded mini he’d taken from the wracks of Zuhair Murad’s in-the-works spring collection. Pausing, he examined the dress once more. Long sleeves balanced a perilously short skirt, the entire number sheer but for the geometric patterns of black, red and silver beading. She’d be utterly exquisite wearing it, and he couldn’t help but gloat at the thought of their reception. 

 

This evening promised to be...an education.  

 

With a thrill of anticipation, he turned and paced the generous length of her flat, making his way to the display case by the windows. There, he examined the array of antique blades on their bed of velvet, selecting a specimen and opening the glass to retrieve it.

 

The curved dagger glinted up at him, the name of a long-dead sultan engraved in fanciful Arabic at the base of the blade. How novel. The ruoverg dagger he’d used to bind her came to mind, and he smiled secretively. It was a weapon conjured of the inky substance of his soul, his name not on the blade, but of the blade. Left in the flesh of the inscribed.

 

He turned the ornate, Turkish knife in his hands, running a thumb up the cutting edge, enjoying the quick flash of pain when it parted his skin. A different sort of collectible, for a different sort of girl.  

 

He couldn’t help but admire the symmetry of it: Rey, herself, was edgy—an orphan whose constitution was whittled by years of hardship, tempered by the unlooked-for experience of a loving home. 

 

He’d seen inside her and knew exactly how vital a component Maz was in the equation. The old woman was like a touchstone for Rey, the only deep, heart-connection she had upon this earth. That reason alone should have branded her with a bullseye, for his was a jealous fixation. Instead, and for reasons he couldn’t explain, the knowledge had left him disarmed, and he’d allowed Rey this one boon—her mother. 

 

It was inexplicable, but such was intuition. Blind instinct had always served in the absence of more obvious approaches, and this situation was no different. 

 

It mattered not if his peers sought to judge his discretion as a weakness. Through the ages, he’d watched his counterparts fraternize with their human playthings, using and abusing them as they saw fit. All of Maul’s vitriol and Traya’s snooping chalked up to nothing more than an unlooked-for source of amusement. What he chose to do with Rey was his business alone, and only his master had the power to stop it.

 

And what he’d do to her when she got home… Turning from the array of daggers, he stalked toward the elegant bathtub couch that faced her wall of windows, the Turkish blade in hand. He willed the business suit to dissolve, the illusion of clothing fading to leave him bare-chested in nothing but soft, dark pants. 

 

Their separation had felt overly long. The more he had of her, the more he wanted. Something about her… Never had he thought a thrall could offer such diversion. Her body, her reactions, the spectrum of her emotions—she was more addictive than any earthly drug, and he found himself fixated on little things, like her eyes. He’d come to relish all their iterations: the way they’d grow bright, sizzling with hot golden fury, how they’d darken with despondency or soften to a wet palette of topaz and green.

 

His cock stirred, lengthening as he pictured the way her lids fluttered before they rolled back when she succumbed… 

 

As she would. 

 

 




 

Glossary of terms/translations

 

Kylo, to Abeo Adwalé: “O ti wa ni rilara ti gba loni, bẹẹni?”  “You are feeling tractable today, are you not?”

 

“O wa ni sisi, ati nigbati o tẹtisi awọn igbero ti a gbekalẹ ni ipade yii, wọn yoo dun anfani pupọ si awọn ire rẹ. Iwọ o kọlu adehun pẹlu awọn ọkunrin wọnyi ati pe iwọ yoo mu ifiranṣẹ igbega fun awọn ẹgbẹ rẹ. Nje oye ye wa?”

 

“You are open, and when you listen to the proposals presented at this meeting, they will sound most advantageous to your interests. You will strike an accord with these men and bring an uplifting message back to your factions. Is that understood?”




Chapter Text

 

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Songspiration: Come Near Me, Massive Attack/Ghostpoet

 





 

 


 

 

Arriving home from her outing, Rey opened her door to a sight that was becoming the standard with each passing day: Kylo Ren, monster extraordinaire, his faultless body stretched the entire length of her bathtub sofa, limbs sprawled lazily amongst a scatter of cream and aqua pillows. 

 

The sight of him raised the usual internal din; nervousness, fear, resentment, and the ones she’d rather not own—excitement, yearning, awe. Her demon lounged there like he owned the place, wearing no shirt, his long legs clad in loose, black pants. His knees were bent—because of course he didn’t fit—and, were it not for his bafflingly perfect musculature and the flowing inked symbols that fully encompassed his arms and chest, the whole scene would have been shockingly domestic. 

 

But, then, there was also the fact that he was nonchalantly fooling with one of her prized antique daggers. Her mind boggled, stomach knotting even tighter as one emotion eclipsed all others. How dare he?! 

 

He took her in from where he lay, not bothering to rise. “Hello, Rey,” he drawled, his dark eyes flaring to life at her appearance.

 

She was needlessly rough as she flung her purse on the kitchen island, all thoughts of asking about his motives forgotten as she stalked over to him, fighting every step of the way to control her tongue. 

 

He tracked her progress with a steady, unblinking stare that belied his relaxed pose. That level of intensity was a boon, and she suddenly found it prudent to rein in her temper. 

 

Those are some of my more beloved possessions, and they’re, they’re antiques,” she ground out, amending her choice of words if not her tone. “I’d appreciate it—if you left them in their protective case.” 

 

His ebony brows shot up in a parody of innocence. “You shouldn’t keep them locked away...beautiful things are made to be touched,” he reproached, trailing a finger over the engraved tughra on the flat of the blade. “To be handled, ” he added pointedly, eyes flicking back to examine her with undisguised hunger. 

 

Regarded thusly, her ire banked to cold ash and she braced herself, certain he would spring for her. Instead, he blinked lazily, a gesture she’d come to recognize as unnecessary, a humanizing function used to his benefit.

 

“I take it you went out for a drive?” His eyes swept the length of her body, taking in her running ensemble. “Well?” he continued mildly, “what did you make of the car? Did it provide sufficient sport?”

 

“Oh yes,” she breathed, “it drove like a dream.” She cocked her head and considered him, suddenly possessed by a reckless need to provoke him.

 

 “But tell me,” she said absently, “what would you do...if I sold it?” 

 

His jet-black brows arched in surprise at the unexpected question. 

 

She hid the quick, addictive spike of glee she felt at catching him off guard, remaining straight-faced. “Catholic Community Services is an excellent charity organization,” she continued, gesturing airily, “and I have no doubt they could use the funds far more than we…” 

 

He sat up in a seamless motion, reminding her of nothing more than the lounging tiger that suddenly animates, turning its piercing gaze on the prey that has grown too bold in its lethargy. 

 

She stared, fascinated by the flex of his abs as he moved, power rippling beneath smooth, pale skin. Fuck, was he ever dangerous.

 

Before she could stop herself, she took a step back.

 

Piqued interest glittered in his eyes, alive with the longing to chase. “What would I do? Well...by now, you know how I feel about the church. I suppose I’d have to devise some sort of punishment, wouldn’t I?”

 

She pursed her lips. Shit. This conversation was headed in the wrong direction, and it was totally her fault. If only he didn’t inflame her with petty distractions as easy as breathing. And—if she wanted to be frank—her rebellious nature was a god-damned liability. She’d have to get her shit together if she wanted ANY answers about why he’d taken the issue of Plutt’s abuse so personally. 

 

Swallowing her pride, she aimed for reproachful and closed the distance, pausing a few feet shy of where he sat. “There’s no need—I’d never, never sell it...I, I like it too much,” she admitted, remaining stoic as she offered an olive branch. “I’m sure it won’t be long before you...find something better to punish me over.”

 

Like a liege-lord, he accepted her concession as if it were his due. “Indeed,” he breathed, so quiet she almost couldn’t hear it.

 

Her gaze shifted to her prized Turkish dagger, which looked almost toylike in his grip. She swallowed nervously, eyes flickering back to him. “May I have it back?” she asked, trying for demure.

 

“Take what’s yours,” he invited softly, a tiny smile playing at the corners of his mouth. He opened his hand, offering the blade without moving. He wanted her to come to him.

 

She watched him carefully as she reached down to reclaim the nimcha, her heart speeding along at a steady clip. 

 

The instant her fingers closed around the pommelled hilt, his free hand struck, flashing out to seize her waist. 

 

She yelped in alarm and reacted instantly, pressing the blade against his throat. 

 

He grinned savagely, tipping his chin up to bare his neck further. “You remember what happened the last time you stuck me with a knife, yes?” he growled, each word clipped and seething with menace. 

 

How could she forget? A strangled whimper slipped free as he yanked her thighs wide, situating her atop his lap.

 

 “I’ve missed you all fucking day,” he muttered, continuing to arrange her to his liking. His eyes burned with black defiance as he tore open the crotch of her running pants. 

 

She gasped, the sharp motion causing her knife-hand to jerk, and she stared in horror as the cutting edge nicked him.

 

Blood on the blade, a bead of crimson trickling slowly over the swell of his Adam’s apple.

 

A veil of ice settled on the crown of her head, tingling its way down her neck and leaving her cold. Strength melted away and she lowered the dagger, her body pliant with dread, and an emotion that—to her vast, unending chagrin—was becoming increasingly common in his presence. Desire.

 

He didn’t acknowledge the shallow cut at all as he reached between them to free his oversized dick.

 

She couldn’t tear her gaze from the thin line of crimson that meandered down the tattooed plane of his pectoral. Its progress mesmerized, and all at once, her mouth flooded with saliva. Lick it, whispered an unhelpful little voice. 

 

She grimaced, trying to regain her capsizing grasp on control, struggling to remember... she’d had a goal, not even a few minutes ago...

 

The moment had crystallized around her, yet he still moved, undeterred. Intense longing speared through her core as the warm, velveteen head of his cock nudged her lips open. 

 

“Such a pretty little pussy, Rey."

 

The molten purr of his voice sent her reeling yet again. Her mouth fell open—to try to speak, to draw breath, anything. Spiraling, too fast, wait—! 

 

His hips pushed up, shallowly breaching her. She gasped as her forgotten goal darted through her mind, like a little winged lifeline. In desperation, she seized it, turning away from the red spell he cast. 

 

“Kylo, please—wait.” 

 

Perhaps it was the urgency in her voice. Perhaps it was that he loved it when she begged. She’d never know, but something in that moment made him pause, holding his ground but not advancing. 

 

Rey faltered, dismantled by the achy stretch, the temptation of having him so close to filling her to the hilt. She struggled to speak her mind, the words coming out thick and ungainly. “Pl-ease, I—I wanted to, to talk—to you…” 

 

His delight was obvious, and he continued to ignore the way she’d cut him. “My darling girl,” he exclaimed, hips twitching, his dick sliding an inch deeper. He rewarded her gasp with a wicked, sharp-toothed smile. “Very well. We’ll talk, but only after you’re properly seated.”

 

Her head fell back with a hitched gasp, swooning as he thrust up into her. The muscles of her cunt fluttered spastically at the abrupt penetration, and she groaned at the lush throb of pleasure-pain.

 

Rey opened her eyes, unaware of when she’d closed them. The nimcha was still clenched tight in her hand, quivering as it pointed harmlessly at the ceiling. He watched her with a shrewd, hooded gaze that threatened to absorb her into pools of enticing black.

 

“Now,” he began imperiously, leaning back into the couch with a move that pushed the bulge in her lower abdomen into sharper relief. 

 

She pinched her eyes shut again and bit her lip, trying to ignore the fact that she could literally see his shape within her. 

 

“What did you want to discuss, little vixen?” The vulpine smirk he leveled sent another wave of lust flowing through her, and her body instantly responded, drenching the enormous shaft within it. 

 

His smile deepened as he relished the precariousness of her situation. 

 

“We can talk about anything you like,” he coaxed, “I won’t move until you do.”

 

Through the heavy veil of desire, she bristled at the smug surety in his voice. He thought to distract her, to render her incapable of conversation. The bastard. 

 

Her eyes narrowed at his exquisiteness; raven hair dark and glossy as sin, muscles carved of alabaster, his lips impossibly sultry . He’d had his way so many times—with her mind, with her body...surely she could stave off the intoxicating effect long enough to get what she wanted from him? Surely, right!? 

 

She straightened, resolutely willing herself to disengage from the throbbing between her thighs, the way she was already growing slick around him. “Why did you do what you did to Unkar Plutt?” she ground out, shakily. “Why avenge me?”

 

“Because you are mine, and he hurt you.” 

 

“So long ago,” she countered beseechingly, striving to remain utterly still, to ignore the way her nerves tingled, each begging her to move. “Why bother? You exist to bring strife—” she paused and her voice grew small, that of a child. “Do you not?”

 

His impish teasing had fled in line of her questioning, and he regarded her with a somber face. She sat a little straighter, perceiving that he meant to grant her a temporary reprieve, to keep his word rather than fucking her into senselessness. 

 

“I exist to enact my master’s bidding,” he answered simply. “As to the question of Plutt, I acted instinctively. It was...the second time, the first being when I took you for a thrall.” He claimed her free left hand, stroking a thumb lightly over the brand beneath her skin.

 

Reminding her of the chain that linked them. She shivered, clearly perceiving it.

 

“My first thrall, the only human I’ve ever encountered worth wanting," he continued. "You...mean something to me.”

 

“As a plaything,” she stated, tonelessly. “A pet.”

 

The chain tightened and his fathomless eyes drew her deeper. A disembodied sense of puzzlement settled over her mind. It was as if she'd gained another layer of awareness, fine as rice paper. It was, it was—his. She blinked, brows knitting as she tried to understand what was happening.

 

“You are enthralled to me,” he continued in a hollow voice, “a mortal bound by the mingling of our blood and the piece of soul I took. I rule you; it is as it should be, and yet…” he stopped, frowning so subtly, she might’ve missed it were she not so close. His voice grew even more distant, uncertain, even.

 

“This bond is—you are—more…”

 

A phantom tingle spread through her and her eyes widened, every cell waking as she realized it—she was able to perceive his feelings. Even more stunning, she sensed the unthinkable in him—conflict.

 

Without breaking his stare, she unfolded, setting the dagger aside ever-so-slowly so as not to disrupt the spell. He was calm, statuelike as she caressed his forearms, sliding up his biceps and over the deeply inked runes that decorated his shoulders. She followed a subliminal thread of instinct, drawing closer to touch her forehead lightly to his.

 

He didn’t blink or shy away, seemingly content to let her traverse into the void he contained.

 

It was like plunging into the lightless depths of an underground lake. She immersed herself, blindly questing for the range of his emotions. What she found was limited, but rich and unadulterated: intense drive, mercilessness, impermeable loyalty. The tenets that overlay everything he did, a code of conduct writ upon the core of his being. 

 

Deeper. Drifting past his outer layers, past his single-minded instincts and base motivations. Deeper still. Into the stygian blackness where hid his feelings for her—unrelenting possessiveness, scalding lust, and something scarce and unexpected—a need to nurture and protect. This little kernel lay buried deep, like a seed hidden in the dirt. It was perilous and fragile and existed in dispute with the rest of him. 

 

She recoiled in confusion, awareness separating from him as she returned to her own cognition. Her eyes searched his sphinx-like expression, trying in vain to discern the truth. Was he even aware of its existence? Was that what he meant when he alluded to her meaning more?

 

Still obeying her baser instincts, she leaned forward and pressed her lips against his, withdrawing from the kiss abruptly. “Thank you,” she said, caressing his cheeks with a troubled look. “For avenging me,” she added in a hoarse whisper, still struggling to process the way their minds had melded and what she’d seen in him.

 

He stared at her for a long while, considering her in silence. Then, with great deliberation, he leaned forward until they were very close, tilting his head as if to kiss her. “I only keep that which is worthwhile,” he said, every word a feather-light rumble against her mouth. “And—I take care of my things.

 

The last of her faulty control folded, and she knew a split second of defeat before all sense was swept by volatile, explosive need.

 

Fuck, Kylo

 

She bared her teeth, fingers creeping up the back of his neck to anchor him.

 

Give me fucking everything.

 

With a sharp yank, she pulled his mouth against hers in a furious kiss, sucking and nipping with the fervor of the storm she housed. Off in the distance was the knowledge that she couldn't hurt him, not truly. But in this moment, with his lip between her teeth and her fingers tightening in his silky hair, that bit of reality was an inconvenient truth she happily ignored.

 

He was fluid beneath her offensive, an appreciative sound rumbling from his throat. Rather than taking back control as he so frequently did, as he taunted her further with the slide of his tongue, his hands kneading at the springy globes of her ass.

 

She couldn’t get enough, writhing on his cock, grinding it deeper into herself, kissing him until she was dizzy with the need to breathe. He was exceptionally permissive, letting her do with him as she would, giving the impression that he was a perfect boy-toy. It was a delightful ruse, but she knew better. Oh, did she know.  

 

Tearing herself from the dewy cling of his lips, she stared deep into his eyes, panting to catch her breath. Something sinister beckoned, frightening and yet profoundly alluring.

 

Open yourself to it, let it innnn

 

She swayed subtly, head falling back as she obeyed that little whisper, soaking it in as she had before, utterly oblivious of the tears that spilled down her cheeks. 

 

Tantalizing power swelled, brimming over, saturating every cell with an inky cunning. His dick throbbed, massive and so exquisite, reminding her of who it was she belonged to. Of who belonged to her

 

Her earlier impulse returned and she honored it with a low snarl, dipping her head down to taste the rivulet of blood running down his chest. 

 

Mine, beast. You are mine.

 

His pleased groan was flame to dry tinder, and she hissed at the decadence as his hands tightened on her ass, hips pressing up to relentlessly plumb her cunt. 

 

She gazed up at him through her lashes as she licked a wet stripe up his chest, gathering his blood on her tongue. Pulling back, she beheld him a moment, eyes hard and glittering before she surged forward and sealed her bloody mouth against his in another vicious kiss. 

 

His essence tingled through her, marvelous and fiery. With it came the dark, and her hips began to undulate. Up and down, take him in, out, in.  The silence of her flat was marred by the sound of muffled groans and the slick, wet sounds of flesh penetrated as she fucked herself on his cock. 

 

With a surge of strength, he broke free, eyes flashing their deadly red. “Get this shit off,” he ground out, tearing both her jacket and shirt in a rough yank. His hands slid over her freed breasts, thumbing at her pebbled nipples, kneading at her. One hand slipped higher, claiming her throat as he leaned forward, narrowing his eyes menacingly.

 

She whimpered as the hand holding her tightened, forcing her to grow still in his lip. 

 

“Auktoi tu Kraujas.Tegu Nun Gerti iv Zhol,” he ground out, the command soaking in with the ease of poison.

 

He may as well have spoken in her own language. Warmth flooded through her, a flush of pleasure. “Of course,” she crooned, reaching up to gently peel his hand from her throat.

 

Her eyes reflected the hellish red glow of his pupils and she licked a trace of his blood from the corner of her mouth. Leaning back, she braced a palm against his heaving chest, pressing him flush against the back of the couch. 

 

He allowed it, observing hungrily as she reclaimed the abandoned dagger and flipped it jauntily in her hand.

 

A shadow crossed her face as she turned the point on herself, frowning down at the blade as her entire arm began to tremble. Inexplicable dread flooded her veins with ice as she stared, blinking in puzzlement as the dagger skittered in her grasp. She strained but found she couldn’t move, incapable of bringing the point any closer to her body.

 

“I—I c-c-can’t,” she stuttered, her eyes widening. 

 

At once, he smiled with an odd kind of satisfaction, and her unease dissipated. 

 

“Of course, my sweet,” he tutted, gently relieving her shaking hand of the weapon. “Such actions, even the smallest, are now forbidden.”

 

Her tension ebbed as he relieved her of the impossible task, panic replaced with wet-eyed relief. A mantle of warmth slipped over her and she relaxed, growing breathless as she reacquainted with the delicious, wet, throbbing place where they were joined. 

 

Eyes closed, she arched subtly, turning her head aside in an act of trust, giving him his pick of tantalizing locations.  

 

His softly spoken “no” drew her attention back to him. She opened her eyes questioningly, still grinding minutely on the hardness buried inside her.

 

“Not any of this loveliness,” he rasped, watching his own hand sweep over her throat, her sternum, both breasts. Instead, he reached down to claim her left hand, turning it over and pressing the point of the curved blade into the fleshy pad of her index fingertip. 

 

Her brows drew together, eyes hooded as he paused at the threshold of breaking her skin. 

 

“Do you remember this, angel?” he purred sensuously, “the moment you made yourself mine?” 

 

She panted as distress and arousal warred within her, surging and receding in a virulent mix. Blending. Merging into one. She blinked, flushed lips parting—

 

With the ghost of triumph on his face, he pressed, slicing into the pad of her index finger. 

 

Her moan was low and drawn-out, the muscles of her thighs tightening as she clenched hard on his cock. Sharp, superficial pain mingled with the deep, visceral pleasure in her core, the two sensations seeming to magnify the other. Looking up, she saw him watching her with eyes alive with sinister delight. 

 

“Good pain?” he inquired, a lethal smirk on his lips.

 

“Mmh—” she managed, “mm-hm.”  

 

He appeared as entranced as she as her blood flowed, a minuscule river that ran down her finger, distorting the scarlet brand of his name. She saw a muscle twitch in his jaw, and realized...he was keeping himself in check, utilizing a measure of his will to refrain from doing something to her. 

 

It should have frightened her, should have sent her running in a cold panic. Instead, stealthy, molten warmth bloomed within her and she squirmed atop him, her pussy throbbing wildly, threatening to come right then and there. 

 

“Fuck, Kylo—it’s so good, so so good,” she rambled, hips aching to strike up a rhythm and fuck herself right over the edge. 

 

“Let’s make it better,” he said, his tone short as he flipped the dagger. His speed left her startled as it flashed, slicing impatiently into the pad of his index finger in a cut identical to hers. Crimson blood spilled anew, dripping down into the webbing of his fingers, beckoning her. 

 

The dark, cunning thing within her stirred, setting fire to her mind. Her mouth flooded with want, the light of her eyes zeroing out as she fixated on the temptation before her.

 

He gave her a wolfish smile as she seized his hand and brought it to her mouth. “Always so fucking perfect,” he praised, tilting his head to lick a line of blood from her finger.

 

How she loved the way he shuddered at that first taste, his red-hot eyes rolling back for the briefest second. Never breaking his gaze, she sealed her lips around his finger and sucked. 

 

She could feel him swell deep within her womb, thrilled by the primal quality of her energy, charmed as she so willingly desecrated herself.

 

All around them, their covenant wove its inky threads all the tighter, binding them indelibly as they began to move. 

 

The feeling of him inside was maddening—pulsating, vital, unspeakably delicious. She came with his blood on her lips, the soft cloudlike suction of his mouth coaxing the soul from her body, taking even as she took from him. Pushing, pulling, mingling, fusing. Ebbing and flowing, one picking up where the other ended. 

 

Rey didn’t know what was happening—around her, to her, inside her. All awareness had whittled down to the salty taste of him, to the resistance of his flesh as she tore hungrily at it, to the beating she was taking below as he fucked liquid heaven into the very core of her.

 

And riding the crest of that perfect, gorgeous chaos, she couldn’t be bothered to care.











Glossary/Translations

 

Tughra: A device used by the reigning sultans of the Ottoman Empire. A tughra was used as the signature of the sultan, a calligraphic monogram stamped on coins, affixed to all official correspondence and carved into the base of royal weaponry. 

 

Kylo: “Auktoi tu Kraujas.Tegu Nun Gerti iv Zhol.”  -- Spill your blood. Let me drink of it.






Chapter Text


 





Kylo reclined against her headboard, a statue with glittering eyes. He’d sat brooding for hours now, long enough that the shadows had begun to circle him lazily, like elements caught in a gravitational pull. Every now and then, a spindly finger of gloom would stray, creeping boldly over the nest of ruined bedding and the sleeping girl at its midst. 

 

He breathed in, attuned to the plummeting pressure, tasting the moisture that approached with the coming of night. 

 

Yes. Darkness was rising, and they had places to be.  

 

He felt it and yet he remained, unable to spur himself into action. 

 

What was this happening between them—this merging of their minds?

 

After the annoying errand in Lagos and an uncharacteristic amount of patience, his exquisite thrall had finally returned home. He hadn’t wasted time, pulling Rey atop his lap immediately. Even stretched open and quivering with the shock of receiving him, she’d managed to salvage enough wit to blurt out a question: Why had he felt the need to bring justice upon her former tormentor?  

 

He hadn’t expected it. In his surprise, he’d answered honestly, even going so far as to utter the sacrilegious truth, the very same crime that Maul had so recently accused him of: “You mean something to me…”

 

“As a plaything. A pet.” Her response had echoed through him, hollow and desolate. 

 

Of course, she was unaware of the weight and portent of his concession. How could a mortal know that compassion was the equivalent of blight, anathema to the cause? Even toeing the line was sacrilege… 

 

Her flat stare should have been meaningless in the scope of his purpose. Instead, it had sent a ripple through his very marrow, leaving him disturbed and unable to continue taking his pleasure.

 

And so he’d gone further, attempting to explain that which he could feel buried deep within him, reacting without thinking, as was his way with her.

 

“I rule you; it is as it should be, yet…this bond is—you are—more…” 

 

That had been the moment. 

 

The moment, exactly, when he’d felt the merging of their minds. Not initiated by him.  

 

Her eyes became luminous, near inhuman, sucking him in to drown on an amber sea. And, for the first time in all his existence, he was hypnotized, unable to move. Unwilling to move as he basked in the glow of this unexpected new intimacy.

 

Thinking back on it now, he inferred that some of his power had somehow, in that singular moment, transferred to her. 

 

She had plunged into his thoughts with delightful fearlessness, sinking down to his innermost core. He’d actually felt her there, looking around in his mind before freezing, startled to find herself in such an ominous place. 

 

It had been novel, a delight he’d never known or even conceived of. 

 

The raw, almost pained quality of her kiss had also been an unexpected treat. 

 

When the phenomena ceased, he’d plainly felt her conflict, a vintage that rolled off her in waves. She’d initiated the kiss, tearing herself from his lips to mutter a  “thank you,” that she hastily allotted to the revenge he’d taken on Plutt. 

 

Because he was only ever interested in having more of her, he’d found the entire affair deeply satisfying. She had come to him, into him, furthering the complexity of their bond. 

 

He hadn’t bothered to analyze it... until now.  

 

The shadows flocked around him, and as they deepened, so did a nagging feeling of uncertainty. 

 

I grant her too many freedoms, too much honesty, too many kindnesses. 

 

His nostrils flared as considered the unwelcome thought, his teeth grinding together in a shearing motion.

 

Tonight would bring a measure of balance, if indeed any was needed. She would come away with no illusions about exactly what he and his kind were, and how humans fit into their schemes. 

 

It should have bought him a measure of ease. 

 

Instead, he continued to suffer that vague, undefined sense of wrongness. His soft treatment of her was unorthodox, and therein lay pitfalls, phantoms at the periphery of his awareness.

 

And yet…  

 

He turned to gaze at her and felt the familiar contentment begin to supersede all else. She lay with her back to him, her dark hair in glorious disarray over the goose down pillow. His eyes traced the gentle rise and fall of her rib cage, the dramatic dip of her waist and flare of her hip. 

 

So fragile. So perfect. So HIS. 

 

He inhaled, savoring the mingled scent of his semen and her skin, near indistinguishable. A low thrill of satisfaction thrummed through him, a sense of rightness. Some deep-seated part of him wanted to lift her, to exalt her even as he ached to bind her further, to glut himself in every which way. 

 

He was irrationally possessive, and at this juncture realized it cut deep beyond the excuse of his nature.

 

The moment she’d passed out, he’d plunged into her mind, hungry to know how she’d spent her time while he was away. 

 

Rey’s memories of the day played in reverse. He watched through her eyes as she visited with her mother, amused by their conversation about dating and the way she’d fumbled to explain the Lamborghini. Her day continued to unspool, and within the flashes of places and scenes and feelings, a familiar face was revealed. 

 

Bazine. The fire in his eyes flared, twin spots of malevolent energy amidst the inky darkness of her room. Crafty little witch. 

 

He animated, all languidness abandoned as he scanned each minute detail of Rey’s encounter in the arboretum. His delight couldn’t be contained as he recognized the hot flash of jealousy on Bazine’s face. She’d seen Rey’s brand. He threw back his head, laughing to himself. Good.  

 

He retracted from his sleeping thrall’s mind, his mind swarming over the information.

 

Maul’s claim had merit. He had observed Rey through the memories of his own thrall, sent as reconnaissance. Just as Traya had sent Qui Gon Jinn. 

 

How wonderful. Anticipation simmered, quickly eclipsing his earlier concerns.

 

After tonight, she might not be grateful, not exactly...but she’d have no doubts about what thralldom usually meant. 

 

Beside him, the cadence of her breathing shortened, becoming quieter, and the change informed of her imminent awakening. Repressing a smile, he closed his eyes, pretending to rest. He could feel the movement as she stirred, disentangling herself from the chaotic sea of bedding and making to rise. 

 

Her slight weight lifted from the bed. With morbid amusement, he cracked an eye and observed the cautious way she moved, fairly sneaking, obviously trying to make a beeline for the shower. 

 

He gazed fondly at the retreat of her tight little ass and thought that, yes, she did need a firmer hand.

 

Rey’d made it halfway to the bathroom when he rolled over and focused, summoning the dark energies. You will freeze where you stand. A silent wave of power pulsed toward her, and her lower body locked in place. 

 

Her little gasp broke the silence, and he smiled darkly. “And just where do you think you’re going, angel?” 

 

She recovered quickly from her surprise, making a wordless sound of annoyance. “Ugh, you are the worst!” she grumbled, shooting an accusing look over her shoulder. “Let me go.”

 

“You’re not heading to bathe, are you?” he persisted, cocking his head. 

 

Her indignant expression slipped a little.

 

“You would undo all of my meticulous handiwork? Even with where we’re going tonight?” With a dismissive gesture, he released her from the invisible bonds.

 

She moved her legs experimentally before turning to face him with narrowed eyes and one impertinent hand on her hip. “Doesn’t this—” she displayed her branded finger, “do that perfectly well?” 

 

“Only if they come near and attempt to touch you.”

 

He wasn’t lying, though he wasn’t exactly answering honestly either. It was true that his mark would repel all demonkind, but that hadn’t stopped him from permitting himself a wee bit of demonic excess (for what’s the point of owning one such a tempting thrall if one doesn’t indulge from time to time?).

 

While she lay exhausted, he’d lifted each shaking limb in turn, massaging her muscles with his creamy spend until her skin drank it in, branding her with his scent and ensuring that his ownership would be evident to every supernatural within hundreds of leagues. 

 

The surly look she gave him now said it all. “You just like dragging me to new lows,” she muttered. 

 

Her accusation was more accurate than she’d ever know. For a split second, the fire he contained licked to the surface, revealing itself in a molten-hot flash in his eyes. 

 

“All to protect you, my dear.” 

 

“Sure it is,” she deadpanned, unimpressed. Without recourse, she turned, looking around her apartment with the look of a trauma victim. Her eyes came to rest on the remnants of her Lululemon running ensemble, shredded and cast over the back of her couch. 

 

She sighed, exasperated. 

 

His dick stirred as he drank in her stormy expression, more lovely than she could ever imagine. All his. Only his.

 

“Do you know you are the bane of my wardrobe’s existence?” she groused, “do you!?”

 

He chuckled, genuinely entertained by the things that elicited complaint. Not the bruises or aching limbs or the way he rode her until she couldn’t speak a word of english. Not her natural human fear of the supernatural or the tainted condition of her everlasting soul, no.

 

“I hadn’t thought about it, but yes—your clothes mean less than nothing to me. They wrap that which matters and I very much enjoy discarding them. But, surely, you’ll agree.” He gestured at her nakedness with a hooded gaze. “Why, just look at yourself—you’re perfection, my dear. Why ever would you mess with a good thing?” he added slyly.

 

She broke into bitter laughter, wandering aimlessly back to the bed and sinking down to perch at its edge. “I appreciate the compliment and all, but do forgive me if I accuse you of giving impractical advice,” she snarked, favoring him with a brittle smile. “And there is the fact that you’re a demon.”

 

“Which means?” 

 

“A host of fucked up things, most notably that you’re out for no good and can’t be trusted.” 

 

“Guilty as charged,” he admitted, observing as she settled herself amidst the rumpled sheets with reckless indifference. Her spine was loose, and she didn’t bother to sit strategically or veil herself. She was, at this stage, uncaring of modesty, and he found himself charmed by her fearlessness.

 

It occurred that part of what nagged at him was also that which he craved—her spiciness, the way she stood her ground, even now remaining her own person. So strong despite all that had befallen her. 

 

She sat watching him with those golden-green eyes, her stare haunted and yet so deliciously direct. “You seem to get the things you want, when you want them,” she said, almost accusingly. “I’d guess apparel is no exception.”

 

“Are you saying I live a charmed existence?”

 

“Oh, yes. But it’s not by merit of playing fair. You use your powers to achieve the things you want.”

 

“So aggrieved,” he murmured softly. “Say the word and I’ll use my powers to achieve a thing that you want.”

 

“Freedom from this bond.”

 

“Ha! Such gall.” He lowered his head, staring her down as he got onto all fours. “Aim a little lower, angel,” he breathed, beginning to prowl toward her.

 

She watched him come, brave enough to hold her ground.

 

“Hmm…I—” She paused, voice quavering a little as he blew the hair that draped over her shoulder hair aside, unveiling his target.

 

He smiled as her hands cinched, gathering fistfuls of sheets. “Do continue,” he coaxed, using his head to lightly push hers aside.

 

The skin of her neck was tender and host to a network of highly-sensitive nerve endings. He knew well how weak she became when he dallied there, and used that power over her for what it was—a favored tool.

 

He sealed his lips in an open-mouthed kiss, licking languidly at the side of her throat. 

 

She exhaled in a huff, rocking backward a little but not seeking to run.

 

He paused, savoring the way her blood now raced beneath her skin, his eyes skating over the erratic rise and fall of her pert breasts. Her nipples were rock-hard, and he resisted the urge to touch them. “You were saying?” he breathed, returning to suck a little higher.

 

“I, I’d like…” 

 

His mouth surging over the delicate muscle below her ear, drawing it into his mouth to bite. 

 

She moaned and it electrified him, causing his dick to twitch. 

 

Nine hells. He growled, relishing the stiff current of lust that flexed between them. If he obeyed it, they’d not be going anywhere tonight and perhaps more consequentially, she wouldn’t be able to walk for a week.

 

With effort, he backed off, releasing her from his teeth as he mouthed down the graceful column of her neck. “What would you like?” 

 

Her voice was dazed, unreliable. “A...a new running ensemble…”

 

He hid his smirk in the dark nest of her hair. “That, I can do...you shall have it,” he said, placing a final, lingering kiss at the edge of her collarbone. “But, until then, come.”

 

He forced himself to rise and stand before her. It was time to get her ready. Gazing down on her dazed, upturned face, he clenched his jaw, resisting the urge to seize her head and guide that sweet little mouth onto his erect cock. Time for that later.

 

“Perhaps I can make it up to you with a little couture.” He flashed a devilish smile, bright and full of teeth. “Zuhair Murad was most persuadable.”




 

Rey blinked, still breathless as he pulled her lightly to her feet. His quick change of pace released her from the net of hunger that had begun to tighten. Thus freed, she attempted to gather the remains of her wits. 

 

She looked down at the hand that all but engulfed hers, felt the power that strained at his edges. Inhuman, yet warm. Stained with the blood of countless souls. Some unnamable thing stirred in her breast, and she grasped his hand in return, keeping pace rather than being towed along in his wake. 

 

It only took several seconds to reach the walk-in dressing room that adjoined her bathroom. Those fleeting moments blurred, dreamlike as they moved in tandem—united in their nakedness, all smooth skin and limber muscle prowling through the shadows. The perception was skewed; she shouldn’t feel ease around him, not ever. Still, she couldn’t dispel the pervasive closeness she felt to him, the lover's facade. 

 

Deja vu—the echo of another time.

 

There was light at the very core of his darkness, minute but sustained. Her throat constricted with a dull ache at the remembrance of it, the knowledge that he harbored a flame of beneficence for her, no matter how small. It should have brought comfort. Instead, she found her stomach tightening as bitterness sank its teeth in. 

 

Entering her walk-in, he waved the LEDs of her wall-mounted mirror to life. She blinked, squinting at the sudden source of light, grateful as her grasp on reality was restored.

 

He led her to the chair before her cosmetic-strewn vanity and guided her into it. When she was seated, he cast a critical eye over her array of makeup, running his fingers over lightly over the mess.

 

She watched him in the mirror, arching her brows.

 

“Hm. This will have to do, I suppose,” he muttered, more to himself than to her.

 

 She cocked her head and frowned slightly. Was he dissing her stuff?!

 

“Well, I’ll go first, since it's all show with me.”

 

 What the hell was he talking abou—”

 

All coherent thought shorted as he took a step back, affording a perfect, unhindered view. 

 

It was instinctual, the way her eye mapped his magnificent build, skimming the inked breadth of his shoulders, lingering over the sculpted muscles of his chest and honed torso. Fuck.

 

She wasn’t strong enough, and her gaze slipped lower. Oh, she thought dumbly, zeroing in on the pillar standing at attention between his sculpted thighs. 

 

His cock was thicker around than her wrist and sported a slight upward curve. Even fully erect, its sheer weight meant it jutted straight out, rather than up. Angled gorgeously, and ready to just...

 

A deep, unsanctioned throb pulsed through her core. How the bloody hell did he not actively *slay her* every time they fucked?!

 

Her lips parted as obscene urges began to slink about the corners of her mind, fanged shadows that grew ever bolder. The warmth in her core spread as she continued to stare, the light of her eyes giving way to darkness. 

 

Turn around and seize his hips. Yank him forward and slip your lips over that luscious head. She blinked furiously, exhaling a shallow breath. Nurse at his plushness, lick the salt that weeps from him. Slicken him, embrace the ache as you consume that heavy girth. 

 

A moan threatened and she bit her lip, shrinking down a little in her seat, but the little voice continued to whisper, unrelenting. 

 

Test his hardness with your teeth. Bask in his groans as you slide onto his shaft. Draw at his length. Besiege him with wave after wave of wet, pulsating heat. Slurp and lick and suckle until he spills over your tongue, conquered by the merciless pull of your mouth...

 

Her jaw smarted, mouth flooding with saliva. W-what—? Horrified disbelief descended and she pinched her thigh hard enough to bruise. Looking up, she found him staring, his eyes narrowed ever-so-slightly. Had he heard the whispering of her mind?

 

She hung her head, heart pounding furiously. Jesus god in heaven, what is happening to me?! 

 

She cleared her throat, sure that he had heard and finding it oddly unbearable. “This whole mind-reading thing really sucks, and we should definitely talk about boundaries if—if we’re going to…” She stopped, risking a mortified glance up at him. 

 

“To continue?” he rumbled throatily. “Oh, yes, yes we are.”

 

She flushed a deeper shade of scarlet at the sight of his knowing smirk. “I’m sorry!” she burst out, shaking her head because it was fucking ridiculous to apologize to him. Then she paused, struck by the looney thought that, maybe, she was apologizing to herself? She cringed, feeling miserable and impossibly guilty. 

 

“I don’t know where that came from, I—” she paused, shifting quickly to an accusing stare. “I’ve been keeping rotten company lately, and I, I think it might be rubbing off on me,” she finished, hiding her embarrassment behind a stubborn glare. 

 

For the love of Christ, what was wrong with her?!? How could she want him like that? Then, a far more frightening thought: Was that really even HER? 

 

She inhaled, holding her breath as she considered the awful thought. He was in her near-daily, and the way he climaxed...so excessive...flooding her body with his cum, guiding her to drink it, rubbing it lovingly into her skin. She had to have absorbed, like, gallons of whatever essence it was that demons produced, and within the short span of a few weeks. Could it have a corruptive influence on her thinking? Or perhaps the real culprit wasn’t so obvious...there was that shard of black that had inserted during their initial bonding—sentient, lurking. She could still feel it, HIM, at the back of her mind, cold as the void of deep space and just as fathomless. 

 

He chuckled, the sound of his amusement interrupting her mental struggle. She looked up, anxious to leave her train of thought behind for the time being. 

 

Perhaps he knew this too and had decided to humor her. Holding her watery gaze, he swept his hand down his body, like a magician doing a parlor trick.

 

She gaped as clothing materialized over his body, tailored to perfection. 

 

“Wow. That’s some move,” she breathed.

 

“We’re going out tonight,” he stated, smiling rakishly. 

 

Her mouth was slightly ajar, but it couldn’t be helped. He was worth ogling in black on black, his oxford subtly gleaming in a way that screamed expensive , worn just open enough to reveal the tattoos that crept over his clavicle and up the sides of his neck. His slacks hinted at the powerful muscles beneath, and a scored velvet smoking jacket completed his look. 

 

Rey felt her heart flop hopelessly in her breast. He was lethally hot tonight, every last detail dark and sumptuous. 

 

He seemed to know. 

 

With a glittering smirk, he produced a martini out of nowhere and pushed it into her hand. “Have a drink, my dear, and relax while I handle everything.”

 

“Th-thank you,” she managed, swigging at the cocktail with unfeigned gratitude.

 

She found herself sitting naked before a painfully dapper, fully dressed demon, her only adornment being the glass she held. The constant haunt of nervous energy returned, and she shifted in her seat, feeling increasingly vulnerable. 

 

He nodded in apparent satisfaction and strolled over to her mirrored closets, speaking over his shoulder. “While I was out earlier, I stopped and picked something out for you tonight.” 

 

“Oh?” she asked, her own voice sounding weak in her ears. “Where?”

 

“The city of angels.”

 

Fuck. The way he got around was completely insane. She swallowed another mouthful of whatever drink he’d given her, embracing the burn as he retrieved a hanger and turned.

 

Her brows shot up as she scanned the very small cocktail dress he held, its bohemian motif picked out in black, silver and red beading. It was stunning, and stunningly revealing—a sheer, long-sleeved minidress with geometric designs that reminded her of a trip to Marrakech. The bodice was a plunging V, and the skimpy hem of the skirt allowed legs for days. 

 

Rey felt a little faint as she realized...despite the strategically placed beading, her lingerie would be visible.

 

“Zuhair Murad so generously relinquished a piece from his soon-to-be-unveiled Spring collection. You will be a vision to make the fiends drool and angels weep.”

 

Tearing her eyes from the shimmering cocktail dress, she met his eyes and took another quick gulp of her martini. “You knew what you were doing, giving me this,” she mumbled. 

 

“Indeed.”

 

Smug bastard. She huffed, silently coaching serenity as he descended upon her and began.

 

The beast insisted she remain naked the whole time, because of course he did. 

 

She watched his reflection in the mirror as he worked, wondering how hands that large could perform such delicate tasks. Hands that had gripped the very same hair in a brutal vise. The inked symbols on his knuckles danced as he deftly gathered her hair, securing each portion with little tucks and twists. 

 

At length, he stepped back and scanned the artfully messy updo he’d created. “That should serve,” he muttered with a short nod. 

 

Rey sipped her drink in silence, unwillingly impressed with the job he did. Was there ANYTHING he didn’t do well? Fucking Hell…

 

His attention shifted to makeup, and he flipped through her brushes until he found the one he wanted. It appeared so small in his grasp, a twig he might snap without meaning to. 

 

She chased the odd lump in her throat down with another swallow of booze, fixating on the sparkle of his jeweled cufflinks.

 

“Close your eyes,” he murmured, loading the flat brush with primer. 

 

The brush stroked gently over her eyelids as he applied the cream color from lash to brow line. 

 

When he paused in his work, she cracked an eye and peaked at him, unable to help herself. His dark eyes swept over her, face set in a look of concentration. 

 

“Ah-ah,” he chided. “Close.” 

 

She pursed her lips and obeyed, trying to relax as the unlikely scenario continued to pan out. At last, he ceased and she heard him make a small noise of satisfaction. 

 

Opening her eyes, she stared down into her lap, hands fidgeting with the stem of her half-empty martini. He was being so tender, so painstaking with the care he was taking, and it really was fucking with her perceptions. 

 

“Who would’ve thought you’d be good at dolling girls up?” she half-grumbled, venting the excess of conflicting emotion.

 

“Not girls, a girl,” he corrected, twisting her further as he perused her options for blush. “Painting a face really isn’t much different from painting a canvas,” he added distractedly. “The masters all say it helps to have an inspiring muse.”

 

She felt a plaintive, heavy throb in her breast. No. The implication of his words was something she wouldn’t, couldn’t deal with. 

 

“Kylo Ren,” she deadpanned, “master esthetician by day, archdemon by night.” 

 

He turned to her with a sharp, appraising sparkle in his eyes, bending down so that their faces were on a level. “Sarcasm, the quick fix for every emotion you never wanted,” he said mildly, beginning to swipe her cheeks with a fresh peach hue.

 

A muscle in her jaw jumped as she clenched her teeth, inwardly cringing at the deadly accuracy of his return.

 

“So…” he began, remaining objective as he moved to the opposite cheek. “...how’s Maz?”

 

Rey squeezed the fragile stem in her hand as the muscles in her body tensed. Oh god...

 

“She–she’s—“ Rey faltered, aghast at his casual mention of her beloved mother. “She’s doing fine,” she finished weakly.

 

He’d read it all in her thoughts, knew how she’d spent her morning. Of-fucking-course he had. Rey inwardly cursed herself for a fool.

 

His dark, inscrutable eyes flashed to hers before refocusing on his work. “So. Are you ever going to let me meet her?”

 

She swallowed, staring at his reflection in blatant fear. “N-no, she squeaked. “No, you can’t meet her, you—you’re—“

 

“Exceedingly charming?” he interjected, straightening up with her makeup brush jauntily poised. “I know. I’d have her in the bag before we ever shook hands.” A cocky smile was on his lips and she hadn’t enough energy to hate him. 

 

Instead, she tried begging. 

 

“Kylo, please. I, I don’t think I could keep up the facade in front of her. You—” she broke off, grappling for words and totally flustered, “even you can admit that you aren’t exactly the usual boyfriend you bring home to mom, and—and my mom?” she squeaked, shaking her head at him with eyes wide as saucers. “You don’t know her but she’s really fucking sharp. Maz has a way of sensing when something’s off, it's like a sixth sense. I’ve never been able to fool her.”

 

“You’ve also never had backup like me before,” he countered, his voice low and silken. “If things go sideways, I can always erase her memory of our visit.” 

 

Rey felt the icy tingling in her face, watching her reflection in real-time as she went sheet-pale. Turning in her seat, she seized his free hand, pressing it to her sternum as she stared pleadingly up at him. 

 

“I know you’ve elected to leave her alone, and I’ll never be able to put into words how much that means to me. Please. Can we just...continue to leave her out of it?” 

 

His eyes simmered a hazardous orange as he considered it. Letting her hang. She knew well how he savored her discomfort, and she waited in silent agony to learn exactly how uncomfortable he wanted her to be.  

 

“Bargain with me. What will you give me if I humor your request?”

 

Fuck. Her eyes unfocused as she cast wildly about in her mind. What could he want? She chewed her lip, wanting to come up with something good enough to entice him. Her eyes flashed to the minidress behind her.

 

“No underwear,” she blurted. “I won’t wear anything under your dress.” 

 

Her heart stuttered as he arched a sable brow, looking unimpressed. More. She needed to come up with more.  

 

“And I want you to...to crown me—” she paused, suddenly hesitant. No going back.

 

“For the night,” she added, beginning to rush. “I’ll wear whatever crown you give me. I’ll let you...and I’ll take it like a–like a good girl,” she finished, voice grown small as that of a child.

 

Lazily, he scanned up and down her naked body, making a show of thinking about it. “Fine. She stays out of it...for now.”  

 

Yes. Relief flooded through her, and on impulse, she pressed a kiss to his knuckles. “Thank you,” she breathed, earnestly. 

 

Releasing his hand, she slowly turned back to face the mirror with a distinct sense of mortality in place. She felt wobbly, like one who has narrowly missed being hit by a train. Not even the prospect of him fitting her with another trainer perturbed her.

 

“Now close your eyes and let me finish,” he said, his tone short. 

 

She quickly complied and felt the brisque strokes begin over her eyelids. He hummed as he worked, the rich sound of his baritone easing some of the tension away.  

 

When he prompted her to open, she found an unfamiliar siren staring back at her. She gawked openly at her reflection. He’d pulled off a sleek, urban cat eye, drawing out the corner of her lash line with a sparkling gunmetal grey. Short of the ephemeral peach on her cheekbones, he’d left her skin bare. Her lips were a dewy rose color, the perfect compliment to her sultry, smoky eyes. 

 

“Wow,” she breathed. “You’re good. But...couldn’t you have just snapped your fingers and magicked this on me?”

 

He gave a sphinxlike smile and said nothing, stretching his hand out behind him. A pair of strappy, black gladiator stilettos floated out of her closet, drawn by his unspoken command.

 

He turned the swivel chair around, stooping to set the heels beside her. A shiver skittered up her spine as she remembered the last pair of shoes he’d presented her with, the way he’d knelt before her, looking so subservient as he slid her feet into the blood-stained pumps. 

 

This time, he straightened, leaving her to put them on. “Lace yourself into these,” he said, staring down on her with a calculating look. “I’ll be right back.”

 

What!? She held her tongue as he strode away from her, his tall, broad form melding with the deep shadows of her lightless bedroom. The sound of rapidly displaced air marked his departure.

 

Stooping down, she forced herself not to think about where he was going, seizing a shoe and loosening the shin-high series of leather straps. 

 

“Goddamnit, Rey,” she mumbled, slipping a foot in, “you couldn’t come up with anything better on the spot, could you?” Tightening the straps, she flexed her foot and retrieved the other heel. “Now you’ll enjoy the dubious pleasure of a night out with your favorite demon, another godforsaken butt plug up your ass, no panties, and a dress that barely exists…”

 

The stilettos fit perfectly and even she had to admit—there was something dreadfully sexy about sitting there bathed in the glow of her vanity lights, clad in lethal-looking black leather gladiator heels...and nothing else. 

 

When she turned back to the vanity, she found a fresh martini beside her own sultry reflection. He could be thoughtful—for a demon. She reached for the fragile stem, carefully bringing it to her lips for a sip. The alcohol burned, and warmth threaded beneath her skin. She relaxed deeper into her chair, and for a brief moment, her mind strayed to places she’d rather not go, wondering what he had in store for her this evening. 

 

“I’m making good on my promise.”

 

She started at the sound of his voice, spilling a little of her drink over a bare thigh. From the darkness, he reemerged, looking none worse for the wear and carrying a small something in one fist.

 

“Tonight, I’ll bring you to the Akeldama, the Field of Blood.”

 

“Oh,” she replied, doing her damnedest to remain blasé. “That sounds...lovely.”

 

His smile was not reassuring.

 

“It is a nightclub of sorts, a gathering place specifically designed to house both mortal thralls and demonkind. Tonight, you will meet your fellow thralls and come to know the ways they serve. Now, up you go,” he prompted, giving her no time to fret as he pulled her to her feet. 

 

She found herself facing the mirror with him looming behind, his immense, fully-clothed form only serving to punctuate her naked state. His hands rested on her hips, and now she could see that he held a small, leather box in one hand.

 

Of course. She swallowed her nervousness, determined to upkeep her end of the bargain. Holding his gaze in the mirror, she slowly bent double, breathing through parted lips as she tilted her ass up to him.

 

“Such a pretty sight,” he purred, his eyes lighting with a quick flash of crimson as he slowly looked her over. “The shoes suit you.”

 

A tremulous note plucked in her core as he met her eyes. He smirked ever so slightly as he flipped open the box and his voice enveloped her, warm and dark, like poured honey. “That’s a good girl, you keep your eyes on me. No looking away.” 

 

A silvery conical plug appeared, looking so unobtrusive in such a large hand. She kept her promise, watching unblinkingly as he brought it to his mouth and began to suck at the business end. 

 

She bit her lip when it came away dripping, quelling the urge to moan. He hasn’t even touched you.

 

His free hand smoothed up over the rounds of her ass, stroking lightly up her lower back in a whisper of skin.

 

His eyes bored holes into her as the hand at her back began to apply firm pressure, holding her down against the counter of her vanity.

 

A whimper snuck out when she felt the slippery metal meet her ass. He hummed as he breached her and she gasped, lashes fluttering at the illicit feel of hardness dipping in and out of her.

 

She huffed, battling the urge to squirm away. It was soooo dirty.

 

“Such a good girl, Rey,” he murmured, teasing the blunt tip in and out of the tightly-furled opening between her cheeks. “Relax into it. You’ve taken my dick in this pretty little ass; this here is just child’s play.”

 

If pleasing him meant a chance to keep Maz shielded, it was a price she would pay. She blinked, nodding bravely as she arched her ass up higher, on her most submissive behavior. 

 

“Mmm, my little vixen is so damn tight, ” he rasped, pressing deeper. She felt her cunt clench, whether in sympathy or envy, she couldn’t discern.

 

It became harder and harder not to close her eyes and fall into the sensation. She couldn’t see the point of penetration, but oh, did she feel. The sight of him looming at her back, his arm angled down between her spread legs, pulsing subtly with each push into her—it had her panting, her gaze becoming half-lidded as lust began to occlude her mind. The slick, wet sounds that accompanied his play didn’t help, and she let herself moan aloud as the stretch became more intense. 

 

All at once, he pushed and for one panicked moment, the stretch grew unbearable. A pleading yelp slipped her lips, then it was over as the plug settled into place.

 

She resolutely ignored her own distressed expression, eyes trained on him as she awaited his verdict. “Good?” she asked in a small, high-pitched whisper, needing to hear it. 

 

Throughout the entire affair, he had remained locked on her face, savoring the play of her emotions rather than the act itself. Now, he looked down, his large hands skating lightly over the rounds of her bottom. 

 

A blush colored her cheeks as the seconds ticked, and she forced herself to remain still under his probing gaze, anxiety ratcheting as she awaited his verdict.

 

“Too good,” came his growled reply. 

 

Rey squeaked as he yanked her up into his arms, flipping her around just as his lips crashed against hers. 

 

The kiss was an assault she could only cave to, letting him devour as he would. His tongue surged against hers invitingly and she gave in to the temptation, winding her hands into his inky tresses and knotting them. His hands were everywhere, an ever-roaming delivery of heady sensation. 

 

All at once, his voice was a fire in her head, and she could only whimper as he mind-fucked her in tandem with the dizzying kiss. Too good, Rey. You’re too good, and I’m going to find every occasion to fuck you within an inch of your life. 

 

She’d never withstand the white-hot tempest that met her head-on. His desire for her was total, and she cast all hope of survival aside, letting herself burn. The yearning note of her acquiescence he devoured, claiming it for his own along with the rest of her. 

 

Urgency pulsed through her veins as she pressed her naked body to his, rubbing against the velvet that hid his solid muscles, drunk on the sense of her own powerlessness.

 

By an act of sheer desperation, she broke the kiss for but an instant, uttering a breathless, “please!” before he reclaimed her mouth with a warning snarl. Please fuck me. I ache for you.

 

His feral groans reverberated in her mouth, sharp teeth biting at her lips, sucking and licking so explicitly she felt the liquid in her core spill over, dripping down, leaving her thighs slick. 

 

Still, he wouldn’t release her mouth. Please, Kylo. I know nothing but you. I NEED nothing but you. Please...

 

A tremor shuddered through him, power flowing beneath her clutching fingers. She felt his hands grasp below her ass, tightening.

 

Elation lit through her as, with a sharp yank, he lifted her, splitting her thighs apart. It was seamless, near graceful as he positioned her at just the right height, driving his dick into her in a single, brutal thrust.

 

She went boneless, nerve endings triggered to bursting, sobbing at the added pressure of the plug in her ass. His rapid-fire thrusts had a wildness to them, a desperate feel, as if he too had no control over himself. 

 

Three strokes in, she went rigid as ecstasy overtook her.

 

Now he released her lips, murmuring to her in his archaic tongue as she completely lost it. She shrieked as obscene pleasure detonated over and over, blasts that rippled up her torso and radiated down her thighs. Her loud cries had only tapered into soft little whimpers when he followed her with a bestial snarl, the near-violent, repetitive surges causing her to weep with renewed rapture. 

 

Time seemed to skip, and as her senses returned, she found herself propped up, the cool surface of the mirror at her back, his raven-dark head bobbing between her legs as he licked her clean. 

 

When he was satisfied, he glanced up at her with a wicked smile, straightening to his full height. “I hadn’t planned on that,” he admitted, licking his lips of the last of their juices.

 

There was no comeback—it had been her begging for it. Tipping her head up, she straightened her spine with as much dignity as she could muster. “Well, there’s no need to rub it in.”

 

The smug smile stayed but he said nothing, touching up her make-up and reapplying the lipstick he’d so furiously kissed off. He was deft, so courteous as he helped her step into the dress and slide her arms through the long, fitted sleeves. It cinched tight as he zipped her up, encasing her curves in silk organza and glittering geometric patterns. Touching the dip of her waist, she rolled her shoulders slightly, feeling the dress flex with her movement. Fuck, if he didn’t have her size down pat.

 

She turned to view the finished product. Oh my god. Her eyes sought his in the mirror and she shook her head, speechless.

 

“You, darling, are perfect," he announced, sliding his hands around her waist.

 

With a quick twist, he spun her quickly to face him. She lost her balance, tipping into him, coming to rest with hands splayed over the scored black velvet of his lapel, his strong arms wrapped securely around her. 

 

“Now I’ve been generous with you, and I want you to shoot straight with me—no sugarcoating. Or I’ll know,” he warned, managing to sound threatening and incredibly sensuous all at once.

 

Her abs contracted as she braced herself. 

 

“So tell me honestly,” he continued with the ghost of a smile. “It wasn’t that bad when I met Rose, was it?” 

 

Her mouth fell open and she sputtered unintelligibly before regaining the ability to form sentences. “Uh, yes, yes, it WAS! It was completely, absolutely stressful! Also, you, you totally—cheated!” she blurted. “She wasn’t herself! You charmed her—”

 

“Young lady,” he interjected calmly, “I charm everything with warm blood and a heartbeat. The only one who seems to be exempt is you.

 

She gaped at him weakly.

 

He flashed her a gloating little look before releasing her, leaning over the vanity as he checked his reflection, massive hands adjusting the velvet collar of his jacket. The action was so deceptively human, and he was horribly, achingly, desperately handsome. 

 

She floundered deeper into speechlessness. 

 

Her muscles twitched, involuntarily hugging the metal plug up her ass. “I hate you,” she managed, breathily.

 

Satisfied, he turned and swept her up against him once more. His wolfish smile did some kind of number on her knees, and when he buried his face in her hair, she let herself melt against the solid planes of his body, going all pliable and soft.

 

“Good,” he murmured against her ear, the sultry rumble sending little darts of pleasure skittering down her spine. “Then all is as it should be.”





Chapter Text

 

 

 




11:26 pm, Downtown Seattle.

 

An unmarked alleyway.



 

They had touched down moments before, their landing disarmingly gentle after the violent, comet-like speed of his flight. Once released, Rey lurched away from him, embracing the blessedly solid wall of a neighboring building. 

 

Pressing herself to the rough-hewn brick, she panted unevenly as she gained her bearings. “N-no—no person ...should ever be made to travel like that,” she slurred, shooting her demon a watery glare. 

 

“Get used to it, little vixen,” he retorted mildly, his sooty wings folding behind his shoulder blades with unconscious grace. She stared in bleary fascination as they vanished from her field of vision, completing the illusion that he was only a man. 

 

With a little effort, she released the wall and took a step, then another. When she felt confident she wouldn’t fall flat on her face, she looked up and found him standing with his head tilted toward the night sky, as if listening to some music she couldn’t hear. 

 

Her nervousness returned full-blown. “Is this the place?” she asked, taking stock of their surroundings. 

 

The buildings that hemmed them in on both sides were built of old town brick, their heights swallowed in a thick bank of fog. At the end of the alley was a plain door—no window, no doorman, just a dented metal slab that appeared to open inward. 

 

“Above it,” he replied. “The Akeldama lies in the catacombs, but its entrance is ever-changing.” 

 

Rey stared at him hard, waiting for more, but he remained in commune—or whatever .

 

She began to pace, unnerved by his cryptic behavior and in need of distraction. She focused on trying to relax around the obtrusive plug buried in her ass, not for the first time wondering if she mightn’t have come up with a different offering. 

 

Maz is safe. It’s worth it, she chanted silently, battling the natural urge to tense up. 

 

Even when she was still, she could feel it—a heavy fullness that ensured she couldn’t ignore that part of her body. The worst thing wasn’t the pressure or dull ache. Instead, she resented the control she’d handed him, her ever-present desire to squirm and whine over an unmet need that only he could assuage. And she’d done it to herself, sliding her chips across the table in exchange for protecting her mother. Now, she stood at the entrance to hell in the company of an archdemon...wearing a sheer dress and no panties...every move she made reminding her of the object he’d stuffed up her ass.

 

Kylo at last roused and locked his sights on her. “Comfortable?” 

 

The punk bastard was smirking a little. The urge to snarl at him was only held in check by the fact that she had bartered this situation for something infinitely more valuable. “Let’s just say there’ve been times when I was more at ease,” she replied tartly.

 

His smile widened, but he didn’t needle her further. “Follow me,” he said simply, turning and moving toward the door. 

 

She trailed after him, her eyes trained on his back. He cut an imposing figure, tall and broad-shouldered and clad all in black, stalking with that signature leonine grace toward the terminus of the dirty, dead-end alley. The whole picture was a cut scene of a film noir. Only the scene was reality—unmovable, unescapable. 

 

She clenched her jaw as a fresh wave of anxiety overtook her. Tonight was going to be fucked up, and no distraction on earth would keep her from thinking about what the evening might have in store. She had alternated between dredging up every telling comment he’d made about this club and trying not to remember, her mind pacing between the two like a caged beast. 

 

He’d said it would make her appreciate her situation, make her appreciate him

 

Her eyes tracked the way he moved, hyper-aware of the strength he contained. It would seem she didn’t need any help in the appreciation-department. She fidgetted, forcing herself to look away from him. 

 

A gust of icy air whipped down the alley, resurrecting the dead leaves of autumn. They skittered in circles, chasing each other deeper and deeper into the alley where they came to rest in piles. Trapped. She shivered, thrusting her hands into the cashmere-lined pockets of her coat, by turns grateful for its warmth and guilty for relishing his gifts so. 



“We’re traveling by air tonight.” 

 

It was casually said, like he expected her to not so much as blink at the idea of travel-by-archdemon...at nauseating, unimaginable speeds.  

 

“We are?” she asked, faltering.

 

He retrieved an unfamiliar knee-length coat from her closet and returned, holding it at the ready with a cocked eyebrow. There wasn’t exactly a choice, so she’d turned, numbly allowing him to slip it on over the scanty cocktail dress. 

 

“Mm-hmm,” came his reply, a deep, sonorous rumble that always managed to hint at the explicit. 

 

The weighty black wool was lined with something luxurious, and its cocoon collar stood up to her chin. It was a coat designed to combat bracing temperatures, and as its warmth enveloped her, she recalled that air travel HAD been like taking a dip in a cryogenic bath. 

 

She caught a glimpse of his face in the mirror, his attempt at solemnity betrayed by the incremental smirk that lurked at the corner of his mouth. 

 

A horde of butterflies took flight in her stomach. 

 

She’d never forget the last time—the ONLY time—he’d transported her by air. It was seared into her mind by merit of trauma, a series of emotion-laden flashes—wild desperation as she leaped from the sea cliff, not knowing if she’d survive the fall but absolutely sure that it was worth the risk. Gibbering disbelief as she hovered paralyzed above the waters of Puget Sound, her back buffeted by a rhythmic beat as he descended to retrieve her. Teary, bone-deep gratitude as he unbound her from the nightmarish tree, clinging to him freely as he bore her away from that unnamable place, traversing miles of icy air in a single heartbeat. 

 

Standing at her vanity, he had turned her back to face him, his eyes bottomless and unreadable. Hands that could inflict such cruelty worked their way up the front of her coat, buttoning her up to the chin, protecting her from the cold with brisk, efficient movements.



A light rain began to fall. 

 

Rey tucked her head down, using the cocoon collar to catch the warmth of her breath. The coat—and the gesture of giving it—chalked up to yet another temptation, a link in the chain that led her further along the path of assuming he cared. 

 

Fucking dangerous, she thought, coming to a halt several feet away from him. 

 

He stood before the featureless door, examining it as if it were a puzzle. 

 

She glanced down at the gladiator stilettos he’d chosen. They were predictably wicked, a patchwork of banded black leather that crawled boldly up to mid-calve. She shifted restlessly, flexing to force a little warmth back into the exposed parts of her legs, which were still half-frozen from their flight. 

 

What the fuck was taking so long?!  The suspense of waiting for the dreadful unknown was killing her, and she was close to asking what the issue was when his keen gaze finally honed in on a nondescript area of metal. 

 

Slowly, he reached up and very deliberately placed an index finger in his mouth. Anxiety slipped from her shoulders like an errant handbag, forgotten. What the—? 

 

From where she stood, she was just able to make out the profile of his canines as they elongated into something nightmarish. Her pupils widened, entranced as he bit down on his finger. The blood flowed, near-black against his pale skin, and oh—  

 

A stealthy something roused within her, laser-focused and hungry. 

 

Suddenly, her mouth was dry, thighs tensing as she squirmed subtly. Her ass throbbed and she chased the sensation, tightening around the contours of the plug, worrying at its hardness with masochistic yearning.

 

He shot a look in her direction. 

 

Lust ignited in her mind, whether it was hers or his, she didn’t know. All she knew was that his achingly lush lips framed a pair—no, a quartet of vicious canines, and it was having the opposite effect it should have. Her heart beat furiously in its cage, and not from fear. 

 

His nostrils flared, heightening the perception that yes, he was a predator, and no, she wasn’t safe. 

 

“Careful, Rey.” 

 

There was affection in his warning, so softly given. 

 

She bit her lip, feeling unhinged as she scored the meat of her palms with a matching set of eight crescents. The impulse to go to him was beating wildly through her veins. And what would it be like, to glide her tongue between them? To seal her lips against his and lap at his mouth, flirting in the shadow of those murderous fangs?

 

Without awareness, she moved close, her hand slowly tightening on the lapel of his coat. 

 

But those mesmerizing teeth were shrinking even as she entertained madness, returning to their more human appearance. Her eyes flicked up to his, wide and unblinking as she returned his black stare. 

 

When he spoke, his voice was hoarse, as if he too was affected by the slipping of her sanity. “These violent delights,” he prompted, trailing off.

 

Her stare drifted back down to his mouth. “...have violent ends,” she whispered back.

 

He reached up, the tattoos over his knuckles visible in her peripherals as he stroked her cheek. 

 

You play with fire, little girl, and as much as I’d LOVE to push you up against this door and use your back to knock the fuck out of it—we have somewhere to be. 

 

Aloud, he said, “watch yourself, angel.”  This time, there was no affection in his tone, only the cold, hard promise of retribution.

 

It was enough to break the spell. A belated frisson of fear jolted through her, causing the fine hair at the back of her neck to rise. It was as stark a reminder as she was like to get—she was small, and breakable, and jesusmaryandjoseph, what the actual fuck was wrong with her?!  

 

She stepped back, hastily putting space between them, all the while telling herself that surely some vestige of common fucking sense still remained her.

 

With a final gleam in his eye, he returned his attention to the door. Using his blood as ink, he traced a series of symbols on its surface. Her eyes widened as she recognized the runes—the very same that marched boldly down her finger...his name, depicted in the shadow language. 

 

He spoke to the dense Seattle fog that enveloped them, “Nu Sua Tevolijas. Anga.”  

 

The door slid open, eerily silent. 

 

He turned, casually slipping a hand to the small of her back. “Come in. They await.” 

 

An acute wave of vertigo overtook her as she crossed the threshold. She shot a hand out, grasping him for stability. The disorientation was short-lived, quickly replaced by a growing alarm. She knew this feeling...she’d been here before. Not this place, exactly, but…

 

Her eyes flew open and she gasped. No…!

 

This sensation—the same she’d experienced when he’d made an example of her recklessness, carrying her from the earth to somewhere else, somewhere nightmarish. The Tree of Souls.

 

Her hand tightened on his arm as she tried to steady herself, skin crawling with heightened awareness. “This place…” she trailed off, her frightened gaze darting about the windowless brick room, empty but for a steep, enclosed staircase that led straight down. 

 

“Yes,” he answered, “I’m so pleased you remember. We are on my plane now, darling.” 

 

He shrugged out of his coat, nonchalant as he strolled over to a gloomy corner. As he approached, a coat rack materialized out of the shadowy air, as if summoned. 

 

Not even that remarkable happenstance could shake the fragmented, needle-like horror that sank into her. Something was in here with them.

 

She hunted for it frantically, half-expecting to see stealthy movement in the dim lighting. Her eyes found nothing more frightful than the trick coat rack, but the hair on the back of her neck rose as she perceived a panting sound, like that of a wild animal. 

 

Kylo had conveniently materialized behind her, and she shrank back against him. “What is it?” she asked pleadingly, “I can hear it...b-breathing.”

 

“‘It’ is a ‘they’,” he replied, “and yes. They are watching us. You sense the Zveri Zemiau that guard this place; they are part-dog, part-lizard, all monstrosity. Had you somehow managed to enter here alone, they would’ve gleefully made a sport of your dismemberment.”

 

She wanted so badly to be tough, but she could literally feel the crawl of hungry eyes over her, and the image Kylo had painted did nothing to help. 

 

Turning in a circle, she hugged herself and focused on the sparse details of the room, trying not to envision the creatures that skulked unseen. Above the staircase, a lantern hung suspended from the iron jaws of a gargoyle, it’s panes casting a sickly glow. She risked a look down the narrow tunnel, her heart sinking to some new low as she realized...she couldn’t see an end. The stairs just kept on going, marching down in an alternating series of amber light and gloomy shadow. 

 

Kylo’s hands dwarfed her shoulders, sliding around to the front of her upturned collar. “I can taste your fear,” he murmured, so sensuous as he plucked open the first button of her coat. “It is... most delicious...but unnecessary.” 

 

She continued to stare down the staircase, forcing herself to take a deep breath as he undid button by button, unveiling her slowly, as if teasing the things lurking in the shadows. Her own vulnerability overwhelmed her wit, leaving her stripped and bare. 

 

“How can you expect me to be unafraid in a place like this?” she whispered, candid with him at last. “My skin crawls with what I can feel but not see. I am unwelcome.”

 

His raven hair tickled her cheek as he nibbled along the rim of her earlobe. “You are with me tonight, and you bear the mark of my name.” 

 

She tensed as teeth nipped the back of her neck, but it was quick; a lovebite.  

 

“Nothing will dare to touch you, my pet, neither demon nor human nor creature.” 

 

The weight of the coat slid from her body, leaving her bereft of its comforting warmth. Cool air moved over her thighs, reminding her that she wore the dress...and nothing else. 

 

“I am the only thing deserving of your fear,” he continued, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ear.

 

Rey nodded, understanding that—within the context—he was reassuring her. Whether he meant to, or not.

 

A measure of calm stole through her, and it was just enough. She exhaled her jitters, running her hands down her sides, barely aware of the silk organza with its rough patches of beadwork.

 

He’d gone to lengths to ensure she wouldn’t hurt herself, had showered her with luxury and even granted her concessions. And there was that little spark of light she’d glimpsed within him…

 

Fortitude soaked into her muscles, lending them strength. Keep your head high. You are a survivor. You move ever forward, never back. 

 

Her old mantra, her tried-and-true. The one that had helped her process through the heartbreak of being shuffled from family to family. The one that had preserved her sanity through the years spent under Plutt’s thumb and driven her to finish high school with top marks. The one that had propelled her through grad school and into a bright future of her own making. 

 

She’d never needed it more than now.

 

Her face hardened as her mask settled in place. Keep your head high, and fuck ALL these assholes—you are a survivor and you will weather this shitshow. 

 

Fortified by her inner drill sergeant, she turned and faced him. “Do you still sense my fear?” she asked, evenly.

 

He stepped closer, dipping his head to inhale against her cheek, skirting down the line of her throat while breathing in. 

 

The ghostly sensation of air sucked over her skin and the subtle heat of his body had her nerves snapping to attention. Still, she refused to tremble.

 

“Better,” he admitted, his tone laced with something like pride. He turned to flank her side, so dapper as he tucked her hand securely against his bicep. The fabric of his oxford gleamed in the amber light as he led them to the top of the staircase. “You seem...ready.”

 

She grasped the arm he offered. “Let’s just get this over with,” she muttered, aware that he was the only being who would offer her support this evening.

 

They began to descend. 

 

The hanging lanterns were the only feature in the stairwell. Their sconces cast fractured shards against the wall. Rather than illuminate, they only seemed to enrich the surrealism of the enclosed, tunnel-like staircase. The lights were spaced every thirteen stairs, and she found herself counting them as a measure of distance. 

 

One…

 

Two…

 

With each step, she keenly felt the solidity of the plug wedged in her ass, and she breathed through it.

 

Three… 

 

The eerie perception that they were not on earth remained, and Rey felt them descend through layers unseen, moving lower and lower into the maw of the earth. Not even her own determined grit could shield her from that which she couldn’t see. So it was that she decided conversation would be better than this yawning silence and the clicking echo of her heels.

 

“So,” she hedged, “are you gonna tell me about this place at all—what did you call it?”

 

Four…

 

“The Akeldama,” he answered, the deep baritone of his voice amplified in the narrow space. “Do you know the origin of the word?”

 

She shook her head, trying to keep her count going as they ventured deeper.  

 

Five…

 

“Then I’ll start there, for context. ‘Akeldama’ is Aramaic for ‘field of blood,’ a term of biblical significance. Judas chose to betray Jesus, and, in following his own greed, entered into a covenant with the dark. He received thirty silver pieces and bought a piece of land. The Akeldama it was named, for, in tilling it, he fell, splitting himself open and watering the fields with his lifeblood.”

 

Fucking hell…six...

 

“Well that might be the most horrible thing I’ve heard all day,” she said, failing to mask the trepidation in her tone. “And what does that charming story have to do with this club?” 

 

He chuckled, amused by her attempt at blasé. “As you might guess, we demons do enjoy a bit of fraternizing from time to time. The Akeldama is a place we bring the mortals who have entered into a pact with us. Like Judas, they’ve betrayed their fellow human beings, embracing darkness over the loftier ideals of the light. And like Judas, they bleed for us…”

 

Seven…or was it eight?  

 

“Oh,” she answered, unaware of how small her voice had become. She wouldn’t, couldn’t restrain the next question. “But what, exactly, goes on at this club?”

 

He paused, casting her a sharp smile, letting her dangle a bit before continuing. “Dancing, drinking, the usual debauchery. With perhaps a little more, mm...indulgence than you’re used to.”

 

Eight…

 

Her skin began to crawl and her ears popped, responding to some change in pressure. 

 

She stared hard at his profile. “Do people...do they die here?”

 

“Not usually, although it has happened. The taking of lives is not the purpose of the Akeldama. It is more of a play area, a place where we interact with the living and savor their darker proclivities.”

 

Suddenly, he stopped. She startled, abruptly finding her face cupped in one massive hand. He tilted her head up, holding her in place with his hand and a penetrating stare.

 

“Of all those you see tonight, only you are here unwillingly. Remember that.” 

 

Releasing her, he continued to move them fluidly down the never-ending stairs. Her mind gnawed at his words, at the portent of them, lost as she tried to weigh their effect on her.

 

Nine…I think.

 

“You will meet my fellow Archdemons tonight,” he continued, “Maul and Traya.”

 

“Great,” she muttered weakly.

 

Amusement tinged his tone. “You may even recognize a person or two.”

 

“I certainly hope not,” she muttered, frowning uneasily.

 

His laughter echoed through the claustrophobic space, ratcheting the tension until she could bear it no longer. “Goddamnit, Kylo!” she burst out, frustrated that what remained of her hard-won cool was wearing thin. “How much deeper does this confounded fucking staircase go?! And why the hell would you choose these bloody shoes for stairs like this?!” 

 

The stygian depths of his pupils flared red-hot as he glanced down at her. “My fierce little vixen. Has it ever occurred that I might like it when you cling to me? That seeing you in precarious positions is my favorite dessert?” He shifted his arm, his bicep flexing beneath her fingers.

 

Rey swallowed, aware of her held breath. The hot flash of his eyes never failed to elicit her fight or flight response, a stark reminder that she was in way over her head. “Right,” she answered, suddenly mild. “What was I thinking, assuming you were looking out for me…”

 

Her sarcasm was a bit paler than usual. In asking her questions, she’d set herself up—on purpose—because any banter was better than the creeping dread that accompanied this staircase. She was having sacrilegious thoughts about complaining that he hadn’t fed her half as much alcohol as he should have when she spied a terminus below. 

 

Her mind quieted, senses growing watchful as they reached the bottom. She’d lost count a few lanterns back and had no clue how far down they were.

 

Another small, nondescript room greeted them, its brick walls hung with four of the same amber lanterns that had adorned the uncanny stairwell. Somewhere nearby, a stand-up bass could be heard, its deep notes drifting through the wall. 

 

She turned to Kylo, her brows drawing together in consternation. “It’s close, isn’t it? But where—?” 

 

His smile was cocksure as he tightened his grip on her arm, pulling her along toward—the wall??

 

Rey saw it belatedly: a black, sooty smudge on the ancient brick. He was leading her toward it without signs of stopping, and her dawning alarm hadn’t time to mature as they were swallowed by the wall. 

 

For one discombobulating second, she was immersed in consummate darkness. The music filtered through, distorted as if they were underwater.

 

Rey blinked as an impaired version of reality returned, ushered in by the wine-soaked glow of an opulent underground club.

 

They stood on a semi-circular landing. Beyond milled the shadowy throng of clubgoers, some dancing, some immersed in conversation. A few lavish booths sprawled in the corners, and the center of the room was dominated by an exquisitely carved bar that stretched from the low, basement-style ceiling to the marble floor. 

 

A band played in the corner, its singer lending her voice to the cloak-and-dagger sound of synth-jazz. Rey could feel the reverberation of the stand-up base, its descending refrain contrasting with the subtle, spine-tingling croon of a violin. Like a needle, the music slipped under her skin, dissolving the edges of her anxiety, leaving her pliant. She was in it now, and all that remained was how she chose to comport herself.  

 

With mask in place, she scanned the crowd, ignoring the open stares. 

 

Her eyes adjusted, and it dawned that everyone—to the very last person—or whatever—all of them wore black. The dim light winked off of the red and silver beading of her dress and she raised her chin, defiant as she realized... 

 

He’d showcased her.

 

Her nostrils flared, the only outward sign of emotion as she sent the reproach his way. You armed me with a knife and brought me to a gunfight.

 

Kylo turned his head to look down at her appraisingly, his fearsome black gaze penetrating her every layer. A smile played at the edges of his generous mouth. 

 

You are a knife. 

 

His words echoed sensuously, lapping through her mind as he led her into the crowd.

 

Now, be one.



Chapter Text


 

I've been SO excited to share this cover art with you--it was commissioned by the incredibly talented Stavrogin80, whose Reylo work is to die for! I think she perfectly captured the angst and the lawlessness, don't you? I honestly swoon every time I look at it...

 

Find her on Tumblr here: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/view/stavrogin80    And for xxx-rated art, head to her Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/stavrogin80 

 

 

image


 

 

 

 

Songspiration: Glory Box, Portishead 

 

 

 

 


Their appearance had caused quite a stir. 

 

Rey had watched the ripple of awareness pan out through the crowd as their presence was registered. Some attempted to be discrete, skimming over them with furtive glances, but the vast majority of clubgoers stared with bold, unwavering interest. From a scattered handful of eyes, she caught the telltale gleam that marked them for what they were—demons, but perhaps of a lesser make, for their muddied amber glow was nowhere near Kylo’s alarming red.

 

The revelers parted before them as Kylo led her into the throng. His distinct air of supremacy infused her by proximity, and she stalked beside him with a straight back, her hand wrapped securely in the crook of his arm. 

 

Several bowed to him as they passed; a dark-skinned woman with elaborate, chained nose piercings and a strikingly handsome man in a bespoke, pin-stripped suit. Their eyes winked like tarnished gold as they straightened, and Rey surmised that they were Kylo’s underlings. 

 

She remained expressionless, her focus solely on navigating this hellish realm with a modicum of grace. 

 

Very good. His voice rippled through her, rich and saturating. Show them no weakness.

 

The praise sent an electric tingle branching through her synapses, and she felt her nipples tighten and strain against the unyielding silk organza. Instantly, her mind honed in on the powerful roll of muscles beneath his clothes. He made her feel like a kitten prowling alongside a lion, and it did things to her brain, leaving it humming with illicit delight over just how much bigger he was beside her.

 

Kylo’s magnetism was having a similar effect on those around them. Lingering glances were cast his way as men and women alike shifted, trying to appear casual while posing as flatteringly as possible. 

 

It was the same as she’d seen whenever he was in public. Persuasion wafted from him like a bewitching fragrance, and no one was exempted from what happened when he walked into a room. 

 

She felt an uncharacteristic pang of sympathy. But, what would that be like? The eons marked by the same fawning expressions worn on different faces, the cloying deference and tractability...always the same. 

 

In the darkest corner of her mind, something treacherous uncoiled. Until you, whispered the now-familiar little voice. The thought sank through the layers of her awareness like a stone in deep water, stirring up a renegade kinship. Rey’s impassive stare grew cold as the people continued to ogle their every detail, treading well over the line of her comfort zone. So this was what fame felt like. Fame, on steroids.

 

Heeding a sudden impulse, she stretched up to speak in Kylo’s ear and he paused, angling his head down to avail himself. 

 

“They may as well have cut the fucking music,” she whispered sourly. 

 

His eyes glittered as he scanned the room, a little smirk on his lips. “They are jealous, and those that aren’t jealous are bitter. They take what they can get, devouring the only thing they’ll have of you tonight.” 

 

“You, or me?” she murmured, side-eyeing the nearest bystanders as his lips skimmed her temple. She swore she heard the rise of a collective sigh over the dark thrum of the music. 

 

He straightened to his full height, brushing her hardened nipple with his shoulder. 

 

Oh, he did that on purpose.

 

A warm current of desire shot straight into her lap, and she tightened instinctively on the plug, biting her lip. 

 

“In fairness, both, but remember little vixen; I have never presented a thrall, and this is a crowd unused to me arriving with company.” His eyes raked boldly down her lithe form, drinking in every last inch. “You are a sight to behold, in more than the obvious ways.” 

 

Damn him, but his compliments made her feel, and the smoldering, hawklike quality of his attention was addictive. It would have been easy to succumb...short of the fact that just moments ago in the stairwell, he’d reminded her of how much he liked seeing her in any sort of a compromised position.

 

But then...her ability to deny his charms had been the original sin, the stripes that had drawn his eye in the first place. 

 

What would happen if she gave herself up to the current between them? The submissive element of it made her want to vomit, but she couldn’t deny the growing connection between them, nor could she stop it. If she succumbed...would he then tire of her—sum her up with the rest of the roving herds? Could it mean a chance at winning back her old life? Or would it simply result in the full-scale destruction of what part of her remained untainted? 

 

Her mind swam with the great conflict of it all as Kylo led her to a place at the polished stone bar top. She leaned gratefully against it, glad to have reached a destination of some sort. 

 

Tipping her head back, she tracked the climb of bottles up to the copper-tiled ceiling, noting the gilded gargoyles that looked down on the scene. Each bottled spirit had its own, eerily back-lit nook; a wall of lovingly-crafted poison, something for every taste.

 

Her earlier buzz had been metabolized by the fright of air travel and the less-than-friendly reception of the hellhounds, and she was game for something more. His mocking words returned to her: “ Am I driving you to drink?”

 

Her nostrils flared at the irony of it all. The urge to numb herself had never been a part of who she was. But now? She turned and eyed the company she found herself in— a buzzing hive of hellspawn and Satanists...fucking monsters, every one.

 

His tone was velvety as he made the offer. “Would you like a drink?” 

 

“Fucking yes. And please,” she added shamelessly, “something strong.”

 

She disregarded his lithe little chuckle and turned her back to the bar, steeling herself to check out the crowd. Know your enemy, right? There was that...plus the fact that they were all dazzlingly different—their ages and styles and colors making for an eclectic gathering, all of them armed to the teeth with finery.

 

Given the line of work she was in, Rey frequented the world of international summits and conventions. She often presented at meetings that drew peoples from any given part of the globe. But to see the ethnic mashup, so provocatively dressed—it was a dizzying new experience.

 

Skin of every color was on display, showcased in a restless sea of black. The women cleverly exposed themselves, nipples peeking through the sway of draped chains and lace, their hips wrapped in mesh or banded leather. The sheer, beaded mini Rey wore left more to the imagination than most present, a fact that dialed her earlier self-consciousness back to single digits.

 

The men she saw were equally arresting, some wearing sleek button-downs and finely tailored slacks, others sporting vests of fur and paperboy hats, their ears studded with gemstones. They ran the gamut from urban streetwear to the gold-embroidered tunics and turbans of East India and everything in between.

 

Short of the occasional oddball wearing a chaste, Druid-like robe, all of the revelers were showy. Some danced to the dark, sultry beats while others fraternized with drinks in-hand, still others taking advantage of the gaming tables that dotted the far wall. To Rey’s eyes, the entire scene had the feel of an opulent, underworld harem, a gilded hive of vice and villainy. 

 

Kylo summoned the bartender; a whip-thin man with coke-bottle glasses that magnified his icy eyes into saucers. Rey grew very still as she registered that the man waiting expectantly on them had six arms, each one terminating in a hand that held a bar tool or bottle. 

 

Wildly, she thought of Dorothy—I’m not in Seattle anymore—only the creature awaiting their order was decidedly not a Munchkin. 

 

For his part, the bartender looked mildly surprised, his eyes darting comically between them as if he just couldn’t reconcile the pairing. His arms had paused in the middle of multiple tasks, and the sight would have been funny if she could just get over her initial shock. 

 

Kylo, of course, didn’t bat an eye. “L’automne Lalique—neat, and a corpse reviver #2.”

 

Rey stared as the wiry man—uh, creature—nodded smartly and flew back into action, pivoting as one long arm reached for an extravagant decanter while several others added a combination of liquors into an ice-filled shaker. 

 

A pang of suspicion shot through her, and Rey quickly glanced over her shoulder, half expecting to see that the club had morphed into something out of a horror flick while she wasn’t looking. 

 

Short of the eclectic mix of people and their boundary-pushing attire, she didn’t see any causes for alarm (at the moment). Sure, there was a collared, baby-faced young man being led on a chain by a powerhouse blond, and yes, there were several couples engaged in very heavy petting against the walls, but none of that was too out of place in a club.

 

A stemmed champagne bell slid over the bar, interrupting her thoughts. 

 

Claiming his own drink, Kylo turned and regarded her with a penetrative gaze. 

 

There was a pause in which she forgot to breathe, and in that space, the familiar flutter of anxiety returned. 

 

He clinked his glass to hers with a dark little smile. “The night is young,” he said silkily.

 

She felt virginal all over again as she mirrored his action and drank. The herbal burn was intense, but she craved the way it dulled her fraught nerves.

 

He took advantage of the cut-out at the back of her dress, splaying his palm over bare skin and stroking lightly. 

 

Her body was all too keen on how his hand very nearly spanned the width of her back. She bit her lip as another jolt of arousal zinged between her thighs, leaving her sex molten and very-nearly brimming over. Oh god, what was wrong with her?! Why did it have to be this way?—

 

She started when he spoke, jarring her from her internal war and the specter of her own arousal.

 

“It’s high time you meet some of my Hellcniht.”

 

“Demons?” she asked, her voice at once an agitated squeak. 

 

An indulgent smile spread over his face. “Indeed. They are my legion, loyal only to me short of our Dark Lord. Thanks to the “friend” you made while traipsing in Rome, you are familiar with his true name.”

 

It wasn’t menacingly said, but still she paled at his pointed reference of Qui Gon. The scholar’s safety remained a concern, as did the strange meeting she’d shared with Anakin Skywalker. The fucking devil himself, her mind unhelpfully supplied, instantly trying to drag her back into the colossal rabbit hole that comprised that particular memory. 

 

Of all the disturbing things she’d endured since that night at the club, her unwitting happy hour with Lucifer held its own space in her mind. It unnerved her on so many levels; the intimate setting and the fact that he’d sought her out, their seemingly harmless conversation, his appearance as an eclectic but infinitely charming elderly gentleman. The Great Deceiver had earned his nickname, asking his veiled questions while absorbing her every detail, more cunning than she could ever have guessed. Thinking back on that afternoon, (as well as the hour she’d spent with Qui Gon in Rome), left her belly a riot of gnawing anxiety.

 

Taking a sip, she nodded brusquely, trying to move the moment into the past with a last-minute projection of confidence. “Let’s get it over with, then,” she murmured.

 

His eyes glittered as he turned, his hand sliding up to rest at the back of her neck. They waited in silence as three figures threaded through the crowd toward them, summoned by a call she couldn’t hear. 

 

Resigned, she leaned back into his grip, bolting down another swallow of booze as the creatures approached. These are only the first of many tonight, Rey. Cowgirl up.  

 

The man and woman she’d seen earlier were joined by a third, a somber-faced young man dressed in archaic, flowing garb. His dark, curly head of hair and olive-toned skin lent him a Mediterranean aspect, and he was one of the few present who shirked the standard of fashionable-if-provocative dress. 

 

The other two flanked him as they approached, and though he looked plain in his robes and was shorter than both by a head, it was he who led the delegation. The trio of demons paused a respectful distance away, all of them focused directly on Kylo. 

 

“Master,” they intoned, bowing their heads.

 

Kylo accepted the obeisance expressionlessly. “My favored ones. Meet Rey.”

 

It was a permission of sorts, and Rey felt her skin prickle as three sets of inhuman eyes turned to regard her. She returned their scrutiny in uneasy silence, not sure what was expected in the way of greeting a horde of demons. They were as unalike as could be, the dark-skinned female with her close-shaven head and nose piercings, the slick, blond California playboy in his pinstriped suit, and the unpretentious, curly-headed young man in his dark, floor-length raiment.

 

Finally, the unsmiling lead spoke, his voice laced with the tinge of some unknown accent. “We are pleased to see that our Master has found a suitable human thrall. As I trust you know, it is a very great honor.”

 

Rey took a steadying breath, somehow managing to school the storm of her growing tension into the tiniest tic of a muscle in her jaw.

 

“I am Azrael,” he continued, “second-in-command to our master. These are Phireth and Khamael,” he said, nodding at the two beside him. “We are three of the seven Hellcniht of Ren. Like you, we serve at the pleasure of our Archfiend.” 

 

That last was deliberately said, and Rey twitched as a flame of defiance licked the path of her spine. 

 

Kylo straightened out of his lounge, the fluid motion causing both Rey and the three lesser demons to instantly shift their focus. 

 

“As you are aware, Rey is not here by choice,” Kylo said, fixing his subordinates with a penetrative gaze. “I will not suffer word or action that demeans her inclination; I prefer her the way she is, understood?”

 

“Perfectly, Master,” Azrael replied, the other two inclining their heads in agreement.

 

Kylo stroked a finger along the curve of Rey’s neck. “I’ve heard rumor that Charybdis has shaken its spell again. Azrael—I’ll have word with you.” 

 

He shot a loaded glance at his two underlings and Rey bristled, understanding that he was communicating silently with them—talking over her head.

 

What he said aloud was: “Phireth. Khamael. Keep Rey company.” 

 

His weight shifted and suddenly he was looming over her, his breath stirring the hair along her temple. Rey met the stare of the Archfiend with a surly glare, more angry than afraid. 

 

“Behave yourself,” he said, caressing a faded bruise at the back of her neck before leading his black-robed henchman off into the crowd.

 

He'd left her with demon babysitters. Unbe-fucking-lievable. Rey crossed her arms, muttering about what a farce her life had become. 

 

The two demons slid in, spacing themselves like bouncers around her. The crowd watched them curiously, and the additional scrutiny left Rey annoyed beyond all safekeeping. 

 

The female demon—Phireth?—held herself with a disdainful air, not so much as looking at Rey as she scanned the room with her implacable black stare. Khamael, on the other hand, was too interested, his handsome face chiseled into a foxy expression. 

 

His hand shot out toward the bar and Rey caught the wink of a diamond cufflink. “Minister!” Khamael called, signaling the bartender. “A Manhattan, if you would.”

 

Her reprieve was short-lived, for he instantly turned back to face her with an impertinent little smirk. “So,” he began smoothly, “how are you liking thralldom?”

 

Was this conversation actually happening? Rey sipped her drink, eyeing the chicly-dressed demon as she considered how best to respond. “You mean the indentured slavery I was coerced into?” she asked with feigned sweetness. “Hmm...a host of words come to mind, all of which I’d best keep to myself. ‘Mother always says’,” she muttered dryly.

 

A low flare of gold flashed in his eyes and he retrieved the cocktail that had been delivered without looking away from her. “Fascinating,” he murmured, observing Rey like a scientist who’d discovered an all-new lifeform. “It is as Azrael said; she is somehow exempt from the master’s influence. I wonder what it means,” he added to himself. 

 

Phireth, too, was finally looking at Rey, the delicate gold chains of her nose piercings shimmering when she moved.

 

Rey felt her blood pressure rise even higher as she contended with their scrutiny. For fuck’s sake, please someone, save her from these preternaturally rude, condescending assholes.

 

“You were pure when he found you, yes?”

 

“Pure?” she very-nearly barked, unsure of exactly what he meant by “pure,” and massively irked by all it implied.

 

Khamael’s smile only widened. “You were uninitiated,” he clarified, “not associated with any of the secular theological groups that worship our kind.

 

“Abso-fucking-loutely not.”

 

Phireth raised her delicate brows at Rey’s vehemence, her only reaction thus far.

 

Khamael let out a pleased laugh and Rey seethed, done with being at the receiving end of his malicious curiosity. She scowled at her near-empty glass, tipping it back as she turned to the bar. “Minister!” she snapped, setting it down with more strength than was needed. “Another.” 

 

The creature at the other end of the bar paused, blinking at her with its magnified, blue eyes before swinging back into action.

 

Rey started to find that Kylo’s underling had moved a step closer and was now regarding her with a sharpened expression. “Your recalcitrance is delicious,” he conceded, sidling another step closer to where Rey leaned against the bar.

 

Phireth frowned at her cohort. “Khamael."

 

He ignored her, his golden stare flicking over Rey’s chest before locking in a rapacious stare. “I can see why he enjoys you s—”

 

The sentence went unfinished as the creature hurled to the floor, landing at Rey’s feet with a startling thud. For an instant, Rey’s horrified gaze perceived the shape of Khamael’s wings, bent and flattened over his supine form. 

 

Her head jerked up to see Kylo stalking back toward them with eyes of flame, his grave-faced second following at a respectful distance. The look on Kylo’s face was one she’d never seen before, and she felt herself wither in the heat of his fury. Which, luckily, was not trained on her. 

 

A ripple of anticipation tittered through the clubgoers as they lapped up the action unfolding at Rey’s feet.

 

She looked down on the splayed-out demon. Khamael remained utterly still on the black marble, not bothering to so much as twitch. He was panting a little, his whole pose reminding her of a groveling puppy that had grown too rambunctious.

 

Kylo slipped the toe of his shoe beneath Khamael’s cheek, raising it to meet his furious glare. “Did I not say you weren’t to enter her personal space?” he hissed in a low, unnatural snarl. 

 

“Forgive me, Lord,” he smoothly replied. “I meant nothing by it and would never have touched her.”

 

The mere suggestion seemed to aggravate him, and Kylo’s eyes flared impossibly hot, the open doors of a furnace into hell. “You claim to know your right from wrong, Khamael. Weren’t you given notice about decorum with regard to my thrall?” 

 

The pinned demon nodded awkwardly, trying not to jostle the shoe wedged beneath his chin. “Ample, Master.”

 

“But still, you disobey.” Kylo contorted his hand into a claw, twisting subtly. “A little something...to help you remember.” The demon at his feet spasmed repeatedly, as if unseen bones were being snapped one by one. 

 

Abruptly, Kylo let Khamael’s face fall, stepping over him dismissively and sweeping Rey against him. Her heart slammed fearfully at the stony set of his jaw, and she was utterly passive as he crushed his face into the crook of her neck and inhaled. 

 

Over the rise of Kylo’s stooped shoulder, Rey saw Khamael climb to his feet. He looked none worse for the wear, even flashing her a sheepish smile as he bowed to his master’s back. Rey watched him meld back into the crowd, wondering if these occurrences were the norm amongst demons.

 

Kylo’s teeth sank into her and she yipped, gripping his corded triceps. 

 

She leveled a silent curse at Khamael for bringing out the possessive in Kylo, and in a place like this. 

 

All thought halted as he began to suck, his powerful mouth pulling at the blood beneath her skin. He was going to bruise her. A dismayed moan of pleasure slipped out of her as the weakness began, each draw of his mouth feeling like it sapped the strength from her bones.

 

The copper ceiling tiles swam overhead as he feasted, his tongue lashing at her teasingly, begging the question her mind couldn’t seem to avoid: how would this feel licking between your thighs? Cleaning up all that sweet slick you keep like a dirty little secret...

 

Foggy alarm bells sounded as she realized he was in her mind, seeding provocation. His mouth didn’t let up and she writhed in his arms, skin flushing as she rubbed her body against the hard cage of his form.

 

“Kylo!” she gasped, now clinging to him for support and near-oblivious of any who might be watching their heated embrace. 

 

At long last, he released her throat, as if saying his name had been the right counterspell to his witchery.

 

“Mmmmm. When you say my name like that…” he hummed, holding her to him as he swayed with easy pleasure. 

 

She let him slow-dance her in place, taking the precious down-time to recoup her sanity. The wet skin at the juncture of her neck ached, and she tried not to imagine what it looked like. 

 

“Have you noticed the booths?” he asked, speaking against the crown of her head. “We can sit or stand—your choice.”

 

She turned her head and scanned the perimeter of the room. Through the milling bodies of the crowd, she made out three well-spaced booths concealed in the deepening shadows at the back of the club.

 

Her body thrummed, wired with too much nervous energy to make sitting appealing. “If it’s all the same, I’d rather stand,” she murmured, overriding the protests of her feet.

 

Kylo swallowed a sip of whatever potent libation he’d ordered. “As you will,” he said, benign for the moment being.

 

One of the booths was host to a substantial entourage. Curious, she craned her neck a little, trying to make out details. She picked out the hulking figure of a man in biker leather and another in a suit, his features concealed with a pair of—of all ridiculous things—dark sunglasses. Next, she registered a handful of young women, all of them wearing latex one-piece bodysuits that left their breasts bare, showing off an array of spiked nipple caps. 

 

Thralls, she thought, for they were all very much attuned to the booth’s central occupant, whom she couldn’t make out through the swirling press of bodies. 

 

All at once, the crowd shifted. There at the center of the booth sat a creature that would’ve given H.R. Giger nightmares, and it was staring right at her. 

 

Rey felt the room shrink as she realized what she was looking at. One of the Archfiends. No question.

 

The contrast between Kylo and this creature was extreme. Whether by fluke or design, Kylo’s demonic nature hid beneath his comely veneer, only appearing at his summons. 

 

This creature, on the other hand, seemed to wield his monstrosity with pride. 

 

His face was a mask of red and black markings that covered his entire head and extended down beneath the flowing black raiment he wore. From his skull sprouted a bony, pointed crown, but even more disarming were his eyes; they burned a baleful, bloodshot yellow, never wavering. A sight to cause true terror.  

 

Rey blinked and broke their stare, aware that looking away would most likely be pleasing to him. She could feel his fixation, and it was shaking her. 

 

For once, she found herself wishing Kylo would loop an arm around her waist and pull her against the (relative) safety of his immense chest. The urge to initiate an embrace was strong, and she clenched her jaw stubbornly, fighting it off. Her life was seven different shades of fucked up, and that was plenty without seeking comfort in the arms of her conquerer.

 

You are safe with him, she reminded herself, drawing strength from the formidable creature at her side. She glanced at Kylo’s equal again, and her eyes picked up on something off, a stealthy shifting amongst the shadows. A dark-haired woman knelt before him, utterly still. She wore a black cloak, and her body was mostly obstructed by the massive table of dark stone around which the booth was centered. But her profile was visible, and Rey could see the way her throat bulged, working sluggishly at the demon's cock. 

 

Rey instantly averted her eyes, mortified and repulsed in equal measure.

 

Kylo had been lounging against the bar, his brandy cradled in one hand while the other idly traced signs on the exposed skin of her back. He stopped drawing and chuckled, a deep, appreciative rumble. “Pretty little thing. I see you’ve picked up on one of my peers.” 

 

He didn’t bother looking toward the occupied booth, content with drinking her in as his fingers picked up where he’d left off. “He is Maul, Archfiend of Rancor. In terms of approach, he is my counterweight and opposite; where I wield the power to manipulate events bloodlessly, his sanction is the stirring of violence.” 

 

Kylo glanced over at Maul, thoroughly unimpressed. “You could say he lives for it,” he drawled, swirling the bright amber spirit in his glass. “The creature sheathing his cock is Bazine. Were her mouth a bit less full, you might recall meeting her; she’s the one who approached you in the arboretum the other day.”

 

Rey’s head swiveled at that, the news making it easier to ignore Maul’s relentless gaze. It was true—she recognized the woman’s profile and sleek bob haircut. 

 

She blinked in shock as she turned away, aghast.

 

“Yes, the two of you have already met. Bazine has slithered her way to a place of privilege with her master, one of his favored thralls.”

 

As she recalled the woman’s bizarre behavior and their conversation, outrage lit through her. Far worse was the dirty feeling of violation; she had endured more than her fair share in one lifetime, and adding a psychotic demon–sprung bitch to the count was overkill.

 

“Why?” she demanded, “why would she do that?”

 

“Her master was curious,” he replied, far too breezily for her taste. “As I’ve said, my peers have always kept thralls, whereas I have never seen the value in it. You are a precedent, and therefore, an item of interest to them.”

 

“Well, that’s just fucking great,” she snapped, trying to keep her voice down. “Thanks to your horrible decision-making skills, I have a target painted on my back.”

 

“You have nothing to fear. Demonkind is incapable of harming you, and it was long ago decreed that mortals in our service are prohibited from altercations. Bazine might try to convince you she is a threat, but she is all bark on a very short leash. Her master may not be very smart, but he does have a fearsome temperament...she would never cross him.”

 

“How comforting. It sounds like you have an excellent rapport with your fellow hellspawn.

He laughed easily at that, her sarcasm affecting him like arrows glancing off steel armor. “You’re not off-base. We three Archfiends are polarized entities, coexisting only by merit of our mutual service to the Fallen.”

 

“So you three...dislike each other?”

 

“To a degree. Within our ranks are varying levels of spite and no small amount of competition. Traya and I tolerate one another to a degree. As for Maul, he is, by nature, a creature with an abbreviated emotional spectrum. He views both Traya and my own abilities as frivolous, preferring to solve issues through the seeding of violence and bloodshed.” 

 

He cast a scornful look at Maul, one dark eyebrow arched. “A simple demon, really, incapable of such intricacies as tactful infiltration.”

 

Kylo’s dismissal was like a match to tinder, and Rey tensed as, out of the peripheral of her eye, she saw Maul shove Bazine to the floor as he stood up. 

 

She watched in morbid fascination as Maul flicked his wrist, the simple motion sending several of his thralls flying to the ground like ragdolls. With cruel indifference, he trod directly on their prone forms, inflicting pain as he started in her direction. 

 

Kylo remained unmoved by the spectacle, turning to watch the approach of his counterpart with a hooded gaze. “Well, well. Look who wants a personal introduction,” he said, sounding all too pleased. “Aren’t you lucky.”

 

“It’s debatable,” she muttered, glancing back at Bazine. She was wiping the drool from her mouth, looking aggrieved as she followed her master’s progress. They made eye contact, and Rey watched her fellow thrall’s despondency sour into burning resentment, made all the more dramatic by the mascara-streaked tears that tracked down her cheeks. 

 

Ah, fuck.

 

The bassline pumped on and the singer continued to croon, lacing the air with suggestive, kittenish lyrics, but most every patron in eyeshot was riveted on the two archdemons. Like scavengers honing in on the possibility of bloodshed, the crowd was drawn by the brewing hostility in their corner of the club.

 

Rey found herself sidling a little closer, instinctively molding to Kylo’s much-larger body as Maul strode nearer, his black cloak flowing in his wake. The archfiend drew up uncomfortably close before halting some three feet away from them, preceded by the aura of menace that wreathed him.

 

The crown of horns she’d noticed earlier sprouted directly from the ruddy skin of his brow, and his eyes...Rey fought the urge to shudder as he glared, very obviously picking her apart with those bloodshot, pus-yellow orbs. 

 

The demon‘s lip peeled back, revealing jagged, blackened teeth. “So this is the girl I’ve heard so much about? Huh,” he sneered, “she doesn’t seem so unwilling now, Ren.” 

 

Rey returned his stare as a hot wave of resentment churned through her, searing away some of her fear.

 

Kylo’s reply was almost blasé, as if he were immune to Maul’s hostility. “No, she doesn’t, does she…” he mused, looking down at Rey with a pleased sparkle in his eye. “Perhaps she isn’t impervious to my persuasiveness after all.”

 

She? Rey clenched her jaw. “I’m right fucking here,” she muttered, darkly.

 

“A presumptuous little mouth she’s got on her,” Maul spat, once again talking over Rey’s head. “Pathetic.” 

 

Now he returned his hair-raising stare back to Rey, boring holes through her with his hatred. “A thrall belongs down on their knees—begging to serve their master in any and all ways.”

 

Kylo just raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. “You’ve always been always satiated by the same brand of entertainment, Maul. You lack real vision.”

 

The Archfiend barked out a derisive laugh. “Huh! Here, she stands—fawned over and spoiled—a perfect princess. Why, I doubt you’ve so much as scratched her surface. I don’t lack vision—I’m clear on what uses a mortal thrall should provide. You lack balls.”

 

Kylo turned to Rey, very obviously enjoying himself. “What do you say to that, sweetheart...do I have balls?”

 

Rey gnashed her teeth. “I refuse to dignify that with an answer.”

 

Maul leaned closer, peering at her with his awful eyes. “You always answer when spoken to,” he rasped in his acrid, sandpaper voice. 

 

Instead of fright, her annoyance of a moment ago ignited into white-hot anger, and she found herself leaning back toward him, teeth bared, thinking of nothing but plowing her tight little fist straight into his disgusting face.

 

Rey watched with a furious scowl as he lifted a finger toward her sternum. His blackened fingernail froze a foot from her and began to spark and sizzle, emitting the sickening smell of burning keratin. What the fuck?!

 

Kylo smirked as he ground an ice cube between his teeth, the crunch like that of broken bones. Still, he remained completely unruffled by the tense exchange. “She isn’t impervious to your influence, it seems,” he drawled.

 

Maul backed off, his face breaking into a smile that verified it was the most awful of all his expressions. “Let me know when you need help breaking her,” he growled, seemingly appeased for the time being. He speared Rey with a final glare before stalking back toward his booth.

 

Rey watched his retreat, her body quivering like a struck tuning fork. To be spoken of like that...while present...by BOTH of these assholes...  

 

Her blood surely boiled with how much hate she contained. Maul, she’d rip limb from limb, dismembering him in an ecstasy of violence. Kylo, she’d flay slowly, naming a wrong for every strip of skin she took from his perfect body.

 

Her demon whirled in front of her, blocking the sight of Maul returning to his retinue of followers. 

 

She jerked her head up and stared daggers at him, too furious to care about the predatory interest reflected back at her. 

 

“Look at you,” he breathed, his expression wild as he searched her face. “So hot...so passionate. Perhaps I should thank Maul.” 

 

The drunken, wine-tinged lights flickered, and a collective sound of excitement arose from the revelers around.

 

In the fractured seconds of darkness, his eyes glowed their hellish red, and she should have recognized the charge, the way he virtually hummed with barely-contained energy. 

 

She was too furious to notice the signs around her, too possessed of the tunnel-vision that accompanied Maul’s visitation. As she sucked in a breath to snarl at him, Kylo’s finger shot to her lips, pressing to silence her. His eyes gleamed fanatically as his lips peeled back, revealing sharp, white teeth. “I’ll bet you taste spicy with all that anger running through your veins.” 

 

The room plunged into blackness. 

 

Her confusion was instant and short-lived as she was yanked hard against Kylo’s body, her drink falling to the floor like a glass grenade. The music had cut in a discordant jangle, as if all the instruments had suddenly dropped off a cliff.

 

In the darkness, he set upon her like a wolf. 

 

A hand plunged into her hair, tightening and completely ruining his work of hours ago. Her yelp was devoured, swept up into the brandy-soaked heat of his mouth. She pushed uselessly at his solid frame, pleading wordlessly as his other hand kneaded roughly at her body, testing the texture of her flesh. 

 

She gave a panicked screech, tearing her mouth from his. “No, please! Not here, you ca —” 

 

Something hard hit her back—the bar, the floor?—knocking the protest from her lungs. 

 

“Oh, I can, and I will,” he rumbled, his voice unfazed as he contended with her flailing. “From now on, I’m going to fuck you any and everywhere that strikes me. And you? Well, your job really is simple…” 

 

An indignant yelp tore from her as her dress was yanked up to her hips. 

 

“All you have to do is spread your legs open wide…”

 

In that surreal moment, she became aware of the sounds of violence all around; cloth ripping and lusty cries from the throats of both men and women, glass breaking, and an occasional scream. In the absence of sight, she could only imagine what was happening and her heart beat out of her chest. 

 

Large, familiar hands yanked her thighs apart before tightening on her hips, holding her open as his dick notched into the wet hollow of her entrance. With a single, cruel thrust, he sheathed his length fully.

 

Rey’s eyes rolled back as her shriek joined the chorus.

 

He grunted his satisfaction, lingering with a heavy press of hips. In the lull, she could feel the shocked throb of her inner walls, all the more snug for the silvery plug nestled in her ass. Then, he arched his lower back and began to pound her to the tune of unseen chaos, silencing her cries with the slam of his hips. She clung to his clothing, her body taking the beating in absence of any recourse. 

 

He’d never fucked her this hard, not even in the washroom of the Japanese restaurant, when she’d so foolishly invited it. Her mind staggered, shocked by his sudden brutality and only barely aware of the sounds of lewd cries and the dull, slapping thud of flesh all around. 

 

He pushed her ruthlessly, her back surely bruising as he tested the boundaries of what she could handle. The punishing slam of his hips left her unable to draw a breath, and when colors began to bloom in her sights, she couldn’t tell if it was reality or simply oxygen deprivation. 

 

Suddenly, he stilled on a retractive thrust, pausing with the head of his cock barely swaddled in her quivering flesh. 

 

She gasped reflexively, at last pulling in a lungful of air, then another. The muscles of her thighs shook uncontrollably, having been pummeled as wide as they could go, and then wider yet. 

 

Through a blur of tears, she picked up the flashes of eyes in the moan-punctuated darkness, demons wreaking havoc in their native element.

 

Her cunt twitched in the absence of his length, throbbing plaintively around the blunt, velvety skin of his head. She could feel how juicy-wet she was, whether by her body’s natural response to friction or by arousal, she was too stunned to tell. 

 

In the lull, nerve endings resurrected, tingling in a net of heightened sensitivity. He seemed to be waiting for just that, and now, he advanced, agonizingly slow. Her eyes rolled back again, mouth falling open as he reopened her slickened channel, inch by shivering inch. She moaned as he reclaimed her with a voluptuous, drawn-out squelch, unable to comprehend how he could feel this good after what he’d done. 

 

In the darkness, he laughed breathily, gathering her legs about him as he began plying her with deep, steady strokes that made her gasp, bewildered by the building onslaught of pleasure. Her head thumped on whatever surface he’d pinned her against as her body involuntarily arched. Fuck! The way they fit was sinful—staggeringly tight, his dick heavy as it moved in her with long, repetitive glides. It was...unfair, reprehensible...and terrifyingly perfect. 

 

How dare he do this to her! How dare he feel so fucking right—

 

She groaned brokenly as she arrived in that place where nothing else mattered but the fluid in-and-out of the massive cock between her thighs. They could be streaming live in a hundred different countries and she wouldn’t care—so long as he just. keep. going. 

 

With his pace steadily building back up, he began to croon in his shadowy tongue, the words somehow spicing her desire for him, making her even more pliable. 

 

She felt the warm weight of his chest as he curled over her, his breath stirring the loosened hair at her neck. Her body was pure harmony as she rode his thrusts, her inner walls crushing him as the pleasure stacked itself higher.

 

His mouth grazed her throat and she felt the prick of his fangs. 

 

She teetered in the lecherous dark, seeing nothing, feeling everything. 

 

His voice echoed through her mind, ripples of unbridled lust expanding in its wake. Did no one tell you? You’re on the menu tonight, love.

 

With that, he bit down, deep and vicious. 

 

His name was a scream as the vibrant meld of pleasure and pain launched all awareness into the void. Her orgasm was violent, as if its quality was determined by the savage way he’d courted it. 

 

Over and over, her sheath contracted deliciously, each spasm jolting through her limbs in a molten torrent. 

 

Somewhere, he groaned with his own pleasure, a low, beastial rumble that she distantly felt as much as heard. But the rapture had her in its teeth and she could only sob at the visceral joy of his hot, creamy spend launching into her with every squeeze of her cunt. 

 

The convulsions gentled, and Rey’s wits returned in increments as the mind-warping ecstacy waned. She realized she was grinding into his lap, meeting the bump of his hips while softly keening with each panted breath.

 

He, too, was making inarticulate sounds, their vibrations thrumming through her neck. She gentled her motions, growing still as awareness grew. 

 

Bit me...he bit me. She tensed the muscles of her neck experimentally, checking to see... 

 

A high-pitched whine slipped her throat when she felt the distinct sting, and Kylo snarled wordlessly as the warning pealed through her addled brain: don’t even think about moving until I’m through with you

 

Every muscle went boneless as she accepted her lot as prey, letting him keep her anchored in place by all four eye teeth and the enormous dick speared deep in her core, still pumping sluggishly into her. 

 

In the perfect, inky darkness, she hadn’t a clue how much time had passed. 

 

At length, he released his jaws and began licking contentedly at the wounds, his hips continuing to nudge lazily into the flooded apex of her thighs. 

 

Then, he was withdrawing, leaving her empty as a warm river gushed over her buttocks. She felt it pool beneath her, confirming that she was definitely laying down, though where remained a mystery. 

 

The lights flickered, revealing that she lay upon the onyx marble of the bar with Kylo kneeling between her splayed thighs. The tide of lewd sounds around them began to ebb, as if the erratic return of light was a last call for debauchery. 

 

Time seemed to stop in the drunken lurch from light into darkness.

 

Within the jumping frames, she couldn’t look away from the way he stared at her spent pussy. His dark eyes were alive with such fierce pleasure that it winded her, leaving her paralyzed with her thighs open in offering, unable to care about who else might see her.

 

With slow, deliberate motions, he tucked his cock back into his pants, never looking away from her as he pulled something small from the breast of his velvet smoking jacket.

The movement clearly indicated they were finished for the time being, and she twitched as she fully came back into herself. Shakily, she pulled her thighs together, biting her lip at how weak they were. 

 

She watched with glazed eyes as he slid from the bar and pulled her up to perch shakily at its edge. With care that bordered on reverence, he navigated a bit of black lace around her stilettos and slid them up her sticky legs, prompting her to lift her derriere so he could ease the garment up over her hips.

 

Her shot muscles wobbled precariously as she held herself aloft, waiting as he ran his long fingers under the seams to adjust the fit.

 

“I thought you didn’t want me to wear panties,” she muttered, wincing at how hoarse she sounded.

 

He smiled, an altogether sly affair. “I changed my mind.”

 

She stared at him, waiting. 

 

“What better to keep my cum where it belongs?” 

 

Her eyes slipped closed in disgust. “God, you’re filthy—just filthy...dirty...depraved...

 

“I love it when you sweet talk me,” he purred. “But you surely know the truth—your body? This—” He cupped her groin, rubbing the tenderized pad of her mons without a mind to where they were, making sure to jostle the plug still securely anchored in her ass. “It was made for me,” he ground out, his voice hard and absolute.

 

Rey met his flinty stare and nodded submissively. Her current presentation could be best summarized as “reamed by bull,” and she was of no mind to argue. Appeased, he lowered her to her feet and stood close, his dark eyes alive with no small amount of enjoyment. 

 

Touching gingerly at her neck, she hissed, exploring the four puncture marks he’d gifted her. Her fingers came away tacky with blood, sticky as the insides of her thighs. “You make such a mess of me,” she muttered, wishing she could disappear and emerge into a nice, fragrant bubble bath. 

 

“Why’d you have to be so rough?” she sulked, not really expecting an answer. 

 

Looking up, her sour expression grew blank and all cohesive thought died. The club...had changed

 

Gone was the suggestive crimson light and the charming brick walls. The speakeasy ambiance had vanished, replaced by something unearthly. 

 

The low ceilings were now vaulted and lit with an emerald phosphorescence that coiled and slithered like a living thing. The walls had an organic feel to them with columns that twisted and flowed freely, forming nooks that appeared to house... yes. A variety of restraining mechanisms. The gaming tables stood like altars of polished stone, their jet surfaces gleaming beneath the disembodied light. Above her, the gargoyles animated, their eyes tracking over the crowd with rabid expressions of glee.

 

Rey’s heart skipped a beat, and she forgot to breathe. 

 

The crowd, too, had changed. The night’s sultry wrapper had been torn off, revealing the real reason for the gathering. Men and women alike co-mingled in a state of undress, their exposed bodies sporting the shine of freshly-forming bruises. 

 

Rey gaped openly at the smeared make-up and split lips, the fine clothing that littered the floor, shredded in haste. The scene looked like a battleground, the clubgoers rising from tangled positions like the surviving factions of a war.

 

“Holy shit…” she muttered reflexively, spinning in a slow circle. Even the band that had been playing had disappeared, short of its singer, who was currently engaged with both a man and a woman, her black sheath dress split open like a pea pod.

 

The crowded room appeared to be attempting to put itself back together as best it could, but the damage was done. On purpose, she realized with dawning shock. 

 

For all of the torn clothing and spilled blood she saw, not one person wore an expression of distress. Instead, she marked a fanatical brand of gratification, and above all—a hunger for more as she surveyed the crowd around them. 

 

Kylo was smiling when her wide, shell-shocked gaze arrived back to him. He looked so put-together as he lounged against the bar, the very picture of casual elegance as he stood in the middle of the fall-out zone of a demonic, orgiastic quickie. 

 

Looking at him now, one would never know he hadn’t just finished fucking her within an inch of her life. 

 

A warm rivulet of his cum soaked through the flimsy panties, tickling as it tracked down her inner thigh. She swayed perilously on her feet, unable to wrangle her breath into a calming pattern.

 

“My darling,” he entreated, “that was but a warm-up, a little taste to tide us over.”

 

She was thunderstruck. “A—a taste?”

 

His answer was a devilish smirk as he lowered his eyes to the fresh champagne flute that sat sweating upon the bar. With an index finger, he pushed it in her direction. 

 

“Have a corpse reviver, love.”




***















Chapter Text



Songspiration: The American Dollar, Anything You Synthesize & Depeche Mode, Corrupt

...aaaaand a naughty compilation of imagery, which will hopefully spice your imagination as much as it did mine;)

image

 




 

Kylo leaned back against the bar, savoring the languid pleasure that always came after fucking her. The corner of his mouth curled up as he recalled the modern term... afterglow…. an apt descriptive; his body sang, as though the otherworldly blood in his veins had been replaced with warm honey.

 

His delectable thrall, on the other hand, looked well and truly lost. 

 

Rey swayed as she stood before him, head tipped toward the cavernous ceilings as she tracked the pallens luridium with awestruck dismay. The disembodied light slunk overhead, illuminating the floor below with its spectral, emerald glow. 

 

In the wake of the initiation, the Akeldama had fully revealed itself, roused to full form by the baptism of lust and violence. Its design was the perfect mockery of a grand cathedral, taking elements from the holy houses of worship and twisting them into something fluid and ominous.

 

Rey’s mouth opened as if to speak, closing again as she registered the change in the devotees. The crowd, too, had divested themselves of the veneer of civility; their finery slipping from their bodies in tatters. It was a favorite ritual, this, the donning of all that was considered the epitome of mortal luxury...succeeded by a hedonistic route that destroyed it all. 

 

Kylo spared the sea of revealed bodies the briefest glance. They were no more than a swarm of locusts in his eyes, lifting from the most recent feast in search of more. Entirely disinterested, he honed in on her, the one being present who mattered. 

 

His Rey

 

As yet, she still wore the dress and heels he’d selected, a fact that set her apart from the others, marking her as the most clothed of the present gathering of mortals. He supposed it was a fitting distinction, given that she, alone, was here against her will. 

 

The selfish part of him was tempted to keep her that way, robbing the masses of the pleasure of her naked form. Another part of him salivated over the prospect of unveiling his prize and setting her on a very particular pedestal.

 

He weighed the merits of his own vice as he drank in her startled expression, still clearly reeling from the one-two of his assault and the transformation around them.

 

He tutted at the sight she made, pleased and curiously sympathetic. He’d known that this night was going to hurt, and that this was the first blow of many. 

 

Remorse wasn’t in his nature. But now, as he looked at her trembling form, so small, so outnumbered by the minions of the Dark, he did feel a strange, empathetic pull. 

 

There was a quick motion beside him as the minister appeared to deposit the drink he’d requested. With an index finger, Kylo pushed it in her direction. “Have a corpse reviver , love,” he purred, watching his thrall intently.

 

Rey shifted her attention to the bartop with a jerky motion, staring at the fresh, untouched drink. It sat upon the surface where she had lain not moments before, splayed beneath him in a ruin of shaky limbs and stilted breath.

 

Kylo felt the smile creep over his lips. He didn’t have to look to know that the polished black stone at his back was devoid of the mess he’d left—its surface kept spotless by the ever-fastidious minister.

 

Rey blinked at the cocktail he’d summoned on her behalf, her heart-weary expression growing more desperate with each passing second. “I,” she faltered, shaking her head. “I don’t want—” 

 

She broke off as something crunched beneath her shoe. Looking down, she saw the remains of her cocktail glass, shattered across the floor. Her hands fluttered to her chest and she blinked, staring at the jagged shards as if they’d been a part of her heart.

 

Kylo was still, avid as he watched the spectacle of human tribulation. She had no idea how she owned him as the emotion played over her face, shifting as it condensed and built toward unsustainable heights. He’d seen enough of her mind to know that she’d always overcome adversity by insisting she was stronger than her own human limitations. Now, with her armor as compromised as the glass beneath her feet, she did the only thing she could—pitching herself against his chest with a quiet sob. 

 

There was virtually nothing she did that didn’t interest him, but certain antics, like this one, represented the pinnacle of his enjoyment. 

 

There amongst the heartless legions, he held her tight, uncaring of the stares they received. Their judgments were as ineffective as bullets; let them volley off the walls and fall into spent piles at his feet. The defeat of her ideals was HIS and no one else’s, her despondency his own special indulgence. 

 

He hummed to her, a deep, soothing rumble as his hands stroked over her back, her neck, her shoulders. 

 

She’d reached this limit several times, and it nearly always followed a good, rough fuck. He repressed an ecstatic shiver, as thrilled by the way she sought comfort as he was by the delectation of her torment.

 

Sliding his fingers up into her hair, he massaged her scalp, noting how her death grip on him slackened by degrees. One by one, he found the remaining hairpins, careful to not pull her hair as he discarded them. What remained of her updo came tumbling down, and she sighed against his chest, relaxing even further.

 

He craved more, hungry to layer this moment by learning exactly what was going through her head. With the stealth of a virus, he spliced into the train of her thoughts.

 

It was as he suspected; she floundered in despair, a victim of her own vulnerable human nature. At the moment, the fact that he was the orchestrator of it all didn’t register with her at all...so long as he held her like this. It was a full retreat from reality, a seeking of comfort in the physical. She burrowed into his chest, trying to drown out the swell of sounds around them—rifts of laughter, vulgar snippets of conversation and the clink of glasses—all unwelcome reminders of where she was and what had just occurred.

 

She was so alluringly magnetic to him, he sometimes forgot just how fresh she was, how new to the world of carnal pleasures. 

 

That innocence was a trigger, a reminder of the tastiest sort. 

 

His darkness arose within him, swirling higher, bleeding into the edges of his mind. Slowly, his hand closed, capturing her hair in a firm handhold. He was careful, moderated as he pulled her head back, forcing her to meet his bottomless stare. 

 

“My beautiful one...you’ve taken so much,” he said, his voice gentle as he searched her face. “And you’ll take more still.”

 

Her eyes were twin mirrors that reflected his image, framed by the unearthly, emerald light that swirled overhead. Without breaking the trancelike stare, he dipped down and parted her lips with his own. 

 

A few errant tears leaked over her cheeks as she received his kiss. 

 

She was warm and alive and everything he wanted. Chills of pleasure ran through him as he listened to her beleaguered mind rail at how tender he could be when he wanted to, at how he alternated between meeting her needs and pushing her well past her limits. 

 

Even now, her mouth was his, her tongue conceding with the occasional soft lick, as if she were unable to endure passive acceptance. 

 

He growled into the cavern of her mouth, delving deeper as his hunger continued to grow. She had no idea how he had to constantly restrain himself not to use her all up, the unique challenge she posed by simply existing within his sphere.

 

How proud she’d made him when they’d arrived, regaining her wits so quickly after they’d passed through the barrier. She’d taken his advice and raised it, letting him guide her through the seedy crowd with the stoicism of a queen. Her contempt for the gathered hopefuls had been a fascinating mirror of his own, sowing a feeling of kinship, of oneness.

 

His grip on her tightened. She was made for him, a worthy thrall . He deepened the kiss, pressing upon lips that were pillowy and flushed with blood, all the while feeding off her thoughts. 

 

Into her mind, he whispered, dizzying her with soft praise in a hundred languages. He knew it when she conceded that her knees were jello, knew it when her distress was overshadowed by exhilaration.

 

She moaned, soft and supplicant even as her hands drifted over him, fingers kneading the muscles of his back. Triumph was a drum that thundered through his blood. How pleasing it was, to rescue her from harm of his own making; how extraordinary, that he could be the villain one minute and her savior the next. It thrilled him to the core that he could play these roles...without summoning so much as a wisp of his power. 

 

By the time he used his grip on her hair to turn her head aside, she was molded to him, her breath coming in erratic little pants, her thoughts unraveled by the way he focused her whole world down to the single point of their connection.

 

Drunk on his power over her, he sucked a warm, wet path down the side of her throat, intent on tasting her blood again. 

 

He was nearing his goal when she stiffened, her hands freezing in the act of kneading the muscles of his back. Her mind was struggling to focus, and he realized that something had her attention. Moving only a breadth away from her throat, he glanced up in the direction she was looking, determined to find the distraction and quash it.

 

From the shadowy alcove of Maul’s booth, Bazine watched, her face a mask of blatant animosity. 

 

Annoyed, Kylo let the hellfire he housed lick to the surface, his eyes flaring a burning, hazardous red. 

 

Bazine paled at the warning, quickly averting her gaze. 

 

So...the thrall of his adversary had taken an interest in his affairs? 

 

He recalled Maul’s selection of the girl. The ranks of the devout were ever zealous in their love of the dark, but Bazine had caught Maul’s eye with her exceptional fanaticism. She was crafty and particularly heartless, thrilling in carrying out whatever grim decree her master cared to pass. She was also a vain creature and liked to style herself something of an authority figure amongst the mortal contingencies.

 

Kylo continued to level his burning stare at Bazine, brooding as he watched her turn to speak to the man beside her; an immense, stone-faced thrall...Grumgar, if memory served. 

 

Bazine was trying to project an unaffected air, but Kylo easily read her agitation. It would seem that his first claiming—a young woman who possessed markedly different qualities than Bazine’s—had riled Maul’s favored servant up. 

 

Interesting. This could be used. 

 

Exhaling a huff of laughter, he returned his lips to Rey’s throat, distilling his thoughts directly into the mind of his thrall. 

 

Pay Bazine no mind, my sweet. His mouth worked over her tender skin, sucking at it, biting lightly at leisure. Her head fell back obediently, caught in the palm of his hand. Maul’s servant knows you are fresh, untainted, and more fair than she’ll ever be. She covets all that you are and that which you have—the undivided attention of your master.

 

Rey’s hands were once again clinging to him, pulling at the sumptuous velvet of his coat as her mind spun incoherently. 

 

“Mmh—Master?” she repeated in a breathy mumble. 

 

That title, spoken in her disoriented voice, carried omnipotent magic. It sent an electric bolt arcing through his core, rousing the heavy length between his thighs into obscene hardness. But it was just a bit too soon

 

Kylo resolved to hear her say it again. Only next time, she’d say it with feeling. 

 

With that, he locked his mouth over the punctures in the crook of her neck, contenting himself with the rich essence of her blood. 

 

Rey keened at the sting, body going rigid as he licked the fresh clotting away.

 

“Hush, pet,” he mumbled distractedly, heedless of the way her nails sank into the scored velvet of his coat, seeking a handhold.

 

Her response was a warbling cry that had him appreciating how similar her responses were to pain and arousal. 

 

Gradually, she began to relax in his grip, lulled by the steady pull of his mouth. 

 

He chuckled against skin, reeling her in closer as he drew from the now freely-bleeding punctures. She serenaded him with a low, winding moan as he tuned back into her racing thoughts.

 

Arousal followed by guilt, guilt chased by fear

 

Her mind was overwhelmed. She tried to process this new intimacy even as she fought to smother her circling emotions. An image flashed to the forefront of her thoughts, and he beheld through her eyes the first time he’d locked his mouth on her cunt. In that moment of wild fright, she’d believed he was literally going to eat her.

 

Whatever thing he called a heart went belly-up with wicked glee. Ah no, my love! Not like that.   

 

Indeed, she was thinking much the same, that it had been a different sort of devouring altogether. And now, her extraordinary mind was reasoning that he’d cut her, tasted her blood before. But this...the biting...the continuous drawing of her blood...it reminded her of a vampiric sort of consuming. She could sense how much he enjoyed it, and while that scared her, she was even more frightened by her own strange enjoyment, which grew stronger with each passing second. 

 

“Fuck, Kylo, please!” she begged, calling to him mindlessly for some kind of absolution.

 

She was right. He had to stop, had to control his urges better or risk her being altogether too weak for his purposes. 

 

With no small amount of effort, he lassoed his insatiable hunger, slowing the pulls of her exquisite blood, forcing himself to diminish his attentions into the long, ardent licks. 

 

“Flawless girl,” he growled against skin wet with saliva and blood. “I’d eat you whole if I knew I could resurrect you after.”





That did it. His words were frightening enough to cut through the veil of arousal, and Rey gazed up at him, her eyes huge and unblinking. With the caution of a mouse slipping from the coils of a resting serpent, she eased her hands between them, tentatively bracing against his chest. 

 

He allowed it, sending a flare of hope through her swamped mind.

 

“You’ve had your drink,” she joked weakly, reaching for the untouched cocktail sitting on the bar. “Move over...monster,” she added lightly, keeping an eye on him as she inched away and took a sip.

 

“Monster? Or did your tongue slip? Perhaps you meant to call me Master.

 

“Oh no, definitely sure it was the former not the latter,” she murmured, her eyes darting apprehensively over the room. 

 

His expression was cryptic. “For now,” he replied, smiling over the rim of his reclaimed brandy snifter. 

 

She shot him a short, pleading look before refocusing on the spectacle before her. Holy crap...and here I thought it was crazy before... The entire energy of the club scene had devolved into a clusterfuck of unbridled depravity. 

 

Knocking back a second bracing swallow of the opaque concoction, she quickly noted that the band had been replaced. On the small stage across the room, a masked DJ manned a set of turntables, pumping out a primal, drum-heavy mix. In hindsight, it was obvious that the sultry jazz had been but an opening act, the pretense of civility before the plunge. 

 

Panning the bawdy crowd, she spotted Phireth whispering into the ear of a man who was chained in one of the many alcoves that dotted the walls. The carved V of his back muscles were on full display, his arms pulled wide over his head in an angle that brought his musculature into stark relief. From her angle, Rey couldn’t see his expression as the demoness used her bejeweled, razor-edged fingernail to carve symbols into his bare flesh. The man twitched as he was cut, shuddering visibly when the demoness would pause to lick a rivulet of blood from his back. 

 

Rey’s stomach tightened and she looked away, but there was no escaping the licentious acts.

 

There was Khamael, reclining decadently atop one of the repurposed gaming tables with a pair of identical twins. Both women prowled over him, their lithe, nude bodies setting off the crisp black of his suit. His hand strayed between the thighs of one while the other nibbled at his ear, her fingers nimbly undoing the buttons of his shirt. 

 

Rey felt a shiver ripple up her spine, disturbed by the callous exhibitionism all around her. 

 

The now-cavernous room danced with otherworldly shadows, enhanced by the spectral emerald glow. 

 

Sipping at her drink, she felt an urgent pang and scanned the perimeter of the club. Is there room in all this weirdness for…?

 

“It’s over there,” Kylo interjected, tipping his head toward an opening in the organically sculpted walls. 

 

She shot him a sharp glance. “Are you in my head again?”

 

The charming, crooked smile he flashed was a dead giveaway. “When it comes to you,” he purred, “I want all the ins.”

 

The corner of her mouth twitched. Well , at least he’s predictable in that. She quashed her annoyance, looking through the crowd to examine the oval hallway he’d indicated, struggling to envision that as the way to a restroom. It looked more like the yawning trachea of some great beast, and it was easier to imagine she’d be swallowed whole rather than find the toilet she so suddenly required.

 

But need overcame instinct, and she turned her eyes back on him, silently asking if it was safe, knowing he heard her.

 

“You’re with me,” he drawled, cocksure as always.

 

Without wasting another second worrying about it, she turned and threaded through the half-naked revelers toward the hallway. She bit her lip as she went, worrying whether the sheer fabric of her dress revealed the wink of metal at the junction of her butt cheeks. Christ, Rey, look around you. An anal plug is child’s play to these freaks.  

 

It was true. Even with her direct route, she passed by multiple groups engaged in porn-worthy acts: a fresh-faced man who didn’t look over eighteen bent over the lap of another, twitching repeatedly as a string of spheres was pushed one-by-one into his anus. A gaggle of women surrounding a well-muscled man on a table, taking turns dipping down to eat the delicacies that had been arranged all over his nude body, leaving him riddled with bite marks. A threesome in the shadows of an alcove, one man strapping a woman into a set of ankle spacers while the other perused an assortment of whips and canes. 

 

Even though she fought to keep her eye on her destination, Rey found she couldn’t help but look. The obscenity was on parade, and it was as disturbing as it was magnetic. 

 

In the end, her own urgent need came to the rescue, carrying her briskly through the shameless fuckery going on all around. There wasn’t even a trepidatious pause as she passed through the ridged, throat-like portal. 

 

To her relief, she found the washroom was upscale-normal, particularly if you didn’t count the g-string-clad women lounging on a circular divan, chatting and drinking. 

 

Rey beelined for one of the marble stalls, slamming the door and near-simultaneously tearing her panties off. Crashing gracelessly upon a sleek black toilet, she let her head roll back on her shoulders as she emptied her overfull bladder. She heaved a quiet sigh of relief—as much for the toilet as for the brief moment of respite. 

 

Relieved of the imperative to pee and alone at last, her mind was granted a moment of coherency. 

 

The events since their arrival came crashing back and she made a small, despairing sound, bracing her elbows on her knees and holding her head in her hands. 

 

In the stillness of the bathroom stall, she could feel the effect of the alcohol more clearly, and she wondered if all the fear and adrenaline had staved it off up until now.

 

Her constitution felt as achy and bruised as her body, and yet… the night wasn’t through with her yet, and neither was he. The marble floors swam in her vision as her despair of moments ago threatened to resurrect. 

 

Look what’s become of you. 

 

With wooden motions, she gathered a handful of toilet paper. The first wipe saturated it through, bringing a grimace at the sight of their combined body fluids. “A mess,” she muttered sorrowfully, “he makes a mess out of me.” 

 

In more ways than one. The whirlwind fuck in the dark had left her dangerously unmoored, gunshy about what might be coming next. She was alone in the lair of the enemy and she needed a weapon, something to which she could cling and defend her crumbling sanity.

 

After spending an inordinate amount of time using her muscles to expel what she could of his cum, she removed the lace thong completely and squeezed it between wads of toilet paper. Being wet down there constantly was getting tiresome, and she desperately wished he wasn’t so enamored with the exchange of bodily fluids. 

 

Her fingers lightly skimmed the hilted plug between her cheeks, and she humored the mutinous ideas that came. In thought, if not in action. She shook her head at her own faulty bartering skills, leaving the trainer in place as she slipped the damp panties back on. 

 

With great reluctance, she unlocked the door and made her way over to the line of mirrored sinks, moving like she was underwater. The women were right where she left them, though they were now locked in a slow, sensuous kiss.

 

Positioning herself at a sink, she noticed that something was different. Tilting her head back, she looked up at the ceiling with a little frown. Warm, white light poured down on her, lending a sense of normalcy that she immediately embraced. No ghastly, green phosphorescence. It made her want to linger until her demon saw fit to drag her out. 

 

Looking down, she caught sight of herself in the mirror. He’d taken her hair down, but it wasn’t enough to hide the carnage at the juncture of her neck and shoulder. 

 

“Goddamnit, Kylo,” she snarled, wetting a hand towel and dabbing at the four puncture wounds. “Gonna get fucking rabies....” 

 

She was furiously attacking a smear of dried blood on her cheek when the door behind her banged open. 

 

Into the room blew Bazine, preceded by a pair of lush breasts that bounced with each step she took. The thrall wore only a dark cloak atop leather, high-waisted panties that laced up her ribcage, revealing breasts with nipples painted as red as her fresh lipstick. Her cape unfurled dramatically around her, lending to an air of self-importance.

 

They locked eyes and Rey’s simmering irritation launched straight into orbit. “This night just gets better and better,” she grumbled, making sure the other woman heard her. 

 

Bazine turned, her dark-ringed eyes narrowing as she spotted her. “Of all the men and women he could have had, he chooses you?” she exploded, lunging toward Rey before halting abruptly, as if thinking the better of it. “What did you offer?” she demanded, hotly.

 

It was an attack, or close enough to one. Rey spun around lightning-quick, her muscles taut with adrenaline. “Fucking nightcrawler,” she snarled, “stay the hell away from me, or I’ll imprint this sink with your face.” 

 

Bazine was rendered mute, taken aback by her quick aggression. Over on the round divan, the two women had gone quiet, both of them locked on the altercation playing out. 

 

A false smile split Bazine’s crimson lips as she attempted to hide her surprise. “Perhaps I was a little too bold,” she offered, her voice dark as molasses. “Tell me, Rey, woman-to-woman, thrall-to-thrall.” She paused, her spiked heels clicking as she paced a respectable distance away. “The Archfiend of Persuasion chose you to be his first—and only—human servant. Whatever did you offer him? What did a mouse like you do to turn the head of a god?”

 

Outrage bubbled up into Rey’s throat, threatening to choke her. “He is no god,” she barked, “and I didn’t ask for this. Up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea that demons were real, or that there were batshit nuts assholes like you running around, trying to fraternize with them.” She narrowed her eyes, positively itching to attack this bitch who dared approach her. Again . “Fucking psychopath.”

 

Bazine threw back her head and laughed wildly, seemingly delighted by Rey’s rejoinder. 

 

Through the haze of her own fury, it dawned on Rey...she was playing on Bazine’s turf. There was nothing to gain from a heated exchange, other than to show she wasn’t easy prey. She clenched her jaw and inhaled deep, making an immense effort to compartmentalize her animosity.

 

The witch was watching her balefully, considering her angle. “You spit like a viper, but you’re weak, and worse than weak—ungrateful.” Bazine’s eyes glittered fanatically as she gestured at Rey’s left hand. “Look at how gentle he is with you—his name engraved with the care of a lover.” She narrowed her eyes, voice abandoning its mocking edge in favor of something far grimmer. “You take your position completely for granted, don’t you...you are gifted the unspeakable honor of being his thrall...and you spit on it.”

 

By some unknown grace, Rey regulated her aggression to a withering glare. “I had other aspirations, ones that didn’t involve copious amounts of pain and a lifetime of indentured servitude—unlike your sick ass.” 

 

Bazine’s red lips twisted into a grimace. “What did you give?” she demanded. “How did you catch his eye?— You, a plain, unconsecrated mongrel bitch!”

 

The balance had shifted, and Rey could feel it. Her growing self-control seemed to be sapping Bazine’s own, leaving her increasingly unhinged. 

 

A grim smile spread over Rey’s face. “If I’m a mongrel bitch, what does that make you?—gagging on your master’s dick every chance you get. I don’t give him anything. He takes whatever he wants.”

 

“Then perhaps that is it,” Bazine wheedled shrilly, “and that’s the worst part—he wants it from you, you who doesn’t want to give. You, who has no fucking idea how lucky you are. You, who has no respect for the power of the dark.” Her face grew blindingly hateful, eyes narrowed, teeth bared. “Seeing you with him aggravates me beyond words,” Bazine hissed, spittle flying from her lips. “Kylo is an Archfiend of the highest echelon, and he deserves better than you.”

 

Rey crossed her arms, leaning back against the sink. “Well isn’t that interesting. Didn’t think you were team-Kylo.”

 

“I’m not—” Bazine snapped heatedly, “but surely you’ll agree...” A deviant smile crept over her face, making her appear more maniacal than ever. “Beautiful things are made to be admired...and the dark gods are made to be worshiped. You are an unworthy consort.”

 

Rey didn’t blink, her hooded gaze caustic. If this bitch wanted to get physical, that would be something, but arguments with the deranged were a waste of breath.

 

She stalked straight toward the door, pausing mere inches from Bazine as they drew abreast of one another. “I wish he agreed with you,” she quipped, leaning toward the other woman with a direct stare. Rey searched her features for a moment, giving her one last chance to act. 

 

The woman quivered with hate but didn’t move, and Rey turned dismissively toward the door. “Do me a favor?” she tossed over her shoulder. “Try and convince him next time you have a chance?”

 

The door closed on whatever acrid reply Bazine threw at her.

 

She stewed as she prowled back into the club, hating that woman and this place and the demon that owned her. 

 

Lost in her own personal dark cloud, she didn’t notice the large figure that lunged at her, lightning-quick. She let out a short shriek as she was scooped up and tossed unceremoniously over a familiar, very-broad shoulder.

 

“Damn you, Kylo, put me down! ” she yowled, gripping the fabric of his jacket. He chuckled in reply, earning an indignant snarl as his hand slid up the back of her thigh, coming to rest on the now-exposed round of her buttock. 

 

The brush of cool air verified what she already knew: her skirt was short enough to expose her fully in this position. 

 

She opened her mouth to screech at him, her rebuke flattened into thunderstruck silence by what he said next.

 

“Hello, Bazine.” 

 

The acknowledgment was far too polite, and there was no universe that could’ve kept her fury contained... if his greeting hadn’t been delivered in the low, metallic rasp she’d come to associate with danger.

 

“Archfiend Ren,” Bazine replied, her tone uncertain.

 

Rey tensed in his arms, itching to rear up and turn toward the woman at her back. “Hateful bitch,” Rey growled, the words eaten by the incessant thump of bass. 

 

Kylo gave her ass a hard, very deliberate squeeze as his voice rolled through her mind. Silence, little vixen, or I’ll enjoy gagging you properly. 

 

She didn’t need a visual to guess what he meant, and the fire in her blood tempered reluctantly. Her body relaxed, molding to him as she accepted the indignity of her position.

 

He addressed Bazine again, and Rey cursed inwardly that she couldn’t see her face.

 

“You’ll remember my Rey, from the arboretum.”

 

“Y-yes, my Lord,” Bazine managed.

 

“And what do you make of my thrall?”

 

“Me, my lord?” Bazine all but squeaked, “I-I wouldn’t dare presume—”

 

“Oh, but you already have,” he interrupted, his voice impossibly silky. “You’ve presumed twice, and now I would know your mind.”

 

What?! Rey felt her ire resurrecting, and she fought to remain motionless as Bazine began to stammer out a frightened reply.

 

“She is, well...she is...ungrateful of the honor, my lord, one of the unconsecrated...she does not grasp—or appreciate—the magnitude of the Dark.”

 

Bazine’s speech was choppy, as if each word was wrenched from her kicking and screaming. Rey listened closely, her outrage momentarily suspended. Was he compelling her? 

 

The fact that the bitch sounded particularly miserable was of some small consolation.

 

“You are not incorrect,” Kylo acknowledged crisply. “Do continue.”

 

“My lord, her—her impertinence is...unheard of...your status demands proper worship. This girl—sh-she speaks sacrilege . Just now, she taunted me, told me to try and convince you that she was unworthy of being your thrall—”

 

“That’s about good, Bazine. While I’d say that I appreciate your concern, I suspect it isn’t your only motivation. These matters are—how do they say?—above your pay grade. Rey is more uniquely suited to me than one like you could ever know.”

 

His tone lowered into a menacing rumble. “I’ll only tell you once: leave off of my thrall. You have more serious matters to attend to than worrying about my affairs.”

 

With disconcerting speed, he reverted back to gentile. “Why look,” he drawled, “here comes the most pressing of them all.”

 

Rey turned her head and spotted Maul stalking in their direction with a black expression. Oh shit. She battled the urge to squirm free, hating how much she felt like a fresh kill slung over Kylo’s shoulder. 

 

A moment later, Bazine spoke from a much lower vantage point. “M-Master,” she acknowledged, her voice husky with fear.

 

Rey couldn’t help it, tensing her abs to peek around Kylo’s shoulder. 

 

The Archfiend of Rancor said nothing aloud, remaining stony-faced as he seized Bazine by a handful of her dark hair. Without so much as a word, he turned and dragged her unceremoniously back toward his booth. 

 

Rey swallowed, unnerved by the sight of Bazine’s body sliding listlessly over the floor, pulled along by the tattooed fist of her master. 

 

“Come,” Kylo said, turning and bearing Rey back through the crowd. “Let’s refresh our drinks and sit. The show will soon begin.”

 

Show? Rey went cold, her previous mortification forgotten as a creeping dread took root. Her body swayed limply with each step he took. “I’m not gonna survive this night,” she mumbled into his back.

 

“Take heart, little vixen,” he coaxed jovially, bending to deposit her on her feet. “Nothing will happen to you...that I don’t allow.” 

 

She inhaled sharply, nostrils flaring as she debated the wisdom of a frank retort. The raptor-like smile he gave her was not reassuring, and she clenched her teeth in silence. 

 

They were right back where they’d started—at their apparently staked-out area of the bar. The DJ continued to spin out a raw, primal mix, and the libertines continued to frolic in varying states of undress.

 

Kylo reached toward the counter to fetch her drink. All at once, his hand halted in place, withdrawing to stare down at her with a distant expression. His dark brows slowly knit into a frown of concentration.

 

She found herself mirroring his expression, her heart picking up a little. What was this?

 

Kylo’s posture straightened as he swiveled to gaze in the direction of the arrival platform, his eyes gleaming red discs for the briefest second.

 

Shit. In a moment of pure nervousness, she snatched the champagne bell that waited on the bar, managing a deep, fortifying chug before Kylo turned, dipping his head down to her ear. Into it, he whispered two words: “Traya comes.”

 

Rey’s stomach dropped as a host of spectral young women flickered to life upon the dais, all of them wearing stark white robes. Within their ranks stood a solitary figure in black. The Archfiend . Her features were hidden by the deep drape of a hooded cloak, and Rey could only make out two banded sections of long, grey hair and a pair of thin, very dark lips. 

 

Regardless of what proceedings they were engaged with, the revelers all paused and directed their attention toward the dais, much as they had when she and Kylo had appeared. Rey risked a peek at Maul’s booth and found that even the Archfiend had zeroed in on the arrival.

 

After a pause, the black-robed demoness initiated their march, her thralls panning out in perfect concert. For an instant, Traya looked up, revealing inhuman, black eyes and the ashen face of an old crone.

 

“What is her power?” Rey managed to ask, her voice scarcely audible.

 

“She is a prognosticator. Traya is Archfiend of foresight and tactic, and she serves the dark aims as a wellspring of information and guidance.” 

 

“She sees your future?”

 

An odd expression crossed his face, and she tried to place it. Bitterness? Sarcasm?

 

“Not mine,” he replied, “nor Maul’s, nor any of the lesser demons. Supernatural entities are outside the realm of divination.”  

 

Rey watched the haunting procession flow through the crowd. “So...she could read my future?” she asked quietly, regretting the question the second it passed her lips. 

 

“Not with real certainty. Traya has tried many times, but mortals that consort with demons read as vague, like looking through a fogged mirror. It would seem that divination is linked to the trajectory of human souls, and when they are tampered with—as they are when we claim a thrall—their futures become unclear.”

 

Rey didn’t respond, too distracted by the details that emerged as Traya’s procession drew nearer. They wore all white, these albino thralls with their colorless hair and, and…

 

Oh my fucking god— their EYES …” she whispered, unaware she’d spoken aloud.

 

Her mind shriveled as she stared in horror, unable to not imagine what had happened to them. 

 

“Pity them not,” Kylo stated shortly. “Traya’s thralls sacrifice their sight willingly. In return, they are afforded a form of Traya’s third eye, channeled directly from the mind of their mistress.” 

 

Rey felt numb as he lifted her complacent left arm. She started when she felt the warmth of his mouth close around her left index finger, glancing at him in alarm. He sucked the whole of its length, teeth scraping lovingly over the scarlet glyphs that spelled his name. 

 

He eyed her troubled face fondly, releasing her fingertip with a soft pop. Then, her jaw was engulfed in his massive palm as he turned her back to face the eerie delegation. “Look at them,” he commanded. 

 

The delicate skin of their eyelids was puckered and shrunken, the black thread of stitching clear against the wrinkled flesh. And white , why are they all so bleach-white? A wave of nausea rose, sloshing precariously in her stomach.

 

“In the same way that you wear the mark of my name, Traya’s thralls bear the brand of their mistress.” 

 

“Wh-what about Maul?” she blurted out. “What is his mark?”

 

“You’ll soon see,” he said, leaving her to the jaws of her own imagination. 

 

Rey glanced back at the demoness, who appeared to be looking straight at her. It was difficult to tell with certainty; her eyes were black as patent leather and just as shiny, and there were no visible whites to indicate what direction she might be looking in. 

 

The pit of Rey’s stomach swam with trepidation. She felt as though she were made of glass, as if every hope and fear and all the good and all the bad were revealed to this creature within the span of a moment. Just as Maul incited vitriol and Kylo, compliance, the black-eyed demoness inspired a feeling of portentous awe.

 

And she was heading straight for where she and Kylo stood.

 

Rey found herself sinking against the hulking wall of demon behind her, seeking comfort from the only available source. 

 

The eerie delegation halted a respectable distance away from them. As one, the albino thralls turned their heads toward where they stood at the bar, scrutinizing them with their sightless eyes. The hairs at the back of Rey’s neck prickled, and she crossed her arms protectively over her chest.

 

All of a sudden, there came the warmth of a massive hand on her hip. It was a small gesture, but Rey derived a great deal of strength from it, even as the Archfiend approached.

 

“Traya,” Kylo said, calmly acknowledging his counterpart.  

 

“Kylo, Master of the Hellcniht of Ren,” she droned, addressing him by his full title. “After all this time...you’ve finally found a toy worth playing with.”

 

As she spoke, her head remained angled at Rey, and that inscrutable gaze made her want to shrivel up and die. 

 

“I have indeed. And did you scry her appearance, or did you employ a more...warm-blooded method?”

 

The corner of Traya’s lips twitched irritably, though her tone remained unmoved. “Perhaps both, but that is none of your concern. You’ve found yourself an exotic little bird...but the means you used to cage it leave me wondering…”

 

“Oh?” Kylo replied, sounding bored.

 

A flicker of disgust crossed Traya’s face, and she made a dismissive gesture at her fellow demon. To Rey’s unending horror, she stepped even closer to them. 

 

As Rey regarded her own unnerved reflection in those nightmarish eyes, she could no longer doubt where the demoness was looking. She felt her lungs compress, all breath squeezed out under the weight of that stare. 

 

“I have dreamt of you, girl,” Traya muttered, her voice like the brush of ancient cobwebs.

 

Thick, yellowed nails tipped Traya’s fingers, glowing in the dimness like calcified bone. She reached for Rey, the twitchy unfolding of her pallid hands sending darts of terror flying through her mind. They landed and ignited, little fires that burned with the need to flee.

 

Rey leaned into Kylo harder, her hand fisting in the fabric at his back as she battled her flight response. His solid body remained immovable, and he made no move to shield her.

 

The demoness stopped her advance, stroking at the air as if feeling some unseen wall.

 

Rey’s eyes widened in horror as the tips of those unearthly talons began to trace little lines of sparks as they moved. Over the incessant thump of bass, she detected the snap of static, as if the very molecules of air were tearing like paper.

 

Her heart slammed in her chest. What was happening?!  

 

Her head jerked up in desperation, seeking Kylo’s protection. The sparks from Traya’s unsettling examination cast a flickering light over his face. He didn’t look at her, his expression cryptic as he continued to observe without interference. 

 

There was no comfort in his stoicism. The fires of panic burned higher, threatening madness. As her desperation mounted to something unsustainable, something stirred in the deepest, darkest corner of her mind. 

 

There is no hope, no light. Her eyes closed, instinctively grasping for the kernel of strength that made up her core. That little voice inside whispered in her mind. Give in to it, let it take you. 

 

A flash of clarity dazzled her, banishing the shadows from her mind. In that awful moment of self-discovery, she realized...this was not the hardened, sarcastic part of her brain speaking...it was not—

 

Her heart did a swan dive of despair as she recognized the small, insidious voice for what it was—the darkness planted within her, cognizant, self-aware, calculating.  

 

Falling, falling, with no one to catch her. Colors flashed and feelings bled out, the music evening into a steady, toneless drone in her ears. Red torment and carnal ecstasy, the deep cut of a blade...the taste of iron, salt in the wound...a storm that folded in on itself, strengthening. There, at the heart of the tempest, a sole purpose, elemental and unyielding...

 

Rey’s eyes snapped open to find Traya facing her, their hands joined as they floated in a silent, grey void. The storm roiled, over, around, inside of her. The demoness was patient as death, but the storm wouldn’t wait. Rey’s eyes flashed with hot focus, sending a violent crackle of energy rolling through her limbs, out towards…

 

Amidst the lewd revelry of the Akeldama, Traya jolted. Her obsidian eyes widened in an expression of shock and her hands recoiled as she studied Rey. 

 

For a charged, endless second, the demoness was silent. Then, her lips skinned back, revealing a sharp set of yellowed teeth. Her cloaked head whipped up to glare at her fellow Archfiend. “You,” she hissed, her voice quivering with accusation.

 

Rey blinked as her surroundings clicked back into place, fright ramping back up at the sight of the outraged demoness. But Traya wasn’t looking at her anymore.

 

“Tu valia nesti prazutis sh'jatau mus kvailas siurk!” the demoness spat, hurling the words at Kylo like a curse. 

 

Kylo remained stock-still, but Rey could hear the coldness in his reply. “Nu virt'ne manyta j'us. Tu kûsk iv grotthu kash zenota kia buti krevas.”

 

Traya’s nostrils flared as her face reverted to its previous implacable mask. “We shall see,” she muttered, turning and departing with her ghostly trail of thralls.

 

Kylo’s thumb circled slowly at her back. The motion anchored her, and she realized that every muscle of her body was locked with tension. Releasing her desperate grip on Kylo’s coat, she tilted her head up to him. “What just happened?” she asked, drawing a deep, shaky breath.

 

“Traya attempted a read on you.” He flashed his dark, debonair smile down at her, but she saw the tightness around his lips. 

 

“I thought you said I was protected from them,” she whined, feeling unreasonably petulant as she pressed a little closer.

 

“Their touch, not their powers. You noticed the field that presented when Traya’s hands neared you? If she’d pushed, it would have repelled her forcefully, due to the brand of my claim on you.”

 

“But you let her do her—her thing on me.”

 

Now a true smile lit his face. “I knew it wouldn’t work. It never does on our thralls. But you should take it as a compliment; Traya is rarely so interested in a mortal that she feels impelled to read their aura.”

 

His eyes lit up pridefully as he looked her over, a wash of bloody light coloring the planes of his cheeks for a split second. “Come, beautiful. We have a front-row seat for the main event.” 

 

Wordlessly, she let Kylo steer her toward the sculpted alcove that housed his corner booth. As they approached the sleek, 120 degree L-shaped seating area, Rey realized that the Akeldama was roughly octagonal, and that the booths were spaced such that each occupied its own corner. 

 

Off to her right, Maul tracked their progress with his beady, amber eyes. 

 

Rey was grateful for the distance that configuration afforded them, and that was to say nothing of her relief that Traya and her delegation were also situated at an equal remove to their left. 

 

The layout also meant that they all had an easy view of one another, but that was preferable to neighboring booths.

 

Kylo spread his free hand and the immense, altar-like slab of a table moved back, affording them more room to slide onto the carved bench seat. Deftly, he slid in and situated himself at the very center, pulling her along to sit astride his knee. 

 

The anal plug, briefly forgotten amidst the whirl of events, pressed deeper in her ass, and she grimaced at its reminder. 

 

Rey regarded the club from her new perch as dread began its familiar drip through her veins. 

 

Through the crowd came his servants. Azrael walked alone, his somber robes flowing in his wake. Both Phireth and Khamael paused at a distance, disentangling themselves from amorous embraces before stalking over to join them. 

 

They each bowed in turn before taking a seat at the booth, closing in around Rey like a pack of wolves. The lights flickered once, revealing the gleam of inhuman eyes all around her. A fingertip dripped down the exposed path of her spine, and she shivered.

 

Damned. I am damned to keep the company of monsters.



 




Appendix



Pallens luridium : the northern lights of the demon world. 



Sith translations:

 

Traya, to Kylo: You will bring chaos down on us with your foolish decisions!

 

Kylo’s reply: I doubt it. Your visions of thralls are known to be erroneous.

Chapter Text



 


 

 

The lights flickered and extinguished. A shockwave swept through the room, pushing Rey back against Kylo’s marble frame.

 

The music and din of chatter abruptly cut, like lights snuffed in a rolling blackout. Oh god, not again—  

 

It was disturbingly quiet. The silence rang in her ears, more frightening than the chorus of screams that had accompanied the first bout of sudden darkness. 

 

The touch of Kylo’s hand made her jump, his fingers trailing up her spine to cup the back of her neck. Like so much of the comfort he gave, it was back-handed—steadying her while punctuating her helplessness.

 

Her expanded pupils locked onto the vaguest hint of muted, red light. Was her mind playing tricks on her? She squinted at it, conceding it was real as it continued to brighten.

 

The stone floor was becoming translucent, like a thick sheet of dirty ice. From beneath it, the hellish light continued to grow, chasing the shadows higher. Her eyes widened as what looked like a river of fire became visible, its molten red appearing mere inches beneath their feet.

 

Whether or not it was real, the perception had Rey easing her toes off the ground, as if the floor might burn her. 

 

She looked up to see the revelers, their scantily clad bodies awash in bloody light. They had abandoned their lusty pursuits and amassed, every one of them kneeling on the glowing floor.

 

They didn’t appear to be burning by touching it, though she now had another thing to worry about. An audience.

 

Even with their attention seemingly trained on Maul’s booth, she found herself shrinking against Kylo, waiting with bated breath for something to give. 

 

The stillness was broken as Maul slowly stood. He appeared gloriously fearsome—a tyrant holding court—the red of his facial tattoos nearly purple in the muted light.

 

With a subtle grace that surprised her, the Archfiend lifted his hands and clapped twice, the summons ringing sharply through the silence. 

 

Rey shifted onto the bench of Kylo’s thigh, looping an arm around him while resting a hand on the slab of his pectoral, uncaring that she was clinging to a hellspawn. What’s happening!? she thought at him. And please, please, please don’t be mysterious with me—  

 

She glanced at his face, so close to hers, hoping to glean a clue from his expression. His head was tipped back, his expression one of amused contempt. 

 

“Maul enjoys being something of a master of ceremonies; he likes the obeisance of his thralls to kick the night off.” 

 

That told her nothing. Her mouth felt dry and she swallowed, turning back to see that a man and a woman now stood at Maul’s side. With practiced motions, they removed his inky cloak and tunic, revealing a lean, whiplike body that was corded with muscle. Kylo’s cohort was a little shorter than he, and she saw that the patchwork of tattoos extended down the full length of his torso. Some part of her mind noted that both Archdemons were heavily inked, and she was about to ask about it when a sitar began to play. 

 

Her heart skipped as the stealthy notes threaded through the red-tinged darkness, lending a ceremonial weight to the moment. 

 

A trio of thralls emerged from across the floor—a toned, middle-aged man flanked by two women, all of them barely clothed. They made their way through the crowd, each step choreographed as they crossed the floor to the waiting demon. 

 

Approaching the booth’s low stone table, they dropped to their knees and crawled to kneel atop the polished surface. All three came to rest in a child’s pose before the Archfiend, arms extended, their foreheads pressed to the black stone.

 

Maul’s face was stony and unmoved, a liege who’d seen this all a thousand times. He lifted his arm and made a small gesture, bringing his hand down over the thralls before him. 

 

A glint disturbed the darkness above them. Rey bit back a dismayed noise as an array of silver chains descended over the trio, swaying like the tentacles of a metal monstrosity. They were thick as her wrists, and each was furnished with a wickedly sharp meathook.

 

Rey’s insides crawled as her imagination ran with it. Aww fuck

 

The two women stood beside their kneeling cohort, their slender arms reaching up to pull the chains closer. At the same time, the man between them arose to hands and knees, staring up at his master with a provocative expression. 

 

Maul returned to a seated position and reclined. Instantly, the thralls on either side of him got to work, their fingers working nimbly at the crotch of his pants. The Archfiend paid them no mind, his eyes locked on the thrall kneeling in front of him. His cock sprang free, and Rey saw that his member was also tattooed before the thralls at his side dove for it. Jesus fucking christ...

 

Rey cringed as the first hook was guided through the skin of the kneeling thrall’s shoulder blade. He tipped his head back, letting out a lengthy, agonized groan. Now, Maul’s brooding expression changed, taking on a look of gluttonous anticipation.

 

From the corner of her eye, she saw Kylo’s smirk deepen. “Buckle up, buttercup,” he murmured darkly.

 

Oh no. No, she *definitely* didn’t want to see this.

 

She attempted to turn away but met with a wall of well-dressed demon. Her pleading look went ignored as he eased her squarely over his groin and looped his arms around her waist. 

 

“Don’t look away now, love, or you’ll miss the best part.”

 

Rey swallowed her revulsion at the horrendous sight—Maul virtually feasting on the pained expression of the kneeling man as the two women pierced the flesh of his shoulders. In the Archdemon’s lap, his two thralls continued to make out around the shaft of his cock.

 

The woman in Maul’s lap reached down to fondle his scrotum, and Rey saw that she possessed a blackened pointer finger. The man she kissed bore the same disfigurement. What the hell? Glad for any distraction from the unfolding atrocity, her eyes darted to each member of Maul’s entourage. All of them possessed a withered, blackened finger.

 

She thought back to the first encounter with Bazine in the arboretum. The bitch had worn gloves that concealed her hands, and she'd pointedly examined Rey’s own hands before growing surly...

 

“Kylo, their fingers,” she mumbled, dazedly.

 

“I’m pleased you noticed,” he said, his breath fanning the back of her ear. “They bear the mark of their master, just as yours does. Traya takes their eyes...Maul marks his with a lick of hellfire. The burns never quite heal...”

 

Bazine’s words returned to her. “Look at how gentle he is with you—his name engraved with the care of a lover.” 

 

The revelation spread through her mind like a mushroom cloud. She twisted, reaching around to hold him in place as she pressed an impulsive kiss to his mouth. He remained still for a moment, letting her nip plaintively before he opened, gliding his tongue sensuously along hers. 

 

A slippery warmth blossomed between her thighs, spreading as she lost herself to the soft, wet tangle of their mouths. And when he ground his cock up against her ass, she couldn’t find it in her to do anything but moan, her back arching at the delicious pressure.

 

His hand gripped her chin, holding her in place as he pulled away. For a long moment, he stared her down with a dark, penetrative look. “Sexy,” he pronounced, delivering a quick lick to her mouth before guiding her firmly back to the proceedings. 

 

As she turned, she saw Azrael look away, but not before she’d seen him watching them curiously.

 

Their kiss left Rey breathless and somewhat removed from the grisly ritual. She watched as the last hooks were threaded through the back of the kneeling man's thighs, surprised that there wasn’t more blood. 

 

“This man, he does this...willingly?” 

 

Kylo nodded at her back. “They fight for the honor. The thrall you see is in a coveted position tonight.”

 

“Well, that’s.. .incredibly fucked up,” she muttered, counting the hooks that bulged from his shoulders down to the back of his thighs. Eight—there were eight of them.

 

Kylo laughed, a low chuckle that lacked even a drop of sympathy. “There are many who enjoy pain, little vixen.”

 

“Yeah. Weirdos and fanatics,” she mumbled, fingers nervously tracing the raised lines of ink beneath Kylo’s forearms. She repressed her dismay as an acolyte used a winch to pull the chains taut, bracing herself for what was coming. The man’s skin stretched grotesquely before he was hoisted up to hang above the table like a freakish chandelier. 

 

Now came the little rivulets of blood. They dripped from his body, spattering the dark stone below him like rain. Somewhere in the shadows, the phantom sitar continued its refrain, a wordless chant that ratcheted the sense of anticipation.

 

One of the female thralls produced a knife, slicing the leather thong that the hanging man wore. 

 

Now, he was naked, his erect penis in full view. The sheer vulnerability of his position sent a pang of empathy through Rey, despite the fact that she knew he was a willing participant. 

 

Maul roughly pushed the two in his lap aside and stood. 

 

The pierced thrall hung before him at eye level, chains stirring as his master gripped his face in both hands. Maul whispered something to him before lunging to ravish his mouth in a ferocious kiss. 

 

Rey snuck a glance at the crowd, found them watching with hungry expressions as one of the female thralls on the table dipped beneath the hanging man. The woman tipped her head back, bare breasts outthrust as she latched on to the hanging man’s cock. Her head bobbed rhythmically at his groin as she began to suck his member with long, deep strokes.

 

Rey squirmed, inexplicably aroused, and very disturbed by the fact. 

 

What’s wrong, angel? Do you find yourself enjoying this a little more than you should, hmm?

 

She opened her mouth, prepared to vehemently deny it when she felt a warm finger settle on her clit. The words died in a soft whoosh of exhaled breath. 

 

Kylo hadn’t moved; his arms remained locked around her waist. 

 

At once, she knew what he was about. A flush spread over her face as she recalled the fever dream of that picnic table in the Italian countryside, the rain pouring down...her cunt pumped by a phantom limb while his actual cock rutted lustily into her ass. 

 

She huddled in his lap, breathless as he maintained a light pressure; not moving, but showing no signs of letting up. Under his fingers, her clit pulsed like a tiny, beating heart. Fuck. Rey bit her lip, resisting the urge to react. He could easily be doing this with his actual hands, for all to see. And he might, were she to berate him. Not to mention the fact that he was pleasuring her, rather than sticking her full of effing meathooks

 

Over at Maul’s booth, the Archfiend had returned to his seat. Beneath the hanging thrall, the female acolyte continued her vigorous blowjob. Rey looked at the way his skin stretched, his toes curling in mid-air as he experienced what she could only guess was an exquisite dichotomy of pain and pleasure. 

 

The finger wedged between her labia slipped easily back and forth, enhanced by how drenched she was. It was maddening and worse; his play had the disturbing effect of diluting the purity of her horror and disgust at the proceedings.

 

Meanwhile, the woman with the knife had claimed one of the hanging man’s arms. She waited with the blade trained against his wrist, her eyes locked on the actions of the other female thrall. 

 

Rey felt her stomach flip as she realized: they were going to bleed him as he came

 

She sat a little straighter as the movement between her thighs increased, unable to help how she wiggled subtly in his lap as the devious pleasure built. Squeezing her thighs together and crossing her legs yielded no relief. It was like fighting a ghost, and all she managed to do was win an amused chuckle from her tormentor. 

 

Phireth shot her a quick side-eyed glance before looking back on the proceedings. Her dark stare was neutral, but Rey wallowed in mortification, sure that Kylo’s underling knew what was happening.

 

Her hands tightened into claws on said demon’s forearm as he stroked her ever-closer to her own climax. 

 

In the background, the notes of the sitar spiraled up in a passionate crescendo that mirrored her internal struggle. Just as she was giving herself over to the fact that— yes, he was going to make her come, here, now, in the middle of a fucked-up demonic rite —he stopped. 

 

Her cunt throbbed plaintively as the built-up need fell flat. She exhaled hard, swamped by warring frustration and relief.

 

At that moment, the dangling thrall gave an impassioned groan, buttocks clenching as he jammed his cock deep into the throat of the kneeling woman. She gripped his hips and began to swallow vigorously. It was the cue the other thrall waited for, and now, she cut deep into his wrist.

 

The man gave a hoarse cry, and Rey watched in mute horror as the knife-wielding thrall produced a goblet, angling it under the small torrent that splashed down over the dark stone table.

 

When the goblet was filled to her satisfaction, the acolyte left the man bleeding where he hung, the chains above him clinking with his shudders. She turned to the Archfiend and knelt, the offering held high above her bowed head.

 

Maul’s eyes flashed in the darkness as he claimed the offering. Wrapping his hands around the chalice, he drank lustily of his thrall’s blood, spilling some down his chin as he tipped the cup back to drain it.

 

Rey shivered, very much distracted from her own conflict as Maul dropped the vessel upon the table. The demon looked intoxicated, his fierce eyes half-lidded, mouth slicked with gore. 

 

The sacrificial thrall was being lowered to the table by his fellow thralls, his slashed wrist bound as the hooks were eased from his flesh. Maul had pulled Bazine ass-up over his lap and appeared to be speaking to her, but Rey didn’t see what followed as she was shifted to face Traya’s booth.

 

“You’re doing so well,” Kylo murmured, his breath skimming her earlobe. “One down, one to go.” 

 

Rey bit her lip as she struggled with herself. On one hand, she was relieved to have her attention focused anywhere but at Maul’s booth. On the other hand, she just fucking knew that whatever was coming would be equally vile, and she lived in fear of whatever it was. 

 

To top it all off, that phantom finger had returned. It toyed with her clit, sometimes resting with just enough pressure to make it throb, other times massaging lazily. 

 

Rey’s eyes stung with self-recrimination. Why’d you have to kiss him?! 

 

She slumped back, consigning herself to deep breathing in an attempt to fend off the response of her body.

 

Five of Traya’s thralls slowly stood. The women discarded their robes and gowns, revealing the jutting hips and gaunt limbs of a devotee who’d traded worldly nourishment for something more ephemeral. 

 

The sight provided ample distraction, and Rey shivered as a fresh wave of apprehension doused the needy pulsing between her thighs. She found it difficult to look at their emaciated bodies and stitched eyelids, and reminders that they’d chosen this path did little to help. Despite their blindness, they moved with confidence, but even that made Rey’s skin crawl. 

 

And then, there was their mistress. With bone-deep reluctance, she shifted her attention to Traya. The Archfiend sat rigidly—a dark, beady-eyed presence amidst a company of ghosts. 

 

A stone settled in Rey’s gut. What had passed between the two of them? She had no memory of it, but an ill feeling of premonition remained. 

 

Kylo tightened his embrace, and, without warning, the phantom teasing between her legs ceased. 

 

She’d been his long enough to know that the respite was temporary. Not that she could do anything about it anyway. She reverted her attention to the naked acolytes, who had formed a half-circle before their mistress. They stood expectantly, like theater actors awaiting their cue. 

 

It came as the phantom sitar began to play. The melody crept through the shift of red light and shadow, weaving a sensual spell.

 

Another of Traya’s acolytes got to her feet, holding something covered with a white cloth. Her steps were slow as she moved into the center of the gathered thralls, stooping to place the thing carefully on the ground. As she straightened, she took the veil with her, revealing a glass box. Inside, a series of milk-white coils slithered, revealing a glimpse of a flared head.

 

“Well would you look at that,” Kylo murmured quietly. “Traya has managed to find herself an albino king cobra.” He chuckled softly into her hair. “My fellow Archfiend has a penchant for white, if you haven’t noticed…”

 

“W-why white?” Rey asked, haltingly.

 

“White is a canvas begging for color, a perfectly blank slate. It represents the purity we long to spoil…”

 

Rey inhaled, breathing evenly as the five dancers began to move their hips in a slow figure-eight, their arms rising gracefully over their heads. They began to circle the serpent, pivoting away and spinning back, their wrists brushing against one another. The sanguine glow of the floor stained their skin, giving the lower half of their bodies the look of raw flesh. 

 

Dread steadily grew as she observed the morbid spectacle. The women’s long, bleach-white hair swayed as they twirled around the glass box, moving in time with the music. The imprisoned reptile tracked them, lashing about with growing agitation.

 

The tempo of the sitar picked up, and one by one, the thralls darted in and began to lightly tap the side of the box. 

 

The snake hissed, and a seamless lid began to move. Rey squirmed, wishing she could look away, yet wanting to see. 

 

With each blow, the top of the box slipped a little from its housing. Still, the blind thralls danced, continuing to taunt the enraged serpent. Another jostle to the box sent the lid sliding to the ground with a clamor. Finally free, the snake reared up, its hood flared defensively as it tracked the dancers with jerky movements. 

 

The music had become crazed, sending the thralls careening precariously, bending at the waist to extend their wrists in a macabre roulette.

 

Tired of the provocation, the snake lunged, sinking its fangs into the palm of a dancer. 

 

The bitten thrall keened, her shrill cry echoing through the sudden silence. Her fellow thralls moved quickly to her side, one seizing the snake by the back of its skull while another wrangled the flailing creature back into the glass box. The remaining women gathered their wilting peer, carrying her back to the stone table and arranging her in a recline. Her extremities jerked sluggishly as the venom circulated through her veins.

 

A hypodermic syringe was produced. In that moment of dawning horror, Rey knew. Blood. It all comes back to blood.  

 

The needle slipped into the arm of the ailing woman. One of the thralls cradled her head, holding her steady as the syringe’s tubing went dark. Another received the flow of blood, guiding it neatly into a waiting goblet similar to the one Maul had used.

 

Rey sat limply as Traya received the offering. Unlike Maul, the demoness sipped at the blood of her thrall, apparently content to enjoy it slowly. 

 

The naked thralls buzzed around their envenomated sister, lifting her body as they began to carry her off. Through the flurry of pale limbs, Rey saw that the woman continued to twitch spastically.

 

“You said people don’t die here,” Rey accused, weakly. 

 

“Traya’s thrall won’t die,” he returned. “They will have the proper course of antivenom waiting. But my, my, will she be uncomfortable.”

 

She ignored his callous ribbing, determined to get an answer to the question circling in her brain. “What is it with blood?” 

 

“I was wondering if you were going to ask,” he drawled, the smile easy to hear in his voice. “Such a precious liquid, the most vital of all. Demons, predictably, revel in it—its taste, its richness, the energy that lives within it while it is warm.” 

 

He paused and shifted, easing them closer to the edge of the tufted leather seat before continuing. “Lesser demons are not capable of claiming a thrall. They might beguile a human and drink of their blood, but that wouldn’t compare to the vast pleasure of tasting one bound to you.”

 

Rey listened closely, gazing at the magmatic floor beneath her stilettos.

 

“Think of the human soul as a perfect, unblemished apple. When we bind that soul, it is marred by a small bloom of rot, a signature if you will, that is unique to each demon. It is how other demons know that you are claimed, and by whom. It is also a barrier, the same one that sparked when Traya read your aura.”

 

Long fingers pulled the curtain of her hair aside, bearing her neck and shoulder.

 

“We can taste ourselves in your blood,” he uttered, low and passionate. “And we find that… incredibly alluring. As you’ve noticed, my cohorts have found ways to spice their prized vintage. Fear, ecstasy, pain, intoxicants, and even poison will change the profile of a thrall’s blood.”

 

She glanced back at him, eyes wide and glassy with fear. “And you?”

 

“My peers have had time to decide what ways they enjoy using their thralls best. I, on the other hand, am new to the game.” 

 

Slowly, keeping his eyes locked on her profile, he extended his tongue and licked at the four puffy holes he’d left in her neck. “As you may have noticed, my tastes are... simpler .”

 

“So that’s a thrall’s use then? A walking wine cellar?”

 

“Of course not,” he tutted, clearly amused. “It’s just one of the fringe benefits.” He shifted his hold on her, hands sliding down her sides to firmly grip her hips. He squeezed, testing her. “Thralls serve many purposes, some of which you’re intimately acquainted with.”

 

Distantly, there came a steady rhythm of bass. It swelled as the DJ brought the club back to life, spinning a dark, hedonistic beat that melded with the notes of the sitar. 

 

The kneeling throng stirred, and Rey couldn’t help but feel a cautious relief. She was not the centerpiece of some horrible blood-letting. Not tonight, at least .

 

With an air of showmanship, the kneeling crowd began to pair off, forming groups of two, three, and four. Whatever shreds of clothing or jewelry that remained were now discarded. 

 

“You may go, “Kylo said, suddenly. 

 

Rey looked around, startled as Kylo’s underlings slid out from the booth. 

 

“Master,” the demons collectively intoned, each bowing before disappearing into the sea of skin all around.

 

Rey saw that even the unhinged debauchery that came before was restrained. Everywhere she looked, the red light illuminated increasingly carnal scenes. The attendees paraded their appetites with pride...fucking and sucking and biting like it was a competition. 

 

“Who are all these people?” she wondered aloud. 

 

“They are disciples of the dark, all of them consecrated to any one of the many ideologies that worship Satan.” 

 

She glanced back at the sarcasm in his voice. “Satan? But, don’t you mean…?”

 

“My favored one,” he smoothly interjected. “None of them know the true names, and all are hopeful that they might be chosen and taken as thralls.”

 

A feather-light touch ghosted against her groin, and just like that, the lull was over. 

 

She went very still as she felt it again, slipping beneath the flimsy elastic of her barely-there underwear. Her skirt was short enough that it rode up indecently high in a seated position, making her panties and his trousers the only barrier between them. His arm tightened around her waist, lifting her while he shifted beneath her bottom.

 

He continued his explanation, his words becoming languid. “They come here to worship through tantalizing acts...trying to catch our eye…ever-anxious to swear their fealty…”

 

Ghostly fingers pulled the saturated lace aside, leaving her cunt unprotected. Oh, no . The pulsating beat of the music blurred to an indistinct roar as she felt the familiar nudge of warm flesh. How did he—?

 

A dizzying wave of alarm crashed over her as her channel parted around the head of his cock. Even slick as she was, it ached, still tender from his earlier pounding. 

 

Not here...like this, she begged, sinking her nails into his forearm. You’ve been in my mind...you know I’m not like them… 

 

“But darling,” he countered, “that is precisely why I want you…and I’ll accept nothing less.”

 

The pressure continued, and she couldn’t quite stifle the moan as her body gave way. It felt like it always did—illicit, and blindingly good. Shame filled her, and she shot a panicked glance around them. Most of the revelers were engrossed with their own sordid doings, but that was little consolation. These people could flaunt their fuckery all they wanted but the fact remained—she wasn’t one of them, and up until mere weeks ago had never sought to have sex.

 

“Only my dick in this pretty pussy,” he muttered, picking up on her thoughts. “You were destined for me, and me alone.”

 

Her spine strained as he dallied with her limits. She blinked furiously, desperate to school her expression.

 

His sultry voice slunk through her beleaguered brain. More, perfect girl. You will take more

 

She exhaled hard, completely beset. Her hands fisted in the fabric at his thighs as he pushed even deeper, claiming inches where none should exist. Just when she was sure she'd split in two, his groan stirred her hair and he subsided.

 

Her thighs were nearly white where they pressed together, trying to hide the carnal sight of him buried to the root in her. 

 

Beast! How could you?! she silently raged, mortified to be in such a position. They were so tightly joined, she couldn’t tell if the throbbing she felt was him or her. 

 

“Come now and tell me you adore it,” he rumbled, widening his thighs and sitting up so that his chest touched her back. The motion caused his dick to move in her, pressing against something sensitive. A cascade of pleasurable spasms rocked through her—not an orgasm, but perilously close. 

 

Her mouth fell open in shock—as much incensed by his cajoling as she was by the change in position. Sweat broke over her forehead as she tried to regulate her response, wanting to deny him all triumph. 

 

“Mmm,” he rumbled quietly, just for her. “Feel you throb.” 

 

A second later, his hand shot out, voice booming in the general direction of the bar. “Minister!—a glass of Lillet Blanc—and make it chilled. My thrall is feeling...feverish.”

 

Feverish indeed. As multiple sets of lust-filled faces turned toward them, Rey thought she might faint. She sat ramrod-straight upon his lap, looking over the club but seeing nothing. What would happen if she sprung up and just ran? From across the room, she saw Khamael pause to direct a smirk in her direction. Her mind careened precariously. They knew, they all knew. 

 

To her immense chagrin, Azrael appeared, sauntering through the crowd to deliver the drink. His dark eyes were impassive, betraying nothing as he set the libation before her. After sharing a short but meaningful glance with Kylo, he gave a nod and departed.

 

Kylo’s hands retained their iron vise on her hips, keeping her lower body locked against his. “Cool yourself down and get comfortable. You’re going to be in this position for a while.” 

 

The heat in her cheeks told her she was blushing furiously, and her hand trembled as she reached for the offering with its enticing float of ice chips. 

 

As she shifted, the canal of her cunt pulsated insistently. There was no escaping it; she was very literally fucked where she sat. Even so, drinking was a distraction, however meager, from the jaw-dropping obscenity happening all across the floor. 

 

Lean hips pumping, hands bound and outstretched. Bodies contorted into lewd positions, feigned cries for mercy. 

 

Rey closed her eyes, but the images remained. They coupled with the way he filled her— so long and deliciously hard —driving her toward something like madness. Opening her eyes, she found herself focusing on the purely sexual acts, willing herself to skip the more sadomasochistic entanglements happening across the floor. 

 

A platinum blond on hands and knees, rocking as she spit-roasted herself between the dicks of two kneeling men.

 

Her cunt throbbed, and still, he showed no signs of moving. 

 

Hate him as she might, her urge for friction was growing critical. She experimented, trying unsuccessfully to shift a little in the cradle of his lap.

 

Turning, she shot a teary-eyed stare over her shoulder. “Kylo, please.”

 

“I am not yours to command. You will sit atop the throne and watch—like a good little princess.”

 

How he loved to torture her. Still, his sharp rebuke smarted, and she continued to drain her glass, wishing all the while she could fall into it and drown properly. 

 

What was once horrible was now insidiously arousing. Her eyes dazzled, overwhelmed by the depravity. A voluptuously curvy woman lay sandwiched between two men. They vied for space, cocks slipping wetly into her like lust-crazed beasts. 

 

Rey looked away, unable to watch.

 

He responded by taking a handful of hair and yanking her head back, forcing her to continue observing the unfolding orgy. “You will soak in it.”

 

The muscles of her channel throbbed plaintively, embracing the shape of him. A whine lay at the back of her throat, begging to emerge.

 

In, out. In.  

 

The fucking continued around them, unrelenting. She was held immobile as lust dripped from her brain stem, sliding in molten rivulets down her spine.

 

“Please,” she blurted, wiggling fruitlessly. “Please—no more!”

 

She shivered, desperate for friction that wouldn’t come. 

 

At last, his voice cracked thunderously through her mind. Call me Master, and I’ll end your suffering.

 

“Please!” A little stronger this time, the word half-sobbed with desperation.

 

You know what I want. 

 

His hands were like shackles on her hips, preventing even the most minute movement.

 

Her cunt throbbed with need as everyone around them drowned in sin.

 

“Mmm—M—"

 

So strong, always fighting. Why don’t you just give in? There came that small, sultry voice in her head again. The one that always sought to lead her astray. The one that didn’t belong.

 

Her cunt tingled, the pleasure beckoning, just out of reach.

 

Such a little word. Say it, and he’ll give you what you need.

 

Her eyes closed as self-loathing rose to choke her. “Mmm—Master, please,” she uttered.

 

“Yes, pet?” he purred, his sultry baritone tipping her over the edge of complicity. 

 

“Master, please. Please let me move.”

 

He paused, drawing out the moment with obvious relish. “So you can do what?”

 

Fury arced up her spine. “So I can get some fucking relief!” she hissed, shooting a burning stare over her shoulder.

 

The deep sound of his laugh was pure, wicked delight. “Extraordinary girl,” he praised, tightening his hold in her hair. 

 

“Your skirt,” he commanded, “lift it—all the way up.” 

 

She didn’t think about it. Her hands moved on auto-pilot, grasping the hem of the beaded mini and dragging it up.

 

“Good. Now spread those pretty legs and let everyone see who you belong to.”

 

Some small, holdout sanity revolted, flailing in its death throes. Dirty, so fucking dirty. Her face burned with humiliation as she obeyed, muscles dragging with the weight of all she’d once been—proud, dignified, independent. 

 

He shifted position beneath her, letting her hook her thighs over his knees. “That’s right, Rey,” he murmured, his breath a warm feather over her ear. “Now, who am I?”

 

Her nipples tingled as a chill broke over her. She was in the badlands now. “My Master,” she replied, eyes half-lidded, the shiny pink ring of her stuffed cunt on full display.

 

“Yes,” he hissed. “Now, take what you need.” 

 

Rey could feel the eyes on them, but that didn’t matter, not when she was allowed to move. 

 

His rich voice hummed in her ear as he cupped one of her breasts, kneading it lightly as she moaned in wordless relief. Denied as she was, it didn’t take much. A minute amount of friction carried her over the ledge, her eyes rolling back in her skull as molten pleasure rocked through her. For a small, blissful eternity, her surroundings dissolved and all struggles ceased to matter.

 

Her eyes drifted open, vision blurry. Her hips still moved languidly, rising and falling as she skewered herself on the pole between her legs. The aftershocks rolled like a low current through her muscles, causing her to twitch in his lap.

 

He was merciless, feeding her the drug of his lush, dark timbre and addictive words. “There’s my pet, so lovely when you come for me.” 

 

Fluid warmth engulfed the bite on her throat as he coaxed her blood forth. She whined, squirming on his cock as he latched on to the sensitive spot. A fitful hum vibrated into her muscles as he sucked, and she could feel her blood flowing into his mouth with each pull. 

 

The sharp initial sharp pain melted into a dull ache...into something very different: pleasure, of the most devious variety. It slithered through her veins to the wet sounds his mouth made, and she found herself grinding a little harder on his dick. 

 

So pretty, Rey. Such a pretty pussy. His long fingers stroked her widened flesh, examining the seam where they were joined. That explorative touch undid her again, her cunt tripping into the second round of ecstatic spasms. 

 

Cognitive thought returned to the tune of their fucking. She’d made a mess of him. Her cum dripped from his base down over his balls, each advance accompanied by a lewd, wet squelch. Distantly, she marveled that it was all her, that he hadn’t flooded her with his own spend.

 

“No, my love. Not yet…” he purred, ever cryptic. One of his hands eased down the back of her thigh and back up again, kneading at the springy flesh of her buttock. The motion jostled the plug in her ass and she groaned at the added sensation.

 

Through slitted eyes, Rey saw the twins she’d seen earlier with Khamael. They now panted in tandem, their openings stretched wide for all to see as they rocked against the glass shaft of a double-ended dildo. The floor of the club pulsed with energy, its sanguine light gleaming off of bodies wet with sweat and cum.

 

Her inner walls tensed, hugging him possessively as he continued to suck at her blood. Over the merciless pound of music, she felt the low purr of his satisfaction rumble against her throat.  

 

His mouth released as a hand engulfed her cheek, turning her to face him. 

 

All breath halted at the sight he made—lush lips smeared with her blood, pearly fangs glinting just beyond. Hazard and temptation all wrapped into one

 

She went boneless as his eyes flared their inhuman red. He smiled, a terrifying affair. You wondered what it would be like, earlier…

 

Her eyes locked on his fangs, heart fluttering wildly at his invitation. It was everything and nothing as she extended her tongue into his mouth, stroking recklessly between those murderous incisors. With a groan of pleasure, he sealed his lips to hers, gliding decadently into her mouth. 

 

The kiss was bloody, and somewhere in the dazed expanse of her mind, she knew: the blood wasn’t just hers. Still, she melted into it, nursing the coppery taste from him, losing herself to the taking. Her tongue explored the smooth spindles of his fangs, reveling in the flare of pain as she pricked herself on the business end. 

 

When she didn’t shy away, a shudder rippled through his powerful body. Fuck, Rey, you are too perfect. His hips had been passive all along, content to let her writhe on the pedestal of his cock. Now, he gave her a single, quick thrust, leveraging himself deeper.

 

A small smile toyed at the corner of her lips at his possessiveness, and this, he consumed too. He sought her hand, fingers weaving together as he guided their entwined hands over her abdomen. Weakness flooded through her as she felt the bulge of him inside her, ruthlessly hard in this softest, most vulnerable place. She whined into his mouth, thighs shaking as he pressed their hands down. The pressure had her throbbing, and amidst the intense build of sensation, his fingers found her clit. 

 

He strummed her as the blood flowed between them, demanding nothing less than everything. Her cunt submitted instantly, grip, grip, gripping at the hardness lodged deep inside it. She felt her bones melting, all vestiges of her mind dissolving in the warm, red maw of ecstasy.

 

At length, he released her from his kiss. Her cheeks were tear-streaked, face flushed as she gazed into the immutable depths of his eyes. Somewhere, something ached. Good pain. She blinked languidly. Every inch of her belonged to this gorgeous, powerful creature. Her heart throbbed. She would make of herself the perfect vessel for his pleasure. Whatever you want, she thought deliriously, caressing his face with fingers that trembled. 

 

He nuzzled her temple as he guided her back to face away from him. 

 

Rey felt a twinge of regret, nullified as he wrapped his arms around her. “My glorious girl,” he muttered, “you are depleting.”

 

She released a tremulous breath, feeling the airflow like a warm river over her lip. “I am perfectly content, Master,” she murmured. Was that her voice? She hummed, listening. So throaty and low

 

She watched with lowered lids as one of his minions came again—the female with the beautiful, dusky skin and golden nose piercings. The she-demon set a glass before them, her expression a little wary as she stole a glance at Rey.

 

“Phireth,” her master muttered, an acknowledgment and dismissal. His servant didn’t linger, returning to the throng with sinuous grace, beckoning a young man from an entanglement as she went.

 

Rey rearranged her limbs and stretched, feeling gloriously lazy. The hardness of his cock was a spear inside her, rooting her to the spot. She nuzzled the underside of his chin. Love how you’re in me so deep, love how you cherish me above all others. He gathered her tight against him, his other arm reaching for the glass of water.

 

“My precious one,” he purred, licking at his bite. “You need hydration. I can taste it.” 

 

She didn’t want it. Only he was of interest to her, and she let him know by gripping the hard muscles of his thighs while rubbing sensuously against him. 

 

“Rey, my sweet. You will drink, or do I need to compel you?”

 

Shooting a pouty look back at him, she accepted the glass and drank. 

 

The cold, clear water flowed down her throat and into her stomach. It assuaged the fevered heat of her body, grounding her. Some cognition returned, tainting the reactive animal awareness that had taken over. 

 

You’re always this way, after he fucks you…

 

She blinked, turning the rogue thought over in her head. Was it true?  

 

Wracking her mind was like tackling a fog bank; she could only resurrect flashes of memory from the aftermath of their entanglements, and what glimpses she caught reaffirmed it: sex with him did transform her to an eager supplicant. Even now, that dark little voice decried the idea that it was wrong, whispering for her to get back to worshiping him.

 

My dark side...

 

She set the empty glass down, eyes panning over the chaotic room with growing awareness. Along with a small number of voyeurs, only Traya and her entourage remained aloof from the orgy. All present were engaged in some form of hedonistic indulgence, although…

 

Her gaze settled on the figure of a man, not much more than a silhouette in the red-tinged darkness. He gingerly made his way across the floor, navigating the minefield of engaged parties with obvious disinterest. Rey frowned, distracted by his demeanor. 

 

As he neared, his features became clear. Sandy, shoulder-length hair streaked with gray. A full beard and mustache framed a prominent nose.

 

No...it can’t be… Disbelief surged through her, searing away the druglike tranquility of afterglow. She leaped from Kylo’s lap, sparing no thought to the way he’d let her go; there was no room for anything but sharp, acrid shock.

 

Qui Gon Jinn startled as she stormed up to him, her face contorted with pain. 

 

“Horrible, deceitful bastard!” she hurled, closing the distance and slapping him squarely across the face. 

 

She’d taken him by surprise, and he staggered back from her, one hand pressed to his flaming cheek. “Rey, I—”

 

Her head pounded, body nearly vibrating with the atrocity of his betrayal. “How could you do that to me?” she cried, her eyes stinging with tears. “You were the only person I had!”

 

The theologian remained rooted to the spot, extending his free hand toward her in entreaty. “I’m sorry, but there was nothing I could do to change things—we all do what we must…”

 

Fury blazed within her, reducing her grief to ash. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Her eyes widened as she realized—he was heading for Traya’s corner. “I worried for your life, you fucking sub-species,” she hissed, baring her teeth menacingly. “You acted sympathetic while wishing yourself in my place?!” 

 

Qui Gon stared at her in genuine fear, flinching as her hand cocked back to strike him again—

 

—and was caught in an unyielding vise. 

 

Kylo’s presence loomed at her back. “That’s enough, little vixen,” he instructed, quiet but firm.

 

But it wasn’t, not by half. He hadn’t taken control of her body so she spun around, her expression livid with accusation. “You let me meet with him—knowing, knowing full well—”

 

“That he was Traya’s pet? Yes, I allowed you to proceed with your evasive little schemes. I tried to tell you—”

 

“What?!” she hurled recklessly, “tell me what? That you are cruel and heartless and fucking horrible?” 

 

His dark eyes bored into hers, pinning her like an animal for dissection. Hard fingers closed around her throat before she could trace the movement, and she let out a strangled cry of alarm as he yanked her forward by the neck, lifting her until they were near to eye level.

 

All around them, people watched, their eyes reflecting the sight of her dangling from his hand.

 

“Keep up that talk, princess, and you’ll drive me to sin.” The razor’s edge in his tone grew silky, taking on that suave taunting quality she’d grown familiar with. “Should I, right now? Strip you naked and allow the hellborn to bathe your skin with their fetid breath while they take turns with you...or perhaps you’d prefer they watch?”

 

She made a desperate noise, pulling at the iron grip around her throat as she tried to shake her head—no—but he was without mercy. 

 

He drew even closer, their lips nearly touching as his voice lowered, barely above a whisper. “I’ll flay the pleasure from your bones, crack you open and bathe in the darkness you contain...Shall we show them what a hypocrite you are? Show them how vehemently you fight? Breaking each time, choking on your pleas as you beg me for more.” He paused, his eyes flashing as he mocked her words. “ME—a cruel, heartless, horrible monster...” 

 

Her ears filled with the roar of her own blood as she struggled, toes barely brushing the floor. 

 

“My beautiful, recalcitrant little vixen,” he muttered lowly, setting her back on the ground. “You needed to learn what I’ve been telling you all along.”

 

Bitterness engulfed her, sapping the will from her bones. She folded to her knees before him, swallowing the lump that had formed at the base of her throat.

 

“The game was over before it began,” he continued. “There is no escape, and no scholar on this earth who can help you.” 

 

She risked a glance up to find him staring down at where she knelt, merciless, unblinking. His stare softened, skating over the contours of her face, looking deceptively, heartachingly beautiful with his expressive eyes and lush lips. Then, his expression hardened again, as if he thought the better of it. “Now tell me who you belong to, and say it with feeling,” he growled. 

 

A sharp pain lanced through her breast, creeping up into her throat. How strange, to feel so much with an organ that was half dead. 

 

“You—I belong to you,” she stuttered woodenly.

 

“And who am I?”

 

Her breath caught in her throat, the title like a mouthful of cotton. “My Master...” 

 

She waited in his shadow for praise that never came. Instead, he whisked her roughly to her feet, all but dragging her from the club without a word.

 

Their departure was closely watched, every set of eyes flat and utterly devoid of sympathy.





Chapter Text

 


 

 

Far below her stiletto-clad feet, the city lights blurred into lines. Rey clung to her monster, molding herself to him as they streaked through the night like a lightless comet. Her fists were white-knuckled, clenching and kneading the velvet of his coat as she agonized over the final moments of her debut. 

 

She’d been caught off guard by Kylo’s response to her outburst. He was swift and brutal, shutting her down without a drop of the indulgence she’d become accustomed to. Ruminating on it, she could only guess that he’d needed to make an example of her behavior, to set some sort of precedence. And maybe that was it...he’d brought her to the Akeldama for two obvious reasons; to see and be seen, and he’d been nothing but pleased with her until she’d attacked Qui Gon Jinn. Kylo could be extremely mercurial, and in this moment, she had no desire to understand his motivation. Still, she might feel a little more resentment for being dragged from the club like an errant pet...were it not for the revelation of Qui Gon Jinn. 

 

The winter air infiltrated the coat he’d trundled her back into, bleeding the warmth from her hands and feet. She barely noticed, her throat working to quell the frustrated sob that fought for release. 

 

Qui Gon had been her only confidante amidst the upended shambles of her life. She’d foolishly pinned the last of her hopes on him...thinking he was sympathetic, an honest, red-blooded human with feelings and a moral compass and a base of knowledge that might actually help her. And all along, he’d belonged to another Archfiend.  

 

The betrayal and subsequent humiliation were gut-wrenching. But somehow, (because she was surely mad at this juncture), the worst thing was that Kylo had known. He’d known...and allowed her to meet with the old scholar anyway. The little hints and allusions he’d dropped volleyed through her mind, bringing an unbearable awareness.

 

She knew better than to expect decency from her demon, but this particular cruelty touched on a whole new set of nerves, ones she hadn’t even been aware existed. She felt sick with the indignity of it and utterly forsaken. Now she knew why Kylo had written his name in her notebook—Qui Gon was never a threat to begin with. 

 

“Little vixen...you play a game that was over before it began.” The same thing he’d said to her on Tetiaroa, a warning softly given. As if he sympathized.  

 

Her traitorous mind countered, reminding her that Kylo had warned her that she ought to accept her lot—explaining it again and again with word and action. It was she who couldn’t reconcile, she who was compelled to fight in hopes of rejecting her fate. 

 

Rey pressed her face harder into his chest, miserable as the emotions brawled within her. 

 

Without warning, he shifted, honed muscles tensing as he banked their trajectory. His sooty wings flared to break their descent and her stomach lurched at the sudden halt of velocity. The tortured shriek of air sounded, cutting off as they landed with a subtle jolt. 

 

Turning her head weakly, she caught the glimpse of a familiar banister and the now-barren pots that housed fresh herbs in the summer. Home, she was home. Her heavy glass slider opened at her back, and then she was being carried in from the wintery night.   

 

The last time he carried you into your apartment, you were split on his— She grimaced, pushing the unhelpful thought to a corner of her mind.

 

Kylo kept his silence as he walked, the slider rumbling shut behind them. She closed her eyes as the room cavorted to the tune of her vertigo. Each step into her former sanctuary muffled the cacophony of her inner turmoil, insulating it between layers of relief and resignation. 

 

She was sure he would punish her; what else could follow such a catastrophic exit? You left his cock, like, literally hanging when you jumped up to confront that horrible bastard... 

 

She worried her lower lip, wishing her brain would shut up.

 

They came to a stop in the middle of her unlit apartment. He set her on her feet and she numbly unwound from him, breath stunted as she attempted to regain her equilibrium. 

 

Rey kept her gaze on his chest, too discombobulated to speak and unwilling to look at his face. Her peripherals picked up on the way he studied her, as if judging her ability to stand on her own. 

 

It was a surprise when he turned and walked away.

 

Through the dizziness that always followed their flights, Rey tracked his progress over to the wall of glass panels. His footsteps were unnervingly silent for one of his size, and once again, she stalled over the fact that somehow, crazily, her living room housed a supernatural entity. An evil one. One bent on her subjugation.

 

How the fuck her reality had come to include him, she’d never know. But of something else, she was now positive: there was no justice in the world. She’d always counted her own triumph over the intense hardships of her childhood as a sort of justice. Fate had stacked its chips against her, and she had beat the odds through a mix of grit, willpower, and the nurturing home Maz had created. It might not have been justice in the legal sense, but her own personal achievements had felt like a righting of the cosmic scales. No more. 

 

The room had stopped spinning and she warily observed as he slipped off the jet-black jacket and tossed it on the couch. His back was to her, a clear dismissal. All at once, she found herself feeling hesitant. She stood rubbing her frozen hands together, waiting for him to round on her and exact some sort of penance. Still, he remained facing away, a tall, silent shadow amidst the domestic scene of her apartment. 

 

He’ll come for you when he’s good and ready, and there isn’t a damn thing to do about it. 

 

A sharp pain lanced through her big toe. With a final glare in Kylo’s direction, she limped into her kitchen and poured a tall glass of water. Downing it greedily, she folded atop a barstool. 

 

Sitting down drove home the fact that her nether regions were a wet, gooey mess. It also pushed the plug between her cheeks even deeper. She grimaced at these reminders: she’d orgasmed for him like a well-tuned instrument—repeatedly—in front of a fucking crowd of orgy-drunk Satanists—and even when she’d had the chance to ditch it, she’d left the plug in place. 

 

The plug was your brilliant idea, sweetheart. 

 

She allowed herself the twinge of self-pity that followed. Dejectedly, she propped an ankle on her knee and busied herself with unlacing the constrictive bootlets. One followed another to the floor, and with nothing else to do, she numbly moved to the buttons of her coat. The seconds ticked by in deafening silence as she worked, aware that even this small act was a freedom he elected to bequeath her. 

 

Standing barefoot in only the beaded mini, she shot him a flat look. He continued to stare out into the night, contemplating who-the-fuck-knew-what.

 

Her fingers flexed. The waiting was miserable, conjuring a riot of anxiety in her belly. If he wanted to stand there brooding, she was absolutely heading for a scalding-hot shower

 

Knowing it was reckless but unable to care at this juncture, she reached back and grasped the zipper of her dress, pulling it down and letting the weight carry it to the floor.

 

Perhaps it was that subtle sound that fetched him from his brooding, or maybe he’d landed on some heinous way to make her pay for abandoning “his throne.” Whatever the case, he finally turned around. His face was blank, unreadable as he took in the sight of her naked figure. 

 

Despite the absolute whirlwind of the night, she felt strikingly lucid as they faced off, well-aware of the physical mirroring of their dynamic: she—mortal, vulnerable, powerless. He—supernatural, inscrutable, unrelenting. 

 

Suddenly, it was unbearable, how suave and unaffected he remained. Acid welled in her chest, demanding an outlet. “Well?” she snapped, “aren’t you going to push me to my knees and shove your dick down my throat or something?”

 

His eyes were deeper than the night sky. “Do you want me to?” 

 

“No!” she snapped, glaring daggers and irked beyond reason by his subdued tone.

 

“You could’ve fooled me earlier this evening,” he stated, one hand moving up to begin undoing the buttons of his shirt. “Remember?” 

 

She physically recoiled as if struck, at once overtaken by a flood of his memories: How slowly she moved in his lap, the sleeve of her cunt gripping him as she rose and fell, legs spread wide for all to see, her hair tickling his chin as she turned to fix him with a smoldering look of drugged adoration.  

 

His awe was her own as she perceived herself in his eyes: peerless, her radiance made all the more dazzling by the inner strength that hid beneath her frail, human form. 

 

Before she could wonder at his blatant adoration, he shifted the memory to something inflammatory; to the way she’d balked at the crowds' enjoyment of pain before embracing it herself in a lust-fueled delirium.

 

She shook her head to reject the visions impressed upon her. “Stop!” she demanded, her hand shooting out toward him. 

 

Across the room, his eyes narrowed near-imperceptibly. “Good pain,” he whispered, continuing to torment her with the words she’d left unsaid. “Whatever you want…”

 

“Those were just thoughts!“ she burst out.

 

An indolent smirk spread over his lips. “Thoughts are often truer than spoken word.”

 

“Nothing I do while you’re fucking me is sane! Your point isn’t fair, and you know it—”

 

“I never promised you fair.” With that retort, he shrugged fluidly out of his shirt, increasing the odds that she wouldn’t be getting that shower in the immediate. 

 

The walls seemed to breathe, closing in around them. Hemming her in with him. Alone, where no one would see what they did. Through a red haze, she zeroed in on his mouth, her own flooding with the urge to charge up and sink her teeth into his plush lower lip. Her hands tightened into fists, gone with fury over his arrogance. 

 

He smiled, knowingly.

 

“Goddamn you, Kylo Ren,” she snarled, “what have you done to me?”

 

She was glaring directly at him, so she managed to see the blur of his movement. Before she could so much as breathe, he loomed directly in front of her, the outline of his wings a shadowy canopy over them. 

 

He refrained from touching her as his tone dropped into a metallic rasp. “I might ask you the same.” 

 

Some unnameable thing hid in the terse set of his brows, in the way his teeth flashed warningly. “I move the stars for no one, little vixen. If I didn’t know you inside and out, I’d accuse you of witchery.”

 

She drew back at that, her eyes widening. What the—?  She went very still, her brain fumbling to grasp the inconceivable—was he suggesting that...that SHE played a part in orchestrating their bond? 

 

Something wild uncoiled inside her, burning through every limb and spewing from her mouth as if pressurized. “This—fucked up—thing is entirely your doing! Don’t ever mistake me for one of your pathetic wannabe servants—I never asked for this!”  

 

His eyes flashed appraisingly, red beacons that quickly cooled to black.

 

Outrage barreled through her, gaining steam.  “You’ve fucking ruined me! I loved my life, loved what I had made of it...and how dare you take that from me? I had come so far and now you’ve reduced me to some kind of well-kept whore—worse! A fucking pet!” 

 

She jabbed viciously at a sculpted pectoral, her eyes narrowing into slits. “And I don’t care how many times you say it—I was NOT made to be your pet, and you are NOT my master!”

 

The corner of his mouth curled. “Come now, Rey…” he coaxed, reaching for her indolently.  

 

“Don’t you fucking touch me!” she raged, slapping away his advance and backing up several paces. “You’re going to hear me out! I feel like I’m back to being a child again, kept under the thumb of a despotic fucking tyrant! You’re just like Plutt, only with powers and a stupid-gorgeous body and-and fucking demons and shit!”

 

His brows furrowed, and for a second, he looked stymied. The moment passed as he broke into a mirthless smile. “You flatter my ego but are mistaken; your time in Plutt’s care was markedly different.” 

 

“The hell it was!” she blurted, hugging her middle as she backed further away from him. “Yes, he wasn’t fucking me and no, he didn’t give me things, but he stole what really mattered—my freedom, and my dignity—just as you do!” Her eyes narrowed, lighting with all the vitriol she contained. “You’re nothing but a monster, just like he is.”

 

His face was stone, voice soft and grim as death. “Was,” he corrected, “like he was. And there’s a difference,” he added smoothly. “You love some of the things I do. Admit it…”

 

Her spine jerked upright and she hissed indignantly. 

 

“I already know,” he said, flashing a lethal smile.

 

“Un-fucking-true,” she near-shouted, loathing the false denial in her voice.

 

“The way you seek to repress the untenable is the heart of your charm—always so fierce, so determined.” His shoulders hunched, tattooed muscles coiling with energy as he began to circle her. “How many times did you come for me tonight? Three?”

 

She stalled at the abrupt change of subject, increasingly desperate to return to the high ground of her fury. 

 

“Think we can wring another out of you, hmm?”  

 

“You are—awful,” she bit out, all-too-aware of the static crackle of attraction between them. She wasn’t going to win, she never did... Her eyes narrowed as she drank in the sight of him, dark eyes sparkling, his body electric with the thrill of the chase. 

 

Some of her fire extinguished as she remembered—there was no justice. She glowered, moving in tandem with his steps in a futile attempt to stay distanced. “Maybe I should start throwing myself at you like every other girl you pass...maybe then you’d tire of me and fuck off.”

 

He let out a bark of laughter, his delight echoing from the high ceilings. “Well, aren’t you clever...” Lightning-fast, he struck, ending the dance as he ensnared her waist. 

 

With a rough yank, she found herself flush against him. Rey cursed him, calling him every name she could think of as she rained blows on the warm stone of his body.

 

He only chuckled. “Too bad for you complacency isn’t in your nature,” he breathed, eyes aglow as he absorbed the hits. 

 

Though she knew it was coming, there was still room for dismay as he so easily shut down her flailing, yanking her arms behind her and securing her wrists with one enormous hand. 

 

She yipped as her hair was wound tight around the ball of his fist. “You fucking asshole—” she hissed, the words sloppy as he yanked her head back. He hummed low in his throat as he licked up the arch of her throat, antagonizing her further. She choked on a whine, ceasing to thrash as sharp teeth fastened to the pulse point beneath her chin. 

 

Her heart, already racing, sped even faster as she felt the cloud-like wetness of his lips and tongue join his anchored teeth, just shy of breaking her skin. A low whimper escaped as he began to suck, playing on his favored turf of pleasure and pain.

 

She’d begun to pant for breath, watching the ceiling swim as his mouth pulled at her flesh. Trapped and immobilized, she could only feel. Her body responded, becoming horribly aware of how hard he was in contrast to her softness. Her nipples, crushed against the inked plains of his chest, tingled conspicuously, promising an explosion of sensation should he choose to touch them. 

 

It was the first, dreaded moment of weakness, when her mind was yet sharp and aware and railing at the wrongness of what was coming.

 

At last, he released her bruising skin. “That’s not who you are, my little firebrand,” he chided, returning to her brash statement. His voice, once invigorated and breathy, now devolved into a growl, sending ice through her veins. “Never lose sight of the fact that you hate this.” He punctuated his taunt with a cruel bite, and she shrieked. 

 

The sound echoed off the walls as a thrill of undiluted pleasure shot through her. A secretive warmth blossomed between her thighs as his words tumbled through her mind, or were they hers? Good pain, such good pain...

 

He had altered his hold so that his hands could roam over her body, and she found that her hands were free. She swore weakly as his fingers drifted between her ass cheeks, locating the crown of the plug. “This,” he muttered, stroking the stretched rim of her opening. “Now this was an excellent idea. You’re going to thank yourself for it later tonight.” 

 

A strangled noise wrenched from her throat and she pushed at him, pulling fistfuls of his glossy hair. “Nooooo!” she howled, “fucking beast—I swear with every fiber of my being, Kylo Ren, if I ever get the chance, I’ll bleed you fucking dry—”

 

“Is that a promise? ” Rising in a flash, he stole her ability to speak with a punishing kiss, his tongue plunging into her mouth to effectively gag her. 

 

She whimpered around it, thrashing her head aside, getting out a last word: “I h-hate—” she warbled, muffled by his lips once more. 

 

The symbols over his neck and chest danced in her peripherals. As her punches grew sloppy, he responded, his deep voice overtaking her mind like a tide of molasses. 

 

Ah, you do. I know, little vixen. But do you not hate yourself too? How helpless you become, desperate to escape the vulnerability, willing to do just about anything… until…until you just can’t fight it anymore. Then what do you hate, hmm? Do you hate how wet you get? Like you are now—dripping, sopping, soaking—and all for me. Do you hate the thrill of fucking a monster?—all that power sheathed within your flesh, working itself into you. Do you hate how lowering yourself unleashes you from mortal constraints? How it elevates you to rapture, profane and inhuman…?

 

 The truth of it was crippling. She went slack, weeping against his mouth. 

 

He shifted his attention to the tracks of her tears, gathering them on the tip of his tongue with a low hum. Her lashes dipped as he returned to her mouth, his lips salted with the taste of her misery. 

 

It happened like it always did. Her hands twitched, nails sinking into the impervious muscle of his back. This purgatory was defined by full awareness, where she hadn’t quite lost herself to the dark pleasures he pushed. But she knew, and was hungry for the lush, melting oblivion he dangled so enticingly before her. 

 

Her wordless sobs slowly morphed into moans, transformed by the way he consumed her. A small unobtrusive thing nagged at her mind, like a glint of silver in a dark room. She wanted something, a placebo to make the fall that much easier. As cognizant thought began to slip, she reached out, knowing he’d hear her.

 

Please. Please, bind me. 

 

He abruptly paused his plundering and laughed softly, a caustic sound that had her attempting to hide her shame in the crook of his arm. 

 

“Oh, angel. Would it be easier for you, hmm?” he crooned, “—to be absolved of all participation?” He grasped her face and locked in a penetrative stare. The moment stretched out as he feasted on her suffering, letting not even the tiniest quiver go to waste. “Well, I won’t,” he pronounced at length, his fingers digging into her flaming cheeks. "I won’t bind you. I live for the moment you turn.”

 

A hollow pang rolled through her chest, like the somber tolling of a bell. There hadn’t been much hope, but its demise hurt all the same. Her head suddenly felt too heavy for her neck to support, and she let it tip to the side, gazing at him through a film of water. 

 

His rough grip eased, cradling her in the wake of defeat. “You get so very sweet on me, love...”

 

Her fingers threaded through raven locks of hair, tightening as her breath exited in a sorrowful whoosh. His lips were warm and demanding, and she folded into the heat of them. She moaned when he cupped her breasts, thumbing at her nipples to light the familiar downward pathway of nerves.

 

And when he began walking her backward, she moved with him, her body swaying with each pass of his hands. A click sounded behind her as a window unlocked and swung open. Cool, winter air flooded around her feverish body, raising goosebumps. 

 

He continued to maraud, squeezing at her breasts, caressing her waist, roaming low over her ass. With a sharp motion, he seized her hips and spun her around.

 

She was limber, his to manipulate as he bent her over the window, gripping a hip in one hand while the other clasped the back of her neck. 

 

Her heart sped at the open-air beneath her, and a sick, twisted anticipation lit through her core. 

 

The sssnick of a zipper sounded at her back. 

 

These tense little moments were like pure heroin, dangerously addictive and twice as toxic...seconds counted in hours as she waited for what she knew was coming, craving it and fearing it all the same. 

 

The Seattle skyline spun before her eyes, her breath catching as the silky head of his cock split her lips open. A thumb stroked the sensitive flesh along the hilt of the plug, causing her muscles to constrict.

 

“That’s my good girl, now sing ,” he commanded, driving into her.

 

His name tore free in a sob, bouncing off the buildings like an arrow released. His penetration was a brutal, visceral thing, compounded by the unyielding fullness in her ass. Even with her channel dripping wet, he wasn’t fully in. “Kylo, please!

 

He groaned, shimmying his hips side-to-side and slipping a little deeper. “I fucking love when you call my name.”  

 

Small, panicked sounds were coming from her throat as he impatiently coaxed her body to accept him. The pulsating ache of being split wide was everything , setting her mind on fire. 

 

“Tightness,” he muttered at her back, his voice darkly pleased as he thrust once, again, at last seating himself fully. 

 

She arched up with a cry as her body somehow made room, locking her elbows and gripping the ledge white-knuckled. 

 

Fifteen stories of air shifted beneath her as his hips began to pump with a measured pace. She trembled as the streetlights on first avenue flickered in her faulty vision. Real or imagined? She didn’t know, crying out into the night in time with the staccato of his hips smacking her ass.

 

His dark, silken purr penetrated her shock. “You left me high and dry earlier...I hope you know I’m taking my time with you tonight. You’re getting fucked for a good—long—while, unh, just—like— that. ” 

 

Her eyes rolled back as she lost herself in the decadent, heavy pounding in her core. A sharp gust of wind hit her chest and her eyes snapped wide open. 

 

Unable to stop herself, she glanced down, her breath stolen by sight of her bare breasts bouncing above...a very long fall. 

 

She moaned plaintively, tipping her head up to stare into the black void above. A part of her understood he’d never allow her to fall, but as he plunged wildly into her cunt, instinctive fear mingled with brutal pleasure and she succumbed, wailing aloud, venting the unmanageable with each thrust he gave. 

 

“Mmmh, that’s it, cry for me.” His hands were steel around her waist, and then, all at once, they were gripping her ankles, holding her as one holds a wheelbarrow. 

 

Her mind whited with terror and she sobbed at the lack of support, at his wickedness as he spread her bent knees even wider apart. In this position, her weight was spread between her trembling forearms, his grip on her ankles and the spear of his cock, which continued to fuck her with patient, jarring strokes that used gravity to his advantage.

 

She risked a panicked look back, arms aching as she balanced precariously on the edge. A storm in the form of a man was fucking her, eyes flashing with hellfire, energy snapping off his skin. 

 

The tension bled into a swoon as he fixed her with a smirk. “I’m going to fucking baptize you from the inside out,” he vowed, lethally calm.

 

She couldn’t look away, caught in his sights and hypnotized by the decadence of him inside her.

 

How could she have known?  

 

She moaned throatily, basking in all he accused her of craving; all that power working between her thighs, fucking her mind as sure as her body and staining her thoughts dark red. 

 

Her eyes slipped closed, mouth falling open as life whittled down to the rhythmic advance and withdrawal in her cunt. How could she ever have known ?— Guilty pleasure was the best kind.

 

She snapped her hips up, arching to take him deeper. “You fucking bastard,” she slurred, “ give it to me, then .” 

 

His eyes lit with something like awe, hips speeding into a frenzied pace. Balanced precariously between open-air and the thrust of his cock, the muscles of her cunt tightened hopelessly. His name was a curse on her tongue, an adoration as her thighs, somehow, strained a little wider…

 

He knew, his voice pouring over her like molten gold, the perfect catalyst. “Such a naughty girl, begging for my cum. Now, let me feel that tight little cunt suck it up.”

 

She slipped and felt herself caught, supported as the ecstasy lit through her. Her scream split the air, a heart-stopping echo that bent through the alleys, speeding through the city like a bullet fired. Far off, she was aware of how her body spasmed, hips chasing the white-hot pleasure that coursed through her.

 

“That’s my baby,” he breathed, “so pretty gripping on my dick. I’m gonna drench this pussy, gonna mark it— unh —so wet and tight—” he broke off, choking on the last word as his cock released. 

 

Panicked bliss accompanied that first, forceful gush into her. His thrusts became singular, each one deliberate. Her cunt began to constrict all over again—sucking at him, pulling his mysterious essence deeper inside. 

 

Like he told her to. 

 

And how exquisite it was, their symmetry. Her eyes rolled back, blind as she embraced the back-breaking orgasm his cum always triggered.

 

Every fiber of her being wept as what felt like liquid gold shot into her core, filling her to capacity before overflowing in opulent streams from where they were joined. She panted raggedly, awash in the shameless decadence of it all. Glancing down, she watched the creamy puddles expand beneath them. Such a waste , she thought, mindlessly licking her lips. 

 

In an instant, she found herself on her knees, her pussy still throbbing and hot, clenching at nothing. His exquisite cock filled her sights, milky-slick with their juices and flushed from fucking her. 

 

Her mind melted with rapture. Grasping the base of his shaft, she squeezed and was rewarded by a fresh overflow. “Look at this,” she purred, her voice hoarse with use. “A melting creamsicle.” 

 

Starting at the base, she licked a clean stripe to his engorged head and widened her mouth to fit him in. Cum dripped from her lips as she slid forward, nursing at the half-hearted spurts she pulled from him. 

 

He swore with quiet vehemence, suddenly whipping his dick from her mouth. She hadn’t the time to protest before he was flipping her upside down, blood rushing to her face as he clamped her thighs tight against his broad shoulders. She yelped as he latched onto her cunt with a satisfied growl, striding to her bed and eating at her ravenously every step of the way. 

 

The bed bounced as he collapsed on his back, never breaking stride with his mission to dismantle her entirely. His tongue stroked through the swollen folds of her sex, each pass leaving a path of electrified nerve endings. Kylo didn’t trouble to be quiet about it, slurping and smacking at her like her pussy contained the elixir of life itself.

 

“Oh!” she whined, wrapping a hand around his base and near-frantic with the need to reciprocate. The twinge in her jaw went ignored as she opened wide and sank upon him. Holding him at the right angle, she bobbed a few times, whimpering and huffing around the massive pillar of his dick. 

 

Deep, primitive growls vibrated against her cunt, and every part of her went limp, helpless at the thought of his fangs so close to her most sensitive parts. For the moment, he seemed content to ply her with softer things, his long tongue gathering the mix of their cum. 

 

Her vision blurred as she slid him down her throat, aided by the favorable position. He’d begun to fuck her with the plug, pulling it out to stretch her wide before pushing it back into place. In, out, in . She squirmed atop him, feverish as each stroke became a little bolder, more insistent. The tip of his tongue began to flick, and all at once, she was tripping over the edge again. Her cries were muffled, absorbed into him as she came undone. Her toes curled, eyes pinching shut as the orgasm ricocheted through her. His hands tightened and he sucked even harder, ever-demanding of her.

 

Intense shudders wracked her boneless form and she bucked against his mouth, barely aware of what was happening. She would die like this, orgasming while asphyxiating on his monster cock . She relaxed, going slack as the black spots ate her vision. 

 

All at once, he shifted, gripping her torso and carefully lifting her off him. His dick slid free, trailing a string of her saliva. She inhaled, gasping inelegantly as her bloodstream flooded with much-needed oxygen. The details of her surroundings ceased to darken, and it was then she registered the blood at the base of his cock. 

 

She frowned, focusing on it. Had she bitten him? Thoughtlessly, her tongue darted along her lower lip.

 

He must’ve caught the shift, for he eased her onto the bed and crawled up her body with the air of a bloodhound. His sharp eyes honed in on her hand, and she followed his gaze to see a horizontal gash in her palm. Blearily, she realized she must’ve cut it while gripping the window sill. 

 

Oh , she thought dismissively, letting it fall back to her stomach, panting still. 

 

Without a word, he retrieved her injured hand. Bringing it to his mouth, he began to lick at the wound, and she turned her head to watch him. He glanced up as he cleaned the blood from her skin, his eyes dark and unapologetic. Some ineffable thing passed between them and she shivered, unmoored by his animalistic show of care. 

 

“You know it’s your fault,” she whispered, the accusation lacking any heat. 

 

His tongue traced the seam of the cut one last time. “Yes,” he agreed, his voice low as he rolled her onto her stomach and knelt between her thighs. 

 

Wait, what—? Rey glanced over her shoulder, suddenly breathless as his fingers skirted the cleft of her ass. He located the slippery hilt of the plug and gently pulled. It released with a juicy sound, and she felt the tip of his cock slot into its place.

 

She remained rooted, stone-still as she watched him palm his length from the corner of her eye.

 

“Yes, it is,” he breathed, a little unsteady. “It’s all…” 

 

Liquid warmth pulsed into her ass, filling her and rushing down over the puffy lips of her cunt. 

 

“My…” 

 

Pressure steadily increased as he pushed the head in . She gasped quietly, arching up as his head crested and was swallowed by her body. 

 

“Fault...” 

 

“Kylo!” she warbled, her plea ringing through the heated air.

 

He lowered himself over her back, blanketing her body almost protectively. The motion caused him to advance a little, and she gasped as the ring of muscle widened further. Her skin was slick, juicy with his cum. Even so, accepting his girth was a feat, and she fought not to tense up and make it worse.

 

His dark hair tickled her forehead and she turned her face into his. “Please,” she bleated in a tiny voice.

 

His lips were soft where they brushed the corner of her eye. “Shhh,” he whispered, pushing just a little. 

 

It was a gentle subversion. His hand cradled her throat, fingers tracking the rapid beat of her pulse as he entered her, achingly slow. 

 

He was going to take it, but the way he was doing it—it was perilously close to loving, and Rey couldn’t reconcile his tender manner...and the way he paired it with such a taboo act. She slurred curses as her hands fisted in the sheets, clenching and kneading as her body gave ground. For once, he didn’t laugh or make a mockery of her struggle.

 

“Easy, baby,” he murmured, inching deeper, riding on the slickness of his cum. She panted, whining with each breath as the weight of his cock compressed her cunt through the thin layer of muscle. Her mind flipped upon itself helplessly— so impossibly full of him—with so much more to go...

 

“Shh,” he husked, aligning his cheek with hers. “Breath with me, Rey.” 

 

His words were an anchor, something to which she could cling. Her eyes fluttered, tension ebbing as he moved languorously behind her, over her. Softness as his lips grazed her temple, a near-chaste benediction.

 

The pleasure was unanticipated, growing within her like the warming of earth at dawn. 

 

His fingers stroked her throat as he dipped in and out, the back-and-forth motion spreading his cum along her channel and ensuring she was well-lubricated. He murmured to her in his eerie tongue as he worked, sowing molten tendrils through her mind. The smooth planes of his chest brushed her shoulder blades as he moved, the soft susurration of skin-on-skin lulling her further. Her eyes slipped closed, lower back angling up to better receive his slow advance into her ass. 

 

With criminal deftness, he seduced her, steady advancing until his hips brushed her buttocks. 

 

All at once, his words ceased with an abrupt groan. He stilled, brushing his mouth up the back of her neck in a series of clumsy kisses. “Niin hyvä, suloinen enkeli,” he breathed, “so good taking all of it.” 

 

Her cunt constricted pleasurably, reminding her that every last inch of his dick was sheathed within her. She stared across her flat, seeing nothing, feeling everything.

 

“Mmh, Kylo ,” she warbled, tremulous and barely able to form words. Perhaps it was the gentle claiming, or maybe it was the newness of having him this way, but all at once, the sheer vulnerability of her position came crashing down in a jangle of emotion. Her heart ached, suddenly overflowing. If he was going to take her to this level of openness, she needed something in return, some reassurance...

 

Trembling, she turned back to lock stares with him, her eyes huge and glassy with emotion.  “You…” she breathed, blinking as her heart raced. “You said that—that you’d let them have me...said they could take turns...” The words trailed into a hitched breath, her heart feeling as skewered as her body.

 

His brow furrowed as something in his bottomless gaze thawed. Ever-so-slightly, he shook his head. “Can you not feel it?” he questioned, his voice low and earnest. “There is no universe where I would share you…”

 

Even with that he was the demon of persuasion, she felt the truth of it reverberate down the bond. Echoes of relief seeped through the tense emotion, and tears flowed freely down her cheeks. 

 

He remained still a moment, his dark eyes tracking their progress as if he’d never seen her cry before now. Then, his head dipped down to capture her mouth in a kiss. She sobbed once, a breathy huff that he consumed with an indulgent hum. His lips were irresistible, teasing the tension from her with little nibbles.

 

He waited until she matched his kisses before sliding his tongue into her mouth, gliding against hers with soft, suggestive licks. Her clit reawoke, throbbing, prompting her to wiggle beneath him. Still, he continued to hold the column of her throat in one hand, cradling her like something priceless. She felt his length twitch tantalizingly and whined, a high-pitched sound that spoke of need.

 

Finally, he humored her and began to pump. They groaned as one, kissing still as his length slid in and out—steady, deliberate. There was something tender in the way he moved, the flex of his muscles careful, as if the speed of each stroke was commanded by her own reaction to him. 

 

Breaking the kiss, she blinked the film from her eyes and looked at him. His face was unguarded and his eyes closed, apparently lost in the act of having her this way. 

 

The moment crystallized into something even more surreal. Rey blinked, momentarily severed from the physical act they engaged in. 

 

His eyes opened, and she was startled to see that the hard, black obsidian of his gaze had been replaced by honeyed whiskey, warm and inviting. He looked mortal, a man in the throes of passion—his skin flushed and full lips parted. And he was heartachingly, devastatingly beautiful.

 

Her heart turned over and she instinctively closed her eyes, shutting out his expression and all it implied.

 

Time restarted as her head fell loosely back upon her shoulders. There was safety in the animalistic sensation of fucking, and she chased it, inching her knees higher up the mattress, arching her back to ride the sensuous push-pull of his rhythm. Distantly, she heard herself begging for him to come, voice spiraling into girlish pleas until he throbbed, emptying into her. Such an illicit indulgence that she bucked sharply, her cunt spasming over and over as she followed suit. 

 

An unknown time later, he disengaged, withdrawing his cock while filling her mind with the stealthy language of his kind. 

 

She was nothing but languid limbs and cooperation as he rolled her back onto her back. “What do you say to me now?” she slurred, reaching up a hand to toy with his impossibly beautiful hair.

 

Hovering above her, he mouthed at the corner of her lips. “I speak of my affection.”

 

“In Ki-Kititat?”

 

He smiled. “Kittât is the runic lexicon. I speak to you in High Sith.”

 

“And what are you...what do you say?”

 

His eyes gleamed down at her. “I say that you are perfect, that I want you every which way.” He teased her lips open with the tip of his tongue, speaking into her parted mouth. “I tell you that you are mine, and I’d never share you while I live. I tell you that if anyone dares touch you, I’ll tear the living heart from their body and eat it whilst they watch.” 

 

She stared for a beat, breathless. Then a whimper escaped her and he dove in, taking it for his own. Her eyes stayed closed when he pulled away, fingers still tangled idly in his hair. She could feel that he hovered, his breath fanning her jawline. 

 

And what a thing it was, to be tucked beneath his warm weight, safe from all yet imperiled beyond hope of recovery.







 

 

Glossary:

 

“Niin hyvä, suloinen enkeli” Finnish for “ so good, my angel”



Chapter Text

 

Kylo blanketed Rey’s body, withholding his weight as he assessed her. Being human, she was exhausted by the rigors he’d subjected her to. His stamina, on the other hand, was limitless; he could go again, and again, and again, until there was no breath left in her body. 

 

He was avid as he drank in the sight of her, leaving no detail ignored. Her beautiful eyes were still dilated, her carotid artery aflutter beneath tender, breakable skin.

 

His girl needed attention of a different sort. 

 

As she lay beneath him, naked and spent, the idea of calling her “thrall” felt imprecise. It was too irreverent a term, too common to describe what she’d become. 

 

He knew his own reaction to her was exceptionally strong, but there was simply nothing to be done about it. That poignant feeling of ownership strengthened every day, gratifying and worrisome in equal measure. 

 

Possessiveness was common in his kind, but he’d never had cause to experience it. His sanction was infiltration, the luring of mortal will, and he operated without the passion he so easily instilled in his targets. 

 

And yet. ..he thought sardonically, and yet...  

 

Within the blink of a few weeks, a mortal had crept under his skin, owning him as surely as he’d claimed a bit of her soul. 

 

She was his human. His.

 

“I should do away with your wardrobe altogether,” he muttered, shifting his weight onto one elbow. “Keep you lovely and naked and mine to devour.” He lowered his head, grazing her jawline with the tip of his nose as he inhaled lustily. 

 

Already, the coconut water he’d pushed her to drink was evident—replenishing her sapped electrolytes and mellowing the sharp scent of dehydration. Kylo hummed against her skin in satisfaction. 

 

Half-delirious, she giggled at his sniffing her, the low vibrations making her squirm. 

 

How novel it was having a mortal wiggling beneath him, her only concern in the world being that his breath tickled. Pleasure flooded his mind, indolent, honeyed. And much as he might like to, he couldn’t fully enjoy it without question.

 

Being on the receiving end of the fervor he inspired in others was an adjustment. His focus had expanded to include not one, but two beings, their interests as unalike as could be. It was foreign and not a little disorienting. The Dark Lord would always be central to his orbit, but Rey was like the sudden coming of a moon. Her light captured his attention, and she possessed a subtle gravity that pulled him like the lunar tides.

 

Rising back up, he examined her mouth. Her lovely lips were swollen, a red pout that spoke of use. His eyes flashed a golden-orange, passion dampened by restraint. 

 

“I want you stamped with me, every last inch of you,” he declared. “If I could nourish you with my cum alone, I would.” He arched an eyebrow at her. “Sadly, you need to eat something with actual nutritional content.”

 

She’d been tracing the runic branding that decorated his biceps, but now she halted, cocking her head to look him square in the eye. “So then...you trying to tell me...you’re like junk food?” Her voice was nearly shot but a tired smile spread over her face.

 

“Au contraire,” he replied, feigning injury. “I’m exactly what your body needs. Only, you need more. What appeals to you?”

 

“Well,” she mused, “you dragged me to hell and back then closed out the night by rawing me senseless, so...I’m starving.” She craned her neck, trying to read the clock mounted across the room. “What time is it anyway?” 

 

“It’s twenty-past-four,” he supplied, eyes drawn to the puncture wounds at the base of her throat. They had scabbed over into four neat little holes, their delicate circumference a testimony to his caution.

 

It had been an exercise in patience, waiting this long to sink his fangs into her. Still, he hadn’t wanted to ravage his prize; she deserved to be introduced to bloodletting with care. Plus, she’d exhibited enthusiasm in the tasting of his own blood on more than one occasion, a fact that sent a drunken thrill shivering through him.

 

“I wish Serious Pie was open,” she muttered, “I’d kill for one of their pizzas...but anything, really. I’ll eat anything.”

 

Serious Pie? His eyes narrowed a little as he focused, gleaning what he needed from her mind. Armed with the right information, he unfurled the inky tendrils of his will and sent them questing. Through the grid he shot, piercing brick, wood and bone as he sought an individual. 

 

In a dark room across the city, a well-known chef opened his eyes. His wife complained sleepily as he tossed aside the coverlet and slipped out of bed, possessed by a sudden, inexplicable urge.

 

“Done,” Kylo announced, refocusing with a crisp nod. “Food is on the way.”

 

Instantly, he was all business as he gathered her up, sparing not a glance to the ruined bed. 

 

Holding her tight, he made for the bathroom. “I believe you were intending to bathe earlier, yes?”

 

She turned her head and listened, perking up at the sound of the shower. “I was, although I definitely need it even more now .”

 

That is your opinion,” he emphasized, whisking her into the steamy space. Behind them, the glass door shut with a quiet click. Setting her on her feet, he positioned her under the rainfall showerhead, supporting the width of her lower back with one massive hand.

 

“Hey,” she mumbled, eyes closed as the streams rinsed directly over her face. “You changed up my showerhead.”

 

“I did,” he admitted while skimming a hand over her, a little regretful as his scent rinsed down the drain.

 

“S’nice,” she muttered, tipping her head back into the stream of hot water. 

 

So trusting , he thought, to bear her throat that way . As she leaned into him for stability, he couldn’t help but wonder: was she trusting because of exhaustion, or was she coming to understand her status in his eyes? 

 

He dipped into her mind but found it a blank slate. Her active thoughts, he could glean, but her motivations remained her own.

 

Soaping up his hands, he took the opportunity to map her injuries, rubbing lightly at her skin, skimming whisper-soft over tender areas. A constellation of lovebites adorned her upper body, and her tailbone and both kneecaps sported new bruises. His face darkened as he eyed the purple marks on her knees, obtained when she’d collapsed in a broken heap at his feet.   

 

That moment was the only tarnish on the night. Kylo rued having to make a blatant show of his dominion, and in such a ruthless, uncouth way. He’d vastly preferred to showcase the slow burn of her obvious innocence, to entrance his cohorts with the spectacle of her turn into willing supplicant. 

 

Overall, Rey’s debut at the Akeldama had gone swimmingly. 

 

She had been a perfectly-tuned instrument. He’d relished taking his time, strumming her slowly as she discarded all morality and logic. And how beautifully she’d played at the end, spreading her legs of her own will, showing the host of gathered hellspawn how she speared herself on him. A perfect, sacrificial lamb. They had all seen her, head tipped back against his shoulder, her pretty mouth slack as he sipped of her blood. They had all seen, and marked the sight of her subjugation.

 

Qui Gon’s arrival had been bad timing, but even so, Kylo enjoyed watching Rey storm up to him, her sharp little knuckles landing a well-earned blow.

 

But directly after, when she’d whirled to face him, her body beginning to shake with the realization that he’d known all along—how could he have known how it would affect him? And at the worst place imaginable: amongst the den of his peers, where watchful eyes absorbed every move they made.

 

It wouldn’t do for his kind to be too aware of all the freedoms he granted her. On top of that, there’d been Rey’s unusual exchange with Traya. The Archfiendess was left unsettled by whatever vision she’d had, a fact that only compounded Kylo’s instinctive need to silence Rey’s outburst. 

 

His peers were already hostile enough. No need to add fuel to that fire.

 

As his soapy hands mapped the fine structure of her spine and ribs, he wondered again about his own subconscious response to her distress. How vibrant was the hurt and betrayal that shot down the bond, an electric pain he so clearly felt. Regret was not in his getup, but in that moment, he came as close to it as a servant of the dark could.

 

It was also a stark reminder of the intricacies of their bond, by turns marvelous and strange.

 

His lip quirked. You wanted every part of her, now it seems, you have it.

 

With a soft pop, he uncapped her shampoo and inhaled the now-familiar scent. Sliding his fingers up into her hair, he began to massage her scalp, taking care not to pull the wet strands. 

 

A moan slipped her lips as he worked up a lather. Pleasure was written all over her face; lips parted, brows ever-so-slightly drawn in the way of one savoring something particularly fine. He was privy to the fact that she had no prior experience with intimacy, nothing that would have prepared her for physical contact of this kind. Corralled within the blissed-out space of steamy air and wet, slippery skin, she seemed especially malleable. 

 

Watching her closely, he rinsed the lather from her hair. “Have you ever bathed with a man?” he asked, keeping his tone casual.

 

Her eyes cracked open and she peered at him owlishly. 

 

Of course, he knew the answer...but he’d broached the subject for an entirely different reason.

 

She let her gaze wander down over his chest. “No,” she replied. Slowly, her hold on his sides released as the idea took root. Her hands began to explore, idle at first, growing more focused as she navigated down to his hips. 

 

His erection ached by the time she turned her gaze on it.

 

With a cautious delicacy that thrilled him, she folded her hands around it and stroked lightly up his length, marveling.

 

“Such a wicked thing,” she muttered, “shouldn’t be this soft.”

 

Unable to resist, he slipped into her mind. She was wondering how he fit “all of that” into every place that allowed for insertion, pondering whether he used some magic to make it work.

 

He chuckled aloud, delighted with her musings and increasingly aroused. 

 

She looked up at him through spiky lashes. “Are you ever not hard like this?” she asked, reproachfully.

 

The corner of his lip curled up. “Mm-hmm. The times I’m not with you.”

 

She quietly inhaled, still staring openly at the rock-hard erection she cradled. His fangs extended at the sight of her dainty hands, unable to close around his shaft. This had to stop or she’d wind up needing serious medical care.

 

Gently, he captured her chin, tipping it up to meet his stare. “If you keep playing with it, you’ll find yourself sheathing it, sweetheart.”

 

She paused, and in that beat, he delved into her mind. His mouth salivated, cock jumping in her hand. She was actually considering it.

 

It was over as quickly as it had come, a fleeting madness that rocked him to his core.

 

She swallowed visibly, releasing him and letting her hands fall to her sides. And because he didn’t want to dissuade her from continuing to explore this newfound agency, he quickly found himself on his knees, hot water raining down as he tongue-fucked her to yet another orgasm.





 

 

The chef had come and gone, his sudden appearance leaving Rey gaping. As Kylo returned from the front door with several white cardboard boxes, she’d only managed to sputter a half-hearted question about the man’s identity before the fragrance of fresh-baked dough and roasted garlic hit her. 

 

Kylo had watched, unblinking as she systematically devoured her pizzas. How unapologetic she’d been, her fierce little teeth tearing off bites, pink tongue licking daintily at the grease on her fingers. She’d made it through half of the truffle-garlic and nearly all of the fig and prosciutto-laden pie before slowing, swaying in place as she nodded off where she sat.

 

Much as he hated it, he remade the bed, making a mental note to have more bedding sent. She wouldn’t abide by wallowing in their body fluids, no matter how much it satisfied him. He cast a side-eyed glance at her, absorbing the way her bathrobe had slipped off a shoulder. Besides ,  he thought, smirking, there was more where that came from .

 

Rey was a rag doll, head lolling against his bicep as he gathered her up. He pulled her robe off and arranged her dozing form on the bed, her only protest an unintelligible mumble. After treating every cut and bruise with the dit da jow, he tucked her beneath a blanket and traced her forehead, inducing an anesthetic-like sleep that would last longer than a normal duration. She needed the extra time to mend.

 

With her taken care of, he forced himself to let her sleep. Unmolested. 

 

His narrowed eyes traced the soft curves of her slumbering form.

 

For now.



 






My son. I have use of you.  

 

Anakin’s voice pushed through Kylo like a storm surge, and every fiber of his being sparked in response. 

 

It was seamless, natural as breathing to slip from the bed and down into a kneel. As the connection bridged, the hellfire in Kylo’s eyes kindled, revealing his animus and casting the white sheets a sanguine red.

 

My lord, he responded, I am here to serve. 

 

Kylo bowed his head as dark energy licked up his spine, spreading its dark tendrils through his skull. The sensation was familiar, not out of the ordinary for a connection with the Fallen. What wasn’t normal was the faint stir through the strands of his hair.

 

With a small shock, Kylo realized that the ghostly touch was real. He was here.

 

Slowly, Kylo raised his head to meet Anakin’s eyes. The Dark Lord stood over him, gazing down with a stare that burned with love and damnation.

 

“Master,” he acknowledged, quiet with sudden trepidation. “You’ve come to me in person.” 

 

A statement, but very much a question. Today, the Fallen saw fit to answer it.

 

“Indeed,” Anakin murmured, and Kylo couldn’t repress a shudder as the hypnotic beauty of his voice swept through him.

 

“I rather enjoyed taking the measure of your unusual thrall, and in such a lovely place. Why, I can’t recall the last time I had cause to visit French Polynesia...”

 

Kylo bit his tongue as he endured the prod—his master was well aware of his everlasting hate for the tropics.

 

“But, I’ve been wondering about the pair of you and thought I’d pay you a visit...” Anakin continued, strolling casually over to the foot of the bed. 

 

Kylo glanced up from under his brows, muscles stiffening as Anakin turned his attention to Rey. “So tell me,” his master said conversationally, clasping a handful of bedding. “How fares her resistance to you?”

 

Kylo burned in silence, utterly helpless as Anakin slowly, deliberately pulled the fabric from his sleeping thrall. It flowed over her like an ebbing tide, revealing her perfect form. Kylo’s ears began to ring, and he swallowed thickly as he realized that, in this moment, he was as vulnerable as she. This was true fear—the fear that mortals felt .

 

He licked his lips and answered, keeping his voice steady. “Rey is, as you observed, not like other thralls. She doesn’t...serve in the same way they do, and that is part of her attraction. If I wanted what Maul and Traya have, I’d have taken it long ago.” Kylo paused, suddenly aware that he was rambling, knowing that the Dark Lord had very little use for answers that didn’t directly answer his questions. “Her resistance is intact but waning. With each day that passes, it breaks a little more.”

 

The Dark Lord stalked around the opposite side of the bed, his violent crimson stare intent. Drawing level with Rey’s head, he reached down and spread his fingers over her brow.

 

Strength seemed to sap from his muscles, thighs giving out as Kylo sank into a full kneel. Even in stillness, his body was electric with desperation. The Dark Lord was reading her, and there was nothing—not here or in the Void or in any other universe—that Kylo could do to stop it.

 

Anakin shot him a quick, penetrating look before turning his lurid gaze back to Rey. “So, then, is she adjusting to her privilege?” he inquired, voice unruffled and compelling as ever.

 

Kylo couldn’t shake the perception of ice in his limbs as he agonized over what he thought was the right answer. 

 

“Reluctantly,” he heard himself say from far off, “but with a growing awareness of inevitability. She’s had moments...times that she has flirted with the darkness, but she has yet to embrace it.” She may never. Kylo closed his mouth, leaving that part unspoken as his innards writhed.

 

Anakin seemed content to ignore Kylo’s discomfort, if indeed, he was onto it. “That sounds about right, based on what I’ve observed,” he drawled. “I understand you’ve brought her to the Akeldama?”

 

His master straightened to his full height, leaving Rey to sleep on in peace.

 

“Yes, my lord,” Kylo answered, breathing through the flood of instant relief.

 

“And?” 

 

“Even with her innocence and lack of preparedness, she was exceptional...although Maul and Traya might not agree.”

 

“There is that unusual element in and of your bond. It is bound to draw attention...as it has mine.” 

 

Anakin let the last part hang in the air, watching Kylo with his keen eyes. “And is she meeting your needs?” 

 

“Needs I never knew I had, master,” he smoothly replied, aware that truth could be gleaned whether he sought to hide it or not. 

 

“I’ve long wondered if you’d ever claim a thrall, and if so, what sort might satisfy you. That is well your needs are met; she was an apt find…perhaps even destined for you?”

 

Kylo exhaled and inclined his head in deference. “You would know better than I, Master.”

 

A wry note crept into Anakin’s voice. “Indeed,” he murmured. “Just be careful not to eat too much of the yolk. It is rich, but finite.”

 

With that cryptic warning, Anakin switched gears, detailing several issues that would require Kylo’s attention. Then he departed as quickly as he’d appeared, leaving Kylo to ponder the meanings behind his words.

 

 





Kylo’s marching orders sent him streaking between the Middle East and Europe. In Copenhagen, he intercepted a meeting of the progressive arm and ensured that a certain deal was tainted. In Abu Dhabi, he sifted through the mind of a reigning Khalifa, leaving him sleeping in his boudoir with an altered set of priorities. 

 

To Kylo’s never-ending relief, the Fallen had left Rey untouched. Instead, he handed Kylo the much-maligned order to attend to Charybdis, and sooner, rather than later. 

 

Why Anakin was fond of the beast, he’d never know. Perhaps it was because it had gained notoriety and had countless publications and media devoted to explaining its rampages. It would be in line with Anakin’s humor to find amusement in the erroneous speculation, which ranged from rogue waves to methane gas to holes in the earth’s electromagnetic field. But what human minds could never guess was that the so-called Bermuda Triangle was nothing more than an exceptionally dense and unwieldy hellspawn, a massive, toothless blob of sentient, uncontrollable hunger. 

 

The last time Charybdis had awoken, it had devoured a cruise liner, several oil rigs, and a handful of pleasure and military aircraft. Anakin had humored his favored pet, allowing it to satiate itself before sending Kylo to put the gluttonous thing to bed for another few decades or so. 

 

Unfortunately for Kylo, it never stayed compelled for long, and the rash of recent, unexplained disappearances was nothing if not telling.

 

As he departed the arid lands of Bahrain and streaked back to Seattle, Kylo stewed over his looming errand and all it would entail.

 

Dealing with Charybdis would require a longer absence to the Caribbean, and Kylo didn’t want Rey anywhere near the ravenous creature. 

 

Bringing her along wasn’t an option, but leaving her unattended went against the grain of his intuition. During times of physical separation, he could ply their bond to glean her location...but not her thoughts. It wasn’t enough—his heart was greedy and he longed to know her every move, but that was secondary to his real concern.

 

His peers' strong reaction to Rey had set his teeth on edge. While it had been amusing initially, their erratic behavior was now cause to think she might need protection during an extended leave of absence. Rey was edgy and streetwise, but she was also human, and blissfully unaware of the spiteful ways of demons. 

 

He would have to post her with a detail. Azrael would do.  

 

Even with the matter settled in his mind, letting go of control felt all wrong.

 

 

Chapter Text

Songspiration and chapter title courtesy of Kisnou & Blure, Falling Deeper

 

 

Kylo had no way to measure his time on earth, nor did he care to. The planet revolved around its fixed star and the seasons came and went, a continuum defined by fulfilling the ever-shifting plots of his lord. 

 

Over the millennia, he’d had the opportunity to witness all of the planet’s weather manifestations, even the rarest—jellyfish lightning sprites and gardens of frost flowers on the polar icecap. Vampiric droughts that sucked the moisture from any water-containing vessels, leaving them shimmering in a cloud of their evaporation. 

 

Kylo had seen it all, and none of it had struck him.

 

But now, the city of Geneva withered in the grips of a cold snap, and Rey walked at his side. The sky above was tinted a nacreous violet, and the north wind carried a berth of diamond dust. Those tiny snowflakes swirled around her, dusting her cheeks, sparkling like stars in the darkness of her hair. 

 

Kylo noticed each and every one, and for the first time, he found them beautiful.

 

His exceptional thrall was not of the same mind, her muscles tensing as she hunched deeper in her overcoat. “The last time I was here, it was w-winter,” Rey managed, squinting into the oncoming wind. “I d-don’t remember it being so bloody cold.” 

 

“It usually isn’t, but this is special. The local people call this wind la bise ,” Kylo replied, exhaling a voluminous plume of vapor. His elevated body temperature rendered winter invigorating, and he wore his scarf loose and his double-breasted wool coat unbuttoned. 

 

Rey frowned up at him, nearly a foot shorter despite her four-inch boots. “Doesn’t that mean ‘kiss’ or thereabouts?”

 

“Indeed, it does, and for a reason.” He smiled, his gaze skirting over her face. “Just look at how you blush.” 

 

Rey huffed. “The French are good with irony, but I find their sense of humor lacking.”

 

Kylo hummed as she ducked behind his arm. It was their entrance into the Akeldama all over again, only this time, no threats or coercion had been used. But therein lay the charm—she had elected to accompany him, a decision born of her own free will. An unlooked-for development that had worked some kind of magic on him, fascinating and profound.

 

He inhaled, aware of the minute chemical reaction as each tiny crystal met his skin and dissolved. 

 

Euphoria was not something he experienced frequently, and it would seem to enhance the effect of his aura. As they strolled up the Avenue de la Paix, he was casting a wider net than usual, a fact that wasn’t lost on his companion. 

 

“This is painful,” Rey said, squeezing him lightly. “Kylo, can’t you stop that thing you do, the one that turns everyone around you into a goddamn personal fan club?” She kept her head straight, attempting to ignore the group of bundled-up tourists who had ceased to pose for pictures, now staring rapturously at them as they passed. “They look drugged...or psychotic.”

 

His lip quirked, as pleased by her embarrassment as he was by her frank assessment of situations. She continued to delight him with her natural-born recalcitrance. Even as their bond spiraled in an ever-tightening orbit, she retained a certain intractability, making headstrong little statements without any awareness of how exceptional they were. 

 

He reached over and covered her gloved hand with his bare one, eclipsing it. “They’re hardly psychotic...think more along the lines of blissful. At the least, you can admit it’s better than the aura that Maul casts.”

 

She shot him a look. “It is better, but only in the quality of the emotion—all of it is manipulative and twisted.”

 

“Now angel, you do know I can’t help it; my aura is a byproduct of what I am.” He leaned down, brushing his lips over her hair. “You must get used to it.” 

 

She frowned, disturbed as a young man walked straight into a lamp post. “I am trying...but you didn’t answer my question.”

 

“Yes, I can withhold it,” he admitted, nodding at a young couple with a stroller. Their reverent gaze lingered as they passed, the baby momentarily forgotten. 

 

Rey made a discomfited noise. “Will you, please? Just for the evening? I mean, obviously, you’ll do your...your thing to complete your business, but won’t you please, for the rest of it? For me? So I can pretend we’re normal for one second?”

 

“Normal?” he spat, expelling the word like an unsavory morsel. “I am hardly normal, and for that matter, neither are you. Why would we seek to fall into line with these lackluster peons? Their pursuits and lives will pass, as unremarkable as their predecessors.”

 

“You’re not even human, Kylo, of course you’re set apart,” she muttered, long-suffering. “I just wonder how it would feel.”

 

Instantly, he halted, pulling her in an abrupt one-eighty and into his arms. He kept his face impassive, though his eyes glittered down at her with infinite interest. “I’m tempted to make you barter for it. That turned out so well the last time…”

 

Alarm dawned over her lovely face, lips parting to speak. 

 

He quickly pressed his index finger against her mouth and she stilled, holding her breath. His hand drifted down to her chin, and for an endless moment, he just looked at her, a flawless statue with winter-kissed cheeks, her skin scintillating with microscopic crystals of ice. 

 

Her allure was an impossible thing . “Very well. Have your fantasy, if it amuses you. Only know that I will utilize my charm when I see fit. Understand?”

 

She brightened before tempering her elation. “I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

 

“Fine,” he said softly, beginning to focus, looking down but not seeing as he felt for the leading edge of his energy. Like a fisherman gathering his nets, he reeled in the nebulous influence that made him so appealing, confining it. 

 

The effect was akin to an unseen shockwave. As one, the people around them responded, their focus deflating like a balloon. There were frowns of puzzlement before they collectively dismissed the notion that anything was out-of-the-ordinary, their logic-driven brains rebounding to earlier pursuits.

 

Rey stared around them with wide eyes, the cold momentarily forgotten as she absorbed the change. “What a hat trick,” she murmured. 

 

“Enjoy it while you can. Now come, love. We shouldn’t be late.”

 

They rounded a corner and their destination came into view. The windows of the Palais des Nations shone with light, its soaring, austere halls offering refuge to the small groups of attendees who hurried in from the cold.

 

He observed the celebrated building, unimpressed. It was designed without ornamentation, a 20th-century reimagining of Greco-Roman architecture— stripped classicism , it was called. Much like recycled fashion, humans ever sought to borrow from times long gone, evoking the perceived glories of history while embracing the future. 

 

His attention wandered to the orderly row of international flags and he made a soft, derisive noise.

 

Rey glanced up at him. “What is it?”

 

“Humans with their perfidious shows of beneficence,” he rasped, gesturing mockingly at the colorful line of standards. “I find it amusing that an assembly of divisive elements is meant to be a symbol of universal hope and equity.”

 

Rey frowned. “Are you referring to the flags?” 

 

“Indeed, my dear. Flags are the embodiment of ethnocentric pride, the perfect vehicle of separateness.” 

 

“They are not!” she countered, clearly taken aback. 

 

“They are, and I’ll add that the UN is simply a cover for special interests, a podium for well-funded diplomats and decorous, self-serving speeches.”

 

“What nihilist garbage!” she blurted, her face incredulous. “And haven’t we established that your nature exempts you from seeing the good in humanity? Well, it does exist alongside our baser urges, and that is what motivates the goals of the UN.”

 

Kylo tutted, shaking his head. “Trust me; my cynicism is well-earned. Here’s what happens under that roof: assemblies convene under the pretense of halting abuses on humanity and the environment. Dignitaries deliver their message, make all the right connections and return to their respective countries to the benefit of the shell entities they represent. That’s it, and that’s all it’s ever been. The best of them are pawns and the worst are complicit.”

 

“Bullshit! “Rey exclaimed, lifting her chin haughtily. “If everyone was so rotten, you’d be out of a job. Honest people are working to enact change, people with good intentions—”

 

“You do know what they say about those,” he interjected, soft and intimate. “All those good intentions pave the downward spiral, although for some, it’s less of a spiral and more of a chute. Every mortal has a weakness to exploit, and wholesome intentions nearly always come second to self-service.”

 

“Nearly,” she crowed, pointing a gloved finger. “See? You admit there are exceptions to your so-called rule.”

 

Her fiery expression captivated, and Kylo held his tongue. If their human nature didn’t sabotage the cause...well, he was there to ensure it. 

 

However...as long as she kept coming with that passionate defense, she could have a perceived victory. Her wildness was his every delight, that defiant spirit that always got him so drunk and rendered her priceless—the ultimate thrall. 

 

Out of nowhere, a thought occurred: could that be the “yolk” his Lord had referred to when last they'd met, or was it something different? 

 

With ease, Kylo pushed it aside. He’d have plenty of time to parse out the possibilities of Anakin’s warning during his upcoming visit to the Caribbean.

 

Raising a hand, he caressed the side of Rey’s neck and changed tracks. “Your electing to accompany me was a pleasant surprise,” he murmured, admiring the contrast of her unbound hair against the white chinchilla stole. He knew she preferred faux fur, but it didn’t matter. She’d only moaned wordlessly when he slid the pelt around her throat, her ideals worn thin by the way he fucked her. What more, she’d let it stay when they were through, fingers idly stroking the silken fur as she absorbed him with a dark, lust-addled stare.

 

Those same green-gold eyes glanced up at him, blinking as a larger snowflake settled on her lashes. “As was your giving me a choice,” she retorted. “But I wouldn’t miss the chance to visit my old stomping grounds.” 

 

Her reply failed to hide a tartness, or perhaps she hadn’t meant to hide it at all. 

 

Ah, yes. The endeavors of her old life. 

 

She’d visited Geneva’s UN campus several times throughout her career, but none of that mattered anymore. As his thrall, her every aspect was his to shape, and her previous line of work would have made her unavailable at times...an inconvenience he wouldn’t dream of putting up with. 

 

In light of his current mood, Kylo endeavored to be tactful. “Given the topic of assembly, do you expect to see any old colleagues?” 

 

“I hope not,” she replied, cooly scanning the people that milled about the entrance before shooting him a blunt look. “You don’t play well with others, Kylo Ren.”

 

They entered a revolving door and filed through a metal detector. “I suppose I am a bit of a menace, aren’t I,” he remarked, wryly.

 

“A monster,” she agreed, turning to allow him to remove her heavy overcoat. 

 

As he handed their outerwear to the coat check, he seized her hip, yanking her back against his body. She stiffened but didn’t struggle, bent on not making a scene.

 

Three feet away, the coat attendant stared, wide-eyed.

 

Perhaps withholding his aura would be fun after all. Kylo paid no attention to the man as he accepted their claim ticket.

 

Dipping his head down, he aligned his mouth with her ear. “Yours,” he growled, intent as he lifted her gloved hand to plant a kiss on the supple navy leather.

 

She turned away, but not before the corner of her lips betrayed the faintest ghost of a smile. 

 

Satisfied, he released her and she drifted into the mezzanine, scanning the rows of informational posters and boards that lined the perimeter of the room. His erection twitched as he watched the shift of her ass beneath her skirt. Would it be too excessive?...to shut this charade down for a quick fuck? Or, perhaps he should just back her into an adjoining room and play monster for real... 

 

Someone called out Rey’s name in greeting. Someone, who was a he.

 

It may as well have been whiplash as Kylo’s attention narrowed to a single point of focus, keen on the approach of a young man. He was handsome, gifted with smooth olive skin and dark, sleepy eyes, presently crinkled in a warm smile of greeting. 

 

Kylo’s nostrils flared as the smoldering darkness in his core revved up. Instant vitriol licked at his confines, goading him to react without consideration for present circumstance. With effort and much gnashing of teeth, he chained it, determined to hang back and see how Rey handled the situation. 

 

The appearance of an old comrade— young, male, attractive —had her visibly panicked, and he could hear the alarm pealing through her mind like the clang of church bells.

Not a moment later, Kylo’s resolve was tested when the guy reached out and placed a hand on Rey’s shoulder, giving her a familiar squeeze of greeting. 

 

“Rey!” Kylo heard him say, “I’m surprised to see you here! But the toxics trade isn’t your beat—what brings you to Geneva?” 

 

Rey stood stiffly, her hands clenching one another. “Well, I’m—I’m networking, you know, a bit of interdisciplinary work—”

 

—pleasepleaseplease, Kylo, don’t hurt him, he’s harmless—an old colleague from grad school—he means NOTHING—

 

Nothing? Kylo smiled mirthlessly, eyeing the stranger as he sauntered up to them. Nothing, you say? Then what I’m about to do to won’t bother you at all—

 

“No!” Rey blurted aloud, startling the smile right off the man’s face. 

 

Her color was high, pulse hammering in her slender throat as she tried to balance conversational etiquette and the imminent threat to Poe’s person. She laughed weakly, attempting to cover up the blunder. “Poe, I’m so sorry, I just remembered something…totally unrelated, and—” 

 

As she talked, she reached back and clasped his forearm, unwisely pulling him into their circle. “And this is Kylo!” she exclaimed hastily, her eyes too bright. 

 

The man turned to face him, covering up his puzzlement with a practiced smile. “Poe Dameron,” he stated, smoothly extending a hand. “Nice to meet you, Kylo…?” 

 

“Ren,” he replied, constricting the man’s hand overly hard, relishing the frown of dismay that darted over his face.

 

“Pleasure,” Poe said shortly, turning his gaze back to Rey to veil his growing unease. “So...interdisciplinary work. Are the two of you here together?” he queried, drawing a horizontal line between them.

 

Kylo let Rey answer, absorbed with examining Poe’s meticulously kept fingernails.

 

“Y-yes. Yes, we are,” she said, stepping a little closer and petting Kylo’s forearm soothingly, keen on doing everything in her power to enhance the appearance of their being a couple. 

 

My pretty little angel is trying to placate me, on behalf of this TOOL of a man.  

 

“Kylo has business with several of the delegates, and what better timing than when they’re all assembled in one place…” she trailed off, excuses beginning to fail her. 

 

Kylo could feel how badly she wanted to melt into the earth, and right on queue, her voice rang through his mind. 

 

Maybe now would be a good time to turn on the charm...please?!

 

No , Kylo returned, shifting his mouth to accommodate the descent of his eye teeth. I’m having too much fun with this niggling fool...hush now, pet, and let me play with him.

 

Rey swallowed hard, her face suddenly pained.

 

“Business, yes,” Poe said with a tight smile, trying for congenial but clearly unsettled by the odd dynamic between them. “What, exactly, is your aim in attending the Basel Convention? If you don’t mind me asking, that is...”

 

Hostility brimmed and frothed within Kylo, about to spill over. This man was a paradigm of the spurious pleasantries so common in academic circles. From his toecap oxfords to his tweed herringbone vest to his head full of lofty conceptions—he was the perfectly groomed hypocrite. But, in the spirit of brutal honesty, the unforgivable sin was having known Rey from before. This absolute fucking peon had sipped from the precious cup of her time and his piggish, unworthy eyes had trailed over the graceful curves of her body, no doubt with want. Regardless of the fact that they’d never been intimate, the urge to make Dameron pay was an insufferable itch. 

 

Kylo glanced at the clock. His marks had assembled and there was barely time for foolery. His paramount obligation loomed...but oh, would it gratify to watch this milksop obsess over removing his own well-filed fingernails...or perhaps something more vital? 

 

His pupils fired, hot enough to cement the strained look on Poe’s face. 

 

“We’re here to ensure the collapse of civilization as you know it,” Kylo drawled, his velvet-smooth baritone overlying a sinister rumble. 

 

Poe’s brain stalled, gears grinding near-audibly as he tried to find the joke. 

 

Kylo savored the man’s skyrocketing fear before flashing his fangs in a voracious smile, adding, “nothing less than bloody, consummate anarchy .” 

 

A choked sound emitted from Poe’s throat as he beheld the inferno in Kylo’s eyes, death smiling back at him with teeth like sickles.

 

Kylo felt Rey’s hand clench his shirt as she turned away, unable to look. In that instant, Kylo unspooled his influence, stupefying the man in a wholly different way.

 

“Perhaps you’d care to meet us later for drinks?” Kylo smoothly continued, resentful as the man’s fear was replaced by an opposite emotion. “I could tell you all about it...why, a tool like you could even abet our aims…”

 

Rey stiffened at his side, her head jerking back to witness the unexpected thing that was happening. Her wide eyes darted nervously between them.

 

“Drinks? You’d—with me? ” Poe swayed to the tune of unheard music as color flooded back into his face. “Oh...it would be my absolute joy —”

 

Kylo tightened his arm around Rey as he felt her tense with renewed alarm. He licked his lips at Poe. “Oh, I think the pleasure would be mine. Perhaps you could regale me with how you and Rey met…?”

 

Rey pried herself free and stepped between them.

 

“That won’t be necessary,” she squeaked, attempting to guide Kylo away. “Poe, it was good seeing you again, but we’ve got a meeting to attend.”

 

Kylo cooperated, allowing her to put distance between them and the now-wistful Poe, who reached out a hand. “Call anytime—Rey knows how to contact me.”

 

Kylo’s lip twitched in unbridled annoyance as he allowed Rey to corral him. Repressing his instincts was no way to live, and there were only two he’d do it for. 

 

“So you know how to contact him, do you?” 

 

With a strength that surprised him, Rey abruptly changed trajectories and yanked him behind a series of tall panels illustrating the transnational movement of toxics. Her eyes caught the light of an overhead fixture, gleaming eerily for a split second. “Are you jealous?” she asked breathily, pulling him down to her lips. 

 

Her kiss was passionate and unbridled. It ignored their dynamic and everything that had come before, possessing an urgency that took him by surprise. Her slender fingers tangled in his hair as she poured all of her anxiety and relief into the act. She was keenly aware of how close Poe had come to having a very bad day, and she flooded his mind with refrains of gratitude, content to ignore Kylo’s parting threat. Almost like she knew it was empty. Huh.

 

The warm glide of her tongue was an excellent consolation, and he soon found himself mapping the curves of her hips. Slowly, he began to meet her offense, dancing them in place before hemming her up against the wall. She made a soft pleading sound as he massaged her breast, his other hand tugging her skirt up one hip. 

 

“Of course I’m fucking jealous,” he growled between kisses, palming the globe of her ass and scratching at the thick, winter stockings that shielded her. “As you so succinctly noted, I don’t play well with others and I don’t fucking share,” he muttered, snagging the troublesome fabric and pulling, “— any of you.”

 

As the seam of her stockings split, a voice emitted from the recessed overhead sound system: “Delegates participating in the Basel Convention, please head to the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room. The meeting will be called to order in five minutes.”

 

Kylo closed his eyes, a muscle in his jaw jumping.  

 

Rey chuckled quietly. “What’s wrong?” she asked, bolder that was presently wise. “Have your schemes been thwarted?”

 

His eyes flew open, glinting daggers as he straightened her skirt and gave her ass a quick, sharp smack. Her muffled yelp was something he vowed to have more of, only louder, more panicked.  

 

“Duty calls...but there is always later,” he promised, guiding them toward the circular auditorium with its ceiling of peaked blues and greens, the recent gift of a prominent Spanish sculptor.

 

And by then, my hunger will have doubled...

 

His follow-up jab made her stride loosen, a subtle reaction that sent a dart of black pleasure straight to his groin. 

 

Guiding his thrall toward the double doors, he rolled the familiar question through his mind, parsing out its nuances: what dazzled him more—her defiance, or her consent?

 

 





Having her watch as he worked the room had been exhilarating, an unlooked-for pleasure.

 

She’d reminded him of a little sparrowhawk perched at the edge of her seat, avid as she tracked the entire process, from his innocuous approach, to the dazzling of his target, to the exacting of an unbreakable vow. 

 

The Secretariat to the Parties had been his last target. He’d approached the raised table and interrupted, her blatant expression of annoyance going doe-eyed as he whispered in her ear. 

 

When his work was done, Kylo prowled back up the gently sloped stairs to retrieve his attentive thrall. She stood, slipping her petite hand through his arm when he offered.

 

His gaze speared into her, hungry for all the ways he would have her. “Did you enjoy the show?” he asked, his voice low as they exited the conference room and headed toward the coat check. 

 

Suddenly, her calf-skin boots were of great interest. “I suppose denying it would be useless, given you could glean it from me if you liked.” 

 

He hummed, noncommittal. “And?”

 

“Yes, watching you operate is interesting, but don’t let it go to your head,” she said, addressing his cocky smirk. “It’s like witnessing an alien abduction; I couldn’t look away if I wanted to, and while riveting, it's also unnerving and terrible.”

 

“I’d say that’s fair,” he conceded, winking over her head at the prim-lipped coat check as he accepted their outerwear.

 

Her voice was distant as she shrugged back into her coat. “When I watch you charm people...it never fails to remind me.” She turned to him, looking up with troubled eyes. “You’ve explained why, but it still smarts.”

 

His fingers drifted up to adjust the chinchilla stole closer about her throat. “Humankind does not resist me—ever. When you risked your life to escape, you caught me off-guard. I very nearly didn’t catch you in time.” He cinched the woolen belt of her coat, again overcome by that fierce, near-unreasonable protective urge that accompanied her . “There is nothing I wouldn’t do to shield you from harm...and I can’t allow you to take unnecessary risks.”

 

“Says the one who leaves me black and blue,” she deadpanned, allowing him to steer her through the revolving doors and out into the frigid evening air. 

 

“A demon’s affections are no gentle thing.”

 

“Words to live by,” she muttered.

 

He chuckled, folding an arm around her when she tucked into the warmth of his body.

 

The snowflakes had increased in size, enough that now, even her mortal eyes would be able to make out their geometric fronds. Kylo breathed in and his whole body thrummed, as though the twilight had snuck under his skin, sparkling and alive. 

 

“The unknown is now at your fingertips,” he murmured, stroking her shoulder absently. “Whenever you want to know something—anything—just ask me.”

 

She shot him a skeptical look as a sleek Rolls Royce coasted to a stop, its driver barely visible through the privacy tint. “An exceptional offer, but even you admit that your motives are unreliable. How do I know that your answers won’t be tainted with bias?”

 

Kylo held out a hand for the driver to stay put and opened the door for her, watching her every move as she slid onto the seat. He smirked, wolflike.

 

“I guess you’ll just have to trust me.”





 

 

She hadn’t wanted fondue, a fact that he rued only a little. He had been picturing her choosing morsels to spear, dipping them in velvety sauce only to wrap her lips around the dripping bites. Still, she could eat just about anything and he’d find it erotic, so he’d honored her request for French. 

 

Le Bistrot Dumas was a classical bouchon. Well-appointed yet understated, its white tables were set with golden cutlery, each hung with a lone Moravian star lamp. 

 

As the hostess led them to their seats, he felt the incipient brush of another consciousness. 

 

Master…

 

Annoyance lanced through him like a live wire. Yes, Khamael? he replied silently, making sure his irritation translated through their connection.

 

Forgive me, Master, but Chacon Rossell has backtracked. She now intends to merge with—

 

STOP! Have I NOT given the order that all developments are to be reported to Azrael in my absence?

 

Khamael’s tone grew peevish, an irritating whine in his head as a waiter breezed over and greeted them, doling out menus and pouring glasses of water.

 

Yes, Master, you have, but—

 

Enough! Kylo silently bellowed, his present company none the wiser as he sedately ordered a bottle of La Piera granache. The waiter departed and he watched Rey shifting in her seat, intimately aware of why she felt the need to do so.

 

With an inward curse, he returned his attention to his knight. This is the second time you’ve broken rank and interrupted me. My tolerance was exhausted the first time. Try me again and I’ll expel you to the pit for an extended stay—without your eyes. Khamael—dary tu moketi?

 

The waiter returned with their wine, pouring Kylo a taste and standing by for his judgement. Khamael’s apology echoed in his mind as Kylo took a sip and nodded, abruptly severing the connection with his vexatious underling.

 

He’d never endured such flagrant disobedience from any of his Hellcniht, and it wasn’t lost on him that the timing was conspicuous. It would have to be addressed. 

 

Later , he thought, returning his full attention to Rey. Propping an elbow on the heavy wooden table, he watched as she gratefully took a few sips of wine. The stole hung carelessly from her shoulders, and the fitted champagne blouse she wore emphasized her delicate shoulders and perfectly-edible breasts. 

 

She was on the pensive side, her body still abuzz with the unmet need he’d so recently whipped into a lather. Pleased with himself, he slowly, deliberately brushed his index finger over his lips, inhaling before biting lightly at the first knuckle.

 

She choked on her wine, blushing instantly. “Beast,” she sputtered, pressing her napkin to her mouth and glancing around with a self-conscious look. “You make it hard, always , in one way or another.”

 

He swallowed the first response that came to him, determined to behave until she’d taken nourishment. Unable to agree or disagree, he simply nodded.

 

She fidgeted with her wine stem, considering him for a long, drawn-out moment. “Fuck,” she expelled on a breath, looking away before circling back to him. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but...thank you, Kylo. I appreciate your having left Poe alone. I know you didn’t want to, but you did, and that matters to me.”

 

He arched a brow and sat back, unused to real gratitude. Had he ever been thanked for something he did? Praised, perhaps, but thanked? His lip twitched in annoyance as he slung an ankle over his knee and brandished the menu. “No guarantees in the future,” he said in a clipped tone, giving her an arch look before scanning the offerings for all of two seconds and flipping the menu closed.

 

She still managed to look pleased.





It may not have been as prime as watching her navigate a fondue, but Kylo was appeased when, upon having had enough of her chicken tagine, she abandoned her cutlery and began to pick at the candied lemon garnish, unselfconsciously licking her fingers.

 

Throughout their meal, he’d kept her wine glass full, and her posture was loose and relaxed. Good. Limber would serve her well.

 

“Kylo,” she said, nibbling at a glazed bit of lemon rind, “I’ve been wanting to ask you...the other night—after you brought me home from the Akeldama—you said something about Unkar Plutt.”

 

He arched a brow at the mention of her childhood tormentor. It wasn’t that she’d brought it up, but her demeanor that struck him—her voice toneless, face devoid of emotion. They may as well have been discussing whether he’d remembered to water the houseplants before departing.

 

“I did,” he said, leaning back and watching her tongue swirl over a fingertip. She’d had several glasses of wine, but a quick skim of her mind told him she wasn’t drunk.

 

“You spoke of him in the past tense,” she continued, eyeing him with a speculative look.

 

She’d been furious when he’d hinted at it, emotion shimmering off of her in lush waves that had scrambled his senses. Apparently, she hadn’t missed it. Kylo deepened his lounge, cocking his head as he swirled his vintage in lazy circles. “He’s dead,” he confirmed, bluntly.

 

She took a sip of her wine, gazing at him over the rim with a callous air that did a number on him. Fucking glorious. His voice grew silken, provocative. “And? How does that make you feel?” 

 

Setting her glass down, she sat up in her chair and leaned toward him a little. “I feel nothing,” she declared, giving him a flat, pitiless stare. “Nothing, but justified.”

 

Justified. Such a hard word from such a pretty mouth. 

 

It dropped like a match into the parched grass of his mind, his eyes flaring a carnal red as shocks of hunger rolled through his core. In the span of a blink, his dick lengthened along his thigh, unmanageably hard. 

 

“Justified,” he repeated, tasting the syllables as they rolled off his tongue. 

 

He set his glass down and folded his napkin before moving with a speed she couldn’t track. His body blurred the air, clearing the table and seizing her simultaneously. 

 

"Kyl-oh!" she gasped, voice winded as he deposited her over the table. The chorus of startled yelps all around was joined by a shattering as their tableware hit the floor.

 

He was silent as death as he hiked up her skirt. No stockings, no panties. He’d had the wherewithal to remove both before fingering her mercilessly in the back seat of their charter, edging her over and over in retribution for the way she’d kissed and then made him wait. 

 

She’d insisted that it wasn’t her fault, her voice shaky and high-pitched. 

 

“Nevermind that,” he’d responded, fingers squelching as he massaged her g-spot.

 

Now, he dragged that same finger through her sopping folds to the tune of scandalized gasps. Let them watch, he thought, making sure she heard him as he buried his face in her warm, soft hair. 

 

Rey dragged in a breath, trying to adapt as he slung a thigh over his forearm. He licked his lips and pushed, his head submerging in the tight, vital heat of her cunt.

 

She made a small sound, awaiting his thrust with want and mortification, pleasure hovering just out of reach.

 

The moment was a cliff and he lingered there, serenaded by the bated breath of their audience.

 

Then, he smirked, glittering and dark. “Justified,” he repeated, driving his cock in as far as it could go. She blinked furiously, her pretty lips slack as she struggled for air. “Little vixen,” he ground out, “It’s only what you deserve, being justified.” 

 

She moaned, writhing under him when he gave another thrust. “K-Kylo,” she pleaded, her head falling back as, all at once, the pent-up tension in her body released. Her hips strained, shuddering against him as she came. 

 

The sleeve of her cunt rippled around him worshipfully, and it was pure, distilled bliss. He didn’t move at all, content to savor this first gift upon his altar, the first of many this evening

 

“So, so pretty, my Rey,” he crooned, mouthing at her delicate jaw as she moaned wantonly. “Show them how I own you.”

 

A chef burst from the kitchen with an impassioned howl. He stood there for a moment, his mouth working as he gaped at the unthinkable thing occurring in his establishment. “Monsieur, s'il vous plait!” he finally managed, gesturing at them in dismay. “Vous ne pouvez pas faire ça ici!”

 

Kylo was just beginning to really work her, his hips gaining speed as he shot a hand toward the scandalized manager. “Va te faire enculer,” he growled, not breaking stride as he petrified the man where he stood, unwilling to be interrupted. 

 

Rey whined and huffed beneath him, her hair in gorgeous disarray against the white tablecloth. She seemed intent on ignoring the very public setting, her nails scoring his lats as she focused on him only. 

 

“So tight for me, angel,” he purred, smirking down at her. “Je n'aurai jamais assez de cette douce chatte.”

 

He punctuated the praise by grinding deep inside her, winning himself an ardent, drawn-out cry of pleasure. “That’s my girl, serenade me. Tell me how it feels.”

 

The table creaked in protest as he began to ream her harder, grunting aloud with each thrust. Their heated groans and the wet slap of flesh filled the room, the only sounds short of the rapid breathing of their captive audience. Although the restaurant patrons bore no enchantment, all were either too shocked or too entranced to react.

 

Her thighs began to shake as he fucked her harder, her pleading moans gaining that panicked note of impending rapture. 

 

“Yesss, again ,” he snarled, clutching her tighter. 

Mindless, she cried out, her voice slicing the weighty silence of the restaurant. “Kylo, please! Oh, please, more! So good, so so g-ahh!—” She choked on her own words, hips chasing his final thrusts as he brought her. 

 

He let the rhythmic squeezing of her cunt milk him, stilling as he came. “Feel that, little one?” he rasped, eyes falling closed as his seed pumped into her. His head fell back and he grunted with pleasure as her channel reached capacity and began to overflow.

 

Distantly, he heard the choked sound of a spectator as his cum gushed over her rounded buttocks, forming pools upon the tablecloth. It was lush, an ungodly amount, and he could hear the collective horror of their audience as the realization hit. Inhuman.

 

A stout matron broke through her own stasis and abruptly stood. “Animaux!” she accused, the loose skin of her cheeks quivering with indignantion. “Vous êtes tous les deux des bêtes sales et abandonnées!” 

 

In that exact moment, Rey was murmuring incoherently, rocking her hips in short, indolent little pulses as she chased the aftershocks. Kylo could only groan, hastily sending an amorphous pulse through the room and locking time around them. 

 

With their audience incapacitated, he rolled his hips, slipping in the decadent mess of their combined juices. Her sharp little teeth locked on his earlobe and he groaned her name, breathless as his dick spurted with renewed vigor.

 

When the last pulses had faded, he threaded his fingers through her hair and locked her into a slow, meditative kiss. Cradled in the hot vise of her body, he lingered. It was a moment outside of reality as she nibbled at his lips, uncaring about anything other than him. 

 

His mind purred, muscles alive and tingling. This is the closest you’ll ever come to true contentment.  

 

Disengaging, he rested his forehead against hers. “Do you know?” he breathed, staring deep into the liquid palette of green and gold he so adored. “I’d put a child in you if I had the ability.”

 

Her mouth fell open before she closed it, swallowing. “Lucky me,” she managed, her casual reply unable to mask the clear relief underneath.

 

***

Chapter Text

 


On the flight back to Seattle, Rey sat beside her demon, trying hard not to think. It had become a treacherous pastime, and she now found herself avoiding it when she could. Living as a purely reactive creature had its benefits these days. It meant she didn’t have to think about the way he’d looked at her in Geneva or how she melted into him when they kissed. It meant she didn’t have to worry about what her future was shaping up to be, or that they were heading back to a place she’d once called home. And though it might be impossible, it also meant she didn’t have to think about the latest call she hadn’t answered.

 

Her mother had phoned at what had to be the worst time possible, her image lighting up on the bed stand. Rey turned her head as much as her position would allow, squinting owlishly at the glaring little rectangle in their dimmed lakeside suite.

 

Kylo was quicker on the come-up, recognizing who was calling with a dark little chuckle. Ever-so-surreptitiously, he’d withdrawn his cock from her mouth and assumed the role of gentleman, inviting her to—by all means—answer the call if she liked. Then, he’d latched his mouth back in place and resumed those long, rhythmic pulls, sucking at her cunt as if it were the source of life itself.

 

Half-incoherent and fully coerced, Rey gave a strangled groan and let it go to voicemail. 

 

But damn if it hadn’t weighed heavily on her. 

 

Now they were returning to the Emerald City, home to demons both figurative and literal, within her and without. Logic no longer defined life as she’d understood it. Plutt had been murdered on her behalf and she couldn’t feel anything but unapologetic gratification. She’d been dodging her mom and was returning to the scene of the crime. Her demonic lover had canceled the career that had defined her, and every day, she was more accepting of it. Friends and acquaintances no longer remembered who she was. And all because of him…

 

She let out a heavy sigh, tracking the movement of Kylo’s hands as they circled her kneecaps. The bruises still hadn’t faded, a yellowed reminder of their exit from the Akeldama. The more he rubbed the medicinal liniment into her battered knees, the more dejected she became. 

 

“A demon’s affections are no gentle thing.”

 

Yes, but...he hurt her only to turn around and soothe the injury. All along, she’d been toeing the edge of a cliff, and suddenly, she lost her footing. 

 

“Why bother treating them?” she asked sullenly, avoiding his eyes and feeling a hundred miles removed from her own actions. “You’ll only make more next week.”

 

He stopped, his enormous, honed body rocking back as he perched on his heels. Vaguely, she discerned the ghostly caress as he sifted her thoughts. 

 

She drove it home with a dispassionate stare, deliberately calling to mind the bone-deep pain and sense of abandonment, the fright of being lifted by her throat and how she’d summed up his behavior to cruelty, pure and simple. 

 

Unable to meet his eyes any longer, she looked away and found her face caught in one massive hand. 

 

“Look at me, Rey. On any other day, with any other being, you’d be right.” 

 

“Oh?” she quipped, utterly dispassionate.

 

His expression clouded over, lips pressing into a line as he studied her. “My actions are driven by forces you can’t comprehend, nor would you want to. You can believe me when I say that at that moment, my roughing you up was the lesser of all evils.” 

 

Deep inside her, something shifted. Was that...demon-speak for an apology?  

 

It felt perilously close. 

 

Curiosity crept in, tempering the grey bank of her apathy. She regarded him, soaking in the perfect asymmetry of his striking face. That he was compelled to explain anything to her was nothing short of remarkable, an improbability. But really…it wasn’t the first time he’d broken rank with his own character, toeing the line of an almost-human consideration.

 

A lightness danced in her chest, like the brush of a moth’s wings. 

 

His bottomless gaze flicked from her eyes, drifting along the column of her neck and over her sternum before returning to pin her again. “I’d rather try you in other ways.”

 

With utmost caution, she slid her much-smaller hand over his and grasped it. He loosened his hold on her jaw, allowing her to pull his hand down into her lap. 

 

“You do try me in other ways,” she affirmed, strangely reluctant to release him. 

 

The air in the cabin grew thin and surreal, like oxygen replaced with nitrous. She breathed in deep as she sat there examining his hand. Sinews and tendons, skin and bone. Not human, this hand. The hand of a monster—a being bent on unraveling every last thread of hard-won peace in the world. 

 

She swallowed, watching her branded finger slide through his, so much smaller, so much more vulnerable. Perhaps he was under the same spell as she, for he was patient, watching as she traced his palm, running her fingertips between his.

 

Kylo had made her an offer yesterday, inviting her to ask anything of him she wanted to know. Depending on the topic, he might elect not to answer, or worse yet, twist the truth. Rey held no illusions that he wouldn’t disclose anything that hindered his aims, but the question that sat at the tip of her tongue was something she had a good probability of him answering, a subject she knew he was fond of. 

 

Her touch grew deft, drifting over his skin with the grace of snake charmer. 

 

“Kylo?”

 

His eyelids dipped as he waited, a motion that was deceptively human-looking.

 

“There’s something that I’ve been wondering about since we...since you claimed me,” she amended, taking a deep breath. There is nothing to lose in asking. You’ve already lost it all.  

 

“Your blood, and your—your, uh...cum,” she faltered, stalling as the corners of his mouth curled in a tiny smirk.

 

Fuck, Rey, get it together for christssake— “It’s not natural...or at least human. I’ve been wondering if it has some lingering effect.” She halted, gazing at him with a subdued mixture of need and worry. “On me...does it?”

 

His eyes deepened, yawning caverns of darkest black. “I hope so."

 

“But you don’t know?” she persisted, picking back up with gliding her fingers lightly through his. How strange she felt, ephemeral and removed from her own vulnerability.

 

“In the scope of thralldom, you are an anomaly. Others come clawing on hands and knees, begging like dogs for our company." He opened his palm, granting her better access. "It is difficult to sully what is already soiled.”

 

She waited, unsure of how that related to her question. 

 

“There’s also the fact that you are my one and only claim,” he added, considering her with an inscrutable expression. “However, if you want my opinion, I’ll give it to you. I feel that saturating you with my essence courts your baser tendencies. It enriches the seed of darkness I planted and marks you as mine.” 

 

Her brows knit together in a small frown. “Seed?”

 

“Not in the reproductive sense—what I said earlier stands; you are safe from that outcome,” he murmured, amused. 

 

“How do you mean it, then?”  

 

“When I claimed you, I used a Ruoverg blade; a weapon conjured from the energy that animates me. With it, I cut out a bit of your soul, and into its space poured my darkness. This is the seed of which I speak; cemented with the mingling of our blood.” 

 

His eyes gleamed, a brief glimpse at the inferno within. “I wanted you bound to me, and bound well.” 

 

“I think it's safe to say you’ve succeeded,” she said in a near-whisper. She tucked the information away for later and changed tact, forcing herself to ask a very different sort of question. “And if my—purpose—is to be your plaything, what will you do with me in a year or two or ten?” 

 

He raised a sable brow. “I haven’t figured that out yet...but you may rest assured that I’ll never let you go.”

 

“I do not find that restful, or assuring,” she muttered, absently exploring his palm, tracing those extraordinarily long fingers. Power flowed through him like a river, and she felt the tingle of it just beneath his skin.

 

...nie Irus'. Tegu Tave Jena'tes Vykti j'us... 

 

The words were curls of smoke, a tainted caress from the inside. Her skin crawled and she shivered, suddenly feverish. In her peripherals, the curved hull of the plane contracted and expanded, a living, breathing beast that had swallowed them both.

 

Tu zenoti tu noret jis. Vykti zhol—tym kash tu..

 

Her head felt so light, near-weightless on the column of her neck. 

 

All at once, her hands were on autopilot, wandering where they would, chasing after more of the intoxicating way he let her touch him. She stroked the corded muscles of his thighs before finding the length between them. Like his hands and everything fucking else—his dick was enormous. She curled her hands around it, captivated by his blatent physicality and passive stance and the growing ache inside her.  

 

“You are always hard around me.” 

 

He responded by spreading his thighs a little wider, arms remaining draped over the back of the loveseat. Yeah? So what are you going to do about it—

 

His cocksure challenge rippled through her, shifting barriers around. All at once, her core went all molten, cunt squeezing as captivation morphed into something else. 

 

Taking a page from his playbook, she leaned forward and stared boldly into the chasms of his eyes. “I’m going to fucking take what’s mine,” she growled, gripping the bridge of his shoulders and sliding atop him in a single, fluid unfolding.

 

In the blur of a moment, her panties were pushed aside and she was sinking upon a column she couldn’t wrap her hand around. Down, down, she slid, bands of muscle shivering open around him.

 

His nostrils flared, a muscle ticking in his jaw, otherwise, he remained statue-still.

 

The instant she was seated, the urge to dominate him fled, diminishing with the all-encompassing throb in her core. Their coupling was languid, dreamlike as she moved smoothly in his lap, rising and falling like a restless sea. 

 

Through it all, Kylo remained uncharacteristically docile, his arms spread over the backrest like a man crucified.

 

Her orgasms, he matched with a single spectacular climax of his own, his head falling back with a groan as he fountained within her. Each wave of his spend translated to distilled sugar, a drug her body lapped up. She gasped, blindly stroking her belly, feeling him move inside as all thought was obliterated.  

 

Pitching forward, she embraced him, cradling his dark, leonine head as she kissed up the tattooed line of his neck. Rather than exhaust her, the sex had an exhilarating quality, leaving her enamored and hungry for more. So, she stayed seated in his lap, petting and stroking his neck and chest, wishing she knew how to convey the way he made her feel—that he was liquid bliss in her veins, that she wanted him to bend her every which way, that her hunger for him was terrifying.

 

An interminable time later, they remained entwined. She’d been absorbed with sifting through the midnight locks of his hair, caressing him lazily while using her core muscles to work at him. His hands had found their way around her bottom and he dallied there, idly stroking the stretched seam of her cunt.

 

Amidst the sumptuous warmth of their joining, he shifted and faced her, his eyes cracking open to gaze up at her.

 

Somewhere in the depths of her addled mind, a warning gong sounded. Again, it was happening; again, they were—warm and inviting—portals of sunlit whiskey.

 

“Kylo," she gasped, distracted by an upward push of his hips. “Something’s...ohh...something’s different. Your—mmm—your eyes...

 

He flexed his fingers over the rounds of her hips, clearly savoring the luxury of doing nothing more than offering up a stiff cock for her to fuck herself on. “What’s different about my eyes?” he purred, biting his lower lip indolently.

 

“They are so—so warm,” she moaned, drawing out the last word as he hit a spot that sent echoes running through her belly. “Human—”

 

Something sharpened and he was all attention, gazing at her keenly.

 

As she watched, the vital golden-brown bled out, becoming dark and soulless. Rey smiled drunkenly, welcoming all that was known and familiar. “Ahh,” she crooned, caressing his face. “There you are.”

 

Her own eyes were twin mirrors, reflecting the blaze of red from his own.

 

She sighed, arching as the darkness in him roused; sinister and primal. It was there, under her skin—a current that had her nipples hardening, skin breaking out in gooseflesh. I know it, Kylo. It is in me too.

 

His eyes continued to burn, and Rey let herself melt in the predatory heat of that stare, unwilling to look away.

She embraced the fight-or-flight response, breathing through it. Her rhythm didn’t falter as phantom hands raised her arms, sliding sensuously down their length as they were drawn up toward the ceiling of the cockpit. Invisible binds wound about her wrists, crossing them over her head. 

 

His mouth shifted, sensuous, kissable lips parting over jarringly sharp canines. He smiled, and in that smile was the promise of pain. 

 

“Here I am,” he growled, core muscles rippling beneath his skin as he roused from his state of recline.

 

Fear flooded in, mingling with pleasure. Her eyes fluttered, body tensing as his fingers crept up her spine. 

 

“Did you miss me?” he rasped, his long tongue licking up the underside of her breast, laving her nipple into an aching bud. “Did you get too comfortable, holding the reins?” 

 

Opening his mouth wide, he sank his fangs into the soft flesh of her breast and released.

 

Pain lanced through her and she cried out, head falling back as she hung from her bonds. Panting, she blinked down at her throbbing breast. Four holes bled freely, marking the perimeter of her areola. 

 

She moaned in dismay, her heaving chest causing droplets of blood to skitter down the plane of her belly. He cocked his head as he tracked the action, admiring her like a connoisseur in a fine art gallery. His shoulder muscles tensed as he darted in, extending his tongue to lick at a rivulet.

 

His jaw shivered as he tasted her. Then, his eyes snapped up, fixing her with a penetrative stare. “Did you need a reminder of just what owns you?” 

 

Her head felt light, as though all the blood had flown south, fueling a heightened sensitivity. She jumped as his hand crept over the curve of her buttock, long fingers stroking again at the stretched opening of her cunt. 

 

“Kylo,” she pleaded, her voice shrill.

 

He lunged, locking his mouth over her bleeding areola and sucking. 

 

Pleasure arced, stabbing a pathway down her middle. Her cunt contracted hard and she gasped for air.

 

“Who am I?” he ground out between slurps.

 

She knew what he wanted and gave it immediately. “My maste-oh! ” she yelped, the title broken as he breached the puckered hole between her cheeks. In, he slid, causing her sphincter muscles to instinctively clamp. His fingers dipped and massaged at her before settling into a rhythmic cadence, pushing in when his cock withdrew, always keeping one hole full. She went blind for a moment as sensation overtook her. Distantly, she heard her own long, drawn-out cry.

 

“What was that?” 

 

She writhed, wild with the dual stroking below. His fingers withdrew as his cock advanced, creating a maddening push-pull sensation. “Master!” she managed between gasps for air. 

 

“Such a wet thing you are,” he scolded. “Shameful, just filthy.” He smirked, his lips painted with her blood.

 

Her brain shorted, cognition flickering like a faulty lightbulb. 

 

He seized her by the back of her head, forcing her to pay attention. “Oh no,” he breathed, his gaze wandering between her eyes and her mouth. “We’re not through, little vixen.”

 

He smiled, glittering and cruel. “Lick them clean,” he commanded, mouth opening to bare his nightmarishly long, bloody canines.

 

Her arms were tied and she couldn’t brace herself, having only her core muscles to keep from being jostled as he fucked her relentlessly. Her body shook with the effort as she licked her own blood from the spindles of his fangs, trying to remain steady enough to perform the delicate task. 

 

A little yip escaped her as she nicked her tongue on the razor-sharp tip. 

 

It was the moment he’d been waiting for. With a snarl, he locked onto her mouth, kissing her ferociously.

 

She felt the bonds overhead pull, hoisting her up by inches, allowing him the room he needed.

 

Locked up with him nursing at her mouth, he plunged his fingers in her ass and gripped her that way, his hips speeding as he began to pound her with an ominous finality. Each thrust jarred her bones, every stroke retribution for even dreaming that he was some docile thing she might have her way with.

 

And what was wrong with her, that she’d gotten that idea in the first place?!

 

She wanted to scream, but there was no space between the beatings. Her demon was returned to his primal form, praising the beauty of her tears, devouring her panicked whimpers as he kissed her red with blood. 

 

With each violent thrust, he scoured her out, and into her empty husk he poured a cascade of sweet nothings. 

 

Finding you was like breaching Heaven’s gate and raking my claws along that highest ceiling.  

 

Fucking you is like carving my name on its most sacred altar.

 

I hope you know now, Rey…

 

God doesn’t love you

 

...not like I do.

 

 


 

 

For as long as she could remember, Rey had always been a light sleeper. 

 

Before him, only vigorous exercise or hours spent dancing could dent her habitual wakefulness. Now, she slept long and deep, her body and mind desperate for some unattainable rejuvenation, some respite from the breakneck release of adrenaline and dopamine. 

 

Deep sleep was devoid of dreams, and she hadn’t been privy to them since her claiming. But now, in the waning hours of their return to Seattle, Rey’s deathlike slumber was interrupted by dreams, remembrances of Maz that were vivid and clear. 

 

“...you’ve weathered so much, little one, but you are strong—stronger than you know…”

 

Her mother’s soft, brown eyes gazed down at her, full of an acceptance that was as-yet unrecognizable to her younger self.

 

“...let go of all that came before. Take hold of what is to come—the future is yours to shape…”

 

Rey walked the halls of that fairy-tale house, felt again her initial skepticism that any of it was real. Her new life was a fever dream, too good to be true after the ugliness of Plutt’s custody. Wandering up the stairs, she drifted into her room and found herself staring at the little nest she’d created in the closet, her safe place. Now she was in it, curled up as Maz smiled down at her, and it was morning...

 

“...dear child...if the closet is best for sleeping, we’ll get you a hammock. We’ll string it up and make you a proper sleeping nook. Would you help me to choose the right one?”

 

They sat together at a table after one of Rey’s therapy sessions, and Maz blessedly didn’t try to touch her in any way. She didn’t have to; her very presence was like a hug, and she always knew just what to say...and when to say nothing at all.

 

“...when you feel that all is lost, just put one foot in front of the next. Always forward, never back. There is such fierce strength in you, Rey. You will move mountains.” 

 

The dream was a comforting nimbus, and when her mother’s beloved voice echoed into silence, Rey could acutely feel the loss—a visceral stab in her breast like her heart had been ripped out.

 

Rey started awake with a desperate sob.

 

She blinked, clutching at her breast spastically. The soundproofed cabin was dim, and she could feel Kylo’s eyes on her. 

 

The tears came flooding out of her. She pressed her face into a pillow and lost herself to the grief and pain she’d always managed to keep a handle on.

 

Mom. I’m so sorry, Mom…need you so fucking bad… 

 

Bawling and lost to the world, she had no idea how long it’d been—seconds or hours—but at some point, he came to her. Powerful, bloodstained hands carded through her hair as he curled around her, blanketing her back with his heat. When tenderness failed, he rolled her over and locked his lips to her throat. Still, she cried, venting until the warm wet undulation of his mouth lulled the hurt. 

 

Clinging to his massive form, she buried her face in the crook of his neck and locked her thighs around him. 

 

Come into me. Make me forget.

 

A moment later, her head was falling back against the pillows, tears forgotten, wish granted.

 

 


 

Glossary of Terminology

It's all Sith to me...😏

 

The Darkness in Rey’s mind:

"Nie irus. Tegu tave jena'tes vykti tu." -- “No light. Let the darkness take you.”

“Tu zenoti tu noret jis. Vykti zhol—tym kash tu.” -- "You know you hunger. Take him—he is yours."

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

12:17 am, Seattle. The underground maze.

 

 

Several stories overhead, winter was storming, its sheer ferocity dissuading even the most grizzled, stoic Seattlites. The streets were bare of the usual Saturday night bargoers, the urge to carouse snuffed by an instinctive and very mammalian urge to seek shelter.

 

Hidden away beneath brick and beam and layers of raw earth, the weather meant less than nothing to Traya. Atmospheric events came and went as they had since time immemorial, and though they were of no consequence to her, Traya was somewhat fond of them. Storms—particularly the more destructive sort—aligned with their purpose, sowing misery and discord like an unleashed beast on a rampage.

 

The low pressure that accompanied storms usually put her in good humor, and indeed she had been a click more benevolent than her usual monotone. But that was before she’d detected the approach of another.

 

It was unmistakable, heralded by a concentric thrum that expanded out from where it landed. The candle flames flickered minutely and Traya lifted her head, gazing sightlessly at the ancient brick walls of her sanctum. Her thralls stilled at their tasks, each of them privy to a small fraction of their mistress’ awareness. 

 

One of the dominions had come to seek an audience. The Archfiendess remained unmoved as she turned back to the girl who sat grooming her nails. Slowly, she retracted her hand, examining her thrall’s handiwork without expression. The aura that approached needed no scrying; it seethed endlessly, a lurid miasma that gave him away. 

 

Traya’s nostrils flared, the only outward show of displeasure. “We have a visitor,” she muttered. “Nuyak grottu, kia nun.”

 

Despite her toneless summons, her thralls were quick to obey, moving with a grace that belied their lack of sight. As one, they assembled at the foot of her throne, the white of their gowns pooling over the floor like spilled milk. Not moments later, the door of her lair swung wide and the Archfiend himself strode through, heralded by a puff of stale air. 

 

A nanosecond later, his signature animosity hit them with a wave of furnace-like energy, causing her thralls to shift and grit their teeth. His eyes burned through the shadows, baleful amber beams that honed in on her.

 

Traya was unmoved, returning his stare from the depths of her hooded robe. Her venomous cohort would only be here if there were no other option...which meant, he wanted something only she could give. 

 

“Maul...it’s been long since you sought me out. To what do I owe the honor of your visit?” While polite, her greeting held all the warmth of an age-old tomb.

 

“With your precognition, surely you know,” Maul spat, not bothering with a greeting of his own. 

 

Even knowing the archdemon was incapable of being anything other than inflammatory, Traya couldn’t help the tide of annoyance that surged through her. Maul knew that her foresight did not apply when it came to demonkind, and that the fates of their thralls were blurred by proximity. Of course, he would overlook this in the interest of goading her, all while tainting her sanctum with his acrid presence. 

Met with frosty silence, Traya’s peer continued undeterred. “You can blame my coming on Kylo’s little pet, though his disgusting behavior leaves me wondering who rules who. When you met his thrall at the Akeldama—you read her aura, and I would know why.”

 

For all her irritation with Maul, his purpose struck a deeper nerve: something had impelled the reading, and what she’d glimpsed…. 

 

It had unsettled her then, and the inquiry only renewed that disquiet. Traya’s ashen face revealed nothing as she debated whether to answer him plainly.

 

Predictably, the delay aggravated him. “ What compelled you?” he barked out, beginning to pace. It was a move she’d seen him do thousands of times, a bid to cage the inferno within.

 

“Curiosity,” she muttered, making her decision. “Instinct. A meld of the two, coupled with information gathered.”

 

Maul drew up short, his scowl giving way to a menacing grin. “Ah, yesss—your studious little mole Qui Gon pulled his weight.” He gestured at Traya as if she were naught but a thrall bound to obey him. “And?”

 

Traya’s eyes gleamed like twin pools of oil, reflecting the candlelight from the depths of her hood. “What I saw in the girl needn’t concern you.”

 

Anything but cooperation was enough to send Maul into fits of rage, and he didn’t disappoint. 

 

“Wha aat ? You think I didn’t notice your alarm? I saw everything !” He leveled an accusing finger at Traya, claw-tipped and quivering with rage. “ Virt'ne tash kia nün —you said that Ren would bring chaos down on us!” 

 

The Archfiend leaned forward, his red skin virtually glowing in the jump of candlelight. “I will know your mind, Traya,” he warned, his growl ricochetting from the walls in jagged echoes.

 

A thick silence descended, marred only by the quickened breath of her terrified thralls. 

 

Traya’s mouth twitched, revealing her irritation. She did not deign to discuss the amorphous vision she’d gleaned from Ren’s thrall. It was wild, improbable, and certainly erroneous, a bone she’d continue to gnaw on without the input of her grating counterpart. But there were other things she could share with Maul...things that would most definitely distract him.

 

“Ren’s thrall possesses an unusual resistance,” she said finally. “She is capable of holding his influence at bay—to a degree—succumbing only to one of his unbreakable vows. This particular strength was undoubtedly the lure that drew him, as we both know he’s never shown interest in thralls before.” 

 

“No, he hasn’t,” Maul grunted, and Traya could practically see the wheels turning as he digested the news. The Archfiend of rancor was a creature beholden to his nature; his strength lay in his ability to sow the worst of human emotion, and he wore it all on his sleeve. It made him predictable, predictable and easy to manipulate.

 

“Ren is rather...invested,” she went on. “Perhaps this is to be expected, as this girl is the first he’s ever found value in.” A slow, ghastly smirk spread over her face as she paused. “To that end, he conjured a ruoverg blade and used it to bind her.” 

 

Maul’s eyes flared, practically bulging. “He what?” 

 

“What’s more—he exchanged blood, more thorough a binding than any we’ve cared to use.”

 

Such was his surprise that Maul blinked, speechless for the briefest second. It was just what Traya hoped for, an indication that she’d managed to distract him. She gloated inwardly as his shock darkened into something harrowing. 

 

“He goes too far, Traya,” he burst, gaining steam. “She is a mortal, meaningless, nothing but chattel—”

 

“What Kylo does with his thrall is none of our concern,” Traya interjected, as glacial as he was volcanic.

 

“You would defend him?!” 

 

“I do not,” she snapped, grown weary of his interrogation. “I merely state the facts. If you are so concerned over Kylo’s affairs, take it to the Fallen.” She eyed him calculatingly, interlacing her bony fingers. “You know he is already aware of Kylo’s doings…”

 

Maul exhaled hard through his nose and reverted to familiar ground. “If you’re not with me, you’re against me.”

 

It toed the line of a threat, and Traya, so slow to wrath, finally lost her temper. A tremor pulsed out from the seat of her throne, extinguishing the candles en mass. 

 

Her blind acolytes flinched, bowing their heads as the fury of their mistress crackled through the room. 

 

Traya animated, hands curling into claws as she leaned forward in her seat. “I tire of you Maul,” she hissed, baring pointed, yellow teeth. “Put your menace to better use and go—it is wasted on me.”

 

Maul’s tattooed lips skinned back in a sneer, pleased to have gotten a rise out of her. Recognizing that he’d worn out his tenuous welcome, he shifted his attention to the closest of Traya’s thralls and lunged, stopping mere inches from the protective field of Traya’s claim. 

 

It was an idle threat, and they both knew it. Still, he eyed the girl’s bloodstained blindfold with interest. “This one’s new, is she not? Release this little morsel into my care,” he rasped, stroking the air around her quivering thrall, causing it to sizzle and snap. “As a gesture of solidarity between us.”

 

Her acolyte shuddered with revulsion, flattening herself to the foot of the throne. The sweet, pungent scent of her terror filled the room and Traya licked the back of her teeth, unable to not appreciate it. Even so, the mention of mutual solidarity was a far cry, and there was no way she’d relinquish her latest conscript, not to the scourge before her, or to anyone. 

 

“You have your own toys,” she muttered dismissively, recognizing an idle threat. “Now be gone.”

 

Maul’s head snapped up as he straightened, the thrall instantly forgotten. “You will regret your inaction, Traya,” he barked, his animosity suddenly revived.

 

“We shall see,” she countered icily, settling back on her throne.

 

With a final, burning glare, he departed, leaving the dust motes careening in his path. 

 

As his influence waned, Traya’s thralls collectively relaxed, their slight, bony frames sagging in relief. 

 

Traya ignored them completely as she brooded over Maul’s spewings, still tracking the retreat of his distinctive energy signature. Just before it faded from her awareness, another winked into being alongside it. Though it was weak beside Maul's infernal blaze, it glowed with a dogged malevolence all its own. 

 

The demoness recognized its owner, and her eyes gleamed from the darkness of her hood.

 

This would be interesting.

 

 



 

12:17 am, Seattle, Washington.

 

Geneva's tempestuous weather had traveled home with them, and the Puget Sound convergence had translated it into its own special brand of punishment: unending curtains of freezing rain driven by bands of onshore winds, the mercury hovering a stubborn click above freezing. Outside, the night tore through the city, lashing at the buildings with icy claws, rattling patio doors and pummeling the city with hailstones. Inside, it might have been a balmy summer night, for all Rey registered it.

 

Her flat had morphed into a dark, filthy little den, all awareness distilled into sensation. Everything was slick and warm, slurping and pushing and bending and pulling. Her heightened nerves sparked at the scrape of his canines, her thighs ached when he pushed her a little too wide. 

 

She was made for consumption and he was made to consume. Such frank symmetry could only be embraced, and embrace it she did—letting him immerse her in decadence and ruin, ecstasy so rich, it rotted the soul. 

 

“The pleasure IS the punishment…”

 

Once, he’d described it to her thusly, though she hadn’t understood how very fluid the notion could be. Now, as his tongue mapped the cleft of her ass and lit every nerve ending she never knew she had, she felt no guilt for what they did...and more vitally, for who or what was doing it to her. 

 

It had been proven time and time again—there was nothing to stop him from taking whatever he wanted— 

 

She gasped, her cunt spasming as two fingers speared into it. The deep rumble of his voice was like velvet in her mind, stroking sensuously. It was an extension of the rest of him, fingers massaging as he continued to slurp and lick at the furled little hole between her cheeks. 

 

Liquid pleasure detonated inside her, expanding up her spine. Rey found herself lifting from the mattress, levitating as his name burst forth in unconsecrated rapture. 

 

And here was the meaning of it all, the beating heart of his punishment. His bestial growls vibrated her flesh, and who said she wanted to stop? There was only more; more sensation to drown in, more to learn. Deeper to mute the dwindling protestations of her former self, darker to make her strong. 

 

The pleasure Is the punishment.

 

Amidst the feverish flex of their bodies and lewd wet slide, she understood how layered his statement was. Such a clever twist she could never have predicted, a subterfuge that aligned her with the villain between her legs.

 

She’d gone from horror at her ability to feel non-consensual pleasure, to guilt over how very willing she now was to embrace it. Truly, it was a degradation—a subtle torment that ate her from the inside.

 

Now, even that sense of guilt had eroded away. 

 

Her back snapped up at the broad nudge of his cockhead, body shivering with baited anticipation. The demon hovered there a beat, letting her stare blindly into the dark before taking her with a violent thrust. Her shriek followed a choked moment of silence, her brain struggling to catch up with the old miracle, fumbling every time over how in the world her body could so suddenly accommodate all of that. Then she was pleading wordlessly, twitching and throbbing around him as he growled his satisfaction. 

 

He began to move and obscenities lapped through her mind like dark water—his native tongue—and before long, she was rocking back against him, ass up, face skidding over satin as they rutted like beasts in the night.

 

His hands gripped her hips, steadying her as he cut ties with restraint. “No mercy for you, little love, no quarter.” 

 

Rey wailed like the storm outside, convinced she could feel each thrust all the way up in her throat.

 

No mercy, no quarter. It was demonspeak for I am yours and you are mine, and nothing will stop my having you. Her hands fisted in the sheets, teeth locked in a rictus. Perhaps her monster was right, for somewhere along the way, she’d come to crave the ruthlessness and the destruction, taking all the love he gave.









With a final, lingering lick of her throat, Kylo disentangled himself and eased toward the edge of the bed. Rey watched him stand with half-lidded eyes. She felt like the centerpiece of a crime scene and didn’t need to look down to confirm she looked like one too. Crusts of blood adorned her left breast and collarbone, and their combined fluids were smeared from her navel to her streaked thighs. In the wake of it all, the mess didn’t matter, not when movement was too much to ask.

 

“There is a matter I must attend to,” he announced, walking over into her living area and treating her to a prime view of his exquisitely muscular backside. “It will take me away for longer than usual; two, maybe three days.” 

 

Rey blinked the film of water from her eyes, focusing. Was that…reluctance she heard? He stood like a brooding statue, hands on his hips as he contemplated…what? Through the warm fog of her lethargy, the notion that he wasn’t happy gained credence. 

 

Tired though she was, it was impossible not to goad him. “Has your master given you an unsavory errand?” she asked, stretching languidly.

 

“The errand, I could do without, but that isn’t the issue.” He turned to face her, unsmiling. “It’s the leaving.” 

 

His implacable gaze was deep and somber, a ghostly caress she could literally feel. He had just fucked her within an inch of her life, which wasn’t unusual. But the feverish, almost desperate hunger with which he’d ravished her had smoothed into something altogether different. 

 

Perhaps it was the way he vanquished only to turn around and worship, or maybe her common sense had finally eroded all the way through. Whatever the case, Rey found herself responding, “Oh? Then perhaps you should take me with you…”

 

Now, he smiled, his eyes glimmering with that vital golden-brown that always scrambled her circuitry. “I’d bring you if I could, little vixen. You’d like the locale far more than I, though you’d find the company lacking”

 

“Where are you going?”

 

“To the Caribbean.”

 

“To do what?”

 

His smile curdled. “To deal with a monster.”

 

“Mmm,” was all she said, somewhat distracted as she traced the interwoven symbols that flowed from the knuckles of his hand all the way up the sides of his neck and down over each pectoral. Meeting his eyes left no doubt about it—he wasn’t happy, and that made her feel uncertain. 

 

“Is he better looking than you?” she quipped.

 

“Not unless you like eyeless limbless hellspawn with insatiable appetites,” he purred, meandering back to where she lay. All signs said he intended to pounce, and she had braced for it when he stopped abruptly. His expression sharpened, and though he was looking at her, Rey had seen this behavior enough to know he was privy to something she couldn’t detect.

 

A moment later, he confirmed it. “I must go now,” he stated, distractedly running a hand down his body. Clothing appeared in its wake, hiding his godlike build from her sight. 

 

She sighed quietly. What she wanted was sleep, but his behavior was peculiar and it had her attention. 

 

“You will be well guarded in my absence,” he continued, suddenly businesslike as he strode to sit on the side of the bed. 

 

Well guarded meant… “You got me a babysitter?” she whined, animating.

 

“A bodyguard,” he corrected. “Azrael is my most trusted lieutenant, and discrete. You won’t even know he’s there.”

 

It annoyed her to no end, and the fact that HE was the only reason she even needed guarding was not lost on her. She eyed him with a mutinous glare, aware that it was all she could do. 

 

His smirk spoke volumes, and when he collected her from the bed, she remained limp as a form of protest. “I don’t believe it,” she muttered under her breath, just getting the words out before he pulled her into a kiss.

 

Her eyes fluttered closed and she growled as his deft tongue began its work. He was masterful at what he did, getting under her skin until she embraced him back, her hands wandering up to catch in his hair. 

 

Satisfied with her response, he pulled away and gazed down at her. His pupils flashed carmine and she stiffened, adrenaline shooting through her veins. There were times when he seemed so achingly, deceptively human, and the ominous reminder of his true form took her aback with jarring speed. Unable to look away from his burning stare, she breathlessly waited for whatever had brought his hellfire to surface.

 

Through her fight-or-flight response, she numbly registered that he’d taken her hand. At the feel of something solid, she risked a look down and started at the sight of an exquisite golden dagger. It was heavy enough that she nearly dropped it—solid gold from its weight and undiminished gleam, its pitted lapis handle carved with cuneiform.

 

Ignoring the protest of her abdominals, she sat up with a soft gasp, carefully turning the stunning thing over with hands that shook. “Sumerian?” she croaked, examining the glyphs and painstakingly-carved lion pommel.

 

“Close. It’s Scythian, and a singular piece. Consider it a personal contribution to your collection.”

 

Something towering and monstrous twisted within her, impossible to allay. With a surge of strength, she launched into his arms, hugging him with the priceless dagger still clutched in one hand. “It’s exquisite,” she mumbled, drinking in the heat he exuded for an endless moment. “Thank you.”

 

Releasing him, she found she didn’t trust herself to meet his eyes. Gazing down at the gift, she mumbled, “So, um, do I need to worry about being nabbed for antiquity theft?” 

 

Her demon laughed, his mirth beautiful and terrible all at once. “No visits from Interpol, that can I promise,” he said, setting her back on the bed as he stood to take his leave.  

 

When he stroked her cheek, she found herself tilting to receive the caress, the staccato of her heart unfamiliar and strange.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

The air stirred and she glanced up in time to see his wings unfurl. They were soft and black and as impossible as the rest of him. Her heart did its foreign throb and she clutched the dagger, watching him depart. 

 

“It is the only one of its kind, so take care of it, little love.”



 

 


Glossary:

 

Traya to her flock: “Nuyak grottu, kia nun” -- “My thralls. To me.”

 

Maul to Traya: “Virt'ne tash kia nün”  -- “Don’t lie to me.”

Chapter Text

Songspiration courtesy of Låpsley, Falling Short

 

 

 


 

 

 

Kylo plummeted into the airspace and banked unnecessarily hard, leaving a brilliant tracer in the sky that any watchers would undoubtedly chalk up as something burning as it entered the atmosphere. The gild of static dimmed, clinging to his wings as he glowered at the oversaturated horizon. 

 

Below him spread the shallow basin of the Caribbean, its cheerful turquoise waters dotted with islets and sandy shoals. He narrowed his eyes, squinting at the nauseating brightness. I should have come during the night cycle… 

 

Cursing under his breath, he glided lower. Not three seconds in and he already longed to be back with Rey in the Northern Hemisphere, to marvel at how the gloaming winter framed her so lovingly. 

 

Give me heavy skies and long nights. Give me darkness. Give me her—

 

He’d have none of those things until this cumbersome mission was complete, and he’d already pushed boundaries by putting it off this long. 

 

Hovering just above the troposphere, Kylo lingered, aware that the worst of the humidity lurked just beneath him. He disdained the clingy, second-skin feel of it and the regrettable way it curled the ends of his…everything. Like some moony, triple-cursed cherubim. 

 

Failing to tamp down his annoyance, he began to scan for the signature low cunning and gluttony that marked Charybdis.

 

Every several decades, the odious task of taming the colossus fell to Kylo, whose talents were a clear antidote for an unruly hellspawn. Driven by its own greed, Charybdis was wont to split into smaller versions of itself and spread out over the seafloor. Those gelatinous offshoots mirrored their surroundings, perfectly camouflaged as they hunted for anything with warm blood and a heartbeat. The creature wasn’t particular, devouring small fishing vessels, cargo freighters and aircraft with equal gusto. It consumed the deceased and then the vessels themselves, dissolving anything man-made until no trace remained.

 

Eventually, enough resources were lost and aggrieved governments launched a flurry of investigations. Scientists and divers and film crews converged on the area known as the Bermuda Triangle, each focused on gaining some insight into the disappearances. All of that increased scrutiny meant only one thing for Kylo—a forthcoming order to put the culprit back to bed for another few decades. 

 

If he’d thought there was any chance of convincing Anakin to banish Charybdis to the pits, Kylo would have made the effort, but he harbored no illusions. The Dark Lord had a taste for chaos, and by its very nature, Charybdis was exceptional at sowing it. 

 

He scanned the faintly bowed horizon, searching for the telltale voracious greed of its energy signature. At last, he sensed it, or at least part of it. Charybdis lurked amongst the newly-sunken wreckage of a yacht some 12 leagues off the coast of Nassau. 

 

Kylo’s lip curled in contempt. Cretinous slug. I see you.  

 

The food-drunk monstrosity didn’t respond. It was wholly distracted with gorging, its toothless maw polishing the bones of the drowned. Kylo knew from experience that it wouldn’t acknowledge him until he got between it and its singular aim. 

 

Bracing himself, he plunged down through layers of warm, humid air, stewing as he felt the tips of his feathers begin to curl.

 

Charybdis, he thundered, hovering ten meters above the surface and more than a bit sour.

 

A gentle draft of tropical air ruffled his hair as he hovered, wings gilded in the incessant sunshine. Luckily, he didn’t have to wait long. Although its mind was a gullet of sentient hunger and little else, it knew its own name. After a pause, the sea began to roil, its massive body creating great eddies of displaced water.

 

Kylo regarded the blobbish thing with open resentment. It had no eyes or features of any sort, a gelatinous shape-shifter that hunted by detecting the heat signature of living things.

 

He ground his teeth, preparing for what he knew would be a lengthy involvement. How long had it taken the last time, and the time before, and the time before that? Was it two turns of the planet? Three?

 

Unease shot through him like a dart. Once he began the process of reassembling and charming the hellspawn, there would be few opportunities to allocate his attention elsewhere. Impulsively, he unfurled a thread of awareness. Through the layers of time and space, he hunted, making short work of the distance that separated them. Her signature energy flickered enticingly, drawing him as if she were his own personal lodestone. 

 

His terse expression softened incrementally as he hovered about her light, basking in it. My North star, my little vixen.  

 

Then, like a clap of thunder through the void: Azrael!—is she well?

 

Several seconds later, the voice of his second transmitted.

 

“She is well, my lord…”  

 

The assurance was moderate, much improved when Azrael flooded their connection with his recent observations: his lovely Rey trail running beneath a canopy of Western red cedar, Rey sliding her flushed, sweat-soaked body into the leather bucket seat of the Urus, Rey looking thoroughly exhausted, tossing her diamond and sapphire-encrusted keys onto the kitchen counter of her flat before beelining toward her washroom for a presumable hot shower.

 

Kylo let a measure of tension release, taking pains to ensure his reactions didn’t translate down the bond to his underling. “You are my hand, Azrael,” he sternly intoned. “Guard her well.”

 

Severing the connection, Kylo looked down, barely seeing the great, lumbering beast that waited below. His worries remained, a plaguelike itch he couldn’t quite assuage.

 

Rey was too far away for him to read her thoughts or emotions, and he hated the radio silence. Leaving her was becoming more and more difficult, his misgivings spawning in droves each time he was called away. While he’d never been foolish enough to trust his own kind, he’d largely remained above their squabbles and petty maneuvering. Now that had changed, and not just because he’d seen fit to claim a thrall—Rey was unique in what she offered, a mortal girl who’d become infinitely valuable to him. 

 

She was one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, and his dawning awareness of that was spreading through the ranks. For the first time. Kylo now found himself in a compromised position, torn between his duties and desires, the latter of which had expanded to include a fierce protectiveness. 

 

Hence the assignment of Azrael. His second was dedicated, resourceful, and perhaps most importantly, the closest thing to a trustworthy liaison that Kylo had. Additionally, Azrael had remained unfazed by Kylo’s sudden interest in a mortal, unlike certain other underlings whose allegiance needed probing. The wider spectrum of Kylo’s obsession, however, remained unknown to his Hellcniht, unknown to all of demonkind save one.

 

The Dark Lord

 

Kylo shivered, suddenly oblivious to the cloying heat. Anakin’s visitations continued to eat at him. That he’d come in person—not once, but thrice—that he’d comb the mind of a human thrall and ask such pointed questions about her claiming—all of it kept him guessing at his master’s designs. Did he know the full extent of their bond, how it flowed between them like a living thing? Had he gleaned the devotion she’d awoken, how it swelled to rival his covenant with the Dark? 

 

It might be sacrilicious, but he sure as fuck wasn’t going to release her. The night was dark like she was under his skin. There was only forward and more and her

 

But why had he bequeathed the ruoverg blade? He’d brooded over his actions several times as he sped toward the Eastern sea. As with nearly everything associated with her, it had been an act of pure instinct. There was no good reason for summoning it, past the fact that he’d wanted her to have it. The blade was the object that bound them, deeper and more meaningful than the rings mortals exchanged when they wed. It was only right that it lay amongst her beloved daggers, even if its twined serpents were disguised as a Scythian lion. 

 

In his silence, Charybdis had grown pensive, writhing in longing to return to its watery feast. 

 

His beloved thrall was as safe as she was going to be in his absence, and he had work to do. Kylo’s eyes flared to life, chest rising sharply as he remembered how the Fallen had berated Maul for his own emotional shortcomings:

 

“...I don’t give a shit if it’s in your blood—you will rein in your rancor! Your talents exist ONLY to further MY purposes, do you understand? Now go…”

 

It was all the prodding he needed to push Rey from his thoughts. 

 

He refocused on the miserable hellspawn, his eyes livid as he pulled the currents of power through him, condensing them. The creature below ceased its thrashing, sensing what was building. 

 

“Hear me, Charybdis,” he intoned, “I summon you part and parcel—come—reunite with your host. Long have you lurked beneath the seas, eater of men. Now is the time to sleep, for your master has proclaimed it.” 

 

“You. Will. Come…”





 

 

3:15 pm, Downtown Seattle

 

 

Rey kept her head bowed beneath her hood as she hurried up the slope of Post Alley, oblivious of the incessant, bone-chilling rain. She passed teenagers posing for selfies in front of the Gum Wall and a group on an underground tour, caught snippets as their guide explained the subterranean maze entombed beneath their feet. 

 

“Oh, you have no idea,” she muttered distractedly, her bitter sarcasm markedly absent. It was day two of Kylo’s absence and she was determined not to give life to yesterday’s paranoia.

 

It was aggravating knowing that—despite it not being her fault in the slightest—she’d caught the attention of some very daunting creatures. Kylo had explained that their interest stemmed from the precedence of his claiming her, but she was in deep enough to grasp that there were other reasons. Reasons she wanted to know nothing about. It was bad enough that he’d had seen fit to assign her a guard, and the less she knew, the better. 

 

She’d spent the first day of Kylo’s absence eyeing each person she encountered, her skin crawling at the thought that any one of them might be her demon babysitter, or worst yet, one of Maul’s creep-squad creeping. She kept thinking of her encounter with Bazine in the arboretum, of how that bottom-dweller had successfully stalked and confronted her. And of course, there was the other Archfiend, the bloodcurdling female with her yellowed nails and unearthly stare…

 

The paranoia was unbearable, and Rey’d taken the sleek black Urus and beelined for I-90. Tiger Mountain’s trails had been a godsend and she’d run for hours, each footfall jarring the anxiety that gripped her. 

 

That night, she’d slept without dreaming, and it was so so good. Upon waking and finding that Kylo still hadn’t returned, Rey had taken not one, but two runs, chasing that runner’s high in an effort to distract from her towering list of things to stress about.

 

With her mind swaddled in post-exercise glow, she finally acknowledged the urge that had been building and phoned her mother. Kylo’s absence was an opportunity, and though she was being watched, she knew it was by someone, or something utterly loyal to her Archdemon. 

 

Maz had been overjoyed to hear from her, overjoyed, and not quite able to hide the note of relief in her low, husky voice. They’d agreed to meet that afternoon at a coffeehouse in Pikes Place Market.

 

It was rush hour and the streets were clogged, the sidewalks busy with early commuters on their way home. Rey kept her head bowed beneath the upturned hood of her coat, too stubborn to use an umbrella. By the time she approached the forcefully-cheerful yellow awning, she was a bit wet.

 

Kylo crossed her mind and she couldn’t suppress a wry smile. He would not approve of her disdain for the elements. If he’d made anything clear, it was that he was hellbent on protecting his toy, or thrall, or…whatever she was. Her amused expression slipped. What am I to him?  

 

You know.

 

There was her evil twin again, the id of her consciousness imbued with something immeasurably worse. The peanut gallery upstairs was both annoying and unsettling. Ugh, what had become of her, that she should endure these half-baked debates in her own mind?

 

You’re always ready to weigh in on things, she snarked, before deciding to poke the bear. Well, asshole? What am I to him? 

 

The darkness inside smiled. 

 

You know …it purred, and without warning, those two cryptic words were joined by a rapid-fire projection of feelings and images: a cavernous club, the heartless, soulless place where their fates were sealed. Laser lights dancing over her kneeling form, her head thrown back in a silent scream as their blood mixed. Amazement and dismay that she would literally launch herself off a cliff to escape, grim determination as she watched a terrified version of herself hoisted up amidst the cocooned souls of the damned. Razor-keen interest as the Rey seated across a lacquered table scowled, the sweet, unparalleled novelty of refusal and determination to see her bend. The shriek of ruptured air through her wings as she hurtled through space, drawn by a light on a tiny atoll in the South Pacific. That same grim resolve, tempered with excitement, anticipation. 

 

“...coming for you…no escape...” 

 

Hunger and lust to rival the heat of the sun. 

 

Her bare back so small beneath the span of his hand as he pinned her to a table, the weeping skies drenching them both to the skin. 

 

“Oh!” she gasped, her stride faltering as she stumbled to a halt. 

 

A darkened room—her flat—and how delicate she appeared there tangled in the sheets, fragile and permeable. Unparalleled, otherworldly pleasure as he penetrated her with teeth and cock, reveling, always reveling in how vital she was, how very warm and alive. 

 

“...so precious, so strong.. .” 

 

A small noise seeped from her throat and Rey gasped raggedly, hand reaching for something solid.

 

Glee as she monitored the slow wasting of Unkar Plutt. Pride as she swept into the Akeldama on his arm, revealing none of her trepidation. Surprise at the red gleam in her eyes, unbridled and monstrous as she brandished unlooked-for strength, yanking him down into a kiss.  

 

“Mine.” 

 

Rey blinked furiously. Was that her? Had she said that aloud?

 

Half-blind, Rey found a handrail and clenched it, flattening herself against the wall of a building. All around her, strangers hurried through the muted afternoon light on their business, only sparing her an occasional curious glance. 

 

“Okay,” she whimpered to herself, uncaring who heard her. “You win this round.” 

 

So he did care for her, in his own exceptionally lurid, possessive, and incredibly fucked up way. Being loved by an Archfiend didn’t solve any of the problems she faced. Rather, it was the root cause of them.

 

His lush baritone hummed through her brain, clear as if he were standing behind her. “Little vixen, my little love…” 

 

A quick barrage of rain whipped her exposed cheek and she flinched, staring around with startled eyes. 

 

No Kylo, no familiar faces from the Akeldama, no demons with eyes like flashing pennies. Just you and your own hopelessly fucked-up mind, girl.

 

“But that’s not tr