“The Moulin Rouge. A nightclub, a dance hall and a bordello ruled over by Harold Zidler. A kingdom of nighttime pleasures where the rich played with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld.”
“Oh, knock it off,” Erica exclaimed as she wiped at her armpits and fluffed her dark blonde hair into some semblance of sexy appeal, they didn’t have the greatest facilities here and somedays they had to work with what they had. Derek smiled at her though it was strained and a little fake but then no one came to the Moulin Rouge looking for truth, they came for the well told lie. He wasn’t here because he wanted to be, none of them were and the ‘Summer of Love’ as the Bohemians were calling it was nothing but a lie told to the poor and the wealthy alike so what did it matter.
“Did you hear that Zidler has some Duke coming here tonight to meet with Satine. That’s a good john for any of us to grab though I think it’s more than a client for Satine. Zidler has been looking for a financier for their schemes.”
Erica nodded though her tone was less than impressed, “She isn’t going to get out of here any faster no matter how many Dukes she seduces.”
What most people didn’t know unless they were special clients of Zidler and his business partner, there was another part of the Rouge called the ‘Corbeau Noir’ and that’s where Derek and his friends spent most of their time when they weren’t in the main hall looking for clients. The Corbeau Noir was for those men and women looking for specialty courtesans, something that no one else would really know about. Something extra special and more than a little pricey. The Corbeau Noir frequently paid the bills so Zidler could support Satine’s crazy dreams of being more than a paid whore. Not that it mattered to Derek or his fellow ‘Ravens’ because they would never see money or freedom.
Because they were creatures of the Underworld: succubae, incubi, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters and demons. Every single Raven was held prisoner and Zidler’s partner: Argent, was more than knowledgeable enough to keep them chained and contained whether through magic or extortion. Argent was good at both, he had someone to work the magic though Derek hadn’t been able to figure out who it was. Most of them knew not to fight against Argent, they watched more than a few Ravens die because they tried to escape. Derek didn’t have any intention of trying to leave.
They were allowed to visit the Moulin Rouge in the evenings and during events so they could attract new clients and the Moulin Rouge girls and boys were aware of their presence but smart enough not to go up against Argent about the fact that they weren’t a part of the main attraction. Zidler was a teddy bear and though he held his girls with an iron fist it was wrapped in sweet lies and half-truths; Derek could smell every single one and they made him sick. Argent didn’t tell sweet lies; he told the cold hard truth.
Argent knew where the remaining members of the Hale pack was and if Derek didn’t do what he said then Argent promised more than once that he was going to bring one of Derek’s sisters here and kill her in front of Derek. He was more than willing to live out the rest of his life in this god forsaken place if it kept what was left of his family alive and out of this place. They’d already lost enough; it was better if they just thought he was dead, everyone would be better off.
“Hale, you know that your own ‘Princess’ is supposed to be coming tonight.”
Derek shuddered, he didn’t want to see Kate but he had no choice and she would just run home to daddy and someone would die. Someone Derek loved would die.
Erica chuckled, “You always were such a sourpuss about this. I love sex and everything they give to me.”
“You’re an Incubi, it’s in your nature to enjoy and feed off of sex,” Derek said with a snort.
Erica grinned maniacally and Derek just got up and walked away. He headed off to his changing corner and found something to change into from the communal clothing, a black vest and skintight pants that were probably made for a woman but Kate loved it when he showed off everything, especially when she got to take him away from someone who may have been interested. She was awful like that.
Derek repositioned his dick in a way that she liked then headed over to the main hall where he would meet up with her. Kate liked showing him off to the other dancers and rich men and women who came to the Moulin Rouge. Erica would have the rest of the evening before she was auctioned off to someone later in the evening. Vernon Boyd, called Boyd was going to join him in the main hall as well; he was another werewolf and he’d been indentured very early on and now he was in love with Erica so he wouldn’t leave while she was unwilling to leave. There were others as well, some more exotic and others just scary.
Derek entered through one of the side doors just as Satine rose above the crowd singing ‘Diamante’ but she stopped and Derek smelled the rot in her body. He didn’t have to wonder how long she was going to live; she wasn’t long for this world which would hurt all of the Rouge. She was the Sparkling Diamond and Zidler had been resting on her for a long time. Chocolat rushed to catch her as she fell from the upraised swing and Derek rushed out towards the dance floor to help if he could. Chocolat caught her, having been standing beneath the swing to spot her.
“Chocolat?” Derek called and the other man turned to look at him, shaking his head and Derek nodded, not wanting anyone else involved in what was happening to her.
Chocolat knew everything about Derek and the others mostly because he should have been living with them. Chocolat was a Vampire but he was able to cover for himself and feeding from the other dancers then wiping their memories.
Chocolat was the silent guardian, always there with whatever they could get away with in this jailcell. Derek getting involved with The Sparkling Diamond would bring to much of a spotlight on who and what he was.
Zidler got the crowd riled up so they wouldn’t notice that Satine was sick and then shouted, “You frightened her away! But I see some lonely Moulin Rouge dancers looking for a partner or two! So if you can Hunk Hunk you can Hunkadola with them!”
Derek immediately started pulling someone onto the dance floor and easily fell into the steps while others around him did the same. He smiled at his dance partner, letting them feel the warmth of his body even if it wasn’t sexual. Thankfully because he was a werewolf, his body ran hotter so they wouldn’t notice the difference. Though he kept a keen eye out on the crowd, knowing that Kate would punish him if he wasn’t waiting for her when she arrived.
He didn’t want to be punished again. For a human who said over and over that she loved Derek, Kate spent more time hurting him then enjoying his body and Derek didn’t understand why.
Stiles walked in through the front doors of the Moulin Rouge, smiling as he took it all in; the sounds and the colors and everything was so vibrant and it was everything he hoped it would be. And more.
He shouldn’t be here; his father would not approve of this but Stiles was a grown man and he had the right and the privilege to make all the bad decisions he wanted to make. This was important to him and though his father had every right to be protective, Stiles couldn’t take the chance of not being here.
Everyone was singing and dancing together, the women in dresses that were pulled up to show their naked vaginas and he goggled at them for a moment then looked around, trying to take in anything other than that. Though they were quite lovely, he wasn’t here for the women. He was there for something much more noble.
Stiles caught sight of the man with only a vest and skintight pants and smiled, walking over to the dancer and his benefactor and tapped the other man on the shoulder, “I’m cutting in.”
The Moulin Rouge man blinked in surprise as the man he was dancing with walked away without another word to find a woman who was dancing alone and Stiles stepped up close to him, pressing hips to hips and chest to chest.
“What’s your name?” the dancer asked, sliding his hands down to Stiles’s hips and grinding them together. The man’s cock wasn’t firm but the motion brought a little heat and hardness.
“You can call me ‘Gen’,” Stiles whispered, leaning in close to the dancer’s cheek and running his lips over the man’s beard, “What’s your name, Handsome.”
The dancer stuttered, “De—” he coughed into his shoulder, “My name is Wolf.”
Stiles grinned, “Sure it is.”
“You know as well as I that those of us who live in the Rouge do not have names and pasts. It is not something we are allowed to have.”
Stiles leaned in close, “What if I told you that if you make time for me, I will let you be who you were born to be.”
Wolf looked at him, sniffing at his neck for a moment, “If you got the money then I have the time.”
Stiles smiled and leaned in to kiss the dancer when someone grabbed Wolf and dragged him backwards, “What the fuck are you doing? You should be waiting for me lover,” the woman sneered at Wolf and Stiles looked her up and down. Definitely a noblewoman, dressed like one. She had long blonde hair and a cruel soulless gaze.
“Maybe he wants someone else tonight,” Stiles responded and she looked at him.
“Awww sweetie, do you think that you have enough clout to take something away from me that I want. I’m an Argent.”
Stiles shrugged unimpressed; he knew who the Argents were because no one in the area didn’t know who they were. The Argents like the throw extravagant parties to show how much control and money they have, there was even an Argent in power here. But Stiles didn’t care but he was not interested in dealing with a fight over Wolf right now on the dance floor especially since she seems to have every intention of abusing Wolf for this. Instead he nodded to Wolf who was looking a little queasier at Argent’s handling than Stiles would like but he didn’t have a choice right now. “See you next time.”
Argent snorted then dragged Wolf away from the dance floor. Stiles watched them go before looking around at the other dancers. There wasn’t anyone else he wanted to get involved with, even in his other reason for being here. Stiles walked into the courtyard, heard singing and looked up at the Elephant where someone was being sung a sweet serenade. He smiled and kept walking into one of the other buildings that was connected through the open courtyard, frowning at the sign with the raven on it.
“What’s this then?” he wondered aloud. He walked in through the door and was immediately set upon by more ‘dancers’, there was an open dance space directly in front of him and rooms off to the sides. This room was filled with every color and size of human, there was a large black man, a Japanese woman, there was a set of twins and countless men and women.
A blond woman walked over, followed by the large black man. They draped themselves around Stiles, “What brings a nice guy like you here in the midst of the underworld.”
“Business and pleasure,” Stiles winked.
“Mhmm,” the blond replied seductively and tilted her head back to show off her neck while the big black man stepped in behind Stiles and bookend him in warmth and the lush scent of sex. “Maybe we can help you with the pleasure.”
Stiles grinned, leaning into the physical contact and whispered into the woman’s skin, “I appreciate the offer but I don’t think I can afford you both. Not tonight anyway but what if we went to a private room and I watched, would it still cost me for both?”
Stiles wasn’t an idiot, he could sense the attraction between the two of them and he was much more interested in doing something with Wolf, sadly the other dancer was apparently being used by Argent. A fate worse than death but Stiles didn’t have the clout to get him free just yet, if he showed his hand to quickly it was all going to come crashing in around him.
The woman grinned, “I think we can find an amenable solution.”
Stiles nodded and gestured for her to lead on while the man stood with his cock pressing against Stiles’s butt. He may not be willing to do anything with them but he was going to enjoy the show and maybe he would learn a little something in the afterglow, depending on how long he could keep them from leaving his presence. Stiles was very good at getting the information he needed and most of the time when he paid for it; he wasn’t getting a show like this one.
Derek hissed as Kate slide the dagger’s edge along his arm, watching the skin knit itself back together but his supernatural healing was slowing down leaving behind blood and reddened skin, she was going to have to stop soon otherwise he wouldn’t be able to work tomorrow.
“Kate, please?” he begged.
Kate sneered at him, “The mighty Hale wolf needs a break?”
“Do you want me to scar and have to explain it to Zidler then please continue. I know your dad runs this wing but he still works for Zidler. Let me rest and you can do whatever you want in a couple days when you visit again.”
Kate shrugged, digging the blade into his stomach, bisecting the abs and showing muscle and sinewy. Derek clenched his teeth, trying not to make noise despite the pain and blood that was spilling out of him and not healing immediately. Kate punished him more when he made noise. He’d already been punished enough today.
“That was the last one my pet but try and remember than no matter what your responsibilities are to Zidler, I own you.”
Derek nodded in agreement mostly because ignoring her would only make things worse. He didn’t want to belong to her but he belonged to the highest bidder, to whoever was willing to pay for his time and he hadn’t been free for years.
Kate grabbed and twisted his nipple, the unexpected pain making Derek hiss and snarl at her. Kate tutted in annoyance, “I’m going to remember that for next time my sweet but for now I’ll leave you to miss me.”
Derek watched her get dressed then leave the room that he was in, looking outside he realized that it must be early morning and he was going to have to help the cleaning crew in a couple hours, maybe less. Derek groaned and wrapped a sheet around himself and let himself heal for a little while. Getting blood on everything, including his costumes would just make everyone angry at him.
Zidler had very specific rules about his little human boys and girls not getting marked up which would make it harder to sell off to the rich, he felt the same way about the supernaturals he had in the Raven but because of their abilities, it gave some of the clients more leeway that Zidler didn’t need to know about.
Erica had a client that liked to break her fingers and her hand, waiting for them to heal. Derek usually could hear her screaming twice a month when he was there for her. He hoped she wasn’t being hurt tonight. She usually was able to enjoy the sex and get the boost that she needed but there were others that would take care of themselves in ways that would starve her instead of feed him, just to see what would happen. And yet she hasn’t escaped, because whether or not she was willing to tell Derek, she was owned by the Corbeau as well.
Kira, a kitsune, who was capable of becoming a human sized fox creature had several clients who liked when she had just her tails or when she was completely shifted when they fuck her. She had one every once in a while, that made her shift into the normal size of a fox, maybe a little bigger and would screw her silly in that form and she would be bleeding for days from the stretch.
This place was for all the people who loved hurting others and they pay for the right. Here they were able to get away with it, men and women alike. Derek had rarely seen a client who was kind and generous because why should they be when they owned the Raven for the time of their visit.
Derek rested for another twenty minutes then forced himself over to the bowl of tepid water and cleaned off all the blood on his arms and chest, trying to clean the scent and stain of Kate that was on his skin before he dressed and left the room to the room cleaners, hoping they wouldn’t have too much blood to deal with but then the sheets were red for a reason. He headed back to the main dance hall before taking the back hallway towards the Raven building. It was a fast walk back to the quiet dance floor where several of the Ravens were laying around with people lying over and around them.
“Wolf, fancy seeing you here!” someone said excitedly and Derek looked over to see Erica and Boyd curled around the guy that he’d danced with the night before, Gen. Without knowing why or how, Derek’s stomach twisted in distaste that when Kate took Derek away, the guy just went and found someone else to sleep with. Where did that come from? He thought. Derek didn’t have the right to jealousy or desire.
Erica and Boyd frowned at Gen for waking them then shoved him away, surprising Derek at their comradery which is not something he was used to seeing between a dancer and a client. Gen laughed good-naturedly, petting Erica’s messy mass of hair with more kindness than Derek had experienced since his family died. There was the jealousy again.
Gen walked over to Derek and pulled him away from the sleepy onlookers, “Are you feeling well?”
Derek frowned, “Why would you even care?” he snarled, barely holding back the desire to flash his eyes.
Gen shrugged, “Maybe I just do.”
“Did you enjoy the experience with her? And the gentleman?” Derek asked, trying to make the man stop asking questions that Derek had no desire to answer. He wanted to hate the man, knowing more of what he did with Erica and Boyd might help. Maybe.
“Erica and Boyd? Yeah, I mean I didn’t have sex with them, I just watched them enjoy each other which seemed to be what they wanted. I asked them some questions and cuddled for a while. They did seem to enjoy themselves too which makes me happy.”
Derek jolted when Gen said their real names then another shock at the fact that he didn’t sleep with them. Gen wasn’t lying, Derek would have scented it. He smelled like sex but it wasn’t on his skin, just smelled like he was in the room with them – corroborating Gen’s story. Since he couldn’t talk about the sex or no sex thing, he commented on the name thing, “Erica and Boyd told you their names?”
“Sure, so you’re telling me that ‘Wolf’ isn’t your name?” Gen asked with false surprise. “I won’t do anything to hurt them, or you.” Gen told Derek honestly. He scented like wholesome goodness and caring.
Derek took a step back, “I should get some more rest before I need to get up and help with the cleanup.”
Gen pulled out a couple of notes from his pocket, “What would this get me?” he asked.
Derek looked at the money, “Maybe half an hour.”
Gen pushed the money into his hand, “Do you have someplace where we can be alone?”
Derek sighed and led the way to one of the privacy spaces. Unlike in the Rouge, these rooms were simple, there weren’t any themes or extravagance. Just a bed and a desk with a chair. Derek walked over and started stripping without saying a word, no matter what wholesomeness he scented from the man, there was nothing and no one who was truly good if they came here.
Gen came over holding his hands out but not touching Derek, “No wait. What are you doing?”
“Give you your time, I have been prepped but I also can take it rough.”
Gen shook his head, “I didn’t mean that, I don’t want to have sex with you. Well I mean I would enjoy sex very much with you but I didn’t want you to be in trouble if we went off together without money exchanging hands. I don’t want to pay for sex.”
Derek stared at him in surprise, “Then what do you want?”
“To talk, about how you ended up here with the Moulin Rouge.”
Derek shook his head, “We’re not allowed to share that kind of information with clients.”
“Why? Because Zidler and Argent don’t want people to find out who you are and how you ended up here? That some of you had families and homes before this?”
Derek looked at him, “How do you know about Argent? No one knows about him. People just assume that Zidler runs this part of the Rouge.”
“Don’t worry about that now, we only have a little bit of time and I want to know something about you that people don’t know. Something that doesn’t harm you to tell, something fun.”
Derek thought for a moment, trying to think of something that this man couldn’t use to hurt him. Something that he wanted to share but he didn’t really know. It had been too long since he was safe with someone. After everything he lost and all the sadness in his life before coming to the Moulin Rouge, safety and trust was difficult to gain and easy to lose.
Gen smiled and squeezed Derek’s shoulder gently, “Why don’t I tell you something instead?”
Derek nodded, “I would be open to that offer.”
Gen smiled and sat down in the chair next to the desk while Derek settled on the edge of the bed, waiting to see what he would say. “My father works with the French intelligence agency but I am originally from Poland, I have a very Polish name and no one except my best friend knows it.”
Derek frowned, “Gen isn’t your name then?”
“Actually, Genim is my middle name, sometimes I use Genim and sometimes I use Gen, sometimes—well it depends on the situation.”
Derek nodded, “Is that what you would like to be called then?”
“Yes please,” Genim said, “For now anyway. We all have secrets that we want to keep. Are you okay?”
Derek flinched at the question; not expecting it despite the strange consideration this man had, “What?”
“It just seems like you are feeling poorly and I don’t think its just because that woman, Argent, had sex with you.”
Derek shrugged, “What happens between myself and her is no one’s business but hers and my owner.”
“But she did something to hurt you, didn’t she?”
“Please stop,” Derek said, shuddering with the effort to not run from the room.
Genim held his hands up in surrender, “My apologies, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I need to be getting home and you need to get some rest. I’ll see you again sometime Wolf, maybe next time I can keep you away from her a little longer.”
Derek nodded and watched the odd man leave then flopped backwards onto the bed. He didn’t move when the door opened, it was Erica and Boyd, so there was no reason to get up or protect himself from them. They came over and surrounded him with their bodies and warmth, making Derek feel safe and comforted. Erica and Boyd had been his Pack for the last couple months since they arrived in the Raven. Erica was still feisty so everyone knew she was new to the company but because of who she was, she was one of the top sellers right now.
“She’s going to kill you one of these days,” Boyd said plainly.
Derek nodded, “Yeah, she is. And I won’t be able to stop her, neither will anyone else.”
Erica shushed him, pressing a hand to his head, “Get some rest, Boyd and I will help clean instead of you. She bled you far too much tonight and its only going to get worse if you don’t take care of yourself.”
Derek nodded, hoping that Argent wouldn’t punish them for switching with him but he couldn’t do anything right now. When Kate bled him enough to slow his healing, that was a bad sign. A really bad sign and she was doing it more often these days. He was so desperately tired, needed to shut his eyes for a little while and not open them.
When Derek woke up later to the sounds of cheers and excitement, he struggled up and off the bed and walked out of the room and out of the building in to the courtyard.
No one was there, Derek frowned and continued into the Moulin Rouge, Zidler was standing at the front of the room. Erica saw him and walked over to explain, “It seems Satine has gotten what she wanted, the Duke is going to finance the Moulin Rouge to become a full performance theater.”
Derek nodded, he was surprised Zidler wanted to bring that much attention and light onto his Bordello especially with the Corbeau Noir being connected and owned as well. He might get away with the kind of treatment happening behind closed doors for the right amount of money passing hands but if people learned of the supernatural, everyone was going to be doomed as the hunters brought hell and destruction upon all of them.
Then again, Zidler was crazy about Satine and loved to give her anything and everything she wanted no matter how bad it would be for the rest of them.
Erica nudged him and pointed out the guy that Satine had been dancing with, “That’s the writer: Christian, I think. Cute right?”
Derek snorted, “Satine is clearly having sex with him so I don’t think you are going to get a chance.”
Erica winked, “You clearly don’t understand what I am capable of.”
“And for that I am eternally grateful,” Derek responded and she laughed. When everyone started to disperse, Derek walked back towards the door and stopped short when he noticed Genim standing at the entrance from the street. No one came here during the day unless they were a part of the Raven or the Rouge.
Erica skipped over to him while Boyd and Derek walked over at a more sedate pace. He watched as Genim smiled at Erica then looked at Derek again. He seemed to be checking him for something and Derek didn’t know how to hide from him, or what to hide.
“You’re back?” Derek asked.
“Yeah, I am here to speak to Zidler about something but I wanted to come and see you as well. Would you have time later before you have to find more clients?”
Erica nodded, “Hell yes, I never had so much with someone without having actual sex with them?”
Derek slumped, thinking Genim had been talking to Derek.
“Actually, I was talking to Wolf but I would love to pay for your services again sometime Erica, as long as you are having sex with Boyd and not me.”
Derek blushed while Erica shrugged, “If I didn’t know any better, I would be greatly offended that you won’t have sex with me. I’m really good.”
Genim laughed, throwing his head back and the sound bouncing off of everything before he pressed a gentle hand to Erica’s shoulder, “I have no doubt that you could teach me everything! I just have my eyes set on another for the time being and I’m kind of saving myself for them,” Genim gave Derek a very specific kind of look and he flushed even more before looking over at Boyd who was smiling in that serene and quiet way he had.
Erica kissed Genim on the cheek and walked away with Boyd who was trying hard not to be excited about the fact that he would get to be with Erica again and a customer was making it possible. They normally only could have time together when they were being sneaky and it was a rarity.
Derek looked back over to Genim who was waiting for Derek’s attention. He looked around like Genim was going to suddenly notice he should be doing something else. Wasn’t he going to meet with Zidler? What was he waiting for?
Oh yeah, he was waiting for Derek. It was a strange moment.
“You know you could just pay for sex with the person you are saving yourself for and then they would be able to be with you,” Derek said, pretending he wasn’t talking about himself.
As long as no one said anyone’s name, he could keep pretending.
“I’m old fashioned, I don’t want this to be about money and I don’t necessarily want it to be about sex. If you choose to spend some time with me, I might have to pay for that time because of the world you live in but I don’t desire sex for monetary purchase. Would you like to spend some time with me later? I can’t and won’t make you.”
Wolf thought about Genim asking him one question and then backing off when Derek wasn’t sure about what to say. Instead Genim shared something about himself and told Derek to rest, to take what he needed for himself rather than Genim demanding what he wanted.
Derek hadn’t experienced anything like that with anyone since before he came to the Raven. And it seemed to good to be true to expect it now.
He nodded anyway.
Genim smiled and nodded in return, “I will come find you later, for now though I need to go speak to Zidler.”
Derek nodded, “I will see you when you have completed your other responsibilities.”
Genim walked away and Derek continued his path back towards the Raven building, trying not to get excited at the possibility of seeing Genim again and not being forced to have sex with him. He shook off the feeling, figuring that anything like that would lead to his destruction. He would be better off not hoping at all. Derek decided to go back to his cot for now, Erica and Boyd were sitting together on one of the nearby beds, not so close together that they would be punished but still together.
Derek slumped on his side, turned away from them and trying desperately to ignore the scent of arousal. He hated that smell so much but it was like the air was layered and doused in it at the Raven and the Rouge. It permeated the walls and the floor and everything in between.
Derek woke with a start; he hadn’t meant to fall asleep and being bleed was apparently still affecting him. “Whoa, easy there,” Genim said and held his hands out towards Derek but didn’t touch him.
“You’re here?” Derek asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
Genim nodded, “Would you like to go somewhere private? Is there someplace we can go?”
Derek looked around like the answer was going to pop out for him but it didn’t. Erica and Boyd weren’t in the room but they were standing just outside the door so that’s how Genim found out where he was.
“We can’t use any of the privacy locations in the Rouge or the Raven unless you pay for the time.”
Genim shrugged and pulled out some money, “Do you need a certain amount to go now?”
Derek rattled off the day charge for the room, which was less because most people didn’t come during the day so Zidler didn’t mind giving the day visitors a little break on the cost. Especially because they weren’t guaranteed the grandeur and the showmanship of coming in the evening.
Stiles handed over the money and Derek led the other man away from the sleeping room they were in and into one of the privacy rooms like the night before.
“What do you want for your time?” Derek asked, folding his hands together.
“I just want to talk, do you mind? I wasn’t lying earlier when I told you I wasn’t willing to pay for sex.”
“You have to pay for anything here, it’s not like I have a choice.”
“Tell me about that then,” Genim responded.
“Tell you about how I came to be here?” Derek asked, to clarify.
Genim nodded, “I want to know.”
“No, you don’t,” Derek responded.
“Are you worried that I’m going to learn the truth about the fact that you’re a werewolf?”
Derek stared in surprise at him, the general public didn’t talk about werewolves or banshees, or vampires and succubae. People may come here, looking for an adventure in the bedroom but they didn’t care what the dancers were, Genim was a strange man.
A compelling and strange man.
“You’re not supposed to know that,” Derek whispered, suddenly terrified that someone was going to burst through the door and say ‘caught you!’ but no one did and Genim just kept watching him.
“I’m not going to tell anyone that I know but I do know what you are. I am not going to use it to hurt you, I just didn’t want you to feel like you have to hide who you are. Who you really are.”
Derek took a deep breath, “And this is what you want. To hear how I ended up here? I don’t know what difference it will make but I will tell you.”
Genim nodded, just waiting.
Derek started again, “My family lived in a small town outside of Paris, very much in the forest because of our joy in running free. I love to run with my family. Someone learned what we were and when I was about fourteen, I was sent on an errand to town and my family was trapped inside and the house was set on fire. I never was able to return to even find out who survived and who didn’t. I only know some of them survived because of Argent long after the fact. At the time I saw the flames and if someone hadn’t pulled me away, brought me to the Raven, I would have been left alone on the streets. Zidler gave me a home so I owe him everything.”
Genim frowned at him, “You were taken from your family and brought to a Bordello and you believe that you owe these people anything?”
Derek sighed, “They hid me from the hunters that were the reason my family died. If Zidler hadn’t hidden me away, I would be dead right now.”
“But that’s not everything, is it?” Genim asked.
Derek shook his head.
“Argent told me that if I didn’t stay and serve in the Raven then he would bring one of my sisters here and kill her in front of me.”
Genim vibrated with rage and Derek coughed at the scent, it was strange knowing that he was feeling it in defense of Derek and his family. Genim was a stranger and there was literally no reason for him to care what happened to a bunch of born werewolves. He did care though, that was clear enough.
Derek didn’t see how it would matter in the end.
“How many of your family survived the fire then?” Gen asked.
“I know about two of my sisters and one of our younger cousins. I know that my mother, father and grandparents all died but I don’t know about the rest of the extended family. I don’t know about my brothers or Uncle or anyone else. Argent likes keeping that information to himself so he can shock and control me with it. I would do anything to make sure that my sisters and Malia didn’t get hurt. It doesn’t matter who else is alive while Argent can find the girls. They are innocent and I would do anything to keep them away from here.”
Gen looked around the room, nodding about something, though Derek didn’t think he was responding to what Derek had said. Then he looked back and took a deep breath, “I cannot promise you anything except a little bit of time every couple days where you and I just sit here and talk. Would you be interested in that?”
Derek gulped, feeling the lump in his throat and desperately trying to get rid of it. Then he nodded simply.
And that’s how it began.
While Satine was sneaking around with Christian, the writer, Derek would see Genim a couple times a week and made sure it never got in the way of his sessions with Kate. Which were getting worse. More often than not Gen would pay for Derek’s time and just let him sleep off the injuries and overwhelming exhaustion from healing over and over again.
And then to make everything a little more difficult because everyone had jobs for the new play and Chocolat was tired just from his side job of protecting Christian and Satine from Zidler and The Duke. He’d come into Derek’s sleeping area one evening after rehearsal and flopped down onto the bed nearest Derek and the others.
“Why again did I allow myself to be dragged into the Moulin Rouge and Satine’s business?”
Derek rolled his eyes, “I do not think you would have been able to ignore Satine, she’s important to you.”
“She’s the reason I allowed to be caught up in this place but at least if I was only a Raven then I would not be in the middle of a game of cat and mouse where the cat is capable of killing the mouse and anyone who is friends with the mouse.
“He can’t kill you, Chocolat,” Erica snickered, “You would only come back unless The Duke stabbed you somewhere in particular with a specific kind of weapon.”
They didn’t talk about what could kill them because it was dangerous. Argent obviously knew how to kill most of them or control most of them but to the rest of the world, they were very attractive humans with abilities in the bedroom that made them coveted.
Chocolat sighed, “Zidler is going to find out, Satine is not very subtle and when it happens, everything will fall apart.”
Derek nodded, because that was true, the Duke had everything he needed to destroy the Moulin Rouge but Derek had been left wondering for days now if that wasn’t such a bad thing. If the Duke destroyed the Rouge then everything around it would fall as well.
Maybe he could get away from the Argents and maybe he could have something real with Gen if that’s what the man wanted.
It was nice to dream but if Kate found out about Derek’s other admirer, she would just find a way to keep them apart. Thankfully Derek and the other Ravens were better at keeping secrets than The Sparkling Diamond was.
“It is sad that your admirer does not come to see Boyd and I anymore, you have well and truly stolen his heart. You must be better than I ever imagined.”
The others turned and Derek shook his head, “We don’t have sex. We just talk.”
They all goggled at him, “He pays for time with you and never has sex with you?” Erica demanded a little loudly.
Derek shushed her and looked around, thankfully no one in the vicinity cared about what they were discussing. What happened behind closed doors with each raven didn’t matter to the others.
“Apologies, it was a shock,” Erica said.
Derek rolled his eyes, “He can come see you if he wants but I didn’t tell him not to, maybe he is spending all of his money on the time with me which again, I didn’t tell him to do. I only care that when he’s with me, it’s not just about hurting me and it’s not about the lies they tell us.”
Everyone fell silent and Derek allowed himself to rest for a little while then Erica was jostling him awake for another darn rehearsal, he groaned as he got up and got ready.
There was a couple more days and then they would have the final rehearsal for The Duke then opening night. Derek didn’t know what their lives were going to look like after that opening night, even though all of this was being set in motion for Satine to become a ‘real actress’ she was never going to be much more than a Courtesan, not when she was going to have to sleep with The Duke. That only meant that Derek was more than aware that his lot in this life was not going to change, it might just mean that he wouldn’t have to go to the Rouge to find new clients then he would belong more completely to Kate.
He didn’t imagine that his existence was going to change for the better.
Stiles looked around as they sang the final note of their dress rehearsal and smiled when he caught sight of Wolf, Erica and Boyd near the back, dancing and singing their parts. It seemed like a horrible decision to put such beautiful people in the back but it wasn’t his performance and undoubtedly Argent and Zidler didn’t want to bring more attention to their ‘Ravens’.
Nini, one of Zidler’s Diamond Dogs was getting chummy with the Duke and he wondered what fresh hell she was creating. The only reason Stiles was even allowed to be here was because he helped The Duke with some more money. He was a ‘silent partner’ and he’d only done it so he could have unfettered access to the Rouge and the Noir. The Duke didn’t even really know much about him other than the fact that he had no machinations about Satine.
Stiles wasn’t stupid though, Satine and Christian were clearly sleeping together and it was going to come back and bite all of them in the ass.
Stiles listened as Satine and ‘Sitar Player’ sang the final line of their song and everyone turned in unison to see what The Duke was going to say.
“I don’t like the ending,” the Duke said, shocking everyone while Stiles glanced at Nini and watched her smile like a cat that ate the canary. She said something to him.
“Don’t like the ending, my Dear Duke?” Zidler questioned, sounding more concerned than was necessary, except that he was playing with all of their lives for the sake of one—Satine was his girl and Zidler had proven incapable of seeing the bigger picture when she was involved.
“Why would the courtesan choose a penniless sitar player over the maharajah who is offering a lifetime of security? That’s real love. Once the sitar player has satisfied his lust he will leave her with nothing. I suggest in the end; the courtesan choose the maharajah.”
The dwarf, Toulouse, dressed as the sitar came down saying, “But, but… Sorry. That ending does not uphold the Bohemian ideals of truth, beauty, freedom and…”
“I don’t care about your ridiculous dogma!” The Duke interrupted, “Why shouldn’t the courtesan choose the maharajah?”
“Because she doesn’t love you!” Christian screamed and Stiles groaned, this was it. This was the moment that everything was going to come down around them and the Ravens in the back of the room were shifting and looking at each other in apparent apprehension.
Christian tried to fix his blunder, “Him. Him. She doesn’t love him.”
It wasn’t going to work. The Duke responded, “Now I see.” He turned towards Zidler, “Monsieur Zidler. This ending will be rewritten with the courtesan choosing the maharajah and without the lovers’ secret song. It will be rehearsed in the morning, ready for the opening tomorrow night.”
“My,” Zidler stuttered, “My dear Duke, that will be quite impossible”
“Harold,” Satine interjected and Stiles rolled his eyes, walking along the edge of the room, staying out of focus of the drama unfolding. Satine was going to do what she needed to do to win, to keep the Duke’s favor. All Stiles really cared about right now was Wolf and the others. Everyone in the Rouge and Noir was being abused and harmed but his job was to help those who had no one else to help them. In short – the Ravens who were being abused and had no one like Zidler to protect them.
Stiles moved backstage in time to hear Christian and Satine arguing then ignored it, finding his way through the people all settling in to wait. Wolf and the others were off in another corner alone. Erica saw him first, “Well well, if it isn’t our favorite benefactor!”
Wolf turned, flushing a little before he stood up and walked over to Stiles, “Gen what are you doing here? The Rouge is closed right now because of the play tomorrow.”
“I’m allowed to be here and all I care about right now is keeping you out of Kate’s hands for the night. If she hurts you, you won’t be able to be in the play.” It was true, he couldn’t lie to a werewolf so it was the best way to go about things. Even though he was hiding bigger things from Wolf, there was no reason to hide this.
Wolf shook his head, “She’s not supposed to come until tomorrow night.”
Stiles pulled him away from the crowd, “What if you never had to go with her again?”
Wolf pulled away from him, “Do not make promises you have no chance of keeping Gen.”
Stiles pulled Wolf even farther away from the crew and tucked himself into an alcove and Wolf followed, like he couldn’t help himself, “Just give me a chance. Please?”
Wolf shook his head, “I am not capable of surviving on hope, Gen, please don’t ask me to.”
Stiles leaned in and pressed a kiss to Wolf’s cheek, “If I was able to free you, would you still spend time with me? Or was this about the money for you?”
Wolf frowned, “It wasn’t about the money though I appreciate what you did for me.”
“Then tell me your name,” Gen said.
“Tell me yours,” Wolf snapped, moving back as if spooked.
“Name is Stiles, well that’s a moniker as well but it is what I have been called my whole life.”
“Stiles,” Wolf whispered, “I kind of like Gen more.”
“You can call me whatever you want as long as I can call you mine someday.”
Wolf smiled, leaning in and pressing a kiss to Stiles’s mouth, letting it lengthen and deepen. Stiles smiled a little, letting their teeth clack a little before Wolf moved back, “My name is Derek Hale.”
Stiles pressed another kiss to Derek’s lips and moved back, “I’m coming back for you Derek Hale and don’t you forget it.”
With that he moved passed Derek’s figure and left the way he’d come in. Everyone was in for a long night, all the people in the Rouge and himself. He was done waiting for another solution to present itself. It was time to bring in the arsenal.
It was going to take him a little while to get everything in line. First, he went to speak with his father then went to speak to the council, those in power who had sent him to the Rouge and Noir to get some answers. He was hopefully going to be in place before the showing the next night. It would be the best time for him to take Argent down.
The only thing he could do was take his seat at the performance and watch as it played out and since they took out the secret song and the courtesan was preparing to marry the Maharajah, apparently the Duke hadn’t gotten what he wanted the night before.
Then before the wedding happened, Christian was there and they were singing to each other and someone was chasing Christian on stage and the Duke was losing his shit from his seat. Stiles got up and looked around, finding Kate and her father in the seats near the Duke, as important ‘pillars’ in the community and people important to the Rouge it wasn’t surprising that they were near the front of the room.
Stiles caught Kate’s eye, smirked at her then walked towards the back as Satine and Christian sang the last notes and turned to see as some of his contacts walked in the back door. Some of them moved up the sides while others moved down the center aisle, calm but letting their presence be known. Zidler spotted them and looked at Argent. The drama playing out on stage was going to be less important with the wrong kind of officials in their theater. It was all Stiles needed to slip into the back and find Derek and the others.
Derek turned to him, frowning, “Stiles you can’t be back here!”
“You need to go get anything you want to keep; we are shutting down the Raven tonight.”
“Stiles, no,” Derek sighed, more annoyed than anything and he looked around. There was some commotion at the front of the stage and Stiles looked in that direction.
“What is it Chocolat?” Derek asked the other man.
“Satine is dying, she will not last the night,” Chocolat whispered while the curtains came down and the audience applauded and screamed ‘encore’. Stiles knew that his people were going to start ushering people out and Stiles’s surprise should be coming in at any time.
“Derek! Get over here now!” Kate snarled as she came towards them and Stiles rolled his eyes, he’d been hoping for his back up before she got back here but now was not the time to be the mild-mannered john that came and talked to Derek for hours on end. He stepped in front of Derek and stared at Kate.
“You can’t touch him anymore Kate, go find another more willing partner. I’m sure your daddy could find someone for you, but it won’t be him.”
Kate laughed, trying to walk around Stiles and get to Derek who was standing still just waiting for her to put her hands on him. Stiles grabbed the woman’s wrist and put pressure on one of her pressure points, making her falter and glare at him.
“Take your hands off me,” Kate screeched.
Stiles applied more pressure and watched pleasantly as she dropped to one knee with a groan while Derek stood behind him, concern radiating off of him. Stiles could understand that, this woman and her father had been holding him hostage for sexual slavery and abuse for years, of course Derek wasn’t going to know he could fight back especially because they’d been holding his family over his head.
“My father is going to destroy you and for fun I am going to take Derek apart piece by piece then I am going to kill every single one of his remaining family.”
“I don’t think so,” another voice said and Derek jerked up right and looked over to see his older sister Laura with her eyes flashing red. “See, Mr. Stilinski and his father worked with several others within the community to find us and Argent will not control you anymore. Derek, you are free.”
One of Deaton’s men came over and took Kate and her father into custody while Derek fell into his sister’s arms sobbing in a way that Stiles figured didn’t need an audience. Instead he walked over to where Christian was holding Satine, calling out that he was a doctor and everyone needed to give them some space. Satine was still coughing up blood and he knew that they were both sick with no way out.
No medical way out. Consumption was going to kill Satine now and it was going to take Christian later.
“Alpha Hale,” Stiles called out and Laura walked over with Derek and other others following. As long as none of the humans could see what was happening it didn’t matter if the Ravens and the other werewolves saw it, only a few people really knew what was wrong with Satine.
“Sir?” Laura asked.
“Can you turn her, turn them both? They are going to die.”
“Turn her? What does that mean?” Christian asked, looking terribly hopeful even though he didn’t know what was happening but Stiles didn’t know if this was going to work but it was better than doing nothing at all.
Laura looked back towards one of the other members of the supernaturals that came to get everyone out and he nodded. Laura looked at Stiles, “We can’t do this in front of all these people.”
Chocolat nodded and moved to get everyone away from Christian, Satine and Laura while Derek helped the human move Satine deeper into the backstage area. Stiles moved out of the way as Laura shifted enough that her alpha teeth dropped and she bit Satine in the side, as close to the heart as she could get while Chocolat kept Christian calm. Laura didn’t move to bite Christian, mostly because there was no reason to turn him if Satine wasn’t going to survive the Bite.
“We need to get everyone out of here, The Rouge isn’t the place for any of us anymore,” Emissary Deaton said and Stiles guided Derek and the others back to their building to pack a couple things before they left.
“What about the show? And the Moulin Rouge?” Derek asked.
Stiles leaned in close and took Derek’s hand in his, “I don’t care about this place and neither should you. Zidler is going to have to come up with something else without all of you.”
Derek and Stiles walked back to where they all slept when they were allowed to sleep and looked around, “I’m really free?”
“Why don’t we go see the rest of your family and you can be sure about that.”
Derek grabbed a few things that actually mattered to him and nodded to Stiles, “Take me to my family. Please?”
So Stiles did and they didn’t have to look back, everyone else was going to be freed and whether or not Satine would live wasn’t what Derek needed to worry about right now. Stiles was going to take him back to what remained of his family.
As Stiles took Derek out of the Moulin Rouge he wondered about who he was and how he did this, “Did you know who I was before you came to the Rouge?”
“I didn’t have any particular target though my contacts were hoping to bring you home for Laura, she’d been trying to get everyone out from under Argent’s thumb for a long time. I figured out who you were but I didn’t know your name or anything, and I just wanted to get to know you. I wanted to get you out of there but I couldn’t just do it and run the risk of taking you too soon. We were waiting on word that Argent’s guys in the field were all taken before you were moved. I wanted to get you out as soon as I could.”
Derek smiled, taking Stiles’s hand in his, “You gave me moments when I was allowed to just sleep or talk to you when I all I have ever known was sex and destruction. Thank you for that.”
“Hopefully you are willing to spend time with me and not charge me, I did spend quite a bit of money on you before now.”
Derek leaned in and pressed a kiss to Stiles’s lips, “I cannot wait to spend time with you and not wonder about when Kate is going to show up. I don’t want to ever see another knife in the bedroom ever again. I don’t want to be in pain when its supposed to be about sex and connection. Please tell me that you don’t think pain is essential in the bedroom?”
Stiles shook his head, “Even if I did, we wouldn’t need to do anything like that because you and I are going to have to take things one day at a time.”
Derek nodded then Laura came out and he tucked himself into her embrace as they kept walking. Stiles looked at the alpha, “Is Miss Satine going to turn?”
Laura nodded, “She will survive the Bite, Boyd and Erica are going to stay with her while I get Derek out of here and then I will return for her and the lover. He is already sick as well. She will need time to heal but she is going to survive this and her mate Christian will be at her side. I believe that most of the people in the Rouge are going to need a lot of help and healing after being abused and owned. I will not be able to help them all but we will find people willing to take them in.”
Derek and Stiles walked hand in hand until they got to the train and took a short trip out of the city. Derek spent the trip with his head on Stiles’s shoulder and holding Laura’s hand. He didn’t know what life was going to be like without Kate and being controlled and hurt every couple of days. What was sex even like when he wasn’t getting paid or coerced?
Stiles was running his fingers through Derek’s hair and pressed a kiss to his head, “What are you thinking about?”
Derek looked at his sister who was looking at him with a gentle smile on her face and he tucked his head back into Stiles’s shoulder, “I don’t know what it’s like to have sex that didn’t happen because they paid for it. I don’t know what my life is going to be like now and I don’t know if I can be normal, like at all.”
Stiles tightened his arms around Derek’s shoulder, “Don’t worry about that right now. Just you worry about reconnecting with your family. We have time for everything else.”
When they got off the train, Derek found himself enveloped in hugs with his little sister Cora, his Uncle Peter, his cousin Malia and his older brother Alexander. He tried not to notice all the people who were missing, especially since he’d had no one for years. He stuck his nose in Laura’s neck, letting the scent of family and alpha comfort him. After they got done hugging, the Hales huddled Derek and Stiles to a nearby farm house and Laura showed Derek a room where he could rest and Derek nodded as they left Derek and Stiles alone.
“I just want to sleep for a year,” Derek whispered as he crawled out of his dance clothes and looked around before he honed in on a nearby dresser. He tugged the drawer out and grabbed a pair of comfortable pants that he could wear and a shirt. Stiles watched him from just inside the door. Derek took a deep breath, “Are you going to join me?”
Stiles smiled, “If you want me too.”
“Do you mind if we don’t do anything, maybe just lay close together?” Derek asked, feeling shy.
Stiles nodded, “Whatever is comfortable for you.”
Derek climbed into the bed while Stiles got out of his clothes and climbed in next to him. Stiles let Derek curl into his side and he whispered into Derek’s scalp, “Come what may.”
“Don’t start with that stupid Summer of Love crap with me,” Derek responded.
“Come what may,” Stiles whispered again and Derek laughed.
“You know I think that bohemian; freedom, truth, beauty and love stuff is all a lie.”
“Am I lying when I say that I care about you and I am going to make sure that you get through this and you don’t have to be alone.”
Derek knew that wasn’t a lie, “Thank you for that but I am going to sleep now and you are going to keep your bohemian crap to yourself.”
Stiles kept holding Derek until the werewolf was slipping away into sleep and he whispered, “I will love till my dying day.”
And he did, no matter what it took for Derek to get better after being abused and sold, Stiles didn’t leave and kept reminding him whenever Derek needed to know. Satine and Christian were welcomed into the pack as well as Erica and Boyd, they were happier now that they could be together. The Duke closed down the Moulin Rouge and Stiles did the best he could with the help of Deaton and his team to make sure that the people in the bordello got out but they had their hands full with the supernaturals.
First and foremost, Stiles was with Derek every step of the way and when they had sex the first time, Derek knew that Stiles was a safe person and they learned a little at a time what Derek liked and what he didn’t. Stiles loved learning every little thing about his lover and letting him get used to a very different life.
And it was good.
It was good because the greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. Something that Derek learned one day at a time.