A hand covers your mouth in the dark, startling you awake -- but it is impossible to be truly frightened by the presence, despite knowing he could scatter you to the four corners of the star as easily as he could stir sugar into tea.
You don't know him, and to be true you don't know that you ever will, but you are touch starved. He does not worship at your feet, he does not feel as though you are untouchable. He knows more of you than you yourself, and despite everything from the moment you met him in the rotunda you've had to fight the urge to curl inside him like a cat and simply stay there.
You make no move to dislodge his hand, and he waits in the night, still as death. (No mortal can experience such stillness, you think.) Your instincts howl predator, but you've little desire to end his touch. It isn't just your hunger for another body against yours, though there is that -- it's him.
After enough time passes that you genuinely consider going back to sleep and just leaving him to whatever it is he's doing, he shifts back to life, nuzzling his nose into your hair and pressing the rest of his body into you.
"Would you like me to leave, hero?" he asks, voice low and rough.
He spreads his fingers across your lips so you may reply.
For reasons you cannot fathom other than simply wanting to, you say, "Stay."
"Stay, truly? Are you certain you would not like to go for the blade you keep under your pillow?"
You should be discomfited that he knows its there, but you aren't.
"Should I?" you ask.
His other hand trails down your ribs and grips your hip -- you sleep nude when you have the luxury of a bed, and he has no barriers between your bodies except the ones on his own person.
"Absolutely," he affirms.
You tip your chin over your shoulder to meet his eyes. The gold has its own light, here in the dark.
You don't have the upper hand anywhere with him, but it doesn't mean you are not also powerful.
"Would you like it if I did?"
His eyes darken, and his fingers squeeze. "I might."
"Why are you here, Emet-Selch?"
He shakes his head, pressing his forehead into your back. "Don't… don't call me that. Please."
Tentatively, you cover his hand in your own, lightly scraping your nails along his skin. "What shall I call you, when you are here?"
He says a word, a sound, a song -- it vibrates in the marrow of your bones and you whimper, pressing back into him without thinking. He shudders.
"I know-- I know that word. I know it, but I can't… why can't I--"
"Shh, hero." He strokes the skin of your thigh as your distress rises. "I should not have said it."
"…It's you, isn't it? That's your name, in your language."
You close your eyes and center yourself, pulling your aether into the Echo and stilling your power until it shifts and clicks into place, a single drop of water rippling outward. Without looking directly at the memory, you repeat the word back to him.
The sound he makes is barely human, and he pushes you onto your back and is suddenly on top of you, brilliant golden eyes boring into yours and face an aching image of vulnerability.
"Again," he commands, voice breaking.
"Greedy," you chide gently, tugging on a lock of his hair as you center yourself again, call your power to the forefront and push it into the Echo, looking away from the memory and forgetting the sound as soon as you make it. You breathe heavily, tiredly, spent.
He is drinking you in like the first rain.
"Let me take care of you," he breathes. "Please. Let me… let me give you something. I cannot match the gift you just gave me, but I swear I will try."
You hesitate, afraid of breaking the spell, but this cannot be unsaid. "Where will this leave us on the morrow?"
"I don't know," he replies honestly.
His eyes travel your body, but they are unseeing; you can sense the motion in his aether, and know that he is seeing through your skin. Surprisingly, this time you find yourself with nothing to hide.
"Okay," you say.
You nod sharply, once. You cup his face and bring it closer to yours, and summon the last of your power to say his name one final time before you are drained, the Echo no longer rising to your call.
"Take what you need," you say softly.
And so he does.
The night feels hazy and ill defined as your blood sings in the light of his attention. Upon your permission he had let his aether roll off him waves, cast free from the anchor of his control, and his power electrifies your nerves as though you were born to conduct him. He is using you as a bridge for his power, swirling his soul inside of you, and if tears escape you because you know belonging for the first time, he doesn't speak of it.
He starts with his fingers, mapping every cell along your body, finding each constellation of moles and freckles and each well earned scar. He learns you thoroughly, bids you rest and be touched, and it takes you an embarrassing amount of time to realize there are too many hands.
Your knees are being cupped and spread open, your thighs pressed, your ribs held and your own fingers laced with his. You are soaking, you know, staining the sheets; you've never been so wet without a single overtly sexual part of your body being touched.
"I want to see you," you beg, pausing as he traces your mouth with his fingers and slips one inside. Obediently you suck the gloved skin, tracing his knuckles with your teeth, and with a crisp and cool snap fire springs forth throughout the room, each candle you have ever used to light your sleepless nights now granting both your bodies deep contours of shadow.
You spent a lot of time thinking about kissing, when you were much younger. Stolen sweet chaste nothings with girls and boys of your village in the shade of great oaks, a thought that became meaningless as you transformed into a weapon and were no longer given time to be yourself.
It barely occurs to you that he has not kissed you yet. It seems so trivial, now, those butterflies when you were young -- he is the storm itself, he is inside of you, one with you.
But when his lips meet yours, already open, tongue desperate and searching and the taste of him, that sound in his throat that you have the privilege to swallow, you feel wild butterflies all over again.
"Please," you hear, high pitched, but you can't tell which voice spills the word and which breath takes it; you are the same being.
Every place he wants to touch you, he simply adds a phantom hand, as though it is the easiest thing in the world. To him, you suppose, it probably is; but you are rapidly approaching the point of overwhelm, and he hasn't even touched you in the places you have associated sex with all your life. He caresses your back, tickles your lower ribs so you arch your spine into him. He threads through your hair as he sucks mark after mark into your neck, jerking you back when the touches have been too soft for too long and you need the sharp sting of relief.
You don't have to ask if you can touch him because you can feel how badly he wants you to, how raw he is, how he didn't know what he wanted when he arrived and how desperately he wants this now.
You lay him down, gently, and start slow. How often has he been met with kindness in his life? Not since before Zodiark, you realize, though you know the thought is not your own. You start with the gloves of his vessel's hands, since you can't see any of the others he's touching you with (at that thought you learn they are, in fact, him, and not an illusion; his true being simply does not need a form to exist with you) and you pull them from him one finger at a time with your teeth.
Next is his dark coat, the intensely soft fur lining sliding along your fingers as you reach for the jacket underneath and peel it back. He is revealed to you, one layer at a time, the sensation echoing in your own body with his soul is right there, inside of you, guiding you against him. Shirt, sash, skirts. You yearn to join him as he truly is, formless inside of the stars, and wonder if you can; for now, he can meet you where you are, bound and mortal.
Your lips and fingers and moans cover every inch of skin exposed, redressing him in your being even as you throw his elaborate regalia to the floor.
He makes a sound, long and melodious, that plucks your entire soul like a harp string, an urgent plea that laces into your spine and you sit up above him, on top of him, ramrod straight.
And you know, now, who you are -- he has given you your name. This is why he came to you.
You are like him.
A laugh bubbles out of you, as joyful as spring as that lock inside of your soul clicks open, and the music of his name spills out of you again, and again, and again. He rises and your bodies clash together, a desperate spill of limbs and tongues and teeth and breathless joy and his devious extra hands that now, finally, achingly, start to part your folds and you mewl into his mouth and he's feeling an arrogant spike of pride at the wetness dribbling all along his thighs.
As though you could be anything else. As though his cock isn't so painfully hard that it weeps.
He thrusts his desire into your awareness at the same time he slides fingers into your cunt, pulls at your nipples, grips and spreads your ass apart, cups your cheeks and kisses you as though to eat you alive. You are fire made flesh, and should you both die this day you know it would be as one.
He pulls back to regard you, not breaking the rhythm of the aether thrusting inside of you, and his eyes are molten.
"I wish to take my time with you," he says, voice lower than gravel. A tongue laps at your clit, lazy circles, and you are drowning in him. You will come for him.
"You may have everything you wish, my love," you say, but the words are in your true native language, a lilting peal of bells, and you cannot stare at them for too long. He smiles at you, wolfish and sharp, and you know then that it was he who lit the sun.
He stands to adjust you gently on the bed, array you for his pleasure. The tongue at your center is picking up its pace, and you're writhing and swearing even as he shushes you for patience, tutting in mock disapproval. None of his vessel is touching you, and yet invisible hands are pinning your own to the bed above you, spreading you at the ankles even while another fucks you. He crosses his arms, rests his chin on his palm, idly pacing to the foot of the bed and cocking an eyebrow. He's making a show of thinking how he wants you, and showing off besides.
You want to scoff, but you're too close to coming to do anything but whine.
You toss your head back and his eyes trace the line of your throat, your jaw. The heat is roiling, your cunt is just starting to clench and --
The hand vanishes. The tongue stops.
He is smirking.
He always was a bastard.
You groan into the pillow beside you, panting hard and struggling against his grip as he holds you still. He knows you aren't ready to beg, he's part of you, just like you know he's smug but he's also shaking inside, heart in a frenzy within his ribs.
He strides across the room to consider the window, the potted orange tree. He appears bored. When you start to cool, and the sweat on your breasts catches a chill, he allows the tongue to lick the entirety of your slit so suddenly that you yelp, the fingers hooking on the inside of your pubic bone and pressing.
He opens a book. His phantom hands stop touching you again, and again, and again, bringing you to the brink every time between. The room is expanding and contracting around you, your vision narrowing to a point, and that point is him.
He sits and crosses his legs at your dining table, taking his cock in one hand and the book in the other. He strokes himself as he reads to you, waiting until your hips raise to grind against the empty air before filling you up with as many fingers as he can fit. He fucks you in time with his own strokes, not even hesitating as he turns the page, his voice lilting and animated. You can feel how close his own orgasm is, how hard he is wrestling his control to focus on the now dozens of phantom hands that are covering you.
He has missed playing with you, missed your games. You feel the weight of his memory as keenly as a blade, and you resolve that from now until the end of your days, you will make new memories with this man. You can feel who you used to be even if you cannot clearly see it, and you know a truth: neither of you will ever again be alone.
His heart swells, but he does not stop.
He keeps you on the edge of orgasm for the entirety of the first chapter of Tomes of the Botanical Folklore of Othard, before snapping the volume smartly shut and standing. His shaft is slick with pre-come, his posture tall and full, and you desperately want to feel the weight of him on you.
He returns to your side, bringing a candle with him for light. Placing it on your bedside table, he brings his vessel's face level with your sex, and says, "You're going to come in my mouth now, my love."
Who are you to disobey?
He sucks as much of your pussy into his mouth as he can and you shatter, and when you manage to look at him he is savoring your come, swallowing it down. You can feel the way your pleasure echoed into him, the effort it took him to not come alongside you. His desire to be inside of your body as well as your mind when he does.
The desire to broaden the sensations you are both sharing.
His need to learn the sounds this specific reincarnation makes.
His want to hurt, and be hurt in turn.
To truly share everything.
His soul asks the question of yours.
Without hesitation, you nod your assent. You had meant the consent that you offered -- he was welcome to take his desires, but you appreciate his asking all the same.
It is his turn to start slowly with you, now.
He asks for your hurts, little by little. He swipes them from your mind and meets each with a kiss or a lick to your skin, a hot murmur of breath, a gentle touch. Memories that are not yours but are spill from you and he drinks them down like the greedy thing he is.
He opens his mind and shares his loneliness, the depth of which you have never felt before, and you surge yourself forward to pour into everywhere he is hollow.
"More," you ask, and he agrees.
He reaches for the candle on the night table and hovers it over your body as he begins to tell you a story of hanging gardens. He drips it onto your skin and you hiss, arch, reach for him as he speaks of the Akadaemia, of the apartment you had together for centuries. He smears the wax into your breasts and tells you what you loved for breakfast, wonders if you still do (knows that you do). He devours your whimpered scream as he drips it onto your clit and bids that you come, and you do with a shriek, rising out of your body and scattering amongst the stars.
You're settling back into your skin but he's still going, he's painting you, and the burn finally matches the way your soul is writhing inside of your too small body.
"Please," you beg of him, "please come for me. I want to feel it again."
He nods, sweat dripping from his vessel's skin as he nudges your folds with his cock. He brings the candle to his own thigh, letting rivulets of wax wander down his skin as you feel the sting through your bond and whine low in your throat. He regards you with his brilliant golden eyes, heavily lidded, as some spatters his cock and your cunt spasms in response before he pushes forward, sliding assertively in all at once, and your universe contracts to a single point of him, of you, of two beings who once drowned in the river of time and somehow made it to shore.
This, you know, is divinity.
The two of you are everywhere, spread wide and surging inside and around each other. You reach with your essence into your physical flesh and squeeze him, milking his shaft, and he breathlessly laughs in delight.
He has missed you, and he will never be without you again.
Truths of the universe.
You stare at where he is splitting you open, his length glistening in the firelight, his fat head rocking into your cervix with each thrust. You claw his arms, his chest; you shred his skin until blood wells up, until his essence comes forth. All at once you feel like you are dying, but how could this possibly ever be enough?
And then he comes, and you know what it is to be truly scattered to the wind.
Your awareness returns in small pieces of sensation. His breath in your ear. His lips on your forehead. The music of your name that he cannot stop chanting. The mantra of your heartbeats.
He reaches his fingers into you, pushes his come back in where it had started to join your fluids on the sheets. He mixes his wet fingers with the wax on your chest, he licks them clean. He cannot settle on one place to be, except here with you.
You know how he feels, but your limbs can do no more than exist, you are so tired.
"Stay," you tell him again.
The word means something different, now.
He lays beside you, body heavy and skin sweat-slick. The two of you are blanketed in the heady night air together, your essences both physical and soul still deeply interwoven. You look at him and see him as he once was, shining white hair and kind eyes in the gloaming of Amaurot.
Yes, he says to your mind, and it is a simple word with a simple meaning that carries the weight of eons.
The roar of restlessness inside of you quiets, the ache of being alone ebbs.
The peace of it remains strong in the morning, warm and tasting of home, and hand in hand you rise together.