“Alphinaud!” Gaius’ voice came choked. Frozen stock-still and staring in disbelief, it was as if a premonition stood before him: in a way, Alphinaud supposed, that was not untrue. “You—you’ve awoken.”
Guilt gnawed at Alphinaud’s belly, crawled up his throat. “No,” he said, soft as though it was intonation which landed the blow. “The body still sleeps.”
“But then—” Gaius shook his head, his brow furrowed. “How?”
Alphinaud’s eyes flicked past Gaius’ shoulder. “Some curious magick of… another world. I understand it not.” How many lies, how many half-truths would he tell today? “The Scions search yet for the path home. We…” another step closer, still fulms apart. “We haven’t long, we two, but a sorcerer offered to forge me a simulacrum of æther, and—I ached for you.”
No more needed saying. Gaius closed the gap between them, a single step and then there were hands catching up Alphinaud’s face, calloused fingers soft on his cheekbones, a mouth on his, Gaius falling to his knees. A hand at the back of Alphinaud’s neck, bringing him closer still; Gaius’ teeth worrying his lip, Alphinaud gasping into his mouth as his other hand slipped beneath the hem of his tunic—
“A sorcerer, am I?”
Alphinaud flinched in Gaius’ arms.
“How very… delicate,” Emet-Selch went on. “Gaius would never recognize me as such.”
Gaius’ hand stilled upon Alphinaud’s waist, pulling back enough to ask, “Is something the matter?”
Yes, he could not say, for Emet-Selch’s illusion kept him concealed from Gaius’ senses, and Alphinaud could not bear for Gaius to know the price paid to an Ascian for want of him. “It’s—” Alphinaud let out his breath in the shaking imitation of a laugh, devised his excuse “—an odd experience, to be made of æther. I suppose this must be how it feels to Moonstone to be held.”
Gaius kneeling before him, Alphinaud could not see Emet-Selch’s expression, and was glad of it. He could imagine it well enough when Emet-Selch scoffed, “What have you made of my dog, boy? I put the work of a lifetime into him—his, of course, not mine—and you’ve got him asking if something’s wrong at a little flinch?”
“It’s not bad,” Alphinaud told Gaius, too loud to his own ears. “You needn’t stop.”
“I won’t,” Gaius promised. Dread and relief both sat heavy in the pit of Alphinaud’s stomach, sour amid selfish, stupid desire. He stripped away Alphinaud’s layers, the tunic’s weave unravelling into æthersand once it had been slipped out of. “So beautiful,” Gaius murmured, his breath warm against Alphinaud’s bare skin. He pressed a kiss into the junction of neck and collarbone, slid his rough hands down Alphinaud’s sides, his fingertips meeting between the knobs of his spine. “Had I the time,” another kiss, pressed to Alphinaud’s sternum, Gaius’ fingers snaking down past his waistband, “I would worship the swell of these soft tits, pour out oblations for this tight ass.”
The pads of his fingers dug in to tender flesh, now bare—Alphinaud’s leggings pulled halfway down his thighs, leaving him shivering exposed. Gaius knelt low on his heels, bowed his head before him and pressed his lips to Alphinaud’s cunt. It was chaste, as much as such a kiss could be, but Alphinaud jerked in his grasp all the same, clenching around nothing at the scrape of chapped skin against the lips of his cunt. He grabbed at Gaius’ hair for balance as he was led to step out of his boots, Gaius mouthing at him still. Once Alphinaud was wholly bare, all his clothes returned to æther, Gaius slipped two fingers between his legs, and Emet-Selch—
Emet-Selch watched with cold eyes, finding the show he’d required of them wanting, or perhaps (Alphinaud reevaluated for the inspecting sweep of his eyes) finding him wanting.
Hands upon his thighs. “How did I ever come to deserve such a fair and delicate thing as you?” a reverent breath against his skin.
“Well,” said Emet-Selch, meeting Alphinaud’s eyes, “if nothing else, his tastes haven’t changed, puer delicatus.”
Alphinaud had never been so grateful for anything as when Gaius’ hands led him to turn, brought him down to hands and knees and so doing tore his eyes away from Emet-Selch. Gaius’ fingers spread the lips of his cunt, slipping on slick; with his other hand he freed his cock. “This little slit feels so tight. Tell me, boy, have you played with your clit thinking of me?”
Alphinaud nodded, whispering a fervent yes, sir, more air than voice. Long, slim fingers caressed the line of his jaw—Alphinaud shivered at the touch.
“Oh, now doesn’t this bring back memories,” said Emet-Selch, crouched over him, looming for all he cut a less imposing figure than Gaius. “Of course, you’re a bit smaller. Pointier,” he said, the tip of Alphinaud’s ear between his fingers. “But then, Livia’s eyes were gold… and she always did prefer daddy to sir.”
Alphinaud choked on air at the implication—and not half a second later Gaius thrust forward, and the pressure stole what little breath remained. Livia was Gaius’ daughter in all but blood, brought into his house as a child after her parents’ death, as Lucia told it; when Gaius spoke of her it was to mourn her passing now years ago. He never—Alphinaud cried out in unison with Gaius growling his name, seating himself as near to fully as he ever could, making a bruise of his womb. Alphinaud hoped it would not vanish like his clothes upon returning to the First; he wanted to feel this use for days to come. With one hand on Alphinaud’s hip the other clasped his shoulder, and Gaius sat back on his heels, pulling Alphinaud into his lap, and Alphinaud’s eyes fell closed as he rocked there, far too deep to be comfortable, nearly as deep as they needed.
“I don’t quite know when he started fucking her,” Emet-Selch went on, falsely casual, “but she was fifteen when I did.” A chill crawled down Alphinaud’s spine, Gaius’ name torn from his lips, a desperate gasp even he could not identify as reply or supplication, even a useless cry for help—
“Yes, boy, Gaius was there. He spent inside her cunt.” Emet-Selch trailed his fingertips along the curve of Alphinaud’s jaw to the corner of his mouth, and—when Gaius forced from Alphinaud a cry—slipped them past his lips. The intrusion stopped up a second, satin on his tongue quickly becoming soaked with spit even dry as Alphinaud’s mouth felt. His jaw made a dull, flat sound in protest as it was pried open, impossible to fight, and Alphinaud gasped for breath—too fast, too shallow, he’d make himself pass out like this—around Emet-Selch’s fingers. Confess before the Fury and all this ends. “I fucked her throat. You’ve nothing to fear, of course—” and there was sick drying like film on dark stone, blood and spend and bile, they’d not been fed for days— “I think even our dear Gaius would notice should I dislocate your jaw.”
Alphinaud moaned around his fingers, turning his head into the safety of Gaius’ chest. Emet-Selch’s fingers slipped from his mouth, seemingly true to his word, but still Alphinaud panted through his open mouth as Gaius’ hands roamed his body, between his hips, pinching one nipple and then the other. Bent low over Alphinaud, rocking into him, he murmured into his ear praises which Alphinaud hoped against hope Emet-Selch could not hear, and when his resolve to hold still faltered he could but arch into Gaius’ touch rather than away from Emet-Selch’s.
He ran an overfamiliar hand down Alphinaud’s side, spit-soaked gloves cold against his skin and scant ilms from Gaius’ chest—would he feel it, if they touched, or without a mortal body could Emet-Selch’s hand brush against him unawares? Emet-Selch caught Alphinaud’s chin between his fingers, gentle as one treats a treasured pet, and turned Alphinaud to face him.
“What would make you fight?” he said with unsettling fondness, the pad of his thumb caressing Alphinaud’s cheek. Brought his hand lower, curling his fingers around Alphinaud’s bare throat. “Would this?” he asked, and applied pressure. Alphinaud tipped back his head on instinct. “Oh,” Emet-Selch breathed, “very good.”
He did not loosen his grip, and Alphinaud should have been panicked—terrified—but he couldn’t think beyond his arousal, and gratitude for the kiss Gaius pressed atop his head. “It seems Gaius has you trained after all. You take it better than he ever did,” and Alphinaud did not fight but went still, lungs and eyes burning, wet for Gaius’ cock and his hands and Emet-Selch’s hands, their words, feeling dirtier for needing this—needing Gaius so badly to do this to the both of them.
“What a well-behaved little slut. You’re wet for it, aren’t you? Say the word and I’ll help you finish. He’ll never know it wasn’t for him.”
“Please,” Alphinaud sobbed breathless when Emet-Selch let up the pressure to allow him speak, “please—”
“Please what?” said Gaius before Alphinaud could finish don’t, and Alphinaud wilted in his arms with relief that it was not Emet-Selch’s sneer.
Alphinaud drew a breath, lifted his head. Tears spilled from his eyes when he opened them. “Your hand, Gaius, please.”
Emet-Selch laughed. “Clever boy.”