Monthly Archives: August 2014

Nihil : The Things To Come : The Jester’s Beauties

“Before I take you inside I should warn you; many of my creations dwell here.” Vikarr paused at his door. “With a meeting so soon it may be better to postpone this and take a walk.”

“The girly kind?” Eliza laughed as he grinned at her. “Why am I not surprised? How many of them have you slept with?”

“All of them.” Vikarr admitted playfully. “And you have no reason to be jealous of a single one of them.”

“You’re awful.” Eliza pouted a moment, but quickly became excited by the idea of meeting the creatures Vikarr had created. “I want to see what they look like.”

“Just remember this visit will be short.” Vikarr let the door swing open in front of them. “We can return later if you would like.”

Vikarr’s entrance hall was enchanting. Eliza had expected more of the black and white that seemed to dominate his every facet of life, but while the walls were white and the floor glistened in the darker hue, the walls were draped in soft colored trails of thin wispy fabrics that fluttered against the floor. The ceiling let in the gorgeous, deeply colored sky and paintings of grand landscapes hung on every wall. They looked real enough to be windows to the worlds they depicted. Eliza was captivated by more than the décor. As soon as they entered beautiful creatures ran down the grand staircases and in from other rooms to greet their Master.

“Lord Vikarr, it has been so long.” One of the many succubi who kept his estate kneeled among the others. There were dozens of them, with skin and hair in every hue. Some were remarkable human mimics and others had wings and tails that set them apart as demons. Some were naked, some draped in simple beautiful gowns, some scantily clad in suggestive outfits that would entice any man. Each one was more beautiful than the next and they all kneeled and lovingly addressed their Master and his guest. “Welcome home.”

“It is good to see you all well.” Vikarr bowed gracefully to his beauties and Eliza marvels over their sweet smiles as they bowed from their knees. He righted himself and took Eliza by her hand. “This is my bride, Eliza.”

“She is beautiful, Lord Vikarr.” One of the winged women smiled tenderly between them. “We will be delighted to serve our Mistress as we serve our Master.”

“They are all so pretty.” Eliza couldn’t even find the will to be jealous. That he had created such beautiful things, That he could have taken any of them as his bride, That he would give up his right to have such amazing women in his bed and take her as a bride instead was beyond astounding. “You are pretty amazing, Vivi.”

The succubi all giggled and Eliza flushed.

“Lady Eliza.” One of the succubi approached on her knees and took Eliza’s hand. She had skin like white chocolate and deep blue eyes that peeked out under the blue lashes that matched her gorgeous mane of hair. The small, creamy, white chocolate bat like wings that sprung from her slender back and the arrow tipped tail that matched were tipped in a rich blue that matched her eyes. “I am called Vale, if Lord Vikarr approves and if you accept. I will be your personal servant.”

“I think they like you, lovely.” Vikarr grinned. “You can have her.”

“Have?” Eliza looked at him troubled. “But she’s a person.”

“It would be an honor to serve you, Lady Eliza.” Vale laid her head against Eliza’s fingers. “To serve our creators greatest love would bring me immeasurable pride.”

“Can we get you some clothes?” Eliza crouched down and hugged the sweet creature that offered herself so eagerly. “And maybe not so much bowing and kneeling. It makes me nervous.”

“As you wish, Lady Eliza.” Vale stood proudly and her small wings fluttered as she dressed in a pale blue dress matching shoes. “You will let me stay with you?”

“When it’s appropriate, sure.” Eliza smiled. She just couldn’t say no the desperate expression. “I don’t know how things like this work. Be patient with me, Vale.”

“Don’t look so sad girls.” Vikarr addressed the others. “You will all serve her as necessary.”

“Having her with you will make it easy for you to come and go between here and Nihil with ease. It was not an offer I expected, but there are few gifts as grand.” Vale stood beside Eliza and humble accepted the adoration of her sisters. Vikarr brushed Eliza’s face softly with his fingers. “I know you will be a kind Master.”

“I think I would rather aim for friend.” Eliza smiled and turned to the smiles of the others. “That goes for all of you.”

“What are those?” Eliza grabbed Vikarr’s coat and pointed to the stairs. Tiny pointed eared critters looked over them curiously. They were like boy fairies. Though they were dressed and wingless.

“Curious little creatures.” Vikarr smiled. “Brownies. Fairies of a sort. Though don’t tell any fairy that. I’ve forgotten who created them, they were meant to be companions to the fairies, but they were ill received. They take shelter from the winged beauties that taunt them in the homes that allow it. For simple gifts they will get up to all sorts of mischief for me.”

“They are so cute.” Eliza grinned. “I’ve seen fairies since I was a girl, but never those. They could be leprechauns!”

“They’ll take longer to win over.” Vikarr leaned and kissed her cheek. “But that they’ve shown themselves to you is amazing. They don’t generally like to be seen.”

“So can I take Vale to your meeting?” Eliza asked hopefully.

“She’ll have to wait in the throne room, but yes.” Vikarr smiled at her. “She can walk there with us. It will be my first meeting, I don’t want to be late.”

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Nihil : Nihil : The Circle of Nihil Pt.2

“Wow.” Donovan leaned into Mala’s office. “Those two are something else.”

“I think they work pretty well.” Mala smiled as he dropped a stack of papers to the floor and grabbed a handful of pretzels from the bag on his desk. “Did you bring me coffee?”

“I did.” Donovan walked in and sat the cup on the desk. “I’m going to have a chat with Caleb later. Vikarr’s lovely wife might be willing to partner up and turn that garbage heap into something I don’t want to burn to the ground.”

“I vote for adding a kitchen!” Mala smiled and grabbed his coffee. “What else have you been up to?”

“Suffering my way through places I like about as much as Sordid.” Donovan wandered behind Mala’s chair and ran his fingers through the soft dark hair he had loved since they met. “I got you something.”

“More snacks?” Mala looked up at him hopefully.

“No, you goober.” Donovan laughed and pulled the gift from his pocket. Mala lit up as he unfastened the fancy locking clasp on the thin leather strap. “You better like this.”

“Put it on.” Mala bounced in his seat and smiled as Donovan slid the soft leather against his neck and tightened it until it sat perfectly centered on his throat. “Still pretty?”

“You are always beautiful, angel.” Donovan winked at him and fished the thin silver necklace out of his shirt collar to dangle the key over Mala. “And all mine.”

“Nicely done, Donovan.” Lucifer clapped from the chair in front of Mala’s desk.

“Hello!” Mala smiled and ran his fingers over his neck. The collar was soft and the thin silver ring at its center was cool against his skin. He was thrilled with the gesture and the fact Donovan had found something that had a piece he could keep with him made Mala tear up. As he greeted Lucifer he grabbed the thin silver chain and key Donovan wore and pushed magic through his fingers into it and his own collar to ensure they would never break, never fade, never deteriorate as human creations tend to. He wanted Donovan’s gift to be everything he knew it was meant to be. “Did you need our company at tonight’s gathering as well?”

“No.” Lucifer grinned. “I just wanted to congratulate the two of you properly.”

“Thanks.” Donovan started to straighten a mess of pages on the desk.

“Don’t.” Mala took his hand. “I’ll forget where everything is.”

“I hate to add more work when your head is adjusting to a new position and breaking in his bride.” Lucifer laughed at Mala’s interesting system and how he guarded his mess against his helpful husband. “But Nihil is responsible for the reserve in the north.”

“I check on it.” Donovan defended. “That place does not like me. If Mala isn’t with me the critters scatter.”

“I wasn’t accusing you of negligence.” Lucifer realized it must seem almost haunted to Donovan. Most of the creatures in Tsuriai’s reserves were bolder than those that stayed in more detached realms like the gardens of Itami and Parasek, but they were still leery of any but the demons that were meant to protect them. “I just want it monitored more closely. There have been disturbing reports of humans attacking delicate species.”

“I’ll increase my visits.” Mala frowned. “I don’t understand why anyone would attack them. None of them leave the reserve, they’ve never harmed anyone.”

“You just keep them safe, Mala.” Lucifer rose to his feet. “The Council will look into ‘why’.”

“I guess you’ll be going to see Caleb on your own.” Mala pouted after Lucifer left them as quickly as he had arrived. Mala finished his coffee before he stood and slid his arms around Donovan’s waist. “Give him a big hug for me.”

“Going to try this out first.” Donovan slid his finger through the silver ring on Mala’s collar and pulled him close to kiss him. He hated to admit it, but there was a perverse pleasure in it. He had always been gentle with Mala, but a little controlling as well. This was never a step he would have considered, but he felt Mala smiling when he kissed him. “I can see why the guy with the stripy husband likes this.”

“Stripy?” Mala giggled. “You mean Azazel?”

“Whatever.” Donovan shrugged and pulled out a part of the gift he wasn’t going to bother with. He hooked it through the ring and wrapped the length of the thin strap around Mala. “Caleb can wait. I’ll go play in the woods with you.”

“Unfortunately, this will not be playtime.” Mala shifted them both to the reserve and gave Donovan a gentle kiss and Donovan unwrapped the playful gesture when he smelled something off.

“Follow me, guardian.” A bold and sullen centaur approached the pair. His relief at seeing the demon was soured somewhat by the arrival of his vampire companion. Vampires were once human, and the creatures of this forest had no love for the mortal race. Especially now.

“It smells like death.” Donovan had visited this forest hundreds of times. With Mala the creatures were warm but skeptical of him, alone he was avoided but never felt threatened. Today it was not just uncomfortable to walk through the trees; it was misery. The creatures here were not wasteful enough to ever leave such a vulgar stench of decay. The reserve had been tainted and Donovan felt responsible.

“A pungent reminder of our losses.” The centaur explained as he led them through once lush foliage that lay broken and damaged in the path. That alone was enough to inspire the agony of loss for creatures so in tune with the nature around them, but there were deeper troubles here.

“Why did you not call for me sooner?” Mala’s eyes were already glossed with tears as the smell of rot became more powerful. “I am meant to protect you.”

“Do not weep demon.” The centaur hung his head as they walked. “This place has seen enough tears and we do not blame you for what has happened here. Many of us are still in mourning; we were not ready to burden you with these troubles. We took time to let the sting of these tragedies wane; we did not want to call on you in anger.”

“No.” Mala turned his head to Donovan’s shoulder and wept after seeing what had been done. “It was a child.”

“Unable to enjoy even a month of his life.” The centaur added sadly. The creature lying in a bed of trampled flora had been cornered, beaten and crudely butchered. Smaller creatures still gathered to offer songs of sadness and filled the ground around the fallen with tears. “He came to play and found fear and death. We are all guilty of failing to protect the child and others like him. We have had rare human visitors, but avoidance that usually prevented trouble has cost us dearly.”

“Why would anyone do this?” Donovan was disgusted and furious. The creature had been mutilated and left to gather the tears of hundreds. “He was so small.”

“At his age, he was easy to overwhelm.” The centaur was joined by one of his kin that explained what was beginning in Tsuriai. “The humans have begun to hunt the defenseless for sport.”

“This is abhorrent.” Mala shouted and drew a lance from the chaos. He was almost never quick to anger, but to see a child brutally murdered for nothing more than the brief entertainment of cruel humans brought out a long silent part of the angel and he was ready to run off for vengeance. “Unforgiveable. I will see the filth suffer for this!”

“Calm down, angel.” Donovan took Mala gently by his shoulders. He was no less disgusted. No less angry. Still he wanted Mala to be reasonable before they made more trouble than necessary. “First we need to make this place safer. We’ll hunt down the guilty once we are sure this is the last creature to fall here.”

“Thank you, Donovan.” Mala inhaled and lowered his weapon. He wiped the tears for his face and was thankful he had brought Donovan along. Alone he would have let fury steer his course. “I will call on lessers to secure the borders, and a few friends in Heaven to guide them.”

“I will more frequently come to monitor things.” Donovan offered humbly as he looked to the noble centaurs that were guilt stricken for failing to protect such a creature. “I know I am not as welcome here, but I am just as responsible for your protection. I am appalled by what has been done here and saddened to see the humans we protect dishonor this place.”

“We will see to it the forest accepts you warmly, vampire.” The centaurs bowed their heads. “If Lord Lucifer puts his trust in you, we will as well.”

“This is vile, Mala.” Donovan sighed as the centaurs trotted off. He watched Mala silently kneel beside the carcass and lay his hands against it. His fingers swam with magic and he let the earth claim the ashes and use them to build its lush memorial to the fallen.

“This is a problem.” Mala wept quietly as he noticed and lifted from the ground the broken remains of another more tender creature. His hands trembled as he held the broken wings. “These are the wings of a pixie, the most vulnerable of the fairies. They have no magic capable of defending against such cruelty. Itami’s guardians are going to be enraged.”

“Who guards Itami?” Donovan kneeled beside Mala and put his arm around his shoulders.

“Maefyl, Lord Gabriel.” Mala leaned against Donovan. “And Lord Lucifer.”

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Nihil : Nihil : The Circle of Nihil Pt.1

“What’s your problem?” Donovan walked across Vikarr’s office and passed Eliza scowling as she tapped her fingers on her knees.

 “I’m married to a complete asshole.” Eliza snapped at him. “He has slept with half of Tsuriai.”

 “Guess the honeymoon is over.” Donovan shrugged and slid into a chair across from Vikarr as he started to giggle. “So you have that Council thing soon?”

 “Yes.” Vikarr laughed. “Don’t mind, E. She’s upset because she knows one of the men I slept with.”

 “Men?” Donovan had seen Vikarr lure in dozens of women over the years, but never thought he had an interest in men. “That’s new.”

 “Not really.” Vikarr stretched across his desk and winked at Donovan. “Jealous?”

 “I’m going to break your face, Vivi.” Eliza shouted at him.

 “Settle down, young fang.” Donovan laughed. “I’m not interested and he is kidding.”

 “She is so pretty when she’s jealous.” Vikarr laid his head on his arms and smiled over at her. “Also only half kidding.”

 “That’s it!” Eliza jumped to her feet and ran across the office. She slapped Vikarr across the face when he turned and smiled at her. “I’m going to tear that bubbly bitch apart so I don’t have to look at him.”

 “You are so very gorgeous.” Vikarr pulled her across his lap and stroked her face. “I think enough of Nihil’s vampires have died recently. Spare the poor dear, he doesn’t even know it was me.”

 “Vampire?” Donovan looked across the desk confused and bothered. “And no offense, but you kind of stand out. How would anyone not know?”

 “The shifty fucker changes what he looks like.” Eliza squirmed as Vikarr kissed her neck. “Would you let go, Vivi?”

 “Nope.” Vikarr tightened his arm around her and giggled as he scoot the chair closer to his desk again. “Did you need something, Donovan?”

 “You asked me to check on everything.” Donovan shook his head. “I can just fill you in later.”

 “Just give me the short version.” Vikarr dangled a mouse for Doma and dropped it when he got her attention. He watched her scurry after it and rested his hand on Eliza’s knee. She just continued to pout at him.

 “Short version is everything is great.” Donovan had already sent the long version; he just didn’t expect Vikarr to have the time for it. “Thanks to Maefyl and Mala the problems are out and I’ve only gotten a handful of messages from concerned residents about disappearing friends. No more trouble in her fornication factory, either.”

 “You trying to start a fight, cue ball?” Eliza glared at him.

 “That place is trash.” Donovan grinned at her. “As far as I’m concerned, as long as you’re making a profit on the obscene, you are just as disgusting. You want my respect shut it down and behave.”

 “I do behave.” Eliza crossed her arms in front of her. She didn’t really need the pantry any more, but she liked the music and dancing. She liked running the place. Eliza nudged at Vikarr. “Are you okay with it?”

 “I’m indifferent to the club itself.” Vikarr rubbed her leg. “My only complaint is that it will steal away time I want for myself.”

 “If I can convince my friend to sell his place and dump something into a remodel would you consider a partner and maybe something a little more upscale?” Donovan suggested. “Your place is huge. It has potential. You get more free time to fight with Vikarr…”

 “Who?” Eliza sighed. It wasn’t a terrible idea and it was probably in her best interest to get along with Vikarr’s friends.

 “Caleb.” Donovan suggested and was surprised by her violent reaction. Donovan stood to defend himself as Vikarr grabbed Eliza before she could finish her leap across the desk. Donovan suddenly realized which vampire Vikarr had seduced into a uniquely anonymous one-night stand. “What the fuck? You nailed Caleb?”

 “Guilty.” Vikarr laughed and wrapped his arms around Eliza in a gentle embrace. “Calm down, lovely. You said you would not get angry.”

 “Fine.” Eliza kicked the desk. “I’ll talk to him.”

 “I’ll be sure you get your fix of the obscene.” Vikarr whispered at her ear before he kissed her. The last few days had been enough to awaken a lust in Eliza that he was happy to indulge. She was eager to please him and he was determined to fulfill her ever desire. She remained mouthy and defiant and he loved making her angry over trivial matters to see the reaction and reap the benefits of the apologies that followed. She still denied any feelings, but little by little they were growing closer.

 “I’m just going to go throw up.” Donovan headed for the door to avoid seeing more of the lovable bickering. It bothered him that Caleb was one of Vikarr’s throwaway romances, but if Eliza was good for anything, it would be an end to Vikarr’s disposable conquests. As he left the office he muttered his more than likely ignored goodbye. “Have fun with the meeting.”

 “Tell me you wouldn’t have actually slept with that judgmental fucker.” Eliza asked hopefully.

 “Donovan?” Vikarr grinned wickedly. “It would have complicated things at the office.”

 “You are disgusting.” Eliza pouted. “I guess you get a hard on for chuckles, too.”

 “Mala? Most definitely.” Vikarr lifted Eliza onto the desk as he chuckled. “Want to punish me for it? We have a few hours before we have to be prim and proper.”

 “For the love of rainbows.” Eliza pulled Vikarr by his tie. “Feed me first, freak.”

 “That’s such an interesting expression.” Vikarr held her as she fed. The sting of her fangs all the more enjoyable in her rage over his lurid past and his flirtatious behavior. “It has something to do with the place you spent your childhood, yes?”

 “No one has ever figured that out.” Eliza looked at him dumbfounded. His words had pulled her away from his neck so quickly that she spilled blood down the front of her.

 “Don’t waste what I give you, lovely.” Vikarr giggled at her expression and ran his finger up her bloody chin as he cleaned her up. “Though you look positively ravishing with your lips wet with blood.”

 “How did you…?” Eliza was still clutching his tie in her fist. She felt childish. It was such a simple thing to care about, but she still held a fondness for her home so long ago. She left it behind, but the phrase she so often used when she was flustered gave her a comforting reminder of simpler times.

 “I decided to read about the land you once called home.” Vikarr smiled at her warmly. In the last few days he had seen expressions of acceptance, but none deeper than the one she wore now. “I wanted to know more about my princess. I was delighted to discover my emerald-eyed beauty was a child in a land of castles and beautiful stories about magic. I especially enjoyed the tales of the mischievous little guardians of riches at…”

 “The end of the rainbow.” Eliza hugged him as she finished his thought. It was such a simple gesture, but this effort from him meant more to her than any pot of gold. “You’re not doing so bad at this prince thing, Vivi.”

 “If you would like, I can take you to see the castles of another realm.” Vikarr offered to forego a heated and likely rushed passion on his desk to share the landscapes of his own home. Since he had peered into her life, he wanted to give her a glimpse of his own. “The estates of the Watchers in Hell are grander than any found in Tsuriai.”

 “You have one?” Eliza was still holding him tightly. Her heart racing over the thoughts in her head. Vikarr was not only gorgeous and far outlived his vain claims at excelling in intimate encounters. He had just shown an interest in her that left her enthralled with another side of him.

 “Of course.” Vikarr lifted her and took her to the gates of his own estate. He kissed her softly as he sat her to the ground and watched her astonishment over the realm. “Welcome home, Eliza.”

 “Vivi, this place is amazing.” Eliza looked at him and his smile distracted her from taking in the wonder of the world around her. She looked at the enormous estate that sprawled out in front of them as she flushed. “This is yours?”

 “Ours, my lovely.” Vikarr put his arm around her and led her over the white stone path that shimmered with flecks of black, just like the walls of his ‘castle’. “Everything I have is yours.”

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Nihil : Nihil : Bending The Rules (18+)

“They seem pretty happy.” Eliza sighed as they stopped in Vikarr’s office. Doma meowed and stretched before she trotted over to Vikarr. Eliza watched him pick her up and kiss her furry head. She looked away and thought of the same gentle kiss he had just given each of his friends and wondered why she was so bothered by it.

 “They are.” Vikarr held Doma in one hand against his shoulder and picked up the tablet on his desk before he shifted them to the apartment. “I will probably spend a few days here looking things over. I am several months behind the others, I don’t want to burden them with inexperience.”

 “How very diligent of you.” Eliza watched him sit Doma on the floor and toss her a mouse. “I liked your hair better down.”

 “I like it up.” Vikarr let his hair fall loose. “But I’ll wear it down at home.”

 “I’m going to go change.” Eliza announced and slammed her door behind her. She had so many aggravating thoughts she wanted to sort through and she could not concentrate with him in the room.

 “It’s like we’re always having two different conversations.” Vikarr muttered to himself as he sat on the couch and unlaced his boots. He listened to Eliza pacing her room as he started to go through messages from the rest of the Council. There was guidance and wisdom amongst the gossip. He grinned at the screen and laughed as the kitten hopped into his lap with its massacred gift. “What have I gotten myself into, Doma?”

 “Are you too busy to talk?” Eliza returned to the room in grey flannel pants and a tiny grey t-shirt. She sat on the couch facing him and nudged his leg her bunny slippers as Doma swatted at the fuzzy ears. “Like actually talk. I have things to sort out, too.”

 “These are cute.” Vikarr smiled and tugged at the ears on her slippers. “We can talk. I’m just reading.”

 “All those friends of yours drop ‘Lords’ and ‘Masters’ like a leper drops fingers and toes.” Eliza pouted. “You don’t expect me to…”

 “I don’t.” Vikarr laughed. “As long as you remember to offer them respect, I doubt they much care if you give them their titles. If they do I’m sure they will let you know.”

 “I meant the married ones. Like, do I have to call you that?” Eliza clarified. “Because ‘Master Vivi’ sounds fucking stupid.”

 “Vivi will be fine on its own.” Vikarr giggled. “Why are you even worried over something that trivial?”

 “Because if I have to sit in on your powwows I need some idea of what’s going on.” Eliza sighed and leaned closer to look at his screen. “What are you looking at?”

 “My new colleagues.” Vikarr offered her the computer and she poked open Asura’s profile.

 “There aren’t many girls in your new club.” Eliza wasn’t as concerned with the gender bias as she was by the fact she would be there as silent arm candy while Vikarr flirted openly with married women. “Guess I should be glad it limits your options. Especially since one is six inches tall.”

 “Why are you so insistent that I am incapable of fidelity?” Vikarr laughed. “And what makes you think gender limits my options?”

 “There’s a picture I did not need in my head.” Eliza smiled at him.

 “Sorry, lovely.” Vikarr pulled the sticks from her hair and tossed them onto the floor before he slid his fingers back through her hair to knock it loose. “I was adventurous before we met.”

 “Hands.” Eliza dodged away from him and poked through more information she was probably not supposed to see. She laid the tablet behind her. “This is all confusing.”

 “I’ll need that back if you’re through with it.” Vikarr held out his hand and instead of returning his computer she used it to pull herself up and straddled his lap. “You are more confusing than anything on that device. You just asked me not to touch you.”

 “I want you to tell me why you shut me down.” Eliza sat his hands on her sides and rested her own on his shoulders.

 “I gave you a more than adequate answer to that already.” Vikarr slid his fingertips under the edge of her shirt. “If you want a simpler one…”

 “I want an honest one.” Eliza sighed.

 “I’m not in the habit of lying.” Vikarr pulled her close. “The answer I gave you was honest, I only omitted a small truth that you would have considered a lie.”

 “What truth?” Eliza told herself to pull away but there was something about the way he held her that made her melt. His fingers just sitting in her hair at the base of her neck and the arm along her spine, his opposite hand pressed into the small of her back to keep her close.

 “That I have fallen in love with you.” Vikarr looked at her sadly. “I want you to…”

 “Then why are you sad?” Eliza touched his lips. “According to your weird rules I’m already yours.”

 “Physically.” Vikarr grinned. “I told you I wanted more than that.”

 “Well, you’ve done everything else backwards.” Eliza had one last chance at a fairy tale. It needed work. She smiled at him and took his face in her hands. “I’m going to give you a chance to prove you can be a proper prince, but I’m a stubborn princess.”

 “And how should a prince go about courting a princess so stubborn?” Vikarr raised his hands beside him and smiled. “Especially without the use of his hands?”

 “I can maybe let you bend that rule.” Eliza pulled his arms around her. “If you promise to behave.”

 “I don’t like behaving.” Vikarr caressed her back beneath her shirt and whispered. “What if I want to break your rules?”

 “Keep your pants on, Vivi.” Eliza laughed and let him pull her closer. “I might let you break a few of them.”

 “Let me take you to bed, lovely.” Vikarr licked the edge of her ear as he ran one hand up her back beneath her shirt and slid his other hand into the waist of her pants. His seduction was interrupted with his own laughter as Doma attacked his toes. Eliza looked at him confused and he explained as he picked up Doma with his foot. “Doma is trying to spoil my fun.”

 “You’re such a freak, Vivi.” Eliza reached for the kitten in his finger like toes and pet her as she held her between them. She saw the screen on the computer light up across the couch and reached for it. As she handed it to him she teased him. “And who said you were going to have any fun?”

 “Thank you.” Vikarr wrapped one arm around her as he looked at the message from Kage that the Council would soon meet again. Vikarr smiled as he sat the interruption aside. “You are stunning, my lovely.”

 “I’m in PJs, Vivi.” Eliza rolled her eyes. “How have you ever talked anyone into bed?”

 “Is that a challenge?” Vikarr chuckled and took Doma from Eliza’s hands and set her aside to remove another distraction. “I was complimenting you, not your attire. Not that it will matter shortly.”

 “And why is that?” Eliza grinned.

 “Because you were about to undress for me.” Vikarr smiled as she flushed. Her sharp retorts escaped her and she started to succumb to the force of his desire, a seductive quality that was nearly unmatched in his kin. Vikarr was not even tapping into the magic he was the unquestioned Master of. “I could use your collar to force you to my bed, but I’m not going to have to. Am I?”

 Eliza shook her head slightly. It was like he had her under a spell, his eyes and smile became fiercely seductive, there a subtle, sensual dominance in his voice that made her breath quicken. Eliza had the feeling he could have done this all along, his touch was making her shiver and she couldn’t look away from him.

 “Feeling vulnerable, lovely?” Vikarr ran his hands down her arms and took her wrists to fold her arms behind her. She nodded and he licked up her neck making her sigh. “Don’t worry. I’ll obey my beautiful princess and stay dressed, but I want a taste of what you are denying me.”

 “What are you doing to me?” Eliza was nearly panting.

 “Nothing intentional. I have a unique set of talents and sometimes this happens.” Vikarr grinned and picked her up as he stood. “You would already be begging for seconds if I were actively trying to seduce you.”

 “I thought a succubus was supposed to be female.” Eliza pressed against him as he carried her down the hall.

 “They are.” Vikarr laughed and stood her on the bed in front of him. He laid his hands on her waist and smiled up at her. “I created the race. Beautiful creatures. My skills, however, are a bit more potent. I’m afraid my desire for you is making it difficult to suppress.”

 “I don’t trust myself right now…” Eliza pushed his hands to the edge of her pants. “You promise you are staying dressed?”

 “At least this time.” Vikarr winked at her and slid her out of her pants before he gave her a gentle push and she fell back into the bed. He crawled between her feet and slid up to her letting her legs rest over his shoulders as he made good on his boast to make her forget all others. Eliza nearly sung his name as she fell victim to more than his seduction. Vikarr was justified in bragging about his capabilities and she started to plea for more than his tongue. He crawled over her and licked his lips as he smiled and teased her with his fingers. “This is all you get today, princess. You made me promise.”

 “Can I at least stay in here with you?” Eliza pawed at him. “I still want to talk.”

 “My bed is yours, lovely.” Vikarr slid an arm under her as he laid beside her. “You still have questions?”

 “All new ones.” Eliza admitted and pulled the side of the blanket up over her waist as she turned to get closer to him. “A lot of them.”

 “Ask.” Vikarr licked his fingers.

 “You are such a pervert.” Eliza flushed. “It’s like you bleed sex. How many…”

 “Please don’t ask me that.” Vikarr pulled her against him. “We can discuss whatever you would like, but don’t ask me things that will make you hate me.”

 “As long as you keep your promise to me; I will promise not to get angry about your past, Vivi.” Eliza smiled and clutched handfuls of his shirt. “But if you expect me to give you a chance, I need to know you.”

 “There have been many lovers, I couldn’t give you an honest number.” Vikarr answered as well as he could and hoped honesty would overpower any anger over it. “A few thousand were my own creations, there have been hundreds of demons and of humans. Very few were more than once. None were more than a means to sate purely physical desires.”

 “A few thousand?!” Eliza imagined the shock on her face read as disgust but she couldn’t help the reaction. “Fuck. Do I have to play step-mother to a bunch of little Vivi’s?”

 “No, lovely.” Vikarr closed his eyes and hoped she could forgive one of his only regrets. “There was only one child and it was born to a mortal a very long time ago. An act of pity when I found the mother begging her gods for a child her mate could not give her. The race was still young and I was curious. It was meant to be a gift. The child caused her death.”

 “That’s awful.” Eliza looked at him sadly. “What about the kid?”

 “A daughter.” Vikarr sighed. He hadn’t even given thought to it in thousands of years. “But I could never claim to be a father. I did not know her. Only her name. Yajna.”

 “Well did she have kids?” Eliza asked and he opened one eye. “You never thought to find out if you have a family?”

 “No.” Vikarr laughed. “It would be nearly impossible to trace back that far. I don’t have the skills for such things.”

 “Well, who would?” Eliza asked. “Doesn’t it bother you at all? I mean you’ve lived all this time. What if you had met a great-great-grandkid? What if I’ve eaten one?”

 “You have strange ideas.” Vikarr smiled and hugged her. “If you’re that curious; ask Lucifer, he is more well versed in the unique talents of his demons. You are welcome to go on a scavenger hunt.”

 “I might just do that since you think I can’t.” Eliza stuck her tongue out at him. “I told you I wasn’t going to play the quiet wife.”

 “I wouldn’t want you to.” Vikarr smiled. He fully expected her efforts to be fruitless, but her interest in him was comforting. She found something to focus on beyond the more lurid details of his past. Eliza may not love him, but she was trying to accept him. “Next question.”

 “Next question can wait.” Eliza pressed against him. “According to the clock behind you, it’s tomorrow.”

 “So it is.” Vikarr turned and smiled. She had been watching the clock as she asked her questions. His stubborn princess was waiting for the expiration of his promise. Eliza sat up beside him and pulled off her shirt. Vikarr leaned up on is arm and ran his fingers up her stomach. Now he could finally play with her. “Is there something you wanted to do today, lovely?”

 “We’re on our honeymoon.” Eliza grinned. “So make it official.”

 “You want me to take you?” Vikarr slid his hand further until he could wrap his fingers behind her neck and pull her down to him. He interpreted her sigh as he licked up her neck as a decided ‘yes’ and bit the edge of her ear before he whispered his own rules. “Then show me, lovely. Seduce your prince.”

 “Now you’re just being mean.” Eliza pouted.

 “Come now, lovely.” Vikarr kissed her cheek before he laced his fingers behind his head and laid back against the pillows. He grinned at her wickedly. “Talk me out of my clothes.”

 “Would you be terribly disappointed if I told you I wouldn’t even know where to start?” Eliza looked away a bit embarrassed by her own lack of experience. “The few times I’ve bothered. And I stress FEW. It was kind of just… I’ve never needed to try.”

 “You wouldn’t.” Vikarr smiled. Eliza was beautiful, she undoubted had received hundreds of offers. Vikarr wrapped the long talons of his foot around her arm and gave her a little tug to make her sit between his legs. “But you don’t expect me to believe you have no ideas. The club you run should have filled your head with all sorts of indecency.”

 “I dance and I eat.” Eliza laughed at his assumption. “I don’t peep on the patrons and I generally turn away when they forget to go upstairs first.”

 “Then I’m going to have to teach you.” Vikarr took her hand in the talons of his foot and laid her fingers at the waist of his pants. “Let’s see how much you can figure out on your own first.”

“Your feet are freaking me out a little.” Eliza laughed when he folded his legs behind her and clutched each of her shoulders with the strangely long toes. She continued sarcastically. “That helped. You’re also freakishly limber.”

 “Which I promise you will learn to enjoy.” Vikarr smiled. “That is, if you ever get me undressed.”

 “You say you want me; then make me wait. You are impossible.” Eliza looked at the thin digits on her shoulder. She was not as bothered as she claimed to be. It was a little strange, but everything about Vikarr was strange. It was part of his charm and she was finally starting to appreciate it. “It’s going to be a long day.”

 “I hope so.” Vikarr sat up and kissed her. With his hands in her hair and his feet still clutching her shoulders to further demonstrate just how limber he was. She returned the passion in his kiss and twisted her fingers in his shirt at his sides. Vikarr smiled as he leaned back and watched her blink open her brilliant green eyes; they were just as fiery in passion as they were in anger. He chuckled as he pulled off his shirt. Vikarr was never so easily swayed, but she would be his always; there would be plenty of time for games and he wanted her just as much as she now wanted him. “You win.”

 “Just be careful with me.” Eliza smiled and let herself fall against his bare chest when he let go of her shoulders and unfolded his legs. “You’re my first demon.”

 “Watcher.” Vikarr corrected and rolled her to her back as he shed the rest of his clothes. “And I will be your only.”

 “Okay, Master Vivi.” Eliza teased him and Vikarr grinned with a wicked satisfaction as he gave her a reason to appreciate him further.

 “Careful, princess.” Vikarr was more tender with Eliza than he had ever been with anyone before her. For the first time he was not just fulfilling his own needs and showing off. “I might begin to like that.”

 “I might begin to like you.” Eliza wrapped her fingers in his hair and tugged it as she smiled. “A little.”

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Nihil : Nihil : Cautious Optimism

There is no good way to start over. Starting over is a second chance; even conceptually it means things went terribly wrong. Eliza didn’t start over and she did not like the idea of second chances. She just moved forward tackling life ferociously. Her unique situation with the demon, that sat at the head of Nihil and now had a place of power over all of Tsuriai, would be no different. Just a new challenge to overcome. One she intended to triumph over. At first her only thought was to reclaim her freedom and put Vikarr and the Circle behind her, but when she realized he wasn’t going to give up so easily she knew it was time to adjust her strategy and employ some new tactics. There was not going to be a new beginning, just the next move in a game she was determined to win.

 After Vikarr put an end to her drunken advances and insisted they occupy their time with something less likely to further damage her opinion of him. Eliza convinced Vikarr that she would join him for his visit if he would indulge her detour to Sordid. He insisted they walk so she would have time to clear her head of the intoxicating strength of his blood and she insisted he start making good on his promise to do ‘anything and everything’. Starting with a demand to leave his grandiose attire behind for the evening.

 “What are you pouting for?” Eliza had asked him to change into something less obnoxious and fussed over the details as they walked. She grabbed the sleeve of his simple black shirt and tore a small hole in it near his wrist with her fangs before she forced his thumb through the hole. “Fix the other one.”

 “Quiet does not equate to pouting.” Vikarr did as she asked and wriggled his fingers. At her request he had simplified his attire and was dressed entirely in black. He had grown so used to his dress shirts and coat that he felt uncomfortable in the closely fitted fabrics, but he had snuck in just a trace of his flair to assert himself. The black boots that wrapped his calves were decorated with white zipper and laces. He straightened the edges of his sleeves over the tops of his hands and sighed. “This seems so boring.”

 “Let this down.” Eliza tugged at his ponytail and ignored his complaint as she further tweaked his appearance. She smirked as he reached up and snapped the tie in his hair and let it fall loose behind him. Vikarr was odd, but it was easy to set aside his stranger qualities when they came together to create the living work of art. Eliza realized in the last few days that demons like Vikarr had a strange perfection to them, but even among glittering examples of beauty he stood apart as much as he did among humans.

 “Anything else, lovely?” Vikarr laughed at her frivolous demands as she played a game of dress up with him. He was too glad to be walking with her to be bothered by it and she seemed completely at ease bossing him around.

 “Un-tuck this.” Eliza pulled at the side of his shirt and watched his grin as he shook his head and complied.

 “Is there a reason for all of this?” Vikarr ran his fingers back through his hair, sliding some of the shorter black hair through the longer white.

 “I want you to at least look approachable if I have to be seen with you.” Eliza sighed as she unlocked the back door of Sordid to sneak in quietly. “Don’t worry, Vivi. You are still painfully recognizable.”

 “If you are that ashamed to be seen with me I can just wait here.” Vikarr made every effort to honor her requests and cater to her wishes. While her resistance frustrated him, he realized there would always be a difference in how their emotions moved them. Vampirism had not rid her of the doubts of a human heart and it would take him time to learn what it took to care for something so fragile.

 “Just come on.” Eliza pulled him inside by his shirt as she rolled her eyes. “Try not to embarrass me.”

 “E! Where have you been?” One of Eliza’s more reliable night managers ran over to greet her but stopped in her tracks at the sight of the demon behind her boss. “Shit. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

 “Don’t mind him.” Eliza smiled and hugged the girl and led her to the edge of the bar to have a quick chat. Vikarr stayed close behind Eliza and tried to look uninterested but Eliza knew he was listening to every word. Jen was decent with the books, discreet with the patrons and much like Eliza enjoyed the music more then the motivations that took so many to the privacy available upstairs. “So are things running smoothly?”

 “Isn’t that Vikarr?” Jen whispered nervously to Eliza. “I heard he had been here. Are we in some kind of trouble with the Circle?”

 “No trouble.” Eliza winked at her. “I asked the Circle for help with some of our problems. It should be taken care of.”

 “Is this a tattoo?” Jen grabbed Eliza’s shoulder and looked at the ribbon of black running down her back. “That’s pretty bad ass.”

 “Not really.” Eliza sighed. “If things are hanging on well enough I might bail for a few more days. Can you give everyone a heads up for me?”

 “Sure.” Jen gave her a puzzled look and tried not to stare at the demon that had attracted the attention of half the club. “You have a reason for the vacation? After Brett and Michelle going missing, people are more nosey about call outs.”

 “Honeymoon?” Eliza grinned and pulled one of Vikarr’s arms around her. She didn’t even have to look to know he was grinning behind her.

 “You’re joking, right?” Jen started to laugh, but her jaw nearly fell from her face as she watched Vikarr wrap his other arm around E. She reached for her phone with a nervous excitement. “OML, I have to tell everyone.”

 “Please do.” Eliza smirked and squeezed Vikarr’s wrist. “I don’t want to have to fight off any local tramps.”

 “Can I grab a picture?” Jen shook her phone and gave Vikarr a nervous smile. She giggled when he lifted Eliza onto the bar and wrapped her his arm around her. She snapped the picture just as he grinned from Eliza’s peck on his cheek. Jen walked away laughing. “That’ll keep the tramps off of him.”

 “Don’t get the wrong idea, Vivi.” Eliza whispered to him as she hopped off the bar on front of him. “But fair is fair. If I’m stuck with you, I have to mark my territory.”

 Eliza ordered Vikarr a drink and leaned on the bar beside him as she chatted up a few employees and frequent patrons. They gushed over her sudden marriage and kept a discreet distance as they evaluated the intimidating husband at her side. Eliza was amazed at the myriad of stupid questions and answered most of them vaguely as Vikarr chuckled over his drinks.

 After settling the subject of her unscheduled vacation and a few ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’ Eliza lead Vikarr though an envious crowd and out the front door. Once they were away from prying eyes she pushed his arm off of her shoulders and shook her head.

 “You seem to enjoy flaunting a marriage you don’t approve of.” Vikarr laughed as laid his hand against the bare skin of her back. “People will start to think you are in love.”

 “People can think whatever they want.” Eliza elbowed him in the side. “Hands off, Vivi. Where do your friends live?”

 “Near the Circle building.” Vikarr smiled. “You still plan on joining me?”

 “I said I would if you behaved.” Eliza sighed. She would rather crawl into the bath and wash away her own embarrassing behavior, but she felt compelled to keep a close eye on her husband. It wasn’t even the idea that letting him wander off alone would cause her to ache again, she just didn’t like the idea of him having fun with his friends while she moped around. “I am not really looking forward to it, but I’ll go.”

 “How are you feeling?” Vikarr stroked the back of his fingers down her arm. “If your head is clear enough I can make the journey quicker.”

 “I’m fine.” Eliza grinned. “Do I need to step in front of another car to get you to fly?”

 “All you have to do is ask, lovely” Vikarr’s wings sprung from his back as he bowed to her. “I’ll have to hold you again…”

 “Don’t make a big deal out of it, Vivi.” Eliza rolled her eyes and started mumbling as she stepped in front of him. She wasn’t sure if she was more frustrated because he had done the decent thing, making it hard to be angry at him, or because he had felt he need to point it out so matter-of-factly. “Let’s just go.”

 “Hold tight.” Vikarr giggled as he grabbed her and leapt into flight. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he took her high above the rooftops, but once she settled she loosened her grip and let him hold her. She smiled as she took in the skyline they flew past and rested her head on his shoulder. “You enjoy this?”

 “It just makes me feel comfortable.” Eliza admitted. She didn’t know if it was the freedom of flight, the contentedness that her dreams had promised her or the warmth of the arms that held her. She just felt safe and protected. As much as she didn’t want to believe Vikarr was the faceless savior in her dream, it had been his wings she relied on to catch her when she pushed away from the edge. Eliza realized suddenly that she trusted him and she turned her face to hide her smile as she thought to herself. ‘I still don’t like him.’ As he slowed and lowered her to her feet Eliza straighten her shirt. “I guess they have a big fancy place like you.”

 “Mala does.” Vikarr shrugged. “This is Donovan’s home, I’ve never been here.”

Breakseal

“Turtle shell!” Mala jumped onto Donovan’s back when he went to get more snacks. He wrapped around him giggling. “Turtle, turtle”

“Sounds like turtle has company.” Donovan grabbed a pack of cookies for Mala and went to answer the soft knock at the door.

“Tickle me.” Dodo demanded as they passed the perch and Mala obliged Dodo with a quick rub of the feathers under his beak.

“Hey boss.” Donovan smiled as he opened the door. “Sorry about the mess.”

“We’re a turtle!” Mala giggled and noticed Vikarr had managed to convince Eliza to come along. He smiled over Donovan’s shoulder. “Hello again Miss Drake.”

“Come on in.” Donovan stood aside and sighed at the state of the apartment. Mala had left the bags from his snacks everywhere and the pillows were strewn about from a pillow battle that had just ended. Vikarr bowed his head as he entered and Eliza followed him quietly. “We were going to put in another movie.”

“Hello, stupid.” Dodo flapped as he greeted the guests.

“I think he’s talking to you.” Eliza poked Vikarr as she went to see the vocal pet. “What’s his name?”

“That’s Dodo.” Donovan let Mala slip to the couch and handed him his cookies before he straightened up a few pillows and made an awkward attempt to be a good host. “I know she can’t eat, but do you want anything Vikarr?”

“Nothing in particular.” Vikarr snatched a few cookies as Mala tore open the plastic and he sat at the opposite end of the couch as he watched Eliza petting the parrot that demanded tickling.

“You going to join us?” Mala smiled over at Eliza as Donovan lifted him off the couch to sit. Mala settled comfortable on Donovan’s lap as he poked a few things to start the movie.

“I don’t want to crowd you guys.” Eliza pouted about the remaining seat beside Vikarr and sat on the floor instead.

“Just sit.” Vikarr pulled her from the floor and gave her his seat as he moved closer the others. He snuck another cookie from Mala as Donovan shook his head. “I’m glad to see the two of you so happy.”

“Aren’t you?” Donovan teased as he pulled up a message they had received from Caleb just a short while ago. He showed it to Vikarr and winked at him. “Cause this looks pretty happy.”

“How the fuck do you have that already?” Eliza noticed the picture and half crawled over Vikarr to see how it had turned out. She had done it to tease him and it almost hurt that he looked so genuinely happy in the picture. “That was just… I don’t want him picking up any more girls at Sordid.”

“I won’t be picking up girls anywhere.” Vikarr sighed and kept his hands well away from her until she leaned back into her seat. Then he took one last look at the picture and grinned at Donovan. “Send me that.”

“So was this the first kiss?” Donovan sent the photo and laughed.

“Not sweet enough for a first kiss.” Mala evaluated the picture and regretted the opinion when Vikarr’s smiled faded a moment.

“Let me see these.” Vikarr hid his sadness quickly and took Mala’s wrist to see the delicate symbols of their union. “This is beautiful.”

Eliza turned away and sniffled. She had seen Vikarr’s reaction and felt guilt for blundering what Vikarr had wanted to be the sweet moment Mala mentioned. Eliza felt his hand gently cross her back and he rested his fingers over her shoulder. Without a word they conveyed an apology and forgiveness and it made Eliza shiver. Vikarr gave her a gentle squeeze and started to withdraw his arm. Eliza leaned against his side and pulled the arm back around her. She was surprised he accepted the gesture without gloating. Instead he just kept his arm rested around her and focused on simple conversation with their hosts as they watched a movie that they paid little attention to.

“Shouldn’t you go feed your kitten?” Eliza suggested when the movie ended. There was nothing like seeing other people happy to help you realize how miserable you are. After spending two hours watching Donovan and Mala fawn all over each other she just wanted to be away from it. Any excuse would do. “She’s been alone for hours.”

“Probably.” Vikarr thought it was probably best to keep his first visit to Donovan’s home short anyway. The happy couple had things worth celebrating alone. He pulled his white hair back into a ponytail as he stood and leaned over to kiss both Mala and Donovan on their foreheads. “I am happy for the both of you. Thank you for inviting me.”

“Anytime, boss.” Donovan smiled. “Should I walk you to the door or are you just going to disappear?”

“No need to get up.” Vikarr laughed and helped Eliza to her feet. “I’ll see you, soon.”

“You’re getting cold.” As the two of them vanished Mala cuddled close to Donovan. “Are you going to run off?”

“Nope.” Donovan kissed Mala and picked him up as he stood. He playfully inspected Mala’s neck and teased him with inquisitive hums.

“What are you doing?” Mala giggled as Donovan carried him down the hallway.

“Trying to figure out where the straw goes.” Donovan chuckled and dropped Mala on the bed. He crawled over him and left sweet kisses up his neck. “I think my juice box is defective.”

“I think you just need to unwrap it first.” Mala wriggled out of his sweater and bit his lip as Donovan bit into his neck and caressed his side. As Donovan bit harder and wrapped his arm behind him, Mala let out a seductive sigh and pulled Donovan against him. “I love when you do this.”

“Then I guess I need to start building a tolerance, angel.” Donovan giggled. “All that sugar you eat messes with my head.”

“I think you like it.” Mala teased and shifted behind Donovan and wrapped around his back tickling his sides until he rolled over laughing. “Turtle!”

“Stop it, Mala!” Donovan laughed. Dodo echoed his pleas and whistled in the living room as Mala relentlessly continued his loving attack. Donovan loved every second of it and hoped their friend and colleague would find this find of happiness.

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Nihil : Nihil : From the Desk of Lucifer

Fate is a tricky concept for me to accept. It is hard to believe in destiny when you’ve so often manipulated the course of lives, but the events that began in Nihil had curious timing. What should have been a simple task opened the door to plots that will leave scars, but it also offered a solution to another problem. As Fukushu left the table, Nihil offered a new shadow.

 

Vikarr is an odd choice to replace the dragon, but he should be an interesting addition to the Council of Lords. Whether he will be a benefit or a curse remains to be seen, but he too has been touched by a new destiny that rapidly altered his path. The girl who blindly carries his heart has reigned in a lifetime of vicious debauchery with a blink of her eyes. If not for the way his efforts to commit to her have softened and focused him, I might have refused his place at the Council table. The Jester has always been loyal, but he is a wild card.

 

I’ll be watching Nihil with great interest. Not only to be sure Vikarr embraces his new power with some level of grace, but to witness the growth of a love powerful enough to bring a Watcher to his knees.

 

Maefyl adjusted quickly as usual and managed to control himself for a change. Though his calm demeanor and acceptance of recent events may only be a calm before the storm he will bring me. He will come to me for answers soon and neither he nor Gabby are going to like the lessons I have in store for them. Lilith worries that I am rushing this. That I have pushed too far, too fast. The truth is she may be right, but I lost too much time protecting my children. My absence as a father in their youth has cost me. I have lost my daughter to her Masters. I will not lose my son. I was fortunate to keep a presence in his life, to call him friend, now I have to fill the role I never should have hidden from and I hope the friendship survives my parenting.

 

In the meantime, my infant Council has to recover from its unscheduled surgery and it needs to do so quickly. It may be for the best that Fukushu has given up her place; she and Nikumu will be needed to keep Itami in order. Humans have once again proven that they are unable to appreciate the gifts they are given. After so long, it saddens me to see them returning to a barbaric need to destroy for amusement. I give them peace and protection and they slaughter for a twisted idea of entertainment. The Council will have to make difficult decisions and the Circles will have to adjust to this new human fascination before they do more damage to the delicate races the Watchers love.

                                                                                -L

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Nihil : Changes : Relief In Nihil (18+)

“I guess we wore out our welcome.” Donovan laughed at their sudden arrival in Nihil’s Circle building and took Mala’s hand to inspect his wrist. “At least it’s pretty. I was afraid he was going to make a mess of my angel.”

“I think it’s perfect.” Mala smiled and rubbed Donovan’s matching band. “I’m sorry it was painful for you.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” Donovan pulled Mala’s arms around him. “As long as it makes you happy. Should we wait for Vikarr? Is he even going to stay in Nihil?”

“The others kept their places on Circles.” Mala wondered if it was even an option for him to leave, or if Vikarr would want to. “We can wait.”

“Or we can leave him a message to meet us later.” Donovan grinned. “I have an idea. Let’s go home.”

Donovan settled Mala on the couch with snacks for Dodo to keep them both out of the kitchen and went work on his effort. He was thankful for Mala’s odd taste in sweets stocking the kitchen with everything he needed. He set out to make Mala a suitable gift to celebrate. When he went to sit a fifth pancake on the stack there were only two on the plate and he grinned. His surprise might end up being more difficult than he had planned. He started to mix up another batch and caught Mala by the wrist when he tried to sneak out with another treat.

“Gotcha.” Donovan laughed when Mala turned already nibbling on his thieved snack. “You are going to make me run out before I finish.”

“Can’t help it.” Mala smiled. “I love your pancakes.”

“Out.” Donovan kissed him and tossed him a bag of chips from the counter. “Eat those.”

“Daddy is being mean, Dodo.” Mala laughed as he returned to the couch with half of his pancake and his chips. He decided to let Donovan have his fun in the kitchen and entertained Dodo. The smell of sweetened batter almost drew Mala back into the kitchen, but he behaved long enough and Donovan eventually wandered out smiling.

“Now I know this isn’t exactly what you wanted, but if I have this much trouble keeping you out of the kitchen I’ll never a manage a real one.” Donovan handed Mala a fork and leaned over to kiss him.

“A real what?” Mala poked at Donovan with the fork. “You didn’t bring me my pancakes.”

“Hold on.” Donovan ran back to grab his finished surprise and wished he had more time to work on it. He carried the plate to Mala and sat it on his lap.

“You made me a wedding cake!” Mala’s lip quivered. It was a complete mess. Donovan was many things, but not an artist. The purple icing flowers looked nothing like the pictures in the book. They were almost pathetically wilted. The groom and groom had been lovingly crafted out of little bits of the ties from bags of rolls; one even had sloppy little wings. The white icing was far from smooth and had slipped off in spots to reveal the five layers of pancakes incased between more of the sugary mess. Mala had never seen a more beautiful cake and he cried as Donovan sat beside him. “I love it.”

“I love you.” Donovan put his hand around Mala’s and helped butcher out the first slice. “I can at least cut it with you, but unless you want to hold back my hair later I can’t really share it.”

“You don’t have any hair.” Mala giggled and let Donovan feed him his first bite. Mala cuddled close to Donovan, smiling as Donovan took the fork and put his arm around him. Mala opened his mouth playfully. “Aah.”

“I’ll just have to watch you enjoy it.” Donovan laughed. They snuggled together and Donovan fed Mala every bite of their wedding pancakes lit by the television neither even realized was on as they watched each other smiling. Their love for each other had survived longing, loss, disaster and secrecy. It had been constant and unconditional. And it would never end.

Breakseal

 

The other great love in Nihil had more unfortunate obstacles to overcome. It began with turmoil, misunderstandings, pain and lies. Its only constants had been denial and resistance. It was one sided and painful, and Vikarr refused to let it end. He was becoming more enamored with her by the minute. He wanted to find a way to win her over, but if he could not he had the means to make her stay. He made his decision and he would have his bride at his side. He just wanted more than obedience.

 “I guess this means you’re some kind of big shot, now.” Eliza stared at him as they returned to Nihil.

 “It will mean extra work.” Vikarr smiled at her and pushed open the door to his office. “I’ll have less time to pester you.”

 “What is all this crazy camel shit about my feeding?” Eliza followed after him angrily. “You don’t honestly expect me to start cozying up to you when I get hungry, do you?”

 “I expect you to at least try it.” Vikarr laughed. “Not the cozying up to me… though I would not mind that either. Blood is blood, it will not kill you to try mine.”

 “This is not fair, Vivi.” Eliza slammed herself into a chair in front of his desk. “You have completely destroyed my life. Why do I have to follow these stupid rules? I was perfectly fine before I met you.”

 “Whatever will I do?” Vikarr mocked her overly dramatic claim as he scooped his kitten off the floor. “A powerful demon has offered me everything I could possibly want. Woe is me.”

 “You’re making fun of me?” Eliza pouted. “You’re the freak, Vivi. You don’t get to make fun of me.”

 “I see news travels as fast as ever.” Vikarr mumbled as the screen on his desk flickered for his attention. He flipped through them quickly as he pet Doma. Several old acquaintances already asking favors of his position. None of whom he cared enough for to even respond to. And a message of congratulations from Mala and Donovan, complete with an invitation to celebrate their bliss and his promotion together. “At least I seem to have two friends, Doma.”

 “Lonely at the top? Maybe if you weren’t such a…” Eliza scoffed at him, but stopped as he hung his head. It was the same sadness she saw in his reflection before they had left Nihil. “Never mind. If you are still planning to hang out with baldy and chuckles, I’m going to go. I’d like to pretend I still have some sort of life.”

 “I want you to have a life with me.” Vikarr muttered too quietly for her to hear. He saw Mala and Donovan in their bliss and he envied them. He envied the Watchers he admired with their brides smiling proudly beside them. Even the loathsome Keeper had won the love of his pets.

 “What was that?” Eliza hadn’t heard the miserable plea and assumed he was only trying to bait her closer.

 “Nothing.” Vikarr smiled up at her. Seeming weak and desperate would do nothing to charm her. She already hated him enough without giving her a reason to find him unworthy. “If you aren’t going to join me, I’ll just wait for you here. No point in interrupting their happiness only to gloat over a position I was likely given for the sake of convenience. Enjoy your evening, lovely.”

 “What if I’m hungry?” Eliza smirked.

 “Then I will probably be scolded for not doing as I was told.” Vikarr slid out of his coat and threw it over the back of his chair before he sat and sifted over details Kage had sent him. “I would be glad to bleed for you, but my efforts to do kind things for you only seem to make you angry. It will not be the first time I’ve been disciplined.”

 “Why are you so willing to stick your neck out for me?” Eliza jumped to her feet and leaned over his desk.

 “You are my bride.” Vikarr smiled up at her. “I will always defend you.”

 “Well, I don’t want you to try and guilt me over it.” Eliza pushed his computer aside and crawled onto the desk. “Am I supposed to just bite you?”

 “I’m not the vampire.” Vikarr laughed. “You tell me.”

 “Don’t touch me.” Eliza warned as she moved closer.

 “Take my wrists.” Vikarr offered his arms and brought his chair closer. “You can keep track of my hands that way.”

 “Leave them here.” Eliza put his hands on the desk to either side of her legs and held his wrist as she leaned closer. “Tilt your head, your hair is in the way.”

 Eliza was not even this nervous the first time she tasted blood. Vikarr’s compliance was complete and docile. We waited still and quiet as she steadied herself on his wrists and leaned to the freely offered skin of his neck. She felt only the tiniest tense in his muscles as her fangs tore his skin, but he kept still as she clamped her lips over the wound. The trickle she had before was taken in defensive anger and she had barely tasted it. Now she had his veins willingly open and the taste was the least of what she was going to enjoy of his blood. She had the strange thought that there was something she could love about him and started to laugh, spilling blood down his shirt.

 “Sorry, I made a mess.” Eliza giggled and smeared the blood on his neck with her fingers. She started to lose her balance and fall but Vikarr caught her shoulders. Eliza pushed at his fingers. She felt silly, but amazing. “That’s not how you’re supposed to catch me.”

 “I think perhaps you’ve taken too much.” Vikarr pushed her back to sit on her feet and cleaned himself up as he replaced his hands on the desk beside her.

 “You kept bleeding.” Eliza giggled and inched closer until she fell into his lap. “Whoops.”

 “Eliza.” Vikarr sighed. He hated what he was about to say. He could easily take advantage of her like this. He kept his hands against the desk as she slid hers along his neck. “You do not want this.”

 “Shut up, Vivi.” Eliza pressed against him. “I said you couldn’t touch me, not that I couldn’t touch you.”

 “That hardly seems fair.” Vikarr laughed until she leaned in and pressed her lips against his. His fingers cracked the surface of his desk as he reminded himself not to grab her. When he tried to utter another word of caution she only tilted to give a more passionate kiss that nearly broke his resolve. She slipped her finger into the knot of his tie and pulled it loose as she kissed him. He wanted to love every second of her sudden interest but was haunted by what would follow. He reluctantly turned away enough to end her kiss and she pouted at him. “As much as I want you to continue, you are going to blame me for this.”

 “Probably.” Eliza slid his tie off and tossed it behind her as she justified her drunken actions. “But you’ve seen me naked. Fair is fair. At least I had the decency to kiss you first.”

 “I think you enjoyed what I gave you in return.” Vikarr laid his hand on her back and whispered at her ear. As much as he was willing to behave, he couldn’t help but tease. “I think you have wanted more since I first touched you and you’ve been playing with me.”

 “Hands!” Eliza pinched his neck. “No touching, Vivi. Not until I say its okay.”

 “At the moment I’m not sure you have the wits to decide that.” Vikarr folded his arms around her and held her close. “I feel foolish for asking you to stop. If you want your fair glimpse, I’ll undress for you, but only to satisfy your curiosity. Until you’ve regained your senses I think you should follow your own rules.”

 Eliza was floored by his words. She had already started to regain her senses. She felt euphoric and comfortable, but she knew what she was doing. Vikarr was right; she would have used his blood ruining her judgment to blame him for what she was doing. But it gave her an excuse to see what he was under his neatly put together clothes. She never expected him to have the self-control to stop her from giving him what he had been chasing after. He squeezed her a moment before he sat her on the edge of the desk and stood.

 “I think you’ve given Doma a new favorite toy.” Vikarr laughed as the kitten dragged his tie across the room.

 “You said I could see you.” Eliza crossed her ankles behind his legs and grabbed his shirt.

 “You can.” Vikarr left a soft kiss on her lips and unfolded her ankles to sit her legs in front of her. He gently pulled her hands from his shirt and rested them on her knees before he backed away and shed hid clothes.

 “You’re pretty.” Eliza flushed. Aside from his unique feet and ridiculous height Vikarr was exquisite. He had the kind of body girl’s gawked at in magazines. As Eliza hopped to her feet and smiled an eager little grin he redressed and grabbed his coat from the chair. “Hey!”

 “I want you to understand something.” Vikarr slid into his coat and lifted Eliza’s chin as she pouted. “If you tell me now with no uncertainty that you want me, I will take you home and make your forget that anyone else has ever touched you. As much as I will enjoy it; and trust me lovely, I will enjoy it. I want more than that from you. I claimed you as my bride. I will give you anything and everything you ask of me, and I sincerely hope you are demanding of my affection. All I want in return is your love and loyalty. I don’t have the first idea how to win either from you, but I am fairly certain it does not begin with taking advantage of a vulnerable state of mind. I want your mind clear when you make any decision that will further our intimacy. To that end, I think we could both use some air. If you choose to spend a few hours at Sordid, please call on me when you are through. If you can bear my company, however, I would like you to join me. I have friends to congratulate. The choice is yours.”

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