Tag Archives: Jester

TCOL : Death & New Life : The Needed Chemicals Pt.1 (18+)

“For a good boy you are awfully bad once you take your clothes off, honey.” Caleb laid back in Myrt’s arms sore and smiling. “Am I going to be enough for that appetite of yours?”

“Are you complaining?” Myrt bit Caleb’s ear and ran a hand down his stomach. Met with soft moans Myrt turned Caleb’s face to his and kissed him while he stroked life back into the vampire’s libido.

“No.” Caleb spread his fingers through Myrt’s soft hair and smiled. “I think I am falling in love with my husband.”

“Good.” Myrt grinned. “I don’t have to worry about you running away.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Caleb teased. “Sex is too good.”

“You aren’t so bad either.” Myrt pulled him closer. “Do that thing with your tongue again.”

“Only because you’re so tasty.” Caleb turned over and leaned over to taunt him with a seductive grin.

“Do it.” Myrt smiled and leaned up to kiss Caleb’s neck. “Maybe I’ll pay attention this time so I can return the favor.”

“My heart might stop.” Caleb caressed Myrt’s sides as he slid down him and teased him with a quick lick. “Besides, honey. If I am doing it right, there is no paying attention.”

 

Only in his most twisted dreams had Myrt ever imagined so much pleasure, but his time with Caleb had been more than physically rewarding. As explosively passionate as their intimacy had been he was just as thrilled to hold the vampires hand. He was happy in this new part of his life.

 

Still Caleb’s mention of love was frightening. It shouldn’t have been. They were already wed. Love should be the natural progression, but Myrt heard the word and panicked. He managed to cover his fear with humor and continue to enjoy the time alone with Caleb, but in the back of his mind it stuck there like a thorn.

“Where is that blasted thing?” Myrt searched through a tangle of sheets and clothes for the phone that had abruptly ended Caleb’s sweet teasing. He whispered his apologies to Caleb and let the vampire cuddle close as he looked at the screen.

“You should probably answer it.” Caleb rested his head against Myrt. “He’s the Head of Nihil.”

“I don’t much care.” Myrt smirked and kissed Caleb before he answered the phone. “What is it?”

“I did not want to show up uninvited, but I have something for you.” Vikarr wasted no time with pleasantries. “I’ve already contacted your brother. You are both to meet me here and accompany me to the coming Council meeting.”

“Why?” Myrt sighed. “I was told I could live without…”

“This is a Council demand.” Vikarr cut him off. “I don’t much like that they are dragging Mala into this either. Just come.”

The call ended and Myrt dropped the phone to the floor and rolled onto Caleb. Caleb ran his fingers over the scar that wrapped the angels shoulder and smiled sadly.

“Nothing to worry about.” Myrt pulled Caleb with him as he left the comfort of the bed behind. “Come with me?”

“Sure.” Caleb loved the feel of Myrt’s arms around him as he started to straighten up their mess with his magic. A warm tingling passed over his skin and he pulled himself as close as he could. “Where are you going?”

“To see Vikarr and the Council of Lords.” Myrt could see the worry return to his lovers face and he laughed softly and hugged him. “I told you not to worry. They asked for Mala, too. It is probably nothing.”

After freshening up Myrt pulled Caleb along and continued to assure him that there was nothing to worry over. Caleb finally relaxed by the time they reached the Circle building. Donovan was just on his way inside and stopped to greet them by the doors.

“Any idea why the Council wants the two of you?” Donovan had been hesitant to leave and tend to his own work. With no real reason for the summons he didn’t want Mala going without him. “I thought you were retiring from this mess.”

“That was my plan.” Myrt wrapped his arm tighter around Caleb and worried that he would have to leave him behind. “Has Mala already gone?”

“He’s inside with Vikarr.” Donovan led them through the hall quietly. Mala was already making the argument for Donovan to tag along and he imagined Myrt was going to have no trouble choosing a side for the debate. Mala at least had the benefit of being Vikarr’s second and Donovan was at least a member of Nihil’s Circle. Myrt had abandoned loyalty for freedom and Caleb was not likely to have any sway over Vikarr’s decision, but Donovan wanted to give them as decent a chance as he had to stay with each other through whatever was coming. “Vikarr is our friend as much as our boss. You should probably just let Mala do the talking.”

“No promises.” Myrt sighed. “We may be fighting separate battles.”

“I doubt that.” Donovan smiled as he stood beside the door to Vikarr’s office. As it opened he shook his head. Mala was still ranting as loudly as when he had left. “I wasn’t invited either.”

“They’re as entitled to be with us as your bride is to be with you.” Mala was nearly screaming his discontent.

Vikarr had listened to Mala vent his rage with a grin hidden behind his fingers. At Vikarr’s request, Eliza stood beside him with Doma curled up and purring in her arms. Vale let Donovan run past her to comfort Mala, but escorted the others into the room quietly.

“You are part of the Council, boss.” Donovan pulled Mala into his arms and sighed. “What do they want with Mala?”

“His skills, I imagine.” Vikarr giggled. No longer able to contain himself with a larger audience to impress. “You can all relax.”

“He’s just been waiting for everyone to get here, chuckles.” Eliza sighed. “He likes it when you get all riled up.”

“Don’t spoil my fun, lovely.” Vikarr grabbed her chin and kissed her as he stood. He winked at her before he walked around his desk to talk less formally with his irritated guests. “To the best of my knowledge they want to make use of your less combative skills, so I don’t think any of you have reason to worry. I also had already planned on taking your husbands along.”

“So you let him scream for three hours?” Donovan ran his fingers up into Mala’s hair and held him close. “You need to keep him entertained better, E.”

“Fuck you, baldy.” Eliza smirked. “You know he loves to tease.”

“Lord Vikarr.” Vale interrupted sweetly. “It is nearly time.”

Myrt had waited while Caleb clutched at his arms. Stayed quiet to let them have their exchange. When Mala glanced over at him through relieved tears, Myrt leaned against Caleb and sighed. “Taking them along is not the only issue. I don’t have any reason to go.”

“That is where you are wrong.” Vikarr laughed. “You may not give your loyalty to me or even to Lucifer, but you’ve chosen to live in Tsuriai. In Nihil. Devoted or not, you must live by certain rules.”

“I haven’t broken any of these rules.” Myrt looked up at Vikarr angrily as he walked closer and looked down at him with an intimidating grin. “I am not bowing to Lucifer.”

“I haven’t suggested any thing of the sort.” Vikarr grinned wider and grabbed Myrt by his hair. “You will however obey him and the Council. Your presence is requested and I have no intention of failing to deliver you to the Council. I’m inclined to protect you as Mala’s brother, but if you are going to be difficult… ”

“Let him go, Lord Vikarr.” Mala glared at Vikarr and made a cautious approach as the Watcher stared wickedly at his unmoved twin. When he stood beside them he took Vikarr’s wrist gently and smiled sweetly at his brother. “They have only asked to talk, Myrt. Do we really need to fight each other over this?”

“Fine.” Myrt yanked his head away once Vikarr loosened the fingers in his hair. “Don’t touch me again, Vikarr.”

“He can’t seem to help touching.” Eliza fumed and pulled Vikarr by his long white ponytail. “There isn’t any reason to get nasty about it, though. Be nice, Vivi.”

“Anything for you, my lovely.” Vikarr spun and snatched her up in his arms smiling. He kissed her softly as she continued to tug at his hair. “Now if everyone is ready…”

“Stay quiet for me.” Myrt turned Caleb’s face up to his. “I don’t need trouble with Lucifer.”

“No one needs trouble with Lucifer.” Vikarr laughed as he pulled Eliza to him. He grinned as his magic grabbed the others and shifted them to the audience hall of Lucifer’s castle. “Of course, our Lord Lucifer often enjoys seeing us squirm.”

“That I do.” Lucifer grinned from his throne. With Lilith at his feet and Kage beside him holding his young daughter, He looked over the arrival of Nihil’s Circle and the guests Vikarr decided to invite. “Particularly when my patience is tested. I asked for the Lancers, not their lovers.”

“I decided each of them would be more comfortable and more receptive to any request the Council may make of them this way.” Vikarr headed for the large doors to the Council hall. “Vale will look after them when we need to speak to Mala and his brother.”

“I don’t have the time to debate this. Vale can stay here with all of them until then. Just go inside Vikarr.” Lucifer tapped Lilith’s shoulder and she stood. “You had something to discuss, my love?”

“Sort of.” Lilith grinned as she walked off to retrieve the subject of her discussion. “I’ll be back in a moment, my love.”

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TCOL : Death & New Life : Simplicity

“Morning, E.” Caleb yawned into the phone.

 “Don’t morning me.” Eliza growled at him. “Where the fuck did you disappear to? Do you plan on actually visiting Sordid sometime this week, Mr. Partner? I should have never agreed to this.”

 “Schedule was covered, honey.” Caleb sighed. “I only work the bar because I like it. Neither of us are needed in the day to day and I needed a few off. I’ll be there in a few hours.”

 “No wonder your bar was shit.” Eliza hung up.

 “She is in full on bitch mode.” Caleb dropped the phone on the floor and rolled over into Myrt’s arms. “Hey there.”

 “Hey.” Myrt kissed him. In a matter of days he shed thousands of years of guilt for his desire and gave into it so completely that he had to replace it with the new guilt of being a demanding lover. He had taken Caleb to the point of collapse several times and had to heal him frequently after letting his lust cloud his reason and forgetting it was not a natural immortal in his bed. “Do you need more rest?”

 “I’m good.” Caleb pushed himself up and rubbed Myrt’s chest. “Are you coming to work with me?”

 “Absolutely.” Myrt sat up and smiled at Caleb. He pushed the blonde hair back over the vampire’s shoulders and kissed his neck. “You should pull your hair back up. I liked it.”

 “I can do that.” Caleb laughed as Myrt wrapped an arm around him and continued to kiss around his neck. “If you let me out of bed long enough.”

 “Do you like this?” Myrt shifted behind Caleb and ran his hands down his arms to the lace-like cuffs he had left on the vampire’s wrists. Nearly six inches of each forearm covered in a delicate black design that fell slightly down the back of Caleb’s hands where the black changed to purple and ended in a point of gold. “Is it too much?”

 “I love it.” Caleb rested his head back on Myrt’s shoulder and smiled. “It won’t be easy to hide though, honey. So I hope you are ready to explain this to everyone.”

 “You won’t be hiding it.” Myrt kissed Caleb’s cheek. “I’m through with hiding. Go get ready.”

Breakseal

Eliza finished approving playlists and checked every register while she fumed about her absentee partner. She never expected much of Caleb, but it would be nice if he would at least show his face. Eliza never needed the help running Sordid before, and with lessers and succubi as staff things were running more smoothly than ever before. The changes to the club as a whole meant there were less troubles to worry over and in general even her presence wasn’t needed on a daily basis, but it was the principal of the thing. She expected just a little bit of respect and business etiquette considering this merger was doing Caleb more good than her.

“You need to relax.” Donovan sat at the edge of the bar answering messages on his phone while he waited to mediate any fight between the business partners. Eliza glared at him as she straightened a few things behind the bar. “You know at this point the two of you just need to show up once in a while and smile. Caleb actually enjoys working the bar, he will be here plenty. Give him a break, he was moving.”

“Don’t you have better thing to do than sit here and piss me off, baldy?” Eliza chucked an empty bottle into the trash. “I’m not in the mood.”

“Believe me, I’m just thrilled to be stuck babysitting the boss’ favorite slut.” Donovan grinned. “But Vikarr had Council shit to do and Mala is busy, so here we are.”

“Don’t call me a slut.” Eliza grabbed the nearest bottle and threw it at him. She stomped off when he just caught it and sat it on the bar smiling. “I really hate you some days.”

“The feeling is mutual.” Donovan laughed and continued to tend to his work. Since Sordid reopened it was far more tolerable to visit and he didn’t mind answering his messages surrounded by idle chatter and music instead of silence. He and Eliza were getting along better despite the way they bickered with each other and it was not the chore he made it out to be to keep the peace while Vikarr was busy.

“How mad is she?” Caleb put his arm around Donovan and smiled over his shoulder.

“Its E.” Donovan shrugged. “So, potentially eruptive as always. Where have you been?”

“Busy.” Caleb smiled. “I’m going to head upstairs.”

“Can you make sure Vikarr gets this?” Myrt slid a scroll to Donovan before he followed after Caleb.

“Hey!” Eliza started past Donovan when she noticed Caleb wandering through the crowd. “That sneaky shite.”

“Wait.” Donovan grabbed her arm and leapt quickly to avoid a scene, rushing the two of them upstairs. He watched Caleb and Myrt coming up the stairs together. Caleb had again dressed to impress the fashionable clients of Sordid and it seemed Myrt had taken advantage of his tutelage. Myrt was far more subtle in his approach, but being a demon he was no less eye catching and the pair of them were attracting attention. Attention that neither of them seemed to notice or care about as they talked. They just continued their conversation, smiling at each other. “Take it easy, E. Let me talk to them before you start screaming.”

“Still my club, baldy.” Eliza pulled her arm away from Donovan and headed for the VIP bar to wait for Caleb. “I’ll scream all I want.”

“Great.” Donovan intercepted Caleb at the top of the stairs in hopes of talking some sense into someone before there was a fight. “Did you get the new place?”

 

“Are you stalking me, Donovan?” Caleb winked at him and straightened a few strands of hair behind his ear. “Yes. And you can tell E to put her panties on ice. I just needed a few days.”

“Shit.” Donovan sighed when he saw the intricate matching cuffs. “It wasn’t moving that kept you away.”

“Not entirely.” Caleb laughed. “I did move.”

“I guess this is your new address?” Donovan looked at Myrt as he stuffed the scroll into his pocket. “You could have at least called Mala.”

“Like he called me?” Myrt smirked and slid his fingers around Caleb’s hip. “I’m making an effort. I wanted to tell him in person and I’ve been occupied.”

“I’ll bet.” Donovan smiled. “For what it’s worth, I’m happy for you, but Vikarr’s volcano over there is about to blow her top so you might want to turn on your collective charm and start apologizing.”

“I’ll go smooth things over.” Caleb turned to face Myrt a moment and hooked his fingers through two of the angel’s belt loops. “You don’t be too gorgeous over here, honey. I don’t want to have to fight off the competition.”

“Was there anyone else here?” Myrt slid his hands along Caleb’s neck and rubbed it gently with his thumbs. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“I…” Caleb was at a loss for words. A fact he didn’t mind when Myrt pressed his lips against his.

“Wow.” Donovan watched Caleb walk off red and flustered and folded his hands behind his head. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Caleb like that. He’s had some stupid crushes before, but he is actually happy. And quiet. That man will babble to a wall if there is no one else around.”

“I like him.” Myrt shrugged.

“MARRIED!” Eliza shouted as she jumped over the bar and hugged Caleb. “For the love of rainbows! Why didn’t you just call and tell me.”

“If you want him to work you might want to be more careful with him.” Myrt laughed at the spectacle. Eliza was shaking Caleb like a ragdoll in her embrace.

“So you two, huh?” Eliza looked up at Myrt and smirked. “Demons have no concept of courtship. You just take what the fuck you want.”

“Angel.” Myrt grimaced. “And I made the offer, Caleb accepted.”

“You’re still bitching about that?” Donovan sat at the bar and sighed as he leaned onto his hand. “I thought you liked Vikarr.”

“That doesn’t mean I like what he did any better.” Eliza smacked the back of Donovan’s head. “What exactly is wrong with flowers, dinner and movie?”

“Would flowers have helped, lovely?” Vikarr held a bouquet of black and white roses in front of Eliza as he slid an arm around her. “You refused the movie and dinner with you is such a messy affair.”

“I am not messy, Vivi.” Eliza leaned back against him smiling as she smelled the flowers. “I thought you were busy.”

“I am.” Vikarr laughed. “Donovan sent word you were being difficult.”

“Thanks a ton, baldy.” Eliza smacked his head again.

“See, boss.” Donovan laughed and pulled out Myrt’s message. He handed it off to Vikarr and continued to tease Eliza. “Bitch is off her meds.”

“Now that you’ve wed, will you be taking Caleb’s name as well?” Vikarr asked.

“Should I?” Myrt walked behind the bar with Caleb. He knew that Mala had taken Donovan’s name, but so few angels and demons had secondary names that the custom was unfamiliar and when he considered their gender it only became more confusing. “I don’t even know what it is.”

“Hail.” Caleb leaned on the bar beside him to quietly offer his opinion. “If you are doing the live as a human thing, a last name helps. Doesn’t have to be mine though. Generally girls take the guys name, which doesn’t really work here.”

“Hail is fine.” Myrt shrugged and stroked the back of Caleb’s neck with his fingers. “It’s just a name. If I should have one I would rather it be yours.”

“You are just the sweetest thing.” Caleb smiled. “Now let’s find out if you make drinks as well as you sweet talk me, honey.”

“I’ll see to it.” Vikarr turned Eliza to him and lifted her chin. “Are you going to behave, lovely? Or should I take you home and spank you?”

“Get back to work, Vivi.” Eliz grinned up at him. “Vale will walk me home.”

“Am I off bitch watch?” Donovan slid away his phone and taunted Eliza.

“Will you please go make him give Doma a bath or something?” Eliza hugged Vikarr and laughed. “He’s been a huge arse today.”

“Anything for you lovely.” Vikarr giggled. “Come along, Mr. Watt. Doma needs pampering.”

“Really?” Donovan shook his head as Vikarr grabbed him by the jacket and Eliza stuck her tongue out at him. “I am so gonna break a rainbow over your backside.”

“I don’t recall inviting you to bed with us.” Vikarr laughed. “But if you insist, I like to do the spanking.”

“Ugh.” Donovan groaned. “I’m gonna puke.”

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TCOL : What We Are : Ready To Live Pt.1

“Hey.” Myrt ran after Eliza when he saw her heading into the Circle building and fell in step beside her. “Eliza, right?”

 “I prefer, E.” She nodded as she swung a bag beside her. “What’s up?”

 “E, then.” Myrt smiled. “Is Lord Vikarr in?”

 “Yea.” Eliza pouted. “He sent me out for cat food.”

 “Lord Vikarr had work to do and she was distracting him.” Vale giggled. “He should be through with most of it.”

 “I was not distracting him.” Eliza giggled. “I was just sitting there. You might as well come in, Myrt. I think he’s kind of expecting you anyway.”

 Myrt followed her wondering why he was expected. He had been careful not to cause problems during his stay and had told Vikarr when he arrived that he had no plans on becoming a burden to Nihil.

 “Company, Vivi!” Eliza grinned as she strolled into the office. She frowned when she found the office occupied only by Doma. “Where did that freak go?”

 “Does he handle the work if I want to live in Nihil?” Myrt asked.

 “I think they can all do it.” Eliza shrugged as she dropped the bag on Vikarr’s desk and noticed Doma darting after a fuzzy critter way larger than the mice Vikarr usually left for her to play with. Eliza leaned over the desk for a better look and squealed. “For the love of rainbows! Doma don’t play with that!”

 Eliza snatched Doma off the floor as the critter hopped after her and Eliza ran over to one of the chairs and climbed onto it screaming. The long furry rodent followed and climbed up around her feet and she whimpered.

 “Get it away from me.” Eliza whined to Myrt and cuddled Doma for comfort. “How did a rat get in here?”

 “That isn’t a rat.” Myrt laughed and stepped over to help but Eliza’s new friend climbed up her legs and she screamed.

 “Get it off! Get it off!” Eliza let Doma run off as she jumped off the chair and the long rodent climbed over her shoulder and into the front of her dress. Eliza grabbed Myrt to beg for his help. “It’s touching me.”

 “Hold still.” Myrt sighed and carefully grabbed the end of the ferret that was trying to befriend her and pulled it from her clothes. He sat the mischievous critter on his shoulder and rubbed Eliza’s arms. “It’s just a ferret. Calm down.”

 The ferret giggled as it walked behind Myrt’s neck and stepped out onto his other shoulder to wink at Eliza.

 “Damn it, Vivi!” Eliza snatched the ferret from Myrt’s shoulder and held it up to look at it. He snickered again as she looked him over and Eliza laughed as she sat him on the desk. “I guess it’s almost cute. I think Myrt wants to talk to you, though.”

 “I have already taken care of most of it.” Vikarr returned to himself as he moved to his chair. He spun the tablet in front of him to face his guest and pushed it to the edge. You will just need to tell me when you’ve found a home and if you decided to work. Lucifer provides well for his Circles and those that serve them. Your decision to make your own way will leave you on your own, but Gabriel has set up something to give you an easy start.”

 “I had hoped to do it all on my own.” Myrt sighed as Vikarr slid a package to him.

 “More difficult than it sounds.” Vikarr smiled at him. “This was just waiting for me when I returned, but it should be everything you need to find a place of your own.”

 “I should talk to Mala.” Myrt lifted the thick strangely folded envelope and flipped through cards, documents, letters and money. “And take some time to figure a few things out. Thanks for your trouble.”

 “It was no trouble.” Vikarr grinned. “Just don’t cause any for me. The extra help in Nihil would have been appreciated. I don’t for an instant want to push you into work you don’t wish to do and I am elated that Mala will have a chance to see more of you, but another demon in Nihil that has no affiliation with Lucifer or his Circles is a cause of some concern. With my place on the Council I can not afford leniency because of your affiliations. You will need to follow the laws of Tsuriai and of Nihil as any other resident.”

 “You don’t have to be shitty about it, Vivi.” Eliza opened a can of food for Doma and pet her as she attacked the contents. “He’s been nice.”

 “I know, lovely.” Vikarr giggled. “I like him. Which is why I want to be sure there will be no problems.”

 “There won’t be.” Myrt smiled.

 “Welcome to Nihil, Myrt.” Vikarr stood and offered his hand. “As Mala’s brother I expect we will see a lot of you.”

 “That would be nice.” Myrt flushed as he shook the Watcher’s hand. “As long as it doesn’t involve pulling you out of her dress again.”

 “Next time you can just leave me there.” Vikarr laughed.

 “Vivi!” Eliza stomped her foot and Vikarr shifted to her and pulled her into a tight embrace, ending her rant with his kiss.

 Myrt took their sudden flirtatiousness as a cue to leave and slipped out quietly. He left the Circle building with the beginnings of a new life in his hand and wondered if a stack of paper neatly tucked into a thick envelope was enough to truly find a new way. He had never lived among humans, had only known a life of training himself and training others, following orders and serving those he thought were his Masters. He had accepted all he had been taught as truth only to find he had been misused based on lies.

 He made his way to the door of Donovan’s apartment and just stood outside of it. Whether lies had led his life or not, there was still a deep chasm between him and Mala. He still felt abandoned by the brother who saw the truth before him and he couldn’t shake the thoughts of seeing angels bleed under Mala’s feet. Myrt loved his brother but there was so much damage that needed to be undone. It would take time and patience.

 “You can come in.” Donovan opened the door and stood there smiling as he wiped his hands on a towel. “Mala should be here soon, I am just making him snacks.”

 “Hello, stupid.” Dodo greeted Myrt’s arrival.

 “He was a bit upset that you wanted to run off on your own.” Donovan continued as he went back to the kitchen and let Myrt show himself inside. “He wants to spend as much of the week with you as he can.”

 “I needed to think about a few things.” Myrt stopped to pet the bird that squawked at him. “I still do, but I sorted enough out that I think I should have a talk with him.”

 “If you need me to leave you two alone to talk I can go get something accomplished once he gets here.” Donovan stacked the last of Mala’s pancakes and doused them in syrup before he started to clean up. “I know you aren’t thrilled with who and what your brother married, but I love him. He wants you in his life, if that means giving the two of you some space I can back off once in a while. Just don’t expect me to do it all the time.”

 “I don’t expect you to do it at all.” Myrt sighed and walked into the kitchen. “I’ve been rude to you and for that I am sorry. This entire visit has been overwhelming. I can see that you love my brother and that he loves you. You are married and I will respect that. There is no reason for you to leave when I talk to him. Mala trusts you. I should at least give you a chance.”

 “That will mean a lot to him.” Donovan smiled. “It means a lot to me.”

 “I smell something delicious!” Mala ran into the kitchen and grabbed Donovan by his ears to give him a quick kiss before he took the plate of pancakes the vampire offered. “Where have you been, Myrt? I was starting to think you went home.”

 “I had to talk with Gabriel.” Myrt laughed as Mala dug a huge wedge from his meal and shoved it into his mouth. Myrt shook his head as he wiped the sticky syrup from the corner of Mala’s mouth. “I’ve missed how much of a mess you are.”

 “I have a few hours to make a mess.” Mala grinned. “Stay and talk a while.”

 “I have somewhere to be.” Myrt followed them into the living room. “I only stopped to tell you that you don’t have to worry so much about trying to change my mind in a week. I’ll be staying in Nihil.”

 “Myrt, that’s fantastic!” Mala sat his plate aside and hugged his brother. “We can work together again.”

 “I’m not staying to work with the Circle, Mala.” Myrt tapped Mala on the head with his documents. “Don’t be upset. I miss the way we were, but you moved on. It is about time for me to do the same. I hope we can find a way to be a part of each others lives, but I plan to live my own.”

 “That is even better.” Mala squeezed Myrt tighter until he returned the embrace. “You’ll need a place to stay, I never use my home here…”

 “Thank you, but no.” Myrt kissed his brothers cheeks. “I am going to figure this out on my own. I’ll let you know when I find a place.”

 “Do you have a phone?” Donovan asked as Mala leaned back against him.

 “Still figuring it out.” Myrt pulled it from his pocket and Mala snatched it to make sure they could all contact each other. Mala handed it back and smiled before he reclaimed his pancakes and snuggled back against Donovan. Myrt just shook his head. He wanted to ask his brother so many questions about his time with the vampire, but was worried it was going to seem judgmental and start another argument. He thought it was better to leave on a more peaceful note and go fulfill his promise to be somewhere else. “I’ll see you both later.”

 “He must have had quite a day to have made that decision. He was so against even being here before.” Donovan held Mala and started a movie to pass the time and Dodo started dancing along his perch and whistling. “I wonder what Gabriel told him.”

 “I don’t think it was just Gabriel that changed his mind.” Mala licked his fork before cutting himself another chunk of syrup-covered mess. Myrt had been so infatuated with the impossible that he denied himself any chance at being happy. In this new leaf he was turning Myrt could finally be himself; he could let himself find friendship and a simple happy existence. Mala smiled to himself because he had seen the spark of a new beginning for his brother, as he opened his eyes to a life free of imagined chains he was letting his heart open to a life filled with unimaginable love. “I think Myrt is just ready to live.”

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TCOL : Hearts : The Jester

“Couldn’t you just tell them you can’t go?” Eliza pushed Vikarr back by his shoulders. “You are still tired.”

 “I just have to sit in a chair, lovely.” Vikarr smiled at her. “You are worrying over nothing and you know I have to go.”

 “I don’t want you to.” Eliza pouted as he sat up and put his arms around her. “They will all be angry because I made you hurt yourself.”

 “I don’t think any of them like me that much.” Vikarr laughed. “Besides, don’t you want to see if Eidolon has any answers for you?”

 “I guess.” Eliza hugged him. “Don’t do anything like this again, Vivi.”

 “I will try to bleed only when you want me too.” Vikarr giggled as he simplified his attire and picked her up. Eliza always enjoyed it when he wore the more casual, and fashionable black clothes that suited their time in her club and he enjoyed teasing her. As he changed his clothes he changed hers, leaving her in a short, tight black dress and strapped white heels. He sat her to her feet and pulled up her hair into a stack of curls and tied them with white ribbon and a delicate sprig of white flowers that fell against her cheek. “You are so very beautiful.”

 “You are such a flirt.” Eliza flushed and reached up to lace her fingers behind his neck and giggled as he fondled her backside. “And a pervert.”

 “Me?” Vikarr laughed. “You aren’t wearing panties. You naughty thing.”

 “For the love of rainbows!” Eliza tugged at the dress. “Come on, Vivi. This is really short.”

 “I know.” Vikarr shook his head grinning and headed for the door. “It’s positively shameful.”

 “I mean it.” Eliza followed after him pouting. There was a smile hidden in the quirky little frown. His obnoxious prank was embarrassing, but Eliza was relieved by the levity. He was getting his strength and color back and he was back to his usual giggling. “Don’t be an arse.”

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TCOL : Hearts : Not So Simple Pt.2

“For the love of rainbows.” Eliza rubbed at her neck. “Its like a damn disease. I walk out of the room and start itching. This stupid thing needs some sort of ‘chill the fuck out’ setting.”

“We are quite far away from Lord Vikarr.” Vale giggled. “I suggest making the visit short.”

“I’ve been far away.” Eliza scratched at her collar as she looked up at the balcony. “I just didn’t remember it being this irritating. Eidolon should be the middle office…”

“Lady Eliza.” Vale followed Eliza as she climbed the stairs. “This trip… Are you doing this to hurt Lord Vikarr?”

“No.” Eliza turned back and winked at Vale. “Don’t tell him I said so, but I kind of like him. This is just for fun. Like a game.”

“I can’t plot against him.” Vale pouted.

“It’s okay, Vale.” Eliza smiled at her. “I don’t want to hurt him. I’m not plotting either. Vivi knows what I’m doing, but if you feel bad you can just wait here and give me a lift home after I talk to this guy.”

“Thank you.” Vale sat on the step.

“So cute.” Eliza patted her head and went to Eidolon’s door. She poked at the letters a moment before she knocked.

“Nyaa!” Kaneko jumped into the doorframe and laughed as Eliza jumped back startled. “Kaneko is a master of surprise!”

“Hi Eliza.” Karla peeked around the doorframe. “Sorry. Kaneko is wound up today. Come on in.”

“Isn’t she coming in?” Kaneko looked down the hall as Eliza went inside.

“Vale doesn’t like playing tricks on Vivi.” Eliza smiled. “She wanted to wait outside.”

“Boring.” Kaneko shrugged and skipped across the office as the door closed. “So does Kaneko get to help?”

“I have no idea.” Eliza smiled. “Vivi said Eidolon keeps better track of people than most do.”

“Of demons.” Eidolon nodded. “I don’t see how that is of any use to you.”

“Without getting into weird details of how it came up.” Eliza smirked and leaned on the desk. “Vivi admitted he had a kid with a human a long time ago.”

“That imbecile.” Eidolon laid his face in his hand.

“That’s a fun reaction.” Eliza laughed. “It was some sort of pity thing. Lady wanted a kid so he knocked her up. He was a jerk.”

“I doubt he bothered to raise any such child. Without any effort on his part the child was likely dominated by its human traits and lived oblivious to its origins. As a mortal it would be long dead.” Eidolon looked up at Eliza. “What is your interest in this?”

“Okay. It was a she named Yajna.” Eliza pouted. “And I realize humans don’t live forever. But they do breed. My interest is in the offspring.”

“For what possible purpose?” Eidolon was troubled enough to know another of his kin had fathered a Halfling. Nikolai’s life had been a painful one. Vampirism had spared him mortality but gave him further hardship and forced him to face the horror of his own father. Aurora was a beautiful girl, but he human traits made her work twice as hard to prove herself. She would always feel inadequate regardless of the praises lavished on her. He hoped whatever Vikarr had done, he gave Yajna the mercy of ignorance and left her to a simple human life. “If the girl had children, they to will be gone.”

“But life goes on.” Eliza sat back in one of the chairs. “I want to know if he has any living relatives.”

“You want me to track the dwindling bloodline of a Watcher through long dead descendants over countless centuries…” Eidolon closed his eyes and tapped his fingers restlessly. “To what end?”

“I have a few reasons.” Eliza admitted. “They might not make any sense to you.”

“I’m listening.” Eidolon looked at her. “I’ll have to make sense of some of it before I can agree to any of this.”

“He thinks this is stupid.” Eliza sighed. “But I want to know that I haven’t eaten any of his relatives.”

“I doubt he has any such concern.” Eidolon laughed. “Nor am I willing to pry into the death of dozens of souls. It would be troublesome for me and painful for them.”

“Oh.” Eliza looked away. “I had to give up my family when I was pretty young. I don’t regret it or anything; it was the right thing to do. I just… We have this sort of family thing in Nihil. It makes me think about real family sometimes. I never thought about kids, but knowing that Vivi had one and just walked away from it is weird for me. If he has anyone left, I think he should do something. At least say hello or something. I guess it sounds pretty ridiculous.”

“Kaneko thinks it sounds smart.” Kaneko sniffled.

“I’ll need some of Vikarr’s blood.” Eidolon sighed. “And I make no promise that this will go well. This is not simple magic and it will require spending time in a realm I am not comfortable in.”

“I thought you might need blood.” Eliza pulled a few fancy little vials out of the waist of her skirt and slid them on the desk. “I asked him for some before I left. I’m sorry this is such a huge favor. I can’t offer much, but you are all lifetime VIPs at Sordid and the drinks are on me.”

“Karla, would you go and make some more of this?” Eidolon finished his tea and slid the cup to the edge of the desk as he called on Vikarr.

“Yep.” Karla grabbed the cup and bounced off.

“Amusing gesture.” Eidolon grinned and snatched the vials off the desk as Vikarr arrived and kneeled in front of the desk beside Eliza. He slid the near pointless offering into his inside jacket pocket as he stood and started to walk around the desk. “You know what your bride has asked?”

“I do, Lord Falcon.” Vikarr winked at Eliza before he stood and turned to face Eidolon. “And my gesture was meant to keep her at ease with her request. I would deny her nothing.”

“This will not be pleasant, Vikarr.” Eidolon let his fingers lengthen and his nails sharpen as he spoke.

“I know.” Vikarr chuckled as he moved closer to Eidolon. “I will just take the rest of the day in my estate to recover.”

“Kaneko, restrain Eliza.” Eidolon waited for Kaneko to wrap her arms around Vikarr’s bride before he forced his talons into Vikarr’s neck and pushed him to back to his knees. Vikarr screamed in pain as Eidolon forced blood out of the wounds and weaved it into threads he started to gather on his arms. Eternity aided Eidolon in his work, seeing to it not a single drop went to waste as they pulled life from Vikarr’s veins. She helped gather the delicate threads while Eidolon helped Vikarr call a mist of chaos to sustain himself.

“I didn’t want to hurt him.” Eliza cried as she tried to pull herself out of Kaneko’s arms. “Make him stop.”

“That will be enough.” Eidolon stored the delicate threads away within layers of magic until he needed them and healed the wounds in Vikarr’s throat as he removed his fingers. As he lifted Vikarr and started to carry him to the couch Karla came back through the door with more tea.

“What happened?” Karla looked around panicked.

“Vivi.” Eliza ran to the couch and hugged him the second Kaneko let her go. When he laid his hand on her head she decided he was well enough to scream at and she sat up and smacked him as hard as she could in the chest. “You knew this was going to happen. Why didn’t you just tell me?”

“He is just resting.” Eidolon lifted Karla’s chin and kissed her before he took his tea from her and smiled.

“I have only given myself to the magic Eidolon will use to help answer your questions.” Vikarr smiled at Eliza and brushed away the tears under her eyes. “I wouldn’t have pointed you to him for help if I wasn’t willing to do this.”

“You are so fucking stupid.” Eliza rubbed her face against him as she mumbled. “I wouldn’t have asked if I knew it was going to hurt you. Vale is going to be so mad at me.”

“Go and get her, lovely.” Vikarr pushed himself up on the couch and smiled as Eliza wiped her face and headed for the door.

“I doubt I will find any answer that will alleviate the guilt she feels for that.” Eidolon sipped his tea as his brides stood beside him. “I hope that you will be able to comfort her through the disappointment.”

“I don’t expect a fruitful search.” Vikarr laughed weakly. “I had no other way to answer her question. If there is a truth I can give her, it is hers. There is no guilt for her to carry, it was my decision.”

“You said you meant no harm.” Vale voiced her discontent angrily as she walked ahead of Eliza and kneeled in front of Vikarr near weeping. “My Lord Vikarr, I’m ashamed that I blindly followed one that would put you in pain.”

“That is a terrible thing to say.” Vikarr smiled and laid his hand on Vale’s head as he took Eliza’s hand. “You apologize this instant, Eliza has done no such thing. I’m in no pain. I just need rest after giving my aid to Lord Eidolon.”

“I’m sorry, Lady Eliza.” Vale whimpered.

“Better.” Vikarr squeezed Eliza’s hand as he stood and caressed the side of her face as she looked up at him. He smiled and hoped he could rid her of the sad expression quickly. “Let’s leave Lord Eidolon to his work. I could use a long soak at my estate.”

“Why did you make me leave the room?” Karla pouted once their guests had left.

“I wanted more tea.” Eidolon teased as he slid his arm around her waist. “Don’t pout. You didn’t need to hear the screaming.”

“So what do you have to do now?” Karla pulled the ribbon out of his hair and stuck her tongue out at him. “Can we help?”

“Give it back.” Eidolon held out his hand and laughed as Kaneko ran her fingers through his hair. “I would prefer the two of you just spend some time at my estate while I handle this. The realm of the blessed is home to the souls of mortals that have passed. The magic that upholds it is not comfortable for others.”

“It isn’t dangerous, Eidolon.” Eternity giggled as she took the side of his playful brides. “They are always safest with you.”

“Not particularly dangerous, but it is exhausting.” Eidolon smiled as Kaneko crawled into his lap. “Are you going to be difficult about this?”

“Kaneko will bring Karla right home if it is too much for her.” Kaneko grinned. “We just want to be with you, Master Eidolon. You did say you would make more time for us.”

“Please.” Karla laid the soft black ribbon over Eidolon’s fingers and leaned to kiss his cheek. “I promise I won’t complain.”

“Alright.” Eidolon sighed as he pulled his hair back and tied it into place. “You will need to keep in mind that I do have a purpose there, and that you are not to pester any of the residents or their caretakers.”

“Got it.” Karla hugged him excitedly. “Are they like ghosts?”

Kaneko and Eternity laughed as Eidolon shook his head and stood. He held Karla close and stroked her short hair as she blushed. She was still so naïve and innocent. This favor for Vikarr’s bride would have been a nuisance, but for Karla it was an adventure and Eidolon was suddenly glad he agreed to it.

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TCOL : Hearts : Not So Simple Pt.1

“Can we maybe have that chat?” Eliza asked nervously when Eidolon answered the phone. “I mean if it isn’t too much of a bother. I know you guys are kind of busy, but Vivi is always teasing me. It would be nice to have something to…”

“I was on my way to my office, can you meet me there?” Eidolon laughed. He had expected the call eventually and was not about to rescind his offer. He imagined any request she made would be a simple one and saw no point in delaying her quest to get under Vikarr’s skin. “With your Master’s permission of course.”

“Vivi, tell him I can go.” Eliza insisted as she held the phone out to Vikarr.

“It’s fine.” Vikarr laughed. “Just don’t make a pest of yourself. Lord Eidolon is a busy man.”

“See, he says it’s fine.” Eliza returned to the call. “And Vale can bring me. So, is it okay?”

“I’ll see you soon, Eliza.” Eidolon smiled and hung up the phone before he opened the door leading to his office. “Karla, are you…”

“Right here.” Karla ran up to the door with a steaming cup. “I was making tea for you.”

“Thank you.” Eidolon leaned to kiss her. “We’ll be having guests.”

“I heard.” Karla followed Eidolon to his desk. “What do you think she wants?”

“I’m not certain.” Eidolon looked up as Kaneko bounded through the door excitedly.

“Come with Kaneko, quick!” Kaneko grabbed Karla’s hand and pulled on Eidolon’s arm until he stood. “Kaneko is so excited!”

“About what?” Karla laughed as Kaneko pulled them out of the office and started to tug them down the balcony. Karla instantly realized what had Kaneko so happy. “OML! Kryss said yes!”

“How could he refuse such a tempting offer from Eidolon?” Eternity laughed.

“I was afraid he might.” Eidolon knocked on the door and smiled at the name etched into the surface as it opened. Kryss was sitting on the desk instead of behind it while Nat was pointing out potential for making the office less stuffy. Eidolon stepped inside and Kryss ran over and embraced him. “Thank you, Kryss.”

“Eidolon, I will need your help with all of this.” Kryss looked up at him desperately. “I’m terrified of disappointing you, but I will do my best.”

“You have never disappointed me.” Eidolon rubbed Kryss ears as Karla and Kaneko hugged the two of them together. “I am honored that you’ve decided to join me on the Circle.”

“It won’t be a problem if I help out?” Nat asked as she smiled at them. “I don’t really know the rules.”

“I’ll deal with any complaints.” Eidolon smiled. “The two of you will have time to familiarize yourselves with the details and I will help you with what I can. That being said, your offer to give Kryss your aid requires a lengthy commitment.”

“I’ve already asked Maefyl to come.” Nat missed the edge of the desk as she went to lean back on it and fell on her backside. She hid her embarrassed blush in her hands as Kaneko giggled at her. “As long as Maefyl doesn’t mess up and kill me, you guys are stuck with my creative grace permanently.”

“Glad to hear it.” Eidolon laughed and gave Kryss his affectionate congratulations. “It is a personal matter however, and I have other business to attend to. Just come when everything has been settled.”

“You’ll have to show off your pretty new smile.” Karla insisted. “And tell Maefyl he has to come say hello before he leaves.”

“Don’t be scared.” Kaneko pulled Natasha to her feet and hugged her. “Maefyl will be super careful.”

“Thanks.” Nat smiled and leaned against Kryss as he put his arm around her. They watched Eidolon lead his brides off as they chattered on happily about Nat’s decision and Kryss’ new place on the Circle. “Guess it’s time to go home and tell the rest of the pack. Do you think it is a bad idea to eat one last time?”

“Are you going to do it anyway?” Kryss laughed.

“Probably.” Nat jumped into Kryss’ arms and kissed him as he took them home. They both wanted to spend the last few hours of Nat’s human life living it happily. The pack gathered for noodles, pizza and cuddling. They played music together, gossiped over other Circles, Nat finger painted with Aurora and Levina. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a perfect reminder of what was worth living forever.

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TCOL : Hearts : To Live

“Does it suit you both?” Vikarr waited with his arms crossed in front of him and Eliza and Caleb looked over a redesigned Sordid. With the upstairs opened into slightly less private VIP areas and a few surrounding building procured to expand and add a kitchen and lounge area, the all hours Sordid was now going to be more inviting for a wider range of clientele. He had maintained some of the sensual, ambient aesthetic to pay homage to Eliza’s years maintaining Sordid as it once was, but it was brought into a more elegant and tasteful style.

“This is gorgeous, Vivi.” Eliza grabbed his arm and hugged it. Dozens of his succubi were lined up and ready to work. In adorable matching outfits as Caleb had suggested. “I love it.”

“So amazing.” Caleb agreed. The pretty little demons in little black skirts and tight white blouses, each with a tie that matched their hair or eyes. Some in dainty black heels and others in boots that rose half way up their thighs. Even without the wings and tails most of them had, Vikarr’s little army of girls would no doubt become one of the reasons the new and improved Sordid would be a success. Caleb turned to Eliza. “Are you bringing back any of your old staff?”

“I haven’t decided yet.” Eliza shrugged. “I’m sure they’ll wander in and ask. I might consider a few.”

“When can we open?” Caleb thought it would have taken months to get this far, but seeing it so close made him impatient. “I hate to rush it. This is just exciting.”

“Immediately.” Vikarr wrapped his arm around Eliza. With a nod he had the lessers he called start their work, music played and lights began to set a mood. “There are a few lessers about to keep things safe and running smoothly.”

“If we open you will have to give your Circle a few hours off.” Caleb laughed. “I told Mala and Donovan they had to be our first customers.”

“I’ll have them here as soon as possible then.” Vikarr laughed.

“Dance with me.” Eliza pulled Vikarr down the stairs onto an empty dance floor and Caleb leaned over the railing with Vale to watch them.

“They are kind of cute together.” Caleb watched Vikarr fawning over Eliza as if she were a goddess and smiled. Vikarr was the one that oozed with the perfection all demons seemed to, he had the air of grace and an aura of magnificence. Eliza was attractive for a girl, but Caleb didn’t understand how she had managed to win over the Head of Nihil. He thought it was probably better not to think about it. It was not any of his business, and he had no reason to complain. Caleb stretched out and grinned at Vale. “What is your story, honey?”

“Like all succubi, I serve Lord Vikarr.” Vale answered. “I offered myself to Lady Eliza as a personal servant as well.”

“I meant personally.” Caleb giggled. “You seem to always be with them. Don’t you have anyone special?”

“Nope.” Vale smiled. “Not really in the nature of a succubus. Do you?”

“I don’t seem to have much luck with romance.” Caleb chuckled. “Maybe it’s not in my nature either.”

Breakseal

 

“This is going pretty well.” Eliza returned to the table with drinks for Vikarr and Vale. “All of your sisters seem pretty popular, Vale.”

“Just don’t let it steal all of your time away from me.” Vikarr pulled Eliza close to him and kissed her. In only a few hours with the doors open word of mouth had filled Sordid and Eliza was thrilled to have her business and independence restored. Vikarr regretted restoring it so quickly. He had been enjoying all the time she was spending with him and feared he would rarely see her now that she once again had her club to run.

“I won’t, Vivi.” Eliza hugged him.

“And this is a part of your important work.” Myrt scoffed as they arrived in the crowded establishment.

“This is part of having friends.” Donovan corrected and spotted Vikarr above the crowd on the balcony with the others. Sordid was as crowded as before, but much less offensive. He squeezed Mala’s hand and hoped the night didn’t do any damage to the cause. “The work is important, but we do have a life beyond it.”

“A life I want you to share, Myrt.” Mala started to pull him through the crowd.

“I can walk just fine.” Myrt shrugged away and followed them up the steps.

“Took you long enough.” Eliza teased. “Did you get lost?”

“We had to finish some of our work.” Mala laughed as he watched Vikarr pull Eliza closer. They had become so comfortable together. He leaned down and gave Caleb a quick embrace. “I’m sorry we’re late.”

“I’m just glad you came.” Caleb smiled around his friends at Myrt. “You too, pretty. Did you enjoy the rest of your treats?”

“I only had one more.” Myrt had held the box most of the evening however. He only let go of it when Donovan insisted it would all spoil if he didn’t put it in the refrigerator. “I wanted to keep them.”

“They aren’t the best gift for keeping.” Caleb smiled at him. He had the urge to just latch his arms around the demon and never let go. “You are just too cute. Come sit with me.”

“Are you going to attack me again?” Myrt asked as he watched Donovan help Mala into his seat and cozy up beside him. As much as he wanted to be offended by it, he was glad to see Mala treated with so much care and respect. The little collar around Mala’s neck bothered him, but it was Mala who wanted it. No amount of kicking and screaming was going to change the way Mala was or the decisions he made. He left behind Heaven’s rules and traditions to find happiness and it looked like he had found it. Myrt shook his head slightly as he looked over the table of ‘friends’. It was certainly unconventional, but there was no denying that Mala was happy. Myrt approached Caleb nervously. “Please, don’t jump on me.”

“I won’t.” Caleb smiled. “Unless you want me to.”

“Looks like somebody has a crush on imitation Mala.” Eliza giggled as she whispered to Vikarr.

“Are you going to be staying in Nihil?” Caleb inched as close as he dared to Myrt when he sat beside him. “I could show you around.”

“Doubtful.” Myrt sighed as he looked at his brother. After hours of discussion he was trying to accept that Mala and Donovan were happy, but it was at odds with everything they had been told. It didn’t help to see Donovan bite into Mala and take his blood, or that Mala seemed to enjoy it. “I don’t understand this place.”

“That’s disappointing.” Caleb frowned.

“Why?” Myrt didn’t like the sudden change in Caleb’s expression. He laid his hand on the vampire’s head. “Stop making that face.”

“I was hoping you were going to stick around.” Caleb forced himself to smile and once again scolded himself for being optimistic beyond his station. He stood and caught Myrt’s hand as it fell from his head, giving it a slight squeeze before he stepped away. “I’m gonna go sneak behind the bar and make Mala’s drinks.”

“Oh goodie!” Mala grinned. “Get one for Vikarr, too!”

“Sure thing, honey.” Caleb tapped Myrt’s shoulder. “Want one?”

“I’ll help you.” Myrt stood and followed a blushing Caleb to the upstairs bar. Even knowing the man briefly he had gathered that Caleb was the talkative type and he felt responsible for the sudden quiet. Myrt watched Caleb set out several glasses and make attempts to avoid looking at him before he sat in front of him at the bar. “Did I do something to upset you?”

“Nope.” Caleb poured sugar into a shaker with rum and pineapple juice and started to dissolve the sugary mess. “I upset myself. I tend to get my hopes up over things that don’t make any sense. I should know better by now.”

“You don’t work for the Circle.” Myrt watched Caleb pour the thick sugary base into the glasses and reach for a brightly colored liquor. “How did you meet Mala?”

“He and Donovan just started hanging around in my place.” Caleb laughed. “It took them forever to get together. I love seeing them happy.”

“He bites him.” Myrt mumbled.

“I’m sure Mala doesn’t mind.” Caleb slid a glass to Myrt. “Try this.”

“Mala likes this?” Myrt pushed the glass away. “It’s awful.”

“He loves it.” Caleb laughed and grabbed a few more glasses and filled them with simpler concoctions. “Is this better?’

“Much.” Myrt nodded after cautiously sipping the second offering. While Caleb grabbed a tray and started to sit the glasses on it, Myrt shifted behind the bar and stepped close to him. “You are a vampire like Donovan. Bite me.”

“I… what?” Caleb backed away with a nervous smile. “No. I’m not going to just bite you.”

“I want to know what it feels like.” Myrt looked away. “I wasn’t suggesting anything inappropriate.”

“Well, I can’t do it now.” Caleb sighed and lifted the tray off of the bar. “When social hour is over maybe. I have to think about it. It’s not a very normal request.”

Caleb carried drinks back to the table with his mind on dozens of impossible scenarios. Each one ending with him reminding himself to come to his senses. All he was going to end up with was a daydream and a broken heart. As the hours passed logic slowly started to lose the fight and Caleb found himself stupidly entertaining the idea of indulging Myrt’s odd request. The demon was going to leave Nihil, there was no romantic future in the favor he had asked, but Caleb wanted an excuse to put his arms around Myrt one more time before he disappeared forever.

When Vikarr insisted he had to spend a few hours tending to his duties, Eliza agreed to join him. Donovan saw them off with Vale before he gave Mala a sweet kiss and promised to make quick work of his messages. Mala smiled as he watched Donovan run off to work before he finished the last of his drinks.

“I have to check on things at the reserve before I go to my office.” Mala stood and smiled at Myrt. “Will you join me?”

“I’ll meet you later.” Myrt shook his head. “I should see some of Nihil on my own.”

“I should be in my office in a few hours.” Mala stooped beside Myrt and embraced him tightly. He hoped the sudden interest in Nihil and the continued conversation with Caleb were a sign that Myrt was willing to see reason. “Don’t be too long. If your visit is going to be short, I want to spend as much of it with you as I can. I’ve missed you.”

“Get your work done.” Myrt tussled his brother’s hair. Once everyone had gone he reached behind Caleb’s chair for the tray he had used all evening to carry drinks.

“Leave it.” Caleb smiled. “The girls will clean up.”

“Have you thought about it?” Myrt tapped his fingers on the table.

“This is such a terrible idea.” Caleb laughed. “I’ll do it, but not here. Come on, pretty.”

Caleb decided to lead Myrt through the city quickly so he had little time to second-guess his decision. At his door he noticed his hands shaking and he tried to convince himself it was due to a thirst he had ignored in favor of celebrating.

“This is your home?” Myrt peered inside as Caleb pushed the door open. It was modest, but tidy.

“For the moment.” Caleb invited Myrt inside. He kneeled in the center of the couch facing the corner of it and patted the cushion in front of him. “I’m moving closer to Sordid. Are you sure you want me to do this?”

“I’m curious.” Myrt nodded and took the offered seat.

“Where do you want me to bite you?” Caleb exhaled anxiously and ran his fingers back through his hair. “I don’t know how I should… you know I have to touch you, right?”

“He bit Mala here.” Myrt took Caleb carefully by the back of his neck and pulled him across his lap until Caleb’s lips rested against his neck. After the vampire tensed a moment he seemed to almost melt against him and Myrt felt strangely comfortable in the embrace that followed. The sting as Caleb’s fangs cut into his skin was not painful as he thought it would be, but there was no sensation he could liken it to. He just knew there was something about it he enjoyed and he was disappointed when it ended so abruptly and he heard Caleb’s soft whimpering. Myrt let his fingers move into Caleb’s hair and tried to comfort him. “What did I do?”

“Not a thing.” Caleb wiped his face before he looked up at the demon. “I just had to remind myself I was doing you a favor.”

“Why would that make you cry?” Myrt pushed away further tears as they escaped Caleb’s eye. “Is there a problem with my blood?”

“No.” Caleb pushed himself back a bit. “The blood is amazing. I think I might be drunk, but it’s amazing. I was… I get the feeling you aren’t really interested and I like being in your arms more than I should. I had to stop before I couldn’t make myself let go.”

“I don’t understand.” Myrt shook his head. “Why do you say these things to me? You want me to stay in Nihil. You enjoy my embrace. What do you want?”

“A chance to be close to you.” Caleb admitted with a sigh and pulled himself off the couch. “I can see that bothers you and I don’t make a habit of being a pest. I won’t bother you about it anymore. If you end up visiting Nihil from time to time, I make a better friend than whatever I just failed at.”

“I didn’t say you were a pest.” Myrt stood and took Caleb’s face in his hands. “I just don’t know what you expect. Everything I have ever been taught tells me the way you are looking at me is wrong. I’ve suffered for my sinful thoughts before. This feeling is frightening.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Caleb looked at him nervously and wrapped his trembling fingers around Myrt’s wrists. “I said I would back off. You plan on leaving anyway. I don’t expect anything. Do one thing for me, honey. I don’t know who has been teaching you, but they are about as smart as exploding bubble gum. Feelings aren’t wrong. No one has any business telling you what you are supposed to feel. Your heart is going to want what it wants. Trust me when I tell you it does not always make the best decisions, but we learn as we go. Eventually your heart finds the one it is meant to be with, but it won’t do that if you are following someone else’s idea of right and wrong. Live for yourself, Myrt. Do that and smile. I want to remember you happy.”

“I’m not sure I was happy to begin with.” Myrt rubbed Caleb’s cheeks gently with his thumbs. Caleb’s advice was much like Mala’s had been so long ago. Live your own life. Myrt looked at the sweet face of the vampire so ready to give up what he wanted if it meant making Myrt understand the value of such simple wisdom. “I don’t want you to be upset while I try to figure it out.”

Myrt caught Caleb in his arm as he put him to sleep and laid him out on the couch. He pulled a blanket over him and crouched beside him a moment trying to decide if it would be best to just make the evening disappear for Caleb. He decided it would be unfair and instead just wished him sweet dreams and gave a slight push for patience. Myrt left a short note on the floor saying he would stop by Sordid later and left Caleb to rest.

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