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Rated NC-17

Summary: Asher's time with Narcissus. (Missing scene, takes place during NIC.)

Disclaimer:  All characters and situations belong to author Laurell K. Hamilton.  No profit was or ever will be, made from this fic.

(Author's note: This story is fictitious, but the sexual practices --namely asphyxiation--described within its contents, are both real and dangerous, often resulting in not only permanent injury and disfigurement, but death. By writing this story, I am not endorsing these practices in any shape or form, and am not liable for your actions if you, as an adult, choose to disregard this warning.)


"So. Where would you like me? Asher, is it?" The werehyena, Narcissus, peered up at the vampire, who was still standing beside the bed.

Asher had turned away from the shapeshifter to watch his companions exit the room. Now he was facing the door with an unreadable expression.

Slowly, he pivoted on his heel, re-directing his attention back on Narcissus, who was sitting expectantly on the edge of the bed.

"Oui. My name is Asher," he acknowledged with a curt nod. He paused and took a deep breath, tossing his shirt aside. "But tonight, you will address me as 'Master'. Has it been so long since you've been topped that you've forgotten your manners?"

For a brief moment, Narcissus appeared taken aback, but then he smiled slyly, and bowed his head in acquiescence.

"Perhaps it has," he explained. "Forgive me, Master. It will not happen again."

Asher locked his pale blue eyes on the werehyena. His expression turned cold. "That's not good enough," he stated flatly. "Come here."

Without hesitation, Narcissus rose to his feet. "I apologized," he replied, his voice breathy with excitement. "What else would my master require from me?"

Asher waited until the werehyena came to a stop directly in front of him. His eyes were down, but his shoulders heaved with anticipation. The acrid scent of lust about him curled from his roiling power like smoke from a newly birthed flame, permeating the vampire's keen senses and quickening his already pounding pulse.

Without warning, Asher backhanded Narcissus with enough force to knock him off his feet.

"Blood," the vampire answered, then reached down to grab the shapeshifter's arm. He hauled him upright, and seized a handful of his short black hair.

Tilting Narcissus' face upwards, Asher let the sight of the werehyena's freshly bleeding mouth stir a new hunger inside him. With a snarl of desire, the vampire kissed him, covering his mouth with his, and grinding his jaw mercilessly against Narcissus' soft, pulpy lips.

Narcissus released a whimper of apparent surprise, tightly encircling Asher's arms with his hands. His grip soon loosened as his own passion flared, and Asher felt the shapeshifter's fingers trail over his flexed biceps to his bare shoulders. He also felt Narcissus' left hand hesitate for a moment as it came upon the vampire's hideously scarred skin.

Even the likes of you, Asher thought as anger erupted inside him. He flung Narcissus away from him, but pursued him across the room, and pummeled him repeated with his fists.

"Who are you to be repulsed by me, you filthy little piece of shit?" he demanded, kicking the shapeshifter as he cowered in a defensive ball beside the bed on the floor. "I once fucked every lord and lady in Europe's highest courts. Viscounts and queens. I was the object of their every desire! I was once prized by royalty! Now I'm fucking creatures like you. You, who are no better than an animal to me." He paused and stepped back, taking several deep, cleansing breaths. "From this moment on, I demand you react to me accordingly, with unmistakable appreciation for everything I'm about to subject you to. Including my body. Is that understood?"

Narcissus peered up at the vampire with wide, dark eyes. He nodded, the eagerness in his expression clearly without pretense. "Yes, my master. Fully."

"Tres bon," Asher growled, and stepped towards him.

Reaching down, Asher pulled the shapeshifter up to him, caging him with his arms. He kissed him again, more forcefully than before, feeding from his lips. The shapeshifter's split flesh peeled away further under the pressure of his mouth, and Narcissus' blood flowed freely over Asher's tongue. He closed his eyes, and pressed the werehyena's warm body tightly to his, becoming increasingly aware of the writhing outline of Narcissus' sinewy form. The shapeshifter's lust, his blood, and body served as an intoxicating cocktail of sensation for the vampire. Asher found it all undeniably arousing, and thought it odd he had not forgotten what it was like to feel this way after so many years.

For too long a time, the prospects of sex failed to stir Asher. He still had needs, but no one would embrace him out of desire. He couldn't blame them. He could barely stand to touch himself. Before coming to reside in St. Louis with Jean-Claude, sex had simply been a duty for him with little personal pleasure. Instead of being the object of his lovers' hearts, he was the object of their morbid fascination.

Tonight, Narcissus' strange politics had inadvertently given Asher the opportunity he'd been waiting for to 'test the waters'. If circumstances had been different, and had Asher chosen a lover from among Jean-Claude's people, there was no doubt the divulging of each detail of such an encounter would have been coerced or even demanded by Jean-Claude. But tonight, if things didn't work out as Asher hoped, the werehyena would be none the wiser, and at least Asher's humility would remain intact.

Narcissus' painted black nails dug painfully into Asher's arms, pulling him out of his reverie. He jerked back, and Narcissus gasped for air and coughed, nearly choking on his own blood.

Asher saw that his teeth had punctured the shapeshifter's tongue and pierced through the bright raw flesh of his lower lip. Now blood spilled over Narcissus' chin and ran in dark crimson rivulets down his throat. He reached up to wipe it away with the back of his hand, but Asher stopped him.

"No!" the vampire snapped, grabbing Narcissus' wrist. "Leave it. It pleases me."

Narcissus swallowed visibly. "Whatever my master wishes," he replied, breathlessly, fixing his eyes on Asher.

"What I wish," the vampire began, twisting Narcissus' wrist until the pain forced him to his knees on the floor, "is to watch you crawl to your chains."

Narcissus carefully licked his bruised lips. "I beg you, Master. Spare me one functioning hand," the werehyena lisped.

Asher released him and pointed to the shackles on the far wall. "Crawl now!" He kicked him to send him on his way. "On all fours, like the animal you are."

Narcissus obediently crawled to the best of his ability to the wall, but his brow furrowed and he looked back at the vampire with obvious disdain. "For you to keep remarking on the presence of my beast, tells me my master gets off on such things." Asher noticed his expression brightened somewhat as something apparently occurred to him. "I can...change, for you, if that is what you'd rather have."

Asher picked up a blindfold mask and threw it at Narcissus. He shook his head. "Your body is alien enough without fur." He gestured at the werehyena with an all-encompassing wave of his hand. "This is as low as I go."

Narcissus sneered. "My, but we are aspiring to our deemed roles tonight, I see."

Asher stalked over to the shapeshifter and grabbed the front of his dress. He hauled him to his feet and shoved him against the wall. "And I see my slave needs to be reminded of her place."

At that, Narcissus smiled, albeit crookedly. "Ah, and here I thought the lovely Jean-Claude was supplying the substance for our fantasies this evening." He righted himself and edged along the wall to center himself between the chains. "How could I have so easily forgotten the special charms and allure of his delightful servant, Miss Anita Blake? How lucky for you that my body can accommodate your fantasies for both him and her. Fuck me one way, and you can pretend I'm Jean-Claude. Fuck me another, and you can be fucking Anita Blake."

Asher turned his gaze fully on Narcissus and frowned. "Don't," he whispered, feeling uneasy for the first time tonight.

Narcissus went to slip the blindfold mask over his head, but hesitated. "What's wrong?" he inquired, sniffing blood back up his nose. "Is my master having second thoughts?"

Turning away from him, Asher feigned interest in the implements decorating the wall. He took down a switch and slapped it sharply a few times over the palm of his hand.

"No," he answered finally, facing the shapeshifter. "But know this has nothing to do with either of them. I offered to do this because I wanted to do this."

Narcissus grinned, exposing his blood-stained teeth. "You're attracted to me, then? Is that it? But that look in your eyes just then. I'm not sure if I should be flattered or jealous."

"Jealous? Of whom?" Asher asked, genuinely curious.

The shapeshifter shrugged. "Well, since you refer to me in the feminine sense, I would have to say Anita. You wish to use her, but are not allowed to. Am I right? Despite having Jean-Claude's affections, you are not permitted such liberties."

The vampire shook his head. "I would never use Anita the way I will use you. I only refer to your femininity because you appear womanly to me. Your face, your clothes. The way you move. Don't read more into it than that." Asher paused and placed the switch between his knees as he worked to bind Narcissus wrists to the wall. "You can be he or she to me--it makes little difference to someone bearing my particular proclivities."

Narcissus raised his brow. "Very well. If not Anita Blake, then my next choice out of the three you taunted tonight, would have to be Jean-Claude. It's obvious, the Ulfric you merely lust after. Who wouldn't, eh? Anita may stir something in you, but you're too much of a gentleman to admit what you can't quite define. But now Jean-Claude...there's real feelings between the two of you that run far deeper than mere love. Mere hate."

Asher locked the shackles around Narcissus' wrists with a loud mechanical snap and stepped back, retrieving the switch from the grip of his legs. He twirled it expertly between his long fingers and smiled at the shapeshifter indulgently.

"How very astute, mon familier," he murmured. "Granted, to achieve my ultimate satisfaction with you, I will envision his face in the throes of his passion, but be neither jealous of him, nor flattered. I told you, my reasons for being here are my own."

"Of course, Master," Narcissus said, bowing his head. "Think of him, but punish me in his stead. I know you want to and I'm certainly not going to judge you for it. I'm only a little put out knowing you'd rather be doing him than me tonight, but that is what I agreed to, isn't it?"

Asher's expression hardened. "Be careful, Narcissus, in your pursuit of this. Not everyone enjoys such sexual deviation as you."

Narcissus' smile faded. "You think I am a deviant?"

Stepping forward, Asher jabbed the blunt end of the switch under the werehyena's chin, snapping Narcissus' head back against the stone wall.

"I know you are," the vampire growled. He turned his head, bringing his mouth very close to Narcissus' ear. "I know what you did to Jean-Claude. The gist of it, anyway, and it sickens me. Unlike you, he had no choice. So let's get one thing straight, shall we? The abuse you suffer at my hands tonight is meant for you and you alone. If it has anything to do with Jean-Claude, it will be retribution for what you did to him. Do you understand me?" Asher flexed his arms, driving the switch deeper into the soft flesh of the shapeshifter's throat.

Narcissus whimpered and shuddered. His eyes widened as Asher moved away from him and lowered the switch.

"...Yes," the shapeshifter croaked, taking a deep shaky breath.

Sharply, the vampire rapped the switch across Narcissus' cheek, leaving an angry-looking red welt.

"Yes, what?" he demanded.

"Yes, Master!" Narcissus quickly amended, his watering eyes also smoldering now with desire.

Asher smiled humorlessly. He shoved the switch sideways into the were's mouth like a bit, then seized the front of Narcissus' dress. "Then let's get to it." With one quick yank, Asher ripped the dress cleanly down the front, then none too gently, tore it off the shapeshifter's body. Underneath it, Narcissus was wearing a black leather corset over a satin bustier and a skimpy black thong which barely contained his surprisingly large, hardening erection.

Letting his eyes wander unabashedly over the shapeshifter's intriguing body, Asher couldn't help but feel aroused at the sight of it. Narcissus was undeniably sexy. His seductive expression seemed to belie the fact he had been beaten and was chained up to be brutalized even more. Taking the switch from the werehyena's mouth, Asher tentatively reached up, and delicately traced his brow with his fingertips. He trailed the back of his hand down the side of Narcissus' smooth face, and couldn't resist stealing a tender kiss. Closing his eyes, Asher pressed his lips over Narcissus' mouth, slipping his tongue between his teeth to taste the sweetness of his saliva. Narcissus' jaw slackened obligingly and a low moan rose from his throat when Asher's hands glided over his body.

For a moment, Asher allowed himself to fantasize. In his mind, it was Jean-Claude's body beneath his hands, purring with pleasure from the sensuality of Asher's kiss. But the body he explored was nothing like his former lover's, and the lips he tasted were not sweet, but stale with old blood.

Opening his eyes, Asher stepped back. Narcissus stood grinning crookedly at him, a small trickle of fresh blood spilling from the side of his mouth.

"Who were you kissing?" he whispered with a shake of his head. "Because I know it wasn't me...."

Asher blinked back at the shapeshifter in surprise. Then his eyes flashed and his expression hardened in anger.

"Unfortunately, it was you," he muttered, moving closer to Narcissus once more. With a single-minded determination, Asher made quick work of removing the bustier, exposing Narcissus' small, but shapely feminine breasts.

Asher covered them with his hands and cupped them in his palms. He could feel Narcissus' nipples harden against them and rubbed each one to a pebble-like peak.

The shapeshifter leaned his head back against the wall, and exhaled a long drawn-out breath. It turned Asher's attention once more to the blood dripping from his mouth. It sharply honed his hunger, setting his entire body ablaze with need. At first he fought it down, continuing to fondle the soft, delicate mounds of flesh in his hands, but desire for satiation was suddenly too strong and Asher realized it wasn't just blood he was hungry for. He wanted sex. This sex--guiltless, violent, lust-driven, and totally uninhibited.

Asher squeezed Narcissus' breasts, gradually increasing the pressure until the shapeshifter cried out. He captured his mouth in another kiss, but there was little tenderness to it this time. Narcissus squirmed against him and Asher kissed him harder, hating the fact he was kissing him and letting his hatred fill him the same way love typically filled others.

Dragging his mouth down the side of the shapeshifter's neck, Asher nipped and gnawed his way from one side to the other. He pinched Narcissus' pert nipples and twisted them roughly between his fingers making the werehyena jerk against his chains.

"Beg for more," Asher ordered him, turning his wrists to apply even more pressure on Narcissus' sensitive flesh. His skin was starting to tear.

The shapeshifter took several gulps of air before responding. "More," he gasped. "Please, Master. Give me more."

Asher released his hold on Narcissus' breasts and reached down between the hyena's legs. Seizing Narcissus' jaw in his other hand, Asher forced his mouth open with his fingers. He ripped the thong underwear from the shapeshifter's body, balled it up in his fist, and then stuffed it into Narcissus' mouth, gagging him. Then Asher reached up and snapped the blindfold the werehyena had been wearing into place over his eyes.

Narcissus sagged against the wall as Asher quickly undressed himself. Sliding his pants down his thighs, the vampire fixed his eyes on the shapeshifter's face, fighting the urge to look at himself. He knew he was aroused, but could not imagine how it would appear now that it was no longer inhibited by his scarring. Tentatively, Asher ran his hand slowly over his hip, skimming the ravaged skin with his palm. Warily, he touched himself, splaying his fingers along the length of the velvety smoothness of his erection. A faint smile of satisfaction tugged at the corners of the vampire's mouth.

Narcissus' chains rattled, bringing Asher's attention back to the battered person spread out before him like a holiday feast. The vampire stared at him awhile, trying to decipher the strange barrage of emotions vying for consideration in his mind. He still hesitated to subject anyone, even Narcissus, to the sensation of his horrific body, and had to keep telling himself that his scars were what convinced Narcissus to agree to this union. There was no reason to feel ashamed or anxious. Narcissus wanted to be repulsed. He wanted to be abused.

Leaning forward, Asher nuzzled the side of the werehyena's face. "You look good enough to eat," he rumbled in his ear, pressing his right side against Narcissus smooth and perfect skin.

There was the slightest, most imperceptible quiver on the shapeshifter's part which made Asher grin. He rubbed his scars over the center of Narcissus' body, catching the sensitive tip of werehyena's erection on them and making the shapeshifter shiver even more.

"I feel your disgust," Asher whispered in the shapeshifter's ear. "Your revulsion at having someone as deformed as me so close to you. You, who have any number of beautiful men at your disposal. But I think that is rather like the pot calling the kettle black, n'est ce pas? This is nothing, really, compared to the way they once were." Asher paused to drag his tongue over the swirls of Narcissus' ear. "Imagine, if you will, what they were like freshly made. Red and glistening, oozing with pus and blood--like so much putrefying raw meat. They wouldn't heal for years, and the burning was excruciating." The vampire paused to graze Narcissus' earlobe with his fangs. "But not all of me is so grotesque, mon amant. In fact, there is a particular part of my anatomy which is quite fetching again. But don't take my word for it, feel it for yourself."

Asher nipped Narcissus' ear, then kissed it, taking hold of himself with one hand and exploring the shapeshifter's moist vaginal opening with the other. For a fleeting moment, Asher thought it seemed odd to be fingering a woman's genitalia while her erect, male genitalia jutted out in a mirror image of his own directly above it. But for the most part, Asher remained unfazed. He stroked himself slowly, readying his body, then he guided himself between Narcissus' spread legs, and pierced him with one quick shove.

Narcissus started, then moaned through the gag, pressing his hips clingingly against Asher. The vampire sighed.

"Does that feel nice?" he questioned, breathing against the shapeshifter's cheek. Asher slowly rocked his hips to and fro a few times, reacquainting himself with the sensations he was experiencing and taking a few moments to revel in them.

Hesitantly, Narcissus nodded.

"Ah, forgive me then, my moments of self-indulgence," Asher sneered, and passed his tongue over the dried blood scabbing Narcissus' lips. "I could not help myself. It has been awhile since I have been permitted to feel the velvet sweetness of a woman's warmth wrapped so snugly around me."

Flexing his lower back, Asher withdrew slightly from the shapeshifter's body, then ever so slowly pushed himself in again. Closing his eyes in momentary bliss, the vampire moaned softly, and pressed a feather-soft kiss on the corner of Narcissus' torn mouth.

"Merci, Narcissus," he purred. "I'm in your debt, more than you could know." Pausing, Asher dragged his lips over the shapeshifter's jaw, kissing, and rubbing his scarred cheek against his face with mock affection. "You will be pleased with me tonight, you have my word. I promise I will give you exactly what you want. Pound for pound."

Narcissus turned his face towards Asher, chewing the gag as if he were mulling the vampire's words over.

Asher smiled, sensing the shapeshifter tense against him. He pecked a kiss on the tip of Narcissus' nose. Grasping the backs of Narcissus' thighs, Asher lifted him, simultaneously thrusting himself forward, shifting all Narcissus' weight onto his injured wrists and grinding his back against the rough wall.

Asher knew he was undoubtedly causing the shapeshifter excruciating pain, but continued his relentless assault, wrapping his own misery around him like a buffering blanket. As if to confirm his discomfort, Narcissus screamed through the gag and clamped his legs around the vampire's waist in an apparent attempt to alleviate the pressure on his arms. The skin on his back was being scraped raw by the texture of the wall, and bright reddish smears appeared on it beneath Narcissus' contorted body.

The smell of fresh blood spilling from fresh wounds mingled with the already heady aroma of Narcissus' perspiration and sex. It made Asher's mind hazy. He felt almost drugged and intoxicated. Despite his tortured state, Narcissus was clearly getting off on his pain. His erection pressed tightly against Asher's abdomen like a steel bar and Narcissus was moving his hips just enough to slide it up and down the vampire's scarred skin. Asher closed his eyes and groaned deeply, nearly overwhelmed with sensation. As it was, the werehyena's power was rising and swirling around their joined bodies like a miniature whirlwind, sparking off Asher's own primeval vampiric powers which fed off violence and the fear of his victims. His bloodlust was rising again and there seemed no controlling it this time.

Asher's eyes bled solid blue. He abruptly lowered his head to Narcissus' body and plunged his fangs into the flesh under the werehyena's upraised arm. He bit down hard, and hot, sweet, blood burst into his mouth and poured down his throat. Gnawing on Narcissus' arm, he banged the werehyena's body mercilessly into the wall, pouring his power over him, which clearly sent the shapeshifter's senses into a more metaphysical realm of ecstasy.

Asher could feel Narcissus tipping over the edge, sensing a shift in the way his abused body was reacting, and knew if he didn't stop feeding from him, the shapeshifter would come in moments. It was simply too soon for that.

With a gurgling curse, Asher stopped moving and tore his fangs from Narcissus' arm. He reached down between their bodies and seized Narcissus' throbbing erection. Pinching the head between his fingers, Asher pulled himself out of the shapeshifter's body and took a small step back.

"I did not give you permission to come!" he growled. "I finish first! You know the rules!"

Narcissus tried twisting his lower body away from Asher's punishing hands and released a series of muffled protests through his gag.

Asher leaned over and snatched up the switch he'd been using previously and slashed it several times across Narcissus breasts.

The shapeshifter shrieked and slumped against the wall, trying to breathe deeply through his nose.

Asher peered down at him, feeling the erection in his hand grow flaccid. He released his hold on Narcissus and sighed softly in relief. He knew the werehyena would not have wanted to come so quickly, and would not have been pleased if Asher had allowed him too. Luckily the pinching maneuver worked on hermaphrodites as well as full-fledged men.

"I'm going to unchain you," Asher explained quietly. "But don't think I'm letting you off so easy. You've denied me and deserved to be severely punished now." He set the whip aside and worked to unshackle Narcissus' wrists. Once freed, Asher pulled the gag from his mouth as the shapeshifter all collapsed into his arms.

"That," Narcissus croaked, carefully trying to moisten his dry lips with his dry tongue. "Was mean of you, my master."

Asher dragged Narcissus over to the bed and slung him face down upon it. He wrenched his legs apart and cursed under his breath.

"Mean? But I've been merely toying with you, mon familier." Asher frowned down at him and picked up the discarded switch and trailed the handle along the shapeshifter's jawline.

"I wouldn't have held it against you if you let me come just then," Narcissus rasped, as if knowing the reason he was denied his pleasure. "You're doing a superlative job as a dominatric. I've been very pleased."

"Merci," Asher acknowledged. "I'm glad you approve."

Positioning himself at the side of the bed, Asher raised the switch high over his head. He brought it down smartly over the finely toned curves of Narcissus' buttocks. The shapeshifter squeaked as the whip bit into him, but raised his hips slightly as if to welcome the next blow. Frustrated, Asher doubled the force behind each lashing, cutting the switch over the tenderest parts of the were's back. Soon, it became apparent that the pain Asher was inflicting on Narcissus was starting to affect him. He increasingly gasped for air and writhed spasmodically, clutching the bedclothes tightly in his fists. Asher continued beating him until he was whimpering in misery and his buttocks were covered in bloody welts.

Finally throwing the switch aside, Asher climbed on the bed between Narcissus' legs.

Narcissus raised his head weakly. "I wish...to see you," he stammered. "Will my master please remove my blindfold?"

"No," Asher stated bluntly. He leaned forward on his knees and reached out to squeeze the firm muscles of Narcissus battered rear. Blood welled up through Asher's fingers.

"But...sometimes, I can't tell what part of you I'm feeling," Narcissus went on, wincing as Asher picked off the scabs covering his older abrasions. "You don't feel real to me at times. It's bizarre, but exciting. Very exciting."

"Mmm," Asher responded, dipping his head to lick the freshly bleeding wounds on Narcissus' skin.

Narcissus twitched slightly. "You're a rare talent, Asher. I haven't been topped like this since...well, since I can't even remember."

Asher stretched out his arm and shoved the werehyena's face back down into the rumpled black comforter.

"Shut up or I'll gag you again," he warned. "Something I would rather not do in case you feel the need to call me off."

Narcissus raised his head again and his mouth fell open as if he were about to speak, but then apparently thought better of it and lay his head back down on the bed.

"That's better," Asher rumbled, lowering his face to the droplets of blood pooling on top of the fresh whipmarks. He watched it stream between Narcissus' legs, and drip on the black sheets beneath him with a soft puff of a sound.

Asher ran the tip of his tongue up the length of Narcissus' crack several times, snaking it into each moist crevice. He rimmed him while deeply plunging his fingers into the shapeshifter's wet femininity.

Narcissus groaned low in his throat and raised his hips to better accommodate Asher's ministrations.

"Non, mon familier, don't get too comfortable," the vampire chided, sitting up. He pinched Narcissus' hip and slapped him. "Raise yourself to me and tell me what you want me to do."

Narcissus pulled his knees underneath his hips, obediently raising his rear-end to the vampire. "I...want you to fuck me in the ass."

Asher sidled up behind him and grasped his hips with both hands. "Say it in French."

For a moment, Narcissus hesitated. Then he chuckled somewhat self-consciously. "Forgive me, master. But I'm not quite fluent in your native tongue...."

"Baise-moi," Asher instructed, rubbing his blood-slickened erection along the shapeshifter's crack.

"Oh!" Narcissus exclaimed. "Is that what that means? Then, baise-moi, Master."

Asher froze for a moment as the implication behind Narcissus' words struck him. His heart seized inside him and his flushed skin felt suddenly cold. Had this demon heard those words before? He had claimed that Jean-Claude had enjoyed his time in this room, which Asher could not fault him for if it were true. Asher had been enjoying himself after all, but he was not under orders to submit to the werehyena's every twisted whim the way Jean-Claude had been. Had Narcisssus forced Jean-Claude to beg for sex the way Asher was forcing Narcissus now? In French? The thought made Asher want to tear the shapeshifter apart.

"Tu con!" Asher snarled and rammed himself into Narcissus' body with one swift, stabbing thrust.

The shapeshifter screeched through his tightly clenched teeth. His entire body trembled and twisted with pain.

"Ah, Christ! You...what does that mean?" Narcissus half-snarled, half-panted.

Asher banged against him even more forcefully. "I called you a prick!" he seethed, blinded by anger and oblivious to anything Narcissus may be feeling. He suddenly wanted this night over. He wanted to leave this room and never lay eyes on this creature again.

Narcissus' snarls of agony soon turned to growls of pleasure despite Asher's best attempts to cleave him in two. He felt the shapeshifter's body rock back against him, taking the full brunt of Asher's thrusts. The vampire did everything he could think of to cause Narcissus more pain, but the shapeshifter's masochistic nature gladly welcomed it all and soon his body was quivering on the cusp of orgasm.

Disgusted, Asher leaned over Narcissus' back. "Do you want to come?" he panted, pushing himself as deeply into the shapeshifter's body as he could go.

Narcissus gasped. "Oh yes, Master! Let me come! Please!"

"Beg me!"

"I beg you!" Narcissus pleaded, trembling uncontrollably.

Steadying himself, Asher reached around the front of the werehyena and grasped his once more jutting male genitalia. It was hot and pulsing and slick with blood. Asher pulled and stroked it while increasing the rhythm of his thrusting.

"Yes!" Narcissus cried out. "Don't stop! Goddamnit, don't stop!"

"I won't," Asher muttered under his breath, prepared to suffer the consequences of his actions. He wrapped himself over Narcissus' back and embedded his teeth into the shapeshifter's neck.

Using his weight, Asher forced Narcissus' head down, and held the shapeshifter's face to the mattress with his free hand. He continued to stroke him and fuck him while smothering him in the sheets. Asher knew restricting oxygen to the living sometimes intensified their orgasms. He had done it enough times to know how much was too much or even too little, but this time, he didn't just want to intensify his lover's pleasure, he wanted to kill him. If Narcissus had a better orgasm before he died, then at least Asher knew he had fulfilled his obligation to him.

As expected, Narcissus began to fight the vampire holding him. He struggled violently, but Asher was feeding from him and weakening him to the point the werehyena's efforts were clearly in vain. Asher felt Narcissus summoning his power, and he felt the shapeshifter's body alter beneath him. He heard the distant footsteps growing louder as the master hyena called out to his men.

Asher only bit down harder, drawing the scalding blood down his throat. He closed his eyes and cleared his mind. He would be killed for this, but he really didn't care. It would be over. Finally over.

Strangely, as if summoned by Asher's despair, Jean-Claude's gentle, beautiful voice wafted through his mind, repeating the words he'd spoken earlier tonight to the Ulfric, Richard.

"Mon ami, hurting this one will not undo the harm that has already been done. No drop of blood less will have been spilt; no pound of flesh less will have been lost; no humiliation will have been stopped. It is over, memories cannot harm us." *

Asher's eyes suddenly burned with unshed tears. He tore his mouth from Narcissus' neck and yanked the shapeshifter's head back to allow him to breathe.

Narcissus gasped wretchedly and came with a violent shudder as his ill-gotten orgasm crashed through him and wave after wave of pleasure pounded his body.

Asher dropped him and shakily climbed off the bed, leaving the shapeshifter gulping and quivering uncontrollably on the mattress. The vampire fled into the adjacent bathroom. He locked the door and turned on the shower full force. Stepping inside, he quickly washed up, scrubbing at his skin to get the lingering crawling sensation off his body. He soaped his hair and wrung it out, then turned off the faucets and stepped out of the shower, carefully avoiding looking at himself in the mirror.

Why had he agreed to this tonight? Asher covered his face with his hands and started to cry. There were those reasons, but there was also the fact he wanted to nick Jean-Claude's hardened heart, and make him jealous. Perhaps he'd accomplished that much, but he'd also repelled Anita to the point where he was certain she'd never consent to even be alone in the same room with him again. Let alone love him the way he longed for her to. But now how could she, believing him to be the sort who got off on sadism? What was worse was knowing he had gotten off on it. He had found all this carnage stimulating. At first, at least. But then had he, really? What was it that changed things?

Emerging from the bathroom, Asher was glad to discover Narcissus had not yet moved, and still wore the blindfold mask over his eyes. He lay sprawled on the enormous bed, basking in his afterglow. He was completely in human form again, but the majority of his superficial wounds had already healed.

Looking at him, Asher realized he bore no real animosity against him. Right now, Asher disliked himself more for willingly lowering himself to the werehyena's depths to play the werehyena's games. But Narcissus was who he was, and the vampire had no right to pass judgment on that. Perhaps, like Jean-Claude, Asher decided he simply didn't care for this kind of sex anymore. Not the way he used to, and not the way he had anticipated he would. Tonight had served its purpose in more ways than one. Asher felt exhausted, when he should have felt empowered. But he was certain all his hatred, all his pain, and all his wicked cruelty had been spent. It just wasn't worth all the effort and energy anymore. Memories cannot harm us. It was time to put the past away and turn his eyes on the future. Perhaps the prospects of re-discovering love after so many long, lonely centuries of misery, had changed him after all.

Asher moved about the room, snatching up his clothes and dressing. He tugged on his shirt and tucked the hem into his pants, buttoning the front and fastening his belt before clearing his throat and addressing the shapeshifter still lying on the bed.

"You may get up, and remove the blindfold now," the vampire said in a quiet voice. "We are finished."

Narcissus stirred, moaned, and stiffly pushed himself up on one arm. He stripped off the mask, then twisted around to look at Asher, who was edging steadily towards the door.

"Leaving so soon?" the werehyena rasped weakly. He seemed entirely unfazed by the fact Asher had tried to kill him. Perhaps he simply thought that was part of the sexplay.

Asher nodded. "I believe I've more than paid my friends' debt to you."

Narcissus smiled broadly. "Yes. It has been paid many times over. Jean-Claude was right. I am left owing him."

"Then," Asher continued softly. "I will take my leave of you, bid you adieu, and be off to rejoin my companions."

The werehyena pulled himself up into a sitting position, wincing and flinching a little with pain.

"Before you hurry away," he began, the smile fading from his face. "Let me ask you why you did not take your pleasure in me. I know I provoked you. You were just as turned on by all this as I was."

Asher lowered his eyes and shrugged. "I will admit to being aroused by you. You are not only fair, but exotic, sensual, and very sexy. Your body gave me pleasure. But I have realized tonight that what I did to you was not out of pleasure, but pain--my pain, my hatred, and ills. This was not sex to me. You may think I made love to you, and you enjoyed it as such, but in truth, I did not make love to you. I brutalized you. If anything, I am pleased I learned the difference tonight. I do not enjoy this kind of lovemaking. I don't want to enjoy this kind of lovemaking. Ever again."

Narcissus climbed unsteadily to his feet. "It was love. The love of my body responding to yours. I made you hard." His dark eyes flitted to Asher's groin. "I can make you hard again, Asher. Stay awhile longer. Take from me what you want. No S&M. No foreplay. Just me loving you. Baise-moi, mon ami? S`il vous plait?"

Asher shook his head. "No." He backed up against the bedroom door and took a deep breath. "I'm through with you now. With all of this."

Sighing, Narcissus waved the vampire away. "Fine. Leave then. I will send word to Jean-Claude that I was well-pleased with you. You performed your task with the skill and expertise I'm accustomed to. I will tell him the debt has been paid."

Again, Asher shook his head. "Non."


"No, please," the vampire explained. "Do not speak of this to him. I've hurt him enough. You've had your pound of flesh. Let that suffice."

Narcissus raised his brow. He seemed to consider Asher's request, then readily nodded.

"Done. As a favor...to you, Asher. In hopes that sometime, soon, you will return to my bed and finish what you so aptly started. An open invitation, if you will. We'll leave it at that."

"Merci beaucoup," Asher whispered, placing his hand over his stomach. Strangely enough, he felt sick--like he wanted to throw up. Without another word, he turned away from Narcissus and quickly and quietly, slipped out of the room.




* From Narcissus In Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton

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