Note: Assume the story takes place shortly after Narcissus in Chains.


Rina & Orithain

March 2002

Disclaimers: Asher, Nathaniel, everyone else, and the entire universe belong to Laurell K. Hamilton. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.

Climbing out of the car, Nathaniel automatically gathered his long auburn hair over his shoulder so that it wouldn't get caught in the door. He half-turned, looking over his shoulder at the petite woman behind the steering wheel. Anita looked torn, as if she wasn't sure if this was the right thing to do or not.

Although a feared vampire executioner and Nimir Ra of St. Louis' wereleopards, the human woman still had a soft streak in her a mile wide - one she tried to hide from everyone. She also had deeply held religious beliefs, and, while she was having her own affair with Jean-Claude, the vampire master of the city, her essentially giving one of her pard to someone, even if that someone was a friend of hers, must have stuck in her throat.

He started to try to reassure her, when a shadowed form appeared by the car. Nathaniel blinked, body tensing, before he recognized Asher, the master vampire who he was there to see.

Sensing Anita's disquiet, Asher leaned into the open window to brush a kiss across her cheek. "Do not worry, Anita; you know I could never harm someone who mattered to you." Then hearing the faint indrawn breath at his side, he straightened up to look at the young wereleopard.

Nathaniel's beauty and utter submissiveness struck Asher like a blow to the heart, making him eager to draw the other inside and begin exploring how they would deal with one another. Though he had seen Nathaniel many times, knowing that the wereleopard was now his made all the difference. Though being the dominant was not always Asher's preference, he did enjoy it, and he sensed that he and Nathaniel together could be spectacular.

"Welcome," he greeted softly, meeting the incredible violet eyes and nearly forgetting the human woman whom he also loved.

"Thank you." Nathaniel felt the weight of Asher's icy blue gaze on him, and shuddered, already losing himself in the vampire's dominance. "Anita, go," he whispered. "It will be fine."

He heard the car pull slowly away but made no move of his own volition, only continued looking up at Asher, his pulse beating thickly in his throat. Desire and anticipation made his senses more acute, and he could pick up the subtle scents of sex and pheromones on the breeze, no doubt partially coming from Circus of the Damned behind them but also from himself.

Eyes narrowing, Asher closed a fist in the fall of silken hair, tugging Nathaniel forward until the were leaned against him, supported by the vampire's strength. Never looking away from the sweetly submissive gaze, he took Nathaniel's mouth, tasting and claiming him at once.

Asher's eyes widened slightly at the shock of pleasure that raced through him, affected far more than he'd expected by the touch of the submissive male. "Do you want to be here?" he asked in a husky growl, hungry eyes raking over the beautiful face turned up to him.

Nathaniel's expression had turned hazy with lust and need, and he nodded slowly, his fingers stroking lightly over Asher's silk shirt. "Yes," he whispered, leaning his face against the vampire's shoulder, and breathing deeply, feeling the pull of Asher's fingers in his hair but enjoying the slight pain as much as the rest. "Do you want me here?" The last was asked in an almost inaudible tone.

"Even more than I realized," Asher admitted, drawing the were closer. He enjoyed the weight and warmth of him, realizing how much he had missed being touched. "Come inside," he invited, turning toward the entrance, suddenly eager to have Nathaniel all to himself.

"I'd love to," he sighed, rubbing his face against the vampire's chest as they walked. He could feel ridges beneath the smooth silk, and it took him a second to realize what they were. He knew about Asher's scars, you couldn't miss them given the fact that they covered half of his face and body, but somehow, Nathaniel had stopped noticing them any longer, and he found himself hoping that he'd be able to touch and taste all of Asher's skin.

Asher froze momentarily when Nathaniel touched his scars, drawing back slightly so that he was touching the unscarred side of his body. "Would you like something to drink?" he offered as they headed through the public areas toward the living quarters, trying to distract Nathaniel from his reaction.

"A soda if it's not a problem." Nathaniel's brows were slightly furrowed, and he lowered his head, wondering what Asher hadn't liked about his touch and how to make sure he didn't repeat the same mistake.

"Of course not," Asher replied, slightly startled again, veering toward the bar to get the requested beverage. When he handed it over moments later, he drew Nathaniel to a somewhat secluded corner, eyeing him curiously. It seemed the wereleopard was even more of a sub than he'd realized, his every action determined by his dom's wishes and perceived desires, so Asher was going to have to be very careful to avoid hurting him unintentionally.

"Come, it will be easier to get to know each other in private," he said, straightening up. It would be less stressful for them to be alone in his rooms.

Smiling in relief, Nathaniel nodded as he took a drink, quickly draining the glass and leaving it on the table in the corner they were in before following Asher toward a door in the back of the club that led to the tunnels and rooms below-ground.

"I wanted to thank you..." he faltered when Asher looked down at him, eyebrows arched questioningly. "For... this. For trying this - me." He fell silent and smiled.

Asher cocked his head to one side, eyeing Nathaniel with growing mirth. "Well, I know you know what you look like, so what makes you think I shouldn't be thanking you?" he finally asked, amusement bubbling in his voice and warming the cool blue of his eyes. "Men and women both, human and not, follow you around with their tongues hanging out. You're not exactly a hardship, Nathaniel."

"Why would you be thanking me?" Now Nathaniel was truly confused. Asher was beautiful and so amazingly dominating that he'd have crowds following him, begging to be his for the night at any of the D/S clubs in the city, hell, at any club at all!

"I know how I look, but it's the way I am." He gave a small smile. "A lot of people can't understand it; look at Anita."

"Anita doesn't understand herself, so she's hardly a good example," Asher pointed out wryly. "And I happen to like the way you are, Nathaniel. I like it very much indeed." As they finally reached Asher's rooms, his apartment really, he stepped inside, eyeing the wereleopard appreciatively as he followed.

"Last chance to change your mind and leave," he murmured, crowding up behind the younger male, his tongue laving the side of Nate's neck.

Giving a low moan, Nathaniel's body went limp, and he collapsed back against Asher, the vampire's hold on his waist the only thing keeping him upright. Needing more, he tilted his head to the side, offering his neck for the taking, just as the rest of him was Asher's as well. "Please..." The word was a near-silent plea.

Smiling slightly, Asher easily supported Nathaniel's weight, still licking his neck, then he sank his teeth into the exposed, throbbing vein, nearly gasping in delight at the richness of his blood. He also looked forward to the were's reaction, almost certain that he didn't know what Asher's power was.

Making small, mewling sounds of pleasure, Nathaniel squirmed against Asher. He could feel the vampire's cock throbbing against his ass, feel the slight pain in his neck as Asher drew on his blood, feel the press of Asher's arms around him and of his own erection against his tight leather pants, but it wasn't enough.

His body responding to Nathaniel's cries, Asher pressed closer, one hand curving over the heavy erection straining Nate's leather pants, eager to get inside him but first... Smiling wickedly even as he continued to draw the thick fluid from the were, Asher unleashed his power, letting it flow through Nathaniel.

Giving a startled yowl, Nathaniel's body spasmed, driving his cock against Asher's palm, his whole body electrified. His knees threatened to give way, and all he could do was clutch at Asher's arms, gasping for breath, feeling his semen cool against his skin and soak into his pants as his body slowly came back together after being torn into a million pieces by the unexpected climax.

"Wow..." Asher's teeth were still in his neck, and Nate shivered, liking the feeling of being the vampire's sustenance. "Was that you?"

Asher finally, reluctantly, raised his head, licking his lips to get the last drops of Nathaniel's blood, then smiled at him. "Did you like it?" he asked facetiously, well aware of what he had done to the young were. "That is my power," he added, laughing slightly at the besotted expression on Nathaniel's face. "I take it you approve."

"Oh yeah," Nathaniel sighed, managing to turn in Asher's arms and starting to nuzzle the vampire again, needing to return the amazing feelings he'd been given, any way he could. "Like you, that was just an added bonus." He looked up at Asher, and smiled, looking very young and awe-struck.

Unable to resist that sweet smile, Asher kissed him gently, easily lifting him and moving to the silk-draped bed. Suddenly he was eager for the other man and looking forward to a mating where he didn't have to restrain his strength.

Eager hands pulled at Nathaniel's clothing, Asher pausing to lick and kiss each newly bared inch of skin.

Nathaniel writhed bonelessly on the bed, the after-shocks of his orgasm still running through his system. "What about you?" he murmured, trying to push up onto one elbow before falling back with a moan as the vampire traced a path up the length of his cock with an incisor, the sharp trail of pain keeping Nathaniel needy and hungry for whatever Asher would give him.

"I'm enjoying your pleasure, cheri," Asher murmured against the heated skin of his pomme de sang's cock. "For now, that is enough," he added throatily, fang and tongue alternating on the exquisitely sensitive skin. "But if you want more, all you have to do is ask," he added, trying to reassure Nathaniel that he could and should speak up and make demands of his own.

He stretched out along the wereleopard's side, his scarred side pressed against him, contrasting with the smooth leather of his pants.

Brow furrowed slightly at the request, doubting that he could do what Asher suggested, Nathaniel shifted to his side, curling up against the master vampire, rubbing his face against Asher's neck and chest, the act one of both comfort and sensuality and done almost without thinking.

He could feel the hard length of Asher's cock through the supple leather of the vampire's trousers and flexed his thigh against it, wishing he had more direction in what would please his new dom and hoping that this would do for a start.

Realizing that to try to force Nathaniel to take more independent role would only hurt and confuse him at this stage, Asher rolled onto his back, drawing the were with him so that the young man was stretched atop him. "I want to feel that deliciously rough tongue of yours on every inch of my body," he ordered, lightly scraping his nails along the ridged length of Nathaniel's spine.

Violet eyes lit up with pleasure at the thought of performing this task for Asher, and Nathaniel gave a smile whose innocence was at odds with the carnal acts he was contemplating. Pushing up on his hands and knees, he shivered as Asher's nails danced along his spine, the sensation making his beast wallow and roll within him.

The smile faded away though a shadow of contentment remained in the were's eyes, and he lowered his head, licking at the corners of Asher's mouth, catching a faint hint of his own blood along with the vampire's unique flavor. Purring once more, Nathaniel studiously bathed both sides of Asher's face, taking care not to miss a spot, then he began working his way downward, over the length of Asher's neck and down across his chest, paying equal attention to both of his nipples, tracing the ridged scars, paying them homage, before moving to the smooth perfection of the opposite side.

The master vampire shivered as Nathaniel's tongue, slightly rougher than normal for a human or perhaps that was his imagination, ran over his body, teasing and arousing him. "Purr for me, Nate," he rasped, his finger now toying lightly with the lycanthrope's ass, rubbing between the perfectly shaped cheeks.

Knowing that Nathaniel liked it rough, Asher's other hand pinched a nipple hard, making him jump. At the same instant, one finger pushed inside the young wereleopard, sliding deep to rub over the sensitive gland, and his fangs sank into Nathaniel's wrist, driving him to another climax. "Don't stop licking," he ordered, dominating Nate as he knew the were desired.

The sound that emerged from Nathaniel's throat was a strangled combination moan and purr, and his whole body trembled when he came a second time, his seed splattering down against the dark leather and pale skin beneath him. Through it all, however, he continued dragging his tongue over Asher's body, working ever lower, gasping for breath and pushing back against the long finger inside him, sublimely happy in knowing that he was doing as he was told and that Asher was pleased with him.

Asher watched Nathaniel come, eyes blazing, and he continued to drag his finger back and forth over his prostate, making him shake and whine faintly as the pleasure continued to grow despite his orgasm. "Suck me," he growled, needing to feel the roughness of his submissive's tongue on his cock. It had been so long since he'd wanted like this, since he'd allowed himself to care, but as with Anita, this strangely innocent, jaded stripper had touched his undead heart. "Mine," he admitted softly, claiming Nathaniel for all time.

Violet eyes opened wide and Nathaniel's gaze centered on Asher, revealing wonder, arousal and joy mixed together in equal parts. This was something he'd never been given, not in this form. Yes, people had wanted him, but only as a toy to use and abuse then discard. Anita had been burdened with him along with the pard, and while she cared for him, it was this, this sense of utter belonging Asher's simple statement had created in him, that he wanted.

Hands that trembled slightly quickly unbuttoned and removed the master vampire's pants, and Nathaniel gave into his own desires and rubbed his face against Asher's crotch, inhaling deeply, filling his nostrils with his dom's scent. Realizing what he had been doing, the were froze and darted a quick look up at Asher, licking his lips before swallowing the vampire's erection in a quick movement of his head, taking Asher's whole length into his throat and swallowing before beginning to bob his head, his tongue trailing up the flesh.

Asher was unable to restrain a cry of pleasure when Nathaniel's wickedly talented mouth closed over him, and his hips arched upward, driving himself deep before he forced himself flat again. "So good," he praised, hands combing through the heavy auburn silk of Nathaniel's hair. He was going to have to remember to thank Anita, he thought vaguely before what Nate was doing made it impossible for him to think at all.

His hips rose and fell slightly, unable to remain still, and he moaned his pleasure, one leg rising to wind around Nathaniel's hips. He never even realized that it was the scarred one, the first time he'd voluntarily touched anyone with it.

Spurred on by the softly spoken praise and the feel of Asher's pleasure in what he was doing, Nathaniel re-doubled his efforts, timing his movements to the flex of the vampire's hips, hoping to please Asher by his actions. It was plain that Nathaniel was loving this somewhat gentle subjugation because in between his indrawn breaths, his throaty purr resonated in the bedroom.

His fingers twitched against the silken bed sheets, and he traced one down Asher's side before coming to his senses and pulling his hand back, feeling vaguely guilty about touching without being told to and torn between hoping that Asher hadn't noticed and feeling a sick thrill of dread that he had and would act accordingly.

But Asher did notice, though his reaction was not what Nathaniel clearly expected. "I want you to touch me, cheri," he panted, writhing beneath his lover. He reached for Nate's hand and drew it back to his side, pressing it against his skin. "It pleases me to know you want me as I want you, mon cher. Don't ever restrain yourself around me." He rolled over so they lay on their sides, bodies pressed together, and he kissed the wereleopard hungrily, the taste of his blood filling his mouth and making him feel drunk when Nathaniel cut his tongue on his fangs.

Now that permission had been given, Nathaniel threw himself into touching Asher everywhere he could reach with a passion. His fingers skittered up the vampire's back, stroked over his ribs and caressed his ass. He noticed the difference of the textures under his fingertips but didn't pay it any mind. It was all part of Asher, and that made it perfect, wonderful, right.

As his own healing abilities caused the small rents in his tongue to close, he twisted his head almost violently, gouging new cuts into his flesh and feeling Asher's grip on him tighten as fresh blood poured into his mouth. The pain and the pleasure combined, carrying Nathaniel along with them, and he grew a bit bolder, slipping a hand between them to cup Asher's cock, stroking the hard length as they kissed hungrily.

Suddenly hungry, Asher reached over to the nightstand and retrieved a container of lubricant he'd had placed in the room after agreeing to Anita's suggestion that she send Nathaniel to him. No matter how much Nate liked pain, the vampire did not intend for it to occur during intercourse, at least no more than necessary. Coating one hand, Asher slid three fingers inside the wereleopard, working them in and out until Nathaniel was riding his hand, lust flaming in his violet eyes.

"Do you want more?" he questioned huskily, licking Nathaniel's throat.

Panting, rocking back and forth, his expression one of pained delight, Nathaniel leaned in, licking at Asher's face before pulling back again, his back arching when the fingers inside him rubbed against his prostate. "Want... if you... do you..." he babbled, finally giving up in his attempt to articulate the need he felt, burying his face against Asher's chest but spreading his legs wider, opening himself as much as possible.

"I'll take that as a yes," Asher chuckled lustfully, dragging his fingers over the gland a final time as he removed them. "So ride me, pretty kitty," he purred, unable to resist the silly nickname. "I want to see you come riding me."

Once again a slightly perplexed look stole over Nathaniel's features, this time at what Asher had called him. It wasn't meant to be hurtful or condescending and... Whatever the were's next thought was going to be, it was swept away by the desire to please his dom, and he sat up, reaching back and holding Asher's erection upright as he sat on it, not even noticing the slight burn as he settled lower.

Stretching sinuously, Nathaniel rested his palms on Asher's chest, arched his back, and began to move, raising and lowering his body, trying to judge from the master vampire's expression what brought him the most pleasure and acting accordingly.

Equally determined to make Nathaniel take his own pleasure, Asher set out to distract him from anything except the sensations of his body. One hand curled around Nate's cock, alternating long, hard strokes with short, teasing ones, his other hand scratching at the wereleopard's nipples, his hips rising slightly to meet each downthrust. "That's it, Nathaniel," he whispered huskily, "take the pleasure you want. I want to watch you, want to see your pleasure, see you come apart, then make you come again while I take you, my cock deep inside you and your blood filling me."

Conflicting emotions tore through the young shapechanger, and he tossed his head from side to side, his hair whipping around them both like a veil of auburn silk, but he never stopped moving. Pressure grew within him, one that was only increased by the small lines of fire drawn across his nipple and the incessant tug at his cock.

All that was heaven, but what finally sent Nathaniel over the edge was the hypnotically pervasive sound of Asher's voice and the low-voiced, gently shaped commands he gave. Suddenly, his head snapped up and his back bowed to a degree that would have made a gymnast envious. As he came for the third time, Nathaniel snarled, a rough, feline sound that was accompanied by a rippling of his skin as he fought to keep control and not change.

Laughing wildly, Asher flipped them over so that he was pounding into Nathaniel, not letting him come down from one climax before forcing him to another. As he took his lover, he snarled hungrily, then his mouth closed over the pulsing vein and his fangs plunged deep, taking him in every way possible. Nathaniel's blood filled Asher's mouth as the vampire's semen filled the wereleopard, Asher releasing all restraints and letting his power flow through the young lycanthrope. The sensation of thickening fur beneath him only made him hungrier, and he finally released Nate's throat to howl his ecstasy as he stiffened and froze, buried deep inside him.

This time Nathaniel did snarl, his body flexing and distorting as Asher's power drove him to another immediate orgasm. He gave up all hope of keeping control of his beast and rode the change, feeling the jets of the master vampire's semen fill him even as his skin was covered in a thick pelt of black fur.

The were's normally lithe body thickened, muscle and bone growing denser as he changed, his facial features flattened and rearranged, though the violet eyes remained the same. Razor sharp nails sprang from his fingers and toes, and Nathaniel distantly heard the sheets rip beneath a flexing limb, and then it was over. He caught himself before he changed fully, halting the process in the man-leopard form, panting, watching Asher a bit warily but also trustingly.

Asher lowered his head again, this time kissing Nathaniel gently. "No form that you take could be unattractive to me, cheri. In all your forms you are mine." He rolled to his side, taking the man leopard with him, still enfolded in his arms and with Asher still buried inside him. He raised one clawed hand to his lips, tenderly exploring the limb.

"Do you need to rest or to eat?" he asked, not trusting Nate to speak up if he needed something.

Nathaniel shook his head, remaining mute for a few seconds before finding his voice. "Anita made sure I ate before they brought me over here," he answered huskily. "Not that she didn't think you would feed me, just because she had to."

He looked at the vampire, head canted to the side, wondering if Asher understood what he meant. "And I'm fine." He gave a small shudder, and the man-beast form melted back to his human body, leaving the sheets even more coated with the clear liquid that dripped off him as he changed. "This was nothing." He stopped, stammering. "I mean, I can take a lot more than - I mean I'm fine."

Shivering slightly at the sensation of Nathaniel changing while he was still inside him, Asher pulled out of him, then rose to his feet, pulling Nate up with him. "We need a shower," he stated emphatically, eyeing the mess they'd made of the bed.

As they walked to the bathroom, he glanced down at the young man he kept tucked close to his side. "I need you to promise me that you'll tell me if you need anything," he said seriously, hoping that this at least was within Nathaniel's capacity. He knew better than to try to get the wereleopard to use a safe word, so he would have to watch him carefully, but this might be doable. "It would hurt me if you were harmed or unhappy."

The were thought over the request for an inordinately long amount of time before nodding. "I'll try,' he said quietly, not wanting to promise anything that he couldn't deliver and risk angering Asher enough to send him away. "I don't need much; I usually eat between shifts at the club."

They entered the bathroom, and Nathaniel waited while Asher turned on the water in the shower then beckoned him inside. He glanced at the soap and the sea sponge on a small shelf, then looked up at the master vampire. "May I?"

"Please do," Asher replied, leaning back into the hot spray, luxuriating in it. "I really think showers are the most wonderful thing about this century," he mused, his back arching and a rumbling sound of pleasure escaping him. "And showers for two are even better," he teased, opening his eyes to smile at Nathaniel. Somehow, his nudity didn't bother him with Nate; he really wasn't even aware of his scars.

The wereleopard smiled almost shyly at that and nodded as he moved under the spray from the nozzles, his eyes going half-lidded with pleasure but remaining trained on Asher. "Especially when you have a big one," he offered, picking up the soap and sponge, using one to work up a lather in the other.

Setting the soap down again, Nathaniel moved forward, pushing his now damp hair back over his shoulder where it trailed down to tickle his ass. Still looking up at Asher, he took the sponge and began rubbing slow, ever-widening circles over the master vampire's chest, the enjoyment he took from this secondary to the pleasure he saw glowing in Asher's blue eyes.

Asher smiled at his new lover, slowly relaxing as it sank in that Nathaniel really was his lover, not just a convenience. He knew that the wereleopard was one of those who would never, could never, say no, but he thought that Nate truly enjoyed being with him. As the were slowly washed him, Asher picked up the soap, working up a lather on his own hands, and he began to stroke them over Nathaniel, enjoying touching him.

"You are truly lovely, mon cher," he murmured, eying him appreciatively. Soon, when Nate was comfortable with him, he would broach making the young wereleopard into his human servant. He already knew that he didn't want to lose him.

Nate flushed lightly. Kind words and praise rarely accompanied sex in his experience, but then with Asher, nothing was as he'd expected. Tipping his head back a bit farther, Nathaniel studied the master vampire, not meeting his eyes but drinking in his features just the same.

"You are," he murmured, the sound barely audible even to his own heightened senses. He writhed sinuously under Asher's hands and dropped the sponge to the tiled floor, wanting no obstruction between his own palms and the vampire's skin.

"Mmmm." It was Asher's turn to purr, sounding like he rather than Nathaniel was the wereleopard. "And talented hands too. How did I get so lucky?" His fingers slid down the ridges of Nate's spine, then his palms curved over the firm mounds of the young were's ass, pulling him close. As a finger slid inside Nathaniel, Asher started to nibble on his throat and shoulder, for the moment just teasing.

"Guess you should thank Anita," Nathaniel sighed, resting his head against Asher's shoulder. One hand still trailed over the vampire's chest, but the other one stole to his own body, finding and twisting a nipple, the pain twining with the feeling of Asher's teeth on him and his finger inside, making it all more intense.

"I think I should thank you," Asher replied, still nibbling on Nate's shoulder. "You are the only one who has the power to give yourself... even if you don't believe it yet. But you will." No sooner had the last word left his lips than his fangs sank into the flesh he'd been teasing, blood flowing into his mouth. His free hand raked over Nathaniel, drawing bloody scratches down his back, then he spun the lycanthrope around so he could lick the marks, keeping them bleeding while now three fingers of the other hand plunged in and out of him.

The were trembled, stopping himself from collapsing to his knees at the sudden rush of lust that sizzled through him by splaying his hands against the tile. Swaying, moaning at the fire-bright pain in his shoulder and back, Nathaniel let his head fall forward, spreading his legs wider and rocking back against the pressure, wanting more of Asher in him, harder, deeper, not caring if it split him open to get it.

Giving Nate what he wanted, Asher moved his hand more sharply, four fingers now moving in and out of him. Then he bent Nathaniel over with a hand on the small of his back before reaching for the shower gel and squeezing a generous amount over the hand he'd removed from his ass. That was all the warning the were had before Asher pushed his entire hand inside him, pausing only until Nathaniel relaxed slightly before starting to move rhythmically.

For the briefest moment, agony flared, but Nathaniel rode it, panting harshly but still pushing back against the huge bulk of Asher's hand. If the vampire stopped now, he didn't know what he'd do.

Good, it was so good, felt so right, like this was what he'd been waiting for, who he'd been waiting for, what he was meant for. Long fingers rubbed over his prostate again and again, and Nathaniel wailed, the raspy snarl echoing off the enclosed space before being lost in the splash of the water around them. There had been some tearing, and the liquid soap burned as it worked into the raw flesh, but that was what Nate needed, what he craved.

As Nathaniel began to ride his hand and support himself against the wall, Asher moved his free hand away from his hip to his chest, viciously pinching the hard, reddened nipples. He lapped at the scratches on Nate's back again, then dragged his incisors down the length of him, cutting into his back and making the were arch back against him.

"I could get drunk on you, pretty kitty," Asher growled, his hard cock pressed against Nate's leg for a moment before he moved back to get better leverage. "I'm going to have to find a way to mark you as mine," he added in a possessive snarl, his fingers raking over Nathaniel's prostate.

Lost in the brilliant kaleidoscope of pleasure and pain, Nathaniel nodded mindlessly. His eyes were open and dilated, watching in utter fascination as water tinted red with his own blood swirled toward the drain, mingling with the lengths of his hair trailing on the floor before vanishing out of sight.

"Yes, yes, yours," he chanted, feeling his hands slip slightly and his face end up pressed against the cool tile as his legs struggled to support him. "Always, always." The last word dissolved into a yowl as Asher opened fresh wounds in his back at the same time he pulled his hand back before pushing it inward even farther.

As Asher's hand plunged deeper than ever before, he bit down on the nape of Nathaniel's neck, allowing his power to run through his lover, forcing him into one climax after another until his legs buckled and he fell to the floor with Asher following him down. When the wereleopard was a whimpering, twitching mass of flesh, Asher withdrew his hand and fangs and knelt over him, his own rigid erection rubbing against the sodden black fur of the cat at his feet. A prideful smile twisted his lips at having stripped the were of all control.

Conscious thought had fled, leaving Nathaniel a snarling, yowling animal. Something was hurting him, tearing him apart from the inside, but enough sentience remained that he knew it was something he had asked for, would have begged for if he could. It was what he deserved, what he needed, and though it hurt, it also felt wonderful.

Arching his back, his tail whipping against the man next to him, Nathaniel dropped his shoulders to the floor, raising his haunches higher, putting himself in the position of a female in heat looking for her mate to claim her as his. As Asher had told him earlier, no form of Nathaniel's was unattractive to him, so no sooner had the leopard offered itself than the vampire took him. The change had healed the small amount of damage Asher had inflicted, as well as having the benefit of restoring his loosened muscle to its natural tightness. Both vampire and feline cried their pleasure as Asher plunged into him, riding the huge black leopard hungrily.

Riding the edge from watching Nate's reactions, it didn't take long before Asher knew he was about to come, and he bit him again, driving the yowling leopard into a final climax.

The moment he felt Asher jerk inside of him, Nathaniel collapsed, wrung dry in more ways than one by the multitude of orgasms the vampire had unleashed from him. He collapsed in a boneless sprawl on the floor of the shower stall, feeling Asher relax on top of him, and managed a weak purr.

Horribly thirsty, the were turned his head to the side and licked at the rivulets of water on the tile, satisfying the worst of his need for fluids. He twisted a bit more so that he could drag his tongue over Asher's hand and arm where they lay next to him, the rhythmic lapping soothing to his hyper-sensitive nerves and emotions.

Asher reached up to switch the water off, then stroked a hand over Nate. "Soggy kitty!" he chuckled. "Now I know what they mean when they talk about looking like a drowned cat!" He laughed outright at the weak snarl Nathaniel emitted before rising to his feet. He tossed one of the huge towels on the floor, then scooped the startled leopard up and laid him on it so he could rub him at least somewhat dry with another.

Once done, he again scooped the large feline up into his arms, vampiric strength a definite asset in their current situation, and carried him to the bed. Head cocked slightly to one side, he eyed Nathaniel. "Would you be more comfortable if I blow-dried you?"

Unable to speak in this form and still too weak to attempt to change back, Nathaniel rumbled deep in his throat, lifting his head and looking at Asher, deliberately nodding. Wet fur wasn't all that comfortable, both for the wearer and the person next to them, and he didn't want the vampire to be made uncomfortable by anything about him.

Twisting, he rolled out of Asher's arms, landing on the floor with a light thump. Standing there, swaying slightly, he looked up at Asher and mewed, rubbing his head against the dominant's legs in gratitude for everything he'd been given.

Asher reached down to stroke Nathaniel, then made a face and straightened up, trying to brush the loose, wet hairs off his hand. "Definitely need a dryer. Wait here, Nathaniel, I'll be right back." He returned moments later with a dryer, a towel for his hands, and his own hairbrush.

Holding it up, he said, "This probably isn't what's recommended for a feline, even a wereleopard, but it's all I have. It should do the job." He plugged the dryer into a nearby outlet, then sank down to sit cross-legged on the floor next to the soaked were. "Now let's get you dry." He began drying Nate, running his fingers through the oversized feline's fur as he did to try to keep him from poofing up too much, occasionally wiping the loose fur off on the towel he'd brought.

Once he had one side dry, he smilingly suggested, "Why not lie on my lap while I get the rest of you dry?"

Lulled into almost a hypnotic trance by the rhythmic stroking of the brush, Nathaniel lifted his head, his eyes slowly focusing on Asher while his brain processed what the vampire had said.

Getting to his feet with only a little effort, the were butted his head against Asher's chest, rubbing his muzzle from side to side over the pale expanse of skin before gracefully lowering himself across Asher's lap, damp side up. The vampire's skin felt cool after the warmth of the blow dryer, and Nathaniel stretched out further, spreading himself over his lover's legs like a heavy fur pelt, his tail curled around one thigh as if to keep them in place.

Asher's arms curled around the purring mass of wereleopard, drawing him into an embrace, and if he'd been able, the vampire too would have been purring. "You make me happy," he whispered, almost shocked to realize that it was true. For the first time in two centuries, he was truly happy. He buried his face in the damp fur for a long moment, holding Nathaniel close.

After a time, he raised his head to smile at his lover. "I'd better get the rest of you dried off."

Rowring out a low response, Nathaniel twisted his head back, nuzzling Asher's side, his paws kneading the air as the vampire started working on his other side, sending the were back to that mindless state of sensual abandon.

The feeling finally faded away, and Nathaniel found himself lying on his back, all four limbs splayed out akimbo while Asher ran the brush over the soft fur of his underbelly. Batting at the vampire's hand, Nathaniel brought it nearer to his muzzle, then licked at Asher's fingers and palm, his loud purr rumbling through the room as he filled his senses with his dom's taste and smell.

Laughing softly, Asher murmured, "Feeling playful now? I beg you remember that I'm not some oversized cat toy." But truth be told, he was delighted to see Nathaniel taking some initiative, taking what he wanted. He enjoyed happy compliance, not mindless obedience.

"Or are you telling me that you want more, insatiable tomcat that you are?" he teased gently, stroking the soft, warm fur. "Much as I would love to indulge you, indulge us both, dawn is barely an hour away.

"Do you want me to stay here with you?" he asked. "An honest answer, Nathaniel," he added. "Not everyone enjoys the presence of a vampire during our 'sleep', and I have a coffin I can retire to in the basement just as easily." In fact, Asher usually slept there for the added security, but this room had no windows, and it was unlikely that anyone who meant him harm could reach it. If Nathaniel would prefer him nearby, he was not uneasy with the notion.

Nose wrinkling, Nathaniel crossed both front paws over Asher's arm, plainly letting him know that he wanted to be with the vampire - wherever he slept. If it meant resting on the ground at the foot of Asher's coffin, that was fine with Nate; he'd slept in far worse places for much less of a reason.

Rolling to his feet, he padded toward the bed, looking back at Asher over his shoulder, head cocked in a questioning manner, willing to follow wherever the master vampire led him.

"The bed it is," Asher replied, following Nathaniel over and settling himself comfortably. He waited for the wereleopard to curl up at his side, then curved an arm over him, enjoying the sensation of the warm, purring bundle of fur against him. "Now, I don't expect you to stay here all day, Nathaniel. Feel free to explore your new home during the day while I sleep. I'll take you back to Anita's tonight to pick up your belongings."

Nate made a startled sound and lifted his head to look back at Asher, wonderment showing in his violet eyes. Stay here? With Asher? All the time? It was... given the night's events, it was almost too much for the young were to take, and he hid his face under his paw, fervently glad that he couldn't cry in this form because that was what he felt like doing out of relief and happiness.

Seeing and understanding the expression in Nathaniel's eyes, Asher stroked him soothingly. "I told you you were mine now, Nathaniel. I meant it." Unconsciously, he continued petting the feline, enjoying the sensation of the thick fur beneath his hand.

Giving a sigh that moved his whole body, Nathaniel relaxed fully against Asher's side, the low rumble of his purr vibrating through his chest as the repetitive motion of the vampire stroking his side sent him to sleep even before the coming of the sun sent Asher to his undead rest.

Not at all disturbed by Asher's lack of breath or movement, Nathaniel lay half on, half beside the master vampire, waiting for him to awaken. One hand brushed over Asher's chest, the other combed through his silky blond hair, and he couldn't help the small smile that curved his lips upward.

After awaking from his nap this morning, the were had found clean clothes folded on a chair in the outer room as well as a tray of still warm breakfast food and hot chocolate. Padding into the bathroom, he'd changed forms in the shower, washing the results of the shift down the drain, and showered again, carefully combing his hair out so that it wouldn't dry in a tangled mess this time.

Once he'd eaten, he dressed and wandered around the area below Circus of the Damned, warily greeting the others he met in his travels. He'd been relieved to run into Jason, and the werewolf had taken him under his wing, so to speak, introducing Nathaniel around as well as filling him in on the areas that were out of limits when the vampires were resting.

When early evening came, Nathaniel returned to Asher's room, curling up next to the vampire and napping for several hours, ensuring that he'd be awake and alert for the night to come. He'd eaten again and now was watching Asher intently, waiting for the first sign that his lover was awake. The bright blue eyes opened, and Nathaniel smiled, feeling the mobility return to the body beneath him. "Hi," he murmured, not daring to speak any louder.

"Mmmmm, hello," Asher rumbled contentedly, pulling Nathaniel closer to kiss him hungrily, neither male seeming to mind when his sharp incisors drew blood from the wereleopard's tongue. "I definitely like waking up to you," he said happily. "I could get used to it, but you may get tired of waiting around here for me to wake up. I'll have to get you a cell phone so I can find you."

He finally raised his head and eyed the delicious sub curled up in his arms. "Though it doesn't appear that you minded today," he said, amusement and lust fighting for dominance in his voice.

"I won't mind," Nathaniel answered, sincerity shining in his violet eyes. "I want to be here when you wake up, to know that I can give you something in return for all you've given me." He deliberately ran his tongue along Asher's long fangs, the sharp pain causing his vision to go hazy as the blood ran out of his mouth and into the vampire's.

Asher's arm involuntarily tightened around the young were as the rich blood flowed into his mouth, then he frowned slightly and bit Nate's lip, letting his power flow through him, the pleasure washing the pain away. When Nathaniel lay panting in his arms, he gazed down at him, brushing the long auburn hair out of his face. "I don't want you to hurt yourself needlessly, Nathaniel," he said almost sternly. "We should both enjoy what we do together."

Blinking in dazed confusion, Nathaniel lifted his head to look at Asher. His body was still throbbing with the unexpected release he'd experienced, but he didn't understand why Asher seemed displeased at what he'd done.

"I don't understand." His voice was a quiet whisper in the room. "I heal, I like it, you like it. You don't want me to do it?"

"I don't want you to hurt yourself needlessly," Asher replied, his tone gentling at Nathaniel's dismayed bewilderment. But he could see that Nate didn't understand him, so he kissed him tenderly, vowing again to make sure to take care of his overly accommodating lover.

"Come," he said when he finally raised his head. "You need to clean up, and I need to get ready, then you can choose what you'd like us to do tonight." He only hoped Nathaniel didn't select something that would harm him.

Already shifting back so that Asher could sit up, Nathaniel couldn't quite hide the grimace as his now damp leather pants slid against his bare skin. "It's a good thing that Jean Claude had several changes sent over for me," he offered, skinning out of the skin tight trousers and standing next to the bed, looking at Asher with an expression of concern.

"Do you need to eat before we do anything?"

"Non, cheri, what I had from you this morning is sufficient for some little while. Anything that I take now is sheer sensual indulgence," he explained, his voice a rumbling purr as he stood up as well, crowding his lover for the simple pleasure of being close to him.

"But one thing we must do is to take you shopping for clothes. I find I dislike the idea of you wearing gifts from another man, though Jean-Claude is at least tolerable." The vampire was startled by the degree of possessiveness he felt, but every fiber of his being claimed Nathaniel as his alone.

Nodding, Nate matched his steps to the taller man's as Asher moved them to the bathroom so that he could rinse off. After running a towel over his lover's body, Nathaniel looked up at Asher curiously. "Jean-Claude is tolerable because you were lovers or because he's the master of the city?" he asked, wanting to get the power structure here set out correctly in his mind.

"Jean-Claude would have the right, regardless of my feelings on the subject, because he is the master of the city. He is tolerable because he is Jean-Claude and beneath everything, we still love one another though we may never be lovers again." If Nathaniel only realized it, Asher would give him almost anything, answer any question, so besotted was he.

The vampire wondered if Anita had realized just how perfect a match they were. He would not put it past her. For someone so hard, the Executioner was surprisingly tender with those she cared for, and Asher knew that she loved them both, though not as she did Jean-Claude or Richard.

"So, mon petit, what do you wish to do tonight?" Asher would like him to speak up for himself, but if Nathaniel truly had no preference, he was going to take him upstairs and dance all night, making sure that everyone knew the beautiful wereleopard was well and truly taken.

"Other then shopping?" Nathaniel asked, giving Asher a small smile. "And I don't know... a club or a restaurant..." He faltered here, remembering that Asher didn't eat in the conventional sense. "Just not Narcissus in Chains, please..." He left off with a small shudder, and a shadow darkened his eyes for a second before passing on.

Although Asher had not seen what had been done to Nathaniel, occupied with Narcissus at the time, he'd heard about it from Anita, held her actually while she shook with rage and reaction when she was finally able to deal with it after everything else that had happened. "You have nothing to fear from them anymore," he said, his voice a dark promise of death. "You are mine now, Nathaniel, and I would destroy them all if they dared touch you. I lost a lover once; it will not happen again, no matter what the cost."

Snarling, the human semblance slipping from the extent of his rage, Asher pulled Nathaniel close again, kissing him hard, needing to dominate and possess him in that instant.

With a low moan, Nathaniel collapsed against Asher, letting the power inherent in the vampire's kiss wipe the dark memories of that time and others from his mind. He could feel the anger seeping from his dom's body but was unafraid, knowing it was directed at those who had hurt him, not at himself.

Fingers kneading at Asher's back, Nathaniel opened himself to the kiss, winding a leg around the vampire's thigh, feeling his cock twitch as it struggled to come to life again. Somewhere in his mind, he knew that a response from Asher was impossible at this time; the vampire simply hadn't had enough blood earlier, but that didn't stop him from squirming against his lover's body until all he could smell and taste was Asher.

"Then again," Asher said, amusement clear in his voice, "perhaps I do need more blood. It seems I may have a requirement for more than I've bothered with recently." He curved his hands over Nathaniel's ass, pulling him closer and rubbing the dancer against his body.

"I think I'm going to enjoy watching people watch you, want you, lust for you, and knowing that no one else can touch you," he said in tones redolent with satisfaction, his blue eyes smug. Realizing how confused Nathaniel might become during the somewhat high-tension moments that occurred between Asher and Jean-Claude on a regular basis, he clarified, "Aside from Jean-Claude and Anita, of course. The master of the city and your Nimir Ra are in a separate category."

Finally dressed, he turned to Nathaniel, showing off the fit of the white silk and leather. "So, what do you think?"

Nodding, a flush tinting his pale skin at the thought of Asher standing possessively over him while others begged to touch, Nathaniel pulled on the outfit that had been laid out for him, shimmying into the pale gold, skin tight pants and stepping into his boots.

He stopped, staring, as Asher modeled for him, and his tongue flicked out to wet his lower lip. "Beautiful," he breathed. "You look like you're covered in cream, and I want to lick it all off of you."

Asher drew in a sharp breath at the thought, a faint shudder racing through him at the mental image. "We can do that later," he said faintly. "For now, I'm looking forward to dancing with you in my arms, mon amour."

He held out an arm to the wereleopard, waiting till he approached to pull him against his side.

Relaxing readily against Asher's side, Nathaniel rubbed his face against the vampire's skin, feeling the ridged scar tissue against his cheek before turning his head enough to kiss the nearest spot. "I like that idea, very much."

Nathaniel knew instinctively that no one else would try to claim him while he was with Asher, and that knowledge gave the were more freedom then he normally felt when in a club. Smiling up at Asher as they left the rooms and headed up the stairs in the direction of the club, Nathaniel slipped his arm around the vampire's waist. The music was loud and pulsing, and he looked up at Asher askance.

"You dance to this kind of music?" Somehow it seemed strange, considering Asher's age, that he would enjoy the techno beat.

"I have not spent the last two centuries holed up in a cave," Asher replied with slightly offended dignity that was belied by the twinkle in his eyes. "I enjoy many kinds of music... And one that allows me to have you in my arms, moving against me as we make love standing up in public... of course I like it!"

He noted the shiver that ran through Nathaniel at his words, and he smiled. "Would you like that, Nathaniel? To have me move against you on the dance floor, to hold you close and bite you and make you come right there while you have to keep dancing?" he purred.

A soft moan slipped from Nathaniel's lips, and his eyes went unfocused with lust as he shuddered against Asher's side at the thought of that. "Yes..." he whispered, following the vampire blindly out onto the crowded dance floor, plastering himself against his lover's body and beginning to move to the music.

Asher met Jean-Claude's faint smile and Anita's wide-eyed gaze with a smile of his own before concentrating totally on his beautiful Nate. His arms went around the wereleopard, his hands fitting over the curve of his ass to pull him tightly against himself for a moment before releasing him slightly again to allow him to move to the music. Teasingly, he swept the long auburn hair to one side and lowered his head so he could lick the young submissive's neck and feel him quiver.

"Soon, cheri," he breathed into his lover's ear, sharp incisors grazing the tender lobe which he then laved with a hungry tongue.

"Never soon enough for me," Nathaniel sighed, eyes closing for a long moment before he let the rhythm take him and began swaying and grinding to the music, caught between Asher's body and his hands.

His own arms were wrapped around the master vampire, his hands petting and kneading the cool skin under the silk of Asher's shirt. He could feel the attention they were both getting from the other patrons, and part of him was pleased that they found his dom as attractive as he did, but the majority of Nathaniel's senses were centered on his partner.

Asher was fully aware of every single person who watched them, more so of the ones who eyed his lover hungrily. A single flash of cold blue eyes or a glimpse of sharp incisors and they found someone else to ogle. His eyes fell back to Nathaniel, meeting the incredible violet already fixed on him, and he smiled.

That smile was Nate's only warning before Asher's mouth slid down from the ear he'd been teasing to bite down on the side of his throat, his power roaring through the wereleopard while his arms held him up and they continued to move to the music.

Sharp, hot lust roared through Nathaniel's body, traveling from the spot on his neck that Asher pierced with his fangs, straight to his cock. Whimpering and moaning, tossing his face from side to side against the smooth silk of the vampire's shirt, Nathaniel's whole body jerked, the movement quite unlike his formerly sinuous swaying.

Another, almost violent shifting of his body, and the were was coming, feeling the hot liquid of his semen pulsing against the constriction of his leather pants. His heightened senses immediately picked up the smell of musk and rutting, and he opened heavy-lidded eyes to look at Asher, knowing that the vampire would smell them too.

He could feel the now hard length of Asher's cock through the supple layers of leather that separated their bodies and ground harder against his taller partner, stretching up to lick and nibble at Asher's neck, smiling dreamily at the oh so public display they were putting on.

Asher's grip tightened on the sensually writhing young man in his arms, and he purred contentedly as Nathaniel laved his throat with a tongue that felt slightly raspy even in human form. He knew that the other non-humans could smell them as clearly as he could, but he didn't care. Nathaniel was his, and he intended for everyone to know it.

"I'm a mess," Nathaniel murmured, not really caring in the least but thinking that Asher would be amused by the comment as well. "And I feel so good..." He sighed and slid his hands up Asher's chest, slipping his fingers under the cool silk and rubbing his thumbs over the vampire's nipples, feeling them peak under his fingertips.

"The most beautiful mess I've ever seen," Asher replied gallantly, smiling. "And my mess," he added. As Nate explored his body, he arched into the warm touch, enjoying the sensations, and never even realizing that he'd totally forgotten about his scars. They were putting on a very public display, and he wasn't in the least self-conscious about people staring at him.

"And we've only just begun, pretty kitty," he teased gently. "You're going to be a lot messier before this night is over."

Nathaniel cocked his head to the side and up, looking at Asher, a mischievous smile appearing on his face before changing into a more sober expression. "Promise?" he asked, leaning in and licking at Asher's collarbone, knowing the vampire loved the feel of his tongue on his flesh.

"Most definitely," was Asher's emphatic reply even as one hand tangled in the silken mass of Nathaniel's hair to hold his head close to his throat. "But we had best get you some nourishment soon, or you will become weak and dehydrated between the loss of blood and other fluids," he suggested. "Are you hungry, mon coeur?"

"For you?" the were asked innocently, smiling up at Asher. "Always. For food... I could eat. Too bad Jean-Claude doesn't sell Ted Drewe's here; I'd like to lick something sweet and creamy."

Chuckling, Asher drew him toward the back offices, motioning to one of the waiters to follow them to his. He ordered a healthy meal, heavy on the red meat, for Nathaniel, then sank into the sofa, pulling Nate into his lap. "If you want something creamy to lick, I'm sure I could accommodate you... after you eat!" he added almost sternly, determined to care for the wereleopard, since he seemed indifferent to his own health.

"But while we're waiting..." He tangled a hand in the thick fall of Nathaniel's hair, holding him still for a possessive, claiming kiss.

Once they broke apart, Nathaniel smiled, his eyes hazy with desire and happiness. "That's just as good as the other." The door opened and the waiter carried in a tray, setting it on the table near the couch. Suddenly hungry, the were turned himself around on Asher's lap and eyed the plateful of food. "But this looks good too." He took a bite of the steak and sighed. "Really good!"

Asher shook his head, smiling. "Eat, Nathaniel! With all the blood I've taken from you, you need the iron and protein." He reached over and picked up one of the mushrooms, raising it to Nathaniel's lips. His eyes grew heavy-lidded as Nathaniel took the tidbit and took advantage of his proximity to nibble on the vampire's fingertips.

"Eat the food, Nate, we can discuss anything else afterward," he chuckled a bit throatily.

Nathaniel grinned in response and tucked into his meal. It had been several hours since he'd last eaten, and between the sex and blood-loss, he needed to replenish himself. He made short work of the meal and, after setting his utensils down on the now empty plate, picked up the last piece of bread and nibbled at it, curling back up in Asher's lap and resting his head on the vampire's shoulder.

"What did you want to discuss?" he asked, feeling comfortably full and comfortably claimed and just simply comfortable like this.

Asher opened his mouth, then shut it again without a word, smiling. "Not a thing," he said. "I just want to sit here for a little while and hold you, talk about anything that strikes our fancy, then maybe go back out and dance some more."

He tilted the were's head up so he could meet the violet eyes. "Thank you, mon coeur," he said seriously. "Mmm, I like that idea." Nathaniel shifted a bit, draping himself over Asher's lap much in the same way he had the night before while in cat form. "And I should be thanking you. You make me feel... wanted." He blinked and met Asher's eyes solemnly. "Really wanted."

"You are, Nathaniel, never doubt it. You make me feel happy again." He rested a cheek against the top of Nate's head for a moment before lifting his head again so he could see the other man. He suddenly smiled wryly.

"Jean-Claude is going to be unbearably smug." Without even realizing he was doing it, he stroked Nathaniel's back as he cradled him in his lap.

"Because you're happy or because he pushed Anita into setting this up?" As Nathaniel asked the question, he rubbed his face against Asher's neck, at the same time stroking the vampire's arm through the thin silk of his shirt.

"Both," Asher admitted, hugging him. "Though I wouldn't be too sure that Anita wasn't the one who came up with the idea. She loves both of us, and she likes the people she cares about to be happy. She couldn't give either of us what we wanted, so she gave us each other."

He stroked down Nathaniel's back, his hand coming to rest over the jut of the wereleopard's hip.

Nathaniel nodded in agreement, moving his hand to twine his fingers with Asher's. "I wish she could be this happy," he murmured, continuing to twist his neck, almost mesmerized by the friction of Asher's face against his. "Do you think she ever will be?"

Asher sighed. "She is in love with two men and cannot fully have what she wants from either. Additionally she has a strong faith, and..." He shrugged, not needing to say more. "We can hope so." Wanting to forget everyone except Nathaniel, he took the were's mouth lightly, kissing him so softly he could barely feel the brush of their lips.

Smiling into the kiss, Nathaniel nodded and flicked his tongue out over Asher's lips, tracing their outline before pulling back slightly to look up into his lover's blue eyes. "Are we done talking now?" he asked, "because you mentioned something creamy to lick..."

"Insatiable kitty!" Asher laughed, shifting them so he was stretched out full length on the sofa with Nathaniel on top of him. "Please, help yourself," he offered, arms widespread and a happy, almost giddy smile on his face. "I'm all yours, mon coeur."

"I just want to make you feel the way I do..." Nathaniel trailed off uncertainly before regaining his confidence at the grin on Asher's face. "Maybe not the soggy pants though."

Leaning in, he began to kiss and lick his way down Asher's torso, unbuttoning the silk shirt the vampire wore until it was puddled at his sides and Nathaniel's lips were hovering over the waistband of his lover's pants.

"Mmmm, you are very good at that," Asher purred, a hand restlessly stroking the fall of auburn hair trailing across his belly. "My very own perfect lover," he breathed, his entire body stilling as he waited to see what Nathaniel would do next. He would not urge the were on in the slightest way, knowing Nate would always do anything he thought Asher wanted; he wanted this to be about what Nathaniel wanted. At least at first.

And then Asher would satisfy them both until they couldn't move.

Violet eyes flicked upwards toward Asher's face when Nathaniel felt the vampire go still beneath him. He looked puzzled, then blinked when he realized what Asher was offering - himself for Nathaniel to taste and touch as he wanted. Shivering with a sudden rush of lust, Nate lowered his head, lapping at Asher's navel, letting his tongue heat the cool flesh beneath it.

He slowly undid the buttons to Asher's leather pants, drawing them downward and letting his erection spring free, its heavy length lying across his lower belly like a beacon. He didn't see the scars - or to be precise, he did, but they were part of Asher, something to be loved and adored, not winced from or hidden away. Sighing happily, Nathaniel slid lower, once again rubbing his face against Asher's skin, but this time it was the silky smooth flesh of his cock that Nate caressed.

Despite his best efforts to remain still and silent, the vampire moaned faintly when the faint stubble of Nathaniel's cheek rubbed his sensitive shaft, his hair an occasional counterpoint. "Pretty kitty," Asher groaned approvingly, his hips rising slightly to push into the pressure.

His own hands petted the were approvingly, stroking and arousing yet still letting Nathaniel do as he wished.

No longer content to simply feel but wanting to taste too, Nathaniel dragged his tongue up the length of Asher's cock. He shifted his body, balancing himself on his knees while his hands roamed over the vampire's thighs and waist, moving randomly in the paths of pleasure.

Liking the faintly salty flavor, he licked again, and again, until he was suckling hungrily on Asher's cock, swirling his tongue around the fleshy head before delving lower, taking as much of the vampire into his mouth as possible.

Asher's nails drove right through the upholstery on the sofa as he forced himself not to reach for Nathaniel, but the gasps and moans made his approval clear. When he felt his lover's tongue rasp across his sensitive tissues, he cried Nathaniel's name. Nothing and no one in his very long life had ever felt this good.

"Mine, all mine, never going to let you go," he rambled, not consciously aware of what he was saying.

He pressed one leather-clad thigh against Nate's own erection, wanting to give him pleasure as well.

Spreading his legs as wide as possible given their position on the sofa, Nathaniel moaned, the rumblings in his throat vibrating along the heavy flesh filling his mouth. Asher's words echoed in his ears, and if he could have at the moment, Nathaniel would have howled aloud with glee for the claiming. Unable to do that, the were contented himself with suckling on Asher's cock, wanting to swallow a part of the vampire into him, to have his lover become part of his flesh, permanent, one with him for as long as he lived. His own pleasure was secondary, though he rubbed and arched against Asher's leg like the feline the vampire had called him; Nathaniel shuddered, wanting to be taken, but not wanting to give up the savory feast he was enjoying.

Asher groaned, sensing Nathaniel's enjoyment and trying to holding back as long as possible to let him play. But the wereleopard was just too good, and it wasn't long before he was gasping Nate's name again as he came, his body arching into a rigid bow and his fingers crushing the arms of the sofa to kindling.

Panting, he tangled a hand in the long auburn hair and pulled Nathaniel up so he could kiss the smiling lips, his free hand curving over his lover's erection.

Collapsing bonelessly on top of Asher, the only part of him that wasn't limp his cock, Nathaniel sighed, licking his lips and smiling dreamily. "You taste so good, Asher. I wish I could live off you."

Asher laughed quietly, hugging him close with the arm that wasn't caught between them. "You want to be some kind of succubus? Interesting idea, but I think I prefer you furry," he purred, the fingers of his trapped hand kneading the were's erection. "I can't decide if I like petting you better human or leopard. Either way, you feel good."

"Would you like me to change so you can decide?" Nathaniel asked, preparing to push up and off of Asher if that was what the vampire wished. The feel of his lover's hand caressing his cock was maddening, and Nathaniel wondered if he'd have the control to keep from coming if he changed and Asher continued stroking him. "Like coming in leopard form, do you?" Asher laughed, smiling at him as he shook an errant blond lock back out of his face. "Nate, you can make decisions for yourself, you know. If you want to change form, then you should. If you're comfortable, stay as you are." As he spoke, he continued to caress his lover. "I love you in either form, Nathaniel."

Closing his eyes, the were thought about Asher's statement. "If I change, then we can't dance any more," he finally offered, opening his eyes and smiling in relief at the pleased look on his lover's face.

"Good point," Asher agreed, his fingers moving a little more emphatically now. "But first..." His fangs grazed Nate's neck teasingly, tempting him with the overwhelming orgasm promised by his bite, then, when the were moaned softly, he bit down, his power flowing into Nathaniel as he continued to stroke and arouse him.

After his recent orgasm, there wasn't much in the way of visible results of Asher's bite, but Nathaniel felt the effects to the core of his soul. Sprawling one more across Asher's chest, Nate rested his head against the master vampire's shoulder, sighing in contentment, nuzzling his face against the slightly roughened skin. "Now we both need new clothes," he murmured after a time, forcing himself to stay awake though the feeling of Asher stroking his hair was lulling.

"It's in a good cause," Asher chuckled, drawing him closer. "I'll send someone for new clothes for us. Nap till they get here, because I intend to keep you up all night, pretty kitty." He continued petting Nathaniel until the were dozed off and even afterward.

"Mmmm, very nice," Asher approved, eyeing Nathaniel in his new outfit. "I think that's even better than the first. You really are beautiful." He eyed the long, loose hair, fantasizing about dancing with it flowing around them, a silken tent screening out the world.

"Will this one last longer than an hour?" Nathaniel asked, smiling slightly and stepping closer to Asher to wrap his arms around the vampire's waist. The compliment made him flush, the color in his fair skin contrasting with the sheer black of the material his shirt was made from. "I can get more like it if you really like it."

"I like," Asher replied fervently, loosely holding the were. "You look like something out of my favorite fantasy... and you're all mine now." The smug possessiveness virtually oozed from his tone. "I'll try to let you keep this on for at least two hours," he teased.

Nathaniel had to fight to keep from simply collapsing against Asher the way he wanted to. "Not if we stay in here," he murmured, stretching up to lick the underside of Asher's chin and feeling his lover shudder. "Maybe we should dance some more. It's exercise, but it'll give us time to recover some?"

"Is that what you call what happened earlier?" the vampire asked, amused. "But yes, dancing would be good. I think I like showing you off." He eyed the lithe body clad in black and moved toward the door before he could be tempted to do more. He knew Nathaniel would never say no, so it was up to him to make sure he didn't overtax his sub's resources.

Nathaniel giggled, his voice ringing out in the room. "It did for a little while any way. As for showing me off, any way and any time you want, Asher, you know that."

He sighed happily and kissed the spot he'd licked, wanting to wind himself around his dom and be molded into whatever would make Asher happiest.

"In that case, I think we should go out and dance and let everyone see just how talented you are... and very mine," Asher responded, smiling down at him. Nathaniel clearly loved to cuddle, and Asher was finding that he enjoyed it as well. It had literally been centuries since he'd allowed anyone so close emotionally as well as physically, yet Nathaniel had torn through all his barriers in an instant.

"Like you're mine?" Nate asked, leaning back just enough to look up into Asher's crystal blue eyes, his own gaze questioning. Just the thought of it was enough to make him giddy, but he had to wait to hear the answer first.

"Yes," Asher replied simply, the expression in his eyes saying what a thousand words could not. "I love you, cheri."

Lavender eyes widened almost impossibly, and Nathaniel suddenly collapsed at Asher's feet, clutching his ankles and rubbing his face against the master vampire's linen clad legs, babbling words incoherently as he tried to give voice to the flood of gratitude, affection, and yes, love that overwhelmed him.

Asher's eyes widened in turn, taken aback by Nathaniel's reaction, and he hastened to tug the young wereleopard to his feet, holding him against his body. "I was rather hoping you would happy about it," he said wryly. Clearly it was going to take some effort to build up Nathaniel's self-confidence to something approaching a normal level.

"But, but I am!" Nathaniel exclaimed, his expression crumpling as he drew in on himself, fearful he'd upset Asher when he'd only been trying to please him. "I am happy. I'm happy that I'm yours, and that I love you and that you love me and that..." he stopped babbling at that by biting down on his lower lip so hard he drew blood. "I'm sorry."

"Shhh," Asher soothed, licking the blood away and hugging him closer. "You don't have anything to be sorry about, but I really don't want you on your knees unless we're into one of those scenes. For the most part, I prefer my lover on his feet, looking me in the eye." He kissed Nathaniel gently, tilting his head up.

Nathaniel's hair fell back away from his face, and he met Asher's gaze. Seeing only love and concern in the vampire's eyes, he nodded slowly, reaching up to stoke his fingers down the side of Asher's face. "I'll learn," he promised. "And I'll remember." He gave a fleeting smile. "Despite what people think, I'm not a total imbecile."

"If I thought that, we wouldn't be here," Asher pointed out, smiling into the beautiful eyes he saw so rarely. "Just remember that we're both supposed to enjoy this, and that it pleases me to please you too." He knew that Nathaniel wasn't going to accept that yet, but eventually he would. Asher had all the time in the world, and if he had anything to say about it, so would Nate.

Thinking that it would make Asher happy, Nathaniel nodded, as if in understanding, before looking down again, his fingers still moving restlessly over Asher's cheek. "Maybe it would please us to go dance now?" he asked, canting his head back up a bit, hoping to see Asher smile again.

Laughing, Asher led him toward the doorway with an arm around his waist. "See, you can speak up for yourself when you want to. And you get me when you do."

"Only then?" Nathaniel asked, darting a grin up at Asher as they headed through the door and back up to the club.

"While I would love to give you that inspiration, no, you're much too irresistible for that," Asher replied with a fond smile, hugging him closer. "But you get more of me, however you want, when you ask for what you want," he promised in a husky voice, brilliant blue eyes flashing through the blond hair that he'd reflexively shaken over his face when they'd left the privacy of the office.

Suddenly short of breath, Nathaniel licked his lips and swallowed before speaking. "I'll try, Asher. I just... need... Sometimes I can't do that. I just can't..." He couldn't explain it, God knows he'd tried often enough with Anita, but with Asher, he at least had the hope that there would be some understanding.

"I know, love, I'm not asking you to change who you are, but just... try to be a little more assertive occasionally. I like to know what you want... other than the obvious, of course," he added teasingly, striking a pose to try to make Nathaniel smile.

The young were grinned at that and licked his lips again, this time in a much more suggestive manner. "All right, I'll try. How about I want to dance, then have you fuck me until I pass out or you fall asleep with the dawn, how about that?"

"It sounds like an excellent plan to me," Asher laughed, swinging Nate around and starting to move to the music, enjoying the feeling of the dancer in his arms. He loved watching him move, and feeling it up close and personal was even better.

"On the dance floor!" Nathaniel laughingly protested, doubting they'd get much dancing done here in the hall - but then they hadn't last time on the floor either.

"If you insist." Asher nudged him toward the door at the end of the hall leading back to the club, crowding up against him so the were could feel him pressed against his back every step of the way. "And you need to eat at some point too."

"Asher!" Nathaniel laughed, sounding very much his age. "I just ate not half an hour ago! You keep feeding me and I'm going to be out of a job because no one will want to see me dance, not even you!"

Asher stopped and ran his eyes hungrily up and down him. "No danger of that. And the point, my love, is that I ate not half an hour ago too. I'm not going to let you weaken yourself. After all, if you did, I wouldn't be able to feed from you any more," he added, knowing what would get through to the were.

"No!" Nathaniel's protest rang out over the music as the door opened, and several people nearest glanced over to look at them. "I'll eat, before I go to sleep. I promise. And then when I get up. I won't starve or get sick!"

Biting back a grin, Asher stroked a soothing hand down his back. "Okay, Nate, calm down, I was just saying what could happen. I enjoy tasting you too much to give that up. But I want to keep you healthy too. Vampires are supposed to be pallid and thin, not weres."

"You aren't pallid and thin; you're perfect," Nathaniel corrected, stretching up to kiss Asher gently before pulling him into the gyrating throng, drawing both of them into the frenzy and passion of the dance.

"I think you're biased," Asher teased before giving up the attempt to talk over the music, instead relaxing into the movement, following Nathaniel's lead. The wereleopard was never more comfortable in his own skin than when he was dancing, and Asher joyed in watching him. He met his lover's inquisitive gaze, smiling and shaking his head slightly to show there was nothing wrong before resting his hands on Nate's hips and shutting out everything except the music and his sub.

The crowd at Circus of the Damned had thinned considerably by the time Asher and Nathaniel left the dance floor, and the wereleopard's damp shirt clung to his body like a second skin. Accepting the bottle of water a server handed him, Nathaniel settled onto one of the couches next to Asher, resting his head on the vampire's shoulder while he drank.

It was late - well, early to be precise - and try as he might not to show it, Nathaniel was getting tired. "Do you need anything?" he asked, covering a yawn by bringing the bottle up to his lips to drain the rest of the water.

Eyeing him with slight concern, Asher shook his head, the long blond strands brushing over Nate. He pulled him closer, one arm curving around him. "Not a thing except you in my arms," he murmured. "Are you ready for some rest, love? We should probably go back to our rooms soon. It's only a little over an hour till dawn." He knew that making it sound as if he had to get back would silence any protests from the were.

Looking up as if fearful the sun's rays would burst into the club, immolating his lover where they sat, Nathaniel nodded, setting the bottle aside and nuzzling his face into the crook of Asher's neck. "Anywhere with you is fine, Asher," he murmured, sliding off the couch when the vampire stood and molding himself to his dom's side, already missing Asher as he knew he'd be without his lover's company for the length of the daylight.

"Then I think it's time to get back," Asher said decisively, already leading Nathaniel out of the club. "We have enough time for me to ruin another pair of your pants," he teased as he stepped through the door, Nathaniel seemingly glued to his side.

Nathaniel giggled at that and looked up at Asher, his violet eyes acquiring new life at that suggestion. "I'll have to walk around naked tomorrow if that happens; these are my last pair," he answered, trying not to grin as he attempted to tease Asher back. "We never did get to the stores tonight."

A delighted laugh escaped the master vampire. "Yet another reason for us to hurry. I like the idea of you naked... although it would be somewhat difficult to go shopping in that state," he mused, mock seriously. "I suppose I'll just have to take them off you before you come," he decided. "There, crisis averted. Now all we need is that bed." He pulled Nathaniel to him for a quick but thorough kiss, then urged him on again.

There were more people in the access areas behind the club at this hour of the night, and Nathaniel followed Asher through the groupings of vampires, servants and others as they headed back to their rooms. Once behind the closed and locked door, he stepped away from his dom and, with graceful, liquid movements he'd developed while stripping, shed his clothes, looking up at Asher from behind the fall of his auburn hair.

"No need to worry now," the were husked, his arousal showing in his voice as well as in his lengthening erection.

"You are incredibly beautiful," Asher breathed, admiring his lover's naked body. He stepped closer, brilliant blue eyes focused on the thickening shaft before he tore his gaze away to meet the vivid violet of Nathaniel's. "Undress me," he ordered huskily.

Shivering with arousal at the commanding tone Asher used, Nathaniel lifted his hands and slowly began undoing the buttons of his lover's shirt, popping each one open and trailing his fingertips over the newly exposed skin before moving to the next. When the silken fabric had finally been removed, Nate went on to Asher's pants, carefully undoing the button and zipper holding the supple leather in place on his lover's slim hips.

Dropping to his knees to help Asher out of his boots and pants, Nathaniel groaned when his position brought him to eye level with the vampire's cock. Swallowing, unknowingly licking his lips, he wavered, leaning in as if hypnotized by the firm flesh in front of him.

"Not until I say you may," Asher said sharply. For this little while, he would give Nathaniel what he craved, someone to order his every thought and action. "Stand up and dance for me," he commanded, knowing that he would not be able to restrain himself for long, but... "I want to see one of your routines from the club."

Lowering his head in the classic sign of submission, Nathaniel swayed to his feet and took a step back from his lover. "Yes, Asher," he whispered, his voice hoarse with need.

Disregarding the fact that there was no music and that, as he was nude already, most of his act would have been redundant, Nathaniel began to sway, listening to a song only he could hear. Inhumanly supple movements combined with pale skin and gliding hands, somehow giving the feeling that Nathaniel was disrobing although there was nothing left to remove. Using the furniture in place of the props he usually worked with, he glided back and forth, offering glimpses of skin beneath the fall of his hair, before moving to center stage in front of Asher, dancing for his lover alone but lost in his own internal music.

Asher bit back a hoarse groan of need, unbelievably aroused by Nathaniel's knowing sensuality combined with an almost childlike innocence. No wonder even Anita hadn't been proof against him, no matter her dislike of his preferences. He moved back to a comfortable leather chair and settled into it, grateful that he didn't have to worry about sweating and sticking to it. "Come here," he directed. "I want a lap dance, p- Nathaniel." Not wanting to confuse the wereleopard, he bit off the silly pet name he'd given him, reserving that for times when they weren't playing dominance games. "And then when I tell you, I want you to fuck yourself on me, still dancing." The mental images aroused him, and he watched Nate avidly, eager to feel that lithe body against him.

Nathaniel's pupils dilated, turning his eyes almost black with need, and he trembled before getting a hold of himself. Sidling forward, he settled himself on Asher's lap, legs bracketing the vampire's thighs. His hair fell around them both, teasing each with silken brushes even as Nate began to move again, rocking his hips forward to bring their erections together, then circling them to provide stimulation. Nathaniel's hands rested on Asher's shoulders, then slid lower, stroking the vampire's cool flesh and rubbing his thumbs over the small mounds of his nipples, giving soft moans of delight as he touched his dom.

"Very nice," Asher approved, stroking the long line of Nathaniel's back. "Dance for me, my Nathaniel, kiss me and while you do, impale yourself on me, so deep, as deep as I can go. And then dance some more, dance till you make us both come." He tangled his fists in the auburn silk of the wereleopard's hair, knowing that if he didn't hold onto something, he would seize control and move Nate, but he wanted to feel Nate take him inside himself.

The slight burn as Asher's fingers tightened in his hair only goaded Nathaniel on, and he rose up on his knees, rubbing his erection against Asher's chest, reaching back with one hand to steady the vampire's cock. Then, after lowering himself just enough to position them both, Nate sank down, giving a cry as Asher's cock filled him, stretching the tight muscle to the limit, providing him pleasure and pain at the same time.

Breathing in short pants, Nathaniel rested his hands once again on Asher's chest and began to move, giving a less active, but nonetheless vigorous version of the dance he'd been doing earlier, feeling his body tighten with each gyration and each stab of Asher's cock inside him.

"Oh yes, that's it, just like that," Asher praised, one hand falling from his hair to grasp his hip, needing to hold him. "So good, my Nathaniel, so very good." He captured Nate's mouth with his own, tongues curling together as they kissed hungrily, then while still kissing, he bit down on the wereleopard's tongue, his power once again flowing through him.

Nate yowled, the sound garbled in his throat as his orgasm rolled over him, powered by the strength of Asher's bite. He jerked his head back as his back arched, not noticing that the vampire's fangs dragged rents through his tongue, only focused on the pleasure coursing through him and the thick length still impaling him.

The sudden gush of blood into his mouth energized Asher, and he drank it down hungrily, sucking on Nate's tongue until the wounds closed. Meanwhile, the rippling convulsions of the were's orgasm pulled Asher's from him as well, his hips driving up into Nate hard enough to bruise as he growled his pleasure, arms tightening around him like steel bands. Slowly, as their climaxes ebbed, the kiss gentled until Asher drew back with a final lick over Nathaniel's lips, smiling. "A fantastic performance, love."

Nathaniel smiled, looking a bit dazed both from the overwhelming pleasure and the blood loss. "It wasn't the whole one though," he sighed, curling forward and resting against Asher's chest, wishing they never had to move. "I change in my act. You know, the crowd likes to see that weres are male in all forms." He laughed a little at that and licked the side of Asher's face, the scarred ridges rough against his newly healed tongue.

"Well, I've already had ample proof of that," Asher chuckled, a tiny shudder running through him as he remembered the incredible pleasure of taking his beautiful lover, hands fisted in the thick pelt of his fur. "But feel free to demonstrate any time you feel like," he offered. "In any form, you're still you and mine."

Nathaniel sighed happily, curling closer to Asher's chest though trying to keep his lower half still to prevent the vampire's cock from slipping out of his body yet. "I can't believe that you want me like this," he murmured quietly, "but I'm so glad you do."

Asher shook his head, bemused. "How can anyone as beautiful and sweet as you not know how lovable you are?" It was beyond understanding. "Yet, it is to my advantage that you are or you would not have been free for me," he said quietly, still holding Nathaniel close though he could feel himself beginning to slip out of him.

Pushing away memories he didn't want intruding on his time with Asher, Nathaniel nuzzled his lover's neck and face, trailing his hair along Asher's body and legs as he did so. Sweet lethargy was claiming him, and he knew that Asher had to be feeling the pull of the sun. "Now I'll never be free for anyone else," he sighed, sliding back off Asher's lap, waiting until the master vampire rose to curl close again. "Unless you want me to be."

An involuntary snarl pulled at Asher's lips at the idea of anyone else touching Nathaniel. He drew the wereleopard even closer, only the superior strength of the were preventing cracked ribs. "No," he growled possessively. "You're mine."

Nathaniel's violet eyes widened, and it took every bit of strength he possessed not to sink to his knees in front of Asher and beg his forgiveness for angering him. "I'm sorry," he whispered, ducking his head so that his fine, auburn hair covered his face. "I just thought... eventually... I'm sorry."

Sighing, Asher stopped and tilted Nathaniel's head up with one finger under his chin. He met the woeful violet eyes and forced back a frown, not wanting to distress the young were any further. "I'm not angry at you, Nathaniel. I was jealous, my pretty kitty, jealous of the thought of anyone else touching you. You didn't do anything wrong." It was going to take some getting used to, how quick Nathaniel was to assume fault and how easily hurt he was. Asher was going to have to walk very carefully until Nate learned his ways.

Nate gave a shaky laugh, trying to cover up his extreme reaction. "I'll never do anything to make you jealous, Asher,' he promised, tiptoeing up to kiss the vampire's lips.

Asher laughed wryly the instant before he returned the kiss, claiming Nate's mouth as hungrily as if he hadn't had him several times already that night. When he finally drew his head back to allow his lover to breathe, he said softly, "Mon coeur, you don't have to do anything. As beautiful as you are, I will always be jealous of you. But I also know that you are mine and I have no reason to be. But I love you, and I cannot believe that others will not want you as well."

He laughed softly. "I know they do. But I will enjoy knowing that only I can touch."

"The only one I want to touch," Nate sighed, dropping his head to Asher's shoulder and resting there, supported by his dom's strength, feeling as if he could simply drift off to sleep if they stayed in that position for long.

"Time for bed," Asher decided, easily lifting the were into his arms and carrying him to the bed. He was beginning to feel the drowsiness of approaching dawn, and since Nathaniel was willing, he looked forward to falling asleep with his warm body in his arms.

"Mmm hmm." Once Asher had himself stripped and them settled on the bed, Nathaniel sighed in contentment, curling up next to and on the master vampire's body as if he could keep Asher's flesh warm by his own body heat. "So nice..." he breathed, rubbing his cheek against Asher's chest, his eyelids already drooping shut. "So right."

"Je t'aime, cheri," Asher murmured silently as the first rays of dawn stole his consciousness. He fell 'asleep' for the first time in centuries with a smile on his face and his arms loosely wrapped around another living being.

Nathaniel managed to lift his head and smile at his lover's now motionless body. "I love you too, Asher," he murmured, pressing a kiss against the cool, pale lips, before settling back in against Asher's chest, sound asleep within minutes.


  since 02-03-07

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