This is Issue #40 of DeathWatch, Book II: tentatively called Heart Of Ilona, an ongoing Serial. Click that link to go find DeathWatch, the first in the series, or start from the beginning of Book II!
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“How did it go?” Secta asked lowly, lightly, peeling bloodied clothes from Jet’s frame, carefully bundling them for the laundry.
“As well as could be expected.” Jet’s voice was quiet, thoughtful. “Once Ferro had calmed down, he was able to accept what had happened. Lucida promised me the Guild was a necessary evil, and so I didn’t compel him into service, nor did I demand he disband. We’ll discuss all of that later, but at the moment, I believe he is spending the last few hours before dawn in a sort of frenzied messaging spree.” Silent for a moment, Jet let Secta undress him entirely, and lead him into the bath, which had been drawn just long enough that it was the perfect temperature to enter. He soaked for awhile, and then finally spoke. “It seems, also, that the entire encounter had been broadcast, which is a fair deal of publicity that quelled the city’s desire to witness a sort of righteous violence, and give them a sense of civic rightness to get behind,” he said, turning to look at Secta.
“Mmm,” was Secta’s eventual noncommittal response; he continued to clean up and attend to Jet, smiling faintly. He stripped down to his underthings, having bloodied his other clothes in undressing Jet, and went about gathering what he would need to continue ministering to his Guardian.
He carefully mixed a shaving foam and applied it to Jet’s skin, lathering his cheeks, his jaw, his throat, carefully daubing his upper lip, never meeting Jet’s eyes.
Silence reigned for several moments, as Jet watched Secta expertly shave him with the long, sharp blade. “Once it aired,” Jet mused, while Secta was cleaning the lather from the razor, “there was a marked decline in the rioting.” His golden eyes settled on Secta, watching, one brow quirked.
“You don’t say,” Secta murmured, leaning to get one side of Jet’s jaw.
When Secta went back to shaving, Jet pursed his lips briefly, as though pondering being irritated. “Seemed like a stroke of luck,” Jet said, pointedly, still staring at his famulo.
Secta did not look directly at Jet, and when he tilted the other way to bring the blade to Jet’s skin, Jet reached up and grabbed his wrist firmly.
Secta flinched as Jet pulled his wrist closer, and when the blade bit into Jet’s skin, Secta dropped it, alarmed. Blood welled, and Secta reached a hand to press it against the wound. “Master,” he breathed.
“You must get used to the idea of being noticed now, my Secta,” Jet said quietly.
A flush of pride colored the young man’s cheeks. I belong to you. He closed his eyes, lifting his hand from skin that had already seared shut beneath his touch, and looked at the blood and ash on his palm.
Jet took Secta’s hand and kissed the palm, then licked his lips, feeling his own heart quicken. He fished the razor from the bath, and handed it back to his famulo, saying, “What has changed? Something has changed.”
Secta frowned slightly, but then resumed Jet’s shave, quietly avoiding the answer. When he finished, he carefully took a hot cloth and wiped Jet’s face clean, leaning close, watching his face, their eyes finally meeting. Usually, Secta would turn away, blushing, but instead, he simply gazed upon Jet for long moments, silent.
“You no longer act as simply a servant, my Secta,” Jet declared softly.
Fear touched Secta’s face. He looked at Jet with widening eyes, saying, “I am ever your servant. I am loyal, please, I–”
“You are loyal,” Jet said softly. “You have always been. I am not denying this.” He moved to get up out of the bath, standing, dripping on the smooth, warmed tile.
“Then nothing has to change.” Secta said, moving to wrap a towel around Jet’s body, to let him walk about while he dried off. He knelt before Jet, sliding the towel against his hips, his thighs, and tucked the towel against Jet’s waist. He stood up, felt too close to the Guardian, and stepped back.
The movement lit up Jet’s face; the predator in him recognized the response, and he advanced. The towel dropped; Secta backed up as if to run, but was stopped by the counter, and Jet came behind him, to pin him against the marble.
Jet wrapped his arms around his famulo and bent him back against the marble sinktop, whispering against the hollow of his throat. “Everything changes, my Secta.”
Secta turned his head, gasping, breathless, his heart thundering in his chest, a measure of both fear and need twisting his features.
Jet could see Secta’s pulse in his neck. He closed his eyes, bowed his head. He put his lips to that spot, against the smooth, hot skin, and breathed in. The scents — steam, skin, soap — filled him, and he remembered the feeling of Kieron’s frame pressed to his. Candlewicks drowning in their wax, his fingers twined with Kieron’s, and as the moon sank, and the world outside slid toward its darkest hour.
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Their second kiss had been no less fumbling than the first, though it was long, and sweet, and settled the idea of Kieron leaving alone, or so Jet had thought.
By the fourth kiss, Kieron had wound his hands in Jet’s dark hair.
Jet had lost count by the time he had to pull back just enough to catch his breath, leaning forehead to forehead, dizzied.
Eager to hold on to the feeling, the sudden rush that made his heart pound, Kieron put his arms around Jet, who returned the gesture and they shuffle-stumbled their way to Kieron’s bed, laughing when Jet tripped, and again when Kieron did, shushing one another as they fell into one another’s arms.
It was only kissing for what felt like lifetimes, dreamy and slow alternating with frantic and grasping. He remembered being astonished at every new feeling, overwhelmed by the heat of the moment, full of wonder at the taste of Kieron’s skin as their kisses moved, as Jet slid his lips over Kieron’s jaw and down his throat.
He remembered the sound of his own name on Kieron’s tongue, and how he could not help but say Kieron’s over and over again, meditative, a quiet prayer to the first custodian of his heart.
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