Xaxac clung to Agalon, thankful for the relief brought on by the dusk as the sun set behind the woods and took with it the dreadful heat of its rays. He buried his face in Agalon’s soft cloak and thought of the fighters he had seen today. They were so strong, stronger than any human he had ever seen before, and something about that made him have strange thoughts, thoughts he felt he was perceiving incorrectly.
It was strange to be blatantly, obviously, the weakest person in a place. It should have translated to fear, or maybe jealousy. But Xac didn’t feel either of those things. The moons appeared lower in the sky in the summer, but he could see them trying to crest the skyline, could make out how nearly full they were, bright in the twilight that surrounded them. Maybe that’s why none of his emotions made sense lately. Maybe he was a lunatic.
If he was going mad, he had absolutely no reason not to.
After Agalon had handed off the horse to Jimmy Ray he grabbed Xac by the waist to help him down, and Xac leaned heavily into him, snuggled into his side, and accepted the arm Agalon threw around him. He was trying not to squirm, but it was the sort of thing that couldn’t be helped, and he was sure Agalon noticed.
They made it to the third story hallway before Xac gave in and absolutely lost his mind.
He spun, grabbed Agalon by the arm, reached up to grasp his face, and pulled him into a full kiss, trying his best to mimic what Agalon had always done to him, to prove that he had remembered, that he was learning.
This had to come as a shock, but he had pulled so fiercely there was no fighting it; he still didn’t know his own strength, and he reeled backwards with the force of it, slamming himself into the wall and pulling Agalon with him. The portraits rattled, and when Agalon pulled back at him to look down into his eyes, Xac saw the thing there that had once scared him- but he wasn’t afraid anymore. Now he was mad as a spring hare, and it showed in his big brown eyes, full of conviction, full of that madness, and Agalon seemed to appreciate it.
He lifted Xac by the hips and Xac threw his legs around him for support and threw his arms around his neck as Agalon clung to him so tightly it may bruise. Agalon seemed as though he couldn’t figure out how to get the door to the sitting room open, so Xac bounced on his hip and squirmed against him, which seemed to give him the motivation he needed to throw it open, kick it shut after they were inside, and throw both of them onto the sofa.
“You said I was built for this,” Xac reminded him as he tried to get Agalon’s cape open from the little chain that kept it on, “I feel crazy. I want to do what we did before! Right now!”
“You want me to fuck you?” Agalon smirked and pressed Xac against the cushions to unbutton his shirt, but once again gave up after the first three and tugged it over his head instead.
“Yeah!” Xac agreed, “That! Fuck me!”
“I have to go get the lube,” Agalon said, pushed himself up, ripped off the cape and threw it over the sofa, “Stay right here.”
“What? No, don’t leave, just-”
“You’ll get hurt,” Agalon said, “Don’t argue with me.”
He turned, leaned over the couch and grabbed Xac by the face, pulling him to his knees, then delivered the kind of kiss that made Xac forget how to breath, that turned his muscles to useless mush and robbed him of any argument he may have had.
“Stay right there,” Agalon commanded, then released him and marched into the bedroom.
Xac collapsed onto the sofa and tried to remember how to breath. He needed to get his clothes off, he needed to tell Agalon that he needed to get different pants when they went wherever they were going to get him clothes, because the pair he was wearing had been too tight for a while now.
He did manage to get himself undressed by the time Agalon returned, and was moving to get himself on his hands and knees when Agalon crawled on top of him, preventing him from doing anything.
“You stay right where you are, Honey Bunny,” He instructed, “On your back.”
That was fine. Whatever he wanted if he’d shut up and do what he was supposed to.
He watched this time as Agalon, half naked himself, spread the goop from the bottle onto his fingers.
“You don’t have to do that anymore!” Xac begged, “Just fuck me again!”
“Yes, I do,” Agalon argued, “Don’t fight me. Just lie back and relax. When did you get so eager? The hell’s got into you?”
“I don’t know,” Xac lamented, “Is it bad?”
“No,” Agalon whispered, “It’s perfect. You’re perfect. You really were meant to be a pleasure slave, little bunny. I thought this might happen. You’ll wanna fuck like rabbits.”
“Yeah!” Xac agreed and threw one leg over the back of the couch to give him better access, “Like a bunny!”
He closed his eyes so he could concentrate on the sensations Agalon was giving him, so he could count his breathing and try to calm down. But it wasn’t working. Nothing was working. Nothing was going to relive this madness except that blissful, overpowering sensation that seemed to reset his brain. But Agalon didn’t believe him, Agalon thought he was stupid, that he was going to hurt himself, but he wasn’t, and if he did, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because Agalon had said that shifters would heal.
“Please?” Xac begged, “I’m ready, I swear! Please fuck me again.”
“Thesis above,” Agalon swore, “Fine, but if you can’t walk to dinner it’s your fault, darlin.”
Agalon loomed over him with one hand on the back of the couch and the other, the one covered in the goo, slowly spreading it over his dick. Xac did remember, did understand what he meant, that everything had to be slippery or it would hurt. But it was taking forever and there was something wrong with him, something deeply wrong with him that he needed to fix, and he didn’t know why, but he knew this would fix it. He needed Agalon to hit that spot inside of him again, and again, and again, and to hold him, play with him- maybe he was actually built to be a pleasure slave and it was a good thing Agalon had found him because it’s possible he would have never found anyone else who actually knew how to do this. Agalon was right, he probably couldn’t be trusted by himself, and if he didn’t have someone who loved him they could hurt him, and he would let them do it to chase this feeling.
He arched up to meet him as Agalon pressed inside, much better equipped to handle it the second time. Maybe not even the second time. He had gotten blackout drunk last night and didn’t really remember what had happened, but he felt stone-cold sober now.
He wrapped his arms around Agalon’s neck and pulled him into another kiss; he heard the creaking of the sofa which was probably not meant to handle this and wondered what would happen if they broke it, but he couldn’t make himself care. He wrapped his legs around Agalon’s waist again out of instinct, and when Agalon reached a hand between them and began to pump, Xac screamed.
He had thrown his head back onto the arm of the sofa, and the new angle gave him an unobstructed view of the door to the hall.
It was open.
He locked eyes with Lorsan, who had apparently gotten out of his room somehow and was standing in the doorway with one hand on the doorknob. He was dressed much more casually this time, without his uniform or his traveling cloak, and looked much, much more like how Agalon had described him- a fourteen year old boy. Not a soldier.
He had been looking at the scene in front of him with shock and disgust, had looked as if he was about to say something; his mouth was already open to deliver whatever blow he had mean to deliver to his father.
But when he saw Xac his expression changed completely.
His face softened, and Xac could see a deep sadness, perhaps pity in his eyes.
He shut the door and Xac instantly put him out of his mind.
Xac leaned back on the sofa and took a long drag from his cigarette. He was still nude and had no real intention of putting his clothes back on, because that would require him to move from the spot where he currently lounged, and he could not imagine any scenario that could make such a thing possible. Whatever had come over him, he had been right about how to cure it. And it seemed like good information to have. And it made Agalon happy. This had been a good day.
Agalon was sitting on the sofa in contented silence with a hand resting on Xac’s legs crossed in his lap. He had managed to put his pants back on, but hadn’t done much else because he said he felt ‘lazy’. His hair had come loose from the pins Lee had used to secure it, likely because of Xac’s clawing at it, and Xac watched as he reached up and picked the pins out of his scalp, one by one, and tossed them onto the coffee table. The messy braid fell down his back.
“I’m gonna have to go let Lorry out,” he said as he exhaled a plume of smoke, “I need to talk some sense into him. I can’t let this go on.”
“I’m never gonna have kids,” Xac said, “That looks like a lotta work.”
“You wouldn’t have to raise um if you did,” Agalon explained, “You breed a pleasure slave you leave it with the mommy till it’s big enough to bring in. Them breedin centers want a fortune for that. It’s different for y’all. I know you don’t understand, but I appreciate the sentiment.”
“I think I can like Lorry, if I try,” Xac promised, “And I’ll try real hard.”
“He’s lost his goddamn mind,” Agalon said, not as if it was something that had upset him, but as if it was a fact that needed stating, “His mommy put a bunch of bullshit in his head.”
A loud knocking came from the door and Agalon leaned forward to ash his cigarette.
“I might need you to do somethin with my hair before dinner,” Agalon told the door, “Come in.”
Xac briefly wondered about whether or not he should put some clothes on, but if it was Lee he had already seen him in the nude. He had been the one to bring him clothes after laundry day.
The door swung open and Lorsan stood in the doorway.
“I ain’t doin shit to your hair,” he said and Xac pulled himself quickly into a sitting position and darted his eyes around in an attempt to find his clothes- he had spotted them in a pile on the floor and darted down to grab them, but Agalon solved the problem by throwing his cape from the back of the couch on top of Xac, who popped his head out and elected to treat it like a blanket.
“Ain’t you ever heard of knocking?” Agalon snarled.
“I did!” Lorsan snapped back, “Ain’t you people ever heard of closin a goddamn door?”
“I did!” Agalon retorted as Xac took his last drag and snuffed out his cigarette.
“How did you get out?” Agalon asked, and though it did have a twinge of anger, the question held genuine curiosity.
“I’m a mage,” Lorsan said, “You thought you was gonna hold me with a lock? No wards or nothin, a goddamn lock? Daddy, I’m insulted.”
“You scared the hell outta Xaxac,” Agalon said as he stood and walked toward the bedroom to pick up the clothing he had scattered in his wake.
“I don’t know he scares as easy as you think he does,” Lorsan folded his arms across his chest and asked, “So we dressin for dinner or can I just eat in my room?”
“We’re going to have a nice, family dinner,” Agalon said as he slid on his undershirt, “What did you do all day? Did you do anything? Or did you just hole up in your room till I got back?”
“The room you locked me in?” Lorsan asked, then to Xac he said, “How’d you like them fighters? Wanna see um kill each other?”
“I actually really like them,” Xac said, trying his best not to sound as pissy as he felt, “It was really fun.”
“Dad got you blowin um yet?” Lorry asked. He seemed very confused that this question did not have the intended effect; apparently Agalon had also thought this would be something that upset Xac, because he barked at his son.
“Is that somethin that’s gonna happen?” Xac asked with a wide smile as he climbed to his knees, trying to keep the cloak tucked around him. He was learning not to question the things that came over him, maybe it was better to listen to the rest of his body than to his head.
“That’s what he did with Kenny,” Lorsan said, looking at Xac with his face but Agalon with his eyes, “Passed him around like the town horse.”
“What’s a town horse?” Xac asked.
“You can rent horses,” Lorsan explained, “If you don’t have one. You get to use it but it ain’t yours.”
“Lorry, watch your goddamn mouth,” Agalon hissed as he slid his tunic over his head, “Nine million fuckin belts… Honey Bunny, listen. There’s,” he paused, as if searching his brain for the right words, “You’re real good at what you do, you know that? You’re fun. So it can be real motivatin for some folk to know that if you do real good at somethin, you get to have fun.”
“Neat!” Xac said and let himself fall back onto the couch, let the scenes he had taken in that day play over and over in his head. As he thought more on the subject, a very practical problem presented itself, so he spoke aloud. “They’re all pretty big.”
“I would never let them hurt you,” Agalon promised, “I would be there with you.”
“That’s so sweet,” Xac smiled, “But I… think I heal pretty quick. I ain’t worried about it.”
“Yeah, I read up on shifters today,” Lorsan said, glaring at his father, “Daddy might not want you to know this, but you’re supposed to have super strength, supposed to heal a lot quicker than a normal human, ain’t nothin that can kill you cept old age.”
“Those are legends,” Agalon said, “Don’t believe everythin you read. Don’t get a big head and get yourself hurt.”
“Uh huh,” Lorsan said, then he pushed himself off the doorway and went marching toward Xaxac with such sudden speed and intention that Agalon did not think to stop him. He grabbed Xac by the arm and jerked it out, and the stones in his ears began to glow as Xac felt an intense pain in his arm.
“Ow! What the fuck!?” Xac asked, jerked his arm back and fell onto the couch. “The hell did I ever do to you!?”
His arm was covered in some sort of raised wound, like a welt, and itched more than it hurt. Xac scratched furiously with his other hand until the skin burst open and began to bleed.
“Xaxac!” Agalon ran to his side, pulled out his arm and looked down at it. Then his eyes shot up to Lorsan and he growled, “Boy, I am gonna tan your hide! I’m gonna whoop you so bad you ain’t gonna be able to move! What the hell is wrong with you?”
“It’s ok,” Xac said, trying to quell his rage. Be quiet. Be nice. Smile. Do as little as possible. Tell them it’s alright. Tell them it’s ok. Just do whatever they say.
“No, it ain’t ok!” Agalon said, but when he glanced back down at Xac’s arm, his eyes widened in alarm.
“It quit itchin,” Xac said quietly.
Lorsan leaned over the couch to watch with his father as the welts disappeared and the skin Xac had torn open with his nails scabbed, then grew back together.
“Can I have a rag or something?” Xac asked, “I don’t wanna get blood on nothing.”
Agalon grabbed him by the head and pulled him forward to get a look at the back of his neck. The skin there was marked, clearly, an old wound, with his family symbol.
“How the hell did they brand you?” Agalon asked, “I had you branded how… how’d that…”
“It’s a deep wound,” Lorsan said, “They can’t heal from everything. Bet they had to push that down to the damn bone…”
“I don’t remember,” Xac said leaning heavily into Agalon. “Am I in trouble? Did I do something wrong? I’m sorry!”
“You ain’t in trouble, Honey Bunny,” Agalon promised. “Let’s get your clothes on, get you somethin to eat.”
“Thank you, Master,” Xaxac said, wiping the tears from his eyes.
“You know daddy,” Lorsan said, “Day after tomorrow them moons are gonna be full.”