Title: If God Would Send His Angels

Author: Just Silver

Rating: up to NC-17 in later chapters

The Lady with the Spinning Head is a club in the basement of an old brick warehouse. During the day, the ground floor of the building serves as a fashionable restaurant and the upper floors are deserted. At night, the back entrance is unlocked and a spiral staircase leads visitors either down to a hell of pulsating beats, neon drinks, and lithe dancers or up to a heaven of more personal pleasures.

Most guests choose to go downstairs and sign their souls away for a glass that never emptied, courtesy of a petite olive-skinned beauty named Kristine, and the opportunity to admire the dancers on the stage. Nights like thiswhen the air seems to have a body of its own as it shifts against the crowd, hot and heavy, and everyone in the room has just about given up trying distinguish dream from realitythe dancer is a haunted young man.

For him, midnight is where the day begins. He rarely rises before 10 PM and is never alert before 12, when he takes his place amongst the lights and is lost in the music. They can't touch him. He is barely aware they exist as he moves- hips swaying, fingers crooked in an invitation no one in the room is brave enough to accept. He doesn't know how delectable he looks, how green his eyes are, how many hearts he has broken. He doesn't go upstairs. No one can claim him as his skin is exposed inch by inch, defined by shadow. He is free. No one cares who he is, what he's done, or what he knows. All they expect him to be is eye candy and he fulfills that obligation quite nicely.

When the music stops, he doesn't hear the catcalls or the scattered applause. He leaves his clothing and the tips left by the appreciative audience. Dennis will collect them. All he does is dance and then disappear offstage. He emerges later fully clothed to sit at the bar and make idle chat with Kristine.

Tonight Kristine has a sly grin on her face. "There was a man here asking for you, " she says, filling his glass with soda. He laughs, running a hand through his messy black hair.

"What else is new?"

"He left a present." She slides a box across the counter.

"This one was rich," he muses, sipping his soda daintily as he eyed the box.

"What else is new?" Kristine echoes. "They all ask for you. If you'd only-"

"Give into Diane and let half this city bend me in half and fuck me till I bled?" he finishes, grinning. Kristine raises an eyebrow.

"I was going for something less graphic. But you could make a killing as if you don't nowand you could get away from here." He takes the box in his hands, the grin replaced by mild curiosity. "And before you ask: no, they didn't leave a card, so you can't return it."

"Damn," he replies sarcastically, though this is his usual procedure for gifts that aren't money. Anything else is too personal for him, too much like a claim. He opens the box causally, with a flick of his thumb and his jaw promptly drops.

"That expensive, huh?" Kristine says with a smirk, leaning over the counter, giving him a great view down her blouse, if he cared to look. "Holy shit!"

Expensive is one word. Classically ostentatious is another. And there are some that would call it Baroque. All are correct. In the unassuming black velvet box lies an exquisite, highly ornate, bejeweled silver serpent. He gapes and shuts the lid quickly.

"You have to return it, Kristine," he says, eyes darting to every darkened corner of the club.

"Are you crazy?" she asks, eyes wide. "That piece is worth a fortune!"

"And the man who owns it has a fortune to spare. Give it back to him," he insists, pushing the box into her hands.

" I don't know his name!" she protests, shoving it back at him.

"But he does," drawls a smooth, cultured voice. "Or have you forgotten me, Mr. Potter?"

The sound of glass shattering is the immediate reply.