Disclm- Everything owned by Mervyn Peake.

I don't know exactly where or when this is set.

His voice is broken, his clothes dripping wet from the rain. His cheek has been cut open by something, and the thin line of blood across his jaw hasn't been attended to.

He is breathless. His throat is hoarse.

"My lady-"

And he moves towards her, quick like a snake.

She'll recoil, he knows it long before he reaches out. And she does, and he's horrified, and filled with regret and yet he knew it.

She can't think of what to say. What is there? So she contents herself with whimpering and looking away, staring at the floor, at the walls, at pictures on the walls, anything but his terrible, gorgeous face.

And yet he won't let her fall through his fingers so easily. He's knelt before her, taken her hand, and his lips have just barely brushed against her soft knuckles. She tries, she tries so hard to resist him.

But he is, he's romance and danger and all things monstrous.

"You are so beautiful."

Barely a murmur. She could even pretend she hadn't heard it. But she does, and those four words bite into her and sink under her skin. She's poisoned, and the venom has gone straight to her heart.

"No" she tries, but he has climbed to his feet already, reached up and is holding her face in his hands, making sure she can't turn away. His hands are rough, his fingernails bitten right down to the skin.

Her refusal doesn't matter any more, and they both know it. The room seems so cold, and he's warm and strong. The fastenings on his coat gleam like armour.

"My queen.."

he breathes, and his breath tickles her. Something inside her shudders. Moments between them, just a fingertip apart. Always leaning in, never capturing the kiss that seals the promise so properly.

He is afraid it never will. She is afraid now, that it will happen right now, and she has reason to be so anxious.

Because his fingers are in her hair, his eyelashes brush over her cheek. If she spoke, he could catch her words and trap them between his teeth.

There's a dainty chime somewhere, from a clock or something, there are voices faintly in corridors. Surrounded by mayhem, and yet suddenly they share such quietness-

-as he touches his lips against hers, and he kisses her with all the gentle patience she thinks she needs. Just a little kiss, a touching of mouths that she reciprocates. Something inside her, deep inside, dies. And as it does, something other is born. Something new, and just as dangerous as the man who awoke it.

He is tall, and strong, and he has captured her entirely for that moment. She is his, and here's a twist, he is hers. For that second he is a possession, owned by love, and no ordinary love either.

Their kiss is wax, forming a seal on some secret, veiled deed that only they know of. It pitches its flag and makes its deep cut on them both, and she'd like to think that when she dies, that will be the last thing on this earth that she will ever remember, and as she passes, she will feel it again. And again and again, and she'll die happy. And he hopes it too, though neither of them will ever know or admit to it.