spiralling inward

"Fuck me," Oriya said, and watched the sudden flare of interest in Muraki's eyes.

"Such a thing to say, Oriya." Muraki put down his cup. "I'm sure none of your customers would ever hear such language from you."

"They don't pay for that from me," Oriya said. He was aware that the two of them had been drinking too much; he was aware that he was drunk; he was aware that the moon in the sky above was full and furious and mad, flaring like a burning pearl in the clear dark sky. "They want the owner of the house, the elegant gentleman. They want the professional prostitute."

"And professional prostitutes don't say things like that?" Muraki enquired, his tone one of academic curiosity.

"Not if they want to seem elegant." Oriya refilled Muraki's cup, then his own. "They let their hands flutter and their robes loosen, and they gasp in shock and let themselves be mastered. It's that hint of the unwilling combined with the implication that they've been mastered by the man who takes them. It fills my rooms each night. You've enjoyed enough of my ladies to know that."

"So I have," Muraki agreed.

"And you're not my customer." Oriya sipped his wine, unable to break the habit of years and toss it back, however much he wanted to. "I can say what I want to. To you."

"Yes." The moon made Muraki's eyes blank and dangerous, as white as the moonlight. "But are you sure that you want to?"

"To say it? Or do it?"

"That's your choice, Oriya."

"You aren't drinking your wine."

"Come now." Muraki slid his hand across the table and caught Oriya's wrist. "Would you really want me to be drunk at a moment like this?"

"I am," Oriya said sadly, and looked at the night sky reflected in his cup. "Look after me, Muraki. I'm just a poor lonely boy, astray in the world on my own."

"Oh, you shouldn't say such things to me," Muraki said smoothly. "They might excite me. They might inflame me."

"I could live with that."

"You might say that's the point," Muraki whispered.

Oriya leant forward. His hair spilled across the table. He moved his hand to his throat, and Muraki's hand followed. "Don't you think it's a perfect night for blood?"

"Oriya, Oriya," Muraki says, and this time there's real warning in his voice, a hint of a genuine line that should not be crossed. "You should be more careful."

"It's what I want," Oriya says. He can feel Muraki's fingers on the pulse in his neck. "I think tonight I want to be your victim."

"I think tonight," Muraki says, and now Oriya knows he's stepped over that line, "I think tonight I'll make you my victim."

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