AN/Disclaimer: Oscar Wilde was a genius…He was also male. I am neither (Though I enjoy being a woman and my intellect is nothing to sneeze at, thank you). Don't sue, but do review.

Find a typo? Point it out.

This was obviously inspired by "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde, and also by Carmilla's "Corruption". I suggest you read that fine piece of work, first.

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Dorian watches Basil leave out of the corner of his eye; his lips still pressed all the while to Lord Henry's.

'This is punishment, Basil,' Dorian thinks, though the punishment is not for the artist himself.

No, it is for Lord Henry. This kiss is for the man who constantly crushes Dorian's dear, sensitive artist with his laissez-faire remarks on life and his cruel, thoughtless words. This subtly passive-aggressive press of lips is for every comment on the uselessness of art, and for every time that Lord Henry manages to extinguish the light in Basil's eyes just that much more.

Dorian knows. Oh, yes, the beautiful youth knows of Dear Harry's jealously. He can feel his friend's deep-seated discontent that, though he can play the critic until the end of days, he will never be the artist, the musician, the talent that he so enjoys degrading with his clever phrases and sardonic smiles. He feels it in the touch of Henry's hand on his skin, the exhalation of his breath on his cheek, the very heat of his gaze. He knows that Henry has at once desired and detested the artist and his humble nature. Dorian understands why Lord Henry chooses to pick on Basil and encourage his low self-worth; understands, but does not condone.

No, this kiss that poor Basil must assume is one of fondness is anything but fond.

It is not that Dorian does not like Lord Henry, or that he does not find the older man entertaining. It is simply that Dorian feels that there should be at least one thing, one person in this world, that Henry should be forced to leave alone. Someone should be spared from his world view, and if it can't be Dorian himself, then the youth feels that it must be the person most precious to him. Dorian will force the cruelty of the man's tongue back into Lord Henry's mouth. He will use this kiss to drive every careless word meant for Basil back from whence it came.

'Poor Basil," Dorian thinks as he expertly bends an increasingly alarmed Lord Henry to his will. His fingers first carding through, and then clutching at the dark hair; it won't take much longer to get his point across. Henry's sounds are becoming frantic, and Dorian will not risk their volume escalating to a level that will call the artist or his servants back.

He hopes that Basil will forgive him this one kiss. He secretly promises, in his heart of hearts, that this will be the only kiss that does not belong to the artist. He almost laughs, realizing that this kiss already belongs to Basil because it is for his sake that he has initiated it. At least he will never have to confess to something that Basil has already seen.

He finally breaks the kiss, and looks at his uncomprehending friend with knowing eyes. Everything that he wants to express he does so with his face. As Lord Henry's fingers fly to his own mouth, and a look of frightened understanding flows into his eyes, Dorian seals his thus-far silent explanation with these simple words:

"He is mine."

And with that, Dorian rises from the bench and flows leisurely down the garden path back to the house.

It takes Lord Henry a good quarter-hour to realize that the beauty is following after the artist, and that he may well have lost both of them in trying to possess both at the same time. He does not know which failed, possible-romance he will mourn more.

His lips tingle with the bruises of his punishment, and he understands his folly… but perhaps it is too late.

When he enters the drawing room, Dorian is already out of sight. He sees himself out, but not before scribbling a message on a scrap of paper and leaving it on the piano.

'I'm terribly sorry to you both. Forgive me?'

He will return tomorrow, at an invitation from his dearest friends, and will receive the forgiveness he now craves from both. He will not mention the kiss that was his punishment and his salvation, and he will never again degrade Basil's art or overly-praise Dorian's physical beauty. He knows better, now.