Author's Note:

Oh my god. This chapter is so ridiculously long. But you deserve it, dear readers, after having so patiently waited for me to get my shit together and finish this up. I am, I have said before, the self-proclaimed slowest writer of all time, mostly because I'm terribly indecisive. For example, I went through three completely different endings for this thing before settling on the one below, and I'm STILL not convinced it's what I really want. But OH WELL.

Okay now, a note of warning: This chapter gets dark. Really. Truly. I'm not fucking around here, people--I kinda cringe reading it and I wrote it. It's explicit, and while I'm sure most of you were expecting nothing less, it's dark on a psychological level as well. So yea. Now, to be clear, this warning is not here to keep you from reading, or raise your expectations, or make you feel like a sick freak if you read it and like it. In all honesty, I want you to read (and review, yo:)), and if you like it, then I suppose I couldn't ask for anything more.

Whew. Now that THAT'S over with, I'd like to say thanks for all the great reviews, and that I hope you enjoy the conclusion!

p.s. (**And I suppose don't read this if you don't want a bit of a spoiler**) It seems I'm incapable of writing a straight evil Vlad. Take that as you will. In my own defense, though, I must say that I don't personally believe in straight evil characters:)

II: Incentives

Danny blinked. For one terrifying moment, time seemed to stand still. And then the world collapsed into chaos.

He panicked. He wasn't even aware he was struggling until he felt the weight of three clones force his thrashing body flat onto the bed, wasn't aware he was screaming until the sounds were stifled by a swift punch in the gut and the foreboding pressure of a switchblade at his throat. And he wasn't aware he was crying until the clone wielding the knife leant down and slowly licked a tear from his cheek with a cruel laugh.

"I'd stay still if I were you, my boy," warned Vlad, calmly tearing the plastic cover from the needle with his teeth. With weirdly practiced skill he traced a finger along the inside of Danny's elbow, searching for a vein. When he found one he stuck two holes in the cap of the vial with the needle and slowly drew out a portion of the solution within. "These things are always easier if you just stay still."

"God, fuck you Vlad!" screamed Danny, utterly horrified by the sight of the needle aimed at his arm. "Get off me! Get off! Stop—No!" But it was too late. Danny's entire body froze as the needle was jabbed under his skin. The solution stung terribly as it was injected into his blood, but it was over in a matter of seconds.

"And there we are, Daniel," Vlad purred, leaning to the side to set the needle and vial on a side table next to the bed. "Now, was that really so bad?"

"You-you're insane," Danny panted, watching as the three clones evaporated into wisps of smoke. As soon as he was free to move he grasped his elbow where he'd been stuck, clawing at the spot as if trying to extract the poison from his veins. All he managed to do, however, was smear a bead of blood that had welled there across his skin. Vlad scooted to the end of the bed, watching Danny amusedly.

"You really think I'm crazy?" he asked, feigning innocence, pouting as though his feelings could really be hurt so easily.

"Are you serious?" shouted Danny, scrambling into a sitting position, fists clenched in rage and eyes wild. His voice was already growing hoarse from all the yelling he'd done that night. "You kidnap me, tie me up, tell me you're gonna rape me and inject me with—with what ever the hell that was?" He motioned wildly to the vial. "What about that is not crazy, you sick bastard? It's hardly even human! You're a fucking luna… lun… lunatic…."

Danny's shouting crumpled into a garbled squeak, and whatever else he had to say died on his lips. Something strange was happening to his body.

"What was that, Daniel?" asked Vlad, his lips curling in sadistic glee. His eyes shone brightly, glinting cold and icy in the low light of the room. Danny swallowed hard as it dawned on him that whatever was in the vial was starting to take effect.

It really was the strangest feeling. Danny's body felt warm and fuzzy yet tingly and surprisingly cool, and he couldn't keep a shiver from traveling down his spine as goose bumps sprang up across his skin. He instinctively clutched his arms to his body to warm himself but gasped as he did so, for every movement felt exaggerated, each feeling intensified beyond what he thought was possible. He would have sworn he could feel the grooves of his fingerprints brush against his arms, and the individual fibers of his shirt on his chest….

"Feeling alright?" Danny looked up sharply to see Vlad grinning at him like the cat that had swallowed the canary. "Something wrong, Daniel?"

"V-Vlad, I-I-I…" Danny sputtered, but again his words dissolved into a whimper, because the feeling overwhelming his body was changing now, growing steadily warmer and more enjoyable. His breathing hitched and he hugged his body tightly as a sense of doom rolled over his mind, snatching up his last vestiges of hope, because he knew exactly what that feeling was, knew exactly what was happening to him and what was going to happen—

Danny moaned. Moaned like a twenty-dollar whore. He couldn't help it; he would have clapped his hand over his mouth in angry shame if his nails weren't currently digging into his shoulders. His face flushed scarlet at the sound of Vlad's deep chuckle as it filled the room, and he kept his eyes down to avoid catching sight of the terrible expression he knew was on the man's face. He couldn't believe what he'd just done. Danny grit his teeth and pressed his legs together, attempting with every ounce of his will to stem the flood of arousal overwhelming him and stifle the little sounds forming in his throat…. He didn't want, simply could not let Vlad just sit and watch as this happened to him… it was beyond humiliating—it was absolutely horrifying.

"How is it, Daniel?" crooned Vlad. His arrogant tone sliced into the boy like sharp knives. "Feel good? I'd like to think my hard work paid off."

"Fuck you." Danny could barely manage to put the two words together through breaths that were quickly growing fast and heavy. The tingling sensations had given way to slow pangs of intensifying pleasure. Vlad laughed.

"No, not tonight, Daniel," he said, voice disturbingly calm. His eyes ran hungrily over Danny's squirming body. "Though I'd wager you'd like to very much right about now… and that, of course, is the whole point of this little exercise."

Danny half-whimpered, half-groaned in a mixture of anger and humiliation and arousal, unable to keep the sounds springing from his lips down any longer. His pants were growing tighter, and in a spasm of clear thinking he moved his hands to cover his crotch in an attempt to keep Vlad from spotting the growing bulge. Unfortunately, once his fingers were at his groin he couldn't keep them from moving, softly at first and then harder, grinding against the rough tented denim, and despite himself Danny tipped his head back and moaned in pleasure, his lidded eyes staring hazily up at the shadowy ceiling.

Danny wanted to stop. He would have given nearly anything to be able to stop. To keep from giving in, from masturbating on the bed in front of Vlad. It was disgusting. But he just couldn't, it was as simple as that, and before Danny knew what he was doing he'd unzipped his jeans and was hastily trying to fumble past the fabric of his boxers. He only managed to pause momentarily as he caught sight of Vlad, sitting mere feet away from him, doing nothing but peering at him with a calculating grin.

"Are—Are you just going to sit there and watch?" Danny hissed, and even as spoke the words he wasn't sure what he meant by them, wasn't sure if he wanted Vlad to leave… or to help….

But no… no! Why would he think that? He didn't want Vlad….

But he did want, didn't he—the drug in his veins made the desire so strong it was nearly unbearable. He wanted someone to touch and wanted someone to touch him, even, perhaps, if that person was Vlad. Was he actually straining against the wire of his collar in an effort to reach the man? When the fuck did that happen? Danny whimpered, hand poised so closely above his throbbing member he could feel the heat radiating off his hypersensitive skin.

"Are you just gonna watch me?" he panted, utterly ashamed and utterly confused. The whining tone made it sound far too much like a plea.

"For now," Vlad answered. "Old habits die hard, I suppose." He sat back, clearly satisfied with Danny's pained reaction to the ambiguously pointed response.

"Vlad… nggh… please…." Vlad shook his head.

"No. You're on your own, boy."

"Son of a bitch!" Danny wailed, wailed because he knew that Vlad knew what he'd really been asking, and because he couldn't hold out any longer; every nerve in his body was simply on fire—

With a strangled cry of frustration Danny grabbed a hold of himself and instantly began jerking his hand up and down in firm, hard strokes. His eyelids fluttered and he fell back into the pillows resting against the headboard of the bed, panting, hearing the high mewling noises coming from his throat and wanting it all to stop but unable to do a damn thing about it. He'd never been this turned on before. Ever. Not by any fantasy, not by any girl, not even by Sam, even the time when she'd stripped down to her panties and tackled him to the floor, kissing him passionately and making him moan so loud he was afraid his parents would hear them from all the way downstairs.

None of that was even close to what he was feeling now. Every stroke felt like an orgasm itself, and Danny gasped and squirmed in response to the waves of pleasure as they rippled through his body, arching his back and curling his toes. He spread his legs instinctively, wiggling out of his pants and boxers and pushing them down past his knees. His clothes felt suddenly restrictive, and he was glad to be rid of them. Danny grit his teeth against a loud moan, and his strokes became faster, more desperate; he could feel the muscles in his calves and abdomen tense and knew he was close, so close, just a few more, god, that was all he needed—

But suddenly it all came to a terrible stop, because his hands were being pulled off and away from himself, were being forced up above his head—

"Whaa..? No… stop…." Danny opened his eyes to see Vlad leaning over him, leering maliciously as he held his hands up by the chain connecting the cuffs. Danny hadn't even noticed the man move, nor seen when he'd removed his glasses and vest and unbuttoned his shirt. But for Danny the look on Vlad's face was the worst—that terrible knowing gleam in his eyes… it said everything. The boy blushed and twisted, trying to work his way out of his captor's iron grip.

"Let me go," Danny panted, nearly unable to cope with the frustration and the pain of not being allowed to finish. "Vlad… please…. let go, I… ah!" He craned his neck helplessly into the pillows as a dull pang of unfulfilled need bled down his spine.

"I don't think so, Daniel," Vlad murmured. "I think you've done enough—we can't let you have all the fun tonight, can we?" The man drew Danny's slickened hand to his mouth and slowly licked from the base of his palm to the tips of his fingers, grinning as the boy moaned and bucked his hips in pleasure.

"Ngghh… Vlad…."

Danny was nowhere near lucid enough to understand what was happening as his arms were tugged back behind him. It was only after he felt Vlad position himself between his spread legs that he noticed with a frustrated whimper that he couldn't move his hands as he pleased. Looking up frantically, he realized that, like the leash, the chain of his handcuffs had been phased though the headboard slats.

"I don't think you need these anymore," said Vlad, voice husky, and with a sweep of his hand he phased Danny's pants and boxers from his legs. Smiling, he leaned down over Danny's heaving chest until their faces were mere centimeters apart. "Or this," he murmured, and Danny's shirt fell away as well. The boy hissed at the feeling of cool air against his hot, damp skin. It felt good to be naked.

"Better?" Vlad whispered. With a dark chuckle he lowered his face and licked along the edge of Danny's jaw until he reached the boy's neck, where he began to kiss and nip and suckle the sensitive flesh. Danny gasped and unthinkingly strained against his bonds, the fire in his stomach reignited in triplicate now that someone was moving on top of him. He groaned in ecstasy when the tip of his dick brushed against Vlad's leg, and, spurred on by pure instinct, began to thrust his hips in that direction, desperate to work up any kind of friction—

"Naughty boy," whispered Vlad into Danny's ear, shifting his knee to keep Danny pinned flat to the bed. "As much as I admire your enthusiasm, you should know by now—you're not getting anything tonight unless I give it to you first." Danny practically screamed in frustration.

"God, I fucking hate you!" he spat between breaths, anger flashing across his heated face. "I hate you… I hate you… I hate you…." He glared at Vlad as the man came up from kissing his neck. Vlad grinned.

"Don't you think I know that, Daniel?" He dragged his tongue across Danny's lips, toying with them, pushing them apart slightly. Danny whimpered, trying to keep his mouth tightly shut… but it was so hard…. "I love that you hate me, boy," whispered Vlad. "That's what makes this so damn fun."

And Vlad slammed his mouth down upon Danny's so hard the boy's eyes flew open and he cried out in surprise. But the shock didn't last, and soon enough Danny found he was kissing the man back, tongue against tongue in a shamelessly sloppy battle to possess one another. Through it all, Danny could feel Vlad's hand moving, caressing his now naked chest and working its way into the hairs growing between his legs.

"Vlad…." But the word came out as nothing more than a muffled moan against Vlad's lips, and Danny wished more than anything that his hands were free, free so that he could run them through Vlad's hair and press his body closer into his own. Fuck, he wanted that man now, wanted with such a carnal ferocity it terrified him, and while he knew it was the drug, while he knew he should be humiliated by what was being done to him, the feeling was too good and too perfect to resist; the pull to give in was too tantalizingly erotic—

"I think I'm going to do something nice for you, Daniel." Vlad's voice was a throaty whisper on the boy's lips. "After all, you only turn nineteen once in your life."

"Wha..?" Danny glanced around hazily as Vlad sidled downwards, inch by tortuous inch, raking his nails along Danny's pale skin, until his head was level with the boy's groin. Danny's eyes grew wide as he realized what Vlad meant by 'something nice.'

"So what do you say, boy? Should I?" Vlad positioned his hands on Danny's hips, anchoring him to the bed, forcing a whimper from the boy in the process. "Hmmm?" His lips just barely ghosted across the tip of Danny's penis. Danny moaned, thrusting his head back into the pillows.

"Oh god—mmff…yes." The words bubbled up between pants and through gritted teeth, before Danny could even begin to process what he was begging for or how revolting what they were doing truly was. "Please… please, Vlad. I can't wait anymore… this is fucking torture…. Please—ah!"

Danny's pleas twisted into a thick groan of pleasure as, with a flinty grin, Vlad took Danny in his mouth, engulfing him in a warm cavern of wet, heady desire. The boy arched completely off the bed at the much-needed contact, automatically looping his legs around Vlad's body to close the distance between them.

"Nnhg… yes… yes… yes…" he panted, words filling up the spaces between mewling, incoherent noises. The feel of his dick, hot and hard and slick and completely at the mercy of Vlad's tongue, had him practically writhing on the bed in pleasure. "Oh Vlad," he breathed. "Vlad!" And with that he came into the man's mouth with a shrill scream, heels digging into Vlad's back, releasing the tension that had been building within him for so long.

"Well, that was fast," chuckled Vlad, coming up and leering over Danny, not missing a chance to add a bit of insult to injury. He leaned in close, letting their lips brush together. "Did you like that? Tell me the truth."

"Yeah," Danny gasped, still breathing hard against the sheets. The answer came quickly and without thought. Deep down, there was a part of Danny's brain that knew it wasn't true and found his compliance with the act humiliating. But it that part of his brain was quickly fuzzing over, losing ground to desire. In fact, Danny was finding it difficult to remember why that was even an issue. After all, the bottom line was that he felt good. And it felt good to feel good. So what was the big deal—was that really such a crime?

"I'm not finished with you, Daniel," said Vlad.

"I know," the boy replied.

And then, without thinking, Danny craned his neck forward, greedily licking along Vlad's chin and up to his mouth, cleaning away a spot of cum that had landed on the man's lips. Vlad responded earnestly, groaning as he caught Danny's mouth with his own, pressing his tongue in along side the boy's. One of his hands fisted Danny's dark hair; the other ran down his torso to rest in the crook of Danny's hip. The boy squirmed, feeling himself starting to get hard again.

"Vlad," he moaned, breaking from the kiss. "Vlad, let my hands down." Vlad paused, and a slow smile crept across his face before he met the boy's eye.

"Why?" the man whispered finally, dragging out the word. "I like you tied up." His thumb began to massage the inside of Danny's thigh in slow, tortuous circles. Danny gasped.

"But I-I… Vlad, I want…." Danny couldn't get the words out. Vlad chuckled.

"What do you want?" he teased, breath hot and moist on Danny's neck. "Be specific, Daniel."

"I… I want to touch you!"

Danny hardly cared that his basest desires had just poured uncontrollably from his mouth, or that his voice had turned high and pleading. His thoughts were muddy and thick, his capacity for higher reasoning completely defunct; all Danny could understand was that he needed Vlad, and that the frustration of being restrained was eating up his insides like wildfire. "I want to take your shirt off…" he moaned.

"Do you now?" Vlad's voice was rich with victorious lust. "Well, I suppose that can be arranged." He reached above their heads, taking a firm hold of Danny's bound wrist. "Promise to be good?" Danny pouted.

"Do you want me to be good?" he asked, voice almost playful. "I thought you liked that I had some fight left in me." Vlad blinked in momentary surprise before laughing outright.

"Touché, my boy," he snickered, and Danny heard a metallic clink as one of the cuffs fell away, freeing his arms from the headboard. "Touché indeed."

As soon as Danny's hands were freed they were twisted up in Vlad's long hair, pulling the man's face into his own. He licked hungrily across Vlad's lips, teasing, but the second Vlad leaned in to deepen the contact Danny's hands flashed downwards to the man's chest, pushing him back several inches. With a heated whimper Danny's fingers dipped into the fabric of Vlad's shirt, running along the crevices of Vlad's sinewy abdomen. For a moment his actions slowed, his shining blue eyes soaking up every inch of Vlad's body like a sponge. The man really was in fantastic shape; he had the kind of refined and chiseled yet not overly muscular body that most men half his age could only dream of possessing. Danny peeled away the shirt in awe, pushing it up and over Vlad's shoulders, tracing his fingernails along the edge of the starched white collar.

"Like what you see?" Vlad wiggled out of the remainder of the shirt and cast it aside, throwing Danny a dazzling smile that was nothing less than absolutely seductive. In spite of everything, it took the boy's breath away.

"Yeah," Danny breathed, smoky passion in his voice. "I do." And with that they were upon one another.

It was like opening a floodgate. In a flash, Danny's hands were at Vlad's belt buckle, fingers tearing at the leather and metal in a desperate effort to get the man's pants down. He groaned in ecstasy as Vlad leaned forward and caught the side of his neck with his lips, sucking gently for a moment before biting hard into the flesh, drawing blood. Danny's hands faltered and he hissed, but in a moment he was working again, panting lightly as he felt Vlad's thumbs begin to knead into his nipples, listening as the man whispered sweet nothings to him between kisses on his chest.

Danny wasn't sure when, or how, Vlad's pants came off. All he remembered was the clink of the belt buckle hitting the floor before, they, along with whatever remained of Vlad's clothing, were gone, eliminating the last barriers between their two bodies. With a breathless moan Danny arched into Vlad, rolling their groins together while looping his arms around the man's neck in an effort to sustain the contact. He felt another wave of pressure building within him again, deep and driving and if anything more powerful than the first. This time, he didn't try to fight it. He could hear Vlad's voice in his ear.

"You're mine, Daniel," Vlad murmured, hands still working the boy's body, edging painfully close to but never quite reaching the space between his legs. "Tonight, little badger, you belong to me."

"Oh god, Vlad," moaned Danny, melting into submission, not caring to wonder why it made him so horny to be dehumanized like that, to be spoken to like he was an object. But it did make him horny, and he wanted more. "Do that again," he whispered fiercely, burying his face in the man's silver hair. It smelled like parchment and fancy soap. "Talk to me."

"Liked that, did you?" Vlad yanked the collar upwards, forcing Danny's chin up and the boy's lidded eyes to meet his own. With a smirk he brushed a few hairs from Danny's line of vision before pressing the tips of his fingers at the boy's lips, nudging them open slightly. "Open your mouth," he ordered. Danny did so, moaning as three of Vlad's fingers slipped in past his teeth and tongue and down his throat.

"You've been a handful since the day I met you, boy," crooned Vlad, slowing sliding his fingers in and out of Danny's mouth, smearing the boy's lips and chin with his own saliva. "You had potential, but no reserve. No direction. No respect for your superiors. Now look at you." With a wicked grin he pressed the collar down into Danny's neck with his palm, partially cutting off the boy's air. "You're helpless." Danny gagged instantly, grabbing a hold of Vlad's hand with his own to try and pry it away. "Nah ah ah, little badger," said Vlad, pressing into the boy's windpipe a bit harder. "It's time for you to learn your place."

"Vlad…" Danny choked, just barely able to get the word out for lack of air and the fingers in his mouth. "Can't… breathe…."

"I know that, Daniel," murmured Vlad, mercilessly inching his knee up between Danny's legs. "But you like it, don't you?" In one swift movement Vlad forced the collar down on Danny even further and brought his knee up to grind hard against Danny's erection. The boy squealed in response, choking on the air he didn't have, squeezing his eyes shut against the tight ball of pleasure that sprang up from his groin to a spot between his shoulders. His head spun and his eyes rolled back into his head, and for some reason the presence of Vlad's fingers stuck inside him was making the feeling worse…. Danny could feel his body straining against itself and he arched his back, wanting more, needing more, clasping blindly at Vlad's body and biting down hard on the fingers in his mouth—

"Ow, shit, take it easy, little badger." Vlad lifted his hand and released the pressure from Danny's throat, glancing over the fresh cuts on his fingers, chuckling, watching as the boy below him sputtered and gulped down ragged lungfuls of air, his entire body flushed and damp.

"Wha… what was that?" Danny panted, eyes following Vlad's hand down as it slid tantalizingly past his navel and came to rest between his legs. It's presence there filled the boy with hot, needy desire. "You trying to kill me?"

"Of course not, my boy," answered Vlad, kissing Danny quickly as he traced the tip of his wet finger around Danny's entrance. "You're no good to me dead." He grinned, pressing his forehead into Danny's. "Ready?"

The boy barely had time to nod his head yes or really contemplate closely what he was ready for. Without another word Vlad slowly pushed a finger into the boy's hole, holding it still for a brief moment before starting to slide it in and out in a slow rhythm.

"Nggh… oh god," Danny hissed, cringing against the feeling of Vlad's finger inside him. He fisted Vlad's hair as the man nibbled hungrily at his ear. "Damn, Vlad… that… that feels weird."

"Just relax, Daniel," purred Vlad, slipping a second finger in along with their first, scissoring his fingers to expand the boy's entrance further. Danny whimpered, gritting his teeth and burying the side of his head in the sheets. But it was no relief from the intensifying pain. "I know it's a bit uncomfortable," whispered Vlad, "but it'll be much worse if you don't let me do this first, understand? Just try to relax."

"O-okay," Danny breathed, trying his best to obey despite the strange burning sensation in his backside. He hardly had time to adjust, however, before Vlad pushed in a third finger, drawing a short scream from the boy's throat. Danny twisted, clawing at the man's neck and shoulders.

"Why are you doing this to me?" he whimpered, tears trailing from the corners of his eyes. His legs tightened around Vlad's waist. "Why are you hurting me like this?"

"It won't last much longer, Daniel," answered Vlad slowly. "Sometimes a bit of pain is necessary, little badger, in order to get what we want." There was something off in his voice, even Danny in his addled state caught it—but thoughts of what it could possibly mean were soon erased, as, with a deep breath, Vlad leaned in and kissed him possessively, sliding his tongue between the boy's while simultaneously pressing his three fingers into Danny's entrance as far as he could. Danny moaned loudly, arching his back, because, for the first time since Vlad had penetrated him, he felt something other than pain. In fact, what Vlad was doing almost felt good. Really good. It still hurt a bit, true, but now the jagged flares of pain were receding, sinking under waves of pleasure that seemed to be mounting towards something the boy couldn't even begin to describe.

"See, Daniel?" murmured Vlad, purring happily as Danny grasped his body close and forced himself down further on his fingers. "I told you you would like it. Feels good, doesn't it?"

"Vlad," Danny moaned in answer, twisting about, wanting more of the feeling. "Vlad, please…." His begging was cut off as he felt Vlad pull his fingers out of him completely, and he whimpered, panting and unsatisfied. "What… what are you doing?"

Vlad only grinned, cocking his head in a sultry way before climbing off the boy and reaching for the side table. Danny followed him with his eyes, watching the man as he pulled open one of the little drawers and withdrew a small bottle from its recesses.

"What's that?" Danny mumbled, unable to make out container's labeling before Vlad was on top of him again, covering his face and neck in quick kisses.

"You know, I'm really being very nice to you tonight, Daniel," said Vlad in way of response, nipping the boy once on his lower lip. "It's almost absurd. Most out of character." Danny blinked, watching as Vlad flipped open the top of the bottle and sat back a bit before pouring a generous amount of the bottle's contents into his palm. Danny recognized the clear gel immediately, and very quickly pieced together what Vlad was going to do with the lube and why. Even quicker, though, came the words that slipped from his lips—

"Let me do it."

Vlad looked up quickly, face skeptical as though he suspected he'd misunderstood the boy's words. But there was no mistaking the lustful gleam in Danny's eyes.

"Are you sure?" Danny nodded, sitting up as best he could, considering he was leashed to the headboard. He pulled Vlad close to him, taking Vlad's cupped hand in his own.

"I want to make you feel good, Vlad," Danny whispered hotly. He didn't know where the words were coming from, but they sounded right, and he liked the way Vlad closed his eyes and groaned pleasure when he said them. Bolstered and visibly turned on, Danny slowly led Vlad's hand down, guiding it gently along the length of his member, coating it in the gel. Within seconds he'd knocked Vlad's hand away and took over the job completely, his thin fingers dancing up and along the man with a kind of confidence and lewd skill he hadn't been aware he possessed.

"See?" said Danny, smiling through a mewl, "I'm not as clueless about this stuff as you think I am." He didn't know why it felt so important that Vlad understand that about him, but again, Danny didn't pay the notion much mind. It didn't matter. What mattered was the way Vlad tipped his head into the crook of Danny's neck as he spoke, humming in his ear. The way he moved when Danny moved, and responded audibly to his touch. The way—

"Daniel." Vlad took a firm grasp of Danny's shoulders, biting the boy's ear hard to get his attention. "On your back, boy."

"But Vlad—"

"Now." And Danny found himself forced backwards onto the sheets, roughly, his legs once again around Vlad's waist and the man's face just a hair from his own. "I'm through waiting, little badger," Vlad hissed, and Danny could feel the head of the man's penis press against his entrance. The boy whimpered in pleasure and uneasy anticipation. "Ready?" Danny nodded, bracing himself, and, with a victorious smirk, Vlad thrust his hips forward, impaling the boy all at once.

A scream tore from Danny's lips, echoing through the room. Even though he'd been stretched and even though he'd been expecting pain, Vlad was bigger than his three fingers, and Danny could feel it, in his back and all the way up his spine. Gritting his teeth, he clutched helplessly at Vlad's neck, blinking back a fresh wave of tears.

"Vlad," he choked, desperate for some kind of reprieve from the pain. "Vlad, please…."

"Trust me, Daniel," whispered Vlad, coming up just enough to kiss the boy on the forehead. Jaw set, he slowly drew back, nearly pulling out before thrusting forward again, drawing another cry from Danny, though quieter than the first. "Trust me."

Danny nodded, biting back a grimace after a third thrust, and then a fourth. Gradually, Vlad started up a slow rhythm, and Danny did his best to yield to the man, gasping a bit each time he was pressed down into the mattress. And slowly, though at first he was sure it wasn't possible, the pain began to numb, replaced by ever-increasing waves of pleasure. The feeling of fullness in his backside, Vlad's body moving and rubbing against his, the man's low groans and heavy breathing and his own soft whimpers as Vlad moved inside of him—everything twisted together into an erotic duel Danny wouldn't have broken for the world.

"Oh god, Vlad," Danny moaned, tossing his head back into the pillows. "More, god, please, more…." Vlad grinned, staring down at the boy.

"God you're sexy," he whispered between pants. "It's fucking ridiculous." Danny didn't know whether to laugh or smile or moan, but he didn't have time to decide, because in the next second Vlad's lips were upon his, and the man pulled back thrust into him more powerfully than ever before, hitting a spot deep inside Danny that lit up the boy's nerves like he didn't think was possible, dragging another scream from his throat, though this time not of pain, but of pleasure.

"Oh my god, Vlad," Danny wailed, clutching the man harder than ever. "Holy shit, man, what the fuck was that?" He could hear Vlad's dark chuckle in his ear.

"Like that, little badger?"

"Yeah, oh god, yeah," moaned Danny, breathless but wanting more, loving the feeling of the man inside him. "Do it again, Vlad, please!" Vlad acquiesced, angling himself just right to strike the spot again and again, lighting up Danny' senses and pulling from the boy an endless string of moans and unintelligible words, reducing him to a writhing, panting heap.

It wasn't long before Vlad increased his pace, breaths growing sharp and jagged. He wanted it to last as long as possible, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to practice restraint. He knew Danny was bleeding, but that knowledge did little to check his speed. With a grunt he hoisted Danny's leg a bit higher, giving him better access to the boy's backside. Danny gasped, grabbing a handful of Vlad's hair and pulling hard.

"That's it, Vlad," said the boy, heels digging into Vlad's sides. "C'mon, harder, yeah…." He moaned loudly, pressing their bodies together in an attempt to erase all distance between them. "Fuck me, Vlad," Danny hissed. "Fuck me, please! Ah!"

Danny's begging crescendoed into a scream as Vlad slammed into him hard, hitting his prostate again. Danny felt his muscles tense as though his whole body was about to seize, and without thinking he grabbed wildly for Vlad's face, pulling the man into a hasty and deep-throated kiss. It only took the feeling of Vlad pushing into him once more before Danny screamed into the kiss, instinctively thrusting his hips up as he came hard, splattering the man's stomach with a ribbon of sticky white fluid. He was so caught up in the frenzy of orgasm that he nearly forgot Vlad completely until the man came inside him with a moan, filling him up with his own warm cum. For a few moments they rocked together, riding out their orgasms and clutching madly at one another, until finally the pleasure began to subside and they steadied and grew still, both panting hard into the otherwise silent room.

After what seemed like an eternity Vlad sighed, kissing Danny quickly but almost tenderly before sitting back with a low groan. The boy mewled as Vlad pulled out of him, cringing, his mouth hanging open to draw in breaths that came shallow and hot. He couldn't believe how good that had felt, and he told Vlad so, unabashedly, still overcome with the shock of what they had just done. Vlad sat back on his palms as he listened to the prattling of praises, attention focused on some faraway point out the window, looking casually pleased yet distant and altogether very much like someone who had heard such things before. He eventually turned back to the boy still sprawled out before him, lips pursed in a bored way as though deciding what to do next was a chore he'd rather not undertake.

"Vlad…" Danny breathed, not looking at the man or even really speaking to him, just needing something to fill the silence of the room and steady his thoughts. His head was still reeling, unable to make sense of even the most basic things. Besides, of course, how good Vlad had just made him feel. The boy blinked slowly, burying the side of his face in the pillows as though hoping the action would anchor him to the earth.

"You look like a right mess, Daniel," Vlad finally muttered, and though Danny couldn't comprehend much he didn't doubt that it was an accurate observation—his legs were spread, he was chained to the headboard, he felt sweaty and disheveled and wet in all the wrong places—yet his brain simply refused to connect shame to the comment. In spite of everything, the boy grinned.

"Sorry," Danny mumbled through his smile. "You're a mess, too." And he giggled stupidly into the sheets, as though it truly was the funniest thing he'd ever heard. Vlad cocked a brow in genuine surprise, his expression unreadable.

"You're right," he said slowly. "I am. I am indeed." But the double entendre was lost on Danny, for his eyes were fixed on Vlad's long fingers as the man dragged them slowly across his lower torso, smearing them in the spattering of Danny's cum that was drying on his skin there. "That's quite a perceptive observation for someone so… incapacitated," Vlad said, and though he was grinning, the smile didn't reach his eyes. He lifted his fingers to his mouth, using his tongue to clean them one after the other in a tantalizingly perverse fashion, carefully watching Danny as the boy watched him.

"I'll admit it's quite a problem, Daniel," Vlad murmured, swallowing. "One we'll have to fix." His eyes locked with Danny's, fingers hanging at his lips. "What are we going to do?" And again Vlad was speaking in double entendre, and again, as he knew it would be, that fact was lost on the listener, because Danny's mind was too preoccupied to comprehend anything that wasn't sexual—

The boy was already moving, pushing himself up and reaching out for Vlad as if in a trance. Vlad watched, noted the hungry lust in Danny's eyes, noted the movement of his arms as they wrapped around him, taking his hand and pulling it from his mouth, and noted that the line of the boy's collar was about to snap taught seconds before it did, catching the boy by surprise and keeping their faces inches apart.

"Vlad," whined Danny, pleading, tugging at the leash with one hand and caressing Vlad's stony face with the other. "Pleeaasssssseeeee…." The word evaporated into a fervent hiss.

"Daniel—"

"Do it, Vlad." And Vlad relented, curling a finger around the wire before phasing it through the headboard, setting Danny free. With a moan of satisfaction Danny leaned forward into his captor, pushing the older man onto his back and climbing on top of him. He wasted no time in bringing his face level with Vlad's stomach.

"I can help you, Vlad," Danny whispered, his breath tickling Vlad's skin. "I have an idea."

"Do you?" responded Vlad, staring down at the boy with a crooked smile, and behind that, the shadow of something else.

"Mm hmm," Danny hummed playfully. "Watch." And with that he leaned down, his tongue flashing from his mouth as he began to lick his own cum off Vlad's stomach like a cat, closing his eyes and making little mewling sounds as he worked. Vlad stiffened immediately, moaning in pleasure as he stared at the ceiling, fisting Danny's hair to guide him. He couldn't have ordered Danny to do something that felt better than what the boy was doing now.

Danny worked earnestly, lapping at Vlad's skin, allowing the man to direct his head in whatever direction he wanted him to go. It felt good, he wanted to do it, it felt good, he wanted to do it…. The sentences ran repeatedly through his brain in his own voice and of his own volition, and he let them guide his actions just as Vlad's hand guided his movement. In a flash, though, like a bolt of lightning across his subconscious, he felt them become garbled and unclear—they seemed suddenly strange, like a foreign language, and the boy floundered mid-lick, quite taken aback by what he was doing. Partly confused and partly scared, Danny turned his face up to Vlad with a small whimper, looking like a child who'd been caught doing something wrong and now feared a smack on the wrists.

"Vlad?" he mumbled, hoping to find solace in Vlad's face but finding nothing in the man's heavy breathing or dark eyes to soothe his growing confusion and discomfort. Even as he spoke Danny tasted himself in his mouth, and the salty flavor seemed to smack him in the back of the head hard, as though it was trying to call to his attention something critically important—

"Daniel." Danny blinked, finding Vlad's face again. Though his cheeks were flushed, the man's expression was perfectly cold. "Finish what you started, boy," he said, enunciating each word slowly and carefully. His hand tightened in Danny's hair.

Danny nodded and leaned forward, his tongue obediently flashing from his lips again and again. It did feel good, after all…. But moments later Danny pulled back once more, quickly as though he'd been electrocuted, this time with enough force to break away from Vlad's grip. What he was doing felt weird… it felt wrong. Why did it feel so wrong?

And then it hit him, knocking the air from his lungs in the process: Because it was. It was wrong. So so so so so so so so so WRONG.

Danny might have said something then, or seconds later, but he couldn't hear the words; he couldn't hear anything at all. He wanted to scream, but he couldn't, he didn't have the air—it seemed he'd forgotten how to breathe. His hands were shaking, touching his face and hair lightly as if hoping they would land upon another, another person entirely, because there was no way he could have just been doing what he'd been doing. But he remembered a needle and remembered moaning Vlad's name and remembered more than that, and knew it was true. All of it.

"Daniel." The word was barely past Vlad's lips before Danny started in fear, scrambling backwards so quickly he overshot the edge of the bed and crashed into the side table, sending the lamp sitting on it shattering to the ground and dousing the room in chilling darkness.

It was a few moments before Vlad sat up; Danny couldn't see the man's face in the shadows but he saw his silhouette, that and the faint shine of silver as his hair caught a few stray moonbeams filtering through the windows. The boy shuddered, wiping his lower lip with the back of his hand. But he froze halfway through the motion, suddenly overcome, much to his horror, with the powerful desire to lick what he'd just wiped away off his hand and swallow it. And before he could stop himself he'd done just that, and was gripping the table for both support and to keep from vomiting. He hoped Vlad hadn't seen what he'd just done. What in fuck's sake was wrong with him? How could he have let Vlad do this to him?

"You broke my lamp."

Danny's head snapped up. His eyes had adjusted somewhat to the light, but he still couldn't make out much more of Vlad's face than its general outline.

"What?"

"You broke my lamp," Vlad repeated, motioning to the spot where the thing lay useless and in pieces on the floor. "I don't believe that was entirely called for."

"I broke your lamp…" Danny echoed, voice no more than a rasping croak. In light of everything, he had a hard time making sense of the words; however, when he finally did, white-hot rage boiled up from his gut so quickly he wouldn't have been shocked if his hair caught flame.

"You," Danny began, voice as black as the darkest shadows in the room. "I can't believe… I can't believe we… that we… we…." He couldn't make himself say had sex, and went so went another route. "I can't believe that after everything that happened, you're sitting there fucking upset about your goddamn lamp!"

"Oh, I'm not upset about it," said Vlad dismissively, and this time when he grinned Danny could see his teeth gleam in the low light. "I mean really, what's something as insignificant as a lamp to me. I'm more concerned with the principle of the thing. After all, it's really not proper, Daniel, to go destroying a man's property after he's been so generous to you." Danny blinked, his body literally shaking with rage, and he opened and closed his mouth several times before he found the means to form a sentence.

"You fucking bastard," he breathed. "You fucking son of a bitch." His fingers travelled up to the collar around his neck—he would have gone ghost and killed the man if it wasn't for the thing, and when he caught Vlad's eye again the man grinned darkly, easily reading Danny's thoughts.

"That was not generosity," Danny hissed finally, and despite his fierce tone he could feel his face scrunch against the sting of tears as they began to well in his eyes, betraying his true emotions. "You are fucking out of your mind—!"

"Come now, little badger," interrupted Vlad. "Don't contradict yourself; it's not becoming." His face twisted into another condescending grin, which landed like a cold stone in Danny's stomach. "You liked it—you told me so yourself."

"Shut up."

"You begged for it, little badger. You did."

"Shut up." The words came out as a partial sob. "And do not call me that!" Vlad laughed.

"Well, how about 'kitten,' then?" he asked, thoughtfully tipping his head to the side. "That's what I used to call your mother—"

"SHUT UP!"

Danny was so consumed with rage and shame he hardly noticed his body moving or his fingers coming together in a white-knuckled fist. He didn't think about what he was doing; he could hardly think at all—all Danny saw was Vlad's eyes widen in a flash of short-lived surprise before he brought his fist crashing into the side of the man's nose in a flare of such intense fury it sent them both toppling over the edge of the bed and onto the floor.

"Son of a bitch!" cried Danny, laying into the man with as much strength as he could muster, wanting nothing more than to beat Vlad's vile, smirking face into a bloody pulp. "SON—OF—A—BITCH!"

"DANIEL!" With a jerk and an angry growl Vlad caught Danny's raised fist in midair. For a few seconds the two men struggled, but ultimately Vlad was stronger and Danny exhausted, and the boy was soon overpowered, his arms pinned uselessly at his sides.

The boy struggled, attempting, albeit futilely, to escape Vlad's grip. With a furious growl Danny looked down at the man holding him and saw fresh blood running from Vlad's nose in dark trails, punctuated by small cuts visible on his lower lip and above his left eye. Seeing the damage he'd done filled the boy with a sense of dark and altogether foreign satisfaction. Vlad swallowed, eye twitching.

"Get your hands off me!" Danny seethed. "Let go!" But Vlad's grip only tightened further.

"I'll let you go when you calm down and decide to act civilized, boy." Remnants of sarcasm and condescension clung to Vlad's words even through his heavy, staggered breathing, and the acidic tone of his remark lit Danny's blood on fire.

"You deserve it!" The boy screamed, pure loathing etched into every corner of his face. "Fucking bastard—you deserve to die!" Vlad blinked, a hint of something subdued flashing in his eyes before disappearing in a wash of animosity.

"Nothing I haven't heard before, Daniel," said Vlad finally, the start of a small smile curling his lips. "It's the price I pay for genius and success; the world can be a cutthroat place, after all, and people don't often like you if you're the one cutting throats." The man's cruel, sadistic smile, compounded with the smattering of blood on his face, made him look particularly menacing. And it was as Danny was contemplating that look that he suddenly shuddered and doubled over, face constricted in pain.

"Daniel?" Vlad's grip tightened on Danny's shoulders to steady him. "What is it?"

Danny's answer was little more than a strained whimper through a clenched jaw. His whole body felt tingly and cold in the worst possible way, and brief spasms of needle-like pain ran down his limbs into his fingers and toes. He was also suddenly very acutely conscious of the fact that he was straddling Vlad on the floor… and that both of them were completely naked.

"What's happening to me?" Danny gasped, writhing against Vlad's grip, jumpy and anxious to be free. The pain in his backside, which he hadn't even been aware of until now, was slowly spreading up his spine and into the base of his skull. His entire body felt ragged and raw.

"The drug's wearing off," said Vlad matter-of-factly after taking in Danny's reaction for a moment. "You're just coming down off a high, that's all." He caught Danny's eye and paused, thinking. "Which means…." Vlad took hold of Danny's collar and pulled until their faces were so close the boy could smell the blood dripping from his captor's nose. "I've got just enough time to get one more kiss out of you—"

The kiss was forced. At least, that's what Danny wanted to believe, and at first he may have well been right. But soon enough the sweet pressure of the man's lips on his own too much to resist, and the boy found himself responding earnestly, plunging his tongue deep into Vlad's mouth with a groan of delight.

And that was how it began.

Danny didn't realize what he was doing at first. Vlad was right when he'd called him a virgin—he'd gotten pretty far with Sam but never all the way, and in any case, Sam was a fierce lover. She started things, she ended them, she called the shots; she used Danny and though he loved her, the fact remained that he never had any control. And tonight, well, tonight he'd been kidnapped and tied to a bed, drugged into hypersexuality and forced to beg for the sex his body wanted but his mind did not. So now when Danny found the roles suddenly reversed, discovered that he was the one in control, he found the allure of dominance too powerful to relinquish.

And it wasn't just that. No, it wasn't just about sex. After what Vlad had done to him, after what the man had taken from him… it was about revenge. Danny wanted that man to feel pain, the worst kind of pain—and he wanted to be the one to inflict it. And wanting that didn't make him a bad person, Danny told himself. He wasn't doing this because he was a bad person. He was doing it because Vlad deserved to suffer. He was doing it because after everything, it was only fair. Right? Right?

Vlad's hands loosened on Danny's arms and he moaned lightly as the boy pushed even further into the kiss, tasting coppery blood on the man's lips. But when Danny felt Vlad begin to wrap his arms around his body, he ground his crotch against Vlad's hips with a grunt, seizing the opportunity to slam the man's wrists to the floor when Vlad gasped in pleasure and surprise. Anger flashed in Vlad's narrowed eyes, but Danny kept going, not wanting to stop, because stopping would mean giving Vlad what he wanted. And Danny was through being the bitch.

"Daniel…." Vlad's back arched lightly off the ground. "Daniel, what are you doing?"

"Whatever I want," Danny hissed, biting fiercely into Vlad's skin. The truth, however, was that he didn't know. Before tonight Danny had never done anything with another man, never even considered the logistics of it, and while he'd certainly been a part of what had happened up on that bed, having to initiate it now on the floor was something else altogether. Danny didn't know how to force himself upon someone. Still—he freed one hand and let it slide down Vlad's body—it couldn't be that hard to figure out. He just had to do what Vlad had done.

"You're going to regret this, boy," hissed Vlad, his flushed face a composite of arousal and that same something else Danny still couldn't quite identify. "Do this and you'll hate yourself for it."

"Speaking from personal experience?" Danny shot back, and he didn't give Vlad time to respond before viciously shoving two fingers into the man's entrance. Vlad grimaced, clutching at Danny's neck and shoulders.

"Stop it," he ordered, though his tone made it clear he was enjoying himself.

"No, Vlad," answered Danny darkly, adding a third finger to the mix and twisting them about, eliciting a moan of pleasure from Vlad. "I'm just a horny little teenager, remember? Isn't this what you wanted?" He felt Vlad's growing erection underneath him. "Mm hmm… I guess so."

"You know I can stop you—"

"Then stop me." But Vlad did nothing but force himself down and Danny's fingers further.

With a grimace of disgust Danny pulled his fingers from Vlad, leaning forward slightly to grind their hips together. Groaning, the boy pulled his heated face to Vlad's ear. "I hate you," he whispered fiercely. He reached down, taking a hold of Vlad's thigh to spread the man's legs apart. The empty cuff and chain still attached to Danny's wrist dragged along and snagged on the carpeted floor. "I hate you so goddamn much."

"You don't have to do this, Daniel."

"Yes I do!"

"You're going through withdrawal—"

"NO!" Danny shouted furiously, flecks of spittle spraying from his mouth. He could feel himself crying now, could feel the tears as they began to trail down his cheeks. "I do have to do this. I do. I don't have a choice." The last word was little more than a tortured hiss. Danny's arm looped around the underside of Vlad's knee, forcing his leg up. "But you did, didn't you, you fucking scum? You planned this!" he screamed, choking back a sniffle. With a pitiful wail the boy positioned himself against Vlad, panting, crying, his face reading nothing but absolute contempt. "You did this to me. This is your fault."

"You want revenge, don't you?" moaned Vlad, running his fingers down Danny's spine. "I suppose that's only fair." It wasn't a plea. Danny growled, angrily digging his nails into Vlad's skin.

"Stop it," he hissed, shuddering against the tremors of pain that were starting to travel throughout his body. He felt awful, confused and disoriented, and didn't understand what was happening to him. "Just stop." And he shifted, positioning himself again, body tensed in anticipation.

"Do it, then, kitten," Vlad spat. Danny paused at the name, a bolt of uncertainty seizing his body. Something was scratching at the back of his mind, warning him. His eyes fell to Vlad, erect and panting on the floor. Was it possible that what he was doing was… wrong? Vlad narrowed his eyes, scowling at Danny's hesitation.

"That's what I thought," he growled. "Get off me; this is pathetic."

"SHUT—UP!" And Danny thrashed, striking Vlad across the face with enough force to break open a fresh cut along the man's cheek. Any shards of logic the boy had left boiled away in tormented rage. "You're the one who's pathetic!"

With a pitiful and strangled scream, Danny clutched Vlad's body and thrust into the man. Tears were streaming down his face and sobs stuck in his throat. Everything was wrong, was backwards. He wanted this, but he didn't. He was in control, but he wasn't. Everything hurt.

There he was, having sex with Vlad, topping him, forcing himself into the man, absolutely driven to perform by both carnal desire and a need for revenge, and yet coupled with the pleasure of the act Danny felt pain. Each push felt like a million knives in his body; the erotic bliss that had coiled in his stomach only minutes before had given way to an intense nausea and disgust. But he didn't dare pull out, because something powerful was telling him that stopping wouldn't make the pain go away, that the only way to end it was to climax. That was what Danny's brain was telling him. And so, even though it was terrible, even though he felt weak and sick and in the worst pain he'd ever felt, Danny endured it, knowing that each thrust was one less he'd need to perform for it to all be over.

"Oh fuck, Daniel," Vlad hissed after a particularly powerful thrust. He moaned, wrapping his legs around Danny's hips and forcing the boy in further. For Danny, the extra pressure seared his skin like fire, and he cried out in pain, digging his nails into Vlad's skin so hard they drew little points of dark blood.

"Vlad… oh god… Vlad," wailed Danny between feverish pants. He was losing himself to the pain. "I can't… I can't, it hurts…." But even as he said it he felt himself moving, felt his muscles begin to clench and knew it could all be over soon, he just had to keep going. He rocked back, grit his teeth, thrust forward. Knives. Again. Knives. Again. Knives. He was crying outright now, his angry sobs catching in time with his hips.

He lost track of the time. It was only a few minutes, though it felt like hours, days… like years. Like a whole lifetime of suffering. At some point, after some thrust, Vlad arched his back and came onto Danny's chest, and the boy gasped, plunging his face into the crook of Vlad's shoulder so he wouldn't have to look the man in the face when it happened, just barely able to bite back a spiteful scream, god, he hated himself so fucking much. He made himself sick. But it was only seconds later, after another thrust, that Danny came as well, finally, air locking in his lungs as his body was eaten up by pain and pleasure and self-loathing and disbelief and a thousand other things that enveloped the boy in a hell so terrible he thought he'd die before it was over.

And then, just like that, it was.

With a final small cry Danny collapsed onto Vlad, drinking in thick gulps of air as though he'd been held underwater for hours. His body shook violently and was covered in a thin film of cold sweat. For a few minutes all was still; the only sound in the room was the raspy, uneven breathing of the two men as they lay crumpled on the floor, punctuated at odd intervals by Danny's quiet sobs.

Outside, a gust of heavy August wind rustled through the dark trees, sending the leaves into a flurry of activity through the large windows. How odd, thought Danny, that there was still a world outside that bedroom, that anything at all could continue as if nothing of any significance had happened. Why wasn't that world caving in on itself, degenerating into a swirling black hole of furious oblivion, as his world had just done? How could, after that terrible ordeal, the rest of the universe just continue on as normal? What had they just done, he thought. What had he just done? It was beyond belief.

Danny flinched when he felt Vlad raise a hand and brush it lightly across his face and through his damp hair, pulling dark strands from the places where they had become plastered to his skin.

"Daniel…." Vlad's voice was hoarse. His hand continued stroking the boy's hair, petting him gently. The contact was repulsive to Danny, but he didn't think he had the strength to move—the final climax seemed to have drained every ounce of energy from his body. So he lay motionless on Vlad's chest, fingers curled in the carpet fibers, staring numbly out the windows and into the restless night.

Danny didn't know how long it was before Vlad shifted under him and stood up, gathering his body into his arms and depositing the boy upon the bed. Danny noticed the limp in Vlad's step as he walked, and the way he gingerly lowered himself into a seated position beside him. Sighing, Vlad reached into the nightstand, and there was a soft rustle of activity before Danny heard the familiar scratch and flick of a lighter, followed by a brief flash of yellow flame.

Feeling as though he was moving in slow motion, Danny slid his eyes sideways to watch Vlad resting against the headboard of the bed, staring into the dark recesses of the room and clasping a lit cigarette between his fingers. He looked older, and, for the first time that night, a bit confused. Danny watched as his lips moved silently between drags as he murmured silently to himself, tracing lazy figures in the air with his fingers. Finally Vlad sighed, listlessly dropping his hand to the bed.

"Well, Daniel," he said, his face as blank as his voice, "I fear I owe you an apology. I didn't think you could possibly do anything that would surprise me tonight, but that—" his eyes locked with Danny's "—that truly was completely unexpected. Congratulations." Danny twitched under Vlad's gaze and looked away, ashamed but too tired to care. Well, almost. Heavy cigarette smoke filtered through the painfully silent room, clogging Danny's nose, making his eyes tear and burn. Though perhaps he was merely crying.

"You… you raped me," croaked Danny weakly. His voice was dull and flat. He didn't know what else to say. What else could he say? His entire reality had collapsed, leaving him with nothing but the ashes of the terrible, terrible truth. Vlad half-inclined his head in Danny's direction, eyebrow arched.

"Yes," he replied simply. "And you… returned the favor, let's say." His eyes narrowed into a pointed sneer. "At least I had the decency to do you in a bed." He sighed and reached behind him, snubbing out the end of his cigarette in an ashtray he'd pulled from the drawer along with the lighter. "Really, my boy, the floor is such a common place for sex." Danny twitched again and curled himself into a tight ball, nauseous and shell-shocked.

"I didn't…." he rasped, clutching hard at his knees.

"Didn't you?" Vlad folded his hands in front of him, settling back further into the pillows.

"No," said Danny, though the word wasn't much more than stifled whimper.

"You're a poor liar, Daniel," said Vlad, pinning Danny under a powerful glare. "I can't honestly say I didn't enjoy it, though." His eyes glinted contemplatively in the darkness. "I think I'm going to have to have you top me again next time." A breath of air locked in Danny's lungs.

"Next… time…?" A ball of sickening bile welled at the back of Danny's throat. He clutched at the sheets, shutting his eyes against the nearly overpowering urge to vomit.

"Oh yes," said Vlad, voice level and calm. "After all, tonight went so well…." He motioned lazily about the room, a happy half grin on his face. "You can't honestly think we won't be doing this again." Danny blinked, head spinning. Something terrible and painful was beginning to boil away in his gut, and he opened his mouth, though whether it was to retch or scream he didn't know. His fingers twisted helplessly in the sheets.

"No," Danny whispered, listening to the word slip repeatedly from his mouth with increasing force and panic. "No, no, NO!" He forced himself into a sitting position despite his lack of strength. "This won't ever happen again! EVER! YOU SICK FUCK!" He was screaming so hard he was shaking. But Vlad only chuckled.

"Oh, Daniel," the man said wistfully, tucking a lock of hair behind an ear. "That's cute."

"I'm going straight to the police!" roared Danny, shouting over Vlad's chuckle and hating the man all the more for the malicious grin on his face.

"Don't waste your time," scoffed Vlad, waving his hand as if to shoo off a pesty bug. He reached for another cigarette. "Really, Daniel," he sighed. "The police. Please. They're not even a challenge."

"Then I'll fucking kill you myself!" Danny cried, voice cracking mid-sentence. He wiped a bitter tear from his cheek with a fist, flinching in pain as he realized that his fingernails were digging deep into his palms. He tried to unclench his hands, only to find he couldn't. His head was still spinning, and the bout of screaming had left him woozy and groggy. Vlad was making him sick. Suddenly, the idea of slipping into blissful, unthinking sleep was wonderfully appealing. But he didn't want to be here, to fall asleep here. He wanted out.

"I…" Danny mumbled, voice thick. "I… you said I could go… um… afterwards." He blinked confusedly at his slurred speech; his tongue felt furry and difficult to command. "I want to go, Vlad," he sniffed. Hot tears brimmed over the corners of his eyes to replace the one he'd wiped away. "I want to go home…."

"Daniel." Vlad's voice was soft for the first time that night, though the change in inflection was all but lost on Danny.

"Just let me go home, Vlad." Danny wrapped his arms around himself and he swayed, suddenly dizzy. He tilted his head up to see Vlad staring at him with a closed expression on his face. With a frown the man stood up, pushing himself from the bed and crossing the room to a nearby dresser, where he rummaged around one of the top drawers for a bit before pulling out a bundle of dark cloth and tucking it under his arm. He made his way back to the bed, sitting down with a sigh.

"Come here, Daniel." He held out his hand to Danny, who stared at the gesture completely nonplussed. Vlad twitched, lips pressing together in a thin line. "Come here," he repeated, voice firmer. "Don't try my patience, boy."

Danny reached for Vlad's outstretched hand, too tired to resist, his anger quickly receding under slow, grey waves of exhaustion. In an attempt to scoot closer to Vlad his body pitched forward, and the boy suddenly found himself tangled in the man's arms as Vlad swooped in to catch him.

"Vlad," Danny gasped. "Vlad, it's hard to move. Why...?"

"I've already told you," Vlad snipped. "You're going through withdrawal." He tapped Danny's shoulder, nudging the boy's body up. "Now hold your arms out." Danny complied, watching dully as Vlad unfurled the cloth he'd recovered from the dresser, a mid-length silk robe. With an odd, almost awkward gentleness, Vlad draped the garment around Danny's trembling body, slipping his arms through the sleeves and covering his midsection. He picked up Danny's wrist, phasing the handcuffs from the boy's arm and casting them to the ground. "There," he murmured, running a thumb over a cut on Danny's wrist where the metal had sliced into his skin.

"Take the collar off too, Vlad," mumbled Danny, tugging dazedly at the thing around his neck. "I wanna go home…. You said… said I could go home…."

"That I did, Daniel," answered Vlad. "And while I am a man of my word, if I let you go now you'll fall unconscious before you make it out my front door." He closed his hands over Danny's, taking them from the collar. "Just calm down," he said. "This'll be over soon enough." He leaned back, pulling Danny over sideways to rest upon his chest, eliciting a half-whine, half-sob from his captive. "Oh be quiet," he snapped, deftly flicking the boy on the ear. Danny flinched but quieted and grew still, and the two lapsed into silence.

"I can't keep my eyes open…" Danny murmured sometime later. It could have been second, or minutes, or hours. His breaths were shallow, his words slow and nearly incoherent. His finger twitched at Vlad's side.

"What's… happening?"

"You're going to pass out in a few minutes, Daniel," said Vlad quietly, slowly rubbing the boy's shoulder. "You'll wake up in a little over a day, and you won't remember any of what happened here tonight." Danny grunted, little gears in his head trying to whirr into action, fighting sleep for dominance of his brain. But it was like trying to ward off a tsunami with an umbrella.

"Wha…."

"It's a side effect of the drug," Vlad answered, plucking the vial off the table where it had miraculously survived Danny's crashing into it, staring through the glass and the clear solution inside. "I told you I had a plan, my boy. I'll clean you up, let you rest here tomorrow, let you heal a bit… and then I'll take you back to your home, and feed your parents some cock-and-bull story about how I stumbled upon you, unconscious and inches from death…." He sighed, shifting his hand to pet Danny's hair again. "They'll suspect ghosts, of course… typical… and when you wake up they'll explain how I returned you and you'll assume you were injured in a battle with me."

"No, Vlad," murmured Danny. If there was anger in his words, he didn't have the energy to identify it. "I'll figure it out."

"Ah, now, see, you won't, Daniel," answered Vlad. "You won't and your parents won't. Your parents are blinded by obsession, and as for you, well, you're proud, overconfident, terribly shortsighted—you'd never let yourself believe anything even close to the truth. What would rouse suspicion in others won't even register for you." Wet tears smudged Danny's face, filling the space between his cheek and Vlad's chest. "See, Daniel?" said Vlad, gritty resonance in his voice. "A perfect plan, down to the last detail."

"I'll remember," mumbled Danny, forcing all his remaining fierceness into the words. "I'm not going to forget."

"You will."

"No."

"My boy, you already have." Danny paused.

"Wha… what do you mean?" Something cold and dreadful was lapping at his spine.

"There's a reason why I was so confident this would work tonight, Daniel," said Vlad, setting the vial back down. "The truth is that it's already worked once before. Last September, though I'll admit the specific date escapes me now…. I chose it because your parents were gone on their second honeymoon that week. Seeing as it was our first time, I wanted to have at least a bit of collateral…."

Danny didn't hear the rest of what Vlad said. He couldn't see. Shapes twisted about him, fading and sinking into a void of cruel, syrupy blackness, a world comprised of a single forgotten memory, of waking up one morning nearly a year ago with inexplicable cuts and bruises and a sore back and no recollection of the previous two days…. No. It was impossible. It was simply impossible.

But it was true.

"That's… that's not fair," Danny said finally, only partly conscious of the fresh sobs racking his body. He clutched weakly at Vlad's chest, overcome with grief and utterly, completely, broken. "That's not fair! I hate you! I HATE YOU!"

"A lot of things aren't fair," murmured Vlad darkly, holding Danny as the boy wept into his side. He waited patiently, petting Danny and listening as his sobs slowly dried into snivels, then gasping breaths; within minutes it became clear that the boy was losing himself to exhaustion. Perfect, Vlad thought. All according to plan. And yet, though Vlad could practically see the final pieces falling into place, he knew there was one last thing he had to do, one loose thread which needed tending and that he had painstakingly been avoiding the entire night.

Until now.

"I have one more thing to tell you, Daniel," said Vlad, staring down intently at the boy. "It's a secret, but one you deserve to know, if only for a few seconds here tonight." His hand trailed down Danny's cheek, dusting away the crusting remnants of a tear. "You deserve better than this," he murmured softly. "Better than being reduced to this. Are you listening?" Danny stirred, but weakly.

"And while you'd never believe it, Daniel," Vlad murmured, wrestling with the words, "while I hardly believe it myself, I think I actually lo—"

"I hate you."

Danny's groggy whisper cut through Vlad's sentence like a sharp knife. Vlad faltered, words caught in his throat, because unlike before, that time when Danny said it, that time, now, when Vlad had been on the verge of saying perhaps the most truthful thing he'd ever said in his life, the words actually hurt. The man looked down, only to find the boy's eyes closed and damp, his breathing shallow, regular and slight. He was unconscious. And he looked so… so young.

"I… I know you hate me, my boy," Vlad finally whispered, his voice as faint and papery as a dying man's last breath. "Like I said, little badger—a lot of things aren't fair."

And with that he leaned back, willing to cradle Danny in his arms for whatever time the night would afford him, his face clouded with an expression the darkness was kind enough to not reveal. And if Vlad said anything else that night before slipping into uneasy sleep, the words were lost, caught up and carried away in the rustle of leaves as they buffeted the windows, shadows flitting between panes like the pale ghost of a passing year and the creeping specter of the new and already tarnished one to come.