Prompt: Aro has been trying to seduce Carlisle since he arrived in Volterra. He's even had Chelsea reinforce Carlisle's bond with Aro. Yet Carlisle continues to resist, as Aro is mated. Aro eventually resorts to placing a plant in C's room, its pollen rumored to incite uncontrollable lust when in bloom. sex!pollen
Rated M for slashy smut. AN regarding the repost at the bottom.
"Thank you, Aro. I would very much enjoy discussing the art in your chambers, but I'm afraid a hunt is what I need most at the moment. Perhaps later, when your lovely Sulpicia may join us?"
Only millenia of practice at maintaining a tranquil expression kept my face from showing my frustration. His mention of my mate was no accident. Taking my silence as approval, he bowed gracefully and strode away.
I watched him leave, not quite believing that I had been rejected—again. I was unaccustomed to the experience, and I discovered I had no liking for it.
A low growl escaped me as I turned and walked swiftly in the opposite direction. I had been so sure that Chelsea's gift would be the key that would grant me access to the object of my desire, strengthening his ties to me so that my seduction would at last bear fruit. To be proven wrong was bitterly disappointing.
The guard hated when I roamed outside the castle on my own, but I needed solitude at the moment—and a real hunt. Heidi's talents were useful but ultimately unsatisfying. Besides, the guard seemed to forget that I had survived on my own for centuries before gathering them around me.
I left the castle and wandered the streets of Volterra, the high walls keeping the sun from striking my skin. I arrived at the marketplace and decided it was as good a place as any to browse for a meal...a distraction...a way to seduce this infuriatingly elusive creature.
I thought of Carlisle as Apollo, the sun god. His golden hair and eyes seem to radiate light and warmth, and his beauty was incomparable. His curiosity and thirst for knowledge matched my own, and I found myself more intellectually stimulated when speaking with him than I had been in decades, if not centuries.
The difficulty arose from the fact that his stimulating effect encompassed more than my intellect.
From the moment he presented himself, an unsophisticated youngster in homespun clothes, looking terribly out of place in my court, he had inflamed me beyond anything I had experienced. I had to have him.
With satisfaction, I noticed the good citizens of Volterra retreating before me, reacting unthinkingly to the danger I presented. Only after this instinctive recoil did they recognize me as the signore from the castle and seek to mask their retreat with respectful bows. I nodded, acknowledging the gestures as my right.
At first, I had assumed that my position and physical allure would be more than sufficient to win Carlisle over, but he stubbornly clung to the foolish scruples he had been taught as a human. When I touched him, I learned that he found me quite attractive, but he would not grant me any favors when I was mated, which to him equated to a marriage vow. I had been unable to convince him that the bond between mates was quite different from a human marriage, and Sulpicia harbored no concern for what he and I might share. He, however, was determined to limit our connection to platonic friendship.
My hope that his instincts would overcome those bothersome scruples began to fade when I saw how steadfast he was in abstaining from human blood. If he could resist that temptation, I realized, I would need stronger enticements.
My attention was drawn by a human conversation I overheard across the square.
"Will it really help?"
"But of course! Why, I had a gentleman only yesterday who told me what a difference it had made for him. You just put this near your bed when it's in bloom. Your husband will act like your honeymoon! You'll find yourself with child in no time."
"Oh, thank you!" The woman completed her purchase and left.
Curious, I approached the merchant.
"Have you any more of this wondrous plant?"
He looked at me and took a step back.
Am I really so intimidating? Excellent.
He then bowed, as had the other humans in the square. "Si, signore. I have a number of them."
The flowers were beautiful, very similar to hibiscus: a strong pistil standing erect amidst the blood-red petals. The pistil was covered with yellow pollen—such a deep gold that it reminded me of Carlisle's eyes.
"What are its properties?"
He cleared his throat. "Well, signore, it is known to have an...invigorating effect on a man's desires. Just keep it near while it is in bloom, and you will have no problem, ah...getting it up and keeping it there, you understand?"
"Can I see one more closely?"
I let my hand brush his as he handed me the pot. To my surprise, he actually believed what he was telling me, having taken advantage of the plant's effects himself.
Deciding I had little left to lose, I paid him, took the flower, and went back to the castle, the idea of a meal having lost its savor.
Carlisle had not yet returned from his hunt, I was pleased to learn, so I made my way to his chamber and set the plant near a chair that bore his scent. Obviously, he sat there often.
Then, I bided my time.
I was informed when he returned. After giving him time to settle, I followed my previous path and knocked on his door.
"Come in," he invited.
I entered the room, finding him in the chair next to the flower, a book in his hands. As he saw me, he placed the book on the floor near his feet and rose.
"Welcome, Aro. Please, would you like to sit?" He gestured toward another chair in the room.
I laughed. "Have you not learned that our kind have no need to sit? When will you cease these human habits?"
He smiled sheepishly. "Never, I suppose. They seem to be ingrained in me. From what you tell me about our frozen nature, if I haven't lost them in the years since my change, they are here to stay."
I watched for any alteration in his behavior. At first, I was chagrined to see none, even though I had half-expected the flower to influence only humans, not vampiri. Then I noticed him focusing on my chest. As he gazed fixedly at me, the tip of his tongue appeared and wet his lips, making them glisten with venom in the dim light. I longed to trace my own tongue over the same path. Wondering if his actions were happenstance but hoping desperately that they were not, I decided to test him.
Approaching his chair, I bent to retrieve the book he had been reading. I heard him catch his breath and stole a glance before I stood up. His eyes were focused on my bottom, easily seen through the skin-tight silk breeches I wore.
I had never caught him looking at me with such naked lust on his face. My excitement grew. Could it possibly work? I thought, my hope increasing.
I rose slowly, turning to face him. Looking into his eyes, I saw my own passion reflected there, but I also saw resistance. He was still fighting the attraction.
"Do you like the flower I found for you? Something about its beauty appealed to me, and I thought you would share my appreciation."
He glanced at the plant, surprised, then back at me. "Is that where it came from? Thank you, it is lovely. I thought I had imagined your scent in here when I returned—I'm glad I didn't."
I smiled, gloating internally. I had been in his rooms so briefly earlier that my scent could only have been extremely faint. For him to be so attuned to it that he nevertheless noticed it boded well for my plans this evening.
I scanned the title of the book I held.
"Plato? Have you not read this before?"
"I think I must have as a human; I did not have to learn Greek after my change. But I have not read it since. For some reason, it appealed to me this evening."
"He was fascinating for a human. I only spoke with him once, but he left quite an impression."
Carlisle's brows rose in surprise before he commented, "I did not realize that you had met him personally. That must have been an interesting conversation."
Chuckling, I replied, "Oh, I preceded him by nearly a thousand years. I almost had him convinced that I was a minor god—possibly within Hades' realm. He was not far wrong." Glancing down at the book, I asked, "Which dialogue are you reading? Have you a favorite passage?"
"Phaedrus. As for a favorite passage..." He appeared thoughtful - had he been anyone else, I would almost have said calculating. "I still have much to read of his work, but this seems apt at the moment: 'If you say that the lover is more to be esteemed, because his love is thought to be greater; for he is willing to say and do what is hateful to other men, in order to please his beloved; that, if true, is only a proof that he will prefer any future love to his present, and will injure his old love at the pleasure of the new.'"
Shock at his temerity froze me for an instant. How dare he attempt to rebuke me? I was not some underling to be lectured on acceptable behavior, and that particular quote could be interpreted as nothing else.
His eyes met mine calmly. A trace of the heat I longed for was there, but no fear. Unlike the humans in the square, he did not hesitate to challenge me, respectfully, of course. Reluctant amusement, impatience, and affection flowed through me. Carlisle was indeed unique among our kind. I realized that taking offense and standing on my dignity would not further my goal.
Very well. He chose the game, but I will finish it. I kept my tone conversational. "Shall I tell you mine? I actually have two that seem appropriate at this moment." I thought swiftly: a two-pronged assault, one to cast intellectual doubt on the validity of the mores to which he clung and one to prod his instincts free of the bindings he'd placed on them.
"By all means. I am very interested in your thoughts."
I lowered my voice, a husky timber imparting sensuality to my words. "The first is from the Symposium: 'So where it is a general rule that it is wrong to gratify lovers, this can be attributed to the defects of those who make that rule: the government's lust for rule and the subjects' cowardice.'"
I paused for his reaction and was gratified to see my words taken exactly as I had intended. He frowned and opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. I reached my hand toward his shoulder in what appeared to be a somewhat comforting gesture, but I ensured that my fingers brushed against the bare skin above his collar. He was burning. Triumph flashed through me, and I was hard-pressed not to crow in victory. If he was anyone else, we would already be in that bed across the room.
Still frowning, he queried, "And the other?"
"Ah, the other is from The Republic." I waited until he had met my eyes and then let all the pent-up passion I'd felt since his arrival show in my expression. "'There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.'"
A fire lit his eyes, and a glance at the fit of his breeches, which left nothing to the imagination, demonstrated even more vividly the effect of my words. I was pondering the best way to instigate physical contact when his arms surrounded me and his lips met mine forcefully, the last of his resistance suddenly crumbling.
His thoughts filled my mind, swamping me with the desire he had held captive for so long. My own lust driven impossibly higher, I returned his embrace and parted my lips, intending to sink my tongue into his mouth and finally taste him. Again, he stole the initiative, taking immediate advantage and invading. I purred at the feel of him thrusting even that part of him into me and growled at still being denied what I truly wanted.
His arms left my back to cup my ass, and he lifted me so that our hips were pressed against each other. The feel of his sizable desire against mine drove a harsh moan from me.
Weaving one hand into his blond locks, I pulled off his waistcoat and shirt with the other, exposing his marble chest to my hungry gaze. He drew back for a moment, apparently shocked to realize that he was suddenly half-naked, but then, with a wicked smile, he set me down long enough to rip my clothes from me. Unwilling to let him keep the advantage, I tore off his breeches and smallclothes.
For a moment we just stared at each other, savoring the vision that had been denied us. He was taller than I, and a shade more muscled. He flashed forward and removed the tie from my hair, raking his hands through it so that the dark strands hung about my shoulders. The action seemed to satisfy something in him, for he smiled again—that predatory smile I'd never thought to see on this magnificent, animal-drinking creature.
I'd become so used to seeing human-like behavior from him that his strength and speed now surprised me. In less than a second, I found myself lying on the bed with Carlisle crouched over me in a hunting pose that aroused me unbearably. I was no longer sure what I had expected once I finally broke through to him, but this dominance was not something I had ever considered. While in most situations I insisted upon control, I was irresistibly curious to see this side of my glorious blonde protege revealed.
I had no time to ponder the possibilities as he crashed his lips to mine again in a fierce kiss. He lingered there only a moment before dragging his mouth down my throat. Just as I read his next thought and started to protest, he sank his teeth into my neck, stroking the skin there with his tongue. I understood that the urge had come from the stubborn part of him that still rebelled at our actions; he wanted me, but he was angry as well. Almost immediately, though, he released me and lapped at the drops of venom that had escaped before continuing down to my chest. The sting from his bite heightened all my sensations: I felt his legs tangling with mine, his knee rhythmically rubbing against my groin. His hands paved the way for his lips, massaging my flesh until he grasped my erection. Delight washed through me at his rough caresses, and in his thoughts I could hear his satisfaction at my length and hardness.
I had had enough of ceding control to him, however. I was not the leader of the Volturi for nothing. Growling, I pushed him off me and stretched him out on his back. Dispensing with any preparatory caresses, I dove straight for the part of him I had fantasized about since he had entered my castle walls. My mouth surrounded him and sucked him in as deep as I could go, not stopping until my nose was buried in the dark blond curls over his pubic bone. He cried out, and I could feel his intense pleasure. With so much skin contact, it was like I was feeling everything twice.
I used my tongue to great effect, licking and rubbing until I could sense that he was close to release. I started to suck him in even further but was interrupted by his hands pulling my head away. I looked up, half-afraid that his damnable morals were returned, even though I could see no such thing in his thoughts.
A fierce grin disabused me of any such fear, and he growled—actually growled. "No. Inside you. Now." He pushed me on my back and held me down, putting to good use the slight physical edge he had on me. He threw my legs over his shoulders and thrust his erection, already wet with my venom, hard within me.
I groaned, the feeling beyond anything in my fantasies, intensified by the sensations I was reading from him. He threw his head back as he pulled out almost fully and then returned with even more force, this time hitting a spot inside that sent waves of delight through me. He pounded into me again and again with more speed than even he realized he was capable of. I felt the tension in him wind tighter and tighter with each thrust, and I knew he was about to reach his peak. In that moment, with his golden hair tossed around the primal expression on his face, he resembled nothing so much as a wild lion, and I half-expected him to roar his release for the whole castle—if not the whole town—to hear. With one final push, the pressure exploded and ecstasy swept through him. I nearly came right along with him, but I wanted to savor the expressions as they crossed his face, the beauty of his torso above me, the feel of him within me.
As his pleasure eased, he stilled, sitting back on his heels. He looked down at me, still granite-hard against his abdomen, and I pulled his hand to me. He willingly complied, stroking me quickly and firmly. Within seconds, my own pleasure crested, pulsing through me as my venom coated his hands, chest, and abdomen. He will smell like me for days, I thought with intense satisfaction.
As I calmed, I realized he was pondering our conduct, the haze of passion no longer clouding his mind. I was shocked but pleased to read neither regret nor anger, but affection and acceptance in his thoughts. "You made your point, Aro—quite impressively, at that. What exactly is that plant?"
I chuckled. In my lust, I had forgotten that I was drawn as much to his quick mind as to his exquisite form. Reading him as I did, I knew that honesty was my best option at this point. "I have no idea. I was in the marketplace after your rejection of me this afternoon, and I learned that it worked on humans. I was at my wit's end and thought it could do no harm to see if it would work for us." I laughed. "From what I read in the merchant's mind, it appears to have an even more intense effect on our kind if your reaction is any indication."
He chuckled but then sobered. "It had plenty to work with. You've touched me; you must have known of my feelings. Had you not been mated..."
"Sulpicia would be the first to encourage you," I assured him. "I'm told that I've been impossible to live with for weeks. And really, Carlisle, fidelity may be the ideal in human marriages, but you must admit that reality is quite another thing."
He dropped his head, not looking at me, and I could read his internal admission that I was right, though he refused to acknowledge it aloud.
"Enough of that subject. The state of human marriage does not interest me in the slightest. Later, I'll let you speak with Sulpicia, and she will set your mind at ease. For now..."
Taking him off guard, I slipped out from under him and pushed him face-down onto the bed. I swept my hands through his hair, down the beautiful lines of his back, and palmed the perfect globes beneath, kneading them like a cat. Leaning down, I nipped at each cheek before growling in his ear.
"For now, I haven't even begun to do everything I intend to do with you. The guard may not see us for days."
With that, I lifted his hips and thrust deep, biting his neck where it joined his shoulder—harder than he had bitten me. "Oh, and for future reference, don't ever bite me again." I set a furious pace, letting passion sweep through me and carry both of us away.
AN: Thanks to detochkina for her mad beta skills and encouragement - I couldn't have pulled this off without her!
AN re repost: The quote I used for Carlisle in the original version always bothered me because the source where I found it didn't identify which of Plato's works it came from, and the sentiment itself just didn't seem to fit Ancient Greece. (The quote was, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.") But it fit Carlisle so well, I was pressed for time, and I found the same quote attributed to Plato on several web sites, so I used it despite my misgivings.
But my mind wouldn't let go of it, so after I posted, I did more research and found that it was in fact a misattribution. My attempts to quickly locate a quote from Plato on kindness proved to be futile-the only one I could find was the misattribution. When I found a web site that posted all of Plato's surviving works, my word search for "kind" or "kindness" came up completely empty, and I realized I'd either have to let the misquote stay or find something completely different that would still work with the story. It's just not in me to leave what I know is incorrect information, so I started reading Plato for the first time since college.
Finally, in the third dialogue I read, I came across the quote I used in this revision-and it's so much better than the original! It sets up the competitive aspect of their relationship perfectly, and it lets Carlisle's underlying anger at being manipulated into disregarding his moral convictions come through. I hope you agree that this is an improvement.
Also, since I was in the doc, I corrected the flower description - that part of the flower is called the pistil, not the stamen - and replaced "backside" with words I thought sounded a bit sexier.
Had a plot bunny about how the conversation with Sulpicia might go...anyone interested in a little more from this fic, with an additional player? ;)