Daniel had fully expected to be turned out of the bed as soon as it was over. Sent out into the cold, drafty halls with nothing to cover himself and a scathing comment hurled at his back. Alexander never was what he seemed though. He woke from his slumber when the other man pulled him close, arms wrapped so tightly around his waist he could scare draw breath. A taloned hand laced its fingers through his. He stared at their joined hands in bemusement, too exhausted to be horrified or surprised anymore.
"Did I live up to your expectations, my lord?"
Only the sound of the fire crackling in the next room for several minutes, then: "No, this is not how I expected it to go between us. Nor was it how I wanted it to be."
"Did I satisfy your needs sufficiently, then, my lord?" He couldn't keep the bitterness out of his voice.
Alexander sighed, a gust of hot breath stirring the fine hairs on his neck. The baron then pulled his arm out from beneath Daniel. Without the baron's warmth behind him, his back grew chilly. He drew the covers tightly around him.
"I'll leave the lamp on." When Daniel didn't reply, he left, closing the door softly behind him. Daniel wept.
The smell of tea woke him. He opened his eyes, still heavy from his tears, and saw that a cup and saucer had been placed on the bedside table. He reached out and laid a finger against the side, the porcelain was hot; the tea had just been poured.
Trying to rise he gasped and fell back onto the pillows. Every muscle in his body felt worn and ached dully. Peeking under the covers he noted some faint scratches around his hips and thighs. Alexander had gotten carried away a bit last night after all, it seemed. Still, the wounds were light enough to be accidental. Nothing about last night had proven that his former friend had meant to hurt him, not physically at least.
He looked around the room, but could not find anything to cover his nakedness. He spotted a wardrobe, but when he beheld the neatly folded shirts and trousers, he found the thought of wearing something that had been lying against the skin of Alexander repulsive. Resigned, he tugged the sheet from where it was snuggly tucked under the mattress and wrapped the wine colored fabric around himself. He picked up the tea cup absently and went into the main chamber.
Alexander looked up at him, surprise flitting across his face before it was shut away. It seemed as if Daniel had disturbed the baron in the middle of a brood. He had been staring into the flames of the fireplace like he wished to reach in and throttle them. Daniel was pleased to see that he was wearing his proper face. Well, no, this wasn't his proper face. This was the face he could wear in polite company rather.
"You left this for me?" An idiotic question, who else would have left the tea? But he needed to say something.
Alexander's mouth tightened, his chin rising slightly. He didn't answer.
Daniel clenched his teeth, suddenly furious. "Did you mean for it to be an apology? For lying to me these past few weeks, for raping me last night?"
Alexander snorted. "You seemed to be enjoying it far too much for it be termed-"
Daniel hurled the cup into the fire. It struck the stones at the back and fragmented into a thousand glittering shards. The fire glowed blue for a moment. Daniel stared at the azure flames, then turned to Alexander. "What was in the tea?"
Alexander would not look at him.
"Did you mean to poison me? Had your fill and then no more use for the foolish, naïve-"
"It was not poison." The baron steepled his fingers and rested them against his lips, still avoiding Daniel's gaze.
"Then what? Something was obviously in the damned stuff besides leaves!"
Alexander closed his eyes. "It was an amnesia tonic. Something to make you forget-"
"I know what amnesia means!" He had never felt such rage as was coursing through his veins right that very moment. "There is no potion that can cause one's memory to be erased."
"Maybe none that has been found by your science, but mine is altogether a different thing."
Daniel's turn to close his eyes. "Your solution to this then is to make me forget. And then what? Send me back out into the world to be devoured by the Shadow? Try your hand at seduction again?" His lip curled at the last.
Alexander finally looked at him. "I would not send you out to your death, rest assured of that. Also, I have learned my lesson. I will not touch you again."
The anger fled him then and there was nothing but a cold emptiness. He felt hollowed out, gutted. "You have no desire to any longer."
A thin hand was quickly brought up to halt Daniel's words. "Let's rather say that I have learned that giving into temptation never leads to anything good. I…hurt you. I won't again." He rose and walked over to one of the many cabinets that were crammed into the room. He selected a vial of clear liquid. "Here." He held it out. When Daniel only stared at it, making no move to take it from him, he walked over to the table between their two chairs. He set it down. He turned to leave the room, paused and looked back over his shoulder. "It would be best for us both if you took it."
"Which are you more eager to have me forget, my lord, what you did to me or what your true face looks like?"
The baron smiled and for a moment his teeth appeared too long, too sharp. Then he was gone. Daniel stared at the vial, picked it up and hefted the slight weight of it, held it up to the light and studied it.
"You didn't drink it." The words dripped with disappointment and stirred him from his doze, curled up in his chair.
"No, I did not."
"May I ask why?" Alexander seated himself across for Daniel.
Daniel simply shrugged.
Alexander tapped his long fingers on the arm of his chair, scratched at the fabric. "That's not an answer."
"I don't want to."
"Even if you retain your memory I forbid you from leaving my castle. You will be set upon by the Shadow the moment you set foot outside of my door and I will not allow you to come to harm because of some silly fear of me."
"I have no desire to leave Brennenberg."
Alexander tilted his head and gave Daniel one of his searching looks. He frowned. "Yes, I can see that."
Daniel raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to ask the baron how he could see that, but was forestalled by an irritated wave of Alexander's hand.
Daniel took a breath and began a speech he had rehearsed when Alexander had left him alone with a potion and a choice. "I have been thinking these last few hours."
"A feat you seem unaccustomed to-"
"Let me finish, pray." He stirred himself to sit up straighter, the sheet sliding off his shoulders. Alexander's gaze followed the fabric to where it lay bunched in Daniel's lap. "Let me see your face."
Alexander's eyes shot back to his face. "You can see my face just fine."
"Your real face. Please."
Alexander's jaw set in stubborn defiance. Daniel only stared calmly back. "If I do this you will drink the amnesia draught." The words came from between clenched teeth.
"If you do it, I will consider it."
"You're lying to me."
Daniel cocked his head to the side and smiled.
Alexander sighed. The glamour dropped.
Daniel didn't allow himself to flinch away from the inhumanness of the visage before him. He looked this time, fully looked, taking in each detail of his friend. Alexander wasn't so much misshapen as elongated, his limbs unnaturally long, willowy. Yes, there were the claws and the teeth still, and they did give one pause, but he could still see Alexander's face past them, the high cheekbones, the piercing eyes, such a pretty color. And he still had that lovely, lovely silver hair that fell around his shoulders like liquid moonshine.
He stood up, barely catching the sheet before it slid immodestly off. Alexander looked disappointed and Daniel almost laughed to see such a human expression on something decidedly not. He touched his cheek, lightly ran his fingers down to his lips, paused there, feeling the other man's uneven breaths against his skin.
"And what do you think you are doing?"
"You look younger this way."
"I am fairly young still, despite some of the guises I've worn. Young for my kind at least."
"Why do you choose to look so old when you play at being human?"
Alexander grabbed his wrist and forced his hand away. He did not let it go. "It makes certain things easier. I do not appear as a threat to those who always look for them and people are always willing to listen to a man who has the wisdom of years behind him. Both of these things have proven useful in the high councils of Prussia. They've helped me amass power, wealth…"
Power and wealth had never interested Daniel. "How old are you really?"
"Does it matter?" He seemed disappointed that Daniel wasn't impressed by his alluded to prestige in the realm of politics.
"How long have you been here then? In this world?"
Alexander's eyes darted away, calculating. "Almost three centuries."
That gave him pause, but curiosity was never easily set aside. "Why did you come here? Why my world?"
A look of such pain crossed his features then and Daniel bit his lip, regretting his question. Obviously it had not been by choice. Something had happened and he had found himself trapped here, exiled. A lost soul. Daniel knew that feeling all too well.
Alexander glowered. "Sorry, sorry, sorry. You are made up of nothing but apologies. If I were to slit you from throat to belly," A fingernail traced a line from Daniel's throat, down his bare chest to rest below his navel. "Nothing would fall out but words of-"
Daniel kissed him.
Alexander went ridged. He wasn't returning the kiss, but he had yet to push Daniel away, and the young man was heartened by that fact. He gently placed both hands on the older man's cheeks, tilting the unresisting face upwards to better the angle. The sheet slid off his hips and fell to the floor. That seemed to awaken Alexander, for he suddenly seized Daniel by the hips, claws skimming his skin, and pulled the young man into his lap.
Daniel let himself be settled against the creature before him, let his fingers trail along the too bony face to rake back the silver hair, let himself tangle his fingers in it. Alexander growled and turned his head slightly and the angle suddenly became perfect; Alexander was finally returning his kiss.
He was pretty sure he purred or maybe it was just a moan, but it was answered by the other man and there was a very dexterous tongue exploring the inside of his mouth, running along his teeth, and Daniel couldn't help another happy sound. He tried to return the attentions, but Alexander, perhaps remembering how his teeth had nicked Daniel before, pulled back.
Daniel huffed, tried to lean forward again to renew their intimate investigations, but Alexander had him by the shoulders and kept him still. "What are you doing?"
"I would think it obvious." Daniel was annoyed. He had been enjoying himself and did not take kindly to having his making up gestures thwarted.
"Let me rephrase my question then; why are you doing this? Last night you shrank from my very presence. A few hours ago you were accusing me of vile crimes against your person."
"I told you, I have done some thinking."
"And you reached the conclusion that seducing me would be your best option." His voice was sharp and mocking. "This isn't necessary, Daniel. I've told you I would protect you regardless. It is not contingent on your sharing my bed or not."
Daniel frowned. It took him a few seconds to work through the baron's words, to understand what Alexander took his kisses to mean.
Alexander's head turned to the side with the force of the blow. He kept his head turned and closed his eyes, when he finally faced Daniel again his voice was soft and calm. "If it's going to go that route, I think you would best be off my lap."
"I'm not a whore!"
"I never said you were."
"I would never, ever use my body to gain advantage for myself."
"I see I was mistake, my apologies."
Daniel crossed his arms over his bare chest, cold all of a sudden. "You must think so little of me."
"I tend to think little of your species. They have not done much in these last few centuries to endear themselves to me."
The young man shifted his weight, began to try to slide from his perch on Alexander, and gain his feet. He was prevented by Alexander wrapping his arms around his waist and pulling him firmly against him once more. Alexander rested his cheek against Daniel's breast, pressed against his heart. "I fear I might have found the exception in you."
"Fear?" Daniel was still upset, but let himself relax into Alexander's embrace. He ran his hand over the silver hair, liking the feel of it. It was like silk, maybe even softer, like petting a cloud or mist.
A puff of air against him as Alexander sighed. "I take it that I am forgiven?"
"Not for all of it."
Alexander drew back so he could see Daniel's face.
"I told you I did some thinking. I realized that I had wronged you."
"Wronged me?" The baron laughed, it was a bitter, sad sound.
Daniel kissed his forehead. "I behaved deplorably, as a guest and as a friend. I hurt your feelings and there was no excuse for it."
Annoyance crossed Daniel's features. Really, the baron could be so dense at times. "When I saw you for what you really are and reacted as I did. It must have hurt you. I'm-"
"You were afraid. It is understandable. With everything you have faced in these last few months and to be confronted with such a horror…" Bitterness in the last word and Daniel couldn't help himself from leaning forward to try to kiss it away. "Stop that." The baron said turning away, but only after the young man had placed five or six gentle kisses against his lips. Daniel smiled.
"You're not a horror. Maybe to those who haven't seen anything outside of their kin before, but as you said, you were not considered abnormal among your people. It's just a matter of perception."
"You don't think me hideous now?" A silver brow quirked upwards.
Daniel shook his head. "I find you different, but not unbearable. Not now that I have looked at you and…" He paused, trying to organize his feelings into the correct words. "I should have remembered your kindness to me. How you took me in when I had nowhere else to go, how you are protecting me at great costs and risk to yourself. I should have remembered those things and remembered that those are the things that matter. No matter how different your appearance is to me."
Alexander looked uncomfortable. "You make me seem altogether too altruistic,"
"Did you have ulterior motives for helping me then?"
The baron seemed to cast aside whatever thought had distracted him and smiled at Daniel. His teeth really were very sharp, "I thought it would be obvious."
Daniel rolled his eyes, wiggled around so his back was leaned against the other man's chest. "You never intended to take me to your bed. You will not have me believing that you took me in just to have your wicked way with me."
Alexander rested his chin on Daniel's shoulder, long hair brushing the other man's face. "I liked the look of you. I wanted to have my fill of the sight of you. It helps…ease things. The days of my exile were very bleak before you came to Brennenberg." He turned slightly so his lips grazed the shell of Daniel's ear when he spoke. "And I quite enjoyed imagining what I could do to you if only I did not care of your opinion of me."
Daniel shivered. Reached up and trailed a finger along Alexander's jaw. "We would have ended up in bed together eventually. It was where it was heading."
Alexander hummed and Daniel took it to mean that he wasn't being believed. "I wanted it too. Ever since we met almost."
"I had no idea you had a penchant for the elderly."
Daniel drove his elbow into the other man's ribs, but not too hard. "It wasn't that! It was your poise, your authority that drew me. You make me feel safe."
"And you make me feel entirely at a loss." He kissed his cheek, the corner of his mouth, brushed his hair aside to start a trail of them along his neck.
Something brushed against Daniel's foot and he looked down. Oh. Three somethings, technically. Alexander's…extras. What would one call them? Tentacles? Tails? He reached down and pulled one across his thighs, ran his hand along it. Alexander went absolutely still. It felt strange. Like petting a snake, though it wasn't scaled from what he could see. It was cool to the touch, not slimy or unpleasant. Just…different. He brushed it again with his fingers and then yelped as Alexander bit his shoulder.
"Stop that." He elbowed the other man again.
"You stop that." He sounded strange, out of breath and almost pleading.
Daniel remembered last night, how the…tails…had run along his body, exploring it almost as much as Alexander's hands had. Oh. He gently caressed it again and Alexander shuddered. "It feels good." Daniel said in wonder. He did it again and was bitten again, only this time the baron lingered, sucking at the bite, running his tongue over the wound.
Daniel had a feeling this was how Alexander's race showed its pleasure. Ah well, he didn't mind it, though he would have to remember to wear high necked collars if they ever ventured out of Brennenberg. Another of the tails wrapped around his calf, curled around it, and Daniel laughed. He brought up the one he had captured, dragging it along his chest, relishing each shiver and stifled groan behind him. He kissed it, darted out his tongue to give it a long, languorous lick. And found himself on the floor, Alexander over him, his breath hot pants against his face and his eyes wild.
Alexander regained his composure quickly, or at least attempted to. He tried to straighten up, but Daniel had his arms around his neck, coaxing him back down. "You can. I want you to." He whispered in the other man's ear, noticing that it was more than slightly pointed.
"I hurt you."
"You did." He laid back down, barely touching the other man with his fingertips. "You won't today. I trust you."
Alexander closed his eyes, let his weight rest against Daniel as the other man kissed every inch of skin he could reach.
Daniel woke to find himself facing the fire. He smiled to himself, he was sore, but in a way that was most pleasant. The arms around him tightened and he leaned further back into the warmth the other man seemed to exude. A tail trailed up his thigh and Daniel moved to give it better access, watching in amusement at it curled possessively around him.
"Are you all right?" Tiredness was apparent in Alexander's voice and so was a fair degree of smugness. Well, the man…entity…his friend had reason to be satisfied with himself.
"I am very all right." Daniel stretched, loving the feel of his skin brushing against Alexander's. The other man liked it too, it seemed, as claws were gently raked down his side, his hip, to rest slightly cupped between his thighs.
"This means you will be staying." It was not a question, but Daniel answered it with a happy hum in the affirmative.
"May we share chambers? I think I would like that very much. Besides, I spent all my spare time in your rooms even before…" He stroked the tail around him.
"I assumed you would." It was spoken against his neck accompanied by a scrape of teeth.
"Daniel." The baron's voice was serious. "I have one thing I must ask of you. One condition to our happiness if you would."
He moved so he was facing his friend-his lover, now- worried at the shift in mood. "What is it?"
"You must never venture to the rooms below. No matter what happens. Under no circumstances will you let your curiosity rule you and follow me when I go down into the depths at night."
"And I thought we would be done with our Blue Beard analogy."
A ghost of a smile on Alexander's thin lips. "Promise me."
"I do and easily. Every man must have his secrets. Does it have to do with the Shadow? With protecting me?"
The baron hesitated. "Yes. It does. And with our future happiness."
Daniel nodded, content with the answer, and let himself be tucked under the baron's chin.
"I will do whatever is in my power to keep you safe, to keep you mine."
"I know. I trust you."
"No matter what? No matter what strange paths I might make you walk?"
"As long as I am with you, I will go wherever you are and make it a home." He seemed to have guessed what Alexander was hinting at, for the man smiled, a real, actual smile, and despite his teeth and his odd bones and his amber eyes he was the most beautiful thing Daniel had ever seen.
The kiss was a long lingering thing and Daniel let himself be swept away with it. He was glad that Alexander's race still had this as part of their mating rites. He loved the feel of the man's lips against his, the heat of it, the intimacy. He could do it forever.
"And we shall. I'll kiss you as much as you'll allow me to, every second of every day if that is your will."
"I would like that all too much." Daniel closed his eyes under the baron's gentle ministrations, and then pulled roughly away. "Wait, how could you have…"
This was a response to a prompt on the Amnesia Kinki Meme. The prompt was for xeno in case you couldn't guess. And with this nice piece of fluff out of my system, I can now focus on finishing Spirit. I just needed a break with a nice AU where Daniel isn't a child-murdering crazy person and where he and Alexander can go off into the sunset with each other to live happily ever after...