This story is focused on the beginning of Hellboy and Anastasia Bramsfield's relationship and gets pretty damn steamy and graphic in more than one place. It is not driven by an overarching paranormal plot, but by these two characters getting to know each other intimately. I generally write fanfiction to realise the elements I wish were in the source material. Since the Hellboy series is low on sex and romance – but Hellboy himself is so goddamn sexy and loveable – my brain inevitably began pondering those aspects of Hellboy's life and personality which has led me to devise a few fics regarding the women who have been important to him. So though these are predominantly erotic stories, I wouldn't class them as "plot, what plot". I use the sexual elements to explore how relationships and characters devleop, something I find intriguing and interesting and have persued with Hellboy in the interests of rounding out his character and story for my own sake, hoping they will be of interest to other fans as well.
These stories are strictly comic-verse, though some gaps are filled by my own imagination. A general knowledge of the comics canon will be helpful in reading this fic.

Your constructive criticism and reviews are MOST welcome.

ooo

"This is really big, isn't it?" Anastasia murmured from where she lay on the bed, a cigarette dangling from her slender, work-roughened fingers. "You and me."

Hellboy was taken aback by her words and the shock of realisation they struck him with. Though he remained outwardly nonchalant, relaxed up against the pillows with his head propped back on his great right hand, inwardly he was trembling. "Yeah," he said quietly. "Biggest thing I've ever felt."

He was a little embarrassed saying it even as obliquely as that. He was a tough guy after all. Didn't talk about his feelings all that much, though he had plenty of them. Too many, he thought. It was something the Professor had made sure to praise in him when he was still a kid, when he cried over losing Mac or got too carried away in the Lobster Johnson serial, grown angry, or happy, or excited or fearful. "My boy, you must never be ashamed of your feelings. They are the mark of our humanity. He who represses his emotional scope also suppresses the best of him." So Hellboy had a lot of feelings. He just wasn't big on showing them. Especially not when they made him so damn vulnerable – now that was something he wasn't accustomed to feeling at all.

Hellboy was uncomfortable thinking about the Professor. It had been three weeks now since he and Anastasia had met, one week since he'd called the Bureau and explained he was taking another leave of absence. With his uncanny perception, the Professor had correctly identified there was something different about this time and queried further.
"I met a woman," Hellboy had explained and left it at that, not seeing there was much else to say.
The Professor had been silent for an unpleasantly long time. He knew, of course, that Hellboy had had brief infatuations with a few of the women they had encountered on their journeys together in the early fifties.
Not that Hellboy had ever been forthcoming about them – his reticence to talk about particularly personal matters combined with Bruttenholm's own awkwardness around the subjects of sex and romance made sure of that - but the Professor could read him as easily as a book in those days and knew what the yearning looks followed by melancholy silences meant.
Of course, nothing ever came of those youthful crushes. How could they? The Professor had schooled him since he dramatically hit puberty at eight and a half years old that romantic and physical love was not something that would likely ever be open to him and the women themselves treated Hellboy with cautious distance, polite but clearly seeing him as quite other to themselves.
Bruttenholm dealt with Hellboy's moody infatuations with tact – never directly addressing them – but firmness. Once, in nineteen fifty-two, when Hellboy had wanted to stay on in British Columbia without the Professor, Bruttenholm had doggedly discouraged it and eventually persuaded him to continue on their trip. He'd astutely seen that his over-sized but still so very young ward had been misled by the friendliness shown him by the rather pretty daughter of an historian. And perhaps hoped for more than he should ever hope for.
The Professor had assumed the same when Hellboy called him from London in nineteen seventy-nine.

"My boy, I'm not sure that's so very good an idea. It's very easy to mistake these things for more than they are and she herself may not be aware - " The Professor began, trying to be tactful .
"You don't understand, Pop," Hellboy interrupted, the nervousness reminding him of the feeling he would get when he was a kid and had to explain why he'd done something naughty. "It's not like that. It's, uh - well, I've been staying with her. We're together." He was embarrassed he had to explain it that much, having hoped the Professor would implicitly understand. Sex was not a subject Buttenholm was comfortable with at the best of times, much less with the creature he looked upon as his son, and Hellboy wasn't particularly at ease with it either. As far as the Professor knew, Hellboy was still a virgin.

Anastasia lifted the cigarette to her mouth and took a draw. Hellboy watched her out of his peripheral, finding the way her soft lips pulled on the butt unbelievably erotic, her blue eyes gazing dreamily at the ceiling. She only ever smoked after they'd made love - a single cigarette she bummed from him - though earlier she'd laughed that at the rate they were doing it, she'd be up to a pack a day in no time.

It was true they couldn't get enough of each other. Anastasia had already skiived off several days from work so they could stay in her bed and make love, heady with the excitement of discovering each other's bodies from head to toe – or horn to hoof, in Hellboy's case. It was delirious and blissful – and, for Hellboy, immensely affirming as for the first time in his thirty-five years he began to conceive of himself as desirable to another. As more than simply a curiosity.

Anastasia was incredibly exciting as a lover - confident, liberated, generous and patient - and completely unphased by his physical realities. From his initial shyness and reticence, she'd drawn him tenderly into her world of sensual pleasure, though at all times he was ever mindful of his size and strength next to her comparative slightness. If he got too carried away he could unintentionally hurt her and that wasn't something he was going to allow. And it would be all too easy to get carried away with her...

ooo

That first night they had stayed talking in the pub until chucking-out time. Though the group had been friendly and welcoming, prompted by Anastasia's complete acceptance of him, Hellboy had still felt a little out of place. After initial introductions and pleasantries, they had more or less kept to each other, not seeming to know how to talk to him. By contrast, Anastasia held nothing back, diving straight into her previously stated intention of hearing all about his many adventures. Hellboy had always enjoyed sharing the tales of his work and found it easier to respond to her questions than initiate conversation with her so once he relaxed he was comfortable with the arrangement. Anastasia kept her attention riveted on him and more than once he'd found himself losing track of his story as he looked into her pretty, open eyes, fumbling a little then blaming it on the booze. Anastasia had laughed and he had been pleased by the sound. As the night wore on, her friends seemed to finally grasp hold of the fact he was just an average joe like any of them and even joined in the conversation somewhat. By then, Hellboy didn't want them interrupting. He was plenty happy for Anastasia to keep him all to herself.

The hour had grown later, though he scarcely noticed. One by one, Anastasia's friends had made their goodnights and departed, all but one – a scruffy young man who seemed to be feigning some sort of sensitive artist chic – a trait that made Hellboy want to knock him about a bit. He continued to linger, even though Anastasia had turned her chair to face Hellboy fully, an illustrative statement of where her interest lay. He would glance protectively at Anastasia and then shoot Hellboy a look the demon supposed was meant to be meancing but succeeded only in looking sulky. In a way, he couldn't blame the kid. He was clearly concerned that leaving Anastasia alone with Hellboy might lead to trouble for her. Such prejudice made his blood boil, but he was used to it. It was pointless trying to explain there was no safer place for a woman to be than in his presence. All too many humans took one look at him and made their judgement. And to be fair, he wouldn't want to leave a lady friend of his alone with some big, strange guy either. In this day and age, it just wasn't smart.

Anastasia, though, had started to dart the tiniest glances of annoyances at this fellow, and Hellboy couldn't help find it amusing - and flattering. Finally, she had made a show of looking at her watch and exclaiming: 'Greg, you'll miss the last train back home if you don't get along!'
Greg had scowled and shrugged. "I can catch a cab if needs be," his accent was posh and in combination with his deliberately tilted beret and neckerchief, somehow ground all the more on Hellboy's nerves. He didn't like guys like this – pretentious and supercilious but playing at unaffected and working class.
Anastasia had struggled to hide a grimace of annoyance but Hellboy could see already the spirit flare in her and knew, true to the colour of her hair, she had a fierce temper.
"Well, as long as you're sticking about, get the next round then?" she had said cheerily and, with a petulant look, Greg had shuffled off to obey.

As soon as he was gone, Anastasia had rolled her eyes. "Christ, he's never gonna leave."
"I think he's waiting to get me alone," Hellboy said with heavy sardony, "It's my coquettish charm."
Anastasia laughed, her eyes sparkling.
"Well, you do have a lot of charm," she agreed. "Look, I'd really like to see you again, hear some more of these fantastic stories – you free tomorrow night?"
Hellboy was surprised. When she had first approached him, he had almost felt there was something flirtatious about her manner – and that feeling had remained throughout the night. But he had to be imagining it – no way a woman could possibly be flirting with him. With this invitation, though, the feeling was stronger.
He must've paused too long because the next thing he knew, Anastasia's small pale hand was on his great left one where it sat on the table, a touch that was immediately titillating in its warmth and familiarity.
"Please?" she implored, an edge of cheekiness to her voice tempering the unmistakeable earnestness. "I plan on making a living in field work. It'd be good to have an idea of what to prepare for." She cocked her head and smiled at him in that fantastically warm way she had.
Hellboy realised he wanted to see her again. Very much.
"I guess that depends..." he began seriously and Anastasia waited. "Will Greg be there?" he deadpanned and she had laughed again.
"It'll be just the two of us," she promised and he found himself thrilled by that prospect.

That night had been fun They'd met at a different pub her friends didn't frequent and had a meal as well, the conversation flowing easily once the initial hesitation of shyness had worn off. Hellboy had tried to keep the discussion flowing both ways and queried into Anastasia's life. She was thirty – five years younger than him – and already a rising star in her field of archaeology – or so he surmised as she summated her career so far. Even her nonchalant humility couldn't disguise that she'd worked on some major digs and made a few big finds. Intelligent and highly educated – both practically as well as theoretically, which meant a lot to Hellboy as someone who wasn't inclined to academia – she hailed from the South, was an avowed feminist (though she'd left her bra-burning days on campus, she'd laughed) and at the moment, musically, she couldn't get enough of The Ramones. Punk really wasn't Hellboy's thing, but he'd thought it a charming juxtaposition against her simple, uncluttered looks and practical, friendly manner. Overall, he found her thoroughly bewitching and that unnerved him. These days he preferred to stay as far away from women he found attractive as was possible – to do otherwise would achieve nothing but torment and melancholy.

Again, they'd talked for hours and when last drinks were called, they'd both hesitated and he wondered if she were as reluctant to bring the night to a close as he was – and what that might mean.
"You need me to walk you anywhere?" he'd finally asked her, a little awkwardly. He was worried about her alone on the streets that late at night.
She'd flushed. "Actually, I just live around the corner," she confessed. Hellboy felt foolish. Anastasia probably thought he was trying to get an invitation back to her place.
"No problem then," he said, fumbling in his pocket for a cigarette. "I should probably be getting back to my hotel."
She hesitated and he waited. For what, he wasn't sure. Nothing was going to come of this. No matter how many coy looks she'd shot him that night, how many times she'd laid a hand on his arm or how often she'd smiled and smoothed back her hair, he knew he stood no chance. It just wasn't possible.
"Let's do this again tomorrow night," she'd suggested and even though he knew he was only setting himself up for a fall, he hadn't even hesitated.
"Sounds good."

It started raining sometime that night and didn't abate at all during the day. Hellboy was at the pub a little early, nursing a scotch at the bar, hoping he wouldn't seem too pathetic when Anastasia arrived.
There was a tap on his shoulder and he glanced around – only there was nobody there. Groaning as he realised what he'd just fallen for, he turned the other way and found Anastasia laughing openly at him.
"You don't need lightning-fast reflexes to fight monsters, I guess," she ribbed him. He cocked a brow at her, suppressing the lump in his throat.
"Monster? Aw, that's being a bit hard on yourself," he threw back and she laughed harder, loving that he matched her.
The truth was, he was barely keeping it together. She looked gorgeous. He'd found her highly attractive the minute he'd seen her – no makeup, hair pulled back in a simple ponytail, jeans and a jumper – incredibly lovely in all that simplicity. But tonight – well, damned if she hadn't gone and dressed up. Her long, straight red hair was loose, softening her face. He thought maybe she was wearing lipstick, nothing too bright, just something that gave a gloss to her lips, made them all the more inviting. As she removed her damp macintosh, he saw she was even wearing a dress – emerald green, complementing her hair perfectly. The hesitant suspicion that she had dressed up for him was a possibility that at once thrilled and unnerved him and he pushed it away quickly.
He did his best not to stare and Anastasia did not seem to notice, depositing her purse, umbrella and macintosh on a nearby table. "Let's order," she said.

That night when last drinks were called, Anastasia had seemed surprised. "Already?" she said, and checked her watch. "Bollocks!" she shouted towards the bar.
Hellboy chuckled. "What region does that drink hail from?" he queried her and she punched his arm playfully.
"Ow," she said in surprise and shook her hand. "Christ, you're built like rock."
He was concerned about her hand but she waved it off. "Took me by surprise is all," she said, but suddenly drained the vestiges of her drink. Hellboy's heart immediately sank as this reminder of his otherness was once again slammed home. He tried not to scowl as he downed his own glass, figuring this would be the end of it then.
"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm nowhere near ready to stop drinking yet," Anastasia announced and Hellboy could barely suppress a grin.
"Too bad everywhere's closing up shop for the night," he pointed out.
Anastasia tilted her head to the side and made a great show of pondering the situation. Her fine hair shone in the light of the pub and he felt himself stirred by it, hopeful in spite of himself. "Hmmmmm, true. I guess the only thing to do is to go back to my place. I keep it fairly well stocked." She looked at him, that lopsided smile he already couldn't resist in place. "What do you say, big guy?"

The rain had become torrential by then and in the block it took them to get to Anastasia's place, they were soaked. They dashed the last few metres, Anastasia cracking up by his side as her umbrella was blown inside out and then yanked from her hands, tumbling down the dark streets.
As she struggled to get her key in the rattling glass doors of the mansions where her flat was situated, Hellboy shielded her from the rain with his great right hand, holding it above her head. She glanced up in surprise when she noticed the sudden halt in the elements and then her expression softened with something deep and unnameable and she gave Hellboy a glance that made his loins twist. She was smiling at him again as she pushed the door open to let them in and he followed her, a little embarrassed but eager too.

Hellboy supposed her one bedroom flat was a decent size for a single woman, but it was cramped for his needs – not that he wasn't accustomed to that, having spent plenty of time in cheap hotels over the years. His custom-renovated apartment at the B.P.R.D. headquarters was the only place he had regular access to that had facilities built to accommodate his size.
Almost every surface in Anastasia's place was piled high with books, papers, archaeological tools, fragments and relics. The walls were decorated with large, dog-eared prints of the Seven Wonders and a huge global map hung above the over-stuffed but patchy couch, dozens of locations marked in different colour pins that Hellboy figured adhered to some personal code. The furnishings were colourful and warm and though the place was a little musty from being shut up on a rainy day, there was also the sweet underscent of Anastasia's perfume. He liked the place. It had the same friendly openness that Anastasia herself did.

"Excuse the mess," she said a little bashfully as she shrugged off her macintosh and slumped it on a cluttered table near the door. "I travel a fair bit so everything just gets piled up. I keep meaning to get around to organising it all, but, well, I'm a woman of the world and my time is better occupied."
Hellboy waved a hand dismissively. "You think this is bad, you should see my place."
She gave him that lopsided grin again and he felt undone. "Typical bachelor pad, huh? Why doesn't that surprise me?"
Hellboy shrugged, scratched his skull, matching her smirk with a little grin of his own. "Hey, once you get past the horns and tail, I'm a pretty typical kinda guy."
Anastasia shot him a playful look over her shoulder as she gathered a stack of National Geographics off the couch. "I would've said unpretentious myself. Hey, what are you just standing there for? Take your coat off and come in. You're soaked."
Hellboy had been hovering in the small entrance square, conscious of the rivulets of water that dripped off him steadily onto the linoleum. Feeling increasingly self-conscious, he shrugged his dripping duster off his shoulders and looked for a place to hang it, away from her things, as she disappeared into another room. There was a hook on the back of the door and he hung the duster there, the wet leather and crammed pockets weighing it straight down. Anastasia reappeared with a towel and moved quickly towards him, her hair plastered down around her face, her damp dress clinging to her body which undulated tantalisingly beneath it. Hellboy was flustered by the unexpectedly sexy sight and awkward to be bare-chested around her, even though that's how he customarily was. In this small space and with the complication of his attraction to her, it suddenly seemed to count a whole lot more.

But Anastasia seemed unphased, coming right up to him and lifting the towel to gently wipe around his neck and chest and shoulders. The softness of the terry cloth swept goosebumps across his skin; they rippled straight down to his groin where they gave his cock a tug. Hellboy was intensely flustered now. Becoming visibly aroused around a woman was one of the worst embarrassments he could think of – a horrible mess of being humiliated, becoming threatening, seen as perverse... even bestial... he couldn't stand it.

He set his jaw and thought of the Professor, determinedly not looking down at Anastasia, where he could see straight down the neck of her dress, the cleft of her cleavage just visible.

"You should have a shower," Anastasia said, her manner relaxed, seeming completely unaware of his tension. "Warm you up. The best thing about this place is the shower, actually. The pressure's great and it gets hot."
Hellboy rather thought a cold shower sounded better. But he knew his manners.
"Nah, you go first," he said, relieved his gravelly voice sounded normal. "You're more likely to catch cold than me."
Anastasia bit her lip, her eyes flaring with an inviting mix of cheeky shyness, her cheeks colouring just a touch.
"We could have one together," she suggested impulsively.

Hellboy could not respond. He simply stood there, motionless and still chill from the rain, wondering if he'd heard her right. The silence between them grew, punctuated by the sound of the rain pounding on the windows outside.

Anastasia seemed embarrassed, the first time he'd seen her anything less than self-assured. She drew back from him a little. "Well, if you want to. No pressure."

"Uhhh," his voice sounded hoarse and he cleared his throat, not sure where to look. Did he want to? What the hell was that, some sort of trick question? Of course he wanted to. But when it came to the women who caught his eye, what Hellboy wanted to do and what he would do were two very, very different things.
Anastasia was looking up at him expectantly and there was just a touch of insecurity about her lovely sincere eyes. But better yet – and he was sure he was not mistaken – the gleam of – hopefulness.

She hoped he would say yes?

A dozen objections darted around his mind – she was just experimenting, the Professor would disapprove, he didn't know what in the hell he was doing, she'd change her mind once she remembered he had a tail and hooves, what did he think would happen in the morning – but he didn't heed them. He barely registered them. There were so many reasons to say no that in the end they were just excuses. So the hell with them.

"Yeah," he finally rumbled. "I like the sound of that." He was embarrassed, felt awkward and shy but the smile Anastasia gave him at his answer inspired his courage. That smile could launch ships. Already he was pretty damn sure he'd crack a few skulls for it.

Anastasia dropped the towel to the rug beneath their feet then reached up, her hand slipping around his massive neck, drawing his head down to hers.

Hellboy went willingly, watching her pretty face come closer, her lashes flutter as her lips parted and excitement leapt through his chest, his heart pounding.

Hellboy had only kissed one other woman in his lifetime. Everything else he had learned from the movies – without an opportunity to practice it. Since his last kiss had been in nineteen sixty-three, he let Anastasia take the lead, surprised how natural the sensual pattern of opening and pressing his mouth against another seemed to come. Anastasia's mouth was warm and wonderfully soft, coaxed his own open and the dart of her tongue against his sent a jolt running through his cock, which was quickly stiffening in response to the stimuli of the situation.

Anastasia broke the kiss and tilted her head back, again biting her lip, smiling through it. "Mmm," she said, a quietly happy sound, even as her hands lifted to undo the zip at the side of her dress. The clingy knit-jersey material stretched easily as she tugged it up over her head, Hellboy staring with mouth dry as her beautiful body was more fully revealed.

Underneath she was wearing cami-knickers in powder blue, flesh coloured stockings attached to garters, entirely standard and every day lingerie for the time but to Hellboy – who only ever saw partially-clothed women in magazines – spectacularly erotic. The sight of her shapely figure so very much on display and yet still so concealed had the blood draining to his loins in a hot tumult. Part of him – a large part – was still struggling with the reality that he was even there, that it was even happening. The rest was drinking in the impossible beauty of Anastasia in her undewear, her hair damp and curling on her cheeks, her eyes crinkling with amusement and pleasure at his dumb admiration.
"How do you know how to make a girl feel so good without even saying a word?" she murmured, stepping up close to him, her hand reaching up to cup his cheeks, her thumb smoothing across a sideburn.
He cleared his throat, waited for a moment so he could trust himself to speak. "Well I've always been the strong, silent type," but his voice was so serious the quip fell flat.
Again that damned lopsided smile. He felt his breath catch. His cock was straining at his shorts.
"More a man of action?" she teased quietly.
If he hadn't already been red, Hellboy might've blushed.
Anastasia tipped her head to one side and regarded him affectionately. "You know, I was so close to asking you back last night. I just wasn't sure you were interested."
It was laughable. She wasn't sure whether he were interested in her? Hellboy swallowed around the lump in his throat and tried to think of something witty to say, something that wouldn't betray just how desperately interested he had been since the second he'd examined her in the mirror of that pub.
"I like to play hard to get," he managed. "Helps keep me trim for when monsters are on my tail."
Anastasia laughed then licked her lips, her eyes raking his body greedily.

"Let's even the score a little," she said breathily, her hands dropping to fumble with his belt buckle. He noticed then that she was breathing hard, as he was, that her hands were eager as his heavy belt with its many pouches and the large gun in its holster was undone. He caught the belt up in his hands to save her the trouble of managing its bulk, letting it drop with a clunk onto a nearby bookshelf. Even as he did this, her hands were back on the button of his shorts, undoing it nimbly and tilting her head back to look at him through lowered lashes as she eased the zip apart.

To that point, it had been the most erotic moment in Hellboy's life.

His muscles were taut and twitching with excitement and anticipation, unable to take his eyes off her and all her unfettered beauty as she eased his shorts down over his hips before letting them drop. He stood naked before her now, ill-at-ease with the unusual experience, grateful when she kept her eyes on his yellow ones instead of letting them drop.

Stepping back from him, still gazing into his face, she unfastened her stockings and slid them off. Hellboy licked dry lips and watched as she peeled the straps of her teddy from her shoulders, each inch of newly bared flesh remarkably sensual against what still remained covered.

As her breasts were bared he felt a lump rise in his throat. She was so lovely, her breasts full and round, the nipples puckered with arousal. She slid the teddy down, baring her soft belly and full hips, then a patch of pale red hair. Hellboy felt his cock twitch at the sight of it, again struck with a wave of disbelief this was really happening. The teddy slipped to her ankles and she stepped out of it, back towards him, reaching up to draw his head down to hers, kissing him again with intensified passion.

Hellboy's heart thundered in his chest but he was more confident this time, drawn out by her unhesitating willingness. He yearned to put his arms around her, pull her closer but was hesitant still to touch her body, in fear he would do the wrong thing. He bent down to Anastasia, somehow a little surprised by how short she really was, but not letting it bother him when the taste of her mouth was so sweet and its warmth felt so good.
"Is your back okay?" Anastasia interjected suddenly, her lips beautifully flushed.
"Huh?" he replied like a grade-A moron, intoxicated still from their kissing and she giggled a little, indicating to how he was hunched over.
"Your back, your neck, you must be cramped..."
"Oh," he'd barely noticed, but now that he thought about it...
Abruptly he dropped to his knees, and now he was looking up at Anastasia, but nowhere near as much as she had to him.
"Is that better?" he asked her softly and she laughed, wrapping her arms about his shoulders, the press of her breasts on his chest an erotic thrill he wasn't prepared for.
"You tell me," and she kissed him again.
It was a whole lot better. Their kisses were hot and hungry, increasingly bold as they grew accustomed to the other's rhythm and dimensions. She flicked her tongue against his, luring it to her own mouth and thereby leading him into taking charge. She pressed harder against him, her skin deliciously soft against his own coarseness, and of their own accord his hands finally leapt to her waist, which felt as fragile as glass beneath them. But she made an agreeable sound and lifted a leg to sling about his hip and then, to the urgent increase of the blood in his loins, he felt the centre of her pressed against his stomach, hot and wet. It drove him nearly out of his mind with desire.
Anastasia's hands played in his hair then ran down over his shoulders, bracing herself to grind her groin against him, her muffled groans of pleasure swallowed by his mouth. His cock was rock-hard and aching to be touched, to plunge deep into her and be engulfed in the bliss the heat emanating from her sex promised. He burned to lift her up but wasn't sure she would be at ease with that and he sure as hell wasn't going to screw things up now if he could help it.
He let his massive right hand slip down her waist, sliding around to cup her buttocks, titllated by their softness and how the flesh shifted beneath his touch. Feeling herself so supported, Anastasia wasted no time but hooked her other leg around his waist and he knew she wanted him to lift her up.

So he did. She gasped into his mouth as he stood, his arms holding her securely, her breath sweet. Her body felt impossibly fragile in his arms, her breasts so soft, her sex slick and fragrant, the scent of it making his rigid organ strain at the air, desperate to be enveloped. Their kisses were growing more frantic, rougher and Anastasia nipped at his lower lip, each little bite making his cock twitch.
"Where's the bathroom?" he breathed.
Anastasia gestured with an arm, reluctant to stop kissing him. "There," she gasped. "Through there."

The bathroom was tiny, but he barely noticed. At least the shower was free-standing. Anastasia leaned out of his arms to twist the taps on. The pressure was great. She clung to him, her mouth kissing his neck as he ducked his head to step through the glass doors of the cubicle and under the delicious spray of hot water.

Rivers of water ran over their fevered bodies, her fair skin smarting pink in the steam, the deep red of his darkening. In his hold, Anastasia realised she was completely secure and stretched her arms above her head in delight, her breasts lifting tantalisingly as she did.
She cupped his great, rough face in her hands and stared deep into his eyes, seeming to see right through their inhuman yellow glaze and into the man within. She kissed him again, deeply, and his heart hammered against his ribcage.

She reached down between their bodies and her fingertips grazed the head of his cock. Hellboy made an involuntary noise of pleasure and longing and allowed her to lower in his arms. Her slender hand wrapped around his shaft and guided him towards her entrance.

The soft wetness almost drove him out of his mind it was such a tease. He pressed against her and his throat constricted. She felt so small. Tiny, too tiny for him. He'd hurt her. But Anastasia wasn't hesitating. Slowly, tormentingly, she pushed herself down onto him.
She squeezed her eyes shut and her lips parted as she did, a deep, guttural groan in her throat. The feeling of her around him was sublime, her heels bracing in the small of his back, her hands grasing his biceps for leverage. He supported her weight effortlessly on his hands, his fingertips stroking the cleft of her buttocks. She was tight, hugging his cock hard, but clearly receptive and he sunk in far easier than he'd expected, somewhat stunned by the success.

As she slid down and he slid further in, she let out a long, deep sigh and bit her lip. Hellboy's knees felt weak, the hot water beating his shoulders, his sodden hair adhering to his neck, his eyes devouring the rapturous sight of her, his organ immersed in bliss that exceeded his anticipations. Anastasia opened her eyes and gazed into his with lust and delight. Her hair was plastered to her cheeks and neck in dark red strips, her full breasts with their erect nipples pointing high as she leaned back in his arms against the fogged glass and, with great deliberation, rocked her hips.

Hellboy gasped when she did, the pleasure it gave him so transcendent that he trembled, then began to fuck her.

Anastasia moaned and let her head tip back, one arm reaching back and up to grasp hold of the glass walls of the shower cubicle, bracing herself so all her naked beauty was on full display for him to appreciate, her breasts bouncing in rhythm with his thrusts the most fantastically beautiful sight he had ever beheld. Hellboy didn't think the wonderful beating pleasure in his loins could get any better – until Anastasia moved her free hand betwee her legs and began to stroke her clit, unashamedly adding to her pleasure right in front of him, lifting her head back up to stare into his eyes again. It was so titillating he sped up, faster and harder. He ground his jaw and continued to pound into her, the pressure building in his balls, the magnificent lick of bliss over and over again on his organ spurring him forward to the promise of more, as aroused by how easily she took the hard fucking, the sheer size of him, as by her shameless sensuality.

"Bloody hell, you're sexy," she breathed, two fingers rubbing herself with practiced skill, her heels grinding into the small of his back and then she was arching her spine and pushing her skull back against the glass, her eyes screwed shut as he felt her muscles convulse on his organ and she was almost screaming she was so loud in her orgasm.

The knowledge of it undid him completely and she'd barely finished moaning when he erupted, a final hard thrust that brought his body to flatten hers against the glass, the purest ecstasy he'd ever felt engulfing him in forceful waves as he emptied into her, her sex still twitching around him. Hellboy gasped and groaned as the bliss beat through him, his left arm rising to slip around Anastasia's back, his mighty right hand still cupping her bottom. Anastasia's arms flung about him, her face mashed against his chest, her hands grasping his shoulders tight.

Slowly, Hellboy's heartbeat steadied and the bliss receded almost sorrowfully. Hot water continued to beat down upon them, running in rivulets between their bodies, streaming down around where they remained joined. Anastasia's soft kisses across his chest were wet and sweet. Hellboy's knees trembled and he let his forehead press against the glass, the stubs of his horns scratching it. Funny to think of all the monsters he'd brought down without breaking a sweat, and it only took one human woman to crush him. He felt weak and drained but no worse for it – in fact, it was sublime.

Gently he withdrew from Anastasia and she groaned as they parted, allowing him to lower her carefully to stand on the tiles.

"Bloody hell," she gasped again, her hands on his massive biceps, squeezing them. "I'm going to walk bow-legged for a week, I think."
Then she looked up at him and laughed as his cheeks went hot with embarrassment and his shy uncertainty returned.
"Come here," she breathed, and put a hand on the back of his neck, urging him down to kiss her. She embraced him so his softened and sensitised organ pressed against her belly and despite his satiation, it twitched.

Anastasia remained stark naked after she'd dried herself, wrapping her wet hair on top of her head and fixing it with a clip. Hellboy dried himself with the towel she provided, charmed as he noticed all of her linen was in mismatched colours. Not sharing her confidence, he attempted to wrap it around his waist. The corners barely met and he held it together at the side awkwardly, following her out to the tiny kitchenette, unable to help watching the undulating loveliness of her buttocks.

"I better get you that drink," she called playfully over her shoulder. "Or you'll think I only invited you back here for one thing."

She mixed them strong gin and tonics, adding both lemon and lime and large chunks of ice that were refreshing after their exertion. She clinked her glass against his and leaned back up against the bench, her firm breasts drawing his gaze again and again though he tried to look away. Her lovely hour glass figure was already making him regret how quickly it was all over, how hasty he had been to fuck her without taking the time to appreciate her fully. It wasn't as though an opportunity like this came along all that often. The last time was nineteen sixty-three and the time before that nineteen fifty-six. Already the peaceful satiation he had experienced after his orgasm was giving way to feelings of confusion and conflict, even guilt. Would she think him a brute, now? Incapable of properly giving to a woman? He hadn't even kissed her breasts. Hadn't even felt the delicious slippery folds of her sex under his fingers, much less his tongue. And though beggars couldn't be choosers, Anastasia was one in a million any way you looked at it. Somehow he'd struck out damn lucky here and now it was finished. So now what?

Preoccupied in his gloomy thoughts, he hadn't realised Anastasia had been examining his body as closely as he was hers until she stepped forward and ran a hand down over one pectoral. His skin shivered in her wake as she traced the defined outline of his abdominals, fingertips trailing teasingly down until she reached the towel, which she yanked away from him with a cheeky grin. Hellboy made a short noise of surprise, then quickly recovered, running a flustered left hand over his skull, snorting and rolling his eyes to the ceiling as though being buck-naked wasn't something he at all found awkward. He wasn't about to compromise his dignity further by trying to hide.

Anastasia flicked the towel to the linoleum and reached forward to draw her fingertips up his flanks, illiciting a pleasurable shudder from his skin. Her blue eyes sparkled with mischief and desire as she smiled up at him.
"Now, you didn't think I was finished with you, did you?"
Hellboy found himself grinning back down at her.

ooo

Hellboy's first sexual experience had come in nineteen fifty-six, in Mexico.

He'd been travelling with the three wrestler brothers, fighting the paranormal by day and partying the night away. It was a hard, fierce time that passed by in a blur of tequila, blood, laughing women and screaming monsters. He was close only to one of the brothers – the merry, good-hearted youngest, and it was late on one of those drunken nights – when the sky was just beginning to lighten, the stars starting to fade – when Esteban asked:
"¿Hellboy, alguna vez has disfrutado de los placeres de una mujer?"

It was a few nights later, in a bar where the usual assemblage of drunks, farmers, prostitutes and musicians were gathered, that the three brothers had lured him to the back rooms the publican rented to travellers and ladies who stayed by the hour. They shoved him, laughing, into one of the rooms, pulling the door shut hard behind them and as he laughed and pounded on the door in drunken bewilderment, he heard them lock it and depart, Esteban calling out:
"¡Diviértete, mi buen!"

"Bienvenido, señor," the throaty voice had startled him so that he whirled around, gaping when he saw her. "Por favor, póngase cómodo."
The girl was clearly a prostitute, with cheaply bleached blonde hair in short curls, and an indecently tight, low-cut dress of floral sateen, her face heavily made up. Hellboy was more than a little alarmed as his drunken brain struggled to put two and two together. Esteban and his brothers – they would've paid her to do this. And she was young and beautiful which meant they must've paid her a lot to convince her to take him and that made him even more uneasy. There was no doubt in his mind that she couldn't really want to be there – no doubt that he would disgust her, frighten her, that the thought of touching him must be awful to her. The Professor had drilled it into him carefully – kindly, compassionately, but very concertedly – that he should never expect to be close to a woman. And he knew that that was only realistic, much as it had hurt. That even as humans had learned to accept him – even to be his friends – that this was too much to ask of them. Hellboy yearned to be accepted simply as normal but this was one hurdle that could not be overcome.
The thought that this young woman was doing something she must find disgusting appalled him. Swaying by the door, his stomach in knots and his inebriated mind reeling, he was unable to figure out what he could do.

The girl looked at him standing there and smiled kindly at him, though he was sure it had to be feigned.
"No sea tímido, señor," she said and walked towards him. "No muerdo."
Hellboy pressed back against the door as she came closer, flinching a little as she ran her palms up over his chest, the sweetness of her touch only unnerving him more.
"Mmm, ¡qué grande!" she whispered, gazing up at him from seductively lowered lashes. Hellboy was sick with unease. Her slim brown hands and the soft swell of her ample breasts only emphasised how different she was to him and it made him all the more uncomfortable even as it aroused him.
She clicked her tongue at him and reached a hand up to cup his chin, running her thumb down his goatee. Hellboy struggled to find his voice around the sour taste of tequila that had risen in his throat, to try to explain that it was all right, that she didn't have to do this, but she had already stepped back and was unzipping her dress.

Reluctantly he watched her unrobe, his back against the door, his tail twitching nervously. The dress slid down around her generous curves and with her blonde hair and full red lips she made him think of Marilyn Monroe, who he had long held a torch for. The girl was unexpectedly nude beneath her dress and though Hellboy burned to leave he felt rooted to the spot as for the first time he beheld a naked woman in the flesh. Despite himself, he was erect, his body automatically responding to the stimulus of her feminine charms. He was reminded of the torment of his mercifully brief puberty – the sense that suddenly he was not in control of his body, and that could only lead to humiliation and shame.

The bedside lamp, the one source of illumination in the shabby, simple room, created tantalising shadows on her luscious figure, shifting and moving as she stepped back up to him, nude and soft. He swallowed, his throat tasting acrid, as her nipples brushed his ribcage while her hands deftly unfastened his shorts. He didn't trust himself to move, to push her away. He was too drunk and too anxious. He didn't want to frighten her.

As the girl tugged his shorts apart, his cock sprang free and she gazed at it with round brown eyes, her red lips parting, before looking back up at him.
"Muy grande!" she repeated and he burned with embarrassment, looking away from her, grinding his teeth together, hating every moment even as he wished it could be different – that they had come together in mutual desire.

The girl crouched and began to suck him and it felt so good he choked and shut his eyes, banging his head back against the door, wanting to resist but not wanting the feeling to end. His tail whipped and smacked the grimy cement floor as he struggled with the sensations that poured through his body, conflicting with the guilt and shame that gripped his mind. The girl continued to suck, generously and earnestly, making small noises as though of pleasure as she did. Those sounds upset him further for he knew they could not be sincere.

But Hellboy was still young and his body had not been subjected to such stimulation before. He glanced down at her and saw her breasts swinging in time with her rhythm, the red of her mouth and the platinum of her curls and all of a sudden he knew he wasn't going to be able to hold back – and she still had her lips wrapped around him.

Before he could push her out of the way, she released him and sat up, taking his seed on her breasts as he came.
"Si, dámelo todo, papasito. Así, justo así," he heard her murmur and was mortified. The orgasm felt hollow and tainted, ugly and cheap. Unable to stand it a minute longer, he pulled the locked door off its hinges and left quickly, not heeding her as she called out. He replaced the door hastily to at least protect her modesty then fastened his shorts as he strode back to the bar, his tail lashing from side to side and a lump in his throat.

The three brothers cheered him as he entered the bar, holding their bottles of tequila in a toast.
"¡Felicidades, mi amigo!"
"Así que ya eres un hombre, ¿eh?"
They thumped him on the back and drank to him, but Hellboy was silent, humiliated and unhappy.

ooo

Anastasia laid back against the pillows of her bed, naked and sublime, and asked him with a teasing smile:
"Well? What would you like to do with me now?"
Outside, the rain was still hammering against the windows and her small flat was cosy and private, providing them with a world all of their own, where time seemed not to exist.
Hellboy sat on the bed next to her, trying to pretend he didn't notice how it dipped beneath his weight, slowly growing more comfortable with his own nudity.
"Uhhh," he scratched the back of his head with his left hand, daunted by her beauty and the generosity of her invitation, his cock beginning to stir once more. "Ya know – I don't really know what I'm doing here."
The confession was hard, but there was no point pretending.
She laughed and sat up, reaching out to take his great stone hand with hers, not seeming to notice its unwieldy size. "Oh, you've got a lot of potential," she assured him. "You just need to take that natural aptitude and practice." She leant forward and kissed his ear, teasing the sensitive lobe with her tongue so that he shivered. "I'm more than happy to help you practice as much as you need."
He turned his face towards her and they kissed, her hands cupping his chiselled cheeks.
It was incredible how quickly she was putting him at ease. Hellboy was unpretentious and easy-going enough to settle in comfortably in most situations, but this wasn't most situations for him. But despite the oddity of being naked and intimate with a beautiful woman, with her he felt completely accepted, normal and right. So far she hadn't done anything that made him feel particularly aware of those parts of him that really emphasised his inhumanity – the hooves, the tail, his horns and massive right hand – yet still made him feel admired and desired exactly as he was. He remembered her words in the shower – bloody hell, you're sexy – and a little smile stole up his mouth.
Anastasia broke the kiss and nuzzled her nose against his then lay back once again against the pillows.
"So, here I am. What would you like to do?"

He couldn't bring himself to say it. He was too stoic yet. But before he was even aware of it, his eyes flickered down to her groin, then quickly back up to her face. She didn't miss a trick and grinned, retrieving her gin and tonic from the window sill and taking a quick sip before bringing her knees up and letting them part, her easy grace as sexy as her nakedness and the knowing tease in her eye. Hellboy gazed at her face as long as he could, then looked down, not bothering to suppress his bashful grin, snorting a little in response to her giggle.

She was gorgeous, her revealed sex immensely erotic in all its delicate folds, still wet – and looking swollen, he thought, though he didn't have much frame of reference. When he was still getting girlie magazines regularly, the centrefolds had their legs closed. He had only done what he wanted to do to Anastasia to one other woman, in nineteen sixty-three. He really didn't have much of a clue. All he knew was that the sight and scent of her was intoxicating to him and he wanted to taste it, bring her ecstasy, get right deep into the very heart of her.

Unconsciously, his tongue darted out and touched his upper lip. Anastasia stirred on the pillows, then arched her pelvis toward him.
"Yes, please," she murmured.

He was excited that she wanted it, excited by the promise of it. His cock was hardening quickly at the knowledge it was so close. He shifted onto the bed, tentative as it rocked beneath his weight, propping himself on his right hand as his left gently moved one of Anastasia's legs, loving how soft her skin was against his, the contrast between them.
Hellboy ran his fingertips down her inner thigh and she made a soft agreeable noise. He glanced up at her just to admire her again – and to wonder at how damn fucking lucky he had gotten. Never, in his whole life, had he expected this.

Suddenly unsure of himself again he hesitated and covered it by pressing his face against her thigh and kissing her hotly, over and over, Anastasia making more of those agreeable sounds. Moving closer to his ultimate goal, he dared let the fingertips of his left hand stroke her sex, the hair soft, the flesh damp and when he stroked his fingers downwards Anastasia moaned and encouraged him. The feeling of her was delicious and tempting and as he inhaled the scent of her, his desire swelled until it could no longer be denied.

Going down on her was even better than he had anticipated. The intimacy of it was exhilarating, the sense of trust she was giving him incredibly affirming. Beneath his tongue her sensitive skin felt wonderful and she tasted amazing, in a way that made his lust and desire swell urgently. Anastasia whispered guiding words to him every so often, sweetly encouraging, and he heeded her and was rewarded when – all too quickly – she climaxed, the pulse of her orgasm making his cock throb.

Afterwards, he did not bring his head up right away but remained between her legs, kissing her softly, feeling the beat of her muscles ebb away while her fingers stroked his skull and curled into his sideburns. His arms slid up under her thighs so his hands could rub her hips and cup her breasts and she lifted her feet to his shoulder blades and kneaded them there, her toes working his muscles in a comforting fashion. Hellboy had never been so intimate with another person, had never experienced such tenderness and sensuality. It was like a drug and he was already addicted. Going cold turkey was going to cleave his heart. He had not been ready for this.

It made that lovely moment achingly bittersweet.

But then Anastasia was sitting up, urging his head up to hers, kissing him deeply and with a passion that took his breath away. She broke their lips apart gently, her hands cupping his face, and gazed into his eyes seriously.
"I hope you know you're not going anywhere tomorrow."

And he didn't. He didn't go anywhere for the whole weekend in fact, and when he finally did leave it was only to check out of his hotel room and bring his small bag back to her place.

ooo

Anastasia finished the cigarette and stubbed it out in the saucer they were using as a makeshift ashtray. She rolled towards him, running her palm over his chest, her fingertips tracing his nipples. Hellboy lowered his arm around her shoulders and hugged her to him. Moments like these were quickly becoming his favourite. He loved the softness of her and how fragile she felt in his arms, like she was his to protect. He loved nuzzling his face into her silky hair and breathing her in, stroking his hand through it. The curves of her breasts and hips, thighs and bottom were so different to his muscular physique and that contrast between them was astoundingly erotic. Though he hadn't yet been able to stop worrying about inadvertantly hurting her, he loved her comparative slightness too, how strong and sheltering it made him feel and how perfectly right it was. Given that Hellboy was used to his bulk making him feel out of place in everyday life, he was deeply appreciative of this.
The feel of her heartbeat against his chest always roused something deep within him. It both lulled him into calm and stirred him into watchfulness, the life in her something precious that had to be guarded and adored. How trustingly she lay in his arms, let him roll over on top of her, smothered herself into his embrace. At times he caught himself gazing at her wonderingly, unable to believe this was all really happening, and then felt foolish. He was too old to be behaving like a love-struck kid. But when she handed him a morning cup of coffee and kissed him warmly – or jumped into the shower with him unexpectedly, or got behind him and wrapped her legs around his waist and kneaded the knots out of his shoulders – he didn't think he could ever get used to it. It was like a damn dream.

They talked too, of course, when they'd worn each other's bodies out. For hours. About each other, about their travels, their families and friends, about everything and nothing. She showed him fat photo albums of her family and her digs and he told her about the magical creatures he'd seen and the supernatural encounters he'd had. They made each other laugh so hard the tears squeezed from her eyes and his stomach cramped. Hellboy couldn't remember having ever been happier since he had travelled with Bruttenholm in the early fifties.

Anastasia reached up and ran a thumb down his goatee. "Sixpence for your thoughts?" she murmured.

Hellboy smiled wryly and tugged her closer. "Not for that price," he replied.

"Oh? And why's that?" She played along.

"They're about a pretty redhead I've been getting to know. Worth her weight in gold."

She giggled and sat up, kissing him soundly. "God, I got lucky with you."

Hellboy didn't know how to respond to that. He knew he was really the lucky one. His throat tightened and he held her to him, burying his face in her hair. "Enjoy it while it lasts," he joked weakly.

Anastasia looked up at him again, that lopsided grin upending his heart. "I intend to." She kissed his nose, prompting him to snort so as to keep his machismo intact, then rolled away from him, to the edge of the bed where she stood up with a groan and stretched.
"Dinner time," she announced. "Christ, you make me ravenous. Good thing I've got a dig coming up or I'd never get back in shape."
"I like it," he replied honestly, keenly watching her various assets quiver as she shifted about the room, sorting through the chaos of discarded clothes and tossed sheets. She smirked and threw a bra at him.
"One track mind," she teased. "And to think you were so repressed when we met."
Hellboy plucked a cigarette from his pack and lit it with his zippo. "Yeah, well let me remind you who the corrupting influence has been here."
This time, she threw a pair of knickers at him.
"Is this tactic supposed to be a deterrant?" He questioned, plucking the silky garment from his chest, noting how it was perfumed from her flesh.
"This one is," she threw back, pulling a clean pair of knickers on, then a nightshirt over her head, chuckling as he groaned in disappointment. "Now behave. And I might let you undress me later." He knew there was no 'might' about it and that he could be so comfortably assured about that to enjoy her tease without anxiety was a luxury. She shook her hair out around her shoulders, tipping her head back, the tips of her breasts pointing provocatively against the nightshirt. Jeeze, he did have a one track mind.

As Anastasia left the bedroom to assess if anything they had in the pantry could be made into a reasonable meal, Hellboy drew deeply on his cigarette and wrestled with feelings of guilt. How quickly he had succumbed to admiring Anastasia in such a carnal way, of letting his mind run wild with desires because he knew they would be fulfilled. It contradicted everything he had been taught about how he should regard women and he struggled with it.

Anastasia returned with a bottle of wine and two glasses, announcing that the cupboards were bare and she'd ordered Indian. She paused when she saw the ponderous expression on his face and her expression softened.
"Are you going to phone him again before we leave?" she asked him gently as she poured him a glass.
Hellboy was only mildly surprised she had guessed what was on his mind immediately. Already he and Anastasia were becoming deeply attuned to each other. He appreciated how compassionately and carefully she dealt with his bleaker moods when they came, understanding that the weirdness of his life sometimes left him feeling disconnected from others, that he was still processing the newness of their relationship and how it had challenged his perception of the world and of himself within it.
He exhaled a lungful of smoke, not looking at Anastasia. "Nah," he drawled as though it was of no consequence, even though they both knew it was.

That phonecall to the Professor had ended badly, both he and Hellboy angry and frustrated with the other.
"Hellboy, I really do not think you're making the right decision," the Professor had insisted, his voice tight with irritation after Hellboy had told him of his plans to travel with Anastasia on her work – indefinitely. "I understand that this is a new experience for you and reasonably an exciting one, but I don't think you know enough about this woman to go gallivanting around the world with her."
Hellboy had wrestled with his temper, trying to keep it in check long enough to make the man he looked upon as his father truly comprehend how real this was. "Her name is Anastasia," he'd managed through gritted teeth, Bruttenholm's disrespectful manner towards her making it hard for him to stay reasonable. "I told you that."
The Professor had sniffed, enraging Hellboy more.
"And I'm thirty five years old," he continued. "Even if I am making a mistake, I'm old enough to make it by myself."
He regretted the snideness in his tone, but seemed unable to stop. "Anyway, I'm not making a mistake. If you met her, you'd see that. I hope you will meet her, one day," he continued more gently, wanting to make peace.
The Professor had sighed heavily, seeming to realise with those words how deep Hellboy was in already to assume so much of the future.
"I just don't want to see you get hurt, my boy," he had tiredly rasped.
"It isn't like that," Hellboy replied quietly. "But even if it was... well, don't I got a right to that? Like anyone else? What the hell did I even get 'honourary human status' for if I'm not entitled to the same damn rights as one?"
He had surprised himself with the bitterness in his voice, not realising how deeply he had resented his obliged solitude and the contradictions that seemed to govern his life. Accepted but still other. The nurturing of his emotions only to be coached to then suppress them. Acting as a protector and guardian but still regarded as a threat. Respected as a professional but only an 'honorary' human.
"It's not about rights, Hellboy," the Professor replied stiffly. "To which of course you are entitled. It's about being realistic. The world can be cruel to those who are different,"
"You always taught me I wasn't different," Hellboy interjected brusquely, his sense of betrayal marked.
"And you're not," Bruttenholm continued fiercely. "Not in your heart or in your soul. There you are the very best of men. But Hellboy – you are not - you are not human," the Professor's voice had wavered and Hellboy's jaw had clenched as he fought the hurt. "Your physical differences will be too much for some people to look beyond. And they will object to seeing a human woman at your side. I am only concerned for you, my son."
For long moments Hellboy had been silent, not trusting himself to speak.
"We'll deal with it," he had said finally, his voice gritty and stubborn.
It was the Professor's turn to be silent, the two of them in an uneasy stand-off across thousands of miles.
"First love is an intoxicating drug for which I certainly can provide no reasonable substitute," Bruttenholm eventually spoke, his voice measured and resolute, a tone that Hellboy recognised as one he used when he was about to say something particularly foreboding. "But have you considered the possibility this woman – this Anastasia – may not fully comprehend what this means to you? That perhaps, while she may very well regard you fondly, she does not return your feelings in kind and may wish to move on before you anticipate, once the novelty has worn off?"
The silence between them then was deafening. Hellboy had stood in Anastasia's living room, the plastic handset of the phone cracking in his grip, his rage rising like a molten wave in his chest, the moments passing in the increasing hard pounding of his blood.
"Did you just say I'm her experiment?" Hellboy cut through the bullshit, getting straight to the point.
"I do not mean it so cruelly," Bruttenholm's voice was crisp, but Hellboy spoke on, angrily.
"You know, Pop, that isn't just damn insulting to me, it's damn insulting to her," his voice rising almost to a shout. "I'm not gonna take that. You can disrespect me but don't ever disrespect her. This is how things are. It's my life and I'll do whatever I want with it,and with whoever I want to do it with. And she's not going anywhere. I'll call again in a few weeks."
Then Hellboy had rung off, the first time he had ever hung up on the Professor.

Afterwards, it had hurt him profoundly to realise he had chosen Anastasia over Bruttenholm. Hellboy had never wasted time imagining himself with a girlfriend, but if he ever had, he would've assumed that any woman he loved and his father would respect and care for each other. That Bruttenholm would speak so unkindly about her, without having ever met her or truly knowing anything about her, had rocked his understanding of the man who had raised him with such decency and respect.

Anastasia stroked his forehead, bringing him back to the present, her fingers tracing the circular horn stubs. Somehow when she did this he did not feel as uncomfortable as he would've expected. It was as though she wasn't marking them out as different, simply fluidly appreciating them as a part of him, as easily as she would the way his left forearm tapered to his wrist.
"Do you want to talk about it?" she prompted him, her voice kind. He sniffed sardonically and raised a brow at her.
"I'm the strong, silent type, remember?" he said dryly. Hellboy had never been at ease talking about his feelings openly. He just wasn't that kind of guy.
Anastasia smiled indulgently at him, the affection in her eyes lightening his heart a little. "It helps, you know," she encouraged him. "And, like anything else, it gets easier... with practice."
He couldn't help grinning and loved her for being able to make him smile when his thoughts were so dark.
"Some things are more fun to practice than others," he pointed out, finally taking a sip of his wine.
Anastasia shook her hair in her most flirtatious manner. "But you're such a quick learner," she said over the rim of her own glass.
"When I'm interested in the subject," he retorted and Anastasia shook her head smilingly.
"Okay, okay, tough guy. You win." Then she leaned over and kissed him tenderly, her lips lingering on his. "But remember that I'm here for you. Always. Anytime you need to."
That promise buoyed his spirits. The woman was amazing – and his. There was so much to look forward to, together.

Hellboy had not anticipated that the incident in Mexico would have a long-standing affect on him. Since he had no real expectations of ever having sexual relationships, he had never considered that it could. In fact, he pretty much tried to put it from his mind altogether.
Nineteen sixty-three had challenged him, but that night had challenged him in all sorts of ways. So it wasn't until he and Anastasia somehow found each other that he learned he wasn't at all comfortable with the idea of getting a blow job.

Anastasia's desire to give him one that first night at her place had bothered him. His first experience of it was so strongly associated with feeling undesired, of being repulsive enough that a woman had to feign enjoying him, be paid to do so, that he had a hard time imagining Anastasia could truly want to. Anytime she'd begun to move down his body, kissing a hot trail over his musculature, he'd urged her back up to him, distracting her with other activities.
Finally, she'd extricated herself from his embrace, laughing breathlessly. "Hellboy!" she'd cried. "Just let me suck your cock!"
He was so shocked by her coarse language that he'd just blinked, then tried to conceal his embarrassment by fixing his expression. She wasn't fooled, pressing her forehead to his, smiling gently but playfully at him.
"I won't bite," she teased, but it only made him more uncomfortable, those words echoing the same the Hispanic prostitute had said. He almost pushed her away, putting his hands on her shoulders, but when he felt their slightness he recovered himself.
"That's not it," he said gruffly, grudgingly, not about to tell her anything more.
She took the lobes of his ears in her fingertips, gently stimulating them and he responded despite himself, enjoying the pleasure.
"You really don't want me to? I won't push it, if you don't." She gazed intensely into his eyes, totally serious. "But if you do – well, I really would love to."
And that was the thing about Anastasia. She was so straight-forward and sincere that he believed her. As hard as it was to believe that anyone could desire his body that strongly, he believed she did. It was just one more thing that made her so incredibly special.

And when she went down on him, he felt the tenderness and passion in the way her mouth so attentively worked him and it was liberating. And it got easier every time.

Somehow, as they finished dinner and drained their wine glasses, Anastasia edged further and further down the mattress until her face was in line with his hips and she was running her tongue teasingly across his pelvis.
"Who's got the one track mind now?" he deadpanned, but didn't protest. She snickered and kissed her way up the shaft of his hardening organ where she took the head in her mouth and engulfed him in bliss.

Afterwards, as he held her tight against him in the dark with her arm wrapped across his chest and one leg slung over his hip, the end of his tail idling affectionately against her calf and the only light the orange tip of his cigarette, he began to speak without realising he would.
"The Professor took me travelling with him to the British Isles in the early fifties. It was just after my promotion at the B.P.R.D.; the idea was to teach me investigation techniques, bone me up on folklore and occult – since I never was much of one for book learning – but the Professor also wanted to show me his favourite places, where he grew up – that sorta thing."
Anastasia was silent, turning her face to nuzzle his shoulder, signalling her attentiveness.
"We had great times together there. You know, we've always been close -" Hellboy hesitated, awkward as always around the task of putting his feelings into words. " - anyway, happiest time of my life. Until lately anyway," and squeezed her closer, a gesture she returned. "But there was this one time - " He hesitated again as the memory returned, bringing with it all the feelings of discomfort and shame, his taciturn nature unsure how to openly recount it. "In Wales. He caught me looking at some girls. Nothing sleazy, they were just some local girls sitting in the local tavern having lunch, same as we were. And I was looking at them because they were pretty and lively and nice to look at. He came back from the bathroom and saw me looking. Didn't say anything then, but when we went back to the hotel that night -"
Hellboy took a long draw on his cigarette, finding it hard to drag the smoke into his lungs around the lump in his throat, the memory painful. Anastasia remained quiet, waiting with respectful patience for him to continue.
Hellboy exhaled, shut his eyes. " - he sat me down and told me I couldn't stare at girls. That he understood what I was going through and it was perfectly natural for healthy young men to want to look at pretty girls - " without meaning to, his tone had become sardonic. " - but that people might find it threatening. Coming from me. That not everyone could understand what I was. Would see past - - " he faltered, his tail twitched violently and his jaw tightened. " - this," his left hand swept savagely and quickly in front of him. Hellboy drew in a deep breath, steadying himself. "So I had to stop doing it. Had to never let it show."
Hellboy was a man of few words and had shortened the Professor's lecture to the bare basics. Bruttenholm had been as kind and fatherly as he always was, but quite direct. It had been the first real time the Professor had ever made Hellboy feel anything other than normal and validated. He was used to it from others, but from his father – it had been a cold sort of betrayal, one he couldn't even respond to. He had just listened in silence and then said he understood and the matter was closed.
The differing natures of their personalities could lead them to clash, especially as Bruttenholm had been unprepared for how quickly Hellboy became an adult, but they had always been as father and son, deeply close and with great regard for each other. Disagreements were easily resolved.
But after that incident, Hellboy had felt curiously angry towards the Professor, though he concealed it. The anger had remained until their fairy sighting at Calton Hill and then Hellboy had let it go. In the end, it was one more thing to toughen him up, resign himself to his fate.
"So I never have," he finished heavily.
Beside him, Anastasia sighed sadly and sat up to kiss his cheeks and eyelids. Hellboy pressed the fingers of his great right hand into her back and tried to think only of how lovely her breasts felt against his chest.
"I want you to let it show," she whispered to him tenderly. "Show me that you want me. Show me that you desire me. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It makes me feel good."
He kept his eyes pressed shut, his cigarette crushed in the fingers of his left hand, its smouldering end unnoticed. Anastasia wrapped her arms around his neck, straddling his lap.
"You're the best man I've ever met," she breathed into his ear. "I know that already. No one's ever made me feel as respected and valued as you and I mean that. The world could use more men like you admiring women instead of the wankers out there leching on us."
Hellboy pressed his face into her neck, finding the frank intimacy difficult but wanting to hear more. The warm softness of her body was greatly comforting and he remembered that no matter what he had believed his whole life, Anastasia had defied it all.
She cradled his head in her hands, stroking his skull adoringly. "I know Bruttenholm was only trying to look out for you, but he was wrong. So wrong."

After years of stifling his attraction to women, Hellboy could not easily allow himself to do otherwise without conflict. Bureau work had been an ideal distraction, the hard labour and challenging conditions suited to his nature at any rate, providing ongoing stimulation that kept him active, as he preferred to be. His rapid growth into adulthood had awoken lusts he didn't know how to process, desires that bothered him constantly. With no option to fulfill them, the constant work the Bureau demanded of someone with his particular talents was an excellent way to take his mind off them. Doctor Bernstein had explained to him as he'd helped him ease through puberty that someone with the levels of testosterone that he had would most likely always have a high sex drive. And sure enough, as the years passed Hellboy found that tension did not abate.
But fighting monsters proved to be the ideal method of venting pent-up sexual frustration.
The rate at which he poured himself into his work led to frequent burn-out and every five years or so, Hellboy took a leave of absence and wandered the world, usually ending back up in the British Isles, to which he was inextricably drawn. The constant travel helped keep his mind off his solitude although being out in the world also brought him into regular contact with more women than were staffed at the Bureau - and Hellboy's eye had a wide scope it seemed – but he also frequently drifted off into the wilds, spending months alone in woods and forests, inevitably coming up against supernatural something-or-other or magical this-and-that.
It was his life and it wasn't a bad one by any means. He had made many casual friends through his work and whenever he was in need of human companionship he could drop in and spend some time catching up. He maintained his close familial relationship with Bruttenholm and Liz – the pyrokinetic he regarded as his kid sister and worried about when he was away too long – and now there was Abe, too, with whom he'd already developed a strong unspoken bond.

Hellboy resented the part of himself that wanted to let his gaze linger on women who provoked his interest, that niggled his mind to wander into erotic fantasy. He resented that though he could stifle his desire for intimate contact he couldn't suppress it altogether. He knew that it was natural to feel attraction to others, that men had strong desires and that these were generally nurtured as normal and healthy by society. But he had been groomed strictly with regards respect of women and combined with the strong instructions that his normal, healthy desires could be construed as threatening and perverse, he wrestled with a lot of guilt and conflict over that aspect of himself.
It was made worse in knowing that his desires truly were normal and healthy. He had no interest in hurting or humiliating women – not even in the playful way he'd seen in those magazines some of the army boys had collected, the ones with Betty Paige – of controlling them or obliging them to concede, or of using them in a callous and disposable manner. Hellboy bridled when he overhead those particular sorts of men speak about women in ugly and predatory ways, was disgusted by their inability to see women as equally human – in their words and behaviour he recognised the same way he was treated by some people in the world and he couldn't stand to see it done to anyone. It was the same natural empathy that had drawn him to Liz and Abe and that made people so comfortable with him, if they allowed themselves to see beyond his outward appearance. No, what Hellboy desired from women, when he dared let himself, was intimacy and companionship, coming together in mutual desire and affection, the eroticism of genuine respect and reverence.
But simply because he was what he was, such desires were seen as tainted. It was hard to accept, but Hellboy generally got on with things. There was no point dwelling on what he couldn't change.

Now, without warning, there was Anastasia. Brilliant, beautiful, sensual and kind, who had seen him when she could have anyone, anyone at all who took her eye. She'd chosen him. Without any seeming conflict. She called him 'handsome' and 'sexy' as though it was the most natural and obvious thing in the world. She kissed him and his body with reverence and affection, not having once balked at his red skin, his hooves and tail, the horns or even that monstrous right hand that was capable of so much destruction. She took him as he was and told him that his desire and passion for her was not only okay but welcomed. And returned in full.

It was wonderfully affirming and terribly overwhelming, all at once.

"I knew those still waters would run deep, but I never guessed they were bottomless," Anastasia murmured, her lips soft and sweet on the top of his head. Hellboy kept his arms wrapped around her, his face hidden in her neck and the silky mantle of her hair. Like this, with her straddling him in the dark, he felt... safe.
It wasn't that Hellboy ever felt unsafe. He was tough. Nothing could really intimidate or threaten him. Even if he wasn't stronger than whatever he was up against, he healed quick and so far nothing seemed able to kill him. Hell, he'd never even caught a cold.
But he had never put his heart at risk. Not truly. Even his occasional crushes and infatuations were tempered by the knowledge they would always be focused from a remote distance. Now he was putting himself in perhaps the greatest danger he had ever really been in and with no known method of defence or protection.
But yet he felt safe.

"I love you," he whispered hoarsely into her neck and her arms about him tightened and he felt her tremble with emotion.
"I love you too," she whispered back and then urged his face up to hers where she kissed him passionately, her eyes shining with love as unmistakeable as the tears that sparkled there. "I love you so much. I can't wait to spend every day with you."

Neither could he. The future waited and by Anastasia's side, it was the brightest it had ever been.

ooo

Thank you for making it through to the end! Read on for the author's note! :)