When he feels strong arms winding around his waist from behind Tos'un is instantly awake, but he makes no move to evade the touch. He knows exactly who has come to him tonight.

So it is going to happen again, he thinks bitterly, hating himself for being too weak to actually resist at least inside the privacy of his own mind. The fact that he has been expecting and not even tried to evade this makes it even worse. There was a time when he still said things like: I wish you wouldn't do this and please stop, but he has stopped doing that about a year ago. It isn't like he ever expected it to work anyway. It never has and never will, so he may just as well spare himself the effort.

"You are quite late tonight", he whispers instead still staring ahead into the darkness of his bedroom, unwilling to face the newcomer.

"Were you hoping that I would not come?"

"I have long ago given up on that hope", he answers softly, still not quite prepared to turn around, but shivering helplessly nonetheless as skillful hands glide slowly across the warm skin of his stomach, barely touching, but making sudden heat coil in his stomach in spite of that. The hands are soon joined by soft lips on his shoulder. It is not enough yet to forget, but he knows that it will not take very long until he will arch his back under these hands and lips and plead for more. It never ceases to amaze Tos'un how quickly Jaellien can reduce him to this, make him moan, unable to do anything but feel. How the other seems to know exactly just where to touch in order to have him trembling, powerless to resist. Even if he had ever been in a position to refuse, in those moments Tos'un would not have been able to do it anyway. He hates and craves those moments in equal measure, because then at least he is also unable to think about his betrayal. The guilt and self loathing will come only afterwards, when he can remember again that he is not supposed to enjoy this.

At least he knows that he is not the only one to have mixed feelings about these strange nighttime meetings Jaellien keeps inflicting on him. Tos'un is fairly sure that the blond Mage is still not happy about the fact that he ever started this. It does not mean that he will be able to bring himself to stop though. They are both tied together by twisted bonds forged long ago, neither of them strong enough to break the connection now that it should have become meaningless. The drow suspects that this is hurting both of them, but hurt has ever been part of their relationship, so maybe it should not surprise him that he cannot help but await each visit with a strange mix of excitement and revulsion. At least this is better than being whipped, or so he tells himself. He should already know it to be untrue, but he holds onto that illusion against his better judgement. What Jaellien gains from this he cannot quite guess, but it does not seem to be enough in any case, judging by the hungry yet still angry expression the Mage usually has on his face when he comes to him.

The drow can feel the bed dip as Jaellien momentarily abandons his task of making him shiver in order to twist out of the light robe he was wearing when he arrived. The first time the Mage teleported directly into his bed, Tos'un nearly stabbed him in surprise. On some nights he almost wishes he had really done it. The moment is long gone though and the opportunity has passed.

Finally Tos'un turns around to regard the now naked elf behind himself. His eyes suddenly grow wide though at the unexpected sight of short blond strands which are tumbling chaotically around the narrow face. What happened to the long braid he has grown accustomed to seeing?

"What did you do to your hair?" he blurts out unthinkingly, blinking like a startled deer.

Of course that was the wrong thing to say. Even after almost five years of this Jaellien still reacts to most of what comes out of Tos'uns mouth as if he was being most grievously insulted. It is one of the reasons why the drow still avoids talking to him beyond simple questions and statements of the obvious. And even those can be risky.

"If you don't like it I advise you to close your eyes", the blond Mage hisses back, green eyes narrowing in ready annoyance.

It is so tiring this everlasting, bristling urge to attack at each perceived slight. In moments like this one Tos'un wonders if what he does here will ever be enough. Probably not. If it was there would have been at least some slight change, he reasons to himself. He has honestly tried over the last few years to atone for at least some tiny part of his deeds, but nothing he has done no amount of submission ever seemed to make an impression on the angry elf now in bed with him. It is all so exhausting and he simply does not know what to do anymore. He has no way to stop this, now even less than ever before. What he has let Jaellien do to him also condems him now, because if he had not been guilty, then why would he have let him do it?

If he says something now, trying to explain, Jaellien will just give caustic answers twisting his words and throwing them back at him like stinging arrows. Tos'un knows that because it has happened so often that he thinks he just can't bear it any more. He can take the physical side, the sex, but this constant aggression, this blame and the anger is becoming harder to accept each time. In the beginning they would regularly hiss and spit at each other like enraged cats before falling into bed anyway, but after all these years he has grown weary and it is hard to muster the same anger he felt before. So instead tonight Tos'un tries to do something else. Without saying another word he slowly lifts his arm and slides his fingers carefully through silky, blond hair, watching Jaellien closely for a reaction.

This is not something he has tried before, because doing this, deliberately initiating contact like this, when he his not moaning and writhing mindlessly beneath the other, means more commitment on his part than he usually wants to allow himself. It leaves him open to attack, makes him complicit in the deeds he still wants to deny and forget each day. Up until now he has most assiduously avoided to do anything beyond letting Jaellien take whatever he wants or doing as he is told. There is nothing left though, besides this. He has already tried everything else and failed. It will hurt worse, knowing that he has actively participated in the betrayal of the vows he made to his wife, but if nothing changes Tos'un feels that this will eventually drive him mad. There has to be something which will break through this terrible wall of hurt and fury Jaellien has surrounded himself with.

For a few short moments it almost appears like Jaellien is softening. He seems to lean into the light but tender caress almost imperceptively. Tos'un's rising relief is short lived though, because the green eyes soon harden again and the Mage grips his wrist, pulling the hand away.

"Oh, no! You don't get to control this", he snarls harshly, pushing Tos'un backwards, down onto the mattress. The drow complies, but in his chest he can barely ignore the aching, hollow feeling of another defeat. All he really wants to do is to curl up and ignore the world for a while, but it is not to be. The Mage kneeling above him demands his attention quite insistently, even though Tos'un has to force himself to dredge up the needed interest for the following until he can finally manage to push it all away for long enough to drown himself in physical sensation. He can still feel the anger though, in each touch that sears his skin, in every scratch and scrape of small white teeth on his neck. Somehow he has managed what he had not even thought possible and made things even worse. He almost welcomes the pain as Jaellien takes him more harshly than he usually does. The pain of his body finally matches what he feels on the inside. It seems appropriate somehow.

It does not last very long though and afterwards Tos'un finds himself still lying on his back among the sweaty sheets and rumpled pillows, staring at the ceiling and he wonders fleetingly if his eyes are betraying the aching emptiness he is feeling right now. Apparently they do, because Jaellien frowns at him from where he is standing beside the bed, pulling on his robe.

"What are you doing?" He demands as if this too was somehow Tos'un's fault. "Stop acting like the distressed virgin which I know you're not."

"I'm just tired", the drow mumbles wearily and now he really does turn around and curl away from the other. He is silently asking himself when Jaellien has become the one who is hard and controlled and when he has turned into the weak, pathetic and powerless one. He cannot deny though that these visits, paired with the constant aggression are slowly taking their toll on him. "I'm so tired of fighting. Please just go."

Much to his surprise Jaellien does exactly that, teleporting away without another word.


A/N: When I was writing this I kind of surprised myself by bursting into tears in the middle of it. While that seems a bit silly looking back, I still hope I managed to put into words at least a bit of what was going on in my head at the time.