Author's Note: I've never written any fanfiction for a story besides Harry Potter, but I'm in the middle of the Kushiel's Legacy series (it's amazing if you haven't checked it out) and this little plot bunny wouldn't leave me alone. It's a one-shot from Joscelin's point of view, set at the end of the first book, Kushiel's Dart.

Forgive Me

I always swore it would be the last time, but when she approached me, reaching one hand out to brush hair from my face, I knew it would never be the truth. Though I tried to hold firm in my resolve, my hands reached for her waist of their own volition and I closed my eyes, silently praying to my god. Cassiel forgive me.

The feel of her breath tickling my neck brought me from my reverence and I pulled her close, circling my arms around her form. I could feel her hands running up and down my back, feel every inch of her body pressed against mine. I tried not to remember her calling, her vow to serve Naamah. I tried not to think of how she learned this skill, the ability to set my skin afire with a simple touch. She, a courtesan, a scion of Kushiel, trained in the art of love, the pupil of the Whoremaster of Spies, taking pleasure in the worst kinds of pain. And I, a priest, vowed to be celibate for a lifetime. She untied the laces of my tunic and I felt her hands slip underneath, pushing the material off my shoulders and placing her hands against my bare chest. Cassiel forgive me.

When her lips touched my skin, I felt my resolve crumble as I sought her mouth with mine. My fingers found the fabric of her gown and tugged, pulling it upward and breaking our kiss for a moment as it slid over her head, and then once the gown had fallen to the floor, the tips of my fingers grazed her breasts, and in that moment, I was torn between the ecstasy of her soft skin and the torment of knowing I was once again failing in my servitude to the Companion. Cassiel forgive me.

My lips descended to the throb of her breast, taking it into my mouth gently in the way that she once had to coax and beg me to do. The fall from my vows was not done eagerly; every lesson Phedre sought to teach me was met with resistance. Was it not enough that I was breaking my solemn oath? Must I also be lewd, licentious, reprobate, engaging in not only the act of coupling but in the highest forms of ecstasy taught by Cereus House? Yet I was urged into the art of pleasuring her by the desire to serve her, the alluring temptation of her body, and, most horrific of all, my own lovesick heart. And as I heard the smallest sigh escape her lips, I felt the wash of adoration and devotion sweep over me, shuddering with my passion. Cassiel forgive me.

And when she dropped to her knees, pulling my breeches down and taking me into her mouth, may Elua forgive me for believing that Cassiel himself could have given no protest at her exquisite ministrations. I grew to full hardness in moments, the basest of instincts driving my hips forward into her soft, wet mouth, and I heard an agonized cry escape my own lips as carnal pleasure dueled with relentless guilt. Cassiel forgive me.

Every time, this same battle fought in my soul, and while I knew that Casseline discipline could learn to tame even the wild and fiery passions a woman might elicit from my skin and blood, this was no simple woman; this was Phedre, and I could deny her nothing. At last, I could take it no more. I knew I had to have her, and not for the desires of my body, but for those of my heart. I lifted her from her position before me and carried her to her soft bed, one that I slept in far more often than my duties should allow. My palm founds its way between her legs, pressing against her center and compelling her to arch her back against the bed. She sighed as her mouth found mine, her fingers lacing through my hair, pulling me close to her as her hips bucked against my hand.

"I need you," she whispered.

Oh, my beloved Phedre. The woman I was oathsworn to protect, the whore's unwanted get, the Comtesse de Montreve. I gazed into her eyes as I held myself above her. They were always shadowed, not only by the scarlet mote but also by the haunted past: the death of Delaunay, the imprisonment of Hyacinthe, the looming threat of Melisande. She would never fully be mine. And yet, in the moment I entered her and made us one, her eyes closed and I could imagine, if only for that brief juncture in time, that she was. Truly, I desired nothing more than this, and nothing less. Cassiel forgive me.

The movement of love is not so different than the graceful and purposeful flow through the Casseline forms. I felt her warmth surrounding me as I pushed into her, and then with the elegance of years of Casseline training, my hands roamed her body and I pulled back, already feeling the loss of her wetness and desperate to enter her again. So the dance is. Her hips rocked against me as I fought to keep my voice from crying out in rapture. If I must break my vows, it should be to her pleasure and not to mine. But with a skill honed in practice, she rolled, forcing me onto my back and sinking onto me, her lithe body in full view, and the groan fell unbidden from my lips. Cassiel forgive me.

She leaned back and I fought not to watch our union. It was perverse, wicked, that I might not only break my vows but break them with a lustful and salacious eagerness. No, I would not watch her unfettered pleasure. I would not allow the sight of our bodies joining bring me to further delirium. To behold such a wanton act was obscene, the ultimate insult to Cassiel. And yet I found myself staring as her nether lips parted to take me into her body, the pad of my thumb reaching out to touch the Pearl of Naamah between her legs. Every part of her was beautiful. Cassiel forgive me.

Her fervor had increased, the pace of her movements now fast and erratic. I gritted my teeth as I struggled to keep my own desires under control, the Casseline discipline practiced for years put to good use as I fought to dominate my body's limitations. My hands gripped her smooth thighs firmly, and though my mind registered that I could not harm my ward or give in to her craving for pain, my fingers could not help but clasp her skin tightly and even that modicum of injury sent her spiraling to climax, crying out and shuddering. I could feel her inner walls tighten around me, and a moan I could not avert left me as I spilled myself inside of her. Waves of ecstasy crashed over me. My eyes squeezed shut, the thrill of pleasure subsiding, and I pulled her close, feeling the gentle press of her lips on my skin as she buried her face in my chest. What I would not give for her to be mine, to claim her soul and body as she had so fully claimed me. What I would not give to break my vow of celibacy with her over and over until we collapsed with exhaustion, until she cried not only in erotic revelry but in passionate love, until she too broke her own vow that bound her to Naamah's service, until she felt no more desire to have another man, until she grew round with child . . .

Dear Cassiel forgive me.