Welcome one and all to the September 2014 Remix of This Game We Play!

Think of this as an Extended Edition, or a Director's Cut if you will. The overarching plot has not been changed from the original version of this story, but many new small elements have been introduced, or scenes and characters have been added or nuances have been refined that did not make it into the original verse. Because if this is the fic that is going to send me to Hell, then I'd better be damn well proud of it when I get there!

And, as an added bonus, my writing style has been cleaned up a lot in the interim year and a half since I first began publishing this fic, as I have kind of sort of figured out how punctuation works as a thing. :3

So I greatly hope that you will all enjoy the slightly longer, slightly richer and slightly dirtier version of Melkor and Mairon's twisted little romance. As always, much love, and yours most humbly, theeventualwinner / markedasinfernal (Tumblr)

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THE LIEUTENANT

Hands caress his neck, winding as soft and lascivious as snakes over his skin. A pale finger slides up from the hollow of his throat, a fingernail leaves its blushing graze over his skin and in its wake he shivers. Clad only in doeskin trousers, the chill air of the hall clings to him. It sets his skin alight. The hands slide upwards; a finger hooks about his chin and tilts his head back slightly, setting the blond waves of his hair to spill over his shoulders, their ends caught in pale radiance by the torches that stud the hall's wide walls.

A thumb scrapes along his jaw-line, toying, teasing; and he feels his breath quicken in unconscious response. The lithe, strong muscles of his abdomen flex in brilliant definition, shadows clot and jump in the hollow of his clavicles as sharply he inhales, as at last he breathes: "My lord..."

Slowly, irresistibly, his head is forced back, fingers tinged a muted grey press into his chin, and slowly his gaze wanders. The sculpted metal of the throne before him sinks, its scythe-like spires slip from his view as his eyes are pushed to the vaulted ceiling some fifteen metres above him. Velvet drapes and steel metalwork vie there for mastery, flint greys strive with midnight cloths amid crossbeams gorged with chains. Manacles drip from them to hang sullen and lonely in the twilight as the last glimmers of the failing sunset struggle through the arched windows set high into the walls.

Below them tattered flags hang limp, the ruined memoirs of enemies long since vanished pay silent witness to their conquerors' delights. Crumpled stars stand miserably upon sheets of battle-stained white, their silver threads dull and despoiled in the torchlight as greasy flames gutter and flick from the bracketed flares set into the walls.

Upon the dais at the head of the deserted hall he kneels before the throne, and he quivers before him who sits upon it. A pointed fingernail traces from his sternum to his chin, and his pulse beats just that much stronger beneath his skin. Every nerve in him sparks alive at that touch, at once perilous and abhorrent and wrong, and yet so deliciously right. Something carnal in him stirs, it inhales, it unfurls, and no matter how hard he tries to stifle it, it refuses to be muzzled.

The crisis engine of desire reaches its crux. For centuries untold he has tried to run from it, he has tried so valiantly to ignore it. Though his lord, his master, might tempt him, or might use him, might permit him a fleeting night of pleasure that he is never entirely sure that he wants, never yet had he fallen utterly. He would not fall; he would not give into base desires or sentimentality. He would not, not now, and not ever. He has more pride than that.

He is still himself; though by his own words he is sworn to his master in fealty, in fear, in loyalty, in deference, and in a million other clever emotions that so long ago he had convinced himself were real. The emotions that he tells himself that he feels have to be real: a sense of honour, of duty, of noble servitude to his lord in all things dry and crisp and academic. They are real and solid and final. They serve not as a mask, but as the truth.

They override those deeper things, those insidious, worming things inside of him; those other emotions that he could never admit to.

That he would never admit to.

Because they weren't real. He did not want them, and so they could not exist.

And yet…

A finger presses down upon his jugular, hard. He can feel his pulse slamming through his skin. Despite himself he moans, a low and breathy exhalation escapes him through gritted teeth, and too late he comes to stop it. A blush tinges over his cheeks, something burns in the base of his stomach, some dark craving so long repressed now strains at the shackles he has so strictly imposed upon it and to his horror he can feel them begin to splinter.

But he doesn't want this, he doesn't. Such things are not proper, they are not seemly: he is his master's lieutenant, he is the commander of all the vast legions of Angband, and for so long he has convinced himself that this is all he ever wants to be that perhaps a part of him has come to believe his own lies.

For a dreadful urgency rises up within him: he has to tell him, he has to tell his master that. That he doesn't want this. He has to make his master stop. He is older now; he is not some fledgling youth to be beguiled by smiles and flattery as once he was. He has power of his own.

"My lord, I…"

His master's finger taps against his lips, severing his rather plaintive attempt at speech and with that possessive little gesture what pretences of power or reluctance that he has flee from him. His master's fingers drag downwards; they part his lips at their seam and an unbidden shiver of excitement flicks up through him.

One hand fully encircles his throat now, he feels his master take his hold, gentle and yet so delicately perilous. And in that strange moment he thinks of how easy it would be, how cruelly casual the motion. The clench of a fist, the rupture of bones, the brutal severance of veins and arteries and connective tissues with one swift, decisive crunch and then oblivion.

He looks to that future within his master's hands, and with idle curiosity he finds that it does not frighten him.

So he waits, and with sage wisdom he knows that this decision is not yet his to make. But as the seconds trickle by in all their quivering trepidation something within him twists, and something bold in him burns behind it. He exhales a breath he does not know he has held and finally his eyes flicker to his master's, he catches his master's stare and he holds it: silver challenges molten gold. And behind his master's brilliant eyes, something smiles.

Nails dig into his skin, and instinctively he feels droplets of blood well up beneath that pressure, throbbing crimson upon his skin. He hisses as he feels his master's grip shift slightly, the sting of it transmuting to some other, darker sensation, and the muscles of his neck strike bold under his master's hand.

Trails of blood smear down the sides of his neck, they drip through his master's fingers, and oh how he loathes it; a part of himself spilled so crassly, so un-mourned. Yet deeper still how he adores it, this sublime cruelty, and from the abstract swirl of dissenting emotions within him he feels something coalesce. Something bright, something urgent swirls to a core in the pit of his stomach, for a moment it wavers and then it seethes. And gripped by its wild fury, against his master's fingers he suddenly lunges forward.

He pushes through his master's grip, and though every fibre of his rational being screams at him to stop something far stronger spurs him on. He rises to his feet, he knocks his master's hands aside and he darts forward, he lays impious fingers upon that which he holds divine, and desperately, passionately he kisses him.

Lips meet in devastating war; his tongue scrapes across his master's teeth. Such reckless ardour for a moment devours him, it screams with the weight of centuries of denial and he almost does not feel his master soften to accept his gift, such is the tight terror of his passion. His master's mouth opens against his, their tongues twine together, and amphetamine lust shrieks up through him.

One hand runs down his master's tunic, skilfully he unpicks the knots of ebony silk before slipping his hand to his master's chest, savouring the warm ripple of muscles that he finds there. Lower still his hand slides, trailing over his master's abdomen, skating the slant of his hipbone that sends his grip slipping ever lower.

Through their kiss he suddenly hears his master's growl, and the blood runs cold in his veins. Horror-struck he pauses, that bold lust suddenly severs, as coldly, excruciatingly he becomes aware that he has far overstepped his bounds. Fearfully he stops, he wriggles his hand free and he tries to pull away as a flush of embarrassment mottles over his cheeks. But his master halts him, his hands grip with crushing force about his skull, and his kiss becomes biting, hurting; and even as he tries to squirm away his master prevents it.

Puissance crackles upon his master's lips, some dark spell blisters against his mouth, it pours down his throat and he feels his master push it into him. At that violation he whimpers, all thoughts of passion are banished as his master shoves into him, drowns him, and beneath that relentless onslaught he just tries to hold onto himself. For within that torrent he can feel himself slipping as his master's power overwhelms him, flooding through vein and muscle alike. It shrieks into his ears, it spews its violent entropy into him, and paralyzed within his master's grasp he can do nothing but endure, endure its hatred and its desire all crushed and warped and made obscene.

I want to take you. I want to break you. Skin you and hang you dripping vermilion across the floor. My lost little angel, I will take you by the hand and I will crown you, in snapping sinews and promises of love. And then I will seize you, strike home this brutal desire to its core, and you can sob, and you can beg, and you can gasp and cry and I will wipe away your tears, but you can do nothing in the end. And it can be violent, and it can be twisted, you pinned so tight beneath me, you strung up before me, but you're caught, little lover, you're mine.

You are mine.

I will break you, and when you lie shattered across the stones I will re-make you. I will stitch you back together, all bold and vulnerable and glorious; and perhaps you will not know how to feel. Perhaps you cannot know how to feel. But I will show you. And you can wage your masochistic little war, a war you don't even know why you're fighting. You can smash yourself against me, you can rip yourself apart, little one, but ever you will come crawling back.

You will kneel bloodied before my throne. Tears will fall down those precious cheeks, and you will beg for me to stop, you will beg for me to continue.

You will plead for mercy at my feet, and you will not truly know if it is mercy you desire.

With one final, desperate jerk he pulls himself backwards, and finally his master releases him. Their lips come undone, he gasps in a breath and it tastes like metal. A wave of dizziness swamps through him and to his horror he stumbles, he keels over backwards onto the marble expanse of the dais, and the concussion of the impact is left ringing in his ears. By some lingering stroke of instinct he catches himself with his hands as he falls, partially salvaging a completely undignified collapse. A clot of blood shimmers on his lips, and as he pants in dismay and terror and arousal he spits it across the floor, spraying a fine sheen of red across the black tiling.

His tongue flicks across a livid split in his lower lip, and he winces as the sting of it prickles through him. But as he comes back to himself he notices his master rise, and all thoughts of fleeting pain tumble from him.

"S-sorry, my lord," he splutters, half cringing away as his master steps towards him, a feral light set ablaze in his eyes.

His master steps forward, and danger sounds in his every footfall. Frantically he scrambles backwards, away from those terrible golden eyes, away from the awful intent behind them until all too soon his hand comes down on air, and the steps of the dais fall away beneath him. His master's iron-shod boots tap gently upon the marble, and with each predatory step he shivers.

"I'm sorry," he pleads, the words tripping over his lips. "I – I shouldn't have done that, my lord. I… it was improper… I…"

Desperately he starts to rise, to clamber to his feet, but above him his master stoops. One finger presses firmly into his chest and pushes him back to the floor. Real terror wells up inside of him then, his master looks at him with hunger in his eyes and he hopes that his master cannot feel him tremble, cannot feel the frenzied hammer of his heartbeat. A bead of sweat slides down his back, the numb, animal paralysis of foreboding grips him.

"W-wait," he stammers, as his master leans over him, a faint smirk playing about his lips. "P-please, I didn't - "

But his master ignores him, his smile widens, and behind those golden eyes victory flashes like lightning.

And through a sick sneer of triumph, all incisors and snarling lips, his master purrs, "How now, little one? Are you ready to play?"