Misha knelt between Jensen's legs with his shirt half-open and their kiss still wet on his mouth.

"Do you want to stop?"

Jensen smiled. "No."

Lightning sent their shadows to the other side of the room, and Misha tilted up for another kiss, a blue-black lock of hair over one eye, with Jensen pressed hard against him, wondering at this handcuffed man on his knees who was neither prisoner nor penitant.

The mission field had been dire in Haiti. Misha was given a coffin for his sixteenth birthday, wherein he packed all his worldly possessions and flew to the island to proselytize to the poor and die before he turned eighteen.

But he hadn't died. Not yet.

Jensen broke off for air. "Well this is...not how I thought it would've gone."

Misha sucked salt sweat from Jensen's throat, whispering between kisses. Helicopters swarmed in the distance. "The raid...they'll find us..."

"Oh no, you don't know...how long I waited," he said, fingers carding his black curls, "To cuff you to a bedpost and fuck that look off your face."

He felt Misha blush against his neck. Jensen pressed his mouth to his ear. "You wanna see it?"

Misha shut his eyes in adolescent terror as Jensen's shoes slid to the floor, cock hard against Misha's hip.

"Aren't you curious?"

Misha looked down, lips parted, at the hard shape behind Jensen's zipper, and Jensen twisted the end of Misha's shirt around one finger until it pulled tight around his body. Every rape fantasy burned in Misha's brain like old scar tissue, urging him to yield, to let the prom king climb onto his cock and milk the innocence out of him.

"Remember that car?"


"Were you scared to be with me?"

Misha looked up, eyes like dirty ice. "No."

"Cuz I was scared to be alone with you," said Jensen, legs curling around Misha's hips to draw him in, "I make a pass at anyone else, they'll either kiss back or laugh or tell me to fuck off, but...choir boys are so different when no one is watching."

"You wanted to kiss me?"

"No," said Jensen, thumb sliding across Misha's lower lip, "No not exactly that."

His fingers trailed lightly down Misha's arms to rest on the handcuffs. "Truthfully I figured you weren't interested. I don't know when I began worrying about such a thing."

"I remember."


"That one time you got worried. The first time you really...looked at me," said Misha, thinking back, "I was so angry when you left town, I started throwing stones at that car. But it struck some birds instead, and the birds flew into the path of a dog pack, and then some beggars began fighting the dogs for the birds. We were all so hungry back then. It was terrible."

His voice softened, and their bodies swayed together like two trees. "But then I remembered that night in the car. Your eyes. Your mouth. The way you hold perfectly still. And I thought, all this violence had been put in my way in order for me to witness something beautiful."

An edge slid into Misha's voice. "And you. Ran. Away."

"Don't be sad," said Jensen, running his thumb across Misha's cheek, "We'll get away from all this."

Police lights flashed blue shadows and faded. "No we won't."

"We will," he said, a deep burr in his voice, "Another thirty years, I'll be fat, you'll be bald, we'll have debt and dogs and tomatoes in the backyard, and I will sit across the dinner table and fuck you to sleep every night afterward until you say you don't want me no more. Until the stars grow cold."

Something flashed in Misha's eyes and then was gone. "We don't have years," he said, moving to the opposite end of the sofa, "We have tonight."

"You're not going anywhere without me in those bracelets."

"My path has been chosen for me."

"And the country lock-up's right down the street. You need not be confused about your prospects."

Thunder rolled across the ocean when suddenly Misha rocked back, brought the handcuffs to the back of his knees, then looped them over his bare feet until he stood straight. He had practiced. Then he placed one bare foot on Jensen's chest and lightning threw his face into sharp relief.

This next move was a long time in the making.

"Do you know the account of Elisha and the Shunammite man?"

Jensen wrapped his hands around Misha's ankle, hesitating. "Is that what you saw earlier?"

"Perhaps I saw them, perhaps it was something yet to come. I can't know. Prophecies run in either direction."

Jensen did not doubt this. Many things were hidden from ordinary human existence. "What happened?"

The storm gathered outside, framing Misha in red clouds.

"When the prophet Elisha came to Jericho, he found that he could resurrect the dead by means of ecstatic possession, that if a man were not in his own body he could be recalled to it by achieving an electric state of consciousness. And so it was that one day a young man was brought before him, cold, silent, his soul set to wander in corporation with God, and Elisha lay down with him. Eye to eye. Hand to hand. Mouth to mouth. Until a double crisis was achieved and the man awakened."

"I ain't dead yet."

"Your heart is dead. Your efforts will not succeed until that is fixed."

"Don't feel broken to me."

"You never had a good one. Like a dead man's grave," he said, looming close, "It must needs a great deal of spadework."

Jensen flushed. He'd be lying if he hadn't wanted this for a long time. "Okay, but not here. Anywhere but here. Men died here."

"Where else could I have taken you? No harm will come to those in the house of blood and fire, for it is a sanctuary. It is where you bring your sacrifices."

Misha crooked Jensen's knees in his hands. The mission was gone and the church was gone, uprooted from his past and soon to be cut off from his future, and not one of these misfortunes could be omitted from the miracle of destruction Providence had produced in order to bring these two men together for one final hard and holy act.

He rested his cheek against the inside of Jensen's thigh, studying the path their old math teacher had taken, and looked up to seek permission. Jensen grabbed the armrest behind his head and nodded weakly, and then Misha turned his head, lips pulled back from his teeth and bit Jensen's thigh through his slacks. Chain lightning burst overhead, and Jensen panted with expectation as he closed his eyes against the soft summer rain.

Misha watched him, lower lip brushing the mark he'd just made. "Again?"

Jensen nodded and let his head fall back when Misha bit a couple of inches higher, legs shaking, breathing hard through his nose as Misha's mouth seered a line to Jensen's cock where Misha grabbed the belt with his teeth and pulled at it hungrily. It was only when the buckle opened that Jensen pulled him up by his hair to guide him higher.

"Here." he said, pushing Misha's face into his belly. Misha marked the tender flesh beneath his ribs, Jensen's fingers laced through his hair and tightening with each bite, then his teeth snapped around Jensen's top shirt button and spat it across the room, grabbing Jensen's collar with his mouth, eyes hard and dark as he tore open Jensen's shirt to land sharp stubbled kisses along his collarbone.

Lightning licked the horizon. Misha produced the knife from his pocket, and spread his fingers over Jensen's heart. "You are soft. Killing a man makes the soul malleable, it will bend as easily towards good as it does to evil."

Jensen swallowed but did not move to stop what came next. "You don't have to do this."

"To shed blood unto death is the curse of the covenant. And as a bondsman of God," he said, the sky splitting with a flash of light, "I am obliged to satisfy that curse."

Misha reached under Jensen's shirt, cold steel whispering across skin. He let it rest against Jensen's mouth for a moment before ripping upward with a great flourish and Jensen's shirt fell open to either side.

"This new form of worship was used not simply to heal a man," said Misha, as he cut away the rest of Jensen's clothes, "But to create a vehicle for divine energy that was possible only because of it."

Jensen's clothes fell softly to the floor.

"But you can only take advantage of this if you are willing to be put aside mortal weakness, stripped of pride and fear. That is to say, you may take advantage of your position in space without the burden of gravity, which is a way of saying 'flight', if you are willing to trade your hands for a pair of wings. That is to say," said Misha, a fugitive smile on his lips, "You may see stars if you are willing to relinquish the earth."

His fingertips brushed Jensen's face, pressing a hand to his forehead as if testing for fever.

"Let me forge you a new heart, for I have cherished the thought of you, kept myself for you," he said, his voice cracking, "For so long."

His touch was respectful, searching, and Misha stretched out on top until his feet hit the furthest arm of the couch while Jensen lay a hand on his belt buckle. The storm was quiet, as though standing by in silent witness.

He slipped his handcuffed wrists under Jensen's legs to the small of his back, gathering him up until they were nest inside of one another. Misha had had many opportunities to regret his inexperience, but then Jensen's hand disappeared inside his slacks and the shame evaporated.

Rain washed the blood from his clothes and ran pink onto the floor. Their cocks slid together, their breath loud in the empty space, and even at this light touch Misha swelled and bit his lip to keep from finishing too soon. He made a little noise in the back of his throat, and Jensen grabbed his hips.

"Faster," he breathed, establishing a rhythm, "Like this."

Misha struggled to keep up, his toes curling against the armrest, heart pounding. The couch rocked beneath them, and Jensen's nails dug in until they felt bone.

Their bodies moved faster, backs straining, and soon Misha was trying to stop for fear he would finish first, but every time he pulled away he'd stopped at the last inch and let Jensen bring him back. He memorized every moment, snapshots in time of Jensen's square white teeth when he smiled and the two lines between his eyes when he was right on the edge, for he would treasure them later. Where he was going, there were only memories.

They lost track of time. Neither of them were in their own bodies, and Misha buried his face in Jensen's arms for the first wave and continued grinding into him until hot jizz ran down the crack of his ass. Cold air whistled between their legs.

Misha took a moment to collect himself. But only a moment. If he was weakened by this prelude, he did not show it. He peered at Jensen half-lidded as though he were in a trance.

"Will you pledge yourself to me?"

Lightning branches lit the horizon, hot wires trying to connect in a boiling sky. Jensen breathed out slowly, his hands falling softly to his sides. "Yes."

"Will you open your heart to me that you may walk again in dignified innocence?"

Misha's cock filled with blood, ample and hard and eager for the dig. The head rested right against Jensen's ass, he had but to push his feet against the armrest. Rain slid down Jensen's fevered face, and his head fell back as the first inch opened him up. "Yes."

"Knowing you will be forever constrained to that duty which, by love, will exclude you from all others?"

Jensen bit his lip. He must have known this would happen, that he would be impaled by an agent of Heaven like the pin in a great and powerful hinge, on which turned an opponent he would never meet.


Something clicked when Misha bottomed out, shuddering as Jensen stretched tight around the base of his cock like a hot pink fist. Rain pooled in the hollow of his throat, his cock red and ripe against his belly, and Misha longed to feel it burst in his hand.

Their eyes locked. Jensen had never been with a virgin, much less one forbidden to marry, and the thought of Misha draining all those years of abstinence into his exquisitely tight ass made his cock jump.

Misha didn't give him time to adjust. One second he was still and the next he was pounding the breath out of Jensen's lungs, wet shirt clinging to his body, long, violent strokes that moved the couch a quarter inch across the floor each time, as though he were administering a punishment.

Outside, the kids on the beach stepped out of their car to confront the police. It was hard to tell who shot first. Then again not hard at all.

Misha bared his teeth.


A thin line of blood on the side of his face.


Cockhead scraping deep inside, strong arms imprisoning Jensen's thighs to keep him spread apart.

"To me."

Jensen clutched his chest. "What's happening...?"

All the veins leading to his heart were illuminated. It was like Chicago seen from the air by night. All of Jensen's iniquities, anger, contempt, cowardice, rose to the surface like slag in a crucible, and only the love of a pure man could lance it from his heart. He urged Misha on, afraid that he'd be nothing but a smoking crater if Misha didn't come inside him and extinguish the pain.

Most of the kids went down, dragged across the sand with their shirts riding up their backs, the others tagged with paintball pellets to be rounded up later. A stray round hit the engine block and the car erupted in a ball of flame that grew and grew until even the police had to take a step back.

Jensen writhed beneath him, every hard wet curve of his body gleaming in the rain. "Please, you have to finish."

"I don't want to."

He brought his teeth around Misha's earlobe and bit down until he drew blood. "Fuck. Me." he said, the words incendiary in his ears.

Jensen closed down on him, so tight that it would have crushed a lesser man. Misha's vow of chastity, the years of self-abnegation, all in preparation for this Holy Bride, broke as he pumped his aching cock into him, and he sealed his mouth over his and snapped his hips hard and fast, handcuffs rattling, couch creaking, their voices rising higher as the visible and the invisible came together in the overlapping magisteria of body and soul, and together they stepped into an orgasm and rode it all the way to the stars.

Outside, the beach was empty, the car a burning skeleton in four puddles of tar.

Misha dressed in the pre-dawn dark. He carried his shoes one-handed down the stairs, out the door, and onto the beach, not once glancing at the window. He couldn't look at Jensen. He wouldn't be able to look away.

The water rolled in and sucked at his calves, and he lifted a children's Bible from the sand, the kind where Jesus was blonde and Mary Magdelene sported mall bangs. It was damp and just big enough to hide the handcuffs.

Police cruisers flashed their lights, tanks rolling down the main drag while officers in riot gear began erecting a fifteen-foot fence around the neighborhood. Misha watched as the first protestor ran straight into a taser shield and bounced inside its' concave sides like a pinball until his heart exploded. No one was getting out alive.

A tall barrel of a police officer stepped off the side of a tank and pointed his gun at Misha's feet.

"Sir, what is your name?"

Misha stared at his fishbowl reflection in the officer's helmet. "Misha Novak."

"Where are you headed this morning?"

Misha held up the Bible. "To Mass."

"Where are you from?"


The officer asked him something in Creole, and Misha spat out a rapid-fire reply. Satisfied, the officer shouldered his gun and stepped back onto the tank.

"Welcome to Miami sir."