Thank you Ham and Satan.
"Open your eyes, Bella," he whispers against my skin.
His scent wraps around me, filling me with unwanted desire as I shiver against him.
"Where am I?" I ask against his chest. I look him over, sure the battle on the field has left its mark, but he's clean. Free of blood. Of scars.
He's perfect yet again.
"Excuse me?" I choke, looking around.
"Welcome to my side of Hell, Bella."
The nightmare I was so sure it would be, is beautiful. Carved monsters line his wall. Horned beasts made of rock and wood. Candles sit in glass at every corner, their lights illuminating the creatures eyes.
It's more than horror and somehow I know it's his work. The detail. The beauty.
There are books, leather bound and worn, lining his ornate wooden desk. They look older than earth, older than anything I've ever seen.
Blood stains his floor in the form of markings like those on his blades and skin. It's like a cave, a dark sinister, amazing cavern.
I move easily out of his arms, wanting nothing more than to explore his world. To try and understand him.
He looks at me as I touch everything. Every carving, every nook. I touch the bed, its dark wooden canopy. His silk sheets. A blood red candle that drips wax, its flame burning black as my fingers dance above it.
My body feels so alive down here. On fire, but alive. Like a million emotions trying to converge within me. And I sense things. Lurking in the shadows, hiding under the bed. I feel their power, their curiosity. I want to smile, to poke my head in and say hello. To embrace them.
"You see differently down here." Masen watches me closely, his face a mask of coldness. "Your mind is open, free. Accepting. You lose that above. Everything down here is more intense. Your sight stronger. Your sense of smell. The experience isn't the same for everyone."
"What do you mean?"
"For some it's painful. Seeing so much, exposing themselves to our elements. Being mortal down here is not always a gift. It can be very deadly for some."
"And for me?" I look at the creatures on the wall, fascinated by the details he put into them.
"Your wounds have been healed," he says, taking my attention away from the room, ignoring my question.
I look down at myself and run a hand across my forehead, my arms. I don't wince in pain, there isn't even a bruise.
He turns, his wings lowering behind him and casting shadows along the wall before they disappear and I stare, mesmerized, as the tattoos begin to shimmer along his skin once more. I look up and he's turned towards me once more, his eyes raking over me. There is calculation behind them; a doubt as his fingers drum along the ornate wood he leans against.
I know he's angry at me, but I don't know why.
"I don't know who healed me, Masen. One minute I was fighting and the next…" My words trail off as I look down at my hand. The absence of the blade, of its power, leaves a longing within me. A craving I can't shake, and my fingers tremble with that need.
"It was meant for you."
"That blade." He looks at my hand. "It was carved with the bone of warriors long past. The Nephilim. The bond we now share, and the power that you already possessed. You were meant to carry it. To wield it against creatures of the underworld."
"Masen." I breathe out, trying not to laugh at him.
"You believe yourself insane."
"No." I shake my head, not anymore. "I believe you've driven me insane, along with your father."
"You should stop getting angry at the things you've clearly enjoyed."
"You're an asshole."
"And you're aroused." He breathes in, his smile turning feral. "Deny it if you must, but I can smell it all over you. You crave my hands on you. My mouth against yours. The taste of sin mixing with sex."
I gasp as his wings burst from his back, their feathers reflecting like razor blades as he steps toward me.
"Remember, hands to yourself. They're very protective of me." His wings rise higher around us and I take a step back.
"I want to go back home."
Anger flashes in his eyes, quick like a snake's strike, and I clench my jaw.
"Take me back, Masen."
"What is wrong with you?" I scream. "You've brought me to hell. People want to kill me because of you. Bargain for me. Trade me for what? To become a whore in hell? Is that what your brother wanted with me? You want answers from me? How about you give me some for a change?"
He's on me faster than I can blink. His green eyes burst with red, like burning flames. I see he's holding back. I've hit a live wire nerve and he wants to lash out.
I wish he would.
"Don't make me regret saving you, Bella."
"I didn't want you to save me."
"You called my name. Screamed it. Begged for me. You think I'd let you die? You think I'm that sort of monster?"
"You killed my mother…"
"And she'd be so proud of you now."
I slap him. Only this time it connects, knocking him back a few inches. Emotions change so quickly in his eyes as he stares at me.
I try to move, to escape him, but he's pushing me. His chest against mine. His tongue on my lips. His breath hot against my own.
"I won't apologize." My breathing becomes rough as my heart pounds. He's not touching me, but his skin, that heat, it's rolling over the surface of my body and pulsating through my blood; begging to be closer. So much closer.
"Wise choice." His nose skims my jaw. "You're very distracting."
I blink and my head clears.
"Who healed you, Bella?"
"I don't know. I swear." I feel weak against him. Knees. Heart. Head.
Weak and powerless.
"What are you doing to me?" I ask, my body burning with need. Alive, but dying as he teases me.
"It's not me this time. It's you. I told you, you were meant for me. Mind, body, and soul. You were made for me."
His words echo in my head and something scratches at my skull. A distant memory. A voice. Something foreign, but so familiar.
I'm lost in it. Like a dream. My body floats closer as it moves further away. I reach for it, but my fingers move through it like a ghost and I want to cry.
"What?" I look up at him, confused.
"I've been calling your name." He looks worried, and angry. A mix that confuses me even more.
I begin to drift again, but a sharp pain punctures my skull and I scream.
Masen swears under his breath and something dark flashes in his eyes.
"You're hiding something." He grabs my shoulders, forcing my back against the harsh rock wall. My teeth clench to hold in a hiss as the jagged edge pierces my back, but I say nothing, give nothing. He doesn't deserve that satisfaction.
"No. I'm not."
"Something happened on that field." He lifts my chin. "I felt it. Something powerful."
"The only thing I saw where those creatures and Sam," I say, but I know there's more. Something lurking, scratching at the edge of my mind, but it won't come in. Won't show its face.
He's silent for a moment. His palm rests on the side of my face, and I know he's searching my mind. He doesn't even attempt to hide it. I try not to let it affect me, his touch, or that leather filled scent of his.
The pad of his thumb lingers on my bottom lip and my knees shake. His eyes connect with mine, that pearl white and black webbing. That monster inside him begging to consume me.
I'll let him if he asks. I'll give him anything. The realization terrifies me. Chills me to the bone and spins me out of control.
I breathe him in and still my body as I look at him. His eyes linger on my lips before fading to a haunting icy green and his smile turns to a vicious poison.
"You're doing it again." I gasp when he grips my side, the heat of his skin on my hip driving me insane. "Tell me how, Bella. Tell me how you block me."
He kisses my throat, smiling against my skin when I gasp.
"Tell me your secrets."
His tongue touches my flesh. His hands dance along my sides.
"Your desires," he whispers and rips the strap of my dress, exposing me.
"Masen." I try to speak, but my throat runs dry and my knees weaken.
"Tell me you want me." His teeth drag across my skin and when he looks at me, my blood stains his lips. "Tell me to stop."
I push back, trying to clear my head, to catch my breath. To stop myself before I give into every desire eating away at me from the inside. He's too intoxicating. Too powerful to resist, but the gnawing inside my head helps me focus.
Helps me deny him, even when it's killing me to do so.
"I'm not afraid of you anymore, Masen." My eyes shine with defiance as my fists clench with a promise of violence as I duck under his arm, putting as much space between us as I can.
"Don't come any closer."
"Now where's the fun in that?" he asks, moving slowly, circling me. "Like a kitten caught in a trap. Adorable."
"I hate you."
"Prove it." He laughs, a dark maniacal laugh, as his eyes glow green. "Show me just how much you hate me. Show me that angry girl that promised to put me down. Let me see her, Bella."
"Stop toying with me and take me back."
"You keep saying that word, toy, like there was never a two way road in this game."
"Masen…" I begin but he's gone. Disappeared into a cloud of smoke and deceit.
"Bella," he whispers, suddenly behind me and I scream. "They way you say my name…"
"You mean with disgust?"
"I have a gift for you."
"I don't want anything from you." I grit my teeth, begging my body to ignore him.
"Now, we both know that's a lie." He laughs behind me, pushing against me once more and my head falls back against his shoulder, a quiet moan escaping my treacherous lips.
"Don't." I turn to face him, trying hard to resist.
"So deadly." His fingers trace the lines of my face. "Intoxicating and beautiful. You'll want this gift."
"I can't." If I take from him, I'm giving him permission to take from me. A willing trade.
He'll break me. With a look. A touch. I feel it in my bones.
"Completely," he says, his eyes turning darker. "I'll never stop trying to break you. To consume you."
"That isn't who I am."
"You're such a beautiful liar. Gorgeous in your anger. But it's when you drip with poison that you're absolutely stunning."
My hand begins to tingle, his magic wrapping around me. I'd know that feeling anywhere. His unique influence. The painful sting of his presence. When I look at the palm of my hand, the same hand with my scar, the blade he gave me rests there, glowing. Its steel decorated and curved.
"What?" I laugh, unable to stop myself as my eyes go wide. "Have you lost your mind?"
"You're angry with me. This is your chance to show me just how much. To find that inner peace humans are so fond of."
"No." I try to shove the knife back into his hand, but he squeezes my fingers around its handle. Its power slinks up my arm as if he's binding it to me.
"What happened to the brave girl who tried to stab me with a chair?" He lets go of me, but his hands are like magnets against my body. His touch a source of pleasure and pain.
"She failed." The words taste bitter as I spit them out.
"Doesn't mean she should ever stop trying." His finger runs along the tip of the knife, drops of blood trailing down his skin.
"Will it work?" I look him in his eyes, but he gives me nothing. "If I try again, will it pierce your skin?"
"The blade was made to protect you. If you truly want it to hurt me…" His wings pull behind him, fluttering as if confused by his words as much as I am. I know they want to protect him, their energy thrums inside this room as they shimmer in and out of focus.
He's like a God standing before me. Damning me to his hell. Taunting me. Provoking. And the wider his onyx wings spread, the more I think about the blade. Dark thoughts lurking just below the surface, like how easy it would to use it. How much I want to.
It begins to glow softly in my hand. It feels so right. Like it belongs there. Always meant to be. Like I found the one thing I always felt was missing.
Like home. Like Masen.
"It's a trick," I whisper, trying to convince myself of the lie.
"So distrusting. So naive. A devil in women's clothing, but still a devil. You don't fool me, Bella." He leans in closer. I can taste him. The honey and smoke. The possessiveness inside him bursting to be freed.
"I'm not trying to."
"I don't want any of this." I try to drop the knife, but pain swims within me, urging me to hold it. To bring it closer. To never let go.
A single tear slides down my cheek.
"There she is." He smiles, all venom and snake.
I don't think. I shut down. I give in to hidden instinct.
It slices into his skin, the hilt flush against his chest, the blade scraping against his ribs. I hear the bone as it breaks and the gasp that leaves his lips as blood covers my hand.
His hand circles mine, pushing the blade deeper and I pour my rage into it, twisting the blade. Branding myself into him. Scarring his perfect skin and giving him what he wants.
What I need.
Suddenly, I'm flying through the air. The blade clangs to the floor as my back hits the soft mattress of his bed.
He's on top of me before I can blink. With his wings spread wide, he rips my clothes to shreds. His mouth covers every inch of me as his name leaves my lips in a tortured chant.
It's a push and a pull.
He's gentle at first. His fingers searching. Then Destroying. Pushing inside me with a deliberate slowness. He's nothing like the monster I predicted.
"I've never… I mean, I haven't been." His finger presses against my lips, silencing me as his mouth explores my skin.
It's fire. Licking and biting. Spreading across my skin, he burns and heals me in so many ways.
My chest rises and falls with the terror and excitement I feel as he laces our fingers.
"Are you going to hurt me?" I ask as he moves lower, his lips caressing my inner thigh.
"Yes." It's a promise as his eyes burn dark. His wings fold closer to his body, brushing my sides in light touches and making me gasp as my nails dig into him.
I grip him, tight in need, as his heated skin becomes flush with mine.
"Are you afraid?" His fingers tuck a stray hair behind my ear and his voice carries a tenderness I've never heard, making me weaker.
A whispered moan answers him as his other hand trails down my body. Between my legs. Against my thigh. It's slow and painful and greedy.
His lips whisper words against my skin as they kiss me in places that touch my soul.
"Masen," I beg as my fingers find purchase in hair, pulling him closer to me.
"Again." His lips sear me. "Say my name again."
I scream it. Over and over. Loud and to the heavens as his teeth sink into the flesh of my hip. His fingers push inside me, deep and fast, and breaking my insides as his lips brush against my wound.
I splinter beneath him as his eyes catch mine. His smile twists into something feral as my body rocks against his hand, his thumb doing wicked things to me.
I bite my lip, trying to hold it in, to fight him for control, only to taste blood and to lose my grip on reality. My hold over my own body. One second I'm toeing the line, so close to the edge that he's brought me to, and the next I'm falling. Drowning in Masen. His scent, those lips. That tongue.
I don't recognize the sounds coming from my mouth, the whimper that escapes as his fingers disappear.
"The things I wish to do to your body," he whispers in my ear as my eyes slowly open.
He's against me, trapping my wrists tightly in his grip, his cool breath teasing me once more. "I wish to break you, Bella."
Please, I beg with my mind. With every inch of my body.
I push against him once more, rough and needy as I feel him against my opening. Just an inch from completing his task. From taking everything I have to give.
He laughs. Head falling back, skin against skin. I try to move, like a trapped animal in a cage, ready for a fight as he pushes me too far, but he's winning. I'm right where he wants me and I know it. I don't even care.
"I could kill you," he tells me.
"I don't care." I don't. Not anymore. Not when he's this close. Not when I can taste him on my tongue. Not when my heart is pounding out a beat to him. For him. "Please, Masen."
My eyes plead along with my words. I've never felt so weak and destroyed by a single man. It terrifies me. Those dangerous eyes and sinful lips.
Something inside me screams to run before it's too late, but I can't. I won't.
I need this. Him. Us.
He kisses me once. Hard and demanding as his free hand grabs my thigh, pushing me open to him with a rough tug.
"This will hurt." He's right. I scream.
A single tear rolls down my cheek, the pain spreading inside my body, hitting every nerve along the way as he enters me. Slow and steady. Inch by inch.
Filling me completely.
My name leaves his lips and my eyes go wide as he pulls out, the loss of him making me shiver. He's being gentle and I don't know why, but I don't question it. He pulls me up, pressing me against his chest.
His fingers wrap into my hair as my hands use his shoulder for support and then he's inside me again. I watch him in awe as he looks between us, watching us connect in ways I never knew possible.
In and out.
Flesh against flesh.
I reach for him, desperate for his lips. His touch. His eyes. I need to see them.
"More," I whisper against his kiss, our air mixing as his wings begin to wrap around me, pushing me onto him. I gasp as their feathers break my flesh and scream when Masen flips us, his eyes turning to ink as he watches me above him. I freeze as I look down. My heart breaks at the sight of him.
I stammer for words, afraid and confused, until his hands move to my hips and he rocks me against his body.
It's overwhelming, and my body sings for him as his hips meet mine.
It's sin, sex, and power.
I trace the scar against his chest, possessive words twist in my mind as my fingers leave their prints in blood along his skin. His eyes burn into me, and I know he feels it, my need and my love. I force myself to look away, but he crushes his lips to mine and tosses me to the bed roughly once more. He hovers above me, his lips curling in a deadly smile as he pushes into me without warning.
He enjoys the moans he's coaxing from me, and I give them without thought. I want him to hear, to watch as I writhe beneath him and whisper his name.
I claw at his chest when his thrusts become harsh. It's a delicious mix of pain and pleasure, and I can't stop the screams that leave my mouth as my body begins to shake, tightening around him as he taints my soul and breaks me completely.
I come undone with whispered words and sinful promises as he bites and sucks. He's marking me, branding me as his.
Protecting I think I hear him whisper, but I'm too far gone.
I give and he takes. Over and over until black spots dance in my vision and I can barely breathe.
We collapse in a tangle of limbs and sweat, the smell of blood and sex wrapping itself around us in a tight hold as he grabs my hand. The simple act causes my heart to beat faster and my head to swim.
"Sleep." He kisses my hair and my mind becomes foggy as I try to fight it.
I become aware almost instantly that there's something he needs to know. That something is unlocked, banging against my skull and begging to be free.
I try to lift my weakened arms to grab him, to tell him no. To shout the words, but I can't. I'm trapped and failing.
"Masen, wait!" I finally bite out, but just as his eyes move to mine, more terrified than I've ever seen before, I fall and blackness consumes me.
So… what do you guys think?
Also, for anyone interested, I've been a little obsessed with the Loki/Darcy fandom and playing with the Avengers. I have a few OS's up if you'd like to give them a try.
Other than that, prepare yourselves. The next two chapters are pretty damn intense and wind down the story. Those updates shouldn't take long as they are already mostly written. Just the epilogue left to write.
Remember, Masen loves reviews.