Chapter Five Wow, six reviews. And four from the same person.please, please review makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

It was dark. That was the first thing he noticed-the dark. "Kruulyn?"

"Are you real?"

Nydar jumped, whipped around to see Kruulyn standing in front of the now- closed door. How had he gotten behind him so quickly? His head was bowed, his shoulders slumped in defeat. His eyes burned a pale, nearly colourless gray in his thin face, shadowed by dark rings. He looked horrible. Had he even washed in the last two weeks? His hair was dull, uncared for, tumbling loosely about his shoulders.

Then it hit him. "Real?"

"Are you a dream?"

"No." The boy had dreamed about him?

Kruulyn eyed him skeptically. "Don't believe you."

Nydar breached the space between them, took his face in his hands. He leaned in to kiss the boy, and Kruulyn bit him, snarling. He shoved the lord away.

Nydar's temper flared. "Arrogant little fag, aren't you?" He grabbed Kruulyn's hair, jerking his head back and baring his throat.

"Hypocrite," Kruulyn spat.

"Oh, I know I'm one. I just hate it when someone's better at it than me." He released his grip and the boy stepped back, eyes flashing angrily, but still that horrible, dead gray.

"Don't touch me," he hissed, baring his teeth." He tensed as Nydar took a step forward, then whirled and stalked over to the bed. He sat, still fairly radiating anger, pulling his thin legs to his chest, making certain that his tunic covered him fully. "What do you want from me, Nydar?"

Nydar laughed and pulled a chair out of nothing, then sat backwards on it with his arms folded under his chin, resting on the back of the seat.

With a flick of the wrist he drew a silver pitcher smelling of potent wine from the air. He poured the drink into a flask, and offered it to Kruulyn, who tossed it back in one gulp. He held the flask out to Nydar, and the demon-lord refilled it, eyeing him with suspicion. "Have you ever had alcohol before?"

Kruulyn's eyes were slightly glazed, a bit out of focus as he looked at him. Already? Nydar thought, amazed at his low tolerance.

"No," Kruulyn said, drinking the next cup more slowly, which is to say in two gulps this time with a pause for air in between.

"You're different," Nydar remarked.

"Thank you?" Kruulyn glanced up, not sure if this was a good thing or not.

"Last time I saw you, you weren't nearly as argumentative."

"I was hardly in a position to be argumentative." He reddened as he recalled exactly what position he had been in. In the literal sense, of course.

"As I recall, you responded quite nicely." Nydar managed to keep his voice even, though inside he fairly burned with rage. He'd expected Kruulyn to be whimpering and pleading to be released, not abrasive and sarcastic. "Was that your first time?"

Kruulyn's blush deepened.

"Well maybe if you stopped being so damn bitchy to everyone who liked you!"

Kruulyn's face was unreadable, his voice soft. "Do you like me?" He lay his head on one shoulder, blinking sleepily. Nydar could have thrown him down and raped him right there, but that would have shattered any hope of trust. But gods, how his body yearned for the forbidden pleasure of him all over again.

"Yes." Nydar came to sit by the boy, refilled his glass. Kruulyn gulped thirstily at it while Nydar watched in mild amusement. The boy had little resistance to liquor; his face was flushed, his eyes glazed, and his breath came in ragged gasps. "Yes, I like you." Like you? I want to screw you, he thought wryly. He was so little.

When Kruulyn finally collapsed it was against Nydar, not the bed. His arm slipped around Nydar's waist, though by accident or intention he couldn't tell.

"Why'd you come back?" Kruulyn's words were slurred, his head resting on Nydar's shoulder. Though his hair was limp, he didn't smell, didn't seem dirty in the least. Odd. "I thought you were going to leave me here."

"Do you want me to?" Nydar made as if to stand, and Kruulyn froze. His hand tightened possessively on Nydar's hip.


"Are you that pathetic that you would accept even me?"

Kruulyn looked away, withdrawing his arm. Nydar watched him head tilted to the side. He really did look pitiful, tired and rail-thin. His tunic wasn't buttoned right at the throat. What sort of idiot couldn't even button his own tunic?

"I'm lonely, Nydar. You're the first person I've seen in weeks, I've been locked in here without anybody-anything-alive. Even animals need contact to survive." He bit his bottom lip, still avoiding Nydar's eyes. "It's so cold here."

They sat in silence for several minutes, lost in their respective thoughts. Finally, Nydar broke to tension by asking "Have you washed?"

"Didn't see the point. I'm the only one here."

"And have you worn any of the clothes I've given you?"

"Didn't see the point."

"Have you even been in the bathroom?"


Nydar sighed. "I'll go prepare your bath. I'll be right back."

"Why, do I smell?" Kruulyn asked as Nydar opened the door of the adjoining room. Nydar laughed.

He turned on the hot water and it spurted from the silver faucet, steaming and gurgling about the bottom of the tub. The water had been heated by slaves burning coal in underground furnaces and pumped up to the rooms through pipes magicked with Wind to propel the water.

The bathroom was enormous, with a tub that could have rightly been called a small lake set deep into the floor. Nydar could easily have done laps in it, had he been so inclined. It was tiled with semiprecious stones, surrounded by silver taps and small bottles of scented oils. The walls were paneled in great slabs of marble, a mosaic of a phoenix glittering in gold on a far wall. Fluted columns supported the arched ceilings, wrapped in carved vines. Nydar waited until the tub was full, then went to fetch Kruulyn.

The boy was fast asleep on the bed when he opened the door, clutching the sheets. Nydar gently brushed back a lock of hair from his face; he really was beautiful.

He picked the child up, frowning at how disturbingly light he was. His spine and ribcage dug into Nydar's chest. How long had it been since he'd eaten?

Kruulyn shivered, blinking sleepily. "Mmm." he mumbled as Nydar set him down. He was still slumped against the demon, unable to stand.

"When was the last time you ate?"

"Two weeks ago," Kruulyn said into his chest. Nydar sighed and wrapped his arms around Kruulyn's waist, fingers working the knot of his red sash. He untied it and let in fall to gather at Kruulyn's feet. Kruulyn raised his head, eyes boring intensely into Nydar's own.

Nydar let his hands slide along Kruulyn's flanks, stopping to rest just above the backs of his knees. Kruulyn leaned into the embrace, pressing his stomach (and a much more sensitive part of him) into Nydar. The demon- lord took hold of the tunic, pulling the cloth up to the boy's waist, stopping to run a hand over one of Kruulyn's jutting hipbones. A small sigh escaped the boy's lips as Nydar slid the fabric up and over his head, tossed it aside. His hands danced along Kruulyn's shoulders, down his back, sketching their way over the contours of his ribs, his spine. Nydar leaned in so close that their noses touched, their lips brushed against one another's. Nydar's tongue flicked out, teasing the boy's lower lip expertly, catching it between his teeth and sucking on it. Kruulyn moaned slightly, his fingers trembling against the back of Nydar's neck, entangled in the short hairs at the nape. The lord's tongue slid into his mouth, lips closing over his own. Nydar's hands rested in the small of Kruulyn's back, making him arch against the touch. Kruulyn's fingers fumbled at Nydar's shirt, unbuttoning it, easing the cloth from his shoulders. He traced Nydar's stomach muscles, then slid his fingertips under the waistband of Nydar's breeches. was he doing? Kruulyn was young, too young.he was just a boy.

Nydar flung himself back, one hand flying up to cover his mouth. "Kruulyn-"

"Why'd you stop?" Kruulyn's voice was soft, his lips red from the pressure of Nydar's mouth

"You're just a child."

Kruulyn unfurled his wings, hidden until now by his hair. The flared out with a clearly audible snap! and he gasped in pain.

Muscles long dormant stretched for the first time in years. They hurt, ached right down to the bone. They were small, reaching only to about mid- back or so, and soiled from years of being tucked under clothing; they still managed to be beautiful in a tiny, delicate sort of way. "I'm hardly a child."

Nydar's eyes widened. A seryph.Kruulyn was a seryph.

And he looked so natural, so perfect, his large, sad eyes and starved body so like a fallen angel. Nydar gently touched one wing with his fingertips, caressed the dirty feathers. "They're incredible." And suddenly he wanted him more than ever-his little angel.

NO! A child. He was a child.

Kruulyn was lowering himself into the water when Nydar snapped out of his trance, slowly so as to not burn himself. One wouldn't think that getting into a bathtub could be so tantalizing, but in Nydar's eyes his movements, the way his tight muscles bunched under his golden skin was almost.erotic, if you will.

The boy's head disappeared under the water for so long that Nydar was afraid he'd gone and drowned himself. Then he broke the surface, flipping his hair back from his face, sending tiny jewels of water in every direction. He sighed deeply. "This feels good, Nydar."

"I'll bet," Nydar muttered to himself. He stood there, clad only in his breeches, watching Kruulyn lean back languidly to rest his head on the side of the tub. Without knowing quite how he got there, suddenly he was on his knees crouching by Kruulyn, rubbing some sort of oil through his hair to clean it. Kruulyn sighed in contentment at the rough feel of Nydar's fingers on his scalp.

"Mmm." he groaned, stretching his arms above his head. Nydar's hands worked their way through his hair, then down his neck, massaging the tender muscles.

"You're too serious," Kruulyn said, grabbing his hand. Seconds later, Nydar was facedown in the water, wondering why he could no longer breathe. Kruulyn had thrown him Him! A demon lord!

"Am I now," he said, treading water for a moment and then swimming over to the bench Kruulyn sat on.

"Yes," the boy purred, running a finger down his chest. There was something disturbing about that childlike innocence and that coy seduction lacing his voice. Nydar shifted a few inches, nervous.

"Kruulyn, I-I don't think this is right."

Kruulyn glanced down meaningfully and Nydar followed his gaze. When he saw what Kruulyn was indicating, he turned red. Dammit, he was soaking wet and his clothes did him no good now.

"So take them off," Kruulyn said. Nydar blinked before he realized he'd spoken aloud.

"I'll hurt you, Kruulyn. You're too young."

Well, that was what he meant to say. But Kruulyn took that moment to slip an arm around Nydar's slim waist and lean his head on the taller man's chest. He was so small, so delicate.

He looked up at Nydar, with a mischievous glint in his eyes. He grabbed hold of Nydar's wrist and guided it down to his lower abdomen. Nydar realized what he was doing and jerked away from his grip just in time. "Kruulyn!" he cried

The boy grinned madly. "Why not? I know you want to."

"You.I don''re too young.I'd hurt you."

"I can handle it." He buried his face in Nydar's shoulder, suddenly shy. "I'm sorry, Nydar."

"For what?"

"I've looked like this for nine years now, Nydar. I'm not young.I'm at least a hundred.but.I'm sorry I look like a kid. It's just.I'm not going to get any older, and."

Of course. A seryph. Immortal.powerful.blessed.he couldn't defile such purity. A demon would only taint the boy, twist him, lead him from the light he arose from into an insurmountable darkness that Kruulyn was too fragile to endure.

At the same time he couldn't imagine just walking away from Kruulyn. No, that would kill him to be sure.

Nydar shook his head. What? Kill him? Kruulyn was a slave; seryph or no, Nydar owned him, possessed him, could use him in any way that suited him.

Kruulyn snuggled deeper into Nydar's embrace with a soft sigh of satisfaction. Nydar's harsh glare softened as he gazed down at the boy and he bent his neck, pressing his lips to the top of the boy's head. Kruulyn looked up at Nydar and smiled, a glowing expression of joy that Nydar had never thought to see on his face. "I.Nydar, I think I."

Nydar knew what he was going to say. "Don't." His body stiffened, drew away from Kruulyn's touch. "Just stop, Kruulyn. I don't want to hear it."

The boy looked hurt for a second, then angry. "Don't want to hear what? How I feel?"

Nydar's temper snapped and he shoved the boy roughly away. "You're a fucking slave Kruulyn! I don't give a damn how you feel!"

Silence reigned as Nydar's words sank in. Kruulyn's anger vanished and his eyes melted from crimson to that horrible, pale grey filled with an insurmountable pain. "But.sir."

"Master," Nydar snarled with a malice he would later regret. "You will address me as Master."

Kruulyn bowed his head. "Yes s-Master."

And as Nydar gathered his clothing and wrapped a towel about his dripping breeches he glanced back at Kruulyn only once; he let out a small sob, regretting what he had said but too stubborn to take it back. The boy sat with the water well over his shoulders, head bowed and hands clasped before him, the very picture of misery. His wings drooped and trailed their pinfeathers in the water. "I am sorry, Master. A fool I was to think that the petty emotions of a slave would matter to you, my Lord."

"You're forgiven," Nydar said absently, still watching the boy, who was staring firmly into the water and would not meet his gaze. "I.I may return at a later time."

"May I.may I see Jerakath and Rein? Please, Master," Kruulyn begged, looking up at him at last. "I miss them."

"Perhaps. Shall I assume then that you will not miss me?"

When Kruulyn gave no reply Nydar stalked from the room, pausing outside the door to catch words that were not spoken for him to hear.

"Of course I will." Kruulyn gave a muffled sob. "I've fallen in love with Lord."

Again, please review. That's the sort of thing that makes the authors want to write more, the support of their readers.