Title: Just a Touch of Ice (1/4)
Romance/Angst/Hard R (for ambiguous consent, foul language, and yaoi of the possessive-seme!Sin variety.)
They're not in love. They're not. They never will be. It's only sex. It will never be anything more than that. Sin knows this. He's happy with it. So, no, god damn it, he is not jealous!
Time Line:
Winter of 2480 A.S. Thirteen years after Under Lock and Key... Or Not.
Sin – 480 years; Draca – 125 years; Kira – 13 years; Gwen – 40 years; Kyris – 64 years

Guess what time it is? That's right! It's warn the idiots time!:This is slash. This entire series has slash in it. If you are not a fan of it, or at least tolerant of it, why did you click when it's RIGHT THERE IN THE SUMMARY? If you are one of those assholes who just like to flame people becasue "it's fun," please just fuck off. Don't waste my time or the time of those who happen to enjoy this series.

And now it's time for a show of gratitude! I know it's been a looonnnnggg time since I last posted anything - almost six months! But I have been keeping track of everyone's reviews and such. I usually reply to them personally, but since there are so many since my hiatus, I'll just name you all here! First of all, thanks to Seira_Kuragari, my best friend, beta reader, and inspiration. Thanks next to The Thirteenth Floor, who I am beta reading for and has suceeded in getting my butt in gear again, as well as all her reviews and praise. XD I'd also like to thank StoicCrying, Bookaholic13, Princess of Lies, evanescence147, littleteajar, WalkingThroughDreams, SparkofCyanide, miaou, Midnight's Secret, Mikey DenDang, Divanora, Lazuli Shadow, and sonicmilahedgie for all of your support. And also to sonicmelihedgie, I know we were PMing back and forth to discuss collaborations before I went on my unannounced break, and if you're still interested I'd like to hear from you! Thanks so much to all of you! -mucho hugs and kisses-

Just a Touch of Ice

"It is not love that is blind, but jealousy."

Winter in the Haven was mild at its worst – much warmer than the frigid climate of his homeland – but he still hated it. Despised it, in fact. There was still snow on the ground and freezing winds in the air. Violent shivers raced up and down his form, and he had the innate urge to sprint down the street, back to the flat.

But that was absolutely impossible. To do so would mean he would have to leave the three wonderfulladies that had agreed to go on a walk with him after running into him at port. The Vampyre Draca had just returned from an agonizing solo commission that had kept him from the Haven for nearly two weeks. A short amount of time, compared to some of his more extensive conquests, but in winter? Anywhere that wasn't the Haven during winter was hell on earth to him.

The Vampyre half listened as the women – Agana (a friend of Gwen's), Necri, and Elektra were their names – chattered as they walked; only participating when it was absolutely necessary. His thoughts were decidedly elsewhere: on the reason for his uncommon departure. The thief rarely took jobs during the winter season, unless the target in question was of particular interest to him. This commission had been so ordinary that he was nearly bored to tears. But he had needed to escape for a little while.

Sin was avoiding him. It had gradually become apparent months ago, but within the last two months it had escalated to a point that Sin would hardly stay in the same room as him for more than a few minutes. The flat had become eerily quiet – not that it had ever been anything less, but there was a new, icy distance in it now. Sex had become something primal and bordering on angry, before Sin had begun refusing him two months ago. (Two months without sex. It was a crime of disastrous proportions!) Sin had stopped offering his blood to Draca about three weeks ago, as well. Luckily he'd been able to use his shadows, and feed from his opponents while he'd been on the mainland. There was no satisfaction in feeding that way (no taste, no intimacy of the hunt), but it kept him alive.

Draca had… accepted the fact that Sin didn't want to be his lover. Sin wasn't the type for that kind of attachment. He knew that, even though the seraph's violent refusal had caused that tiny, broken part of his soul to jump to the wrong conclusions for an instant.

"Ugh! Don't touch me, vermin!"

The echo of his childhood sent a shudder that wasn't from the cold through him. Draca would be the first to admit that he craved intimacy – craved contact. It was something that he was denied as a child. Because really, who could stand to have a monster touch them? Sure, his mother had given him the occasional pat or firm hand on his shoulder as a child, but she hadn't been an overly affectionate woman.

Or maybe she had, but couldn't stand to touch him either. Draca would never know for sure. Sin was starting to act the same. Did Sin think it disgusting to be touched by a monster too?

The Vampyre shook his head to clear those uncharacteristic brooding thoughts. That surely wasn't the case, anyway. Up until now, their relationship (for lack of proper term) had been going well. No, something had pissed Sin off, and regardless of how he seemed to act, it wasn't because of what Draca was.

The blond realized, belatedly, that their little group was nearing the flat that he and Sin shared. He stopped and turned to face the ladies when they approached the door. "Well, my beautiful escorts," he said with a charming grin, "I'm afraid this is where we part ways. I thank you for your company. The walk home would have been cold and lonely without you. At least now it was only cold." The women laughed brightly, and he allowed himself to join them, though it certainly wasn't genuine. He was a good enough actor to pull it off. Very few, if any, outside of the Kyris, Gwen, and Kira (a new addition to their little "family") even realized that something was amiss between Sin and himself.

"It's good to finally have you back!" Necri, a tall brunette who worked with the mythril-smith, said brightly.

"Yes," agreed Elektra, a petite blonde who owned a stall which sold fine linens, "maybe you can finally break Sin of the mood he's in." This was accompanied by rather suggestive glances around the group.

Draca blinked at them, shocked for a moment. No one, besides the girls, was supposed to know that he and Sin were "together." Sin had demanded that particular condition (which had set another round of brooding, self-depreciating thoughts from the deepest, darkest corners of Draca's mind), and it was one that he respectfully followed. "I… don't know what you mean," he said carefully, keeping that same charming smile in place.

The three women twittered with laughter for a moment. "Of course you don't," Agana – tall, dark-haired – said finally, a sing-song note in her voice. "Really, Draca, you'd have to be as dense as a rock not to notice it. Anyone with eyes could see the looks you send each other when you think no one's watching." To his shame, Draca felt a blush heat his face, causing another bout of tinkling laughter.

Necri recovered first, fixing him with a knowing smile. "Sin's been locked away in the flat ever since you left. I think he missed you."

Something that he was afraid to identify as hope began to fill the hollow void in his chest – the one that had started growing when this whole affair had begun. 'Sin… missed me?' He felt his grin, against his will, soften. He bade the ladies a final farewell, before facing his home.

Maybe… just maybe things were starting to look up once more.

They were not in love. Anyone who thought so was obviously an idiot who needed to be introduced to the business end of his scythe – immediately. (He ignored the fact that the only ones who even knew about the entire mess of a "relationship" were those closest to him – ones he'd die to protect.) They weren't even in "like." They were too stubborn, too different for such a thing.

They were in lust. They were attracted to one another on a purely physical level. They had sex. (Multiple times, but that's not really the point, is it?) That was the entire extent of their "relationship."

Yes, they were friends. (Sort of.)

Yes, they worked well together. (Sometimes.)

Yes, they managed to live in the same flat without killing each other. (Somehow.)

That did not make them lovers. (He'd made a point to squash that particular notion the moment Draca had made that mistake.) By definition, their "relationship" was not exclusive. And Sin was absolutely fine with that. Truly, he was. As he'd said time and time again, their encounters were based solely on sex and physical attraction. Why the hell should that shackle him to the Vampyre? It shouldn't.

So what if he didn't pursue anyone other than the Vampyre when it came to sex. (Amazing sex – but again, that wasn't really the point.) He wasn't the type to pursue anyone. It was mostly the Vampyre's overactive libido that led to their – shockingly frequent – encounters. It wasn't as if he actually needed the infuriating idiot. He could – and would – find someone else to sleep with when the notion struck. So, no, damn it.

Sin was not jealous.

There was absolutely no reason to be. Because it was only sex. Because their "relationship" wasn't exclusive. So he didn't care what his partner in crime (and occasionally in sex) got up to.

'At least,' whispered that traitorous little voice in the very back of his mind, 'that's what you tell yourself.' He ignored that voice, obviously.

So it did not bother him to See Draca in Kyris' pub night after night – flirting, entertaining, charming, and seducing his way through any female Haven resident who crossed his path. It didn't bother him to realize that the Vampyre was doing Gaia knows what with those same women when they were out of his presence. It didn't bother him to think that while he regularly gave the thief his blood, the man was out drinking the blood that the Haven women gave him, or the blood of some hapless mainland whore who happened to target the wrong customer.

It didn't bother him. Not at all.

Which was why he was completely calm as he sat at his oak desk within his study, very calmly sorting through his itinerary for his latest commission. He had been requested as a bodyguard on the mainland, by some noble from a large town near Samael's Chasm. Normally he would have declined such a request. (The cloud formation that supported Mythrilium was often seen hanging about that area. And while his past with the Dragons didn't keep him from waltzing around the Arias; Angels he avoided at all costs.) But the timeline for the mission dictated that he leave the Haven within the next few days. Draca had been away for two weeks, and was due to return soon. He had jumped at the chance to be away from the Vampyre for a few more weeks.

Not that anything was bothering him – not at all. The assassin turned his attention back to the response he had been writing out before he'd become distracted (again). The magic-infused runes stared up at him expectantly, awaiting him. With a calming sigh, Sin returned to his work. The only sound in the study was the scratchings of his pen against the parchment, informing his employer-to-be of his consent and when to expect him. It was the last thing that needed to be done, other than booking passage out of the Haven.

The distant hum of a very familiar voice drifted through his closed study window, followed by a chorus of girlish laughter.

Hellfire snapped through his veins. His head shot up, all but glowering over his shoulder at the window which faced the street. A growl had forced itself up his throat before the seraph caught himself.

It didn't bother him. Not at all.

'Keep telling yourself that,' murmured that traitorous little voice before he could squash it down.

Sin turned away from the window, hoping to drown out the animated conversation playing out on the street just in front of his flat. He stopped short, realizing that his outburst had left an ink trail across the parchment – ruining his letter. A frustrated snarl ripped past his lips, his hands crumpling the letter and throwing it across the room just for spite.

'All right,' the Fallen Angel conceded, 'perhaps it bothers me… a little.' There was no reason for it. None at all. It was completely, utterly, entirely irrational. They were not in love. Their so-called "relationship" was not an exclusive one. It was just sex. That's all it was. That's all it would ever be.

But the situation still bothered him. A little.

He gave up on work for now, giving into the urge to See what was happening on the street below. Sin rose from his seat, edging his way over to the large window – feeling like a thief in his own home, ironically. The luminescent forms on the street stood out with an almost shocking clarity. Three of the four Colored silhouettes were those he recognized – their Cores familiar to him, but not enough to recall names. They were women of the Haven. The fourth, however, was a soul as familiar to him as his own. Black, deep violet, red-orange, and bloody crimson. Draca. Damned infuriating idiot.

Another growl worked its way up his throat as he watched the scene unfold before his eyes. Draca had told him that he wasn't due back for a few more days – and yet here the bastard was, out catering to his fucking womanizing ways.

The girls gestured animatedly as they spoke to his partner, their souls painted with sunflower happiness and golden laughter. Sky blue (amusement) and lavender (affection) lightning bolted across their spirits as the conversation drew on.

And Draca? Draca's spirit radiated both golden laughter and lavender affection as well. But in the next moment, something the one of the girls said caused golden laughter to wane and lavender affection to be replaced with a startling indigo shade – a deep-seated fondness. Sin's blood was beginning to boil from restrained rage. He listened as the women twittered some more, before waving and starting off down the street.

The seraph turned his back on the scene. He didn't want to watch anymore. It was the first time in a long time – perhaps ever – that Sin wanted to be angry at anyone who lived in the Haven. Those girls were not to blame. No, not at all! And yet Sin felt the inexplicable urge to pin them with his frostiest, deadliest glare. Shame filled him at the very thought of it, and it quickly became an irrational fury towards his partner. 'This is all his fault, the damned arrogant, infuriating, womanizing, charming, beautiful-'

That little voice returned with a vengeance – a sly murmur in his mind. 'Is this a curse on his faults or his virtues?'

The Fallen Angel snarled, running a hand through his hair. He inhaled a deep breath, attempting to calm his rising temper. He had to do something to take his mind off the situation, at least until he could escape to the mainland. He needed to get out of the flat – to let the cool winter air sooth his nerves. That in mind, Sin grabbed his coat, and exited his study.

End Part 1. Walk on, Traveler of Worlds.

Yes, it's short. And setting up to be an ANGSTEH ONE. And believe me, it will be. Oh, it will be.

Since this part is so short, expect the next part to be up either tomorrow or Tuesday.

Oh it feels so good to be back! ^ ^ Thanks for reading! Reviews and commentary are nice! *3*