Torturous Love Ch. 04bysexuscumlupus©
Zai sat crossed legged on the blanket and watched the boy with shuttered eyes. Through his eyelashes he stroked the boy with his eyes, following the lines and curves of Toby's body. He'd wrapped his cloak around the narrow shoulders and all the boy had done since was sit and snivel, rocking every now and then. Zai's attempt at earlier conversation had established that the boy Toby was not talking to him, apparently wrestling with some inner torment.
The soft half-light after sundown had deepened to the proper black of night, lit by the gibbous moon. It was the third night since the half-moon waxing, and Zai was thinking about going home. It had been ages since he'd been underground, preferring to shift and live silent for the rest of the moon month. He'd enjoyed living in the house, liked the company of other demons, especially Shindae and Sitka. The three of them made a great little team, two enforcers and a scavenger, all with fairly eclectic and morally compromised attitudes to sex and food. But every few years Zai left, killing on the timing of the moon, hunting in the next and sleeping through the sun.
But Zai couldn't keep a hold of the boy in his other form, although the Chain would still do its job. Zai tapped his fingers against the hardness of his cold horns and thought. Taking the boy underground would be a major risk. But even now, the boy's options were limited. He could not be let go, and the amount of power it would take to wipe his mind, even if Zai could call someone with that specific power, would probably leave him a vegetable at worst, a bumbling idiot at best. He would have to be killed, or he'd have to stay with Zai.
Did Toby have the mental capacity to cope with going downstairs? Zai thought he might, he'd seen him in his real form instantly, had recognised him, and had managed not to go insane. That alone spoke of a decent mental capacity, a mind strong enough to swallow horror and visions and keep on going.
As the moon rose in the sky Zai started to plan what he was going to say to Toby. He'd sorted it out in his head. He would explain, he would use as normal a voice as possible, and not try and charm him. He would explain everything and there would be no problems. And then Toby ballsed it up by speaking as soon as Zai touched him.
"You're never going to let me go are you?" his voice was filled to the brim and overflowing like a too small cup full of sorrow.
"I can't." Zai watched the boy closely, but Toby wouldn't look straight at him, "I want to take you home with me."
Toby's brows furrowed together and he seemed fascinated by his hand, the one that had been broken.
"Underground, the underworld. Hell."
"Hell is a real place?" Toby sounded surprised. His head jerked up and he looked at Zai for the first time that day.
The demon held his gaze, and stroked his ankle softly with a thumb.
"Yes. It's a real place. The place where I was born, where my house is."
"You have a house?" Toby was surprised, and he stared at the place where Zai touched his skin. Through that join Zai felt his leaking emotion, the worry and hurt of the boy, the shame and slight arousal from where their skin touched, from where Zai's thumb stroked and circled his ankle.
"I don't spend my whole life living in disused haylofts y'know."
"Thanks," there was a pause thick with unsaid questions, "For the food and the new blankets."
"You're welcome. We will have to leave soon."
"Will I get to say goodbye?"
"No," Zai shook his head softly, "The world will suppose you dead, too much blood."
"Oh." The boy sounded almost emotionless, resigned to his fate. If it hadn't been for the emotion leaking from him Zai would have thought that the boy was a vegetable.
"I got this for you." Zai separated himself from the boy, fumbled in the mess of blankets and cloak and came up with a pair of jeans, thick socks and an oversized sweatshirt. "We're gonna have to walk a bit."
Toby stood and got dressed slowly, his movements sort of stiff and disjointed. Zai wondered if something in their conversation had broken something in the boy. He was moving, doing things, but he didn't seem to be thinking. Zai reached out and put a hand on his shoulder as he turned to put the jumper on. He focused, fought to break through the barriers he let build up around the smaller, gentler part of his empathic talent, and found the boy's voice in his mind. Words tinted by a lostness roamed around in his mind.
I'm dead. Either way I'm dead. And I chose to live with what this creature did to me. I must be fucked up inside to want that. I'm dead. Either way I'm dead...
Zai was moved by his thoughts. He took half a step forward and put his arms around the boy's waist. A small part of him wished that there was some other way, that he had not done this, but the greater part of him was glad. If he hadn't fully broken the boy, maybe he would learn to love him.
Toby shuddered and pulled out of his grip.
"Stay out of my fucking head!"
They stared at each other in the darkened hayloft.
"You can...hear me?" Zai's eyes were wide in the dark, able to see and pick out the details of Toby's worried face clearly.
"Just then I could."
The demon wondered at this. Empathic talents were rare among demons, perhaps they were more common among the human race, though Zai have never knowingly met once before. And why had it taken this long to find out about it?
"You're an empath?"
"Am I?" Toby stuck his hands in the jeans pockets, which were too big and threatened to slip off at any moment, "Sometimes I hear what people are thinking, but not often. Never so clearly."
Zai smiled at this. He should shut down the barriers again, he could feel emotion leaking between them even without touching the boy, but he sort of liked the feeling of being connected. To someone. Finally.
"How do we get down?"
"You can jump...or you can hold on while I climb down."
"That second option sounds less painful." Toby stared at his feet. Zai shrugged. It was an odd motion for the demon to make, the shape of his horns requiring him tilt his head back to avoid hitting them with his shoulders. Zai knew he was going to have to do the whole thing himself, and he wrapped a free arm around the boy and lifted him bodily. Zai started down the side of the building, being careful now that his charge was awake and conscious. He climbed far farther down that he normally would've, careful off his charge, and about five feet from the ground felt Toby slip from his back. The boy swore as he hit the ground and took off running.
Zai let him go. He got out of the barn and another ten feet before the Chain of Possession snapped into play. Toby jerked back, as though an invisible wire round his neck pulled at him, and fell to the ground with a heavy thud. He lay panting, breathless, until Zai arrived, the half-dressed, and stood over him with a deep sigh.
Zai reached down and helped the boy up.
"I did tell you that you couldn't go far didn't I?"
"Come on Toby," Zai stroked the boy's shoulder through his shirt and felt the wash of hopelessness from him. He could smell the boy, the salty spice of him under the blood and dirt on his skin. Zai remembered the kiss, so soft, and wondered if he might steal another.
He felt Toby's anger and was ready for the punch when it came. Zai closed his long fingered hand around the boy's fist and squeezed. Toby gritted his teeth, tried to catch his breath.
"I can keep squeezing," Zai made his voice hard and cold like iron in winter, he closed his hand a little more, feeling Toby's bones start to grind under his hand, "I can break every bone in your body and you know it. Either way you're coming with me."
Zai let go of him and smiled sweetly.
"You'll get used to it Toby. Just stay close."
Zai walked them about a mile through non-descript farmland, the grass short and spiky this time of year. They didn't see another living creature. Everything smart vanished out of sight when Zai, undisguised and uninhibited, walked through the country. He figured Toby would recognise the lay of the land, and relaxed into the walk, letting his mind wander.
They passed near a thick overgrown hedgerow and Zai felt the shivers of rabbits underground, their quick and easy deaths waiting. Small animals were no good, they died too easily. Humans were best, better able to express their pain, although large animals, the cow, dogs sometimes, were also good sport. They crossed a ditch near the big hedge and Zai let go of the boy as he crossed. Toby ran.
Zai rolled his eyes and stopped dead, even though he could have overtaken Toby easily. The boy tried to escape the bonds that held him by ducking as he felt he approached the limit of the Chain's powers. The chain jerked on Toby's neck and threw the boy to the ground. He got up and lurched again, and again the chain yanked him back. Zai walked over. He hauled the boy up by his wrist, his claws slicing into Toby's flesh. The boy whimpered in pain as Zai squeezed, his hand twisting the two bones in ways they didn't want to move.
Zai relaxed his grip slightly, but did not let go.
"You will be if you keep this up." Zai sliced downwards along the boy's arm and Toby screamed. Zai felt the hot pain stirring up inside him and loved it. Such spiking pleasure. Zai hissed and inhaled through his teeth as he tasted the sensation that flowed through him. In echo he could feel Toby inside his head, understand the pleasure the pain brought on. They remained like that for a full minutes, throwing pain and pleasure back and forth through the empathic link until Zai steeled himself and threw the connection shut.
The moon had passed a handbreadth in the sky by the time they got going again, heading vaguely in the direction of the river. Toby followed Zai closely, as though the demon held him on a leash. He clutched at his arm, stemming the bleeding with the remains of the ravaged sweatshirt. Zai was angry, it bristled his fur to have the boy run away again. The demon was under no pretence that the boy would not come to enjoy his company easily, and knew that while food and clothes were too small a way to make up for what had happened, had hoped that Toby would have at least ceased his futile attempts to escape.
No such luck.
The boy whimpered as he followed Zai, limping along on bruised socked feet. The sounded needled at the demon's mind, and caused him no pleasure. Time was getting along, and although it was far off dawn, it was Zai's last night in his body unless he got back underground. The deadline made him grumpy.
"Will you quit snivelling!"
The sound stopped immediately. The continued for a few minutes, the only sound Toby's messy footsteps. Zai moved silently. The near silence was oppressive.
"Fuck will you stop doing that?"
Zai was surprised to feel the boy's fist in his shoulder.
"Do what? I'm not fucking doing anything!" Toby shouted at him, his pale eyes full of hot sparks of rage, "I'm just blinding following you which is convenient since I can't fucking see anything in this blackness! Isn't that what you want?"
Zai snarled. He remember why it had been such a long time since he even thought about using the Chain of Possession. How stupid to think he could take home and mate with a human. Especially a human he had taken in such a way. He should have had Sitka come with him, use his power on some poor unsuspecting boy to coerce him to come along with them. Push compulsion through some innocent until he was pliant.
Even that isn't love. Zai growled to himself and swore under his breath. He could just kill the boy and be done with it but part of him rebelled. He knew he couldn't kill the boy.
"No," Zai's voice was soft, "No that's not what I want."
"Well? What do you want?"
"I don't know!" Zai snapped, his fangs flashing in the moonlight, "It would be easier to kill you but I don't wanna do that. I just want you to come with me before the moon sets. Before everything goes from this to worse."
"W-what happens when the moon sets?" The boy was frightened, his eyes were wide, scared of Zai and his rage.
"I don't like daytime."
"Are you coming with me or not?"
"Do I get a choice?" Toby practically snarled back.
Zai back handed him across the field, leaving red marks on his already bloodied cheek.
"No!" He wrapped his will around the Chain and pulled. Toby lurched towards him and Zai stalked off across the field, dragging the boy along with him on invisible chains.
The moon was nearly settling on the distant horizon when they reached the stream. The bridge was a few miles away, they'd taken a route that took them far from the village and the pub. The water was dark, the moon too light to give any reflection. Zai wandered along the bank a bit, casting about in the grass, apparently looking for something. Toby followed him listlessly.
It took about ten minutes for Zai to find what he was looking for. In the grass and mud, about a foot from the river was a stone. It was egg shaped, with a hole through the centre, and made of some clear stone that looked like glass. When Zai dug it out and held it up, the stone began to fill with liquid fire.
"What is that?"
Zai gestured to the boy and held out his hand. Toby hesitated.
"Don't," The boy stared into his acid yellow eyes, "Tobias. Call me Tobias instead." The boy smiled.
"Alright, Tobias it is." Zai smiled back, the fire stone glowing in his other hand, "Come with me. Experience a life like you've never known."
Tobias took his hand, and Zai stepped forwards.
Demon and boy, vanished.
The night was silent, and then, slowly, in came the creep of animals noises. Cattle, birds, rabbits. The moon sank.