Love as a Form of Binding Ch. 07byTaLtos6©
I struggled over this for a long while. I need to get some things said between the characters involving background and how things work. But it obviously has to read well at the same time. I suppose that I could just leave it off here and treat it as an ending, but I'm having thoughts of some adventures for them. I mean in the classical definition - as a risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome. It's a little harder than one would think, considering...
In this, Toby's a little hung up with the whole relationship as he tries to define it from his view, and he begins to get a clue that there's more to this than one would expect. Surprisingly, there are even reasons that make sense in the demonic way of doing things. I just hope this doesn't come off as demons playing house. ~shrug~
The candles burned low, though there was plenty of wax left. The room was dim, lit mainly by the light of the stove. Maezou kept kissing Toby lightly since it always made him smile each time.
She was grinning as she whispered, "Did you see her while we were busy?"
"You mean Zele?" he nodded, "Yes, though I tried not to look."
Maezou smiled, "That's how she is. She makes noise, but mostly she is only wishful."
Toby was confused, "But, she said that she had – "
Maezou shook her head, "Not so loud, Toby. I know what she said, but I did tell you about hell hounds. If she has one for herself, he is not really her mate because she isn't like he is. At best, he might be what a human girl might call her friend with benefits. I have seen that sort of arrangement. But no matter what is said, Zele is paying for it. I just don't know how yet."
Toby thought about it. "You mean she ... "
He was dumbfounded. "Maezou, I don't understand a lot of things, and I'll be the first to say it, but this is just nuts from my point of view. Ok, I'll admit that I can't see myself wanting to get too close to that snarly look that she's got, but the rest of the time... Ok, she's going a little far into canine, but even I think she's got to have a lot of attraction to somebody. I think she's a sweetheart – well, underneath that 'I'll piss on you if you don't hold still' bullshit that she has."
She smirked, "Zele was only joking a little, Toby. She is shy inside her, but what she hides it with is very real. She might have done it."
He looked at Maezou, "Isn't there anybody in these places there that would want her?"
She sighed, "Of course, Toby. She has a warm place like any female. That's good for maybe ten minutes of sweet talk and seven minutes of mating at most. She's really very lonely. But she is a good friend if you try to get to know her well. When you talk to her, you should try to remember that Zele likes more than anything to be touched as you saw me with her upstairs. If you treat her as you would treat a human woman that you have just met, you would be polite, but she would think that you do not care for her. I know that she likes us together, so that means that she likes you too. Don't be afraid to tousle her head if you make a joke because it would make her feel accepted. She has never been accepted by anyone but my mother and I. We have saved each other's lives many, many times."
They got up and walked upstairs in the darkened house. As they turned to go up to the bedroom, Toby almost collided with Zele who was coming the other way. She gasped and stared at him for a half-second, and then he was looking at her kneeling before him. She'd read the glyphs on him.
"Lord Tobias," she said.
"Oh for Pete's sake," Toby said, "Cut it out. What's this nonsense now? Please stand up, Zele."
Zele raised her head and tried very hard not to look at what she really wanted to gaze at, "Stand up?"
Toby rolled his eyes, "Please, Zele. Stand up."
He turned to Maezou and she nodded before he could finish the thought, "I will explain later, Toby." She pointed to his front and he stared at what he could see of the markings and looked at her in shock.
"I will explain later."
Zele tried to look as though she was on the job and nonchalant, but Maezou looked at her a little curiously, noticing that Zele had difficulty tearing her eyes from Toby.
He smiled, wanting now to engage Zele, "I was thinking about putting something simple together for dinner. You must be hungry, both of you. I know I am."
Zele grinned a little bashfully, trying to keep her eyes on anything but Toby and it wasn't really working.
"Zele thanks you and wishes to say that you are very kind-hard –" she shook her head, "Kind-hearted, Zele means to say. Thank you, Toby."
She looked at Maezou as she tried without much success to regain her haughtiness, "So, everything went well? It looks to Zele when she looks at you that you had no trouble, and she is pleased for you that you mated well."
Maezou nodded, "It was incredible, Zele, though I'm surprised that you didn't watch. You always liked to watch and ... you know."
Zele shook her head, "Zele? That was long ago. And anyway, Zele is supposed to be harding- "
"Harding the gouse," Maezou said dryly, "yes, I've seen you do that very often."
Zele looked down and began to mutter her thoughts. "Zele does not know what it wrong with her," she grumbled, "she sees Maezou's male and everything goes wrong with how she talks. Zele is turning stupid and they will see very soon, but ..."
She looked up, suddenly horrified at what she'd thought had only been her thoughts.
Maezou smiled. Though she could be sly in many situations, Zele had never really learned about hiding her thoughts with regard to just about anything which really interested her, and her hobby had always been being hopeful for a little pleasure – when a lot of pleasure was not available to her for some reason.
Maezou laughed a little, "Zele will have to remember to filter her thoughts before they run out of her mouth."
Zele looked at her with more than a little mortification. "Zele is sorry," she gestured toward Toby. "And you are right. I see Toby and I want to say something else, but ... "
She looked toward him as though it was against her will, ..."strong and sweet and," she touched his chest, running her fingertips down his stomach, "hard and ..." She leaned a little and sniffed, "smells so good and ..."
She looked lower on him in spite of herself, "wonders how it – "
She shook her head and stepped back, now even more annoyed with herself. "Oooo, Zele does not like this filtering very much." She turned to go.
Toby caught Maezou's glance and saw her shake her head a little, so he grabbed Zele's hand and looked at her.
"It's ok, Zele. Don't feel bad. Come over here a minute," he said.
She glanced at Maezou, who nodded, so she stepped closer, desperate now to get the moment behind her and watched as Toby got out a large pot, and emptied three cans of pasta sauce into it.
"What is that?" she asked as she began to sniff.
He grinned, "I did say that I thought we ought to have something to eat. Are you hungry?"
She nodded, "Zele is always hungry, a little, and sometimes hungry a lot." She looked at the cans and picked up the can opener to examine it before running her finger inside each can for what she could get from them. She was about to try with her tongue, but turned when he put his hand on her shoulder.
"Do you like it?"
She nodded, "Yes, but Zele wishes that there was more for her."
She stared at him as he smiled, "There is more for you. We're all going to eat this." He stopped to joke with her, "Did you think that you'd only get the little bit left there in the cans?"
She nodded, and Toby was a little shocked, but he hid it as he said, "Look Zele, I'd like for you to try to cut me some slack – you know, be a little patient with me here. This is all really new to me, ok? But I'm really glad to have met you, and I'm thankful that you're here to watch everything for whatever reasons I'm sure that I don't even understand yet. I'm sure the reasons are important. Whatever else is going on here, this is my home and I'm not going to eat and leave you to lick the damn cans." He pet her shoulder and turned to get a few more things, another pot and a large package of pasta.
Zele looked over at her friend and found Maezou smiling and nodding. She began to feel a little better.
Toby decided that if she was hungry, well, what the hell, and he added his last can of sauce to the pot. Zele watched him work the can opener intently. He intended to go shopping the next day anyway. He realized that he'd used all of the sauce that he'd normally consume over the rest of the winter. It didn't matter, he thought. If they really liked it, he'd do it up the right way the whole nine yards the next time so that they got more out of it.
He found the cutting board, a loaf of Italian bread, a brick of cheese, and they carried it all into the basement. While he put the pot on the stove and cut some bread and cheese, Maezou and Zele went back upstairs and came back with the covers from the bed and blankets from the linen closet. Toby went to the garage to get his old camping kettle, washed it out and filled it, and then brought it back to put it on the stove as well.
"I like the way that I can see with my eyes like this, "he said, "But will you show me how to change everything tomorrow? We're gonna have to go into town for some stuff."
"It's easy, once you've done it one time, "she said, "How does your skin feel?"
"Like I have a partial sunburn here and there," he said curiously.
"Mine too, "she said, "here and there." She made the candles flare brightly as she walked close to him, and pointed to the mark of her last master, "Here." She turned around to show him the new one on her thigh that ran up to one cheek, "and there. I put a line through this one to show that it's canceled, and put the mark of my new master here."
"Your new master ..."
She rolled her eyes, "Yes, my new master. Did I bind my soul to yours?"
"Yeah," he said, "believe it or not, I can feel it inside me. There's like a light, constant tug."
"I feel it too, and it moves. You will always know where your Maezou is by that. That's how you know that I'm bound. In other words, I'm your slave, and you're my new master. I must display your mark for the binding to be honored by others. Look here," she wiggled her butt at him and then giggled, "no, look HERE. This is your mark, and there's a smaller one on my hand. I want it visible, and uncovered by any real clothes that I wear. I can hide it to your world, but others from mine can see it even then."
"What does it say, then?" he asked with a smile, "Property of ... if found, return to..."
She smirked at him, "You know, slaves don't have to be docile, Toby."
He grinned, "I'm sorry, Maezou. What does it say?"
"Nothing much, "she said, "It just has your mark, Lord Tobias, and promises eternal pain and torment to any who try to interfere with me in carrying out my duties. Just the standard things."
"Lord Tobias ..."
Zele nodded and offered her comment, "That is why Zele has to bow. That is who you are, Toby. Most must bow to you now, even if the marks are covered by clothes. But there is no bowing to lords here where humans might see. Otherwise, all must bow to a lord."
He shook his head, "I don't think I can stand that. Look, I don't get all of this. I can't see how you putting these here on us makes any difference, but I'll give you the point for now. But what I want, at least for you guys is, ... well if there's no need to, please don't do that, ok?"
Zele shook her head, "If that is what you want, it must be commanded."
"There's that freaking word again," he groaned.
"Fine," he said, feeling just a little frustrated at something which made no sense to him, "then what I want is for you both to IMAGINE that I'm yelling at you right now not to DO that again, alright?"
He felt almost no better to see them nod at him.
Maezou looked a little exasperated. "Toby, I love you very much, and I know that you're very intelligent, but sometimes you act like you're as thick as horse dung. So if you say you feel like you have a sunburn, and I say I feel the same, and then I show you WHY I feel like that, don't you think you ought to light up a little flame above your head and catch on? Look at yourself in any of the walls before I turn them back."
He turned and stared. His hair was the same, though with no gray. The man who looked back at him was himself at thirty years old in the best condition of his life. He could see that he was even better. It was like looking at one of the male models on the cover of a romance novel, but without the kilt or the loincloth. His eyes glowed brightly back at him. Altogether, he was happy with what she'd done, though from what she'd told him earlier, he really didn't need much, just to roll back the clock.
But though he'd been in good shape then and fairly muscular, he didn't remember all of these sinews and veins showing quite that much, and he looked like he had about fifteen to twenty pounds more muscle now.
"Trust me, "she said, reading his mind a little, "You did look much like that. People are the way that they look here, but then there's the way that they think they look, and it's usually not the same. This is how you were. I know, because I saw it in you. Show me a picture of yourself back then, and we'll see."
She stood next to him and put her arm around his waist. He smiled and thanked her for what she'd done, and put his arm around her shoulders. "I think we make a very nice couple," he said. Both of them saw Zele nodding emphatically in the reflection.
Maezou turned to him and leaned against him, "I do too. I'm very proud of you. Thank you for saving me – in both ways, Toby."
He shrugged and gestured toward his reflection, "All in a day's work for this guy, apparently."
From his neck, over one collarbone and down his chest and abdomen were red and black glyphs and patterns. He turned her around. They matched in most respects, up to a point. "So this is the Lord Tobias part, and from here on its eternal torment?"
Zele's eyes opened wide in shock and she covered her mouth as she snickered.
Maezou's tail snaked up to wrap itself around his genitals. "That wasn't very nice," she said, "It's a good thing that I'm hopelessly in love with my master."
He shook his head, "That's something I'm going to have to change about me. I make jokes sometimes, and don't even think about it. I'm very sorry, I'd never want to hurt your feelings. Hopelessly in love doesn't begin to describe how I feel."
She put her head on his collarbone, "I've tasted how you feel. I know that something goes into the blood if someone is feeling strong emotion. That's what I tried to taste. Toby, I wasn't ready for what I found in you. I felt it as almost a blow. I know how you love me."
She looked up after a moment to try to continue with his education, "So, you're Lord Tobias, and you're a lord over a demon – me. And I am well-known to be an awful flaming bitch-demon." She turned to her friend, "Or do I lie, Zele?"
Zele shook her head, "No, it is so, Maezou."
Zele caught Toby's eye in the reflection, "She has killed demon lords before once or twice, Toby. Maezou is mighty herself." She smiled at Maezou, "but she is not proud and stupid like them."
Maezou continued, "So by ..." she hunted for the term, "...inference, I think you say, if you're the lord of a demon. That makes you a demon lord."
She looked at him cautiously, "You can grin, but there are others who will take it seriously. One of the reasons that I like this room is because it's below ground and we can be out of sight a little bit. I worry about you, since you don't know how to defend yourself yet. It shouldn't be a problem, I'll teach you to do that. Remember that I said that you get magic from my bite? I've already bitten you four times, Toby. Now turn the candles down so they'll last longer," she tried out a new word, "honey."
He stared at them, and then at her, "You're joking, how do I do that?"
She shook her head, "It's not how you do it, it's that you just do it. Pick one, and think it dimmer. Then move on to the next."
He looked at one, and it went out. He shook his head in amazement. The next one was easy, and then he dimmed them all at once.
"Perfect. You learn very quickly."
She thought about what she felt from him and tried to choose her words with a bit of care. "Toby, I have to tell you why I changed you, and I hope that you won't be hurt. I think that you are hurt a little bit that I did it, I can feel it."
He looked down, "I'm not surprised that you did. I'm an old guy. You look vibrant and young, so it makes sense," He sighed, "I'm just happy that I have you."
She put her arms around his neck and pulled herself a bit higher, "No! It isn't like that at all, Toby. You have to listen to me here. It doesn't matter what you call me now. I should be the one that you can trust and believe, and I'm still your friend no matter what is between us. I fell for you as you were, just as you were. I had no choice in it. If this was a perfect place, I wouldn't have changed a thing."
She thought a little, "Well, I probably would have suggested what I changed about some of you, but I don't think you'd argue about that." She smiled softly and kissed him.
"Toby, I wasn't playing with words before. It's real, Toby. If I'm your slave, then you must be a demon lord, or someone will just tear me away from you, and there'd be nothing that we could do about it. A man cannot be a demon lord, Toby. You must be at least half demon, or our binding would not be respected, and then I would slowly die because I'd be away from you."
She kissed him again and looked up, seeking to use the new word again as she brought her lips to his ear. "Honey, you can't look like a man in your true form, the form that my kind sees. So to protect you and us, I had to make you look formidable."
He felt her smile as her lips brushed his ear, and she whispered, "Toby, I hate to tell you this, or maybe I should say it with the joy that I feel for my good fortune. You have always looked down at yourself your whole life, and you've been wrong about it. For the life of me, I cannot understand how you have managed to beat yourself up while holding the females of this world away from you at the same time. I am surprised that you don't have to step over them on your way out of your door every day."
"The good part is that I really didn't have to do much to make you look formidable, Toby. You make a fine demon lord. All I really did was give you the few things that would make you a half-demon. That's what you are becoming now. I'm so very sorry that it almost killed you, but there wasn't any other way, and if I told you all of this – everything - I doubt that you would have agreed without even longer explanations that I didn't have time to give you. I would have had to just go before I couldn't control myself anymore. To your world, you can look just like you looked yesterday, or any other way that you want to look. But to my kind, you MUST look like this. I didn't put those marks on you to play around. They're there to keep you alive."
She kissed his ear as she slid her arm around his neck, trying to reassure him, "You always amaze me. When you asked me about binding yourself to me, I almost cried, because I knew that it was no empty gesture. I would love for this to happen, but like everything else, I need a lot of time to consider it. I think that we might even be able to do it right now, but for one thing."
He looked at her, "Then I would be more of a demon, right? But you told me that a demon has to be bound, and I'd bind myself to you, so what's the problem with that? You said you were strong enough to be a demon lord yourself."