The Darkest Hour

Written by J.C. Owens
Aug.11, 2011

Nathan paused, sniffing the night air.
He was returning home from weeks spent aboard his boat, and now, in the thick mist that was rolling in from the ocean, as he walked the faint familiar trails to his small house atop the cliffs, he realized he was not alone.
His first instinct was to flee back down the cliffside, but within moments his senses told him that more than one had invaded his sanctuary. At least two, maybe more. One was below him, between him and his beloved boat. The other was waiting within the small cottage, not even trying to hide his presence.
The energy signature of that one made the hair on the back of Nathan’s neck rise in terror.
Nathan froze, frantically wracking his brain for a way out. He had thought himself safe, that the chase would have ended years ago. A hundred years ago at least. Instead, it seemed Paden was patient in his hunt, letting his prey assume that he was free.
He stared blindly into the mist, his heart pounding with dread.
More signatures appearing, six at least. Two more down at the shore, four around the cottage.
Paden was ensuring he could not run, could not again escape as he had so long ago.
Nathan drew a deep breath, fighting down his own fears. He was no fighter, knew he could not take three of his kind in a battle to return to his boat. He was effectively trapped, neatly, and with so little fuss.
He wanted to scream with fury and terror both, but he was no boy now. He would not give the bastard the satisfaction of such a response.
He closed his eyes, trying to accept the realization that there would be no escape of this. This time, he would have to give in to what he had fought against so desperately all these years ago.
A growl rose in his throat, a faint release of his frustration, but in the end, there was nowhere to go but forward.
The cottage door was open, firelight within offering a cheery welcome that made Nathan grit his teeth.
How dare the bastard invade his sanctum, his refuge.
Refuge no longer.
Now only a trap.
He paused at the door, taking a deep breath. He could feel the guards nearby in the darkness, watching him, waiting for the slightest hint of flight. A pained smile twisted his lips.
Flight was no longer an option.
He stepped within, closing the door softly in his wake. He would rather that all and sundry did not witness this meeting. His humiliation could be assumed, but not witnessed.
Paden stood by the fireplace, tall and immaculate as always, one arm on the mantle, his face lit by the flames, casting his high cheekbones into sharp relief. The firelight made his eyes appear even more golden, his hair a black cloak down over his shoulders, brushing his waist in thick profusion.
When he looked up at last, those eyes pinned Nathan with power, freezing him on the spot.
Nathan did not attempt to fight the compulsion, even when Paden’s fingers gestured and Nathan felt himself walk forward, helpless.
Paden watched his approach with no expression on that lean, cold face, his eyes glinting, his control over the situation absolute.
When Nathan stood so close that he could feel the other male’s breath, only then did the compulsion cease.
Nathan tried to control the trembling that seemed to have seized his limbs as he stared into the depths of those eyes, but this had gone beyond any hope of courage.
Long, fine fingers grasped his chin, tilted his face up, the touch making him shudder.
“So long, my little one. So very long you have made me wait. I should really punish you – but you have given me a good chase, a long hunt. Your punishment will be for other things, which we will discuss at length, or perhaps I should hand you back to your family for a few days. I am sure they would be pleased to teach you the meaning of honor.”
So beautiful that voice, low and strong. Sin itself. It had always been what Nathan feared most. Even without the power of compulsion, that voice could persuade anyone to do anything at all. Even sacrifice themselves.
“There was no honor in selling their son. They did not understand the word, and neither did you, since you were the one to pursue the matter, even after you learned I wanted no part of you.” Nathan felt proud of the steadiness of his voice, even if it wavered ever so slightly at the end.
“My dear boy,” Paden smiled, a slight tilt of those generous lips, though not even a hint of humor glinted in those mesmerizing eyes. “I am their prince. They were proud to give me anything I wished, knowing how it would advance their status, their standing. How could you deny your parents, your siblings, such a change in their fortunes?”
The mockery in the low tone made Nathan’s fists clench.
“Choose one of them then. They would be eager for your attentions, submissive to your will.” Scorn rang in Nathan’s words.
Paden’s dark eyebrow rose and he stepped closer, his other hand slowly tracing down Nathan’s face, his neck, fingers dipping into his shirt, playing with the first button, ever so slowly unfastening it.
“But it is you I fancy. It was you I coveted when first I saw you at that gathering so long ago. It is you that will be my consort, as should have been back then.”
Nathan quivered with the need to resist.
“You fear what must be, my love.” Paden’s words were gentle enough, but they fell like acid upon Nathan’s mind.
“I am not your damned love!” he spat, trying to step back, freezing once more as a powerful arm wrapped around his waist, holding him in place. Those golden eyes pinned him effortlessly, still no hint of anger in their depths despite Nathan’s words.
So cursedly controlled.
“I have humored your fears, let you run wild all these years. I had hoped that you would come to your senses. Perhaps that was a mistake, perhaps I should have just taken you then, even if unwilling. You would have found there was nothing at all to protest against. You would have settled with time.”
He leaned closer, breath whispering over Nathan’s face, sweet breath, crisp with some scent of mint. Nathan closed his eyes, trying to deny the shiver that rippled up his spine, the desire that rose within him as it had so long ago.
It was that desire that had terrified him then, as it did now.
Paden would take everything he was and possess it utterly. There would be no room for self, for freedom of will.
The strength of the prince would crush all Nathan was.
“Give in, my sweet one. There is no other way.” A hot tongue swept over Nathan’s neck, Paden drawing a deep breath as he scented Nathan’s skin.
“All you need do is say yes to our union, give me permission for the initial marking. I will not take you into the viper’s nest, my court, without everyone knowing who you belong to.”
Nathan shuddered, finding his hands coming up in mute protest to press against Paden’s chest, trying to gain some space, some thought. His fingers curled into the black silk shirt and he was unable to determine if he was rejecting the other or holding him desperately. Paden had always brought out the very worst in him.
“You are shaking.” The whisper caressed his ear, making Nathan turn his head in unconscious surrender, offering his neck without thought.
Paden laughed softly, no malice in the sound, only triumph.
“Say yes, my little one. No more fear, no more running. Give yourself to me and all will be fine.”
Nathan stared blindly at the fire. He was so tired, so alone. What Paden offered suddenly seemed a haven. If his mind was taken from him, his will, would that be so bad, or would it be a release at last, an end to the misery he had endured for all his life?
His kind could not die – but this might be the closest thing.
“Yes,” he breathed, so very softly, hopelessly.
Paden drew him closer, satisfaction making his energy flare until it made Nathan flinch.
Fingers returned to hold his jaw steady and he felt the prick of lethal fangs against his skin. There was the briefest moment that time seemed to stand still, both of them poised on the edge, and then Nathan cried out as he was pierced. He would have pulled away, virginal fear driving him from the intimate contact, but Paden’s hold was unbreakable now, his superior strength very evident in that moment.
Nathan moaned, the pain melting into a rush of pleasure that seemed to surge from the bite into every part of his body, making him arch into Paden, blindly clutching at him in a parody of lovers.
Paden moaned, gently sucking, before he drew Nathan down to the floor, laying him beneath him without ever breaking his intimate attachment.
Nathan writhed, barely feeling his clothing being removed with smooth efficiency. The warmth of the fire wafted over his bare skin and he flung his head back, almost breaking free of the teeth that were so firmly entrenched within his neck.
Paden made a soothing sound in his throat, then slowly withdrew his fangs, licking his lips. Nathan could not help but look at him, feeling a surge of need and want as he watched that tongue clean the blood from that generous mouth.
Paden’s eyes slowly became totally crimson, his face thinning into something more primal, the truth of their kind.
He smeared his fingers through the blood that dripped from Nathan’s neck, then his hand disappeared from sight, touching the entrance to Nathan’s body firmly.
Nathan bucked, eyes wide, but Paden leaned down and took his lips with a force that made Nathan whimper, a sound he could never recall making before. His mouth was suddenly not his own, but Paden’s, that hot tongue possessing every bit with dominant assurance.
He scarcely felt the blood slicked finger that slid within his untried body. It was only as a second joined the first that it came to his attention and he tried to arch away from the uncomfortable sensations.
“Sssh,” Paden pulled back, let him breathe again, soothed, that voice working against Nathan’s fears with gentle efficiency. “Only this first time will there be pain, my love, and then, for all the ages, nothing but pleasure will my body give you.”
Nathan felt tears start to his eyes, the words appealing to the loneliest depths of his being. The prince sounded so – caring – such truth in his tone. Could it be that there was something more to this bonding than simple lust? Could it be that all these years, Paden had wanted him for something quite different than simply to own him, possess him like a toy?
Perhaps when he had stated that they were mates, he had meant something quite different than Nathan’s terror had painted.
His revelations kept him quiescent under that large powerful body, held him in place even when he felt those fingers retreat and the press of something much larger, much hotter.
Paden’s shaft stretched his entrance to the point of pain, then over, before suddenly slipping within Nathan’s body. He arched, keening, his channel clenching against the intruder, its muscles struggling to eject the large phallus that violated it.
Paden whispered softly, words Nathan could not truly distinguish over his own discomfort, then large hands gently guided his legs around the other male’s waist.
Paden leaned closer, licking gently over the bite mark and Nathan cried out, eyes rolling back in astonished wonder at the pure, undiluted pleasure that radiated from so simple a touch.
His body relaxed and Paden took full advantage, surging forward with long strokes, then withdrawing briefly before pressing ever further into Nathan’s body.
Nathan felt so full, so possessed – so wanted – in a way he could never have imagined.
It was hard to remember why he had fought this for so long. This did not feel like he was being extinguished, owned – it felt like he could fly.
His hands rose to grip Paden’s shoulders, feeling the sleek muscles shift through the silk as his lover began to thrust, deeper and harder with each movement. Nathan could feel Paden’s heartbeat within him, the heat and power of that shaft joining them in a dance as old as time itself, as ancient and primal as their people.
The fear faded away utterly and Nathan stared up into those red eyes, utterly transfixed at the deep emotion there, the stark need, the feral possessiveness emphasized by bared fangs. The energy Paden was exuding did not feel like mere lust, it felt like something deeper, something – complete. Nathan could not formulate his thoughts enough to name that something, only that he seemed as deeply affected as Paden himself. Instead of destroying him, this felt right and good as though this were all he had ever needed to become himself, to move beyond his pathetic fears and pain and become who he had always been meant to be.
The how and the why of it scarcely mattered; there was only Paden.
Nathan wrapped his legs around his lover, feeling those lean hips flex with each thrust. The fact that Paden had never undressed, merely opening his pants, brought a whole new sensation to the act, emphasizing the impatience and dominance of the older male and making Nathan feel utterly desired and needed in a fashion he had never experienced before.
Paden truly wanted him; the energy that flared between them, twisting and melding into one force could not be hidden nor falsified. It was the truth of their kind, a silent conversation that clearly exposed their emotions to each other.
Nathan wrapped his arms around his love’s neck, dragging him down for a mind numbing kiss.
Paden’s rhythm never faltered, his eyes never leaving Nathan, his power flaring so that it became hard to breathe in the small room, the air stifling in its intensity.
Nathan caught his breath as Paden shifted, his angle changing – a silent scream contorted Nathan’s mouth, his eyes wide and wild.
Paden’s smile was all predator as he dipped his head, sank his fangs back into the mark upon Nathan’s neck.
This time Nathan did scream; an undulating wail of pure pleasure almost more than his mind could cope with.
The newborn link to his prince slammed open completely and Nathan felt a oneness, a joy, knowledge that he would never be alone again, never without a love he had not believed possible.
That he had tried to avoid this – his own foolishness stunned him. Such a waste of time, time that could have been spent with Paden. Tears rose to his eyes and he clutched harder at the powerful body that blanketed him.
Paden’s head rose slowly, his tongue bathing the wounds, before those amazing eyes softened and he kissed Nathan ever so gently, endless love in the gesture.
“The past is just that, my love. Leave it be. Come with me now, mark me, make me yours so that all will know we are unbreakable, bound for all of eternity.”
Nathan shuddered at the thought, not with fear but with blinding need. He tilted his hips, taking Paden’s shaft deeper within him, making his mate moan with the feeling.
Paden gave the smallest smile, a mere tilting of those generous lips, but his eyes said it all.     He slowly offered his neck, proud even in submission. No one else would ever be given such an opening, only Nathan.
Nathan felt warmth rise to overwhelm him; that his prince would give him such trust, for among their kind, such a thing was not treated lightly. Trust at all was a rare and precious thing.
Sinking his fingers into that beautiful thick hair, Nathan licked the skin that was presented so willingly, groaning at the taste.
“I love you,” he whispered, almost laughing with the uncontained joy that wanted to find voice.
His fangs sank deep and blood spurted over his tongue, the taste, hot and sweet sweeping over his senses in a manner that he could not control, nor could he wish to.
Energy sparked and swirled around them, power melded and honed into something greater than them both.
Nathan could endure it no longer. Regretfully, he withdrew his bite, struggling to keep his eyes fixed upon Paden as pleasure overwhelmed him utterly, making his body arch helplessly, hot seed spattering over his belly and chest, coating Paden’s silk shirt in ribbons of white. “Nathan, my love, my little one,” Paden’s voice broke, hoarse, and he shuddered, eyes rolling back into his head for long moments as he reached his own peak, pleasure intertwining with Nathan’s so that for soaring moments, they were one entity.
They came down slowly, the link between them throbbing and pulsing as it learned its place, as it settled into something new and bright and clean.
Their hearts slowed, their minds could finally think once more.
Paden reluctantly withdrew, both of them feeling a sense of loss at the intimacy that had brought them together so completely.
Nathan wrapped arms around his lover and drew him close, their mouths meeting in the softest of kisses, a gentleness rare in their kind.
Paden stroked back Nathan’s hair. “Mine,” he whispered, the red of his eyes flaring brighter for long moments. “Mine. My consort. You will return with me and rule at my side.”
“Yours,” agreed Nathan contentedly. “As you are mine.”
With the wave of a long fingered hand, the fire extinguished and blessed darkness enfolded them both…

Comments are closed.