by Shinju Yuri (真珠百合)
illustrated by calintz
When his master died, Jin Hyun-Woo set off to take on the world. He had Queenslayer, his master’s sword and he was going to find the bastards that killed his master. No matter how long it took or what happened.
Three years later all he had to show for himself were a scar on his back, a weird panther thing that stole most of his bed despite everybody assuring him it was an astral projection and not a real panther at all, and the most annoying man on the face of the earth as his partner. It wasn’t what he had thought he was getting into.
Furthermore, the most annoying man on the face of the earth was humming a happy, vaguely creepy tune — off-key — and painting something on his back. He’d been painting for the past two hours, and he’d had to stay perfectly still the whole time. Hyun-Woo wasn’t very good at staying still, especially when Ha-Neul’s tail kept flicking against the side of his face. It could be worse, he supposed. Once Sung-Min had made him lie on a marble slab while he painted on him, but now at least he was on his own bed and Sung-Min had spread out a silk coverlet, embroidered with auspicious symbols. At first the gold thread had been cool but it had warmed now.
“Are you almost done yet?” he demanded. His hair was falling into his eyes, the short blond braid dangling on his temple and driving him slowly crazy.
“Sung-Min,” said Hyun-Woo. “This tickles.”
“This is necessary,” said Sung-Min pitilessly. “It’s almost done.”
Hyun-Woo growled. Ha-Neul rolled over and put his paw on Hyun-Woo’s face, right on his mouth, so he had to breathe in fine black fur. .For a minute he thought about smacking Ha-Neul but there was something about a massive paw with extremely sharp claws in his face that made him want to lie still. “Fis ‘ad ‘etter me worf hit,” he said through Ha-Neul’s paw.
“Of course it’s worth it,” said Sung-Min, still painting carefully. “There,” he said, dotting Hyun-Woo’s back with the brush three times, very carefully.
“‘An I met hup ow?” demanded Hyun-Woo. “‘Ammit ‘A-Neul ‘et FOFF ‘ee.”
“You can’t get up yet. Ha-Neul, you heard him. Please get off. You’re going to get fur in the ink,” said Sung-Min. Ha-Neul made a disgusted noise but rolled over again so Hyun-Woo could breathe again.
“The hell is this for, anyway?” said Hyun-Woo, trying to hold still despite the tickling sensation as the ink dried.
Sung-Min made a noncommittal sound in his throat and picked up a jar beside the bed. “You’ll see,” he said vaguely.
Hyun-Woo groaned. “The last time you said that I spent three weeks flat on my back.”
“And didn’t complain at the time,” said Sung-Min. “This might feel a little strange.” He spread a long line of ointment down Hyun-Woo’s back. It was cool at first and then soaked tingling heat down his spine. Hyun-Woo made a sound under his breath as Sung-Min’s hands rubbed the ointment in. He tried not to arch into it but it felt really good and it wasn’t as if he was fooling anybody in the room.
“Does that feel good?” said Sung-Min, practically in his ear.
“Don’t be an idiot,” he said. He sucked in his breath as Sung-Min’s hand moved lower. “This isn’t one of those spells, is it?”
“It might be,” said Sung-Min, much too cheerfully. His hands were reducing Hyun-Woo into a puddle of warmth.
“Stop being a bastard,” said Hyun-Woo, trying to sound angry and moaning instead as one of Sung-Min’s hands slid down his ass, slick with ointment. It was almost unbearably warm, and Hyun-Woo hissed as Sung-Min’s fingers circled gently.
“Hold still,” said Sung-Min, in his ear. His hand left for a second and returned with more ointment, pressing deeper. “You don’t want the ink to smear.”
“How can I?” gasped Hyun-Woo. “Damn you, ohhhhhhh…..” One finger went deep and Hyun-Woo almost screamed. It wasn’t fair how Sung-Min could make him react. “I — I’ll get you for this, I swear it.”
“Will you cut me down?” asked Sung-Min. His hand pulled out and cupped Hyun-Woo’s balls, rubbing them and then sliding up. “You seem to have a ready blade.”
“That’s not funny,” said Hyun-Woo, trying not to embarrass himself by acting like a cat in heat.
Sung-Min chuckled and bent closer, his long hair brushing against Hyun-Woo’s cheek. “It’s very charming,” he said. “The way you act.”
“It is not,” said Hyun-Woo, his cheeks flaring with heat, twisting his head enough to glare at him.
“Yes, it is,” said Sung-Min softly. He lifted up Hyun-Woo’s hips and put a pillow under them, scraping his teeth against Hyun-Woo’s neck. Hyun-Woo hissed out a breath. Ha-Neul made a irritated sound and got off the bed.
“Dammit –” began Hyun-Woo.
“Hush,” said Sung-Min. His fingers were going through Hyun-Woo’s hair, in the way that always confused Hyun-Woo: it was almost like tenderness but Sung-Min was a crazy, nasty bastard of a mage who didn’t give a shit about anybody. Hyun-Woo’s scalp tingled. Sung-Min kissed the nape of Hyun-Woo’s neck and he began to chant softly. So it was one of those spells, thought Hyun-Woo. As he chanted he drew shivery lines along the ink on Hyun-Woo’s back with one of his fingers, going lower and lower. Hyun-Woo found himself relaxing without meaning to. The low, steady drone of Sung-Min’s voice almost sent him to sleep, but the lines of fire he traced on Hyun-Woo’s body were enough to keep him awake. He began to breathe harder as Sung-Min’s fingers returned to stretching him, gently but ruthlessly.
He cried out when Sung-Min added another finger. He didn’t mean to but the sensation was almost too much to bear.
“It’s all right,” said Sung-Min. “How beautiful you are.” His voice was still that low croon, soothing Hyun-Woo enough that he didn’t tense up again. “So beautiful.” His hand lifted Hyun-Woo’s hips, urging him to his knees so he could wrap his hand around Hyun-Woo. Hyun-Woo sucked in his breath and rocked against his hand. “Yes, like that,” said Sung-Min. “Yes. Let me in.”
“Please,” said Hyun-Woo, not knowing what he was asking for, if he wanted Sung-Min to stop making him feel so intensely or to let him feel more. “Dammit, please.”
Sung-Min chuckled, a low sound in his throat, and bent to kiss Hyun-Woo’s neck. “I keep thinking,” he said, dreamily, “That some day we’ll be doing this and I’ll forget to be careful and I’ll leave a mark somewhere everybody can see. And you’ll go to Court with me and everybody will stare at you and they’ll know you’re mine.”
“I am not,” Hyun-Woo gasped.
“No,” said Sung-Min, nipping gently. “But I–” he pulled back and took his fingers away, and Hyun-Woo made a pathetic little noise at the sudden emptiness — “I am the only one” — his hands clamped hard around Hyun-Woo’s hips and Hyun-Woo sucked in a breath, knowing what was coming and wanting it like he wanted air — “who can do this.” He thrust in, hard and fast, and Hyun-Woo cried out with relief or pain, he didn’t know which and didn’t care. “I love it,” said Sung-Min. “You look into my eyes without fear, you let me do this.”
“They – they’re just eyes,” gasped Hyun-Woo, trying to meet Sung-Min’s thrust, but held back by Sung-Min’s hands. Sung-Min had dual-colored eyes, one grey, one brown. People were scared of them but that was stupid. Sung-Min was dangerous, not his eyes. “Let me move please let me move bastard let me move –”
“Soon,” said Sung-Min. He spoke several words in the language he cast spells in, sharp words of command, and Hyun-Woo felt the spell on his back snap into place like a whip cracking. It didn’t hurt but he screamed and arched up helplessly, his mind and body caught up in an explosion. Sung-Min hissed, “Yes, like that” and began to thrust again, his hands and body making Hyun-Woo pant and writhe, without thought, with nothing but blind instinct and the need for more.
“Now,” said Sung-Min, and Hyun-Woo came, hard, and moaned as Sung-Min cried out harshly and slumped against him.
There was silence, heavy and complete, until Sung-Min raised his head enough to disengage them and roll over to his side, pulling Hyun-Woo with him so his back lay against Sung-Min’s chest. “What about the ink?” said Hyun-Woo sleepily.
“The ink’s fine,” said Sung-Min, and even in his drowsy state Hyun-Woo recognized a certain smug triumph in his tone.
“You have until I feel like getting up and getting Queenslayer to explain what you did and why,” he said levelly. “It had best be a good one.”
“You wouldn’t run me through with your sword,” said Sung-Min. He thought for a second. “And you wouldn’t do anything else because then what would you do?”
Hyun-Woo recited a vulgar proverb about the eunuch’s wife and Sung-Min chuckled, nuzzling into the space between his shoulder and neck. “It’s a protective spell, that’s all,” he said. “A variant on the Heart Sutra.”
“You just gave me a magic tattoo, didn’t you,” said Hyun-Woo flatly.
“To prove that you could.”
“You’re damn lucky I’m comfortable,” said Hyun-Woo pleasantly.
“So you are,” said Sung-Min, deliberately misunderstanding him. He twined his fingers with Hyun-Woo’s and added, “Very comfortable.”
“Why the hell do I put up with you?” said Hyun-Woo, exasperated.
“Tell me when you figure it out,” suggested Sung-Min, and kissed him.