by Yuriko Toru (百合子 亨)
There is no black and white to beauty
The green sneaks in as often as you look
Blue is in the ocean, gold is in my eyes
Locked in a gaze. Did you notice you were on my hook?
Sa’adat was five years old when he met the snake boy for the first time.
The boy was lying flat on his stomach in one of the palace gardens with his chin on his hands and his nose up against a flowering shrub. Sa’adat kicked off his sandals and plopped down next to him.
The boy jumped, looking over at Sa’adat with wide eyes. A green flicker of something vanished into the shrub.
“You’re not supposed to be here,” Sa’adat confided.
“I know,” the boy replied quietly. His face and hair were grimy.
Sa’adat left the silence in the air for another minute. “I’m Prince Sa’adat,” he announced finally.
“Shh,” the boy hissed.
His arms had gone numb and he was about to speak again when the shrub’s leaves rustled and a snake peered out. It was sleek and sour-green, its scales neat on its small snout. Its delicate tongue flickered out, once, twice; its eyes slid from Sa’adat to the boy.
The boy was so still that Sa’adat barely breathed. The snake reached its body down to the ground, long tail flowing after until the whole creature lay pooled in the dirt. Then it raised its head up, rising to look the boy in the eye. The boy smiled quietly.
They stayed like that, boy and snake stone-still and eye to eye, for a long moment. Then the snake dipped its head once, lowered itself to the ground, and slithered away.
“I’ve never seen a snake so close before,” Sa’adat said finally.
“They’re so beautiful,” the boy observed.
Sa’adat tilted his head at him. “No, they aren’t.”
For the first time, the boy looked Sa’adat in the eye. His eyes were such a light brown, they were almost gold, like honey. “Yes, they are.”
Sa’adat shook his head. “No,” he insisted, “they’re not.” He couldn’t seem to find the words he wanted — that “beautiful” was a word for long-haired women and shiny gold coins and healthy animals for the altar. It wasn’t a word for the puddle of liquid lightning he’d just witnessed a breath from his own nose.
“But they are,” the boy declared.
Sa’adat smacked his palm against the dirt, scuffing up a cloud of dust. “No, they’re not!”
The argument was only resolved when the guards finally found them. Sa’adat was scolded for getting dirt on his clothes and sent to his rooms; the boy was tossed out of the palace.
I wonder not, for here we are:
Little vipers sing the Snake Star Song
In hisses and kisses
Double-check what you’re messing with,
Sa’adat was seventeen by the time he saw the boy again. He had grown as tall as Sa’adat, and still wore dirt and dust like a second layer of clothing. Had it not been for his strange golden eyes, Sa’adat would never have recognized him as he was ushered past Sa’adat’s seat in the great hall. He stopped the guards with a gesture.
“What’s going on here?” he demanded. “Who’s this?”
“We found him in the palace gardens,” the guard on the left informed him. “He’s to be executed for treason.”
“Treason?” Sa’adat echoed, eyes finally catching the cuffs on the boy’s wrists.
“This is the fourth time we’ve caught him in the garden under your highness’s window,” the other guard explained. “The king your father ordered his execution.”
Sa’adat stared for a moment. The boy he’d been calling “the snake boy” in the privacy of his own head for twelve years stared back, eyes unnervingly bright even under the shadow of his brows. He’d grown up lean, with just enough meat on him to rule out “skinny”. There was a strange sort of prettiness in his face, all slightly-too-sharp angles and calculating cautiousness. “Pretty” was hardly a word Sa’adat would ever have used on a boy his own age, but there was something about this one that made it the only right word to use.
“What were you doing in the garden?” he murmured.
“He doesn’t seem to speak, your highness,” the first guard said after a moment.
Sa’adat nodded. “Leave us,” he commanded.
The guards balked. “But, your highness –”
“Give me the key, and leave us,” Sa’adat repeated. The guard bowed awkwardly, pressing the key into Sa’adat’s palm and backing out the door. His partner followed.
“The garden, hm?” Sa’adat mused, turning the brass key over in his fingers. The snake boy scowled and said nothing.
“I met you in the garden before,” Sa’adat continued. “A long time ago.”
The snake boy looked away.
“I know you can talk,” Sa’adat snapped eventually, draping one arm over the back of his chair and propping one ankle on his knee. “You spoke to me before.”
“That was over a decade ago,” the snake boy said. A shiver ran down Sa’adat’s spine at the sound of it. His voice was cool and smooth and low, like the first drink from a deep well. “A lot can change in that time.”
Indeed it can, Sa’adat murmured to himself.
“What if I had lost my voice?” the snake boy continued.
Sa’adat stared at him for a moment. “… What if you had lost your voice?”
The snake boy just shook his head tiredly.
Sa’adat stopped twirling the key he’d entirely forgotten. “Come here,” he ordered, settling both bare feet on the floor and resting his elbows on his knees.
The snake boy raised his chin to glare a challenge down his nose at Sa’adat and did not move.
Sa’adat brandished the key at him. “Come here,” he repeated.
“I’m to be executed for treason,” the snake boy reminded him.
“I don’t care,” Sa’adat retorted, finally rising from his chair and striding towards him.
“Your lack of caution is astounding,” the snake boy said dryly.
“All you’ve done is trespass.” With two quick clicks, Sa’adat was removing the cuffs from his wrists. “I don’t see how that qualifies as treason.”
“For all you know I intended to kill you,” the snake boy said.
“And for all anyone knows, everyone around them is intending to kill them at any time.” The cuffs hit the tiled floor; before he could blink, the snake boy had one hand trapping one of Sa’adat’s wrists and the other around his throat.
A choked noise left Sa’adat’s lungs, quieter than it should have been but the loudest he could muster. Grasping, silent and desperate, with his free hand, he found the snake boy’s wrist and tried in vain to pry his hand away from Sa’adat’s throat.
The snake boy’s grip was viselike, and Sa’adat was weak from shock and lack of breath, and it was obvious that the snake boy had had the upper hand from the start. His fingers were cool and smooth, slightly dusty against Sa’adat’s flushing skin. The boy’s narrow thumb dug in just under the corner of Sa’adat’s jaw, and pain sparked bright-hot where it did. Sa’adat’s heartbeat was deafening in his own ears. He could feel it against the pad of the boy’s thumb where his other hand coiled around Sa’adat’s wrist.
The snake boy let him choke for a moment before loosening his grip. “You could be dead by now,” he said, voice low and deadly.
Sa’adat smacked the boy’s hand away from his throat. The boy let him. “Why aren’t I, then?” he demanded, breathing deeply to calm his racing pulse.
The snake boy shrugged, dropping Sa’adat’s wrist. “You have merit.”
“Oh, well thank you.”
The snake boy narrowed his eyes. “You are going to get yourself killed acting so rashly, you know.”
Sa’adat ignored him. “What’s your name?”
The snake boy scoffed.
“Your name,” Sa’adat demanded.
The snake boy crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow in challenge. Sa’adat wanted to wipe the arrogance straight off his face, felt it like a punch to the tailbone.
He scowled. “As your crown prince, I order you to tell me your name,” he snapped.
The snake boy regarded him in disdainful silence for a moment. “You may call me Ananta,” he relented finally.
“Well, Ananta, you realize I could have you executed in a heartbeat for daring to lay a hand on your prince,” Sa’adat spat.
“Indeed you could,” Ananta agreed drily.
“Well I just might,” Sa’adat told him, stepping closer to look Ananta directly in the eye and regretting it almost immediately. From two feet away it was far harder to tell that Ananta was at least an inch taller than he was.
“As you command,” was Ananta’s reply.
“Oh, I will,” Sa’adat assured him coldly, just as the near door opened and two guards stepped in. Sa’adat turned on his heel and stalked back to his seat, flinging himself down furiously as the guards retrieved the shackles and key from where Sa’adat had dropped them and secured Ananta’s hands. Ananta made no move to resist, letting them lead him easily from the room without looking back.
It wasn’t until the door was closed behind them that Sa’adat remembered Ananta was to be executed anyways, and he went to bed that evening fuming but still somewhat satisfied.
He dreamed that night of a green snake taller than he was, wrapping its cool body around and around him like a lover, all dangerous muscle and smooth scale. When he woke, it was to his entire body burning with need and the news that the prisoner due to be executed that evening had escaped.
Wonder not, for here we are:
Little vipers sing the Snake Star Song
In hisses and kisses.
Don’t think you know everything,
Sa’adat entered his room with a sigh, removing his new crown and setting it gently aside on a table. Sagging back against the wall, he ran a hand through his hair and let his eyes flutter shut.
“Long day?” a voice asked from the shadows.
Sa’adat yelped, fumbling upright as the lamp’s dim glow flared up. There, sprawled casually against one bedpost, a young man sat inspecting his fingernails.
“What are you doing here?” Sa’adat demanded.
The intruder spread his hands placatingly. “I wanted to congratulate you on your coronation,” he said.
“That’s not what I — who are you?”
“I would have thought you’d have remembered me,” the young man mused, looking up at Sa’adat from under his long eyelashes. His eyes gleamed gold as the lamplight caught them.
“Ananta?” Sa’adat breathed, leaning in for a closer look.
The young man smiled faintly. “So you do remember.”
Remember, certainly. The feeling of cool fingers against his throat, around his wrist, the spice that had been on his breath. Sa’adat drew upright. “What are you doing here?” he demanded. “You were to be executed for treason the last time I saw you, and now you think you can just sneak into my palace and sit there on my bed like it belongs to you?”
“Your assassination is scheduled for tonight,” Ananta announced casually, worrying at a loose thread in the gauzy green silk draped around his waist and legs. He was dressed almost like a courtesan, in nothing but the finest of fine silk. The only difference was the lack of jewelry.
“I — what?”
“Just thought you ought to know,” Ananta commented, swinging his legs over the edge of Sa’adat’s bed and rising to his feet.
Sa’adat curled his fingers around Ananta’s bicep as he made to leave. “And just where do you think you’re going?”
“I don’t want to overstay my welcome,” Ananta told him.
“Your welcome is cordially extended until you tell me what I need to know,” Sa’adat growled. “Now, what’s this about an assassination?”
Ananta cocked his head, as if listening carefully. His tongue darted out to dampen his lips. Sa’adat waited, feeling the thrum of blood under skin where his hand rested on Ananta’s arm. He wondered idly whether it was Ananta’s pulse or his own.
“Fine,” Ananta relented.
Sa’adat gently pulled him back from the door, then turned him so they were face to face. “Tell me everything you know.”
Ananta’s face was grave. “I can’t.”
“You can–” Sa’adat began, threats crowding his tongue.
“For my own safety, I can’t tell you everything,” Ananta continued over him. “Will you hear what I can tell?”
Sa’adat swallowed. Ananta held his eyes, perfectly steady.
“Yes,” Sa’adat decided, as if there had been any decision to make.
Ananta nodded, and the tension snapped. Sa’adat broke away, crossing to the low table and picking up a bottle of wine.
“A drink?” he offered.
“Is it sealed?” Ananta asked simply.
Sa’adat slowly set the bottle back down.
“So, who wants me dead?” he asked conversationally, propping himself on the edge of the table.
“I can’t say,” Ananta admitted.
“And how are they going to kill me?”
“I can’t say.”
“So what can you say?”
Ananta closed his eyes, mouth working like he was chewing on his lip.
Sa’adat sighed. Pushing himself up to his feet, he crossed to the door and opened it, gesturing for Ananta to leave. “Good evening.”
For a moment, it looked as though he wouldn’t go. Then he exhaled, and all the fight left his posture. As he brushed past, Sa’adat thought he heard Ananta mutter, “I’ll see you at the funeral.”
Sa’adat shut the door behind him. Leaning against it, he was in the middle of wondering tiredly how the hell he’d get any sleep that night when Ananta’s words actually sunk in. Throwing the door open, Sa’adat flung himself out into the hallway, barely catching himself on the frame before his face collided with the far wall. An admonishment was already halfway out of his throat.
Ananta was nowhere to be seen.
Come into my temple
And you shall not leave unchanged
Don’t underestimate the serpent when your heart is in her fangs
Sa’adat was about as able to sleep as he expected he’d be. The guard at his door had been tripled, two more guards were placed in the garden below his terrace, and the guards at all the palace doors were doubled. Still, he lay in his bed on his back with the covers up to his chin, his eyes wide open, and a knife in his hand, twitching at every sound. They tended to come just as his heart had resumed its normal pace after each jolt of adrenaline.
“Lovely night for it, isn’t it?” a voice purred from the darkness.
Sa’adat sat bolt upright, knife shaking slightly from how tightly his hand was clenched around it. Silhouetted against the dim glow of torchlight through the suddenly billowing silk curtains at his window was a slim human figure.
“You know the guards won’t help, don’t you?” the figure added, less flippantly, and Sa’adat narrowed his eyes.
“Ananta?” he hissed into the gloom.
“I can go,” Ananta offered, gesturing towards the open window behind the curtains.
“No,” Sa’adat said instantly. He meant it to come out as an order. It didn’t quite succeed.
Ananta took a couple cautious steps towards Sa’adat’s bed, looking around as if he could see through the darkness. “Seems clear for now,” he pronounced eventually.
“Good.” Sa’adat tightened the sheets around his bare waist as Ananta drew closer.
Slowly, Ananta padded barefoot across the stone floor until he stood by the foot of Sa’adat’s bed. Sa’adat waited, but Ananta just stood there, looming in the dark as if he intended to watch Sa’adat intently all night.
“What are you doing?” Sa’adat asked.
“Keeping an eye on you,” Ananta replied, as though it were perfectly natural to loom by the foot of someone’s bed all night, as if it were something he did often.
“Well don’t stand there, it’s uncomfortable,” Sa’adat protested, carefully not specifying whether he meant for Ananta or himself.
Ananta shrugged. “I’m fine,” he said, but moved to lean against the wall by the head of Sa’adat’s bed instead.
He wasn’t looking at Sa’adat, it was easy to tell. From where he was, his view of Sa’adat was obscured by the heavy curtains Sa’adat had refused to draw. Sa’adat would have preferred him not to be there at all, but some of the nervous tension at Ananta’s presence had eased a little when he was no longer in Ananta’s line of sight. He still doubted he’d be able to, but he closed his eyes and tried to relax enough to sleep.
“Why are you doing this?” Sa’adat found himself murmuring instead.
Ananta made a noise like an aborted chuckle. “Given a chance to grow out of your superiority complex,” he replied, “you could become a great ruler.”
Sa’adat chose to disregard the first part of Ananta’s answer, but somehow ended up pondering it anyway.
He must have dozed off again, as the next thing Sa’adat became aware of was the way the edge of his bed dipped under a human weight.
Jolted awake, Sa’adat flinched away, already reaching for the knife he hadn’t realized he’d put down.
“Just me,” Ananta murmured, and Sa’adat exhaled most of the tension from his body in a single sigh, shifting over to give Ananta more room. It was quite a large bed, after all, and Sa’adat didn’t need to sleep in the middle, he could share —
“What are you doing?” he hissed belatedly.
“Sitting down,” Ananta replied.
Sa’adat was about to object, but managed to tamp it down. He wasn’t about to make anyone stand at his side all night long, and besides, it wouldn’t be much harder to kill him from beside the bed than on the bed.
Ananta was a quiet presence at his side, breath even and body still. He smelled like spices Sa’adat couldn’t name but wanted to taste, cool and smooth like his hands had been when they’d been around Sa’adat’s wrist, his throat, the last time they’d met. Had it really been seven years? Sa’adat could still feel the echoes of Ananta’s hands, digging into his pulse and stopping his throat, as though it had been seconds ago.
Suddenly, and with horrifying clarity, Sa’adat remembered dreaming of a snake, cool and strong and bright green. He remembered waking up flushed and wanting, remembered how the news of Ananta’s escape had fuelled the fire under his skin. He remembered how, when he’d taken himself in hand, it had been a mess of desire and red-hot fury that had brought him over the edge, and how after he’d finished, he’d turned his head, caught a whiff of barely-familiar spice, and been suddenly almost ready to go again.
Heart thundering in his ears, Sa’adat turned his back to Ananta’s sedate figure and forced his eyes to shut. Breathing deeply to calm himself, he lay and tried to fall asleep, but his mind was racing and would not slow down, and breathing so deeply only brought more of Ananta’s intoxicating scent into his lungs. He cursed under his breath.
“Something wrong?” Ananta asked, voice low and husky from disuse, and the sound sent a jolt down Sa’adat’s spine.
“No,” he managed on the second try. “Fine.”
Sa’adat could feel Ananta’s eyes on him. He scowled at the far wall, tugging the blankets up higher over his shoulder.
The silence was deafening. Ananta shifted behind him, and suddenly Sa’adat was struck with the impulse to throw off the covers, nakedness be damned, and tackle Ananta, kissing him until they were both panting for breath and he’d wiped any trace of that old insufferable smirk off his lips. The urge grabbed at the base of his spine and twisted wildly, and Sa’adat tensed as his common sense threatened to break under the strain.
“Are you sure everything’s–” Ananta started, leaning over Sa’adat, and Sa’adat rolled onto his back, half a heartbeat from giving in when Ananta’s head snapped up, every line of his body tense.
Sa’adat lay as still as he could, Ananta hovering over him. His bare chest was less than a foot from Sa’adat’s mouth; one movement and he could taste–
Ananta lunged over him, hitting the floor with a painful sound. There was a vicious hiss, and Sa’adat finally jerked upright.
Ananta rose to his feet, hair in his face and gold eyes glinting even in the near-blackness but perfectly steady. In his hand, hissing and thrashing, was a snake.
Sa’adat flinched away, eyes never leaving the snake as Ananta raised it to look it in the eyes. The snake hissed almost pointedly, snapping its jaws at Ananta, and Ananta hissed right back, fury as clear in his tone as in his whole body.
The snake hissed again, whipping its body up and around Ananta’s forearm, and Sa’adat choked on air, eyes going wide as Ananta simply grabbed the snake’s tail and forced it away.
Even without words, Ananta’s voice brooked no argument. The snake stopped hissing, bowing its head as much as Ananta’s grip on its neck could allow. Ananta hissed a last remark, something scathing no doubt, and flung the snake across the room. It hit the floor with a thud, writhing onto its stomach to slither away.
Ananta hissed again, and the snake turned to go, but paused.
Ananta was in front of it on all fours in an instant, hissing directly into the snake’s face. Apparently terrified, it darted away behind Sa’adat’s desk and didn’t come out.
Sa’adat was on his feet before he could think to get up, bare feet burning on the cool stone floor as he strode across the room. Ananta sighed and rose to his feet, turning directly into Sa’adat. He jerked back, apology halfway spoken, but Sa’adat hooked one hand around the back of his neck and the other around his bicep and kissed him.
Ananta’s words cut off with a strangled sound as Sa’adat kissed him, and it took surprisingly little to get him to kiss back. His hands were as smooth as Sa’adat remembered when they landed on his hips, and he shuddered at how cool they were against his burning skin as Ananta plied Sa’adat’s mouth open with his tongue.
Sa’adat moaned, leaning into Ananta completely. If he thought about what he was doing, he’d be embarrassed, so he didn’t think; he just wanted, pressing his chest to Ananta’s and relishing the coolness of his bare skin. Ananta let him, hands guiding them back until the backs of Sa’adat’s knees hit the bed and Ananta broke the kiss.
“Do you–” he started, but Sa’adat fell back across the bed, dragging Ananta down with him and kissing him again.
Ananta chuckled, letting Sa’adat kiss him only briefly before pulling away. Sa’adat whined, high in his throat, but then Ananta was burying his face in Sa’adat’s neck and tonguing the very corner of his jaw, right where his thumb had rested seven years before, pressing just hard enough to start to hurt, and of course the guards at the door chose that moment to come in.
“Your majesty–” one of them began, in a tone of sheer alarm.
“Out,” Sa’adat ordered, emphasizing with a finger pointed to the door. “Now.”
The guards were gone almost before he’d finished the second word, door closing behind them. Sa’adat buried a hand in Ananta’s hair as Ananta chuckled against his skin.
“Rude,” Ananta chastised, but the amusement in his voice was clear.
“I’m busy,” Sa’adat pointed out, shoving Ananta off him and rolling on top of him.
“True,” Ananta acknowledged, rolling them over again and straddling Sa’adat’s hips. “Still rude.”
“I’m — oh,” Sa’adat gasped as Ananta rolled his hips, a single sinuous movement that looked as good as it felt. Then Ananta did it again, and Sa’adat ground up into him, hands coming to clutch at Ananta’s hips.
His fingers met silk, and he growled, clawing at the knot that held the cloth on. Ananta laughed breathlessly, hands untying the knot easily before he raised himself up onto his knees to disentangle it from his legs. Sa’adat whined at the loss of contact.
“So demanding,” Ananta teased. Tossing the silk aside, he grabbed Sa’adat’s wrists as he reached for Ananta’s hips. Faster than Sa’adat could process, Ananta was leaning down over him, pinning Sa’adat’s arms above his head. Sa’adat groaned.
“Looks like someone needs to learn a little patience,” Ananta purred. His chest was inches from Sa’adat’s mouth, so Sa’adat leaned up and latched his lips around one dusky nipple.
Ananta hissed, grip tightening on Sa’adat’s wrists as he ground his cock against Sa’adat’s stomach, muscles shifting in a way that made Sa’adat shudder all over. His skin tasted like the same spice that hung in the air around him; Sa’adat bucked his hips, searching for friction but finding none.
“Greedy,” Ananta hissed, curling his head down to breathe it right in Sa’adat’s ear, as Sa’adat’s mouth moved from his nipple to press wet, open-mouthed kisses against his sternum. “Typical royalty, thinking they can get everything they want without even asking. But I’m going to prove you wrong,” Ananta breathed. “Gonna make you ask, make you beg, teach you some fucking manners.”
Sa’adat gasped against Ananta’s chest at the sudden use of a street curse. He was sickeningly turned on, the taste of Ananta’s skin heady like strong wine as his pulse throbbed against Ananta’s fingers.
“Want me to?” Ananta asked, going almost still above him except for his breathing.
“Gods, yes,” Sa’adat found himself saying, lips dragging across Ananta’s sweet skin, “if you stop I’ll kill you.”
“No you won’t,” Ananta said easily, and then he was releasing Sa’adat’s wrists and sitting back on his heels to grind his ass against Sa’adat’s cock.
Sa’adat made a choked noise, grasping at Ananta’s thighs, but Ananta grabbed his wrists again. “Hands off,” he ordered, and Sa’adat cursed under his breath but removed his hands.
“Good,” Ananta murmured. “Now.” He rolled his hips, and the movement echoed all the way up his body as he pulled his hair back from his face with both hands, one long line of liquid sex as he fell into an agonizingly slow rhythm. “Tell me what you want.”
“You,” Sa’adat rasped.
“I’m right here,” Ananta informed him, a wicked grin pulling at his lips. His eyes gleamed in what little light bled through the curtains. “You’ve got me.”
“Kiss me,” Sa’adat blurted, and Ananta leaned down, teasing at Sa’adat’s lower lip with careful teeth before curling his tongue into Sa’adat’s mouth. Sa’adat’s fingers twitched where his arms lay jumbled above his head, but he didn’t move, didn’t touch, as Ananta’s tongue tasted his mouth as thoroughly and languidly as his hips moved. Sa’adat kissed back, revelling in the feeling.
Eventually, far too soon, Ananta pulled back, a hand on Sa’adat’s chest to keep him from following. “What else,” he breathed, and Sa’adat had to swallow several times in his attempt to speak.
“I want–” he started, before his words abandoned him. “I–”
Ananta hummed, licking his way across Sa’adat’s jaw to the shell of his ear. His lips parted wetly, and Sa’adat shuddered even before he said, low and sweet and so sickeningly good Sa’adat could live off of it, “Would you like to fuck me?”
Sa’adat made a truly embarrassing noise, fingers digging into his palms as his hips jerked into Ananta’s. “Oh, gods, yes, please,” he babbled.
“Ask me,” Ananta ordered.
“Please, let me,” was the instant reply.
“Let you what?”
“I — let me — please, I want to–” Sa’adat screwed his eyes shut. “Oh gods, I can’t.”
“You can,” Ananta said, and oh, his voice was pure, filthy pleasure curling into Sa’adat’s ears. “You know the word, you know what it means. All you have to do is say it.”
“I — no, I can’t.”
“Why? Because it’s beneath you? Because you’re the king?” Ananta punctuated the last word with a particularly vicious roll of his hips and Sa’adat moaned.
“Let me tell you a little secret,” Ananta continued, leaning in again to breathe his words into Sa’adat’s ear. “You may think you’re above everything, but nothing is beneath you.”
Sa’adat panted, trying to sort out Ananta’s words but unable to make sense of them.
“You could do anything,” Ananta growled. “Many kings have, stealing from their subjects, waging war for fun, looting and pillaging like glorified bandits. And yet here you are,” he observed, voice dipping lower, “caught up over admitting aloud that you want to fuck the pretty thing who slipped into your bed.”
Sa’adat choked on air.
“You want to say it,” Ananta purred. “Tell me you want to fuck me.”
“I–” Humiliation burned on Sa’adat’s skin, ratcheting his pulse up higher. The word hovered within reach, filthy and irreverent. He did want to. Gods, did he want to.
“Say it and I’ll let you,” Ananta whispered.
“Fuck,” Sa’adat gasped, and suddenly, it was that easy. “Fuck, Ananta, let me fuck you, I want to fuck you, please.”
Ananta hummed, kissing Sa’adat through what felt like a wicked grin. “Certainly, your majesty,” he breathed against Sa’adat’s lips, and Sa’adat nearly swallowed his own tongue.
Sa’adat went to kiss him again, but Ananta drew back. Sa’adat barely managed to keep from whining.
“We’re going to need oil of some sort,” Ananta informed him, and Sa’adat shivered.
“Salve, beside the bed, top drawer,” he rasped, because the palace physicians always did spoil their royalty, and Ananta rose up on his knees and turned to reach for it. The air felt cold all down Sa’adat’s front where Ananta had been; Ananta’s flank was right in front of him, though, and he placed a sucking bite over the curve of his ribs.
Ananta hissed in a breath through his teeth, pulling away from Sa’adat’s mouth but shifting to kiss him before he could protest. His tongue was eager, flirting with Sa’adat’s and drawing him to explore Ananta’s mouth, and without any idea how long they spent at it, he hadn’t quite had his fill of kissing when Ananta’s slick fingers closed around his cock.
Sa’adat’s hips jerked up into the touch. “Oh,” he said, breathy and surprised even to his own ears, and then Ananta was sinking down onto him, and gods, he was fucking tight, hot and slick and infinitely better than anything else he’d ever felt, he’d never ask for anything else if only he could have this again. His hands found Ananta’s thighs, sweat-sticky and shifting with muscle, just as Ananta sat back on his heels and started to ride him.
Sa’adat moaned, and Ananta moaned right back, eyes sliding shut as his tapered fingers alighted on Sa’adat’s wrists. One hand was slippery; Sa’adat shuddered when he realized why.
“So good,” Ananta breathed, and Sa’adat choked off another moan. He’d rather hear Ananta’s voice, low and throaty and just perfect for sending shivers down his spine. “So fucking good, fucking me like this. You could be anybody like this,” he continued, “spread out under me with your cock in my ass, you’re not royalty, nothing special. You’re just Sa’adat, nothing more.”
The sound of his name, dripping wet and heavy from Ananta’s lips like honey, nearly had Sa’adat coming right then. “Fuck,” he ground out, and Ananta grinned, utterly, shamelessly beautiful.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “We are.”
Sa’adat groaned, head tipping back as his fingers tightened on Ananta’s thighs, and Ananta leaned down to bite at his jugular. The shift in angle made him clench down around Sa’adat, and Sa’adat barely managed to stammer some semblance of a warning before he was coming, back arching and fingers digging into Ananta’s thighs plenty hard enough to bruise.
When the world came back into focus, Ananta was still riding him, just tiny grinding circles of his hips as he flicked his tongue out over the skin of Sa’adat’s neck. Glancing around, Sa’adat found the little pot of salve within arm’s reach, lid discarded; he scooped some carefully onto his fingers and slid his hand between the tight press of Ananta’s body against his own.
Ananta made an open, wanting sound when Sa’adat smeared the salve over his cock before closing his fingers around it. He barely had time to fall into the rhythm of Ananta’s hips before Ananta was coming, biting down on Sa’adat’s collarbone as he shuddered. Sa’adat stroked him through it, not slowing until Ananta released his collarbone and shook his head.
Sa’adat would have been content to lie there like that for some time, still linked with Ananta and with Ananta’s come spread between them, but Ananta pulled off with a sigh and flopped down next to Sa’adat.
“Um,” Sa’adat croaked, feeling he should say something but with no idea what to say. He had questions, he thought, but he couldn’t for his life conjure a single one.
Ananta chuckled, resting one slippery hand over Sa’adat’s mouth. “Leave it,” he instructed, and Sa’adat resolved to do just that, at least for the moment.
It didn’t occur to him until he was drifting off to sleep that the snake he’d dreamt about all those years ago had had Ananta’s eyes, honey-gold and entirely human.
No, there is no black and white
There is green and blue and gold and starlight
Here we are: little vipers sing the Snake Star Song
In hisses and kisses
Don’t think you know everything