June 19, 2003
Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.
Spoilers: Fourth season Buffy, pre-X2.
Summary: A day at the circus.
Ratings Note: NC-17.
Author's Note: I'm amazed by the number of people who really aren't at all surprised by the fact that I felt the need to do this pairing.
Acknowledgments: To Branwyn for audiencing and getting my head in the right place, to Jenn for finding them cute, and to Molly just because.
Feedback: Always. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethan has always rather liked circuses.
Despite the often militaristic degree of order needed to make the shows go off with as few hitches as possible, there's always something... just a bit closer to his tastes.
A child crying instead of laughing at the sight of the oh-so-friendly clown. Grease fires at the concession stands. Tumblers tumbling down and down and down with a meaty wet whack to the sawdust and wood.
And it doesn't always have to be gruesome -- though too much enforced cheer often tempts Ethan to help the accidental carnage along. For an example, one could meet all sorts of interesting people at circuses these days.
Lithe little girls who 'swallow' fire whose that a closer look reveals came from somewhere far sweeter. Impressively flexible boys in pancake makeup.
And... this one.
Presumably male, and a truly fascinating shade of blue. Supposedly makeup, right down to those needles for teeth, but... no.
He's sweating as he flips and jumps -- far too high -- and the blue isn't so much as smudging. Ethan opens himself a little, just a crack in the door-jamb of his soul, and feels.
Yes, there are demons present, but they all appear to be in the audience. A gentleman with a rather impressive hat. Random people in a scatter too far away for him to pinpoint properly.
Absolutely nothing from the 'incredible' Nightcrawler.
And that was... interesting, yes, definitely interesting, but the world is a fluid place, and time spent locked up in a nasty American military prison in the nasty, American desert hadn't stopped it from flowing.
The world is moving, and taking humanity with it. It's enough to make a lesser man quail.
Ethan is only a lesser man for the right people.
Backstage, there are large, tattooed men working security. They assure him in no uncertain terms that The Incredible Nightcrawler is far, far too busy for autographs. Ethan offers them a distinct lack of certainty for their trouble, and leaves them wandering vaguely through the crowd of heavily-sugared children and harried parents.
The Nightcrawler's dressing room is at the end of the hall, just a small door, bare of decoration. It seems like a shame -- the man had certainly had his share of star-power out in the ring.
Ethan knocks and plasters on what he hopes is a mostly harmless expression. It's been a long time, and his face... He is thinner than he was before, and he thinks his cheekbones say more about how he's spent the last few years than he'd prefer.
The door opens easily, without care, and he is face to face with a small, blue man -- more indigo than he'd been in the harsh lights of performance.
The accent is German, the golden eyes somewhat confused.
"Forgive me, I was not expecting visitors. I am still in costume..." A quiet flourish of a gesture with a three fingered hand.
And that's just... adorable, really. Ethan grins. "Come now, you don't have to pretend with me."
The man dips his head and smiles mischievously up at him through long, sooty eyelashes. Raises one thick, clawed finger up to his mouth and gestures Ethan in with the other.
So trusting. How long had it been? "Thank you," he says, and steps into the small, crowded room. Shuts the door behind him and gestures for a small, but effective locking charm.
"You are welcome, Mister...?"
"Rayne. Ethan Rayne, at your service." He bows slightly, from the waist, and gets a wide, sharp smile for his trouble. Sharp only in terms of teeth. Innocence rolls off the man in waves, for however old he might be.
"Kurt Wagner." A showier bow. "But I am afraid I still don't know..."
Ethan raises his hands. "Just a fan, albeit a... curious one."
"Yes?" Wide-eyed and open enough that Ethan could just reach in...
"Well, to start with... why aren't you out there greeting your fans?"
Something Ethan's sure would be a blush on a lighter-skinned man. Perhaps someone powder-blue? The tail lashes in a way that could probably be dangerous, given the right impetus. "We are new here to your country, yes? It is... not always politic to send the mutants out."
Mutant. Another word being bandied about far more often these days. There were demons out there just waiting for the chance to call themselves mutants... waiting for a better political climate. It will surely be interesting. "It seems a shame to keep you cooped up in here alone," he says, and tries a slower smile.
"Well, you had no trouble finding me, yes? And please, sit down." A gesture at a small, sprung-looking couch that still managed to be the room's most comfortable-seeming piece of furniture. "You must tell me how you managed to get past security."
Oh, he doesn't think so. "They seemed rather distracted..."
Kurt nods as if Ethan's said something for more substantive. "Well. I am glad that you did. It can be hard to go from performing to..." An illustrative gesture at the cramped little room. "Nothing."
And indeed, the man does seem rather... keyed up. "I imagine so. What do you do when you are allowed to leave your dressing room?"
Another probable blush. "Ah, I have few hobbies. I go to church, I go to the library..."
And how had anyone managed to avoid plucking this one up and away. "The library? To have fun?"
Another mischievous look. "Well. Sometimes I go dancing."
Ethan leans in and raises an eyebrow. "Church socials...?"
A smile far too ominous for its intent. Ethan can't help wondering if Kurt has ever used those teeth. "Ah, now you are teasing. I will have you know some church socials can be quite a good time. Lovely ladies, devout ladies... they all still like to dance..." A perfectly, falsely earnest expression. "But no, there are clubs that welcome even people such as me."
Really... "Back in Germany?"
A quick nod. "Oh, I did not even ask. You are from England, yes?"
Ethan smiles. "I've been in America for quite a while, though."
"In Boston? We will be here for a few more weeks, and I do not even know where to go."
And to be honest, Ethan can think of any number of places such a treat as this one would be welcome. But... perhaps not yet. "Well, Boston isn't one of my favorite cities, to be honest, but there are a few places more... welcoming of difference than others."
"Do you know many mutants, Ethan?"
"Mutants...? No. But my life has been rather filled with things outside the norm." Let me tell you what wonders can be done with military men and a touch of magic...
And at that Kurt looked at him narrow-eyed and amused. "I think you are thinking more than you are saying. I am... not so innocent as I seem, Ethan."
And is there anything more beautiful than a truly young heart? "Then in that case, you would not mind my saying that you are a very attractive man, Kurt."
A blink, and a nearly comical look of surprise, all wide eyes and rounded mouth. "Oh! Oh..." A string of German, too fast to be comprehensible beyond Kurt's obvious embarrassment and equally obvious...
And what is that, exactly...? "How long has it been, Kurt? Really, if you can't so much as leave your dressing room..."
Another beneath-the-lashes look. Far too pretty. "I do not think we know each other well enough for such questions..."
And there are all sorts of ways to respond to that, but there are times when Ethan prefers to be direct. He reaches out and catches the beginning of the rune on the tip of Kurt's nose. Traces it up over his forehead and over his cheek. "Why wrath on your face, liebchen? Is there so much anger in you?"
Kurt blinks again, and leans away. Not very quickly. "I... you know what they mean? My scars?"
"There are more of them? And I know... many runes."
Kurt dips his head and... doesn't shiver. But his tail is lashing again. "One for every sin..."
Mm. An invitation in shyness. "So many..." Why, he could think of dozens to perform right here, given the proper impetus. He presses his thumb to Kurt's chin, and enjoys the hard ridges of scar tissue. Enjoys the way Kurt's eyelids dip more. "You didn't answer my question."
A moment's pressure against his thumb as Kurt leans back against him, and then he blinks, tail slashing just above the detritus on the unused makeup counter. "What? I..."
Ethan holds in the sharper portions of his smile. "Why wrath for your face?"
"Oh. I..." Strange, hard-looking hands winding and squeezing at each-other. "It seemed like something to remember. The... the dangers of it, yes?"
Ethan nods, uncurls from the couch and stands in front of Kurt's little stool. Traces over his forehead into dark, sweat-damp curls. "And do you get angry very often...?"
"Ethan, you are..."
He catches the curls in a grip on the kind side of pain and sends a hint -- the barest touch -- a compulsion out through his fingertips. "Answer the question."
"I... no. Not anymore. But when I was young..."
"You were alone, and the world didn't see you as you saw yourself...?"
"So much fear..."
In Kurt's accent, the word has two syllables. Ethan has to tilt his head up, brush the fingers of the hand he isn't using to hold him still to touch the soft mouth, slack with confusion, and perhaps just skin-hunger, simple and sweetly pathetic. "And is fear carved on your skin, too...?"
Kurt looks up, searches out Ethan's eyes and holds them with something between pleading and focus. "I am not often frightened."
With, perhaps, the unspoken 'but I am right now?' Ethan smiles, as gently as he can manage, and crouches before Kurt. Pushes his colorfully-clad thighs apart and moves in close. "Will you show me what you are?"
"Ethan..." And Kurt is frowning, but he's also undressing. The rather fabulous coat hits the floor, followed by the vest and the damp and exuberantly decorated shirt. Beneath is only skin, and carefully carved runes.
This time he does shiver, but doesn't try to cover himself. Spreads his arms like a martyr, instead, and closes his eyes.
There are so many cruel and cutting things that could be said, but Ethan doesn't feel the need to voice any of them. "I wish I had known you before you did these, Kurt... I would've liked to help."
Ethan smiles into Kurt's shocked and shocky eyes and presses a kiss over his solar plexus. Licks at a ridge of scar and does it again when Kurt gasps.
"Do you like that...?"
A tremor, just beneath the skin. "I... I..."
Ethan used the flat of his tongue to trace one of the spirals, then simply moves over to one small, hard nipple. "It's all right," he breathes. "I promise." And bites down.
And then those strange, wonderful hands are on his head, trying and failing to get a hold in his too-short hair, and then simply moving over his head. Palms flat to his cheeks, a claw scratching gently, so gently over the back of his neck. "Ethan... I. It feels..."
Ethan lets his own hand press flat to Kurt's belly, searching and stroking and... finding. Yes. It's been a very long time since Judeo-Christian magic has appealed in any way, but it's worth the time it takes to shape his mouth for rusty Hebrew when the rune flares hot beneath his palm and Kurt...
Shakes like he's being electrocuted.
Ethan pulls back to watch, ducking when the man's tail sends a bottle of something flying toward his head. Opening his arms to catch him when he falls off the stool, panting and jerking.
"What... I don't... oh God --"
Another whisper of power and Kurt's hips move with an easy, ragged grace, thrusting and pushing for contact. And Ethan can give. Tugs open the ridiculous pants and pushes down disappointingly ordinary boxers and takes Kurt in hand. Hard and long and thick and wet at the tip.
Uncut, foreskin soft and faintly, surprisingly velvety against his palm.
"Mmm, Kurt. You are happy to see me..."
"What... what are you doing?"
Ethan wraps his free arm around Kurt's waist and pulls the man, pliant and unresisting, into an unsteady straddle of his thighs. Leans in and fucks the pointed ear with his tongue. "Pretty one... one of the first things they teach you when you learn graphomancy is never to offer your body to any rune you don't wish to experience first-hand..."
"Oh God, I... I can't..." And Kurt falls back, hitting the floor with a painful-sounding thump, but not even pausing to wince before he's spreading his legs. Unmistakable offering and it's the easiest thing in the world to crawl over him, to undo his own trousers, and get himself out and in hand and pressed close, pressed hard
Ethan runs his hands over the rough scars and smooth skin, up over the lean chest and the tensed throat, and Kurt is out of words.
If it's a prayer, it's a filthy one -- and just exactly what Ethan wants to hear. He holds Kurt down by the shoulders and gets their hips lined up and... moves.
He can tease the man -- the boy -- all he wants about it having been a while, and it's true that he's never had particular trouble finding bed-partners, even ones who'll let him (consciously or not) work his little tricks and 'trips.
But this... this is something special.
An innocent in his hands and under him, crying out to God in multiple languages and flaring and burning them both with his own unwitting magic.
God, a lust rune, carved in blood and scarred in flesh and Ethan doesn't even have to renew the spell. Just... ride it out. Ride him out, and oh, such a sweet boy. Curling his legs around Ethan and reaching for him.
Looking for connection, or perhaps just more simple carnality. It doesn't matter. This is... this is a little moment of beauty. Cold floor, stink of popcorn, and all. He stops thrusting just long enough to kiss the slack and dangerous mouth, cutting his tongue mostly on purpose and bleeding a little of himself down Kurt's throat.
"So good -- so --"
And then he has to move, faster and harder and -- ah. Hot splash on his belly, coating his cock, and it just makes it better. Hotter.
Shaky little aftershock moans from the man beneath him and the seemingly endless pulse and flare of the rune on his belly and Ethan can feel it building, feel his body tensing, feel his magic tensing, like wire stretched over a flame.
Shifts one arm for better position and Kurt moves faster than he would've guessed the man could manage after coming like that. Catches his thumb in his mouth and scrapes ever so lightly with those sharp, sharp teeth before sucking it down, mouthing wet and dirty and Ethan thinks to himself:
And comes gasping, making a mess between them and letting himself fall into it.
His shirt will be ruined, but Kurt has an interesting selection of outerwear for him to peruse.
Mm. When he feels like moving. Kurt's still sucking his thumb, making sweet little sounds of appreciation and shifting and moving beneath him. Clutching Ethan when he moves to roll off. Clutching Ethan with his tail.
Which is just as new as it should be.
"All right, I'll stay here..."
And Kurt... giggles. Sounding somewhere between stoned and utterly shocked. "I think... I think that would be a good thing. Yes." Strokes Ethan's back with his tail.
Ethan has a moment where he has to think back to the compulsion spell and wonder just how strong it really was, but then Kurt rolls them onto their sides and looks at him with a kind of lambent, clear-eyed earnestness. Ethan offers him a closed-mouth smile of satisfaction, and gets a broad and mildly terrifying grin in return.
"Perhaps next time we can try the couch?"
Has to laugh. "Well, I wouldn't want to presume. We haven't known each other for very long, after all..."
Light smack, again with the tail. Really, Kurt could give a man ideas... "You must tell me what you did with my... runes, yes?"
Not as innocent as he seems. Right... "Just what did you do at your church socials, anyway?"
Another giggle. "There is much pleasure in the world for the religious man, Ethan."
Which is... not very far from his own beliefs, at all. "Is that so?"
"Oh, yes." Another roll, and Kurt is on top of him, tail sketching what could very well be more runes in the air. Easier to watch the dark face, and the widening smile. "I think you are a very interesting man, Ethan. I look forward to having conversations with you." Out of sight, the tail wraps around his knee. Squeezes.
It is entirely possible he's underestimated the incredible Nightcrawler. Ethan grins back. The world is just full of surprises. "That can be arranged..."
Slow, quietly happy nod. "Good. But first... let me show you how I kiss. And this time you will not hurt your tongue..."
And it's slow, and sweet, and just a little painful on some level Ethan doesn't particularly want to examine at the moment. Kurt's tongue tastes like chocolate, like coffee and the barest hint of Ethan's own blood.
Yes, the circus has all sorts of things to offer an enterprising man.
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