Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Silk and Steel

Eeeep I’m so sorry I’m late again, I came down with a cold last night and have been bumbling around trying to get everything done XD So, without further blathering, here is the next bit and it comes with a small trigger warning of domestic violence.

Once Xander was settled in the kitchen with a small mountain of scrambled crows eggs, Spyro went upstairs.

He scowled as he followed the trail of used bath towels and discarded clothing from the bathroom and pushed open his bedroom door.

“Right then, Bane, I…”

Not many things in this world could leave Spyro Mendicci speechless. He cleared his throat to cover the fact and stared thoughtfully at the yag who was perched on the end of his bed, smoking and swinging his legs back and forth.

“Bane, when I said help yourself to something to wear…”

“Oh. Does it not become me?” Vraxi asked anxiously, hopping up to examine himself in the wardrobe mirror.

Spyro nearly had a heart attack. He ran a hand over his face. “You are not leaving here, dressed like that,” he said firmly; fighting the urge to lock the door and never let Vraxi leave his bedroom, let alone the shop. “You won’t make it home in one piece.” He’ll be the death of me, he thought helplessly, and this is a weakness I can’t afford to indulge just now, not with Pan stalking about somewhere.

“What were you doing at church?” he asked, trying to distract himself with more serious matters.

Vraxi shrugged, “having an existential crisis?” he tried.

Spyro folded his arms and tried to look menacing. It worked.

Vraxi grinned sheepishly and spread his palms; “In truth, I was stealing demonsong,” he said. “One of Keyja’s dock-rats dropped a crate and she may have got the inaccurate impression that the fault was mine.”

Spyro nodded. That sounded more like the truth. “And so she told you to replace it,” he surmised.

“She told me she’d turn me inside out and hang me from a flagpole and you could ask all the questions you liked about it!” The yag said, indignantly.

“Did she now?” Spyro narrowed his eyes.

“Indeed, she did. And that’s not all..” Vraxi lowered his voice and stood on his tiptoes to reach Spyro’s ear “…while I was at the docks I noticed something else; it seems Keyja is carrying on where her brother left off…”

Spyro frowned and waved Vraxi back a few paces. “Are you still high, Bane?” he asked.

Vraxi shrugged, “only to a level of functionality,” he said, taking another drag on his pipe.

“Give me that, I’ve told you not to smoke that thing up here.” Spyro snatched the pipe and knocked it out in the fireplace. “Let me understand you correctly: you are saying that Keyja – who tipped us off to the fact that her brother was cream-skimming – is now cream-skimming herself? Yes?”

“That’s right. And she wants to turn me inside out and…”

“Yes, yes, yes,” Spyro waved a hand to shush him up. He took a moment to turn things over in his mind. It did make sense, except.. “And what were you doing at the sky docks in the first place?”

Vraxi bit his lip, and then looked a little coy. “There is a barman… at the Valkyrie’s Nest…” he said quietly.

“I see.” Yes it all made sense now. Much as he didn’t like it, it did add up. “And is this debt to Keyja the reason you took the demonsong from the Colonel?” he asked, fishing for the last piece of the puzzle.

Vraxi hung his head and looked up through his strands of coal and henna hair.

Spyro sighed. “Very well, listen carefully. You are going to go and put something sensible on, and then you and Xander are going to go to the skydocks and clean-up for me, understand? And do it properly this time, no bleeding heart sob stories, no second chances I want every last one of them dead and I want it obvious to everyone with half a brain why.”

Vraxi nodded solemnly but he couldn’t prevent the gleeful glitter of flames from dancing in his dark eyes.

Spyro frowned. “You were hoping I’d say that, weren’t you?” Damn it, the little sod had played him and he’d walked right into it. He could just imagine the yag relishing the opportunity to add his own little ‘message’ to the execution and subtly turning it from No one messes with Spyro Mendicci to No one messes with Vraxanthrin Bane. He was not about to let him have that sort of power.

Vraxi bit his lip and gave a mischievous little half-smirk, “can you blame me? She did threaten to turn me inside out and hang me from her flagpole…and I didn’t tell a lie, Spyro, I only… hoped you would chose me to be the executioner…”

I should kill him. Spyro thought furiously. I am going to kill him. He could feel the weight of one of his many concealed knives resting just a wrist-flick away from his palm. I can’t have anyone think they can play me even the tiniest amount, and I can’t have him strutting around looking like that, distracting me from everything else. Half a dozen blades were within a split-second’s reach but still he hesitated, unable to take his eyes from the beautiful fire jinn.

“You should have come to me with this in the beginning,” he said at length. “As I said to Xander downstairs, what we are trying to build here is a family, Bane, and we’re not doing a very good job of that if we don’t trust eachother are we?”

Vraxi bit his lip, “Sorry?” he tried.

Spyro shook his head. “What am I going to do with you, Bane?”

“Give me some honey and take me to bed?” Vraxi asked hopefully, stepping closer and giving the antiques dealer his very best kitten eyes.

Oh gods. “Honey is for good boys.” Spyro said darkly, trying hard to keep the tremor of desire from his voice.

“Oh?” Vraxi smirked, tilting his head on one side, “And what do bad boys get, Mr. Mendicci?”

Spyro thought he was going to explode. He reached out and brushed Vraxi’s dark hair away from his face then let the back of fingers trail lazily down the angle of his jaw.

He eased his chin to the side with his thumb, careful to keep his gaze flat and disinterested as he traced the space around his collar bone, the rise of his bare shoulder, the tight velvet stretched around his tiny ribcage and narrow hips…

He’s like glass, he said to himself, so beautiful and so dangerous; so easy to break, so easy to cut yourself on.

Fantasies of forcing the yag to his knees and having him right there on the floor surged through his mind… he imagined tying him to his bed and taking him from pleasure to pain and back again for hours – watching those delicate features transform from expressions of ecstasy to confusion, fear, agony and back to ecstasy again in a never ending cycle that was completely under his control…

No.

No. No. No. He told himself sternly. I need to be certain I can resist this. Nobody can have such a hold over me, especially not this little one. If I can walk out of here now, then I can safely do as I like with him any time afterwards…but I need to know – and he needs to know – that I am in control.

“I’ll show you what bad boys get,” he whispered, unbuckling his belt and sliding it free of his waistband. He folded the leather back on itself to form a loop then cracked Vraxi hard across the face with it.

“They get nothing.” He said calmly, and turned to towards the door. “Put something decent on, Bane, and go home. I will have Fey deal with Keyja.”

He closed the door and leant his back against it for a moment, breathing slow and deep. He couldn’t do anything in this state. He glanced at Ros’s door, but then changed his mind and headed for the bathroom.

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