purplekitte: (awkward sexual advances)
[personal profile] purplekitte
Spring semester, over. It's been a while since I've been so thoroughly burnt out as I was as of two weeks ago and then there was more and more and I think I had a mental breakdown at some point but I'm really bad at facial expression so no one noticed... Anyway, that's all over now. I'm so glad I have such specific problems that happen, then end, if they're going to happen in the first place.

The point is, I feel like posting some random porn I had lying around. Not going to crosspost this, and normally wouldn't be posting it, because it's *deep breath* a PWP coda of a sidestory of an AU of a fanfic that I am writing. I have made only minimal attempts to explain the setting: in short, the Horus Heresy didn't happen and other things did, among them time travel and killing the Void Dragon and Russ died for a while then got better, it's all complicated.

Title: Between
Fandom: Warhammer 40k
Rating: R
Pairing or Character(s): Russ ♣ Joannina Belisarius (OC) ♣ Magnus (with quadrant vacillation into Russ ♠ Magnus and Russ ♥ Joannina)
Warnings: rough sex, Homestuck references that everyone apparently understands
Word Count: 5377

Where did they stand now? The temporary truce of Mars had held, but never easily. That should have built bonds of brotherhood, but they had fought side by side before and never seen eye to eye.

If accord could be reached by shared experience, then surely they must have long since reached that point. Killing a star god, that was no mean feat even for two primarchs together and with every aid the human race could give them. It had been the death of one of them, at that. There could be no doubt after the Great Hunt into the Eye of Terror that their destinies were tightly bound, like a tangled snarl of threads.

Yet, Magnus still thought he would never understand his brother. The most innocuous of things would send him into a rage. He stubbornly clung to his superstitious, hypocritical beliefs and his first impressions. They must have something in common, they were brothers, but every attempt Magnus had ever made to capitalize on their similarities, to win over Russ, to gain his respect, had been rebuffed.

This was the closest to alone they had been since Russ’s return from the realm of cold death. Whatever their personal leanings on the feud, every other person in the Imperium seemed to have formed a coalition to badger, soothe, and pressure the Space Wolves and Thousand Sons into tolerating each other whenever tension between them mounted. Russ had dismissed even his closest honour guard, advisors, and serfs from his private chambers, and glared darkly at nothing in particular as he drank directly from a pitcher of ale upon a solid oaken table. Even his two massive wolves were asleep, or pretending to be at Russ’s growl to them.

Everyone but Joannina Belisarius. Magnus was well enough acquainted with her at this point to know that she might obey a dismissal to leave the room even if she didn’t like it, but they would shortly find themselves in a building without walls. Her presence shifted the dynamic between them, but it was familiar by now, more common these days than the raw edges, the feeling of everything being too close, too sharp without her there. There could be no doubts she was tightly interwoven in the tapestry of fates between them, not after the things she’d done.

Joannina was drinking too, but she was easier to read. Her eyes gleamed with amusement and anticipation of a fight. Not a lie, she loved a fight as surely as a World Eater, but beneath that she was keenly paying attention to every detail of the proceedings. He could only hope he was correct in his interpretations of Russ’s feelings through her reactions to them.

‘Have a drink.’ Russ offered a horn of some foul smelling concoction.

Magnus would rather have declined, but he was hardly going to give such an easy excuse to resume hostilities. Let Russ break his self-proclaimed hospitality first.

Russ’s mead tasted as terrible as it smelled. He preferred not to linger over it, but he could pick out the chemical compositions of its components still on his tongue. He remembered most of them from overhearing an overly spirited discussion in the Mangala Vallis between a mixed party of Apothecaries, Night Lords, and Magos Biologis about the best way to pharmaceutically floor a Space Marine.

Against a primarch, it didn’t even constitute a challenge to the metabolism.

‘Thank you, Brother. I trust you are recovering well.’

‘Aye. The nine hells could hardly contain me. Certainly not with a lass to show me Morkai’s gate out like I had.’

Magnus found himself bristling at Russ’s boasting. ‘Next time I’ll leave your corpse as it is then.’ He had no concept how difficult it had been to bind his soul to his dead body, to keep it from being torn away and torn apart by the currents of the Immaterium, even with a hastily constructed stasis field. Or how he had looked as he folded up in a single moment and fell and sprawled like a puppet with its strings cut in a pool of red blood and quicksilver mechanical fluids.

‘You’ll have to see me be made a corpse again first.’

‘I hope the opportunity does not present itself.’

‘As has been said, not much in this galaxy is a threat to a primarch, except another primarch.’

‘It is fortunate we are working to ensure that future does not come about then.’

‘Wyrd goes ever as she will.’

‘Fatalism doesn’t suit. Haven’t you received an oath from Katai too about how she’ll break every bad future before it can come to pass with her own hands?’

‘She never put things so foolishly to me. As to what she is doing to frustrate the designs of our enemies, I had no interest in inquiring deeper into sorceries and other womanish things.’

Katai might be the pebble whose presence changed the course of a mighty river, but Russ was much more impressive to the senses. He radiated a storm in the Great Ocean, dark and imposing, charging the air with electricity and the promise of violence. It was frustrating to realise how much he normally relied on passive psychic senses even when he wasn’t making a particular effort by how disconcerting it was that Russ could so thoroughly hide his true feelings behind the dark clouds of his soul.

‘That’s both sorcery and acceptable to you then?’ Magnus spit between clenched teeth. ‘If only we could be clearer about our definitions of such things; I believe we often find ourselves using different ones.’

Dorothy Katai wasn’t even a psyker, not like one of Russ’s Rune Priests. He was even closely allied with the Navis Nobilite.

‘It isn’t about legal definitions of black magic, it’s about knowing for all your book skills that going into dark places rumoured to be haunted is a really bad idea.’

‘I’m glad I have a superstitious barbarian with no idea what he’s talking about to clear that up for me.’

Russ’s knuckles were white. Once the first punch was thrown, what would happen? How could a fight end except in death unless someone backed down? Horus and Fulgrim had managed it, but those were different circumstances. How did people with better conflict resolution skills manage to have fights that were serious without ‘I hate you’ becoming ‘I hate you, I’ll kill you’.

‘Don’t think I’m a rabid beast. I won’t break the peace of our father’s house first. I keep the oaths I’ve sworn.’

‘Good to know the Wolf of Fenris is a loyal dog.’

Magnus wasn’t sure why he was baiting Russ, making things worse, but it felt so good to not pretend and play nice, to say exactly what he meant. If civilisation was to be dismissed as a pretty veil over ugly words, then let it be stripped away.

Before Russ could respond, Magnus was reminded that he had dismissed Joannina Belisarius and all but forgotten her. That was the last thing many people had done.

She had to be feeling the psy backlash--I despise you. Everything about you is wrong. Why won’t you ever understand? Pure, caliginous, endless, all-encompassing hate--but as a Navigator she was very good at not losing track of what was her and what was the things around her in the Warp. Her burning anger was entirely her own, and left little room for anything else.

Joannina wanted Russ’s attention, so she bit him. As hard as she could, since it was her, and since it was him it hardly broke the skin, but a few drops of blood welled up for a moment. It couldn’t have hurt in the slightest, but the reminder of her presence distracted Russ minutely.

The sheer audacity of someone, anyone daring to interfere with a fight between two primarchs, even a fight that wasn’t deadly serious, damn it, was staggering. Still, if there was anyone in the entire galaxy that that was comparatively unsurprising behaviour from, she was at the top of the list. Magnus was reminded once more of his speculation that she must have died quite a while ago for that other future to have come to pass.

Whatever an auspistice was supposed to do, it probably didn’t usually involve pulling one of her auspicticees into a wet, biting kiss. But it was certainly one form of intercession, if not conciliation.

When they pulled apart, Russ was growling low and almost too quietly to be heard, visible as only a minute vibration in the muscles of his throat. Joannina was panting and still standing on her toes, but she still radiated pure aggression, like she was in control of this situation.

From Joannina he picked up a very clear impression. Well, will you let me keep auspicticing for you or not? If you are, follow my lead.

Magnus could feel the tug of the Great Ocean around him. So many paths, so many possibilities. He wanted to reach his brother. He knew Russ was deeply, viscerally physical, animal. With a simple flick of his mind, he brought the current the navigator had indicated down on all of them.

The quality of the aggression had shifted. It wasn’t so different, really. The air was heavy with the scent of lust and pheromones, close to bursting into flame from the heat of it. An unfamiliar feeling of hunger and prickly need, but Russ seemed to have a better idea what to do with that.

The kiss tasted of blood. Russ clearly saw this as just another fight. He bit, not breaking the kiss, fingers digging into Magnus’s shoulders with bruising force.

He might not have Russ’s... level of personal experience, but sex was an extremely common thing to get psychic spill-over from. He could hold his own. When Russ pushed, push back. Show him he could give as good as he got in the sort of fight he respected even if it wasn’t how he preferred to conduct himself. He couldn’t use any magic at all against Russ or this would very shortly and simply be a fight to the death, because Russ was crazy and hypocritical.

Between the two of them, they produced showers of gravel from the granite walls every time one of them tried to press the other up against them, shedding clothing as they went. They eventually found their way to Russ’s bed, an extremely solid wooden frame piled high with a nest of linens and fur blankets that smelled faintly of blood and rot.

Magnus had the advantage in weight and leverage, but Russ was the better wrestler. They tussled together for a few turns before Russ got a good grip on one of his arms and reversed it. Not to the point of dislocation as a threat, past it in a single movement, then the grip tightened like he was considering tearing the entire arm off. Meanwhile, Russ threw his entire weight behind pinning Magnus’s shoulders. He bit savagely at shoulder muscles straining against the vicious hold, then clamped his teeth on his nape.

Animal instinct told him the grip on the scruff of his neck was a challenge. Bite back. Another instinct said to submit to the alpha, to the pressure on his neck. Let that grip tighten, press him down, and move over him like—

What would Russ do if he had teeth in the back of his neck? Would he show his belly? Would he whine deep in his throat and lick Magnus’s jaw? Would he offer himself up like a bitch in heat?

Russ removed his teeth to get better leverage with his hips. His erection dug into Magnus’s back. Russ’s tongue was hot against the bite on his shoulder, licking at the blood like he was about to tear into the flesh, but with a shadow of gentleness tangled deep in the whole mess. Russ’s hand was knotted in his hair, keeping his throat bared and taut so that he couldn’t twist away and bite back. Magnus panted for breath, not caring how undignified it was.

Magnus twisted away, ignoring the pain to roll his entire body the direction Russ was tugging his shoulder. A single motion had the joint back in place and within a second the tissues around it had re-knit themselves. He elbowed Russ back in the chest, hearing bone crack.

Which one of them would come out on top, while the other cursed and tore at the sheet under him? Even if Magnus had been inclined to simply give in, which he wasn’t, it would only have made things worse. Submission was the most despicable of traits in a man, something to compound with all the things Russ already believed about men who did magic. A man to be regarded with derision. No man at all.

Joannina threw her dress at Russ. It was a fairly common technique on Fenris for the women of a household to stop a fight between blood kin and in-laws by strewing the battlefield and participants with their laundry to make the situation too ridiculous for the fight to continue. In this case, it was the under-dress she had so recently been wearing.

She had gone to the so called ‘Eye of Terror’ and punched out everything in her way. Twice, if they hadn’t learned the lesson the first time when she was on her way back. The traditional fairytale of the wife who went out and got her husband back, from death itself if necessary, as the bard has put it. She was a veteran of Mars. She was not to be underestimated. O brave new world, that has such people in it. Such a world it was, all paradigms shifted and the order of things turned on its head, where men had taken to occasionally talking back to their primarchs and sometimes people admitted to being fallible and lively debates raged about whether or not there was a Chaos god of bad puns.

Magnus’s reflection was interrupted by the dress being thrown in his face and the need to toss it out of the way and concentrate entirely on the physical to be able to keep up with Russ, who was not being distracted by myriad abstract trains of thought.

Russ was distracted by Joannina’s hands on him, by letting her redirect his hands to be on her.

Stop trying to pin your not-kismesis to the mattress for some hate-sex that would be a bad idea and screw me instead.

Magnus took the opportunity to bite where Russ’s neck met his shoulder, but not too deep, not into arteries, and was rewarding by feeling up close the shudder of want that ran through his entire body.

Joannina caught Magnus in a kiss as he pulled back, licking blood from his lips. He wouldn’t have needed any of his physical senses to feeling her wide, toothy grin. The taste of psy-residue in her mouth was almost overwhelming, sweat and tart. He could still remember the crisp crunch of the fruit of the tree of life when she bit into it and fed it to dead Russ through his cold lips, the miracle that she held in her hands. He could practically see into the Empyrean through her, bandana still around her head or no. As though a single strip of cloth could hold back an ocean.

She laughed in turn, the sound turning into a sharp gasp at Russ’s hand on her breast. She turned back to him, planting a kiss at the hollow of his throat, and moulding herself against his body from her perch on his chest.

With tenderness at odds with how he’d behaved so far this night and the continued coiled tension of his muscles, Russ bent to whisper in Joannina’s ear. Their voices could never be quiet in volume, but their words seemed a private aside. Time might as well have stopped for them, the rest of the galaxy gone away.

For a moment, Magnus wanted to look away, to not see the sheer intimacy between them, to not see how passionately they cared about each other, Russ’s iron self-control dwarfing all his feral passions and Joannina’s reckless aggression in contrast. ‘I don’t want to hurt you. We shouldn’t be doing this.’ / ‘Shut up. I can take it.’

A primarch had to spend his life holding back, trying not to break a world made of cardboard. Joannina had spent her entire life pushing her limits in everything she did in order to create the illusion of being able to keep up with Space Marines. What a dangerous way to live, obviously caught between Slaanesh and Khorne.

He could see the moment Russ made his decision, though he had not stopped kissing her or letting his hands roam across her body in the meantime. There was still blood on his teeth when he pulled back and flipped the two of them into the middle of his bed. He propped himself up on one elbow to keep from crushing her and got to work with his other hand and his mouth and his body.

Joannina gasped, breathless and needy with his fingers between her legs. ‘Hurry up,’ she growled.

‘Hold onto something.’

She reached up and gripped Magnus’s arm for leverage like it was the most natural thing in the world. If anything, she seemed unsurprised and pleased by the complete lack of give under her hands, even though the compressive strength of her grip would have broken the bones of an unaugmented man.

They were so close to him. How could he have gotten so lost in watching them to have forgotten his own presence in this? Her hands were sticky with sweat, her short nails pressed into his skin in crescents. He could feel her breath against the back of his hand, and, as she pressed closer, the curves of her skull through both of their skins.

Russ radiated heat and animal musk, his muscles moved under his skin with each movement with liquid grace. He had turned his back on Magnus. He rolled that over a few times in his mind. Russ had turned his back on him. Not in dismissal, but in trust. He trusted Magnus to not act dishonourably, to not continue to pursue a personal matter when it might hurt Joannina.

Russ’s wild mane brushed against his hand as he leaned in to kiss Joannina, stifling the sound of her crying out. Magnus caught a few stray strands between his fingers as Joannina bucked against him with a rhythm not her own.

Tears are streaming from the corners of her eyes, but Joannina still pushed back against Russ’s slow, careful thrusts. Her voice was thick with sobs caught deep in her throat, but what she whispered was, ‘Leman, please...’ as she arched up to meet him.

With a toothy grin, Russ leaned down to nip and suck at her skin, to make her shake and scream under him. One of his hands was holding her in place, but the other found its way onto Magnus’s body, slick from touching Joannina.

Magnus bit his tongue in an effort to keep from showing his surprise, but Russ saw through him. ‘No one can complain they left my bed unsatisfied,’ he said, with good-natured amusement in his tone rather than any of the feelings so manifest earlier in the night. Why was it that sometimes he would hold onto a grudge like a pit-bull, and at others he gave no sign of thinking beyond that single moment, while never really forgetting? If only he’d be consistent, so Magnus could understand him.

Russ’s hand was warm and firm, rough with calluses and scars. Magnus had spent his entire life ignoring the petty concerns of his body. It was merely a shell for his spirit. He could cut off the tactile signals he was receiving, turn off his hormones, but that would mean cutting himself off from the only language Russ knew to speak. No matter how weak and crude the connection, he didn’t want to push his brother away.

Magnus let the sensations wash over him. His skin felt overheated and sensitive to even the air against it, and he catalogued all the textures of their hands, the burn of it. They were both radiating their lust into the aether, a hurricane of want and need that threatened to drag him along.

He couldn’t breathe with it all. Joannina was loud. Why wouldn’t she be? Russ was panting harshly, hardly sounding human. The pressure built between them until it was almost too much.

When release came, wet and hot, he could hardly assign such a human emotion to it as ‘pleasure’. It was too primal. A lightning strike must discharge its electricity. A stressed fault must crumple. A star in runaway fusion must go nova.

They all lay still for long minutes afterwards, tense muscles slowly unclenching. Russ’s hand began to rub circles over his stomach, tracing patterns that felt almost like arcane symbols, but never quite. Joannina was limp and silent like a rag doll. Slowly, slowly, the catharsis faded back from being overwhelming.

Russ rolled over and pulled Joannina with him so she was sprawled across his chest. His Freki and Geri obviously decided they had been neglected for too long and now that the humans were finished with their out-of-season mating nonsense, they could continue their naps alongside them better than on the floor.

One of them nudged Joannina’s thigh and whined, as if enquiring about why she smelled of blood, and she muttered something that sounded reassuring in Fenrisian. Magnus could have healed her, but she wouldn’t appreciate it and her life was in no danger from haemorrhaging.

Russ and Joannina threw arms over their lupine companions as casually as they buried under the stinking furs that made up Russ’s bed, and the whole lot arranged themselves in pile like a litter of puppies. It only made sense coming from a culture where warmth was a precious commodity.

Magnus moved to slip away, but Russ’s hand caught his wrist. The pressure was light rather than the vice-grip it could have been. A request, not an attempt at a command.

He couldn’t help but study Russ’s gaze on him. His eyes were sharply focused and watchful, though the rest of his body had remained relaxed. He wasn’t making a challenge, but he wasn’t pleading either. He was trying to act neutral to the outcome of the question he had put between them, but little flickers of his eyes betrayed him. He wanted Magnus to stay, but wasn’t sure if his hopes would be answered.

Saying no to those eyes would have been like kicking a puppy. Blood-drenched router-of-worlds Russ should not have been able to manage so innocent and earnest an expression. If compromise was needed between them, he would prove he wasn’t the stiff-necked one here before demanding equal consideration.

He still would have preferred to have left, but the way Russ’s eyes lit up made his decision feel worth it. He couldn’t manage to remain begrudging in the face of his brother’s happiness and the recently-indulged animal part of his brain agreeing that simple human contact was a comfort.

Russ’s arm was warm around him, his aura calm like the clear sky after heavy rain and all but inviting Magnus’s spirit-self to curl around it as well. Even if they were polar opposites in all things, Russ wanted them to be of the same pack. At the end of the day, Russ disliked, distrusted, and loved him, and Magnus couldn’t help but respond in kind to all of it.

* * *

Neither of the others showed any awkwardness at not being alone the next morning as they helped each other bathe, Joannina taking obvious, affectionate care as she brushed Russ’s hair, cleaned his ears, teeth, and nails, and shaved his face. Why did Russ go clean shaven when most of his sons were bearded? He in turn braided and coiled her long black hair and tied a fresh embroidered fillet over her tightly closed pineal eye.

‘Are you going to sleep all day?’ Joannina asked out of nowhere, with the tone of someone who knew perfectly well the person she was addressing was awake.

If they had ignored each other completely, perhaps this morning after would be less awkward. Where did they stand now? They hadn’t suddenly started getting along, but there was a barrier between their habitual dislike and disagreements and genuine hatred.

‘Come here.’ She left just enough of an implication of ‘or you could not’ to keep it from being an order, but... She was also clearly saying ‘but seriously, do’. She certainly couldn’t make him do anything, but she would express her opinions. If ever there was someone completely unfazed and unimpressed by Astartes or their primarchs, it was her, fostered in Russ’s war camp from infancy, the story went. If Astartes felt no fear as it was popular to say, then they were still burdened by quite a bit of awe and propriety that kept them from saying what they wanted to to their primarchs. She was one of those who suffered from this much less.

Magnus let Joannina lead him over and sat on the floor so she could run a wet comb made from the jaw bone of some aquatic animal through his crimson hair, and braid it in three plaits. She only had to stand on her toes a little to reach. The water smelled like wet dog, but that was unavoidable at that point.

‘Trying to steal my wife? I stopped flirting with your hot nerd girlfriend,’ Russ teased, but by her uncharacteristic blush his words were meant for Joannina far more than Magnus. A woman washing the hair of a man other than her husband must be risqué in their culture. Her reaction had clearly been to Russ’s use of the word ‘wife’, though. Odd, since he’d heard others refer to them as an ‘old married couple’ regularly before and that certainly had not been the first time they’d had sex. She had literally and purposefully invoked the bardic magic of the archetype of the wife who goes and gets her husband back from enchantment while on her quest. Best to ask someone else like Katai if this was a touchy issue.

Joannina quickly collected herself to mutter a dirty joke in Fenrisian that did not translate well into Gothic about a pair of brother viking-jarls cosseting their shared wife.

‘It might be worth putting up with you for a good auspistice,’ Magnus shot back at Russ.

‘That’s the spirit. I’d hate everyone’s hard work since Mars to go to waste.’ Russ slapped him on the back.

Everyone’s hard work getting Russ’s dogs to heel rather than pursue their ignorant vendetta against everything that wreaked of ‘witchery’ to them, Magnus decided not to say. He could hope that working together on Mars and the horrors they had seen there had given Russ a better idea of what misuse of the Warp looked like, so he might be able to tell the difference between it and the powers of the people who were on his same side. Of course, it could always turn him into an even more fanatical witch hunter. His behaviour when and since suggested the former over the latter, but Russ had always surprised him by his ability to go from reasonable almost-comradery to threatening his life and all he stood for as quickly as the wind changed directions.

He could still feel the phantom of the hand on his back, and shook it off. He had absolutely no need to be paying so much attention to Russ’s muscles under his skin as he searched around for a shirt that wasn’t too dirty from the floor. He got the feeling he wasn’t being entirely successful by Joannina helpfully supplying her memories of Russ sweaty and moving against her, that it was at least as good as it looked, knowing full well he’d ‘overhear’.

Wasn’t an ashen relationship supposed to mean avoiding caliginous sex?

Joannina’s response was sex alone did not a concupiscent relationship make. Better that they had an outlet for their tension in comparatively controlled circumstances than that they forgot how much they both wanted to make this work and not see the other dead.

He might have disliked the blatant emotional manipulation in how her mind flicked to Russ lying broken and dead in the Noctis Labyrinth, but her own emotions were tied up with the memory as well. It had hit him hard, but to her it was many times brighter and sharper, like a knife cutting into her. She was no stranger to death or the battlefield, but she lived dangerously passionately with no hypnotic psycho-conditioning or Enumerations to distance her from her emotions, and her entire life had revolved around one man.

He pushed her mind away, not wanting her emotions to mix with his own. They had both been there, seeing the same thing, feeling the same thing, in the same instant. Too easy.

‘If you girls are done thinking at each other?’

‘I know you’ve never had a thought, but call me a girl again and prove you wrong.’ Russ threw around sexism at the oddest times: when magic was involved, not when actual women were. He was to all indications totally indifferent to fighting with female or mixed-sex Army Regiments or Sisters of Silence and the like.

‘I’d like to see you try.’ Russ’s voice was low and dangerous, from playful to predatory in an instant.

Joannina made a sound like a tea kettle exploding. ‘Can you not go five minutes without taking everything too seriously between you?’

Russ let her diffuse the tension. Were his moods really so mercurial or was it all a mask easily slipped on and off to hide his true feelings? Magnus wanted to pry him open and tear understanding out of him.

He also wanted to see that threat through and have Russ gasping and coming apart beneath him. He wanted that power over Russ and would let Russ have that power over him occasionally (he knew it would never work if they weren’t both caught in the same net, and they were). Perhaps he had written off sex too much as biological urges because he had never had anyone he wanted to connect with so much and with so few other options. The baffled way he felt around Russ, most people must feel like that all the time; no wonder they stumbled along like they were blind and reached out to each other.

He would get the chance. This was hardly the last time they’d see each other. Their destinies were too entangled for that even if they’d wanted to. Not to mention the new Imperial policies made to keep them all from avoiding each other for decades at a time until they found themselves on opposite sides of a battlefield.

He even thought of pulling Joannina to him. Based on their one experiment so far, her kisses would be playful and wet and hungry, not entirely unlike Fred but with a definite different edge of blackrom rather than redrom. Also unlike affairs between a psyker and a tech-priestess, the organic portion would go significantly further than kissing.

He could tell Russ knew what he was thinking by the flare of his nostrils. His scent must have shifted slightly. He could feel for his own part the shift in his prana, the warmth of energy at his sacral chakra. Russ smiled, with teeth. This expression he could interpret. Agreement.

He had gotten the message quite clearly in the recent past, but the marvel still had not faded every time he was reminded that Russ wanted him. Sometimes he wanted things that Magnus would not suffer, but this was not a man who second guessed himself, who conformed himself to the world as it was. This was a man who took what he wanted.

It was far too late to escape now, even if he’d wanted to. At least there would never be a dull moment, the gleam in Russ’s eyes promised.
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