Red Ribbon
by GuiltyRed

“And who is here, the prince or the warrior?”

I allowed the door to latch behind me and I paused, considering the question. My hand stole upward to see if I were, in fact, wearing the mask even now.

Treize had recognized my step outside his door, as he always did; his cultured voice sounded amused, as it often did. When I did not answer, he rose from his reading chair and began to draw shut the curtains in silence.

I cleared my throat. “It is simply I, Your Excellency.”

He smiled and offered me a sidelong glance. “That answers nothing.”

Not that my answer would have much meaning, after all. The roses and the ribbons were the same; only the color might change, as per his mood: red for his warrior, lavender for his prince.

I realized belatedly that I still stood with my back to his door, my hand half-raised toward my face. I felt myself grow warm and knew that my cheeks were flushed. Fancy that – no mask today.

“You always come, and you always stand there waiting for me to fetch you,” Treize murmured, striding toward me, his arms outspread. “Is it so unexpected that I would welcome you to my side, Milliardo?”

“No, not unexpected,” I replied, allowing him to gather me into his embrace. “But it is something I refuse to take for granted.” Things I take for granted…become lost to me.

I closed my eyes and leaned into him, tucking my head down against his shoulder, and for a moment my world narrowed. Nothing existed beyond what I could touch, what I could smell: the rough solidity of his jacket beneath my fingers; the cool smoothness of his shirt against my cheek; the scent of roses and linen and leather that marks this place as his. His hands caressed my hair, my back, their touch at once gentle and commanding. Those hands slid up under my hair to tickle my neck, and I arched into them, offering my throat to the wolf.

His hair brushed my cheek as he bent slightly to press his lips below the curve of my jaw. He has told me many times how he finds the arch of my neck delightful, and can never resist tasting me there. Treize tugged at my collar, nibbling down to where he will mark me tonight, the bite tiny and discrete and easily hidden. His hands held me steady as his mouth covered its target, teeth and suction creating his own unique rose upon my skin.

Suddenly it was as though my own clothing had become an extension of his will, for it seemed to catch and press at me, teasing sensitive flesh. A soft moan escaped my lips, and Treize chuckled against my throat. “As the moon has many faces, so do you,” he whispered. He moved back just enough to regard me with eyes that could pierce through any mask. “My bold warrior, my gentle prince, and every flavor in between.”

It is a game, a dance, a formality we established at the start. One misstep, and I would leave: the offended royal or the irate soldier. My moods were indeed as the moon, though I never thought I could rival it for number. No, not the phases of the moon but simply this: light and dark. The side seen always from Earth, or the side visible only from space.

So far, Treize had only guessed wrongly once, and he’d been tired. In many ways, he knew me more clearly than I dared to know myself. I had yet to decide whether this thrilled or terrified me.

All I knew was I had come to him again, and now offered myself to him, to Treize: the only man I trusted with my soul. Others I might trust with my affection or my sex; those were easily won and just as easily dismissed. Only Treize did I trust with my past, and my dreams. Could I honestly say I knew what he would do with those dreams? No.

And still I had come here, again.

I followed him to his bedchamber, watched him pour two glasses of wine. We undressed in silence, watching each other in between sips of the wine. Though I did not quite know what it was myself, I had figured out that something about the way I moved told him everything he needed to know about my current temper. He studied me as he slipped the satin robe over his shoulders, then settled into an armchair and watched me over the rim of his wineglass.

“As beautiful and terrible as the moon,” he murmured, tongue lapping a stray drop from the crystal. “I have missed you.”

Again I felt myself blush. Reflexively, I stared down at the carpet. I had met Treize’s gaze before, in a moment like this one, and found myself captured more thoroughly than I had ever thought possible. I would not make that mistake again.

His throaty chuckle preceded him across the room. I could hear the rustle of his robe as he abandoned his chair and approached me, though I could still not bear to look up. Game or pretense, I did not know, only that he mesmerized me with his lust and stole any semblance of reason with his open desire. Was this love? Was this madness? Was I but his plaything, to be used at whim and one day discarded?

Did Treize know the answers to any of those questions any more than I did?

The soft hiss of satin sliding against itself brought me back to the moment. Treize held the length of his sash in both hands, his gaze mild and speculative. He was trying to decide which mood I would be in ten minutes hence, and hoping he guessed correctly. I trusted him to know what to do, for even I could not predict my own heart.

Treize caught up my right hand, raising it with his fingers delicately poised beneath my palm. He lifted it until my fingers touched his lips. His eyes locked on my own as he kissed my fingertips. He draped the wine-red sash across the back of my hand, and I shivered.

As though wrapping a present, Treize wound the sash about my wrist and hand, gently binding my fingers together before kissing my palm through the satin. Then he took up my left hand, nuzzled that palm and kissed the inner curve of my wrist before tangling it in the sash as well.

With one decisive jerk he tied the ends together between my bound hands. “My captive prince.” His lips shaped the words into a vague threat heavy with innuendo, a sonnet, a promise. He held my hands over my head and pulled me against him. His skin glowed with reflected crimson and satin heat as he kissed me full on the mouth, his lips claiming and yet very, very tender. In those bare seconds before desire would render me stupid, I wished as I always did that I could read his mind, know what he was truly thinking, truly wanting from me. To know whether this was all a game to him, or something more.

Then his free hand slid down my back, cupping my butt and grinding me against him, and all sensible thought fled my mind. As though we were dancing, Treize guided me in a graceful spiral toward the bed. He only broke the kiss long enough to place me upon the deep blue satin coverlet, then pause as though drinking in the sight of me. And, as though his gaze were the highest praise in the universe, I posed for him, stretching upon his bed, bound hands reaching out to my captor.

As much as Treize enjoyed watching me, I drank in the sight of him, standing beside the bed like a conqueror. Tall, well-built, not slender but solid, with a strength that was not solely physical: his gaze overwhelmed me more than any force of muscle could. His crimson robe fluttered as he mounted the bed to kneel astride me; the left sleeve fell from his shoulder to rest at mid-bicep, the effect at once elegant and utterly wanton.

With a practiced ease, he affixed my wrists to the ornate scrollwork at the foot of his bed before reclaiming my mouth with his own. I writhed under him, my skin begging for his caress. Rich satin brushed teasingly across my chest and belly as he moved, and I heard myself moan against his mouth.

His eyes claimed their victory: he had guessed right, and now we both knew it. His kiss became less predatory and more gentle – what I would imagine love to taste like – as his left hand painted a trail of sensation down my right side. Satin on skin, skin on skin, the scent of the man filling my nostrils and the taste of him on my tongue. He’d been eating cinnamon candy before my arrival, I only just recognized the taste beneath the wine.

A part of my mind spun, questioned, wondered: game, or love? Lust, or convenience? Real, or imaginary?

Prince, or warrior?

The boundaries had stopped making sense long ago.

A hot, strong grip covered in satin slid around my erection and squeezed. My inner monologue fell silent, as it always did. Silent, but not forgotten.

Treize stroked me with slow, deliberate movements, the inside surface of his robe a rougher texture on my flesh. He nuzzled my hair beside my neck before nipping and nibbling at my throat again. Satin wrapped around my cock, rough and smooth surfaces caressing me in turns.

My arms strained against the sash, fingers tangled in the crimson satin for purchase. I had no intention of pulling free, though we both knew I could do so. No, I only wanted to have something to hold onto, something more solid than Treize himself. Until my questions found their answers, my own desire was a more stable foundation than any other facet of reality might be. And so I clung to my bonds as my hips arched up, the sensual dance pulling me along into currents too deep to brave alone without a tether.

I could feel Treize watching my face as he pleasured me with his hand, his breath warm upon my skin. I knew I was blushing, and I knew it excited him to see me in such a state. I wanted to wrap my hand around his cock and tug, feeling the thickness of it across my palm, defying my fingers to gain a secure purchase around its girth. My hands clenched in the ribbon and squeezed.

His thumb slipped free from the satin and glided across the tip of my cock. The sudden change in sensation brought me to the edge and over, and I gasped as I came in his hand. Over my own breathing I heard Treize sigh, and I knew that if I looked right then I would see the truth in his eyes.

I did not look.

Gently, firmly, Treize guided me to turn over. My bound hands sought the corner post for balance as I crouched forward. Satin whispered across my back, followed by soft and breathless kisses. I arched my back as his tongue tickled lower, teasingly lower.

Deep inside, something dark began to stir.

Treize reached beneath me and stroked me to hardness again. Blood pounded through my veins, deafening me – or were we truly so silent?

Slicked fingers tested my readiness.

A low growl escaped my throat and I pushed backward.

Treize chuckled and pulled his fingers away. “I thought that would be the case. Tight enough?”

He wasn’t talking about my entrance, but my bonds; his words were always chosen for their ambiguity. I felt myself grin as I tested the sash. The muscles in my arms bunched and tightened, rippling down my back as I put all my strength into it.

For one frantic moment, I thought the knots were about to give.

For one frantic moment, I thought I wasn’t ready.

Before I could relax, Treize entered me, his large member well-oiled and parting me with humiliating ease.

I bit down on my arm as my sight went red.

The knots held.

Strong hands gripped my hips, not allowing me to move except as Treize willed it. He held me still and thrust into me with a slow, determined rhythm, his heavy balls hitting mine with every stroke.

“Damn you,” I hissed, “you know what I need!”

“And you know I will give it to you,” Treize whispered, his breathing only slightly rough.

“Give now, damn it!”

He leaned low over my back, then nipped my shoulder. “I’ll give when you’re ready for it.”

I groaned, struggling against my bonds. He filled me so gently, taunting me with my helplessness. The coverlet had bunched up beneath me, and at random moments my cock brushed against the satin, leaving slick trails across the fabric and bringing a fresh stream of curses to my lips.

Treize began to speed up.

The curses resolved into words: “please…god, please…just touch…ah! Harder, fuck harder…oh god…” I barely recognized the voice as my own.

Treize stopped holding me still and began to guide me back against his thrusts, mercifully forceful.

My head snapped back, lashing wild hair across my shoulders and no doubt catching Treize full in the face with it. My hands clenched in the sash as a whisper in my mind prayed that it not come untied.

Treize took me in hand and stroked with quick, rough motion, matching his own movement and bringing me within desperate sight of climax.

I writhed beneath him, wanting this, needing this, unable to find it on my own anymore. If he didn’t bring me over fast, I would bite through the fucking satin and plant my teeth in his throat…

“Ah, yes,” Treize breathed. “There you are…Zechs.”

He knew. He always knew.

His hand moved with reckless speed, and I felt myself surge into his grip. Treize let out a low growl of his own and pounded into me with quick, staccato thrusts.

My arms tensed against the sash.

The knots held.

I came with a silent scream that still tore through my throat, stretching my lips wide and forcing my eyes tight shut. My body spasmed so hard I felt like I was crashing, falling out of control to the solid Earth. The only thing that seemed real to me was the powerful arms wrapped around my middle. They refused to let go, refused to lose me to whatever lay at the end of that fall.

Hot tears streamed from below the mask that I was not wearing, yet still felt across my eyes. I had never been able to understand why, exactly, I wept, but I always did.

Zechs always wept.

Relief, perhaps? Simple, profound relief? Or were they the tears of the conquered? Could they not be the same? Only in conquest could I find such release; only with Treize could I accept such conquest.

When my muscles went slack again, Treize slipped free. He draped his heavy satin robe across my back. His fingers kissed my cheek, brushing away the last few tears.

I lay half-kneeling, half-sprawled, my wrists still bound to the footboard. Treize would wait until he knew the dark phase had passed before freeing me, and that was as it should be. I had injured him once, sworn never to allow it again. Only his insistent persuasion had convinced me that he could render me safe, convinced me to try just one more time.

As my breathing slowed, I heard Treize pour another glass of wine, then set down the bottle and raise up the glass. I imagined I could hear him drinking.

Who is this “I” in my narrative? Does the moon perceive her own faces, or must she rely upon observers to know the proper name? How can I not be certain of my own identity?

Must I rely upon Treize to know the difference?

He tilts my chin up, lowers his lips to mine. The wine tastes of him. He has filled every sense this night.

Why do I feel so damn empty?

“Milliardo,” Treize whispers, as though calling me awake.

Is that my name? Does the warrior, sated, sleep? Or have I become his mask?

Treize knows. He always knows.

And I know that if I look right now I will see the truth in his eyes.

I do not look.

Find more of GuiltyRed at Nexus of the Crisis.