A reimagining of the scene with Julian in the forbidden garden in Chapter VI Part II: A Gift and a Curse. What if the guards passed the garden by entirely and Julian and the Apprentice had more time? Julian is a cis man; Apprentice's gender and body are unspecified.

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This was my first fanfic posted on AO3! Julian is a delight and that moment in the garden where the main character first discovers his love of pain has me buzzing with possibilities. Thanks to my friend Kim for the beta read.

Imported from Archive of Our Own. Original work id: 15668658.

I place a hand on Julian's waist and take a step forward, pressing lightly at the wound.

He swallows, and then grins at me. “Oho. Are we dancing? I didn’t know you could. What, er. What’s your poison? Tango? Waltz?” I'm beginning to recognize his babbling for what it is—an attempt at distraction. It'll take more than that to deter me.

I take another step, pressing fully at the wound now. It doesn’t seem lethal. In fact, Julian bites his lip and makes a muffled noise. He takes a step back, hitting the crumbling wall behind him and gives me a desperate look.

“S-so, not the waltz then,” he says. “Pity, I’ve been known to cut a rug—” His fingers dig into my shoulder, gripping me like a lifeline as he slides down the wall a bit and breathes my name. His cheeks are flushed; the tips of his ears are red. Interesting.

“You like the pain.” It’s not a question. I settle gracefully to my knees as I speak; the stones and roots of the garden are no meditation cushion, but I’m comfortable enough.

“I deserve it,” he mutters, trying to look away but unable to take his eye off me. His attention gives me a heady rush. My own attention is somewhat lower than his face as I slide my left hand under the heavy fabric of his coat.

“Spare me the martyrdom,” I say, digging my knuckle into the center of the wound. He gasps. “You like the pain.” I’ve positioned myself perfectly — the breath from my speech brushes over the laces of his trousers, and what lies beneath. His own breath trembles; I can hear its unevenness even down here.


I grin up at him; I know my hair falls over my brow becomingly at this angle. “Please what? This?” —I brush my thumb over the ragged edge of skin on his abdomen— “Or this?” and I tongue his cock through his trousers. The sound that escapes Julian’s lips resembles nothing so much as a sob. The desperate sound nearly undoes me. I decide to take pity on him (and myself too, if we’re being honest) and undo his laces with a push of my will and a gesture of my hand, freeing his already hard cock from the confines of his trousers.

Julian’s shivering like a fly-stung horse, but his eye misses nothing. “Magic,” he mutters, like a curse.

I sit back on my heels, looking up at him curiously. “You don’t like magic.”

“Would you? If it brought you this—” and his right hand comes up over my left, stilling it over the bite he stole from me. His hand is bigger than mine and shockingly cool.

“Mm,” I sit back up, humming in understanding, and his cock twitches, nudging my lips. “Eager,” I purr, or try to—it comes out breathless. I take him in my mouth, spread the fingers of my left hand to cover his whole wound and press. He bucks; I hear the thud of his head falling back against the garden wall. My name in his mouth in that tone of voice opens a pit of desire in my belly. I lave his cock with my tongue, savouring him. My right hand comes up to grip his bony hip, pressing it harder against the wall and summoning another groan from his throat. For someone on the run, he sure does like being confined. He tastes good, too — clean skin, salt of his sweat, bitterness of his pre-come, and something else, unique to him.

I can’t remember any occasions, but I have the sense of having done this before, though not with him. Asra has kept his distance since I met him, but maybe in the past before I remember? I put these thoughts out of my head. Julian is here now, very real, not a memory nor half-remembered fog. Real and flesh and groaning under my hands and mouth in this garden we’ve ducked into to escape pursuit. Something about him brings out the reckless in me.

I push forward to swallow more of his cock, nuzzle the red-brown curls of his pubic hair and hum with satisfaction, pulling back before my gag reflex kicks in. The whole time my left hand plays upon the bloody wound, catching his pleasure on pain, and my right hand holds his hip in an iron grip — I’m stronger than I look.

Julian’s moans are punctuated by half-uttered curses as I work. I can feel his hips trying to buck and I can sense that it arouses him further that he can’t. His right hand still covers my left but he hasn’t stopped me messing with the wound. I think he’s leaving that hand there as permission. Something about that cool palm, those long fingers, covering my own makes me feel safe.

It’s not long before he chokes out my name and “I’m—” and spills himself onto my tongue. I hold him in my mouth until he’s done, swallowing the spurts. Then I take my hand off the eel bite and, suddenly daring, bring my fingers to my mouth. Julian’s eye was hooded with satisfaction but it widens when he sees me taste his blood and he groans again, sinking down until he sits fully on the ground and his face is level with mine.

“You have some wickedness in you,” he says.

“You bring it out in me,” I answer, and it’s true. I don’t remember ever wanting to hurt someone like this, for pleasure, until him.

His eye narrows at my answer and he tilts his head. I know he’s trying to figure me out, but that’s fair—I want to understand him, too, and I don’t, not yet. There are still too many secrets between us. We stay like that for a long moment, he sitting, I kneeling, my eyes holding the gaze of his one good eye.

Eventually he sighs, tucks his cock back into his trousers, and laces them up. “I’d return the favor,” he says, smirk back on his face, “but I think the guards have moved on and it’s probably best we did the same. I know where we can hole up for the night.”

I lick my lips, feeling a sense of loss at the prospect of leaving this unexpected sanctuary; I watch Julian’s eye track the progress of my tongue, then shake my head. He’s right. We both need rest, and he needs healing, and we need a safe place to accomplish both those things. I rise to my feet and give him a hand to help him up, slinging his arm over my shoulder and taking some of his weight. “Lead on.”