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When the Void Stares Back

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“I could show you my bloodstone circle, if you'd like.” Cecil sounded shy. “Well, not show you. You might go mad, and I couldn't risk that. But I could come up with another way for you to...experience it, a little.”

“Sure, hon. I'd love to.” Although not religious himself (a fact he didn't necessarily mention around the City Council), Carlos had a vested interest in anything Cecil cared about. Besides, he was maybe a little curious about the room from which he sometimes heard Cecil chanting, and which he was Not Allowed to Enter, Seriously I Can't Lose You Please Stay Out.

“Great!” Blowing him a kiss, Cecil danced out the door. During the weather, he sent Carlos a text that said, “I've thought of a way to make it both thrilling and sexually exciting!” And Carlos was lucky he got any science done that day.

What Cecil had in mind turned out to be a scene,  which Carlos had suspected, because they'd done this before. According to Cecil, the best time for this scene was an hour so deep in the night that even his anniversary wristwatch had trouble measuring it.

Gentle fingertips smoothed over the satiny black sleep mask (sewn with tiny twinkling stars) that covered Carlos’ eyes. Cecil adjusted the strap, making sure it was snug but not tight.

“Are you ready?” He lowered his hands to knead just under Carlos' collarbone. Dissolving under his touch, Carlos nodded.

“What's your safeword?”

Carlos gave three short, sharp hisses. For reasons only hinted at in vague grimaces, Cecil hadn't wanted him to rely on a verbal sign.

“Carlos, listen to me.” His hands stilled their massage. “If you need to safeword out, do not take off your blindfold. This is for your own safety. Give the sign and wait for me. Do you understand?”


“Then I have just one more question before we start.” Cecil's voice softened, and his thumb stroked across his boyfriend's stubbled cheek. “Do you trust me to keep you safe?”

Carlos nodded, a vulnerable note in his voice.

“I do.”

The air changed.

The hand on his cheek caught his jaw in a bruising grip.

“So you've come to seek the arcane mysteries of my Temple? What arrogance.” Cecil's voice scoured over him, inscrutable and aeons old. “Look at you, wearing  clothes and failing to  grovel .”

When Cecil let go of him, Carlos wetted his lips, unsure whether to answer. It had seemed like a rhetorical question.

“The light of reason and scientific inquiry will not save your fragile mind, and so I will not permit you to hide behind that garment. You know the one. Discard it. ”

His labcoat. Carlos hesitated, unexpected feelings welling up inside. The labcoat was his shield, a challenge to Nightvale that said, “Mess with me if you dare. I'm a scientist.” And though few in Nightvale shared this view, it also reminded Carlos that he had the right to look unknowable terrors in the eye, and demand from them mutual respect.

But really, wasn't that a right he'd given up for these few moments, so that Cecil could take care of him?

Lowering his head, Carlos took off the labcoat and let it drop to the ground. Almost of their own accord, his hands went to unbutton his red flannel shirt. Cecil said nothing, only hummed, so he continued, stripping himself bare until the open air cooled the wetness on his thighs.

“Hmm.” Light footfalls circled him. “You'd look better on your knees.”

Without a word, Carlos lowered himself to the ground, in the middle of his discarded clothing. Since he was sitting on top of his crumpled jeans, a stiff denim seam bit into his shin, but he ignored it. It felt good.

“Humans.” Cecil huffed a laugh. “You forget you're little more than animals, chasing the whims of biology.” A shifting sound. “Crawl forward, and pleasure yourself on my foot.”

Carlos obeyed, groping until he found Cecil's leg that was stretched out to accommodate him. Straddling the ankle, he lowered himself to grind against it, smearing slick everywhere.

“Good,” said Cecil in deep velvet.

Cheeks burning, Carlos lay his forehead against Cecil's knee. He moaned in shame and pleasure when Cecil first stroked his hair and then tugged on it like a leash.

“Come.” He pulled Carlos on his hands and knees over a Threshold, and--

The air became charged, and oddly heavy.

“/////. /// ////////// ////// ////.”

Was Cecil chanting? The words hurt Carlos' ears, and he thought nothing of cowering in on himself. But Cecil yanked his head back, exposing his jugular.

“I told Them to look but not touch. You are mine, and They cannot have you.” Sharp teeth kissed love bites into his throat.

Settling behind him, Cecil pulled him back into an embrace, all warm naked skin and pointed nails that pricked at his abdomen.

The air was full of dry dust, but Carlos could barely hear himself cough, over the thunderous buzzing of flies. The sound itself seemed to leech moisture out of him. But before his lungs desiccated, thick briny fog shoved clammy tendrils up his nose. It smelled like rotting seaweed.

Pressure built in Carlos' ears, and the silence rang. Was the fog thickening into a vast primeval ocean? He felt intoxicated, body drunk on lack of oxygen.

Then Cecil shoved him forward, shoved his nose into the dirt-covered stone. He held Carlos up by the hips, and purred.

Look at these full, round cheeks.” He gripped one, hard enough to bruise. “So soft and supple and abundant. Such a magnificent offering, to me .”

And Carlos nearly choked when he felt a sandpapery tongue lick his pucker and then probe inside. To keep from screaming, he bit his tongue, and tasted blood when Cecil pushed his legs down flat on the ground. Something squelched behind Carlos, and a thick slimy object breached him, slowly stretching his tight walls. As if from far away, he noted that the ground had turned to feathers--only now, it was scales.

“My Carlos,” Cecil crooned in his ear, lying down on top of him like a protective covering. “Laid out like a sacrifice. They want you so badly. But you're mine. ” He started moving his hips, in time with the weird, pulsing rhythm around them.

Heart beating like a frightened bird, Carlos felt his instincts begging him to run, or hide, or lie perfectly still, but also to fuck and breed because that cock in his ass felt so good. Beneath Cecil’s added weight, the scales bit into Carlos’s hip bones and tormented the tender flesh of his groin. When a hard thrust made him yelp, Cecil clapped a hand over his mouth.

“Ssh. You don't want Them to hear you.”

In the vast darkness, something skittered angrily, and Carlos pressed his face into the ground in unthinking surrender. He gave a soundless moan, vulnerable in mind and body to forces he could not understand.

A wave of dizziness washed over him, as though a fundamental constant of the universe were suddenly and imperceptibly changed. The floor heaved, tilting--they both rolled across it, slipped out of each other's arms. As Carlos flailed, something thin and wriggly and not-quite-real wound around his wrists, anchoring him. And then Cecil was there, kissing his belly.

“My poor, sweet Carlos. It's alright now. I know you understand.” Curled over him like a cage, Cecil entered him again, rewarding him with a fierce kiss when he arched up.

The air tasted of cinnamon, and smelled of vanilla.

Despair fading into blank, drifting peace, Carlos clutched Cecil tightly as he came. When Carlos’ aftershocks faded, Cecil pulled out and finished himself with his hand, nose buried in Carlos' hair. For a moment they basked.

“It doesn't have to be scary, in the void,” said Cecil, tracing patterns on Carlos’ arm to slowly call him back. “Even if you meet that which you cannot explain. Here, let me carry you home.” Cecil picked him up without trouble, and carried him to their bedroom. After kissing each of Carlos’ eyes, he removed the blindfold, and checked him for wounds that needed tending. The moon shone through their window like a watchful eye.

As Carlos surfaced, he drank water and then tea, and relaxed into the warm blankets that Cecil tucked around them both. He started shaking in his lover's arms, as the disconnected feelings became real.

“Ssh, it's ok. I admire your powers of reason, you know? You've taught me such wonderful things about the universe. Through science, and love.”

That teased a faint chuckle out of Carlos.

“I'm...I can't think of the word. That was something. Very, um. Scientifically interesting.”

Cecil giggled.

“I think They liked you. Well, who knows. I would, if I were Them.”

With a groan, Carlos buried his face in Cecil's shoulder.

“I'm glad you're not Them.”

“Me too, sweetheart. I'm just me. And you're you. And we're together.”