Chapter 1: Bargain
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The witches arrived when Daniel was six years old. They were travelers, like the gypsies, but none had ever visited Belmond before and the townsfolk had hoped to keep it that way.
A huge black horse pulled their cart through the cobblestone streets and the pedestrians gave them a wide berth.
Daniel had watched with wide eyed interest. He knew they weren't human but aside from their unkempt appearance, and tattooed limbs, he couldn't see how. They weren't delicate and androgynous like the fey, or knobbly and huge like a troll.
"It's the eyes." Tristan, Daniel's best friend, had whispered. "My mom says they don't have a soul."
Two of the witches were women, with sharp faces and necklaces full of bones and amulets. And two were children around Daniel's age.
The girl's hair was a matted black plait across her shoulder and her eyes were lined in kohl. And the boy had a thin little face with a wild mess of black hair.
"Don't look." Daniel's mom, Mabel Perry, turned him away and they hurried on home, without half of the things they'd meant to purchase.
"Why don't the guards chase them away?" Daniel asked, when his mom had slowed her pace.
She squeezed his hand tight. "Because of their black magic." She made the sign against evil - two fingers pressing to her brow and chest - then gestured for him to do the same. "They'll curse anyone who crosses them."
"Couldn't the guards just cover their faces?" Daniel wondered.
"They'd know." Mabel shot him a stern look. "All they need is something you touched. Don't ever talk to them, Daniel. I don't care what they tempt you with. You hear?" Her voice was harsh with fear, but all Daniel heard was anger, and his eyes filled with tears.
"I-I wouldn't mommy..." he began to sniffle and then cry. He was a good boy; everyone said so. He didn't deserve to be yelled at.
His mom stopped abruptly and her eyes went wide and vulnerable in a way that made him forgive her instantly.
"Oh, sweetie." She knelt and hugged him close, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "I know you wouldn't. Let's go inside and have some pie. Would you like that?"
Daniel wasn't sad anymore, but he sniffled dramatically. "Is it chicken and gravy?"
Mabel quirked an ironic brow at his baby-voice. But she didn't correct him, like she usually did. "You bet it is!"
He grinned and they entered a door, beneath a gilded sign, that read "Perry's Bakery" in cursive writing.
Daniel's father made the best pastries, and pies, in town and not a day went by that he wasn't proud of it.
The next day the witches had set up a stall at the market. Trading potions, creams and stones that twinkled temptingly in the morning sun. By the afternoon, when everyone was packing their wares, their cart was lit on fire.
"It was the Brandy boys." Tristan shared at lunch the next day, his mother was a seamstress and she always knew the latest gossip. The Brandy brothers were orphans, working at the inn, and well known for their mischief.
"They're both sick in bed now." Tristan continued, hazel eyes wide. "Their tongues are all grey and the doctor doesn't know what's wrong. My mom doesn't think they'll recover!"
Daniel had shuddered and he promised himself again never to approach the witches.
One of the boys did eventually recover, but his eyesight was never the same, and his brother passed away.
As the years went by the witches became a common sight at the market. Any abuse was met with harsh repercussions and people eventually learned to steer clear of them.
Daniel never saw anyone purchase their wares and he wondered how they survived. Perhaps people knew to be discreet; anyone caught associating with witches would be outcast.
One morning Daniel's father, Nolan Perry, had prepared three pies for the mayor and Daniel set off to deliver them. He'd added a small bag of apple muffins - just in case the mayor's son, Christopher Joy, was home.
Christopher had light brown hair and soft looking lips that were quick to smile. They were classmates and Daniel liked him a lot. A whole lot more than he probably ought to.
Men weren't supposed to feel for each other that way. The very sentiment was punishable by death. But Daniel figured that if he never acted on it, and married a nice girl someday, maybe it was okay to look. And to dream.
The air was frigid with cold and he'd made sure to bundle up in a warm woolly scarf and a soft hat.
The mayor lived in a grand yellow house, three streets down, and Daniel rang the doorbell ten minutes early.
There was no answer and he frowned. The maid usually answered the door and he still had three more deliveries to make. He tried again, then walked around the back.
Christopher often showed him through the garden and Daniel was comfortable opening the gate and stepping up the stone path.
A man was closing the patio door behind him and hurrying down the steps. His hat was pressed low on his head, and he was walking fast, while donning leather gloves. Daniel smiled with recognition; it was the mayor's senior advisor.
The man startled and dropped his glove. He blinked at Daniel owlishly, as though he'd seen a ghost.
"Sir?" Daniel frowned. "Are you well?"
"Daniel." The man's face softened in a smile and he stooped to pick up his glove. "How nice to see you. Do you usually deliver through the garden?"
"No, sir." Daniel smiled sheepishly. "No one answered the bell and I thought Christopher might be home." He tried not to sound too hopeful.
"He isn't." Daniel's heart sank with disappointment and the man held out his hand. "Allow me. Mr. Joy is having a meeting."
Daniel didn't want to disturb any important business and he hurriedly handed over the box. He briefly considered mentioning the muffins, but decided it might look strange for a boy to leave another boy sweets.
"My thanks!" He tipped his hat and mr. Wilbury nodded, before disappearing back inside.
Daniel didn't think anymore of it and set off for his next delivery.
Later that day the mayor was discovered dead in his office. The doctor declared it poison and Daniel's father was arrested as the main suspect.
The guards had just dragged him away and Daniel's mother was left bewildered in the doorway. Their neighbors had all gathered to watch on the road, and in the windows, but no one objected or approached them.
"We'll go speak to the sheriff at once! This is a terrible misunderstanding." She donned her coat, hands trembling, and they hurried down to the town-hall.
"The only person to come and go was your son, madam. We have no other suspects." The sheriff told them with regret in his eyes. He was one of their regulars and he'd often shared a pint with Daniel's father at the pub.
"That's not true!" Daniel protested. He recounted his meeting with mr. Wilbury and the sheriff's expression sobered further.
"That's a hefty accusation and he is a powerful man, Daniel. I'm not sure your word is enough."
The trial took place two days later and Daniel's word wasn't enough. The mayor's maid had been given leave to visit her mother that day and Mr. Wilbury insisted that he'd been in a meeting with his secretary, at the time that the murder took place. His secretary confirmed this and Daniel's father was sentenced to hang within the week.
Mabel broke down into tears and Daniel put his arms around her. His body felt cold with shock and he was shaking.
How could this have happened? How could their lives have shattered so fast. And for what? Why?
His father watched them with agonized eyes, until he was dragged away.
"And what of the boy, your honor?" Mr. Wilbury exclaimed and indicated Daniel. Mabel gasped through her tears and clutched Daniel tighter. "He made the delivery. Who's to say he wasn't an associate to murder?"
The judge stared down at Daniel silently. He was another of their regulars and Daniel had always added a free pastry to his order, on rainy days.
"He's only a boy. He didn't prepare the pie and I see no reason to punish him for his father's crime. Case dismissed." He slammed his gavel on the block.
Mabel shuddered in horrified relief and pressed her face into Daniel's shoulder.
Christopher and his mother sat on the opposite bench; looking just as stricken, and empty, as Daniel felt. Christopher's head turned and their eyes met. The boy's face hardened and he spat on the floor.
It was like a stab through his heart, and Daniel hurriedly looked away, while a fresh well of tears ran down his face.
On the way out Daniel noticed Mr. Wilbury's brown leather glove on the floor. He didn't give himself time to think. He just snatched it up and stuffed it in his pocket.
When they reached their home the windows had been shattered and the words "Murderer" were painted in garish red letters across their door.
Daniel's mom looked so broken, and so defeated, his heart broke all over again. He ushered her to bed and made her a cup of tea, with a sleep powder she used for migraines, and set about cleaning the shop.
He brushed up the broken glass and hammered wooden boards over the windows. He then got a bucket of soapy water and scrubbed at the letters, until most of it was gone. It was evening by the time he was done - his hands were sore and his back ached - but he still had work to do.
He mixed a batch of their bestselling cinnamon swirls, and four different pies, and packed them into a basket. He then got the majority of the money his father had stashed away, for emergencies, and put on his coat and hat.
The stars were twinkling when he locked the door and hurried down the street. He didn't know where he was going, exactly, but he knew the witches lived near the poorer district. And he was determined to find them. No one was going to save his father and, the way Daniel saw it, he had no other choice.
The streets became filthier as he reached the destitute end. The alleys smelled of stale urine, and garbage, and Daniel breathed carefully through his mouth.
A few pubs were still open and a handful of drunks were weaving through the streets. A red haired woman, with a plunging neckline, was leaning against a windowsill, smoking a pipe.
"P-pardon me." He stammered and she looked up. Her red lipstick was smeared and her inviting smile dropped as soon as she saw him.
"Don't do children." She said sharply and Daniel flinched. Partly because she was a prostitute and partly because he was sixteen years old - but people still mistook him for a child.
"I-I was hoping you could direct me to...the..." He had no idea what to say. How did people go about this?
"The what?" Her voice was harsh and he flinched again, looking around uneasily. "You looking for trouble? Witchcraft?"
At his wide eyes her lips stretched in a humorless smile. "Ain't nothing worth it, boy. Save your soul and go home." She slammed the window shut.
Daniel shivered and blinked back tears. But what was he supposed to do? He loved his father and he knew what happened to criminals and those associated with them. No one would be purchasing from their shop.
Their friends and neighbors would look the other way and soon he and his mother would be begging on the streets. And he didn't think his mom would survive that. He couldn't imagine he would either.
He continued down the streets with sinking hope. His hands and feet were ice cold, even through his woolly gloves and socks. And soon he might have to sell those too.
A body slammed into him outside an alley. Daniel staggered, and caught a brief glimpse of a grimy face, with pale blonde hair, before the boy took off down the street.
Daniel clutched his basket and straightened.
He swung around and his heart briefly stopped. It was the boy; the witch. He was wearing a worn red shirt, with a bone necklace, and loose black trousers, cinched with a cord around the waist. He had to be cold, Daniel thought faintly.
The boy stepped closer, eyeing him intently. His dark eyes were lined in kohl and Daniel instinctively retreated, before he caught himself. He had to do this.
"Y-yes. B-but," Daniel forced himself to meet those black eyes, "I found you."
A/N: Story fact! The name 'Daniel' means "God is my judge".
Chapter 2: Snare
Daniel straightened in resolve and stepped closer. He glanced around one more time, to be certain they were alone, and spoke lowly.
"I need help. You see, my fa..."
"I don't trade in alleys." The boy interrupted, voice little more than a murmur, and Daniel clenched his jaw uneasily. "This way." He turned and moved fast down the dank passage, clearly expecting Daniel to follow.
Daniel felt a sharp bolt of panic and considered, very strongly, turning tail and hiding in his safe warm bed. The consequences quickly followed and he half-ran to catch up, flinching when his boot squelched into something rotting.
"Hurry up!" The witch hissed, but didn't slow, as he turned a corner.
He was led down narrow, twisting streets, some filled with dark and desperate souls - but none of them bothered Daniel, not with a witch by his side.
The streets eventually widened and the pale light of dawn was accompanied by a mist of rain.
"What's that?" The witch demanded, when Daniel checked the cover of his basket.
"It's, uh, c-cinnamon swirls." They were cold now, but the dough was still fresh and soft. Daniel lifted one and the boy snatched it from his fingers.
He tore into the pastry with no manners whatsoever; chewing with his mouth open and moaning loudly. "Oh, this is good!"
Daniel watched with wide eyes, feeling equal parts of disgust and intrigue.
The witch's face was a lot clearer in the cold light. He was tall - nearly a head taller than Daniel - and his cheekbones were high, lips thin, and the kohl around his eyes was smearing in the rain. He wasn't beautiful, like Christopher, his features were too sharp for that. But he was...arresting.
The witch reached into his basket, without asking, and devoured a second pastry. Daniel found his lips twitching. The boy might be ill mannered, but it was always gratifying to see his work appreciated.
"Mm." The boy licked each of his tattooed fingers and his steps slowed. "Here we are."
Daniel started and looked up. His attention had been so riveted, he hadn't even noticed the old inn. It looked inhospitable to say the least. The windows were bordered up and parts of the woodwork was charred, as if it had survived a fire.
There was no visible lock on the scuffed wooden door and the boy pushed it open. "Come in."
Daniel took off his hat, clutching it with icy fingers, and ducked gingerly past a hanging of animal claws and small red stones. They scraped over his head, and shoulders, and clacked unsettlingly into place behind him.
The walls were lined with apothecary cabinets - filled with vials, scrolls, books, taxidermied creatures and trinkets. Bones, crystals and skulls lined another wall, along with some mysterious hairy lumps.
Daniel frowned and leaned closer, only to careen backwards with a horrified shout. They were tiny, wrinkled heads with their mouths stitched shut.
Daniel heaved for air and nearly screamed when a hand touched his arm. The witch smirked at him.
There was no distinguishing his pupil from his iris. It was black as ink with no reflections at all - just a mat darkness - and Daniel remembered Tristan's words all those years ago. They have no soul...
"I thought you wanted to trade."
"I-I-I," Daniel took a trembling breath, "I d-do."
The boy led him through a door into a kitchen. The shop was freezing and Daniel's teeth chattered.
The witch opened an old creaky cabinet and pulled out a few tins and two cups. "Light the fire."
For a moment Daniel just stared blankly. To order a guest about, much less a customer, went against everything his parents had taught him. But a single dark glance had him kneeling by the fireplace.
He placed his basket on the ground, swept away the ashes and piled wood inside. There was a red marble bowl containing a few pieces of flint, on the mantle, and in a short time he had a fire blazing.
"Very nice." A hand swept over his head and Daniel received another shock. No one, aside from his parents, touched him so familiarly. Another boy certainly wouldn't dare; the gesture could be misunderstood.
The fingers in his hair tightened, until his scalp twinged, and the witch moved him aside to hang a small cauldron of water on a hook above the fire.
"You can hang your coat by the door." The fingers released him and Daniel stood with that same odd pull in his belly. The pegs were little stone skulls and he reluctantly hung his coat on one.
The witch spooned herbs into a copper teapot and moved around the kitchen, lighting candles and oil lamps.
Daniel stood uneasily by a tall wooden table, until the boy told him to sit. The chair was high as a bar stool and he clambered up to perch on it awkwardly.
The water in the pot boiled and the witch poured it into the pot and threw a bundle of sage into the fire. The smell of it burning filled the air and Daniel took a slow breath. His eyes were scratchy with exhaustion and the warmth softened his cold bones.
"Drink up." The boy placed a cup in front of him and sipped his own tea.
Daniel swallowed. He'd also been taught never to decline a host's refreshments. But he was certain that none of the people his parents had in mind had shrunken heads in their shop.
"I didn't poison it." The boy snapped and Daniel jolted, heart thundering.
Those black eyes were now hard and narrowed and Daniel quickly reached for the cup. The tea was peppery and bitter. But it warmed and he sipped again.
"You've been up all night?" The witch's brow had smoothed and his voice was now slow and quiet.
Daniel knew he was being manipulated, but anything was preferable to an angry witch, and his shoulders sagged with relief.
He sipped his tea and nodded. The boy asked him where he lived and who his family were. But he didn't seem particularly interested in answers and Daniel had a feeling he already knew.
He was growing more tired by the second and his eyes kept blurring in and out of focus. The boy's pronounced collarbones showed past his necklace and his small nipples were clearly outlined through his shirt.
Daniel felt another stir, lower than his belly, and he hurriedly looked away, taking a big gulp of tea. His trousers were uncomfortably tight and his thoughts kept scattering.
"I came here because...because of..." he frowned, looking into the cup. The witch's chair scraped against the floor and arms were suddenly folding around him, squeezing firmly.
"Poor baker's boy." The witch murmured in his ear. "You are like that, aren't you?" Warm lips pressed to his neck and Daniel shivered.
"Always wanting to touch. But never allowing yourself to." A palm pressed to his crotch and Daniel moaned. It felt so good, it almost hurt.
He set his cup down with a clatter and leaned into the embrace. Yes, it had been hell - now that a boy was touching him he could admit that - all those years knowing he was different, then reaching the age where innocent affection deepened. And he knew he was sick.
His heart pounded in his ears and his eyes stung. His arms felt heavy, but he managed to dig his fingers into that wild mess of hair and pressed a clumsy kiss to the boy's mouth.
A hand smoothed up his back, gripping his nape and a tongue pushed past his lips. The witch tasted of the bitter tea and sugary cinnamon from the pastries.
A push against his knees had the boy's hips fitting between his legs and Daniel couldn't suppress a groan when a hard stomach pressed against his erection.
Time faded and he wasn't sure how long it was, before he came up for air and stared down into those black eyes. The chair was high and the witch had to tilt his head back to look at him.
"Did you drug me?" Daniel panted, even though he already knew the answer. He should care. But his body was burning up and the boy's lips were distracting him - all flushed and swollen - and Daniel leaned down to taste them again.
"Just a little." The witch's mouth stretched in a smile and he stepped back to offer Daniel a hand down.
His feet felt heavy on the ground, too soft for walking, but he managed to stumble beside the boy into a dim room. It was much colder in here and he shivered.
Beds lined the wall, divided by black curtains, and unsettling trinkets adorned a chest of drawers. Daniel carefully didn't look at them too closely.
He would much rather stare at the witch, who was unbuttoning his shirt. His body was still that of a boy - torso long and thin - but defined with lithe muscle that hinted at a bulky physique in the future.
The marks on his fingers continued up his wrists, fading at his elbows. When he turned to throw his shirt onto a chair, Daniel gasped in horror. His entire back was covered in an anatomical depiction of a human spine and the organs underneath.
Daniel hurriedly focused on the more pleasing reveal of trim buttocks - as the witch pulled off his pants and walked to a basin in the corner. His cock was long and uncut between his legs and his body would have been beautiful, if not for the tattoos.
The witch glanced back. "Are you just gonna watch? Take your clothes off."
The cold air was alerting his mind a little, but Daniel's prick was still pulsing, and his entire body was buzzing with a mix of excitement and dread.
He might never have this chance again and he fumbled with his clothes. The witch rinsed his neck and his crotch, then stepped back to run his eyes leisurely over Daniel.
Daniel shivered with a flash of vulnerability and resisted the urge to cover his groin.
The boy sneered and his cold, wet fingers brushed over Daniel's belly, raising goosebumps. "So fat."
Shock blazed through him and Daniel slapped the hand away. If he'd been half as coherent as he usually was, he'd never have had the courage, or the stupidity, to strike a witch.
"I am not fat!" He exclaimed and white teeth flashed in the dark.
"You are!" The witch cackled and caught Daniel's arm, pulling him onto a mattress.
Daniel simmered, even as he moaned when his dick slid against the boy's hip.
Sure, his cheeks were a little plump (he worked in a bakery, after all) but no one could accuse him of being fat. He'd frequently been complimented on his looks...by old ladies. He decided to keep that to himself.
"I'm not..." He muttered and groaned when a hot mouth pressed to his throat. "Y-you're just...too skinny." He gasped when teeth bit punishingly into his shoulder.
The witch rolled, until he rested heavily on top of Daniel, bodies fitting perfectly together. "You are." The boy insisted and reached for a jar on the shelf. "Smooth and soft," He unscrewed the lid and scooped his fingers inside, "like a marzipan pig."
Daniel's mouth fell open and he spoke, before he could think. "Sod you!"
The witch's black eyes widened and then he was howling with laughter. He slammed the jar back on the shelf and leaned down to kiss Daniel hard, still chuckling.
Daniel's eyes closed and he opened his mouth wide, wrapping his arms around the boy's neck. It was hard to hold onto anger, when a warm slippery tongue was in his mouth and a firm body was rubbing against him.
The witch bent Daniel's leg, and sticky fingers slid between his buttocks and wormed into his asshole. Daniel jerked and his cock twitched hard.
He should have been shocked, repulsed, but his body was burning up and the pressure just felt so good. It didn't even sting.
His chest heaved and he mouthed the boy's salty neck, feeling those tattooed fingers move in him, sliding in and out.
The muscles beneath his fingers were damp and tight - and a hard cock was bruising his thigh.
"More." He gasped, spreading his legs and arching his spine. He didn't even know what he was asking. "More."
The fingers left his ass, leaving him achingly empty, but then a dick was pressing inside. And, this time, he felt the stretch.
"Aaahh." He arched his neck to fill his lungs with air, but the boy gripped his jaw and forced their mouths back together.
Daniel's breaths hissed rapidly through his nose, as a hot column of flesh filled him up. When the boy's hips pressed against his buttocks he stilled and drew back to stare down at Daniel.
"Alright?" One hand was gripping Daniel's hip and the other was folded around his head.
"Ye-yeah..." He panted past the pressure, "God, yes. So good. I can't believe I haven't..." his voice cut off in a gasp when the witch moved slowly inside him.
"Poor thing. You've been hiding for so long." The hand by his head stroked into his hair and the witch leaned down to breathe in his ear. "Well, you don't have to hide anymore."
The words cut into his heart and Daniel's lip trembled. He wrapped his arms tight around the boy's neck and the cock in him pulled back, nearly sliding out, and then slammed home.
It was fast and deep. As deep as Daniel needed it to be and involuntarily sounds escaped him with each thrust. The witch's breaths were ragged against his neck and the entire act felt like ownership. As if the boy was staking claim. And Daniel loved every second of it.
"Harder. Harder." He moaned and liquid pleasure scorched through his veins, until everything became achingly tight, and he came hard.
Teeth sank into his lip and bit through the skin. The boy sucked, drawing blood into his mouth, but Daniel barely felt the pain; lost in overwhelming pleasure.
The witch's teeth released him and he howled into Daniel's shoulder, hips jerking and chest shuddering.
Heat gushed into him, semen filling him up, and the knowledge made him shudder and clutch the boy tighter, ass clamping to keep it inside.
Blood ran down Daniel's chin as their heartbeats slowed and his lip began to hurt. "Ow."
The witch lifted, reaching for the jar again. "Multipurpose, this stuff." He said quietly and dabbed it over the wound. The bleeding instantly stopped and the pain dulled.
The boy licked the blood off Daniel's chin and his mind couldn't even summon disgust or fear. He felt wonderful. Better than ever and he pulled that messy head closer and nuzzled his cheek into the black strands.
The boy smiled against his throat and kissed his skin.
"M'name's Daniel." He mumbled. "What's yours?"
The witch shifted, until Daniel's head was tucked beneath his chin. A hand swept firmly through his hair and settled across his eyes. "Sleep."
Chapter 3: Bargain
Daniel woke to a pounding headache and an ache between his legs. The right side of his body was freezing and he tugged on his quilt. It was stuck and the fabric felt coarse and thin beneath his fingers.
Daniel frowned, too close to sleep to ponder this, and turned. His icy hand met warm skin that jolted on contact.
Daniel's eyes flew open, heart leaping into his throat. The witch rolled on top of him, hissing and squirming against the cold.
The boy's angular face was so pale, he looked more dead than alive, and his wild hair was a mess of tangles falling into smeared black eyes.
"I...you...wha...?" Daniel could barely breathe; the boy's gangly frame was surprisingly heavy, chest crushing into his abdomen.
His thoughts flew a mile a minute. The witch. The tea. The mattress...what had he done? What on earth had he done?
"Hey." Rough fingers smoothed back his hair and the boy kissed his mouth, breaths still heavy with sleep. "Calm down."
Daniel pushed frantically at the witch's shoulders. He didn't want to actually hurt the boy. The tea might have clouded his judgement, but he'd been more than willing and he wasn't certain he would have said no without it.
The boy pressed down harder and Daniel's rapid gasps cut off in a whimper.
"Shh." Kisses brushed over his cheeks, his watering eyes and the side of his nose. The hand in his hair stroked down his cheek and wrapped around his throat.
"Uh!" Daniel choked and a stab of fear had his nails digging into the boy's shoulder blades.
The witch jerked against him and the cock pressing into Daniel's pelvis twitched. Warm lips returned to his mouth.
"Breathe." The witch inhaled deeply in demonstration.
Soft black hair tickled Daniel's cheeks and the smell of smoke and sage filled his nose.
"Go on." The boy kissed him softly and exhaled.
Daniel gulped in a breath and it tasted burnt. He coughed into the boy's mouth, but the witch didn't move an inch.
Gradually his breaths came easier and he found the hand on his throat wasn't actually constricting. Just firm.
It shouldn't have felt reassuring, but Daniel found his grip relaxing.
"Good." The witch kissed him deeper now, thumb stroking beneath his chin.
Smoke filled his lungs and Daniel calmed entirely. The boy's hips began stirring, cock leaving a damp trail on his skin. A pleasant shiver ran down his spine, straight to his groin.
"Good." The boy repeated and a hot tongue slid between Daniel's lips, running over his teeth and rubbing against his pallet.
The world fogged and Daniel was thankful he was lying down. He couldn't think. There was nothing except this boy and the ache filling his cock.
Daniel moaned, legs parting, and his hands moved over warm skin. The witch suddenly pulled away and Daniel felt an irrational surge of panic.
"Don't...!" The sound of his own voice, high and weak, startled him into silence.
The boy's thin lips curved, lower body pressing reassuringly into Daniel's groin. He reached for the jar from the previous night and dipped in his fingers.
"I'm not going anywhere." He breathed and rubbed the balm all over his dick.
Daniel's eyes fixed on that shaft. It was long and thick with delicate veins traveling up the sides. The skin was so white it was nearly grey and the glands were a glistening pale pink.
Daniel's breaths came faster and the boy smirked down at him. "You want it?"
Daniel flushed hot all over, cock full against his belly. The witch knew the answer. He just wanted to hear Daniel to say it.
Dark brows lifted at his prolonged silence and the witch climbed up Daniel's chest, balls pressing against his sternum, and gripped his hair.
"Ask nicely." The boy rubbed his tip over Daniel's lips, leaving a wet film.
Daniel's mouth watered and he licked his lips, tasting sweet saltiness. He wanted to bend down and suck more out of the slit, but the fist in his hair kept him still.
"Yes...please." He managed and looked up hopefully.
The witch grinned, flashing white teeth, and Daniel shivered.
"Next time. If you're good."
Daniel stared blankly for the longest moment, before shock transformed into outrage. "But I did what you...!"
"Yeah, yeah." The boy released him and scooted back down - in the middle of Daniel's sentence - pulled his leg aside and thrust into his ass.
Daniel cried out; more from surprise than pain. There was a brief burn of intrusion but the balm soothed instantly.
The witch moaned, dark nails digging into Daniel's hips. He felt so unbelievably full and each push rubbed against an electric spot that sent pleasurable sparks everywhere. But it wasn't enough.
Daniel pulled on those tattooed arms and the witch fell down on top of him. Their bodies twined and flowed together, moving as if they had done this a thousand times before.
Daniel hugged the boy's damp shoulders, feeling lithe muscle ripple beneath smooth skin and a hot mouth pressed against his neck.
The boy gripped Daniel's cock, running a thumb firmly up the back, and the orgasm slammed into him; making all his muscles clamp down.
The witch howled out his release and Daniel's backside was so numb, he barely felt the pulse inside him. He was panting, wet limbs trying to pull the boy impossibly closer.
"You finally found someone as loud as you." A girl remarked drily.
Daniel's heart briefly stopped and he stared horrified up at the charred ceiling.
"Mmhm." The boy kissed Daniel's throat and sighed into his skin.
"I'm sleeping in the barn." Boots thunked across the floor and the door opened and slammed shut.
The silence was deafening and Daniel's mind was suddenly perfectly clear. His headache was gone and reality washed over him like an icy bucket of water.
His father was sentenced to hang. He'd gone out to find a witch, leaving his mother alone (without even a note of explanation), and now he was whiling away the time in bed. With the witch.
His throat tightened and his eyes welled with shame. He was so selfish. A criminal. A sodomite.
"Shh." Velvety kisses moved over his skin and the hand on Daniel's chest slid up towards his throat. And he suspected the minute the witch touched him there, he'd forget everything else.
"No!" Daniel gripped the boy's thin wrist and stared pleadingly into heavy lidded black eyes.
"I want to bargain." Tears ran down his cheeks and he sniffled. "My father was framed for murder. Please."
The witch considered him expressionlessly, inked fingertips playing over his collarbones.
"I-I have money." Daniel choked out.
"Don't care about money." The boy rolled his eyes and pulled away, lifting off the mattress.
Daniel's heart thumped painfully and he stumbled to his feet, barely catching himself from pressing against that tattooed spine.
What was happening to him? Was it witchcraft?
The boy stepped to the basin and looked expectantly over his shoulder. Daniel's hands fisted and he forced himself to stay put. He wanted to touch the boy so badly. To ask him his name again. But they couldn't be so familiar.
The witch's brows furrowed and he washed quickly, wiping the kohl from his cheeks and rinsing his crotch with soap.
He left the rag floating in the water and pulled on the same black trousers he'd worn the day before.
Daniel walked self-consciously to the basin. Semen was trickling down his leg and his body felt grimy with sweat. The water didn't look clean and he hesitated.
"Not good enough for you, piggy?" The witch spat and Daniel jerked as though struck.
The softness that the boy had shown moments ago was gone. His face was all sharp angles and slitted eyes, like a feral cat.
The tears that had been drying returned in a rush of hurt and anger. Daniel knew his family was privileged to have clean water, but the witch didn't have to insult him and call him names.
But his mind was clearer than it had been last night; Daniel was here asking for help and retaliating wasn't the way to do it.
He lifted the rag stiffly and squeezed out the filthy water. It was freezing. He set his jaw and reached for the small slab of soap, lathering it into the worn fabric.
The boy ripped open a drawer in a sharp squeak of hinges and pulled out a vibrant blue shirt with burn stains on the sleeves. He pulled it on and ran his fingers through his wild hair, barely taming it at all.
Daniel scrubbed under his arms and found himself thinking that if he had a brush, he could help.
He felt those dark eyes on him and dismissed the thought instantly. He rinsed the rag, before hanging it on a hook to dry.
The witch barged out the door and Daniel flinched when it banged shut. His teeth chattered with cold and he collected his clothes strewn about the dirty floor.
He pulled them on and took a couple of fortifying breaths, before opening the door.
Two women were occupying the high stools by the table. One of them was reading a newspaper, a half-eaten cinnamon swirl dangling absently from black nailed fingers, and the other was talking loudly while gesturing with her cup.
Daniel closed the door and both women looked up. The boy stood by the counter, back and shoulders stiff as he poured tea into two cups.
"Oh look!" The talkative witch set down her cup and slapped her palms together, making the curves of her breasts jiggle past the low neckline of her shirt. "A Christmas angel!"
Black hair fell to her waist in a snarl of tangles, threaded with silver charms and red beads, and her angular features echoed the boy.
"Have a seat, sweet-cheeks!"
Daniel flushed and stepped forward uncertainly. There were two seats, one on either side of the women, and the boy sat beside the reader.
Daniel climbed onto the spare chair. It wobbled precariously and the woman caught his arm, sharp nails pricking his skin through his wooly jumper.
The boy pushed the cup in front of Daniel, but he wouldn't touch it this time.
"What's your story, then?" The woman released him and sipped her tea, black eyes boring into him over the rim.
The second woman glanced up and her pale face was soft, almost girlish. Her dark eyes were lined with kohl and her black hair was braided over her shoulder.
"Murder." The boy interrupted and grabbed a slice of Daniel's potato and onion pie from a copper dish on the table.
The talkative woman blinked and set down her cup.
"Oh? A little weighty for your first, darling." She said.
The boy scowled and he looked like he wanted to speak, but couldn't past his huge mouthful of pie.
"Too soon." The reader agreed quietly and licked her thumb to turn a page.
She looked to be around the same age as Daniel's mother. They both did. But they couldn't have been more different from the women Daniel knew. They didn't even wear skirts.
"Please, it's my father." He spoke in a rush, telling them all about the delivery, Mr. Whittaker, the stolen glove and his own suspicions. When he was done he was crying again and clasping his hands to stop them from shaking.
"Perry's bakery," The reader said softly, mat irises flicking over the newspaper, "he's to hang at noon in two days."
Daniel bit back a sob and the talkative woman cackled. "Gives them time to advertise. Draw a bigger crowd."
Daniel flinched. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. As if he wasn't sitting right there. But these were witches, he had to remind himself. Not human.
Families often travelled far to see a hanging and many shops set up stalls. But to think of his father's death as entertainment... Daniel felt sick to his stomach.
"I can help you, pumpkin." The talkative woman turned towards him and her breasts all but fell out of her shirt. "But it won't be cheap."
"I have his name and his blood!" The boy slammed his palm on the table and Daniel jumped, but the woman's attention never wavered.
"I-I have m-money." Her stare was making the hairs on Daniel's skin stand on end.
"Oh honey-buns. We don't deal in coin." Her smile was razor sharp as she stroked his arm.
"He said he found me!" The boy exclaimed and the talkative woman finally looked at him.
"Really? Are you sure?" Her winged brows lifted sceptically.
"Enough, E." The reader murmured and folded her newspaper.
The talkative woman, E, shrugged and her hand thankfully left Daniel's arm, leaving a touch of cold. She adjusted her shirt to cover up her cleavage and sipped her tea.
The boy visibly relaxed and wiped the crumbs off his mouth with his fist. "What can you spare? Finger or toe?"
Daniel's eyes widened and searched the boy desperately for any sign of jest. The witch returned his look sullenly and cocked a brow.
The women both watched him expectantly and Daniel swallowed tightly past the drum of his heart. He needed his fingers to bake...
"I-I s-suppose...t-toe?" He croaked and E set down her cup with a grin.
"Good choice, apple-cheeks!" She pulled Daniel off his stool and in the next instant he was pressed to the floor with both women pinning his arms.
The boy pulled a wicked looking knife off a rack on the wall and straddled Daniel's legs, facing his feet.
E shoved a strip of leather between Daniel's teeth and he whimpered. She tutted at him, but the reader smoothed back his hair.
"Darling, if it's too much..." E began.
"Mom! Shut up!" The boy pulled off Daniel's sock and pressed his foot flat against the floorboards. "On three, okay?"
"So sweet." E cackled and the boy cursed at her.
Sweat beaded on Daniel's brow and he was starting to hyperventilate. Were they really going to...
Daniel sobbed and the reader stroked his cheek.
"Two." The blade sliced into his skin and Daniel screamed.
A/N: Comments make me smile and post faster 🖤
Chapter 4: Possessed
The blade bit into his skin, catching briefly on bone, before it thunked loudly into the floorboards.
For an instant, Daniel was numbed by adrenaline and then the pain flared with a sickening pulse of blood.
He pulled on his trapped arms and sobbed, eyes blinded by tears and teeth grinding into the gag. A hand brushed back his sweat dampened hair, but he didn't know whose.
"Give it!" The boy demanded and then a hard object was crushed against the open wound. Daniel screamed until his throat ached. Pain ravaged through his foot and the abused nerves burned hot, then ice cold, then numb.
He was distantly aware when he was lifted and pressed against warmth.
He panted, feeling sick, and each thump of his heart made his foot throb with agony. A voice was murmuring something and he turned blindly towards it.
Eventually he became aware of a fragrant steam on his chin and a voice ordering him to drink. He didn't want to, but a hand clamped onto the back of his head and forced his lips against the cup. He drank, scalding his tongue, but the pain faded instantly.
The tea tasted like rosemary and something earthy and the pain gradually reduced to a mild ache. When the cup was empty he asked for another.
"One more." The witch demanded and the cup was taken from his hand and refilled.
"If he wants a third, you're getting it yourself." E spoke sharply and her footsteps thudded away.
Daniel drank fast. With the pain dulled his mind started to clear and he became aware of a steady heartbeat against his spine.
He finished the tea and tattoed fingers plucked the cup from his weak hands and placed it on the floor. They were half lying in a rickety chair and Daniel's legs were dangling over the armrest.
"It hurts." Daniel said and wiped his nose.
"Yeah." The witch said, voice rumbling through his shoulder, and pressed a handkerchief into Daniel's hand. The fabric was thin and worn, but when Daniel lifted it to his face it smelled clean. He wiped his sweaty face and blew his nose.
"I can wash it." He offered, feeling drowsy, but still appalled when the boy re-pocketed it.
"No need." The boy said and a girl nearby snorted.
Daniel turned his head and saw her sitting by the fire. She was scandalously clad in a man's shirt that slipped off one thin shoulder and her bare feet were stretched towards the warmth of the fire. And on the rug beside her was the biggest dog Daniel had ever seen. It resembled a wolf, but it was the size of a pony.
His eyes went wide and the girl smirked at him, pushing back a mop of scraggly black curls.
"Handsome isn't he?" She said and turned to scratch the dog's scruff. "Where's your manners, Teras?"
The dog's head lifted and Daniel made a small sound of fright. The beast had eyes like two burning coins and they fixed on Daniel with eerie intelligence. It growled and he felt his skin prickle with fear.
The girl cackled and slapped the dog upside the head. It snapped its huge teeth a hair's breadth from her fingers and huffed.
"You're the rude one! Scaring our guest like that." She exclaimed, as if the dog had spoken.
A firm kiss pressed to Daniel's cheek and he realized he was clutching the boy's tattooed arm around his waist; seeking protection from the person who maimed him. It was completely irrational, but he almost felt...safe.
He looked back and met the witch's mat irises. There was something hungry in his eyes - something possessive - and Daniel felt his cock twitch in response. No one had ever looked at him like that before and to receive such regard from another male. It was unbelievable. A dream come true...or a nightmare.
He licked his lips and the boy's dark lashes lowered to stare at his mouth, but when he spoke it wasn't the words Daniel expected. "Where's the glove?"
"The..." Daniel frowned in confusion, before he caught on. It was mr. Wilbury's glove of-course. The man who had framed Daniel's father for murder.
His spine straightened with resolve and he pointed towards the coat rack. "In my pocket."
The boy slipped out from behind him and Daniel felt that strange uneasiness seize him again. Don't leave me!
The boy riffled through Daniel's coat and produced the leather glove and a small bag of gingerbread cookies. He shoved a cookie into his mouth and lifted the glove to his nose. He sniffed it once and grimaced.
"Well? Which one is he?" E asked in a scholarly tone and leaned against the table to light a pipe.
"Greed." The boy answered with his mouth full and stuffed the glove in his pocket.
The witch accompanied Daniel on his way out, an arm around his waist as he limped through the morbid shop. Each step brought on a wave of pain. But it didn't hurt anywhere near as much as it ought to.
A woman was by the till, crying hysterically. She wore a shawl to hide her identity, but the fringes of her coat and dress looked expensive.
"He was with her the night I birthed our child. He was with that harlot! I nearly died and he didn't care..." The woman sobbed and the reader murmured condolences, face arranged in an expression of sympathy, but her black eyes looked cold and calculating.
The woman was so overwrought, she paid no mind to the boys slipping outside.
"I want him to suffer! I want him to weep for years, like I..." The beads clacked behind them and the door thankfully shut.
The streets were bathed in a dull light and the icy wind cut to the bone. But the witch hadn't bothered with a coat and his black eyes were watchful. The streets were quiet except for the occasional beggar, but faces peered at them from murky windows and dark doorways.
At one point they turned a corner and a man approached them. He looked rough and unhealthy and his eyes had a desperate gleam to them.
"S-Sir, is everything..." Daniel's words died in his throat when the man pulled out a knife and lunged at him.
The witch shoved Daniel onto the filthy stone and his foot flared with pain. He looked up and saw the man stand frozen, knife poised in the air. His eyes were blank and staring into space.
"Wha..." the man blinked rapidly. "I can't see. I can't see!" His face contorted with fear and he slashed blindly at the air. "I'll gut ya, ya bleeding witch! Send ya back to hell where ya came from!"
The boy stepped soundlessly around the man and reached down to pull Daniel to his feet. They left and Daniel held his breath, heart pounding.
The man's wild curses soon changed to pleas. "I beg ya! Don't leave me like this! I have a wife and children! He paid me to do it!"
He suddenly had a fit of violent coughing and fell to his knees. Daniel looked back, horrified, and saw the man hack something thick and wet onto the pavement.
That man had intended to kill Daniel and without the witch's aid he would have. But he had a family too. What had his story been that he had resorted to this?
Daniel's eyes smarted and he looked up at the boy. "Why?" He whispered. "Why would he do that?"
The boy glanced down at him and then back up, scanning the alleys intently.
"Someone wants you dead." He said, voicing what Daniel already knew, but had a hard time accepting.
"W-will he die?" He asked weakly.
"Would you rather it had been you?" The witch snarked and scowled at him. "Feel free to thank me anytime."
Daniel felt sick, but he choked out a thank you and the boy looked grudgingly appeased.
It was growing dark by the time they reached the road to Daniel's home and the witch tugged him into the shadows.
Daniel's back was pressed against cold stone and for an instant his heart thudded with fear, before a warm mouth pressed onto his.
If it had been good before, it was electric now. His blood heated and he clutched the boy's neck with one hand, the other cradling his sharp jaw as their tongues touched.
When they separated they were both breathing hard and Daniel's clothes felt heavy and constricting. A hand squeezed his swollen crotch and he gasped, reaching for the witch's trousers.
It was completely mad to be doing this outside, in the freezing cold where anyone could chance upon them. But Daniel couldn't have stopped, even if he wanted to.
A hard shaft sprung into his hand and he shivered with delight. He'd briefly forgotten the boy didn't wear bloomers.
A shift closer allowed their groins to press - a shock of heat in the icy air - and the witch gripped them tight in his fist.
The pleasure was scorching and Daniel arched his spine, ignoring the pain in his foot as he rocked his hips, hugging the boy's thin waist and mouthing his warm throat.
The skin tasted salty and sweet - and the boy's urgent breaths gushed against his ear and a hand squeezed his buttock hard.
He licked, sucked and, when the orgasm slammed into him, he bit into firm skin.
The witch's moan was muffled in his hair and their bodies trembled. When his muscles softened he became aware of the ache in his jaw.
He quickly released the boy's throat and kissed the abused skin. His teeth had left small indentations of blood, that looked black in the faint light, and a rush of fear cut through the euphoria.
"I beg your pardon." He whispered shakily and tasted something metallic in his mouth. "I don't know what came..."
"Shut up." The witch spoke lazily in his ear and semen soaked fingers lifted to Daniel's mouth. He didn't think twice about opening and sucking in a long, sticky digit. He could feel the witch's eyes on him as he diligently cleaned each tattooed finger, until they gleamed with spit.
The taste drove him wild, all hot musky bitterness, and his cock jerked again. He wished he was lower and could taste it straight from the source. With that thought in mind he looked the witch square in the eye.
The boy's skin shone unnaturally white in the dark and his eyes resembled black caverns.
"You missed your calling." The witch breathed and grazed Daniel's bottom lip with his thumb. "You'd be well off sucking pricks in the street."
Daniel's mind went blank with shock.
"How dare...!" His fist swung through the air and the boy danced out of reach with a wicked grin. With his shirt open, Daniel noticed a small pouch strung by a leather chord on his smooth chest.
"I keep my word, Daniel." The witch tucked himself back into his trousers and disappeared rapidly into the shadows.
Daniel's heart skipped a beat at the sound of his name and he'd actually limped five steps in pursuit, before he stopped himself.
"Oh god..." he put himself to rights with trembling fingers and shame, stronger than anything he'd ever felt, crashed down on him. "Oh, dear god."
When he approached his door he saw fresh signs of vandalism painted across the sealed windows and a few of the boards had been bludgeoned to splinters.
Daniel's breath caught in his throat and he fumbled for his key and opened the door.
The bakery looked dark and deserted, a far cry from the warm and inviting place it used to be.
"Mom?" Daniel called urgently and limped up the stairs.
Guilt stung in his heart. He should never have left her alone. A woman, soon to be widow, left unprotected. What if she had gone out in search of him, or worse, what if someone had broken in and hurt her. "Mom?!"
There was a rustle of sound and then steps clattered down the stairs. Daniel's legs nearly gave out in relief when he saw her. She looked like she'd aged ten years in just a few days. Her golden hair, usually pinned back neatly, was in disarray and her blue eyes looked haunted.
"Daniel!" She rushed down to meet him and gripped him tight, brushing back his curls and peppering his brow with kisses. "Where in heaven's name have you been?!"
Mabel scurried around the kitchen, lighting candles and setting two plates of cold pie on the table, along with a few slices of apple and glasses of milk.
Daniel hadn't eaten all day and he wasn't accustomed to skipping meals, but his stomach felt knotted and he had to force the food down.
"What happened to your leg? And where have you been?" She asked again, face tight with worry. Daniel had never lied to his mother before, but he knew the truth would only hurt her more.
"I went to find help and I slipped and knocked my leg. It's only a bruise." He said and his guilt deepened at the small spark of hope that lit her eyes.
"And did you? Did you find help?" She asked, knuckles white around her cutlery.
"I'm not sure, but I hope so." He said and put down his fork in defeat. He couldn't summon an appetite. Mabel's mouth pulled down in a frown and she leaned forward to search his face.
"Who did you speak to Daniel? Who were these people?" But the frightened look in her eyes told Daniel she already suspected.
"Just some friends. We still have a few." Daniel forced a smile, hating himself for lying. But he had to. Or she might do something foolhardy, like find the witches herself and demand they revoke the bargain.
His mother's eyes shone, as if she was holding back tears, but she responded with a tremulous smile and took her plate to the sink. She hadn't eaten anything either.