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The Emerald Prince

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It was raining once more, but it didn’t even bother him now. He was already soaked, tired, and dirty. He was barely hiding in an alleyway; leaning on a trash can.

People walked past him at speed. He was just another boy living on the streets. It was as common as a griffin taxi.

Callum eventually brushed his hair back, stopping the water from dripping in front of his eyes.

When he did, he noticed a pair of shoes before him and slowly looked up to see who had stopped. An elf with dark blue skin that almost sparkled in the night stood over him, an umbrella in one hand to protect him from the rain while the other had a book in it. His eyes were narrow as he looked over the boy on the ground before he slowly knelt, looking closer at him. “Hmm,” he said to himself. “What fine eyes.” 

Callum stared at him for a bit, but then looked away, remaining silent, but the elf took hold of his face and turned his head back to stare at him. “Fine features…and a very nice appearance. Yes, yes, you will do just fine.” He rose up and looked down at him. “Come with me boy. I have someone you might want to meet.”

He considered his options for a bit. Follow this stranger to an unknown location for an unknown reason, or stay here, cold, wet, and hungry.

It took some effort to push himself up off the ground, but he did, and followed the stranger.

They didn’t walk for long, heading down a few streets and around a park till they came to a building with a large neon sign outside which was currently turned off, but Callum made out the name ‘Dark Mage’ with a smaller sign reading ‘Where Anything Can Happen’.

They went in via the front door which opened into a wide, elegant room with dark furniture, tables, and chairs. They were set up facing several small stages around the place, while a much larger one was on the far wall. The bar in the middle was currently a mess, as it was being restocked.

The elf passed his umbrella to a waiting staff member, then beckoned the human to follow him, walking to a door that was marked ‘Staff Only’. From there, it was a far more industrial feel, no paintings or patterns, just racks of outfits, a table full of half empty drinks, and a few makeup tables.

The elf walked down to another door and knocked twice before entering. “Oh Viren,” he called in a smooth voice. “I have someone here to meet you.” He then beckoned the boy to follow him, closing the door behind.

Callum took in the room; it was brighter than the main room and more decorative than the hallway leading to it. The main feature was a large desk covered in papers, a computer, and a phone, with a big couch to the side. But the sparkling elf perched himself on the edge of the desk, looking at the man behind it. 

Callum guessed this was Viren, who was currently in the middle of reading a large document and gave an exhausted sigh, not even looking up. “What have you brought back this time Aaravos?”

“Something with talent, I can feel it,” the elf chuckled, but then pouted when the other didn’t even look up. “Will you at least look at him?”

“We don’t need any more.”

“Are you forgetting that Skyla is going to be leaving us next week? We need a replacement ready for when she goes.”

Viren sighed, remembering the problem and finally looking up. His nose instantly wrinkling in disgust at the boy’s ratty clothes, muddy face, and general state. “Honesty Aaravos, just because we need someone, it doesn’t mean you should go out and pick up the first stray you find.”

Callum tried not to feel hurt by being called a ‘stray’. He did have a home. He just…never wanted to go back to it.

The elf was staring at him again. “You always judge by what you see, Viren. But look closer. He has a nice form; he’s tall, and thin, but he’s got some really nice defining features. His eyes are shocking, and his face is soooo expressive.” He shrugged. “Sure, he’s a little muddy, but that’s nothing a shower can’t fix.”

“Can he even dance?”

“Won’t know until we try it, but you know me. I know talent when I see it.”

Callum just kept as silent and as still as possible, trying to work out what was going on around him. Eventually, Viren stood from his desk and walked over, looking down at him for a bit and staring into his eyes as Aaravos had. Then, he blinked. “What’s your name boy?” He opened his mouth for the first time and a small squeak came out. This did not make the older man happy. “I asked your name!”

“Callum sir!” he almost shouted, taken aback by the outburst.

“Good. How old are you?”

“S-sixteen…and a half sir.”

Viren glared at the elf. “Sixteen...He’s too young.”

“Give him time. He can start as a performer, and maybe work his way up to an entertainer.”

The human looked at him again. “Are you on anything?”

“O-on anything?”

“He means drugs, my dear,” the elf explained.

“Oh. No sir. I’m not. Wouldn’t touch it.”

“Good. I run a clean place here. Now, have you ever danced?”

“A-a little sir.”

“Got any family?”

“N-not that I want to go back to sir.”

Viren rubbed his chin, looking him over again, then turned to his desk, pressing a button on the phone. “Soren, come to my office at once,” he ordered before releasing the button. 

As he sat back down, the door was knocked on then opened, a young blond in a white shirt entering with a nod. “You sent for me?”

“Take this boy and get him cleaned up,” Viren ordered with a dismissive flick of his wrist. “Show him one of the easier routines, then come get me when he’s ready. We will see if he’s any good before writing up a contract.”

The blond nodded. “Alright,” he said curtly, then looked at Callum, nodding for the door. “Come on. Follow me.”

Still with no idea what was going on, Callum followed the other out of the office, but not before he heard Viren behind him say ‘If the boy is any good, I will buy you a bottle of scotch.’

Outside, they crossed the empty club towards another door at the very back, but as they crossed it, Callum looked around to take in more of what was around him. “E-Excuse me? S-sir?” He finally spoke up.

The other sighed briefly. “What is it?”

“W-would you mind…telling me what’s going on?”

“Isn’t it obvious? You’ve got a job interview.”

Callum blinked at the words. “Sorry…an…interview?”

“Yeah. The boss wants to see if you’d be any good. We got a dancer leaving in a week. Guess they want to replace her before she goes.”

“S-so they want to hire me?”

“Yep, but you’ve got to prove you’re worth it.”

“With…an interview?”

“Yeah.” He nodded to the main stage. “I’ll show you a few moves, you then show them to the bosses, and if they like you, you’re in.”

Callum checked the room once more, noting the smaller stages, the poles, the lights, and the positioning of the chairs. “A-and what kind of club…is this?”

“Can’t you work it out?” the blond scoffed.

“A…dance club?” the teen guessed naively.

“Close,” he replied, turning around and looking the new boy right in the eyes. “It’s a strip club.”

“Strip club!” Callum gasped, although part of him had already worked it out.

Soren nodded. “Yup, best one in the west. We get some really big rollers in here. If you don’t like it, there's the door.” He pointed to it, dead serious. “Don’t let it hit you on the way out.”

Callum froze, looking back at the entrance.

After a moment, the man sighed. “Look, I’ll level with you. This place is good. I mean, really good. I’m head of security. I make sure no one touches or hurts the dancers. The last time a girl got touched was when I was out with a cold. And even then, when the bastard came back, I broke his hand. The pay is great, better than any other club out there, and you get your own place to sleep. You may have to share for a bit, but once you prove yourself, you get your own room. Food’s good too, but they do watch what you eat. Plus, we have an amazing doctor on call; you get hurt or feel ill, he'll fix you up with a snap of his fingers."

“B-but…a strip club?”

“It’s better than most jobs out there right now. And I can see why Double A brought you in. You got the looks for this job kid. Now time to decide; you wanna at least try this or you gonna walk?”

He looked back at the door once more, considering if he should take the opportunity or not. Eventually, he decided to give it a go and nodded. “What do I need to do?”

~#~

“We are really making a killing on these new Moonberry Vodkas,” Viren said casually as he checked the numbers. “We should perhaps increase the cost?”

“Why? The Moonberry juice is cheap as piss and the vodka is ten a penny,” Aaravos replied from the couch where he was laid out, his legs spread a little too wide to be gentlemanly.

Before Viren could counter, there was a knock at the door. “Enter.”

The head of security entered, his face a little red and flustered, and he walked with a slight limp. “Sir, he’s ready.”

“Are you alright there Sor-bear?” Aaravos teased with a massive smirk. “You look like you’re in pain.”

“I-it’s just this new guy Double A. He-he’s good.” He coughed. “I…I’m just gonna go and…deal with…something...” With that, he hurried away.

The elf and human looked at each other, Aaravos grinning. “See, talent.”

“Oh please, Soren could get turned on by a nun,” Viren huffed, standing and walking out of the room. “But let’s see what all the fuss is about.”

They went to the main room and over to the stage where the boy from before was stood, waiting. Viren had to admit, he looked a lot more appealing cleaned up; his hair was combed out and his skin was washed of mud, and he now wore a tight pair of dark red pants and white vest top. He looked slightly nervous as Viren and Double A sat at the front where Soren had been a few moments before.

Viren pointed to the side where Callum now knew a music player was, and snapped his fingers. Seconds later, the music began, loud, fast, and practically inaudible, but Callum had known it was coming. He’d spent the last half an hour listening to it with Soren as he learnt the dance.

So, he did as he’d practiced. He moved with purpose, he ground his hips, and flecked his body. He ran his hands over himself and he teased off his vest before throwing it aside. 

Seven minutes later, as Callum felt fatigue set in and wondered if this would ever end, the music came to a sudden stop. He almost tripped over himself, and he turned to see the two behind him. Viren was glaring at him before sharply standing and turning his back on the boy. Instead, he turned to the elf. “I owe you a bottle of scotch,” he muttered, then stormed off.

Chuckling, Aaravos looked at the human on stage. “Well done.”

“Well done sir?” he asked, panting for breath.

Aaravos stood slowly from his chair, then climbed easily onto the stage. “You got the job.” He grinned, holding Callum by the chin and staring at him with a smile Callum was learning not to trust. “You are going to be a star my boy.” He looked away for a bit. “Now, where’s Soren to show you to your room? Ah, probably still dealing with his…problem. Never mind.” He turned and looked at the bar. “Claudia? Claudia sweetie, are you there?”

“Yeah, I am Double A!” a voice called from behind the bar before a young woman with black hair jumped over the counter. “What do you need?”

“Will you be a dear and come show our newest recruit down to the bunks? And fix him up with a meal. The poor thing looks starved, and we can’t have him passing out on us.”

“Sure thing Double A,” Claudia replied, wiping her hands on a cloth. “Come on new guy.”

Jumping off the stage to follow, Callum walked quickly after her.

“Oh and Callum~” came a sing-song voice from behind him. 

He looked back at the elf. “Yes sir?”

“Rehearsals start tomorrow at 7am. You better work hard.” Aaravos smirked as he stood on stage. “I’d hate to have to punish you if you misbehave.”

Callum looked shocked, but the woman just rolled her eyes. “Yeah right Double A. Get back in your box before you scare him off. Come on, I’ll help get you set up downstairs.”

~#~

The Emerald Prince, which became his stage name, was an instant success. After a few days of working the early starts when the club had just opened and there weren’t too many punters, it soon became clear that he was getting a lot of attention. A month into his employment, Viren discovered that more and more people were lining up, waiting for opening, and leaving once Callum finished his set. So he moved Emerald to the central slots, and everything boomed.

Callum was shocked by how many people were willing to throw money at his feet, or stuff it in his pants or vest. He even found a diamond necklace one evening. Whenever he danced, he had all sorts rushing to watch; male, female, elf, human, even a dragon or two.

The human found himself loving the attention; showered with gifts and praise and promises of a good night. He turned them all down kindly, since he was still only sixteen, but he knew Viren was getting a lot of pressure. Luckily, the manager had a strict ‘no underage’ rule.

After six months of just dancing, Double A asked him to try stripping a bit more, moving him to an even later slot. He was hesitant about this; dancing and showing a bit of skin was fine, but removing his outfit completely made him feel slightly uncomfortable.

Soren, who appeared to have taken a real shine to him, suggested a compromise: A double team between Callum and Ibis, another male dancer. That way, they could protect each other and ensure nothing got too out of hand until Callum got the hang of it.

It was something Callum could cope with; Ibis was a good friend to him in the club, giving him tips and advice as well as who to watch out for, often whispering things like ‘watch out for Tom Boy there. He’ll grab your ass’ or ‘The guy with the silver hair? Big tipper.’

This arrangement went on for a few months until Callum built his confidence, and was finally ready for a solo.

The crowds loved it, and he loved it. Double A was right; he was born to be a star.

Chapter Text

                                                                                       

 

Grinning to himself, Callum stretched out his back and rotated his shoulders while he glanced at his tips from today, wondering if he’d finally have enough to buy a new zbox for his room. As the star of the Dark Mage, Viren had given him his own room above the club, complete with on-suite, double bed, a 20 inch HD smart TV with Blueray, and a wardrobe that fit both his stage and casual clothing.

Life was good.

He’d just finished his set and could hear the music still booming below, but he was used to it now. He could sleep through it easily. And that was just what he planned on doing before he was stopped by a knock at the door.

“Who is it?”

“Your favourite manager,” came a sickeningly sweet voice.

Callum rolled his eyes. Almost two years he’d been working here and he still didn’t know what to make of the second in command. But he didn’t want to be rude to his boss, and after pulling on an overshirt, he opened the door. “Hey Double A. What's up?”

Aaravos was leaning on the door frame with a big smile. “Just wanted to chat is all,” he replied, pushing his way casually into the room.

Callum just frowned at his actions. “Please, come in,” he grumbled monotonously, watching as the elf picked up his tips and fingered them, clearly counting.

“My, you did well today, Cal my boy.”

“Please don’t call me that,” he groaned for the millionth time. “It’s Callum, or Emerald. Whichever you prefer.”

“Like to be called by your stage name hm? I admire that.”

“Aaravos, I’m tired and I wanna get some sleep. I’ve done my work for the night. Can’t this wait until morning?”

Aaravos looked hurt, one of his many acts. “Now Callum, I only wanted to come in and wish you a happy birthday.”

The teen felt his blood freeze, but managed to mask it well. “Thanks,” he muttered. “Now get out.”

“Come on, it’s not everyday one of my staff turns eighteen.” He had a wider grin on his face now. “The big one eight. How exciting. Are you planning anything special?”

“Getting a zbox,” he managed. “And getting some sleep when you leave my room.”

The elf stepped over to him and placed his hands around the other’s waist. “Now now Callum, don’t be rude. I haven’t even given you your present yet.”

Callum felt his face heat up. Double A was a flirt. Everyone knew it, and he loved to play it up, but he’d never made any kind of move on Callum before. “D-double…” he stammered, staring at the elf. “I-I-I…”

“Shush now my dear,” he whispered, gently holding Callum’s cheek as he leant closer and closer, hovering over him. “You’re old enough to enjoy it now.”

Before Callum could say a word, the elf pressed his lips to his, moaning loudly as he closed his eyes. Callum just stared blindly upwards, his eyes losing focus as he felt the older male kiss him. His tongue pressed hard against his mouth until it forced its way in, almost making him gag on the appendage. The teen felt a surge of strength inside him and pushed the other back, quickly slapping him across the face and forcing the elf back a few steps into the wall.

The pair stood there, Aaravos holding his cheek which was glowing a pale white against his dark skin while Callum just panted for breath. His whole body felt ready to fight if the other tried anything again.

After a few tense seconds, Aaravos picked himself up and left the room without a word.

Inside, Callum collapsed onto his bed, tears in his eyes. 

What had he done? 

He slapped the boss!

He closed his eyes and curled up into a ball. He was never gonna dance again after this.

~#~

“Callum!” The teen looked up from his cornflakes at the call to see Soren waving him over. “Viren wants to see you.”

A few of the others gave a collection of ooooooooo ’s as he walked out of the dining room, heading up to the office. He knocked on the door and waited, heart pounding. He knew what was coming next. Viren was going to fire him for slapping Aaravos, toss him back out on the street where he came from and move onto the next star.

He felt an odd peace wash over him. Maybe he’d find somewhere else? He had a name now. Another club would probably take him in.

“Enter.”

He did as told and stood stiffly before Viren, glad to see that Aaravos was not in the room. “You wanted to see me sir?”

“Yes. Sit down Callum,” he said, gesturing to a chair.

He did, looking over at his boss who was still as stoic and emotionless as the day he’d been hired. “Sir, if this is about last night with Double A…”

“Ah yes, Aaravos’s little test,” he sighed, his voice sounding tired. “I don’t know why he bothers, but I indulge him.”

“T-test sir?”

“Yes Callum, test. To see if you would decline someone…well…stronger than you. And I am glad to say, you passed. Now I can make you the offer.”

“What kind of offer sir?”

“As I am sure you are aware, there are three types of staff here. The front of house, who deal with the drinks, bills, and bookings. Then there are the performers, like you, and there are the entertainers, like Nyx and Pyrrah.”

“Yes sir,” he replied, trying not to wince. Viren called them entertainers, but the real word was prostitute. They danced like everyone else, but normally, only once a night, they'd be hired out and often wouldn't be seen again until the next day. Pyrrah once left for a whole week before coming back with a suitcase full of money and a satisfied smile.

Callum knew the next words before Viren even said them. “I want you to become an entertainer, Callum.”

His heart sank. “Sir, I…”

“Before you refuse, listen to what I have to say. From the day you set foot on that stage, I have had people begging me to let them have you for a night. I have been offered thousands just for one hour with you.”

Callum blushed at the words, although he doubted it. He wasn’t worth thousands …was he?

Viren continued. “I have protected you due to your age, but now you are old enough to choose for yourself. You are the most wanted dancer in the club. You could make a fortune if you choose to accept this.”

“Sir...I…I don’t know.”

“Callum, I won’t force you to. But at least consider it,” he said, then passed him a small collection of papers. “This would be your new contract if you decided to accept. Four days off a week and a 40% cut of your earnings. Plus, you get to keep any gifts or tips you earn, and you get to have increased privileges.”

“S-such as?”

“Access to the garage for one,” Viren explained, counting off. “Permission to go abroad...as long as someone is accompanying you of course. And your own phone.”

Callum’s eyes lit up. Phones were forbidden for most staff in the club, for protection, and in case a dancer wanted to do some side work behind the bosses’ backs. Anyone found with an unauthorized phone got thrown out immediately. 

Entertainers were allowed them only so they could keep in touch with clients and the club when they were out.

He looked at the papers and nodded. “C-can I think about it sir?”

“Of course. Take as long as you want. The offer will always stand,” Viren said with an approving nod.

Taking the contract with him, Callum left and hurried to find Ibis, asking him for advice and to read the contract, making sure there was nothing sketchy.

Once the sky elf had confirmed it was legit and encouraged him to take it, Callum found himself having several sleepless nights over the idea. More money, more freedom, more time off? But for what? To become a slut?

He thought about Pyrrah, Nyx, and the other entertainers. They didn’t seem upset or worried about their job. They always appeared happy, showing off their wealth and gifts. That could be him. 

He loved dancing, but maybe…being an entertainer, he could have more attention. Specifically, one on one attention.

Getting out of the bed, he walked over to the table where the contract was and picked up a pen, signing the line at the bottom. Done. 

The Emerald Prince was now an entertainer.

~#~

A year had passed since then. 

Now nineteen, Callum was amazed by how things had changed. Sure, he was still the top dancer. Sure, he was the most popular guy in the club, both with the punters and the other staff; having a large room with a large TV and zbox will do that for anyone.

But now, he had so much money, he didn’t even know what to do with it half the time. And it felt like he barely ever slept in his own room. If he wasn’t in one of the ‘visitor rooms’ at the very back of the club, he was off at someone else’s home, enjoying their hospitality and offering his services.

He’d even been to Duren for two weeks with a powerful businessman, being spoiled by his client and having anything he wanted brought for him while he enjoyed glorious afternoons in the sun. While in public, his clients were all sweet, doting, and kind, but Callum soon learnt that every gift had strings.

And more often than not, those strings would end up being tied around his wrists while he was pushed down into a pillow and mercilessly fucked from behind. It seemed that his sweet face and gentle body, which hadn’t changed much from the day he left the street, were just what people wanted from him, to watch him gasp, whimper, and moan for it. 

Sometimes he’d get someone who wanted him to be in control, but those were rare, and often ended up with him just being fucked by someone else. He could remember at least four times he’d been invited to join a husband and wife, being asked to fuck the wife before getting fucked by the husband.

It was odd, but eventually, all of them just merged into one great, big, sweaty mess of fucks. Callum couldn’t remember most of them. Maybe that was for the best. His body certainly remembered them though; rough wrists, aching asshole, often getting sick for days from the sheer force people had used on him.

But there was one he’d never forget.

His first.

Once he’d handed over the contract, Viren had arranged for an auction to sell his first time to the highest bidder. It had been an intense evening; the club was closed for the event and he’d done his best show to make the selected crowd hungry. The boss had only allowed in people he knew were interested and knew could pay. 

As Callum had stood on the stage, he heard the numbers. 

15,000

20,000

25,000

30,000

Then a sudden leap.

50,000

There was a long pause.

55,000

60,000

His heart sped up. Sixty thousand? For his first time? He glanced at Viren who was doing the auction and saw a faint smile on his lips. “For sixty thousand…going once…”

“70,000!”

The whole crowd gasped at the number and looked to see who had called out. Callum shivered. It was a dragon. A dark, sandy yellow one. He’d seen him around the club, but never interacted with him.

The dragon licked his lips as he stared at the human. “70,000,” he repeated.

Viren nodded. “For seventy thousand…going once…going twice.” He banged the hammer down. “Sold!”

The dragon stood from his seat towards the back and went to speak to Viren, exchanging a case and some paper. He signed the document before getting something back. A key.

The dragon then walked over to Callum, and the human had to strain his neck to maintain eye contact; this dragon was very tall and gave a half smile. “Ya nervous kid?”

“A little...not gonna lie sir.”

“Don’t be. I’ll take good care of you. Unlike some of these lot,” he said, nodding back to the others. “Now come on, Viren’s given me the key to Room 1. I hope you know where it is.”

“Yes sir.”

“Ah,” he whispered, leaning down so his lips were near the human’s ear. “Call me Harenae.” With that, he kissed the human’s cheek and followed him to Room 1.

It had been a wonderful night.  Harenae was gentle, tender, and had looked after his every wish. He showered him in kisses and kept his word to take care of him. Callum began to wish he agreed to be an entertainer sooner, if everyone was like Harenae.

But he soon found out, not everyone was. Not even the dragon himself. He came back a few weeks later, and while Callum had expected another sweet night, Harenae had other plans, fucking him so hard he had claw marks marring his body.

He soon wished he could forget them, but while their faces and actions just blurred together, he couldn’t shut out the words they said as they used him.

“Ah yeah, you’re such a whore!”

“You like that don’t you, you little bitch?”

“So the Emerald is a little cockslut hm?”

“You’re nothing but a cumhole.”

“You’re such a dirty little bastard.”

“A sex toy, that’s what you are.”

“You like being used, don’t you?”

“You enjoy it, you dirty little slut!”

“Oh yeah, you just want it hard and nasty!”

Whore, bitch, cockslut, sex toy, cumhole, bastard, used, dirty, nasty. The words would spin around his head at night until he started believing them himself. He was just a nasty, dirty, cockslut. Dancing, the one thing he’d loved most, became second to his life as a prostitute. 

He would often look at the other ‘entertainers’ with jealousy. They didn’t get treated like he did. Sure, he got the gifts and the attention, but he didn’t get the happiness they did. Maybe they weren’t violently used every time they went out. Maybe they enjoyed being so sore they could barely move for hours. He didn’t know, and he probably never would.

Chapter Text

Even though he was spending more of his time in a bed than on stage, Viren made sure that Callum still got at least three dances in a week. Not just for Callum’s well being, but because it was free advertising in many cases.

Callum looked forward to those days when he could dance and make people whoop and whistle, but know they couldn’t touch him. For once, he was free of their touch. They could try all they wanted, but Soren would get them to back off faster than they could say “I’ll pay you”.

One night, as he finished off his dance and patrons were throwing money at his feet like they always did, something different landed on the stage. Something he’d never seen before...a rose.

It was a dark blue rose with a white ribbon tied around the stem. 

He hesitated in picking it up, but decided to do so anyway, looking around for whoever had thrown it to him, but there was no one standing out. He looked at the odd gift, but then smiled and waved to his fans, heading off to get washed up and changed for his next client.

For the next few weeks, every time he danced and just before he stepped off the stage, he’d find a rose thrown at him. Always the same kind; dark blue with a white ribbon. The petals were as soft as silk, and the smell was so sweet it sometimes made his head spin when he inhaled the aroma.

He guessed they were from an admirer that couldn’t afford to pay for a night with him, and the roses were just a way of showing their appreciation.

It soon became something Callum looked forward to.

It was a small light in the darkness that was becoming his world.

One night, as he prepared to go on stage, Viren walked over to him. “Callum, wait. Jade is going on for you tonight.”

Jade looked confused as she stood beside the boss. “Sir, I still don’t…”

“Don’t ask questions! Just get on that stage and do your job,” the other snapped, which was quite unlike him.

The girl looked expectantly shocked, but then nodded and hurried out to take her place before the curtains were pulled and the music started. 

Callum looked over at his boss. “W-what’s going on sir? Did I do something wrong?”

The older human stared at him. “Come with me,” he beckoned, walking further backstage until they were away from everyone. “What do you know about the Assassins?”

The brunet blinked. “Th-they’re a street gang. They…they’re dangerous. Run the whole west of the city and beyond. Th-they’re the kind of people that…if you don’t do as they say, they’ll kill you.” He explained what he knew despite his limited knowledge. “W-why?”

“Because I got a call from one of them. Turns out, one of the gang’s high rankings has heard of you and wants your services.”

“My services?” he questioned.

“They want to fuck you Callum. I thought that would be clear,” Viren groaned, rolling his eyes. “And for once, I am not giving you a choice. If you don’t do this, the Assassins will put a target on you, me, this club, and everyone in it. So you better go and change. I will get Soren to drive you to the rendezvous point.”

“Now?”

“They are not the kind of people to keep waiting, Callum. Now go!”

He flinched, then ran to his room, wondering what to wear when he was going to meet and get fucked by, what basically were, the mafia of the city.

He decided to go with a classic casual, including a white shirt, black tie, and black pants. He liked to wear a tie when he met a client. If he was lucky, they used that to tie his hands back instead of a rope or wire.

He checked his appearance, then hurried to meet Soren at the back exit, the guard having brought a sleek black car around to drive him. The ride was mostly silent, Callum praying in his head that the whole gang didn’t want to fuck him. The most he had dealt with at once was four, and that had been a long, hard, and painful night. A whole gang may destroy him.

Soren glanced at him, then passed him a small button. “Keep this on you,” he told the other. “I’ll be able to track you, in case…” He trailed off.

Callum nodded, slipping it into his pant pocket. “In case they want to kidnap me.”

“You’re a valuable asset Cal.”

“Will you stay close?”

“As close as I can,” he promised, reaching over and holding his hand to offer some comfort. They both knew how dangerous this was.

Eventually, they pulled up outside a large, expensive looking building in the richer part of town. It had white marble walls and gold decorations while a man in a red coat stood outside the door, ready to open it for any who approached.

Soren parked the car outside and escorted Callum inside, the doorman opening it for them with a polite ‘gentlemen’. Then, they went up an elevator to the top floor before being stopped by two large, silver-haired elves, both of them in black suits and frowning menacingly. “What’s your business here?” one snapped.

Soren reached into his pocket and pulled out a small business card. “Soren, head of security at the Dark Mage. This is The Emerald Prince.”

The pair looked at the small, thin, brown-haired human who was trying very very hard not to look scared. 

The guards glanced at each other, then nodded, stepping over and giving Callum’s body a pat down, searching for any weapons. Satisfied, they stepped aside. “Go on in,” one said before grabbing Soren’s arm when he tried to pass. “Not you. Just the Prince.”

Callum glanced back, heart pounding. “Sor?” he whispered.

Soren looked at the guards, judging if he could take them before looking to the brunet. “I’ll be close. Call me when you need picking up, okay?”

“Alright,” he replied, trying to look certain as the guards escorted him back to the lift. 

Once the door had closed and he was alone, one guard nodded. “This way,” he said, escorting him down the hallway that was filled with fine art and sculptures, the place looking more like a hotel than a gang hideout.

The guard stopped outside a double door and knocked gently. “Miss Rayla, he’s here.”

There was a sound inside the room, almost like something was being knocked over in a hurry, but then there was silence before he heard ‘send him in’.

The guard stepped back and nodded to the door before walking back to his post. Callum swallowed hard as he stepped up to the door, and with his hands shaking, opened it slowly.

The room was larger than his own, larger than maybe even the whole club. It was as if a whole house was in this single room; a table was set up on one side, a small kitchenette behind it. Several sofas were set around a TV that made him completely jealous of its size. There was a desk and a bookcase, and towards the middle, was a big four-poster bed, complete with more pillows than he ever thought possible.

His attention was soon brought to the only other living being in the room; a young elf about his age with silvery white hair and gentle lilac eyes, wearing a long, shimmering, green evening dress. He swallowed and bowed his head respectfully. “Miss Rayla,” he said as boldly as he dared.

Rayla smiled as she stepped away from the table she was leaning on. “So, you’re The Emerald Prince.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Oh, you can call me Rayla. No need to be so formal.”

He dared to glance at her, and felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time. 

Attraction. 

This woman was beautifully stunning. 

He honestly was having a hard time thinking of a moment he’d seen someone more beautiful than her. And she was smiling!

Not the ‘I’m looking forward to what I’m going to do to you’ smile he was used to seeing on clients. This one was…warm.

He swallowed hard and had to look away from her. “Th-then, if you wish, you can call me Callum? I-It’s my real name.”

“Callum,” she repeated, her voice light. “That’s a lovely name.”

“Thank you.”

“Are you hungry Callum?”

He looked up at the words, confused by them. “Hungry?”

“I had some food prepared for us. If you’d care to join me?”

He bit his lip, glancing at the table and saw that it was laid out for two, with wine, a candle, and two plates of food waiting. He glanced at her again, trying to force his nerves down. “I…I wouldn’t mind Rayla. If you want me to.”

She nodded, then stepped over to her chair. 

Quicker than he thought possible, Callum walked over first and pulled it back for her, pushing it in as she sat down. She gave him a smile. “Thank you. I hope you like salmon.”

Taking his own seat, Callum nodded. “I do.”

She stared at him for a bit ,then raised her glass. “What shall we toast to?” she asked, keeping her eyes on him.

Callum thought for a bit before giving a nervous shrug. “To…good health?”

“To good health,” she agreed, tapping their glasses together, the chime crystal clear.

Taking a sip of his drink, Callum almost expected it to be drugged so he would pass out and wake up tied to the bed. But nothing happened.

They sat, ate, and talked. Rayla seemed fascinated by him, wanting to know everything from his favourite movies, to the games he played, to his favorite songs and dance moves. He told her everything, but didn’t dare ask anything back.

After an hour and a half, Callum decided to ask one question of his own, even if there were some consequences for it later. “R-Rayla…why am I here?” he asked when the conversation came to a lull.

The elf stared at him before standing from her chair and walking around the table to him, gently reaching out and stroking his cheek. “I wanted to get to know you Callum. See who you really are.”

“But…why?”

She smiled, then moved away to the side of the room before returning and holding out a dark blue rose with a white ribbon tied around the stem. Callum’s eyes locked on it and his jaw dropped. “Y-you? You’re the one who…who’s been giving me roses?”

“Yes. I guess I’ve been…fascinated by you since I saw you that one night. I was there on business, but when I saw you dance…I just lost it. I could barely think straight. I had to go back the next day when I knew you weren’t performing to do my job.”

Callum had a proud smile playing on his lips.

It was Rayla’s turn to blush this time. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I want to throw you into that bed and have you ravage me, but…I always wanted to…get to know you a little.”

“Y-you wanted…to get to know me?”

“Even if it was just a little bit…yeah, I did.”

His smile grew a little, and he reached out to take her hand. “And…you wanted me to… ravage you?”

She turned her head to look into his eyes. “Yeah…I did.”

“Well, you’ve gotten to know me…so…allow me to complete your request.” He then leant over and kissed her cheek, working his way down to her neck while his hands held her hips and pulled her towards him.

The elf moaned at the feeling, her arms quickly moving up to his shirt and pulling the tie from his neck. She then turned to the shirt itself, pulling it open and popping the buttons out. One or two were torn from the fabric and went flying into the carpet, but neither cared as she slowly teased the shirt off him, her touch cold on his skin as she caressed him so gently.

Callum held back a groan at her soft touch. He wasn’t used to this. He was used to being stripped bare in ten seconds flat. He reached around to the back of her dress and found the zipper, trying to pull it down, but it wouldn’t budge. He tried again, but nothing happened.

Suddenly, he heard a chuckle and realised his client was laughing at him, pulling away and reaching back herself. “You have to undo the latch first,” she explained, letting go once the gown had loosened a little. “Try now.”

The human felt like slapping himself for making such a horrible first impression. He was meant to be one of the best prostitutes in the city, yet he couldn’t get a woman out of her dress? Shame on him.

But Rayla didn’t seem to care as she put her arms back around him and carefully pulled him back into her. This time, she kissed his lips and pecked around his clean-shaven jaw. Now encouraged, he allowed his hands to return to the dress, finally able to undo it all the way and carefully slip it off her shoulders. Then, he let it fall to the floor at her feet. 

Once free of the dress, Rayla pulled back from him and held his cheek. “Not so hard, was it?” she teased, and he couldn’t help but stare. 

Why was this woman so beautiful?! 

Her skin was pale as moonlight, her hair, a shimmering white, and her frame was so delicate, Callum had a feeling she’d snap if held too tight. Yet, she also held power in her stance and gaze, one that told him not to underestimate her. 

It made him feel a little drunk as he looked her over in her undergarments. It was a matching set of black and forest green with lace at the top, and a suspender belt connected to the two black silk stockings. Her breasts filled the lingerie out nicely, and Callum felt that same attraction that he felt before. Oh how he wanted to hold this woman.

But he knew his place. A whole year of being at the bottom had taught him the routine. He didn’t move until invited to.

After allowing him to take her in, Rayla stepped forward, kissing his neck as she gently pulled away his belt and undid his pants, pushing them down. She appeared to have expected underwear, but in his job, Callum found underwear just got in the way. So, he ultimately went commando when taking on a client.

The Moonshadow elf clearly hadn’t been expecting that as she glanced down at him. “Very nice,” he heard her whisper.

Oddly, Callum found himself looking away. He was used to people staring at him, but not like this. Why was she being so calm, so gentle?

He felt her hand softly touch his shoulder and turned to see her walking over to the bed. He couldn’t stop his eyes from wandering down her back, almost admiring her ass. Not almost, really admiring her ass. It was more beautiful than he’d ever thought an ass could possibly be!

He watched as she walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge, patting the spot beside her. Callum felt an odd sense of calm at the action. Finally, something he was used to. He walked over to her and sat on the bed beside her, daring to trail his fingers up her arm and to her neck, caressing her. His careless attempt to strip her didn’t matter anymore; he was in his element now.

Rayla smiled as he started to touch her shoulders and leant over to kiss him once more, slowly pushing him down into the soft pillows and bedding around them. Callum sighed into the kiss, his eyes closing as she caressed her lips against his. He dared to reach out and taste her while she felt his shoulders and sides. The elf reached his hip and took hold of his half-erect cock, listening to his small moan at the action.

Rayla also moaned as he bucked up into her touch. “Easy Callum. Take it steady,” she whispered into his ear while continuing to gently stroke him. “We’re in no rush.”

He gripped the sheets under him and threw his head back. She was so soft and gentle. He hadn’t been touched like this in…he honestly couldn’t think of the last time he had been. Her touch was so soft that he found himself getting hard faster than he thought possible.

Once he was fully erect, the female kissed his neck and caressed his cheek. “I’ve been looking forward to this,” she whispered, turning away and reaching for the nightstand where she opened a drawer and pulled out a small, dark blue package.

Callum bit his lip as he watched her open the condom and slide it onto his shaft, covering it and giving a few gentle strokes. “Who would’ve thought The Emerald Prince would be so...well endowed. Then again, a man like you doesn’t get his reputation for being inadequate.”

“I…I do my best,” he moaned out softly.

“Then please, show me your best.”

He nodded and reached out for her sides, gently easing her underwear down before sitting up to help remove it completely. He trailed his movements with gentle kisses and small licks to her skin, holding back his own moans at the feel and taste of her. Soon enough, she was undressed as fully as he was. 

Then, he lay back on the bed and reached out for her, gently guiding her to his lap. While most of his clients were male, he did have some female ones, and he knew how to please them. He reached for her breasts and gently brushed against them, letting his hands roam over her soft body. After a while, he moved his hand down and let his fingers rub between her legs, playing with her folds.

She made the sweetest sounds at his actions, rubbing herself against him. “Y-you’re good,” she moaned out, her pussy rubbing against his fingers, gradually getting wetter and wetter until she was slick.

Still on top of him, Rayla moaned and pulled back a little. “I need you inside me right now Callum,” she groaned out as she glanced down at his covered cock. She carefully took hold of it and used her grip to guide it inside her. 

Callum couldn’t help but watch her slide down onto him and feel the amazing sensation of warmth. She was so tight, so hot, and the sound of her moaning, her deep longing moan…just so she could take a moment to adjust to his size.

He watched her before gently caressing her sides, and then she began to move slowly up and down on his shaft, rocking back and forth.

For a bit, he just lay there, slightly numb. Part of him expected her to be rough with him. Part of him was expecting a load of gang members to come out and start berating him; to call him a slut and a whore for enjoying this so much. But he couldn’t help it. He was enjoying this elf’s touch on his body just as much as she was his.

He was enjoying her caresses and her voice as she rode on top of him. He found himself wanting to please her, for the first time in a long time. He didn’t want to put on a show like he did for many of his clients. He wanted to remember this. He wanted to enjoy the feeling of being inside her, the sound of her voice. He genuinely wanted to please her.

He didn’t care if that meant he was a whore, a slut, or any of those things he was called. For once, he just wanted someone for himself.

His hands touched her stomach and worked up to her breasts, taking hold of them and gently squeezing as he began to roll his hips up into her, hearing her gasp out. “Oh yes! Just like that! Yes! Oh gods you’re gorgeous!~” She moaned, leaning forwards and grasping his shoulders. “Oh yes, right there~ Keep going, right there. Please. Yes!~”

He held her hips and used the grip to buck harder into her, taking in the sight of her eyes rolling back in pleasure and her mouth panting for breath. She found the strength to open her eyes and stare into his, still moving her hips in tandem with his own. “Y-you’re amazing Callum,” she whispered, grabbing his face and kissing him firmly on the lips. Callum couldn’t help but kiss her back, slowing his movements as they did.

Her kiss was warm and her hands were soft, and he just wanted to keep kissing her forever, but she eventually pulled back from his lips, returning to bouncing up and down on his cock.

The human soon felt an urge building inside him, wondering if this beautiful Moonshadow elf would dare let him indulge it. Slowly, he held her hips and began to roll to the side.

Opening her eyes, Rayla stared at him and gave him another warm smile, finishing the move and lying on her back. Her arms were above her head as she lay there, presenting herself to him. Callum couldn’t believe his luck, but wasted no time in positioning himself on top and gently easing himself into her. She gasped out as he did, grabbing his shoulders to steady herself and biting her lip as she recovered. “Oh Callum~” she moaned out. “I-I want it. I want you so much. P-please. Please fuck me~”

He froze, staring at her beneath him. Never had someone asked him to fuck them. They always made him beg to be fucked...but Rayla was asking him to fuck her.

His cock twitched inside her, but eventually, he found his confidence and began to rock into her, watching her groan and wiggle, holding him. Her fingers tangled in his hair and her lips pressed to his neck. She looked happily up at him, moaning how good he felt, how gorgeous he was, how handsome, and she even called him ‘her prince’.

He couldn’t take such sweet words being said to him. He couldn’t understand why someone would be saying such nice things to a prostitute typically used as nothing more than a living, whimpering, sex toy. She begged him to make her cum, and by the gods he would. He wanted nothing more than to make this goddess before him cum and scream out his name.

When she did, when she tensed and pulled him in, screaming out ‘Callum’ in a harsh, warm whisper, Callum found himself following, losing himself in just her touch and voice. He felt his whole body tremble as he lay on top of her, her flesh hot and smooth against his. But as his high came down, he felt filthy, wanting to pull away. However, his body still felt like jelly, so he ended up flopping down beside her. 

Then, the filth he’d felt ran straight to his head, and he felt tears form in his eyes. Nothing he did stopped them. His eyes closed and he covered his mouth in hopes of stopping any sobs he may give. He felt like a complete wreck, his body completely spent and his mind tossed between two conflicting ideas.

Beside him, Rayla was enjoying her own high, her body feeling so warm, content, and a touch sore, but she was loving it. Her gaze turned to the man beside her, but he was looking away, and his hand was over his mouth while his body trembled. “Callum?” she asked, sitting up slowly and looking over at him. “Callum, are you alright? Are you hurt?”

He opened his eyes and looked at her, tears leaking from the corners. After staring at her, he shook his head and turned away. “I-I’m sorry,” he muttered, rolling further away from her. “I’m so, so sorry.”

“What for?”

“I-I don’t deserve your kind words. Y-you said…you said I was gorgeous, and…and handsome and…I’m not. I…I know I’m just a dirty slut.” He sobbed the last word out before covering his mouth to stop anymore.

The woman beside him stared for a moment, but then shook her head. “No, Callum, honest, I meant every word.” She smiled sadly and leant over, kissing his cheek and then his neck. “You are gorgeous, and handsome, and so much more. Please don’t cry.”

He kept his eyes screwed shut, but as she began to stroke his hair back, he slowly stopped sobbing. And after a kiss to his brow, he opened his eyes. “R-Rayla...” he hiccuped. 

“It’s alright Cal,” she whispered, stroking his cheek gently with a smile. “You look tired. Why don’t you get some rest?”

“Rest?” he repeated, dazed and drained.

“Yeah, sleep.” She kissed his cheek before removing his condom carefully, disposing of it. She returned to him and pulled a thin sheet over them both, snuggling into his side and resting her head on his shoulder. “You can stay the night.”

“Stay the night?” he questioned, leaning up to look at her. “I…I should warn you I…I have to…” He looked away, almost ashamed to say it to this beautiful, kind woman, but he knew he had to. “I charge…by the hour…even if I’m sleeping.”

Oddly, she chuckled and nodded into his shoulder. “Don’t worry about the money Callum. I can afford it. So just lie back and get some sleep, alright?”

He was surprised she could throw her money so casually at him without even asking how much it would be. “C-can I tell my chaperone I’m staying?” 

“You have a chaperone?” She chuckled. “That’s so cool.” With that, she wiggled back a little and allowed him out from under her, watching him walk over to his pants and find his phone. He quickly sent Soren a text to let him know what was going on before walking back and climbing into bed, lying down on his back and keeping still.

The elf tipped her head slightly, then slowly leant over and caressed his cheek before settling in beside him, head on his shoulder. "Is this alright?” she asked quietly as her hand touched his chest.

Feeling her four fingers resting over his heart, Callum felt the tension slowly ease away and subtly nodded. His eyes drifted closed as he relaxed, and within seconds, he was fast asleep.

Chapter Text

He woke up several times during the night, finding himself glancing around the massive room, certain someone was there watching them, or he expected someone to grab him and make use of him all over again. However, the room was still lit, although dimly, and nothing happened between his wake-ups apart from Rayla giving small sighs and snores while resting comfortably beside him. 

When morning finally came, he found he'd rolled over onto his side, the naked Moonshadow elf on her stomach beside him while he'd been leaning on her back. Slowly, he pushed himself up and looked over her sleeping form, observing her stunning appearance in the morning light with her silver hair catching the sun’s rays while her two dark horns were perfectly contrasting. Her luscious lips parted as she took in slow, shallow breaths, her skin pale and silky smooth.

He couldn't help but stare, watching her sleep, wondering if this was what it felt like to wake up beside someone who cared about you. He smiled to himself, leaning over and kissing her bare shoulder gently, a moment of self-indulgence. She didn't even flinch at the touch, just kept on sleeping.

Biting his lip, he looked around the room, but it was just the same as when they’d gone to sleep. The finished meals remained on the table and their clothes lay crumpled on the floor.

After taking a moment to think, he carefully slipped out of the bed, making sure not to wake the elf. He pulled on his pants and walked over to the kitchenette, looking to see what was in the cupboards as quietly as he could.

It seemed that Rayla lived mostly off of junk food by the looks of it, but he eventually found some eggs, flour, and milk, and decided to treat his wonderful client to breakfast. She had no idea how rare it was for him to do this; not even Viren knew of his love for cooking.

He worked as silently as he could, glancing regularly at the bed to see if she was waking, but eventually, he had to pay attention to the pan, ensuring the contents didn't catch and burn. He was so focused in fact, he yelped and jumped when two cold hands touched his bare shoulders.

Rayla couldn't help but laugh as he turned to face her. "Sorry," she chuckled. "Did I scare you?"

"Y-you did startle me, Miss Rayla," he confessed, face flushed with embarrassment.

"Just Rayla, remember?" She then looked down at the stove. "What are you doing?"

He turned and returned to his task, flipping the thin mixture over. "I-I was going to make you breakfast in bed."

"Breakfast in bed? That sounds wonderful." She nodded. "How long do you need?"

He looked at the pan then looked over his shoulder. "Ten minutes?"

"Mind if I take a shower while you cook?"

He froze at the words, confused over why she would ask him. He wasn't even sure how to answer it.

Noticing his confused expression, the woman just shook her head with a smile. “It’s okay Callum. I can wait. I don’t want you feeling uncomfortable here by yourself.”

“I-it-it’s not that Rayla...I...I just don’t know w-why you’re asking my...permission,” he said, staring only at the pan as he cooked.

“Oh...well, would it be easier if I told you that I’m going for a shower?”

“Y-yes, it would...”

“Then I’m going for a shower,” she explained before walking off.

For ten minutes, Callum stood, cooking the crepes and making a small pile of them on a plate before adding a few strawberries that he’d found. Just as he finished, Rayla came back, dressed in a short, strappy, silken nightdress. Her hair was a slightly darker colour, damp from the water. She sniffed the air as she walked over and sat at the table. “Smells amazing.”

“I hope you like them,” he said, setting the plate down. “Shame I couldn’t find any chocolate or cream. That would really make it.”

“Oh, wait a second.” She skipped quickly over to a phone on the wall and picked it up. “Hey, send up two bars of dark chocolate and some whipped cream, right away.”

No sooner had she put down the phone and walked back to the table, one of the elves from outside walked in with a small tray, the items waiting on it. He came over, silently placed them on the table, then walked out, not even giving Callum a single glance.

The brunet blinked as the door closed. "S-so...so, can I ask..." he started then trailed off. "Never mind."

"No, go ahead, ask," she encouraged, spooning a large portion of the cream onto her plate.

"W-when...when I was sent here...I was told...it...it was for a...high ranking member of the Assassins." He looked down at the food on his plate. "I-I just wondered...if...that was you?"

Rayla glanced up from her meal and gave a single nod. "Yep. That's me." She then looked down at her crepes. "These are really good by the way."

"Th-thank you, but go back a bit. Y-you're...you're a high ranking member of the Assassins? W-what...what do you do?"

"Well, I don't really... do anything apart from run a few errands every now and then." She shrugged. "It’s kinda my adoptive dad who's the big deal."

"Your dad?"

"Yeah," she replied, sounding a bit flustered suddenly. "Umm...he's...kinda the leader of the Assassins."

Callum almost choked on his food, hitting his chest to try and clear his airways. "Leader?!" he gasped, eyes wide and jaw dropped. He had slept with the daughter of the Assassin's leader?!

He suddenly felt quite nauseous and put his food down. Rayla didn’t look at him as she ate. “Truth is, I think he...he felt guilty. “

“What do you mean?”

“My parents were a part of a smaller gang, called themselves the Guard. But the Assassins allowed them to hire out a building that they owned to use as their base. The police ended up putting a few things together and...busted the base.”

“Your parents...”

“They were arrested and sentenced for life. Runaan decided to take me in. I was only five at the time.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“I’ve had a good life,” she said with a smile. “He looks after me and keeps me safe. I basically get anything I want.”

“Including me.”

She gave him a small smile. “Yeah...I guess so.” She went back to her meal and nodded appreciatively. “You are a really good cook, Cal.”

“Thanks.”

“So...when we finish eating, would you like to...stay for a bit?”

“I...I would. But...you would...you would have to...”

“Don’t worry about the money Callum,” she sighed again. “If you want to stay here then you can stay here.” She reached across the table and held his hand. “We can watch TV, talk...just have fun.”

He smiled and held her hand back. “Do you play chess?”

“Badly.”

“Then maybe I can teach you?”

“A cook and a chess player?” The elf smiled. “You are full of surprises.”

After finishing their breakfast with lots of chocolate and cream, Rayla rose from her seat and reached for the plates. Quickly, Callum rose to take them from her, but she simply shook her head. “No, no, you cooked so I’ll clean up,” she assured. “If you want to take a shower, the washroom is through there.” She smiled, collecting the rest of the dishes.

Callum nodded and allowed her to walk over to the sink while he headed for the washroom. Once alone, his anxiety took over once more and he began to wonder if someone would join and use him as they often did. However, as the cold water ran over his body, nothing happened. He was alone, calm, and happy. Having cleaned himself up, he walked back out, a towel wrapped around his waist and wondering if Rayla would have use for him once more.

He came back out and found her still cleaning up, smiling over at him. “Almost done. Why don’t you pick something out to watch on TV?” She glanced at the towel, then pointed to the side. “I also had some clothes brought up for you if you want to get dressed,“ she added, turning back to her work.

Callum was quite surprised, but wasn’t sure why now . Rayla had shown him nothing but kindness the whole time he’d been here.

Having picked up the clothes, he dressed and found them a perfect, comfortable fit. He glanced at the label of the shirt and saw it was Armani, a very expensive brand. Once dressed, he walked over to the large TV on the far wall and sat down on one of the couches, picking up a very complicated-looking remote and somehow managing to turn it on. 

He flicked through the channels until eventually, he found a movie that was just about to start, and sat waiting. A few minutes later, Rayla came over to him and sat down on the cushion before leaning over and lying on her side so her head rested on his lap. 

She did it like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Callum meanwhile felt as if he’d been turned to stone, unsure what to do about this new situation. She looked so comfortable on his lap, her head turned to watch the TV. After a few moments to think, he gently reached down and touched the back of her hair, brushing it into place. When she said nothing, not even flinching at the action, he dared himself to try touching her horn which he knew from past experiences, could have one of two reactions: complete fury or pure bliss. 

Rayla gave a moan, which Callum's mind instantly registered as an unimpressed expression and his hand jumped away. "Sorry!" he yelped, fighting to not stand up with her head still on his lap.

Rayla turned over to look up at him and smiled. "What for? I liked it."

"Y-you did?" he asked, thinking back to the sound she'd made. "Oh."

Rolling so she could watch the movie, she wiggled a little to get comfortable, then nodded. "You can do it again if you want. Your hands are very gentle."

He stared at her on his lap for a bit, then slowly returned his hand to her hair and horns, stroking them as gently as he dared, but as the movie continued, his touch got a little stronger and bolder. He barely paid the film any attention, his mind lost on trying to work out what he had done to deserve this day. A night with a woman so beautiful, gentle, and kind, followed by a day of watching TV and cooking. He smiled and closed his eyes, committing this to his memory. This must be what it felt like to be normal.

When the film ended, Rayla sat up and stretched across his lap, looking up at him with a big smile on her lips. "What do you want to do now?"

He couldn't help but smile down at her. "Rayla...y-you're still..."

"I know, I know," she huffed, waving her hand at him. "But what do you want to do? If I'm going to pay for your time, I'm going to make sure I get the most out of it."

His smile vanished. "You mean..."

"Only if you want to Callum." She cut him off, staring hard into his eyes. "If you want to go back to bed then that’s fine. If you don't...then you can teach me how to play chess, we can watch another movie or...you name it."

He tipped his head a little. "Why are you doing this? Why me? I mean...a woman like you...you could have literally anyone..." His gaze turned away. "So...why did you...hire me?"

She stared at him, then reached over and caressed his cheek slowly, gazing into his eyes when they met hers. 

"It was your eyes," she explained cryptically. "I went to the Dark Mage that night when you were on stage and...for a moment, you looked right at me and...I saw your eyes." She looked sad suddenly. "I...I don't know why but...I wanted to see your eyes...happy."

"S-so you left me the rose?"

"You smiled when you picked it up," she chuckled. "And I wanted to see your smile again, so I went back over and over just to see you. And eventually I uh...plucked up the courage to...ask for you. So…now you’re here. So...what do you want to do?"

As Callum tried to think of something, his thoughts were disrupted by his phone. “That’s the club,” he gasped instantly. “I...I should get it.”

“Go on. I’d hate for you to get in trouble.”

He stood and hurried to grab it, answering the call quickly. “Callum.”

“Callum, where are you?”

“I’m still with the client Double A.”

“Will you be able to leave? You are needed back at the club for tonight.”

He glanced at Rayla who was watching him. “You’d have to speak to my client sir.”

“Put them on please.”

Lowering the phone, Callum held it out to her. “He would like to speak to you.”

She sighed, then took it from his hand. “Yes?”

Callum stood for a bit, wondering what his fate would be. Rayla was frowning at the phone. “I understand. But I agreed to pay until I was finished.” She listened to the response. “I know I have, but I’m not done.” Again she was quiet, then gave an annoyed sigh. “Fine. Next time, I will be sure to ask for the longer service.” She looked upset now. “Alright. I will make sure he is ready for pick up. Pleasure doing business with you Aaravos.” With that, she hung up and lowered her head.

Callum gave a shy smile. “Time for me to go?”

“Apparently Aaravos can’t afford to have you miss a show. And since I didn’t agree to keep you…I’m sorry Callum. I was really hoping to spend some more time with you.”

“I was too Rayla.” He sighed, looking downwards. “I’ll…I’ll get changed.”

“You can keep the clothes, my gift,” Rayla said, walking over to give him a warm hug before leaning over and pecking his lips. “I will see you again, I promise.”

“I will look for your rose,” he whispered, holding her close.

As they stared at each other, the human felt something change, and carefully leant over to her, caressing her lips as he started a kiss. Rayla instantly responded, kissing him back as gently as he kissed her. It lasted a few minutes, but eventually they parted, Callum still holding her and smiling, looking into her lilac eyes. “I-I don’t know…what to say.”

“Don’t say anything then,” she whispered in reply, reaching up and brushing his hair back. “We can just stand here.”

“I have to get ready to go,” he sighed, looking away. “I should get my clothes.” With that, he stepped back and hurried to find his things.

All too soon, she was escorting him downstairs and they waited in the lobby, looking out to see the same car that Callum had arrived in waiting for them. The elf sighed as she saw it. “I guess this means you have to go.”

Clothes in a bag, Callum turned to her, smiling. “I…I had a really good time. And I honestly mean it.”

“I’m glad.”

The human smiled and kissed her lips lightly once more. “When will I see you again?”

“I don’t know, but soon.”

“Tonight?”

“No,” she chuckled, pulling him towards her and pecking his cheek again. “But soon.”

“I can’t wait,” he whispered back, surprised by how much he meant the words, smiling and gently caressing her cheek. “Until then.”

“Until then, my prince.”

He smiled brightly before heading out, looking back as he reached the door of the car.

Once in the vehicle with Soren, he found he couldn’t stop smiling, looking out the window as the city passed by.

His chaperone looked over at him, confused by the expression. “You just spent the night with a powerful member of a dangerous street gang…and you’re smiling?”

Before he could answer, Callum’s phone pinged, and he pulled it out to see a text message. 

You forgot your tie

He grinned at it, then put his phone back. “Yeah...I did.”

Chapter Text

Thursday 10:45am

 

You forgot your tie

Did I? Sorry. Guess you will have 

to keep it for now.

I guess I will.

How did you get my number anyway?

I maaaaay have taken it from your phone 

while you were in the shower.

But it has a password.

Emerald is not a secure password Cal. 

Took me two tries.

Oh...smarty pants.

Guess so. Anyway, what you up to?

Just getting ready for rehearsal.

You rehearse? I didn’t think a man

of your talents needed rehearsals.

Thursday 12:17pm

 

Sorry, I was busy. And yes, I do rehearse. 

AA wants me to try out a few new moves and songs.

It’s hard work. My back is killing me.

Sorry to hear that. But if you have 

some new moves, I’ll have to 

come check them out.

I’m not going to do them for a while. 

I haven’t perfected them, but I 

will let you know when they’re ready.

I can’t wait.

Thursday 2:28pm

 

Everything alright Cal?

Sorry, I had to go for my medical. I have one every week. 

Are you alright?

Thursday 2:31pm

 

They check my blood for any signs of infections. 

Viren has high standards for his staff 

and a reputation for clean employees. 

Oh. I guess that’s a risk for you...

Thursday 2:36pm



Yeah. It is. I try not to think about it.

Thursday 2:37pm

 

Would you mind if we change the subject? 

Of course not Callum, I didn’t mean to make 

you uncomfortable. So, your new dance?

What’s the song? 

For some reason, AA picked 

out Theory of a Deadman, Bad Girlfriend.

Thursday 2:41pm

 

Well, I like the song. I’m guessing you’re the bad girlfriend?

Yeah, that's the idea.

Do you like it?

It’s growing on me each time I hear it. 

And the moves are sharp. I like challenges in my dances. 

AA throws them at me all the time.

Right. Speaking of challenge, you know,

we never got to play that chess game.

No we didn’t. Maybe next time?

You can count on it.

I have no idea when that will be but I’ll be waiting.

By the way, who’s AA?

AA? That’s text for Double A or Aaravos. 

Seriously, been working here for almost three years.

I still struggle to spell his name.

AA is so much easier.

He’s the Startouch elf that runs the club right?

Half runs it. He’s Viren’s partner. 

Viren does all the paperwork and shit and 

AA does the front of house and staff stuff.

Seen him around. Is it me or is he too much to handle?

Lol! Tell me about it! You think he’s bad when you’re 

a customer? Try living in the same building as him! 

Bad?

Terrible! He flirts with anything on two legs! 

And sometimes four! Viren is the only one 

who can contain him. 

Thursday 3:01pm

 

Well, him and Clauds.

Clauds?

The head bartender, Claudia. That woman is so weird, 

even AA doesn’t mess with her.

Weird how?

Just crazy. She’s totally bonkers in my opinion.

When you come to the club, ask for a ‘Snake Sprite’. 

It’s an amazing drink that she created. But when 

you get one, you will see what I mean by crazy.

Can’t you tell me now?

That would spoil the surprise!

Spoil sport.

Thursday 3:30pm

 

I’ve got to go for a bit. Talk later?

Sure. Talk later. X

 

Friday 11:51pm

 

Rayla? Are you there?

Yeah Cal, I’m here. What’s up?

Did I wake you?

No, I was awake. Are you okay?

Yeah. Just a rough night.

Wanna talk about it?

Not really. I just wanted to talk 

to you before I went to sleep.

What do you want to talk about then?

I don’t know. I just wanted to 

talk to you. Sounds silly now.

You can talk to me about anything you want.

 

Friday 11:53pm 

 

I can’t think of anything.

Why don’t you get some sleep then. 

We can talk tomorrow. 

Yeah. Night.

Night. X

 

Sunday 10:45am

 

Hey Callum, just wanted to check in on you. You 

never got back to me .

Sunday 11:02am

 

Hey. Sorry Rayla, I had a bit of a rough 

day following my rough night.

What happened? Did someone hurt you?

Let’s just say, not all my clients are as nice as you.

What?! Someone hurt you?! Who was it?

Please don’t overreact. I’m fine, honestly.

What happened Callum? Tell me. Please.

 

Sunday 11:07am

 

One of my regulars wanted to try something new with me.

And I said no. He really didn’t like that… 

And?

And he punched me.

WHAT?!

I’m fine, honest! It barely left a mark! He was

 human, so he didn’t even break the skin. Club security

 had him thrown out and he’s never allowed to come back. 

And I think Viren is going to charge him for damages.

Damages?

What aren’t you telling me Cal?

Sunday 11:12am

 

I’m waiting.

Sunday 11:16am

 

He almost dislocated my shoulder.

WHAT?!

I said no, he punched me, then I 

kicked him and...he grabbed my arm and 

twisted it...and almost dislocated my shoulder.

Oh Callum...What was his name? Who was it?

As if I’m going to tell an Assassin the

 name of a person who hurt me. He will 

end up at the bottom of the harbour 

sleeping with the Tidebounds.

I was thinking more about hanging his 

dick from a flagpole. But I see your point.

There is one good side to this.

I can't see how having your shoulder 

dislocated is a good thing Callum.

I’m not allowed to dance or entertain 

for a whole week, but Viren has agreed to pay

 me for it! He even said I can go out to the city! I’ve 

already asked to go on Tuesday.

Really?

I think he feels guilty I got hurt 

and can’t dance for a week.

I see. So…what are your plans? 

I’ll have to have a chaperone follow me, 

but if I’m lucky it’ll be Soren. He’s cool.

But what are you going to do? 

Shopping? Maybe a movie?

Have you ever been to Lunaris? The coffee shop?

No, why?

They make the best cappuccino I’ve ever tasted.

I will have to check them out.

Shame I can’t take you there.

Why not?

Rayla, you are my client.

Do you text all your clients all day?

You’re special.

Yeah, I know. 

But I could get in big trouble if I met up with you without 

making arrangements with the boss.

I see. Well, I’d hate for you to get in trouble.

But let me know when you try it.

Sure, I’ll let you know.

Sunday 11:26am

 

You still aren’t going to tell me who hurt you?

Not on your life.

Or should I say, his. 

~#~

“I know you don’t get to go out often Cal, but really?” Soren groaned as he put down the various bags that he’d been forced to carry around. “Haven’t you done enough shopping yet?”

Chuckling, Callum nodded. “Alright, I guess I did go a little over the top.”

“I’ll say. How many shirts does one dancer need? And what’s with buying a chess set? I didn’t know you played.”

“I used to. Wanted to take it up again.” The wounded performer chuckled as he looked over the shops, then pointed to the ‘Lunaris’. “Look, why don’t we stop for a coffee? My treat?”

“Throw in a danish and you’ve got a deal.”

The pair entered and ordered their drinks and snacks, finding a spot to sit and enjoy it, but not before Callum snapped a photo on his phone and began typing.

Soren frowned a little. “Instagram?”

“Client. They like it when I send food pics.”

Oddly, Soren nodded. “Want to know what you’re eating. A few of the others have similar things with their clients.”

Callum smiled, then turned to his moonberry pie and cappuccino.

After a few sips, Soren looked up from his drink with a smile on his lips. “Hello~” he drawled flirtatiously.

Following his gaze, Callum blinked when he saw a familiar Moonshadow elf standing behind his chair. He jumped to his feet. “Miss Rayla!”

She smiled at him, holding a tray with a cup and plate on it. “Hello Callum, fancy seeing you here.” He gave her an unbelieving look, but she just glanced over at Soren. “And who is this?”

“Umm, Soren, my…friend and…” He looked around then whispered, “Chaperone.” 

“Oh I see. Well, may I join you?” She looked to their table with the extra chair. Callum glanced at Soren who just shrugged, snacking on a jelly tart. Once seated, the elf smiled at Callum then looked to his plate. “Cappuccino and a moonberry pie? How are they?”

“Delicious. Best cappuccino I’ve ever had,” he said, barely holding back a smile.

“I know. This is one of my favourite coffee shops. But the pie here is nowhere near as good as another place I know.” She sipped her drink casually then turned to him. “You know, we should totally stop over there. It’s only a few minutes walk.”

Soren deliberately coughed. “Sorry, I don’t think we got properly introduced. You are…”

“Oh sorry,” Callum picked up. “Soren, this is Rayla. She’s one of my clients."

"Ah." The blond sat up a little more stiffly, wanting to make a good impression. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware Callum had any…” His eyes glanced at her ears and horns, then his face fell a little as he looked back over at the brunet. “Oh. She’s…”

“Yeah. My newest,” Callum explained with a smile.

Rayla just looked at the pair. "So, Soren, can I take Emerald to this bakery?"

"Umm." The other swallowed thickly. "Well...the thing is...Callum has...suffered an injury recently and he's not... available at the moment."

She gave him a hard stare. "You are welcome to come with us. I'll even buy you something too if you want. All I want to do is take him to a bakery, not fuck him in an alleyway.”

Callum almost snorted out his coffee at her words, coughing into his arm before wincing and holding his shoulder. "Oww, fuck. Laughing hurts."

“Are you alright Callum?” Rayla gasped, reaching out for him.

Eventually he nodded and leant back, still rubbing his shoulder. “Yeah. It just…hurts.”

“Do you want some painkillers Cal?” Soren offered, reaching for his wallet. 

Again he nodded and held out his good arm, swallowing two pills with some coffee. “Thanks Soren.”

Rayla took a sip of her own cappuccino. “So…Soren…as chaperone…you kind of have the final say here. Can I take the pair of you to get some of the best pastries in the city?”

Callum gave his friend a pleading look. “Soren? What do you say?”

He glared at them, then sighed in defeat. “Alright. We’ll go. But…don’t let anyone find out, okay?”

“Alright,” both of them said in unison, smirking at each other.

Soren shook his head and went back to his coffee. “You need to work on your subtlety.”

As they sat drinking coffee and eating pie, Soren did open up and relax a little. And when they were ready to go to the bakery, Rayla carried some of the bags to help take some strain off the guard.

Callum felt super guilty that all he could carry was his new chess set, but the doctor had told him not to lift anything heavy. Rayla made up for his guilt by poking through the bags she had and teasing him for the purchases. 

Callum was very glad that the Moonstrider plushy he’d bought for her was in one of the bags Soren was carrying. 

After a ten minute walk, they finally arrived at the bakery, but when they did, Soren froze and pointed at it. "This...this is ‘Soleil Pur’. They charge like, 120 just for a sample . I hear they use real gold in...everything."

Rayla looked up at the sign as she reached for the door. "Yeah? So?"

"So you’re going to buy us pastries from here?"

"If you don't want one then stay out here. Cal, you coming?"

The brunet smiled as he shrugged and winked at Soren. "I think I hit the jackpot."

Soren laughed in disbelief as he entered behind them.

Callum was almost drooling over the displays, looking over the elegant, delicate, delectables on offer. Rayla walked over and wrapped her arm around his hip. "Pick whichever one you want. My treat."

He grinned at her, then took her hand from behind him and kissed the back gentlemanly. "You’re amazing Rayla. But behave, please?"

"As if anyone’s gonna tell me off." She winked back at him.

"I might," he whispered back, moving a little closer, his hand daring to hold her shoulder, watching her smile grow.

“Ahem,” Soren coughed. “Cal, a word.”

He rolled his eyes then walked over to him. “Yes Soren?”

“Need I remind you that you’re not working right now?”

The other looked down at the display before him then shrugged. “I know, it’s just…Rayla’s kinda...special.”

“Callum, you are a prostitute,” he whispered, making sure none of the staff or other customers heard. “Don’t go getting attached to a client. You will only get hurt.” He looked at the other man and sighed. “I’m only saying it because I’m your friend.”

Callum stood still and silent, as if he were being just reminded who he was. He glanced over at Rayla who was busy making her own choice. “She’s different,” he huffed, then walked back over to her, plastering on a smile that somehow, he knew she wouldn’t buy. “Hey, made your choice?”

“Always the same for me when I come in. Moonberry Surprise Eclair.”

“Sounds good. I might get one myself.”

“Oh, pick what you want Callum, not something I suggested.”

“Like the coffee shop?” he prodded. 

She smiled. “I already knew you would be there Tuesday. I just waited for your text then…popped in.”

“Clever.” He looked back to the display. “Are those chocolate strawberries on a chocolate tart?”

“Yep.”

He gave her a shy smile. “Can I have that one?”

She rolled her eyes and leant her head on his shoulder. “Of course.”

The man looked back at his chaperone. “Soren, made your mind up yet?”

“This little shiny orange and mango cake?”

The elf nodded then held up her hand, getting one of the staff’s attention and ordering. Within moments, the three of them were leaving with dainty little boxes. As they stood outside, Callum couldn’t help but smile at Rayla. “I can’t wait to try these.”

“Well, there’s a park over there.” She nodded across from them. “We could find a tree and sit down?”

“Sounds great. Come on Soren!” he laughed, already arm in arm with Rayla and walking over to it.

The blond groaned as he followed. "Guess I’m coming too."

They soon found a spot to sit and leant on a tree, eating their treats happily. After Callum took one bite of his strawberry-topped tart, one of the fruits dropped. But Rayla caught it before it hit the ground, looking deviously between it and the human. "Do you want this?"

Callum swallowed his mouthful and nodded. "Yeah, I would."

Still grinning, she placed the fruit between her lips and tilted her head with a 'come and get it' expression. Callum quickly obliged, leaning over and taking it from her lips, making sure to kiss her as he did. He leant back and smiled as he enjoyed it.

Beside them, Soren had already finished his cake and was watching the pair, giving a large sigh. "Right, I need to take a piss," he announced, standing up and looking at the both of them. "I'm trusting you two to behave while I'm gone, alright?"

"Soren?" Callum asked, confused. "Wha-"

"The nearest bathroom is...I dunno...five minutes away? So five there, five back..." He smiled. "I'll be about ten minutes. So you two stay there and don't do anything while I'm gone. Got it?"

The confusion turned into an understanding smile. "Yeah. I got it."

"Alright," he sighed, shaking his head as if he couldn't believe he was doing this. "And remember, you've got a busted shoulder so don't do anything stupid. You’ve got ten minutes."

With that, he turned and walked away, not looking back. Once he left the park, Callum turned to Rayla. "You have any idea how much trouble he could get in for this? I'm not allowed to be alone for even one minute, let alone ten."

"Well, we better make the most of our time," she whispered, leaning up and kissing him, running her hands back in his hair and down his neck, wanting to do more, but the public location and his injury made that impossible.

Callum didn't care. He was back in Rayla's arms, kissing her, feeling her touch, smelling her perfume. His body was in more pain from being away from her than his shoulder could ever cause. He held her close and just lavished her with kiss after kiss. Eventually, he calmed down a little and pulled back, just looking into her eyes and stroking her cheek. "Wow."

"Wow what?" she asked, tipping her head a little.

While he wanted to tell her the truth, how he'd fallen for her, he knew that would scare her off. So instead, he just smiled. "I've wanted to kiss you again for days."

Rayla smiled and kissed his brow. "And I wanted to see you… so could I try and get the name of the guy who did this?"

"Rayla, I am not telling you."

"Just a first name?"

"No." He grinned. "A person with your resources? You would find him."

"I want to punish the man who hurt you."

"He's been punished. He can never see me again."

She pouted, sitting on his lap. "While that is bad, it's not enough."

He shook his head, kissing her neck and nuzzling her hair. "Rayla, drop it. Please?"

"Fine..." She groaned, submitting to his caresses.

Taking a deep breath, Callum closed his eyes and inhaled her scent, feeling almost drugged by her aroma.

The elf began to giggle, his light touches and sniffs tickling her skin.  “Hey! Take it easy, that tickles!”

“Sorry,” he muttered. “So...we have eight minutes left together. Want to do anything?”

Her gaze rose to the sky. The sun shone down on them, the leaves created shade, and the air filled with laughter and joy. “Nope. Eight minutes in your arms is enough for me.”

Pulling her closer to his body, the young man sighed. “I...I wish this could last forever...” he admitted, feeling like he was amidst a dream.

"Maybe someday," he heard, although he wasn't sure if it was just his own voice speaking in his mind or Rayla's. But he wished it was true.

The next eight minutes were either the longest eight of his life, or the shortest. But eventually, Soren returned and nodded. "Alright you two, time’s up. Rayla, I know who you are, but I got a job and a reputation, so please don't make a habit out of this?"

She smiled, standing up and nodding, quickly kissing the blond's cheek. "Thank you for letting us have this."

"Well...thanks for the cake." He pointed a warning finger at her. "But don't go thinking I can be bought off like that."

"I will keep that in mind," she chuckled, then turned to Callum, stroking his cheek. "I'll see you soon?"

"You know where to find me."

~#~

Lying back in his bed, Callum groaned to himself. The club was in full swing downstairs and he was still on his break because of his shoulder, despite feeling much better. He couldn’t sleep and he couldn’t go downstairs, so he was stuck lying in his room.

He turned to his phone, but the day before, Rayla had told him she would be out of reach for a while. He couldn’t text her, but he did load up his photos and flick through them, finding the ones she had sent him and the ones they had taken on their afternoon out.

He found one of them sitting under the tree, Rayla on his lap and leaning on him, her eyes on the camera with the soft smile she loved to give. 

He smiled and touched the picture, caressing her cheek as if she were there. Glancing at the door to his room, he decided to make the most of everyone being preoccupied with the club downstairs.

He went to his wardrobe and pulled out the same shirt he had on in the photo, taking it to his bed and closing his eyes, inhaling the fabric softly. Just as expected, Rayla’s smell still lingered. He smiled at it and bit his lip, looking up at the ceiling. 

He almost never wanted to do this, but for once...he did. He carefully stripped off his pants and shirt, his shoulder not giving a single throb of pain. Then, he turned off the lights in his room and lay back in bed, holding the perfumed shirt close with one hand while the other took hold of his soft cock.

He gasped as he did, screwing his eyes shut and imagining it was her. It was over two weeks since she had hired him, and yet, he could still remember every detail of her body crystal clear. He pretended she was on top of him, grasping his cock, the air full of her perfume and smell.

She bit her lip as he lay there, barely able to take his eyes off her. Slowly, she stroked up and down, gradually turning her hand as he began to grow harder and harder. She moaned and leant towards him, whispering how gorgeous he was.

Callum smiled and reached out for her, his fingers slowly working at her folds, listening to her gasp in pleasure. Gradually, he worked his fingers inside her while her own pumped up and down his length. 

Steadily, they built each other up, getting hard, wet, and desperate, moaning out in want for each other. Their hands moved so quickly now, hoping for release.

Finally, Rayla screamed out in pleasure, collapsing back on her bed, naked and spent. One hand clutched a thin black tie to her mouth while the other held her own breast. She was exhausted, coming down from her climax. 

She lay alone in her bed and sighed, rolling over and pulling a pillow close to hug it, wishing she could hold him instead. As her eyes shut, a single tear slowly fell into the pillow.

Chapter Text

Callum rolled his shoulders and listened to the announcer on stage telling everyone that it was ‘the time they had all been waiting for. For The Emerald Prince to take the stage once more’. 

The curtains pulled apart and the lights blinded him, but the sound of cheers, claps, and whistles filled his ears as he strutted out on stage, beginning to dance as soon as the music started. He kept it simple for now, still not at full strength, but even his basics were enough to turn on most of the crowd. When he finally finished, he stood panting and looked around, people all throwing their money at him. 

And a rose.

His eyes widened and he picked it up, the white ribbon the same as ever. He looked over the crowd once more and spotted her, sat to the side alone with a drink, staring at him.

Smiling, Callum headed for the edge of the stage and used the staff steps to get onto the floor, quickly pushing past those trying to buy a night with him or offering him a drink. His only interest was the table with a single elf woman sitting at it. He gave her his best smile. “Hello stranger,” he shouted over the music.

Rayla smiled. “Hey Emerald.”

“I was wondering what the rose emoji meant. Unlike you to use them.”

“Wanted to tease you,” she explained, beckoning him closer. “You like a tease, don’t you?” 

He moved closer to her, kneeling at her side and pressing his brow to hers. “Missed you,” he whispered, just for her. 

“Missed you too. You free tonight?”

“I’m never ‘free’, Rayla. But I have no one lined up yet for tonight.”

“Well you do now,” she replied, kissing his cheek and playing with his hair. “I can’t take you home so it will have to be here.”

Emerald nodded. “That’s fine with me.” He leant towards her ear, pretending to nip at the tip. “If you can, ask for Room 3. The camera is broken in there.”

“Right.” She nodded, pecking his neck. "Who do I speak to?"

"Double A or Viren. I could do it myself but...I'd end up giving you a very big discount."

Rayla smirked, then nodded, standing up and taking his hand, pulling him towards the Startouch elf who was watching everything carefully. “Oh! Emerald? Off the stage?”

“I want him,” Rayla stated firmly. “How much?”

Aaravos frowned. “Your voice...sounds familiar.”

“I hired him a few weeks ago. And I want to again. So? How much?”

“2500 to start and then 800 per hour. Max seven hours,” he said coolly.

“Fine. I’ll pay it. And I want him in Room 3.”

“Very well.” He pulled a key out of his pocket. “All yours.”

“Come along Emerald,” she purred, bringing him down the hallway to the ‘visitor’ rooms.

Rayla smiled when they stopped at the door and unlocked it. The rooms were soundproof, so they were instantly able to think and hear again. Callum smiled and he leant over and kissed her cheek. “My first night back on the stage and you come and hire me out?”

“What can I say? I wanted to see you.”

“I'm not complaining.”

“I doubted you would.” She turned and kissed his cheek. “So what's this about cameras?”

“Since I was attacked, Viren had them installed.” He shrugged. “Safety measure I guess.”

“But this one is broken?”

“Yeah.” He smiled and leant towards her. “So we can do whatever we want. Even if it’s just cuddling.”

“Cal...I really, really wanna fuck you.”

"Well...that works too!" He chuckled and kissed her lips. “So...do you want me to lead or...”

“You want to lead?”

“If you’ll allow me, yes, I would.”

The elf grinned and played with his hair. “How about this; I want you to fuck me, Cal.”

For once, Callum grinned and picked her up suddenly, carrying her over to the bed. It didn’t make sense why with her, he had the courage and drive to be in command.

An hour later, they were curled up in the bed, talking about movies and which famous celebrity was hottest.

Three hours later, they decided to say goodnight, Callum kissing Rayla happily on the lips. She smiled, stroking his hair back. “Text me?”

“Of course.”

The pair of them continued to do this for four months. Rayla hired Callum both to come to her home and came to the club to see him. Almost every time they ended up fucking, but once or twice, they just sat and watched movies or played chess, spending hours just talking. Callum tried not to think about how much his time must have been costing her.

And when they couldn't see each other, they were texting.

They wanted to talk over call, but his phone only allowed inbound calls from the club, and if he made an outbound, a software in the phone recorded it. So text was all they had.

It was Callum's lifeline.

He still had other clients besides Rayla, but she was the only one he ever thought about. When they had him lying on the bed, pounding into him...his mind twisted it a little to pretend it was her.

He didn't know why, but it made it easier.

Every time he saw her, he wanted to scream out how he felt about her, that he was in love with her and wanted only to be with her. But that little part of him, a part that had been dying slowly since meeting her, told him that she would never want a slut like him. That he should just enjoy her attention before it went to someone else.

So he kept silent, holding his feelings as close as he could to himself while he was with her.

One day, just before the winter solstice and the club packed up for the holidays, Viren called for Callum and told him that a Moonshadow elf had hired him for the night and was waiting in Room 2.

Callum barely held his excitement back as he nodded. "I will go and get ready."

"No, they want to see you now, as you are."

"Oh." He had Rayla's solstice gift upstairs, but he guessed he could give it to her later. They had already agreed to meet in a few days anyway. "I will...go right away then, sir."

"Good."

Leaving the office, Callum nodded and arrived in his stage clothes to Room 2, knocking on the door. "It’s me, Emerald." He couldn't hear a reply, but entered the room with a smile. “Good-"

Callum stopped dead in his tracks.

They were a Moonshadow elf, but they weren’t Rayla. This one was male. His hair was tied back behind his head and he had two marks painted over his nose and cheeks. He glared darkly at the human, arms folded as he sat on the bed. "So...you are The Emerald Prince."

Callum swallowed and nodded, lowering his head. "Yes sir. It's a pleasure to be here."

"The best whore in the city? Unable to even look me in the eye." Suddenly, the elf grabbed his chin and roughly turned his face to stare into his eyes. "You're a pathetic waste of skin."

"Y-yes sir. I am," he said, playing along. He was used to this, but something else was making him panic.

The elf scoffed. "You even sound like a slut. What does Rayla even see in you?"

"Rayla?" he gasped before he could stop himself.

"My daughter. I know you've been fucking her. And she’s paid you to do it." He glared harder at the human. "You sick bastard."

Callum's eyes went wide. This was Rayla's adoptive father, Runaan? And he knew. He knew about them.

He almost fell to his knees. "S-sir, I...I can...I can explain."

"Silence!" he snapped, squeezing his jaw so tight he couldn't speak. "You say one more word and I will rip your tongue from your mouth."

Callum decided to do as he was told, falling silent.

Runaan meanwhile just glared at him. "Now you listen to me. You will never lay your eyes on my daughter ever again. You will never speak to her, you won't say her name, you won't even think about her. Do I make myself clear?"

He nodded as much as the grip on his face allowed.

*******

The elf glared at him, then shook his head. "I don't believe you. So I'm going to make sure you don't forget it." He walked over to the bed and picked up something, holding it back to him. "Recognise this?"

"It-it's my tie sir."

"I found it in Rayla's room. And she told me about you, you disgusting little bastard."

"Sir...I..."

"Silence!"

He swallowed his words and looked down once more.

The elf walked behind him and quickly grabbed one of his hands, pulling it behind his back and doing the same with the other, tying them with the tie and making sure it was extremely tight.

Once his wrists were bound, the Moonshadow reached down and ripped the man's pants down, pulling his feet out from under him with the force used. Callum landed face first onto the bed, his legs still hanging over the edge as the elf stripped him down further, ripping his vest apart with his bare hands till it was in tatters around his shoulders. He felt his heart racing and desperately hoped someone was watching the camera because he had a feeling he was going to get hurt by this.

Runaan then picked his legs up and tossed them onto the bed, Callum almost flipping over himself. The elf grabbed his knees and pulled them forward so his face was in the pillows and his ass was in the air. Callum trembled, feeling the elf’s eyes and hands digging in tight. "You slut. Look at you. Your hole is so used it's practically torn open." He huffed, then reached down and stuck his thumb straight in.

Callum screamed suddenly at the action, unprepared and raw. It hurt like hell. He pulled on the binding but it was too tight. He was trapped.

After a few thrusts with his thumb, the elf scoffed again. "Look at that, barely anything and you're practically begging for it. You filthy, pathetic little slut."

"P-please, stop," Callum begged, tears in his eyes.

The other pulled his hand away and grabbed his head instead, pushing him hard into the pillows to the point he was almost suffocated by it. "You will stay there and you will take it, slut!"

Screwing his eyes closed, Callum nodded and was released from the hold, panting for breath, but then lost it again as something large was forcefully thrust into his asshole.

Runaan groaned loudly at the feeling. "See? Only a slut could take a dick so far so fast. You’re such a dirty little whore."

“No! No! No I'm not! I'm not!” he wanted to shout, but the words died in his mouth while he felt the elf pound into him. His eyes filled with tears that ran down his cheeks and into the sheets below.

The Moonshadow kept going, thrusting harder and harder. He even reached around and grabbed the human’s cock, squeezing it painfully tight.

Callum tried to block it out, but he couldn't. He couldn't stop this feeling. It was so tight and painful! He could feel himself getting looser, but he knew it was only from the blood.

"P-please," he whimpered out.

"You want more, don’t you slut? Yeah, I can tell. Cocksucker like you, all you’ll ever want is more."

Callum screwed his eyes shut and tried something else. "Rayla," he gasped out.

All that earned him was a sharp tug on his cock. "You will never say her name again! AM I CLEAR?!" he growled in his ear. "You will never see her again if it’s the last thing I DO!"

He released the cock only so he could pound his ass once more. "I'm going to join every other cock-flayed bastard that ever filled this hole. I'm gonna fill you with so much cum it's gonna seep out, and you will never be rid of it."

The human just sobbed silently, wanting it to end.

It felt like forever, but finally it happened and the elf did as promised, flooding him with a wave of cum that leaked out of his abused asshole. Callum just lay there, panting and crying while Runaan looked over him. After a moment, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone, taking a photo of the sobbing human with his cock still buried deep inside, the creamy cum leaking around his base.

Callum opened his eyes when he heard the camera click, and Runaan smirked. "For Rayla."

His heart shattered at that. The idea of Rayla seeing him like this? Tied up, crying, and used...it broke him.

He closed his eyes and wished everything would go away. He didn't find any rest, just heard the other dress and leave the room while he was still on his front, hands tied behind his back and ass leaking both cum and blood while he cried and cried.

*******

It was Soren who found him, shocked that their star attraction had been abandoned like this. He tried to get some kind of explanation out of him, but Callum was too far gone. The only word he could manage was 'stop'. The guard ended up carrying the brunet up to his room and sent for a doctor.

Callum wanted to pass out. He wanted to fall unconscious and wake up when this was all over, but his mind betrayed him and he remained awake. It wasn't until the doctor injected something into his arm that he finally found a peaceful, quiet rest.

~#~

Waking, Callum had to take a few minutes just to get over the shooting pains in his abdomen and back, his whole body so sore that he couldn’t even curl up into a ball without it hurting.

Once that had lessened, he lay back in his bed and tried to think about what had happened. It soon came back to him in a flood of painful memories. Runaan, Rayla’s adoptive father, had come to the club, told him to never see her again, and then forcefully fucked him so he wouldn’t forget it.

He rolled over onto his side and reached out for his phone where it was charging. He entered his password and loaded up his texts.

But Rayla’s were gone. 

Heart picking up, he quickly loaded up his contacts. Her number was gone.

He swallowed hard. “No, no no no.” He closed the contacts and loaded up his photos instead, his eyes pricking with tears.

They fell when he saw that they, too, were gone. Every photo of her...gone. Even his backups were deleted.

He shook his head, covering his mouth before pushing himself up on the bed and rolling to the edge, trying to stand. But his back and legs wouldn’t cooperate, so he just ended up landing with a thud on the carpet. When his legs didn’t recover, he found himself just sobbing.

Eventually someone found him and helped him get back into bed, telling him to relax. It took him two days before he was able to leave the bed, and even then, he was limping. 

He tried to understand what had happened, but he couldn’t. 

He waited to see if Rayla would contact him, but as the days passed and there was nothing, he realised Runaan must have done something to her phone too. He ended up begging Soren to go to her place and try and contact her, but the guard only reported back that the building was empty.

That’s when Callum realised...it was over. He was never going to see Rayla again.

Chapter Text

“Come on now Callum, you can do much better than that.” Aaravos sighed as he stopped the music. “I barely felt anything. Now, do it again, from the top.”

Callum stared at the silver pole in front of him, looking at his reflection in the surface. “What’s the point?” he asked eventually, leaning forward till his brow rested on the metal. “What's the point anymore?”

“Callum, you have a show tonight. You need to get this routine down.”

“No.”

The Startouch turned to look at him. “What was that?”

“I said no!” Callum snapped, glaring at the elf before jumping off the stage. “I’m not doing it tonight.”

Aaravos glared at him. “Callum, I have given you some leniency, but this is going too far. Now get back on that stage and do your job.”

“My job?” he scoffed, looking away. “My job is just to be some bastard’s slut for the night. To just…just whore myself out. And these dances? They do nothing but make them hungry.” He glared over at the elf. “Why bother?”

The boss looked blankly at him. “I know you’re still sore over that Moonshadow…”

“He fucking raped me Aaravos! And you did nothing to stop him! And worse, he took the only good thing away in my life! So tell me, why should I even bother to pretend anymore?!” He waved a hand towards the stage. “You don’t care about me dancing. I know you make more from me being some sex toy than a dancer. So why don’t you just cut the crap! Just put me out there as a slut for hire!” He panted, getting his breath back before turning away. “I’m going to my room.”

Letting him leave, Double A looked to the side where Viren was standing, having witnessed the outburst. “Well…I think we may have a problem.”

“He’s still hurting,” Viren concluded. “That Moonshadow elf, the female one…I have a feeling he liked her.”

Aaravos winced. “Ah...bad idea to fall in love when you sell your body.”

“Indeed. We will keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

“Refusing to dance? That’s stupid to me.”

~#~

Walking carefully around the club, Soren kept his eye out for anything out of place, anything that could cause trouble, but fortunately, everything appeared to be under control.

As he patrolled around once more, he spotted someone leaning on a wall near the door that led to the ‘visitor’ rooms, and went over to investigate. 

“Cal?” he asked, looking over the young man. “What are you doing over here? Don’t you have a dance soon?”

“Double A gave it to someone else. Said my standards were slipping. Apparently no one wants to watch me anymore.” 

“What? Why?”

He scoffed. “Who’d want to watch my sorry ass dance?”

Soren frowned more with concern than anger. For the last few months, Callum had been slipping, everyone at the Dark Mage knew it. He wasn’t putting much effort into anything. He was barely eating, barely sleeping, barely rehearsing his dances, just going through the motions. 

Losing Rayla had broken an already damaged heart.

“So what are you doing out here?” 

“Waiting for the next bastard who wants to hire me.” He shrugged. “It’s all I’m good for now...fucking.”

“Callum…”

“Save it Soren. I’ve already spoken to Viren about it. I’m not going to do any dances anymore.” His eyes moved beyond the guard to some men who were sitting at the bar, watching and beckoning him over. He forced a smile and stepped towards them. “I’m just a filthy whore after all.”

Soren turned to follow him as he strutted over to the men and began flirting, sitting on one’s lap while cupping another’s cheek. They talked for a bit before the trio rose, and Callum led all three of them to one of the visitor rooms.

Since Viren and Aaravos didn’t seem to care as long as he kept making them money, Soren decided he needed to do something to help the former star. The next day, he approached Callum’s room. He no longer had the largest room in the club’s upper levels, but had been moved down to a smaller one since his income was now lower.

He knocked on the door and waited until he heard a groan inside, deciding it was allowing him to enter. He looked over to see Callum by his bed, a half empty bottle of something in his hand while he stared blankly at his phone.

Soren frowned and walked over, arms folded. “Callum, we need to talk."

“About what?” he snapped in reply, not taking his eyes away from his phone.

Soren sighed, closing the door behind him. “I’m...I’m worried about you Cal, genuinely...not as security...but, as a friend.”

"Why should you care? Why should anyone care?" he scoffed, swigging from the bottle.

Soren frowned and pulled up a chair. "Callum, you’re not doing anyone any good like this. I mean, look at yourself!"

Callum finally looked away from his phone. His hair was greasy and unwashed, his eyes had massive bags under them, his clothes were hanging off him from the weight he'd lost, and his skin was pale. "So?" he finally muttered.

"What would Rayla say if she saw you like this?"

Anger flashed in the green eyes that had given him his stage name. "Rayla?" he asked sharply, forcing himself to stand up. "If Rayla was still here, I wouldn't be like this! I wouldn't be so miserable that I just sit around waiting for the next guy to fuck me so I can feel something, ANYTHING again!" He shouted, then fell back onto the bed, clutching his head. "If she were here...she...she’d...she'd hold me and...and whisper it would be alright and...and do all those things...she...she'd..." He sobbed, covering his face. "I can't Soren. I can't..."

"Can't what Cal?"

"I can't remember her voice," he confessed. "I can't remember what her voice sounded like. I-I can't...remember."

"Callum..."

"I’m forgetting her Soren. I'm forgetting the only person who ever loved me. Who ever showed me... any kindness or...or care. Every time I try to think about her, I remember that night instead. When Runaan told me I could never see her again." He peeked out from behind his hands. "I don't want to sleep anymore. Because...if I do...I dream about her. And then...I forget the dream."

“Callum, please….”

“Just leave me alone Soren,” he whispered, walking over to the window and looking out. “Please...”

The guard stared at his back, then nodded. “Try and sleep Callum. Please.” With that, he turned and walked out, leaving him.

The head of security sighed as he went to his office and sat down, rubbing his brow as he tried to think. Callum was spiraling down into something he didn’t want to think about. He knew it wasn’t his job, but he really liked Callum, and he was willing to put all of it aside to help him. But he knew the only thing that truly could, was Rayla.

He looked to the ceiling of his office, wondering how he could find her when she was a part of an underground gang that had links across the continent.

Suddenly, the door opened and a woman with short, black hair and an even shorter blood red dress came in. “Soren? I’m going out with Andri. Viren wants me to have a tracker.” She huffed. “I go off grid for two days and now he insists I have a tracker. Bastard.”

“Alright Pyrrah,” he sighed, reaching into the bottom drawer of his desk where he kept them. Opening the box, he passed one over to her. “Try not to lose it.”

“Yeah whatever,” she grumbled, putting the tracker under her top and walking out. Once she was gone, he turned back to the task of trying to find Rayla or think of something else that could help Callum, when out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the box with the trackers and frowned.

The box had four indentations, one for each tracker, but one was missing. Rubbing his chin, he tried to think where the missing one could be. Eventually, he turned to his computer and loaded up the trackers’ details. 

The location pinged back.

Neolandia?

That made even less sense. They didn’t have anyone in Neolandia. Why would they be so far away?

Suddenly, a thought hit him.

He loaded up the tracker’s history.

It had been active for months, almost a whole year. And it was activated…

The day Callum met Rayla.

His jaw dropped. 

Callum must have lost the tracker, or Rayla took it from him, but either way, there was a good chance that she had it! Rayla had the tracker. He knew where she was!

Laughing to himself, he ran from his office to find Viren and Aaravos, wanting to tell them how he had found Rayla and that they could finally help Callum.

As he arrived at their office, he raised his hand to knock when he heard something. “So, what about Callum?”

He froze, listening in. 

“Callum? I hate to say it but he’s had his time. He’s costing us more to keep than he earns.”

“He still has his uses.”

“I’ve had to increase his medical checks because he’s going after the lowest possible clients. If he got some disease, it’ll ruin us. But the way he’s going, it's only a matter of time.” Viren sighed. “We’ll have to let him go.”

“Let him go?”

“He’s got savings. He’ll be fine.”

Soren stepped away from the door. If Callum left the club, he really would have nothing. 

“Look, let’s keep him till the end of the month. Firing someone in the middle of the month is soooo much hassle.”

“Fine. End of the month, Emerald is out.”

It was the 14th today. So Soren had 16 days to come up with something to reunite Rayla and Callum before it was too late. 

Realising that the club’s bosses wouldn’t do anything to help, he returned to his office and looked at the location, trying to think. There had to be something he could do.

Chapter Text

Rayla tried not to groan, moving as far away as she could from the elf beside her. “Really…how fascinating.”

“I know, aren’t I?” The Moonshadow smirked, leaning towards her. “So, when can I see you again?”

She put on a thoughtful face then glared at him. “How about never?” she growled, standing up and turning away. “There’s the door. Now get out.”

“But…Rayla.”

“It’s MISS Rayla to you!” she snapped, grabbing his shirt and pulling him up. “Now get out of my room and tell Runaan that I’m NOT INTERESTED in entertaining any more of his stupid elf friends! Tell him I want to see Callum and I will not stop until I DO! NOW GET OUT!”

The elf, she honestly couldn't remember his name, looked terrified for a moment, but then she tossed him towards the door. He turned back to her, mouth open as if to speak, but then the vase of flowers he had brought with him crashed against the wall very close to his head, and he wisely chose to leave.

Once alone, Rayla collapsed onto the sofa and covered her head with her arm, wishing Runaan would stop sending male elves to 'entertain' her. Why couldn't he get there was only one man she wanted, and he was all the way back at the Dark Mage.

She pulled her arm away and wondered how he was doing.

She had no way to contact him, and even if she did, Runaan now monitored her every action online and on her phone. She had tried to write a letter to him, but he'd found out and burned it before her eyes. She slapped him for that.

It was a mix of pity, anger, and sadness inside her, but mainly loss and pain. She missed him so much. He wasn't some ‘play thing' as her adoptive father claimed. He was kind, and warm, and sweet, and she wanted to be with him more than anyone else.

If she could just find out if he was alright, she'd be satisfied, but she knew in her heart that he wasn't.

The worst part was that picture. She should’ve shot Runaan for doing that. For taking her beautiful, handsome, strong prince and...and leaving him like that. She gripped her hair and tried not to cry at the memory.

There was a buzz at the room's security door. Groaning, she walked over to it and picked up the phone. "Yes? What is it?"

"Miss Rayla, there’s a delivery from Soleil Pur for you," one of her guards, more so babysitters, said over the line. "Three Moonberry Surprise Eclairs?"

She frowned at the words. She hadn't made an order, and the Soleil Pur was in Katolis. They didn't deliver outside the main city.

"Miss Rayla? Is everything alright?"

Suddenly, she had a thought. If he was from Soleil Pur, he may be able to get a message to Callum for her. If he wasn't...then who was he?

"Yes, yes, I'm fine. Send the delivery boy in. I need to speak about a commission I'm considering."

"Very well Miss Rayla."

With that, the line dropped and she waited for the knock at the door. Opening it, she saw a blond-haired human with a box in his hands. She almost said his name, but then noticed his escort and nodded. "Thank you for the delivery. I know this is a bit further than normal."

"Anything for a loyal customer like you ma'am," Soren bluffed, stepping in. "You wanted to talk about your commission?"

"Yes. It was too complicated to email. Please, come in." She turned to the guard. "You can go."

"I'm not allowed to leave you alone with any humans Rayla. Runaan's orders."

Soren pulled a face. "What? You’re worried I'm going to...seduce her? I can let you off there buddy. I'm gay, and she’s sooo not my type." He shrugged. "But if you wanna stand there and listen to us talk about cake flavours and icing styles..."

The elf shook his head and held up his hand. "Alright, I'll be outside. No funny business."

"Wouldn't dream of it," the man said, barely holding back a smirk. 

Once the guard was gone, Rayla grabbed the other's arms. "How-" she whispered, but Soren cut her off, holding a finger to his lips and walking over to the door and listening for a bit.

Turning back to her, he shook his head. "So Miss Rayla, your email said you wanted a chocolate cake with white chocolate icing?" he questioned while reaching into his pocket and passing her an envelope.

Ripping it open, Rayla found a roughly written note. Callum is going to be thrown out of the Dark Mage at the end of the month. He’s become really depressed since losing you. I need you to come back. I understand getting you away from the Assassins is going to be hard and probably a suicide mission, but I want to help you and Cal.

The elf read the note, then looked back up at the blond with an understanding nod.  This was going to be extremely difficult, no doubt, but at least she wasn't completely alone in this, even if her only help was this tall, blond idiot.

Soren nodded, then passed her a mobile phone from his pocket. "To be honest Miss Rayla, I think I'll need to consult with the boss on your ideas. But I’m sure we can come up with something for you."

"Yes, I'm sure we can."

"We’ll have to work fast for the deadline."

"I have every faith in your skills."

"Well, I should get going. It's a long drive back." He walked over to the door and nodded to her. "Hope you enjoy the eclairs."

"Thanks again for the delivery."

"Anytime," he replied, walking down the hallway and out to his car. Once there, he picked up his real phone and texted her.

 

Today 2:74pm

Does it work?

Yeah. Thanks Soren.

How is he?

Bad.

You need to get back to him.

How? I’m locked in.

I have no idea.

But we’ll work something out.

You’re a lifesaver.

I hope so.

So how are we going to do this?

We’ll think about it.

By the way, who was that elf 

I saw leaving before I arrived?

Ugh. Runaan has this crazy idea that 

if he keeps shoving hot elves in my face, I will 

suddenly stop wanting Callum.

Is it working?

What do you think?

Over your dead body?

Pretty much

But...that does give me an idea.

Oh?

Chapter Text

Rayla smirked down at the Moonshadow elf lying at her feet on the bed. "It's nothing personal," she told him, tying his hands behind his back and putting a sock in his mouth. "I really was looking forward to a weekend away...just not with you.” She walked over to the dresser and picked up his car keys before taking the 'Do not Disturb' sign from the back of the hotel door and placing it on the other side. Hopefully, it would give her at least a two day head start.

From there, she exited to the car park and found the black Mercedes they had arrived in, adjusting the seat so she could reach the pedals. Then, she sped out of there like a bat out of hell.

As she turned to the main roads, her eyes narrowed in determination. "Hold on Callum. I'm coming."

~#~

Suitcase in each hand, Callum walked slowly down the steps, away from the Dark Mage. He wished he felt sorry to be leaving, or happy, or sad...anything. But as it was, he felt nothing. He just staggered down the pavement, away from the club and towards…nothing.

He found himself stopping and leaning on a wall, his head spinning from his hangover. He dropped the cases and screwed his eyes shut. What would he do now? He had nothing; no family he could go back to, no friends to call upon, no job, and nowhere to live.

He released a deep sob and grabbed his head, looking upwards and thinking.

There was a bridge nearby...Popular with jumpers.

He could go there and join them.

His eyes closed and he shook his head. What would Rayla think if she found out he’d killed himself?

“Callum!”

His eyes snapped open and he looked to the voice. “R-Ray…” He stopped himself and turned his back to her. “No...No, you’re not here. My mind is playing tricks on me.”

“No Cal, I’m really here. I’m here to help you.”

“Stop it!” he gasped out, holding his hair and pulling on it. “Stop, just stop it!”

“Callum, please,” she urged, reaching carefully for his arm. “I’m here for you.”

When her hand touched him, he leapt back as if she’d electrocuted him. “No! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me! I-I’ll make you dirty!”

Rayla fought back the tears in her eyes. “Callum. N-no. You’re not…you’re not dirty.”

“Yes I am,” he choked, backing away. “I’m filthy. A…a dirty, filthy whore!”

“Callum…” she whispered, wiping her eyes quickly. “Please…don’t say that. Y-you’re gorgeous. Remember? You’re my gorgeous, handsome, wonderful prince. Remember that?”

He glanced at her before looking away with a shake of his head. “I-I’m a slut...”

“No. No Callum, you’re not. Please...don’t say that. Come here, and we can sort this out together. I will help you get better. I promise.”

He sniffed, shaking his head as he staggered away from her. Then, he tripped over a garbage can and fell backwards, landing with a crash, but he just curled up, surrounded in garbage, sobbing and whimpering. Rayla just stared at him before stepping into the mess herself and kneeling down beside him. 

He didn’t react in any way to her approach, just kept his head down and cried.

A gentle hand touched his hair and he almost choked on his own sobbing, but as the touch continued, he calmed and slowly raised his head to look at her. She smiled sadly, but warmly at him. “I’m here Cal,” she whispered. “I’m here to take you somewhere safe.”

“R-Rayla. I…I’m not…wh-why are you here?”

“Because you’re the most important thing in my world Callum. And I am so, so sorry for what happened.” She sighed, still stroking his hair. “It’s going to be alright.”

“It’s not...I-I shouldn’t see you. I shouldn’t be…” He backed away, curling in on himself even more. “I shouldn’t be anywhere near you!”

“You should be right next to me Callum,” she whispered, “You should be right here...” Leaning over, she kissed his cheeks softly. “With me.”

His eyes widened at the kisses, just staring at her in amazement. “R-Rayla?”

“It’s going to be okay Callum. I promise.” She smiled, then slowly leant over and wrapped her arms around him, holding him close and brushing his hair back.

He blinked a few times, then swallowed. “Y-you...kissed me?”

“I will do so much more Callum...If you trust me.” 

Unable to take his eyes away, he nodded, but then gulped and put a hand to his mouth, pushing her away and leaning over a bag to throw up, coughing as he vomited the small amount of food he had in his stomach. The action drained the little strength he had left, and he flopped backwards.

Rayla’s arms soon held him close, stroking his hair again as he glanced around in a delirious state. The elf nodded as she looked him over. “Think you can stand?”

He nodded, having to rely heavily on her, but managed to get up to his feet. He pointed to his cases when he passed them, reaching for one, but Rayla just guided him to the car on the road. “I’ll get them. Let’s get you in first.” She managed to open the door with one hand, then eased him into the passenger seat. 

As he sat back, he winced, fearing he’d throw up again. But there was nothing to throw up, so he just cramped in pain as Rayla did the seat belt for him. He blinked sleepily as she caressed his cheek, and soon, sleep came over him and allowed him to drift off.

~#~

There was music.

Music? 

Why was there music?

Where was it coming from?

He rolled over towards it, listening, but it suddenly stopped.

“Hey,” someone spoke, their voice distorted as if they were underwater. “I found him…Can you make the arrangements?…Great. How long?”

Arrangements? What arrangements? Callum groaned, trying to force his eyes open. 

“Soren, I gotta go. He’s waking up. Keep me in the loop, and be careful. He’ll be looking for us.”

His eyes were a spiral of colours and it hurt to look, but he rolled onto his side and found the edge of a bed, his feet falling over the side before he pushed himself up.

Instantly, he fell to his knees and gasped out in pain.

“Woah, woah, easy there Cal,” someone said, pulling him back up and getting him into the bed. “You need to rest and stay in bed for now.”

He was forced back, his body screaming at him. He thought he would be sick again, but he kept it down, looking around as someone pulled a blanket over him and brushed his hair from his face. He tried to speak, but his throat was so sore, all that came out was a wheeze.

“Shhh, don’t try and talk.”

He finally gathered enough strength to look at the person beside him. “R-Rayla?...”

“Don’t talk,” she said, taking a seat next to him. “You need to get your strength back.”

He stared at her, then trailed his eyes around the room. It was simple with gold and white colours. A sofa sat to one side and a small TV sat on the other. The curtains were covered with lace and closed while he was lying on the bed. 

“W-where am I?”

“Somewhere safe,” she promised.

He thought for a bit, then shook his head, panic setting in as he tried to get up. “Runaan! Runaan…he…he’ll…”

“He’ll never find you again,” she growled, grabbing him and holding him down so he didn’t hurt himself. “He won’t find us.”

“But…but he…” He gasped, finding it hard to breath suddenly.

“Callum, please, calm down. This apartment was rented in Soren’s name.”

“S-Soren?” he repeated. “Soren…did this?”

“He’s been helping me set this up for weeks,” she explained while soothingly stroking his hair. “He arranged an untraceable bank account, and I transferred as much money as I could into it. This apartment is rented under his name…so there’s no way Runaan can find us. We’re safe”

The man took in a few deep gasps for breath, then nodded slowly. “Safe?”

“Yes, and we’ll stay here only long enough to get you a passport.”

“Passport?”

“We’re leaving the country Callum. Soren knows someone who can set you up with a fake passport, and then we’ll get out of here.”

“A-and go...where?”

“Anywhere,” she whispered, leaning over and kissing his brow. “Now, you need to sleep.”

He gave her a weak smile. “Sleep...”

“Yeah. Sleep. Close your eyes and rest, alright Cal?”

She stayed where she was, watching him slowly drift off at her touch. She’d smiled when she realised he was sleeping soundly, then kissed his cheek once more. She carefully got up and walked off, finishing unpacking his cases.

Chapter Text

“No! NO NO NO!”

Rayla gasped as something punched her in the stomach then struggled to get away from her. Pushing herself up, she quickly turned and switched on the light, illuminating the room. She looked over at Callum who had managed to get out of bed and was now pacing back and forth anxiously.

“Callum?” She climbed out and walked over to him. “Cal, are you alright?”

He turned to face her, pointing at the light. “Don’t turn it off,” he pleaded. “D-don’t…don’t turn it off. I-I don’t…I don’t like the dark.”

“Okay. Okay, that’s fine. We’ll leave the light on.” She held his arm gently and looked into his eyes. “You want to come back to bed?”

“I-I shouldn’t…I shouldn’t…not…not beside you,” he whimpered, backing off again. “I-I’ll just…I’ll make you dirty…and…you…you’re… t-too good.”

“You won’t make me dirty Cal…you’re not dirty.”

“Yes I am! I’m filthy and disgusting and…” He broke out into a wave of sobs. “Rayla…I…I shouldn’t!”

“You should Callum,” she whispered, trying not to break down herself at seeing him like this. She decided to pull him in despite his weak protests. Wrapping her arms around his middle, she held him gently but firm. 

"Please Callum...listen to me." Rayla blinked the tears away and whispered quietly to him. "You're not dirty...filthy...none of that..."  She heard him hiccup, but his sobbing had lessened. "Those words come from the mouths of disgusting men who don't, and never will matter..." She looked into those tired green eyes, seeing all the genuine fear and pain etched into them. "You are stunning , do you hear me?  And if you refuse to believe me...If you really feel you're dirty...then...let me cleanse you, Callum...let me praise you with every word that is undoubtedly true...please. Callum...I...I need you..." Her tears were falling freely now and she cried into his chest, hiccupping ‘beautiful’ over and over again into his nightshirt.

Callum looked down at her, his own agony lessening when he saw the sorrows he was putting her through. Nervously, he swallowed. "I...I’m sorry Rayla," he whispered, reaching his trembling hand up and touching her hair hesitantly. "I...I'm sorry for making you cry." He stroked the back of her head, running his fingers through her locks. "I-I'm tired...C-can...can we keep the light on?" 

“Of course Callum," she whispered to him, sniffling. She held his hand gently and pulled him towards the bed once more, helping him get in and lie back down. "Alright?"

He nodded several times, looking exhausted. "Rayla...I..."

"Don't talk. Let’s just rest…”

Releasing a breath, Callum nodded again and slowly closed his eyes, facing away from the elf. Now faced towards the light, it wasn’t long before tiredness caught up to him and he finally fell asleep.

~#~

Soren had never been trained in stealth. If anything, he was trained to be loud and seem intimidating. But when assisting two people in hiding from a murderous gang, stealth was vital. He did everything he could think of to make sure that if he was being followed, he’d lose them so he couldn’t be found again.

He walked into the apartment block and up to the floor Callum and Rayla were living on. He knocked and waited, then the door opened a crack with Callum looking through. “Soren?”

“I’m alone. Don’t worry,” he said with a calm smile. “Can I come in?”

Callum nodded several times. “R-Rayla’s in the shower,” he explained.

As he stepped inside, Soren looked Callum over. He looked much better now, filling out the weight he’d lost. He seemed well kept, dressed in jeans and a buttoned-up shirt. However, his movements and eyes looked as if he expected someone to jump out of the shadows and take him at any moment.

Soren watched as he sat down on the bed while he put the groceries on the counter. “You look good Cal. How’re you feeling?”

“U-ups and downs,” he stammered. “R-Rayla says I’m getting better, but I don’t feel like it.” Callum bit his lip and moved over a little. “Soren? W-will you come here?”

A little confused, Soren did as asked and walked over, sitting on the edge of the bed, but keeping a slight distance between them. “What is it Cal?”

Still staring at him, Callum nodded. “Can I tell you a secret?”

“Sure?”

“You won’t tell anyone?”

“Cross my heart.”

Scratching at his neck, Callum nodded then crawled towards him, cupping his hand over his ear. “I want to kiss you,” he whispered.

Shocked by the words, Soren pulled back to face him, but then found Callum leaning in quickly and kissing him with a fair bit of force. His hands were on the blond’s neck as he held him in place. 

Soren swallowed his shock and while he could have easily pushed the other away, he gently grasped the hands on him, trying to ease them off. Callum then pushed with even more force, nipping on his lower lip and licking them to try and get them to open.

The guard did manage to get one hand off him with minimal force, but Callum just moved it to his junk, grasping his cock through his jeans.

He gave a loud protesting yelp at that. This was not what Callum needed! Just as he was about to use full force to get free, Callum stopped, running away from the other man until his back was to the wall. Panting for breath, he looked to see Rayla, her hand outstretched from where she’d touched Callum’s shoulder. She swallowed as the brunet stared at her with frightened eyes. “Callum?” she eventually whispered. 

He stared back, then covered his mouth as tears filled his eyes. “You…you see? You see I’m…I’m just…just a…a horny, sluty bastard. I’m just…” He closed his eyes. “I’m sorry...I’m sorry...”

Briefly glancing at Soren to make sure he was alright, Rayla slowly approached the other and reached for his cheek, but he only turned further away. “D-Don’t touch me,” he sobbed. “I’ll...I’ll only make you dirty again.”

“And what do we do to get rid of dirt?” she cooed softly, “How do you get clean Cal?”

He looked right at her, his eyes almost childish in fear. “W-wash?”

“That’s right. And Soren has brought something that will help with that, didn’t you Soren?”

The blond nodded, then ran over to the bags, rummaging around until he found a small white pot with a golden lid, going back to Rayla and passing it over. 

Callum stared at the pot in her hand. “What...what is it?”

“A special type of cream made from sunbird feathers. It’s used to really clean things, and to purify them.”

A small smile came to his lips. “And you got that...for me?”

“I wanted to help you feel better again, Callum,” she admitted, reaching for his hand and happy he didn’t pull away. 

Soren looked between them and cleared his throat. “There’s uh...a slight problem with that cream,” he said, averting his gaze. “It…it has to be applied by someone else...or it doesn’t work.”

Rayla frowned at that. The cream had no such conditions, and it honestly didn’t make any sense. But then she felt Callum’s hand hold hers, and she saw he was staring thoughtfully at the pot in her other hand. She could almost see the cogs turning in his head before his eyes met hers. “Would you…would you do it, Rayla?”

She kept her expression calm, but internally, she could have kissed Soren. He had given her a chance to have complete, consensual contact with Callum. She nodded in return with a soft smile. “Of course.”

“N-now?”

“If you want.” She took hold of his hand and slowly pulled him towards the bathroom. It was still a bit steamy from Rayla’s own shower a few minutes ago, and the floor was damp under Callum’s bare feet.

Rayla turned on the shower and adjusted the temperature to lukewarm. Then, she turned back to Callum who was looking anywhere but at her. “Do you want me to help you undress Callum?”

His eyes met hers, then quickly darted down to his clothes. “P-Please?” 

“Alright,” she whispered, moving a little closer. “Just tell me if you want me to stop.”

He nodded vigorously as he fumbled to undo the buttons of his shirt. Rayla undid five in the time he had undone two, but together, they stripped it off and tossed it to the floor. Then they worked to remove his belt, and her fingers touched the button of his jeans. His breathing hitched at that, and for a moment, Rayla just froze, waiting, looking away from him. She had worked out that when he freaked like this, looking into his eyes only frightened him further. So, she simply looked away.

A few long seconds passed before his breathing returned to normal and his body relaxed. “Th-That cream,” he eventually whispered. “It-it will clean you too…right?”

“Yeah…Cal. It will.” She bit her lip, then looked up at those beautiful eyes of his. “It cleans a lot of things.”

However, he still refused to make eye contact. “C-can…can I use it…to clean you...from...from me?”

She wanted to tell him that he didn’t need to do that, but also realised that this was a chance for him to get used to her physical contact again. “Yeah. You can.”

Nodding, Callum reached over and took hold of her shirt. It was hard to keep herself calm as he undressed her, finding this improvement almost too much to believe. It was too good to be true. She reached for his trousers again and was hopeful when he let her remove them, but when she touched his boxers, she suddenly stopped as he violently trembled and took a small step back. “N-no,” he whimpered, eyes screwed shut.

Rayla just waited, watching him and his reaction. It was short, only a few seconds, but he opened his eyes again, looking at the pot. “I…I’m fine…like this.”

Rayla nodded, standing in her own undergarments. “Alright. Are you ready?” she asked, whispering like one would to a unicorn as she held out her hand for him.

Carefully, Callum took her hand as she gently led him into the shower behind her, the clothes still on them absorbing the water. The human sighed as the liquid washed over his face and hair. He tilted his head upwards and closed his eyes, relaxing under the constant downpour. He stood as still as a statue, breathing slow and calm.

Eventually, Rayla cleared her voice a little and he looked almost lazily at her. She held up the white and gold pot. “Ready?”

Inhaling via his nose, he nodded. “Yeah. I am.”

Opening the pot, Rayla placed it to the side, then used a damp face cloth to scoop some of the pale red cream. She spread it out on the fabric before applying it to Callum’s damp shoulder, gently rubbing it in. 

She didn’t say anything, didn’t make any bold moves, just kept it calm and gentle, moving slowly. This wasn’t about her, this was about making Callum feel better and teaching him to trust another’s touch again. She’d missed the feel of his skin, his hands on her, his lips touching her, but she pushed those feelings down. He still had a long way to go.

Taking his wrist, she held his arm out and rubbed the cloth and cream into his skin in small circles. As she reached his elbow, he let out a sigh. “It feels nice. Warm…and my skin feels soft.”

“It’s working then,” she told him, rubbing it into his hand.

Slowly, his fingers interlocked with hers and he held her hand. Her gaze worked its way up to his and she felt her face warm as he smiled softly at her. “Can I…clean you now?”

“If you want.”

He nodded, then reached over and took the cloth from her, adding some cream to it before rubbing it into her shoulder. The shower continued to drench them, and it slowly removed the cream from their bodies.

The process was slow, gradually coating each other with the cream. Callum tensed when Rayla had gotten too close to his navel and whimpered when she did the top of his thighs, just under his boxers, but otherwise, he didn’t react. He had no such worries about touching her. He rubbed infuriatingly sensitive circles across her arms, chest, stomach, and even knelt down to do her legs. Though, he did skip her hips and breasts. Her neck seemed to receive the special attention, being rubbed for at least a minute.

Despite the nature of touching each other so slowly and gently, there was nothing sexual about the time. If anything, it felt spiritual. They were cleansing each other. The pot was almost half gone by the time they were finished, and Rayla eventually turned off the water and stepped out. She retrieved a towel and used it to gently dab the water off of Callum while he did the same for her.

Not a word was said as they did, and they were still in soaked undergarments, but Callum’s face had a serenity about it as he smiled and took Rayla by the hand. When the bathroom door was opened, the elf noticed that the bodyguard was gone, most likely having left a long while ago. Gently leading her to the bed, Callum climbed on top and pulled her close to his side as he lay down.

Rayla swallowed, preparing herself for the dip in his self-worth that she knew was coming. But Callum just held her to his chest, and when she glanced up, he was smiling, eyes closed.

Leaning slightly more into him, Rayla smiled and enjoyed this moment. She knew he wasn’t cured, but this was a great step in the right direction. For the first time in months, she was able to sleep in her beloved’s arms once more.

Chapter Text

Callum scratched his neck as he walked out of the bathroom, feeling a bit better from yet another shower. 

He hated to think about how much water he’d used in the weeks they’d stayed in this apartment. About three showers a day... but it did help him mentally. The feeling of water on his skin was relaxing, calming, and it allowed him a few minutes to think.

As he entered the main room, he saw Rayla by the sofa, looking down at something in her lap. Frowning, he carefully walked over to her. “Rayla?” He watched as she jumped. He was surprised at that. She didn’t normally jump.

Normally, it was him who jumped.

She reached up to her eye and wiped something away. “Callum. You startled me.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” She smiled at him, holding something by her side that was wrapped in silvery paper.

Callum glanced at it. “What is that?”

“This? Oh...” She brought it up and looked at it with a sigh. “This...was your Solstice gift. I was going to give it to you before...” She stopped, not wanting to bring up the memory for either of them.

Callum frowned and walked over to the sofa, sitting down. “Solstice? You...you got me a Solstice gift?”

“Yeah.” She thumbed the paper lovingly. “Never got the chance to give it to you.”

Callum frowned a little more and looked away, standing up and walking over to the wardrobe to pick up his suitcase. He rummaged in a pocket before finding a small box with a battered ribbon on top, wrapped in half-torn green paper. He walked back to the sofa and held it out to her. “Th-this is yours,” he said softly.

Rayla blinked. She thought she’d checked every pocket when unpacking his bag. How had she missed that? “This is for me?” she asked, pointing between it and herself.

He nodded, still holding it out.

She smiled, then took it before holding out his. “Here’s yours.” She tilted her head a little. “Shall we open them now? Together?”

Shyly, Callum nodded in agreement.

Taking the gift from her hands, Callum looked it over, rubbing the wrapping before Rayla nodded to him. “Go on. Open it.”

He did as asked, slowly peeling the tape off the corners and unwrapping the paper until he saw a long white box and opened it to find a bright red, woolen scarf with golden embroidery at the edges. Then at one end, there was a bright blue rose with the letters ‘R’ and ‘C’ linked in the middle with gold, with the bottom of the C looped into the top of the R elegantly, joining them together.

Callum stared at it, amazed. “Wow...”

"You like it?"

"It...it's beautiful," he said softly, running his fingers over it. "It...it's…it’s so beautiful.” A smile came to his lips, and he looked over at her. “Y-you should open yours.”

“Alright.” She smiled, then turned to her own gift, opening it slowly and finding a small jewelry box. Her heart rate picked up at the sight, wondering what had he gotten her? She opened the box and saw a small pendant on a silver chain, the stone in the middle cut into an oval while in the middle was the engraved symbol of the Moon Primal. The stone itself was a pale white and blue colour. “A Moonstone,” she whispered, touching it. She looked over at the brunet with a smile. “You know, it’s said that if you put a Moonstone on someone, you will always be with them.” 

“Really?”

“Yes. It’s a bit of a legend,” she explained, picking it up and looking at it closer. “There was this prince from the south who fell in love with a princess of the north. It was a short romance, but the princess had to sacrifice her life to save the deity of the moon who was gravely injured. In doing so, she saved the world and became the new moon spirit herself. So, the prince always wore a Moonstone to keep her close to his heart.”

“That’s a beautiful story.”

“Yeah, I always liked it as a kid.” She turned to him. “Will you put it on me?”

Blinking, Callum nodded and took the pendant she was holding, fiddling with the clasp while Rayla turned her back to him and pulled her hair to the side. He said nothing as he reached over her head and placed the necklace, linking the two parts together. 

Once he had, he found himself staring, almost transfixed by the chain on her neck. However, it wasn’t the chain that held his attention; it was her neck itself. Her soft, pale skin almost called to him and his mind hazed over a little. Before he knew what he was doing, he leant over and placed a gentle kiss over the chain on her nape.

Rayla stiffened at the touch, but then closed her eyes and smiled, feeling another follow the first. She tilted her head a little to the side, giving him more room, and he even began to work his kisses up her neck towards her jaw. 

She had no idea what had brought this on, but she was grateful for it. Maybe the gifts had sparked a memory. She didn’t know, but as he kissed the back of her ear, she bit her own lip to stop from moaning out. He had always been an amazing kisser, and so long without them had made her desperate.

Behind her, Callum closed his eyes, losing himself in this moment. He kissed the tip of her pointed ear for a moment, then his tongue darted out and gave it the smallest of licks.

Rayla couldn’t stop herself this time as she moaned, and it took the human a second to decide if her moan had been one of pleasure or disgust, but when she stretched her neck further to the side, he realised it was pleasure.

His eyes moved to her neck, now exposed and open to him, then he swallowed hard. He leant down and placed a slightly larger kiss to her skin, his eyes open only a fraction so he could see what he was doing. His hands found her waist from behind, and he shifted a little so she sat on his lap.

He listened to her purr-like sound as he kissed her shoulder and neck before working his way up to her cheek. Her breathing was getting faster now, almost a full on pant while her hands were clenched into fists on her lap, trying to control her need to touch him. 

This was amazing progress for him, and she could not, would not let her own feelings get in the way of his recovery. She needed to let him make the moves and choices. Her eyes looked up to the ceiling, wishing some deity would give her the strength to resist. He was kissing her jaw and chin now, and it was so soft and sweet. 

His hands were still holding her sides, and as he kissed her ear once more, her hands snapped to them and she moaned louder. "Callum,” she whimpered, hoping her resolve held.

He pulled away from her a little. "Rayla? D-did I hurt you?"

She turned her head as far as she could and looked at him, her eyes darting between his worried eyes and those lips. She tried not to think about them, but it was too much. It had been too long since he'd kissed her. Perhaps she was just as sick as him, but she needed it. She knew at the back of her mind this would have consequences, that it may do more harm than good. But she couldn't listen to reason. She turned around so she was facing him, straddling his lap and placing her hands on either side of his face. She pulled him in and kissed him with all the passion she'd been containing.

Callum's eyes went wide as she grabbed and held him, her touch burning into his skin. The man felt his body go rigid with fear. He reached up, his hands on her stomach. He wanted to push her away, but his hands were shaking. His body just didn't have the power to fight back, and he was trapped.

Trapped. Unable to move. Locked in. His breathing picked up, but he couldn't let the breath out because the Moonshadow was on his lips.

To him, it felt like hours. But in truth, it was only a few seconds.

Rayla pulled back and pressed her brow to his, releasing a deep breath. "Sorry," she whispered, "I shouldn't have done that."

He stared up at her then swallowed, his hands grasping her shirt before his eyes lowered to the necklace she was wearing. He breathed shakily and reached up to touch the pendant. "I wanted to be with you," he whispered, almost to himself. "I wanted to always be with you. That’s...why I got you this."

"And you will be Callum." She stroked his hair back, kissing his forehead before backing away a little. "You will always be with me. I don't need a necklace to remember that."

His eyes met hers. "You mean it?"

"Yes," she replied almost instantly. "Cal, you are...the best thing in my life and I...I..." She hesitated, blushing. "I love you," she admitted with a shy smile. "I...I love you Callum. I have since our first night."

He stared at her slack jawed. "Y-you...you..." He covered his mouth with his hand, tears coming to his eyes. "You...you f-feel that way? A-about...me?"

"Yes," she chuckled lightly, even if only to hide her nerves. "I love you Callum. I...I know you've had it terribly hard...and...I don't understand it fully but...I love you." She smiled, tears in her own eyes. "I love you."

He stared at her and lowered his hand. "You… really do?"

"I always have. Always will." She leant forwards so her brow was rested to his again. "I love you."

"You keep saying it."

"And I’ll keep saying it until you understand that I'm not just saying it...That I mean it with all my heart." She looked into those beautiful, emerald eyes once more. "I love you."

His lip quivered a little, fluttering between smile and frown. Eventually, his hands loosened a little and he moved it up to hold her cheek. "I-I've never...no one has....no one has...  said they… they loved me before," he whispered, "I-I don't know...what to do."

She smiled at him, stroking his hair back once more. "You don't have to do anything. Just be yourself. And...stay with me."

He swallowed, as if the simple request to be himself was the hardest thing he'd ever done before. Eventually, he nodded. "Rayla...c-can I kiss you?" he asked softly.

She couldn't help the small laugh while she leant towards him. "You never need to ask."

The human smiled, tipping his head and pressing his lips to hers. Rayla kept herself in check this time, staying still. His hands moved from her sides to her shoulders, then to her neck and cheek, holding her as he pecked at her lips several times. She gradually began to kiss back as he pulled her towards him, sitting her on top and snuggling her into his arms, all the while, he kissed her over and over. After a few minutes, he pulled back and licked his lips. "Y-you taste like...moonberries," he whispered in a daze.

Rayla just chuckled, then settled into his arms, mentally counting how long he held her for. The longest so far had been almost thirty minutes.

It wasn’t until two hours later that Callum pushed her off of him and ran for the bathroom, stripping off his clothes as he went.

~#~

The morning air felt good. But better , was the feeling of a silken nightdress in his hand. Rayla was in his arms again, and he opened his eyes to see her snoring gently beside him. She really did like to sleep in while he was an early riser. Odd, considering his job was mainly at night.

He blinked, the smile fading from his lips as he rolled away onto his back. “Former job” , he mentally reminded himself. He wasn't a dancer anymore. He wasn't a stripper, he wasn't an entertainer, he wasn't a slut nor a whore anymore. “ Not anymore. I'm free of them.” He closed his eyes and began to mentally repeat it. “ I'm free. I'm free. I'm free.”

"Cal?"

He turned to the voice. "Rayla. I'm sorry, did I wake you?"

She yawned and stretched out on the bed and Callum took in her appearance. “ She's mine,” he thought. “ This beautiful moon goddess...is mine, and no one else's. I...I'm the only one who will get to see her like this. Because...she loves me.”

She finished stretching and looked at him, hugging a pillow close to her face. "What are you thinking?" she asked as she realised he was staring.

His eyes met hers and he swallowed. "Well...I...I wanted....to-to ask you...something."

"Anything Cal."

"W-would..." He looked away, blushing. "W-would you...get...changed?"

Her face fell slightly. "Oh," was all she managed before nodding, self-conscious over her nightdress as she pulled it down over her thighs. "Yeah...sure...I...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." She climbed to the side of the bed, picked up an overshirt, and walked towards the wardrobe.

Callum watched her for a bit, then gasped when she moved towards the bathroom. "Wait!"

She paused, clothes in hand. "Callum?"

He hesitated, hand outstretched as if to stop her from moving. He swallowed. "I...I want you...to...to get changed...here."

Rayla blushed suddenly. "Y-you...want to watch?"

The human turned a brighter red then covered his face with his hands. "Ah! Forget I said anything! I'm sorry. I didn't think!"

She gave a small laugh, then walked over to the bed. "No, Callum, it's alright. I just...I didn't expect that from you." She sat near him and reached for his hand. "You haven't been able to look at me undressed for weeks."

"I know." He kept his gaze away from her. "I know and...I think...I can take it now."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. Please? I-if that's okay? I don't think I could...touch you but...I want to try...looking?"

He said it with such hesitation, uncertainty, and shyness. It was hard for Rayla to believe this was The Emerald Prince who could turn a whole club on with just a wink and a smile. Her heart rate picked up. Runaan would pay for breaking him like this, she vowed to herself, but she just put on a smile. "Alright. You can look. Just...let me know if you want me to stop. Don't force yourself, okay?"

He nodded his head a little and watched as she stood from the bed, stepping over so he had a good view.

She didn't want to scare him nor arouse him, just give him a chance to see her. This was not going to be easy. She started by slipping her nightdress strap over one shoulder, then the other, pulling her arm out slowly and holding the fabric to her body while she did the same for the other arm. Now only held up by her hand, she glanced at Callum who was sitting cross-legged on the bed, staring at her and trying not to blink. She looked at his hands. They were still, unclenched. A good sign.

She moved her eyes away, not wanting him to feel self-conscious about her watching his reactions, but then she let the silk robe slip from her body and fall to the floor, leaving her naked to his eyes.

Suddenly, a feeling of uncertainty filled her and she had the urge to just hurry and cover up, but fought against it. Was this how Callum had felt all those times? Stripping for someone, not knowing their reactions? But worse, he didn’t even know how they would treat him. “ He must have been terrified,” she thought, fighting back tears. “ No. I'm doing this out of love for him. It's a step forward. The fact he hasn't fled the room is incredible.”

She looked back at him. The fingers on one hand were tapping his leg, as if playing a piano. “ That's new ,” she thought as she turned to her clothes, picking up her panties and bending over slowly, letting him see her ass as she stepped into them.

Once they were on, she turned to look once more. The piano hand was still going, but the other hand was clenched into a fist. Not good. She turned away, her back to him as she pulled on her bra and fastened it behind her back. “Come on Cal, hang in there. You can do this. You've seen me in my underwear. This should be easier than naked.”

She went for her dress, daring to look at him. He was biting his lip and his hands were both clenched now. “Hang in there. Almost done,” she mentally encouraged him, slipping it on over her head and smoothing it down.

She reached back for the zip and pulled it up before flipping her hair out from under it. "There. Done," she said aloud, looking back at him again.

He was tense, but still there.

Slowly, his lip biting turned into a smile. "I did it," he breathed triumphantly. "I did it. I...I watched you change." He chuckled, then stepped over, bringing her in for a hug. "I...I saw you naked!"

"Not the first time," she giggled, but then hugged him close in return. "But well done Callum. I'm proud of you."

He sighed, then rested his head on her shoulder. "I...I...I did feel wrong...watching you though. I...I felt like a...a pervert...watching you change before me...asking you to do it. And...I...I wanted to...to do things to you..."

"Cal, it's alright," she told him, rubbing circles on his sides.

"It’s not!" he shouted suddenly, breaking away from her and pacing a bit. "It’s not alright because I...I shouldn't...I shouldn't because I...I'd..." He stopped and took a few breaths. "No...no it is alright. I...I wanted to touch you and...please you...and that's alright. That's normal. Right?"

"Right, of course it is Callum," she whispered, watching him carefully. He was flipping so quickly.

He nodded over and over. "Yeah. It's normal. It's normal to want to make someone you care about happy. With words, or gifts, or touches. It's normal. No one is making me. No one but me wants me to. No one controls me."

Rayla felt a little scared. What was going on in his head? It looked like he was literally fighting with himself.

Finally, he took a deep breath and looked up to the ceiling. "I wanted to see you naked, and I did. You let me. You...you wanted me to. I didn't force you, and you didn't force me. We both wanted it." He let his eyes move to her lilac ones. "We...we both...wanted this."

She nodded, walking over and stroking his cheek. "Yeah. We did."

His eyes closed at her touch. "Sorry for freaking out. I...I guess I still have a few demons to slay."

"It’s alright. We’ll fight them together." She leant over and pecked his lips lightly. "One demon at a time."

~#~

Slow and steady.

That was all Rayla could think when it came to Callum’s recovery. It was months of slow and steady. He had good days and bad days. Moments of self doubt and moments of pure bliss. Times when he’d grab Rayla from behind, hug and kiss her until she was dizzy, and moments when he couldn’t stand to be in the same room as her.

She started writing down his changes, when were good days, when were bad ones, what were the triggers, signs of his moods, and how to handle them. 

If he could meet her gaze, look her in the eye; it was a good day. If his hand tapped like a piano, it meant he wanted to touch her but was too scared to, but if she touched him first, then he grabbed her and held on for as long as he could. He was best in the mornings, before his mind woke up the memories. She’d often wake up to him kissing her horns or playing with her hair. One morning, she woke up to find a delicate little plait in her hair and tied it off to keep it.

As time went on, the good days began to become more frequent. He even began cooking again.

Then, about three months after leaving, they went to bed and kissed goodnight. But for some reason, the one peck was not enough for Callum, and he reached out for her, holding her neck as he kissed her and eventually working his tongue into her mouth. 

She groaned and reciprocated eagerly, moving her lips with his and holding his face, enjoying it before gasping and breaking away from him. She then threw her head back with a cry. “Callum!” she gasped, feeling his hand gently squeeze and rotate her supple breast.

He sighed into her neck. “Rayla…I want you.”

She took a few more breaths before nodding, stroking the back of his neck. “I want you too.”

~#~

Callum’s mind clouded with feelings of joy. He swallowed, looking down at the spent elf below him. He blinked, as if waking up from a dream, and a smile came to his lips. 

He stroked Rayla’s face, pulling the strands of silvery hair away from her mouth and kissing her cheek. “Rayla?” he whispered, watching as her exhausted eyes turned to him. “I love you.”

Her exhaustion quickly vanished. “W-What did you say?”

He chuckled, pressing his brow to hers. “I love you, Rayla.” He smiled, then kissed her lips. “I.” He kissed her again. “Love.” One more kiss. “You.” Another kiss. “Rayla.”

The elf chuckled at him, then kissed him back, just once, but longer. “I love you too Callum.”

He smiled, rolling to his side and hugging her close, soon drifting off to sleep.

After that night, Callum had a bad moment only once in a while, and those moments lasted minutes, not hours as they had before. He’d tense when something set him off, but then he’d sigh and go back to whatever he had been doing as if nothing had happened. 

Rayla even caught him dancing one afternoon, shaking his ass like he used to at the club. 

He wasn’t completely recovered yet, but she knew they were definitely in the home stretch.

Chapter Text

"Hey Rayla, do you think Soren would be willing to get some vanilla pods for us?" Callum held a cookbook as he walked over and checked the recipe he wanted to make. "They can be pretty expensive and..." His words stopped as he looked at the elf sat on the sofa with the TV on. Before her were a collection of metal items and a cloth. He didn't need to be a genius to know that the assembled parts would create a gun. "What are you doing? W-why do you have a gun?"

She looked over at him and put the pieces down. "Well...I've always had it. I just...I cleaned it when you were asleep...or busy."

"And...you aren't hiding it now? I mean.. .why do you have the gun?"

She sighed, then patted the seat beside her. Snapping the book shut, he walked over and sat down, staring intensely at her for the answer. "Well, to put it simply...as a member of the Assassins...I was a target." She shrugged. "I was at risk of being attacked by other gangs like the Warriors...or the Flock. So...I was trained in how to protect myself. I was taught how to shoot and how to fight. I can take down most people really."

"Seriously? And you never mentioned this before?”

"I was worried you would..." She sighed. "Freak out."

"Why would I freak out?"

"Well..." She glanced at him, watching him carefully. "It was...Runaan who trained me."

Instantly, she knew she'd made a mistake in saying the name.

His eyes glazed over and his breathing picked up. Hands clenching, he pulled them closer to himself. Rayla didn't move from her spot, feeling like she was standing on a lake of ice that was splintering around her.

Callum kept still, but then his hands relaxed and he swallowed. "S-so...he trained you?"

Rayla couldn't believe it. He didn't run away. He just...tensed, then moved on. She was filled with pride for him.

"Yes, he did..." She slowly released the breath she didn't know she was holding.  "But this pistol? It's mine, created with the help of our arsenal keeper."

They sat in silence for a few moments until Callum finally looked her in the eyes, "So you...you're not gonna actually use it anymore...are you?"

She stared at it. "I hope I never have to. But...at the same time...it's a part of me. It’s a part of my past and...a part of my life. I...I don't think I could ever leave it behind me. I’m an Assassin. Always will be, no matter what I become."

Callum gave her a small smile. "Kinda like me? I'll...I'll always be...." He paused, then started again. "I was a dancer, a stripper, and...and more. I can walk away from that but...it’s still my past. I will always be The Emerald Prince."

"Yeah. I guess that's true.” She turned her eyes to him. "And I mean...I don't want to use this, but if anyone tries to hurt you..." She smirked, moving closer so she was all he could see. "They will have to get through me first."

He smiled at her, then tilted his head a little. "So...could you teach me?"

"Teach you?"

"A few...defensive moves. As you said, we’re still targets until we get out of the country. I need to know how to look after myself."

"Sure, if you want, but...are you sure you can, you know...handle it?

"Well, we'll never find out if we don't try...right?"

~#~

"So?" Rayla asked, looking at Callum. "What do you think?"

"You...think I should go outside?" the human repeated, looking between Soren and Rayla. "You...you think we ...should go outside?"

"There’s a grocery store about five minutes walk from here," Soren explained. "It has lots of great baking and cooking stuff...you could go there, get a few things, then come back."

"Thirty minutes tops," Rayla continued. "Callum, I know this is a lot to ask but…when Soren brings us our new passports, we can leave...but you need to get used to the outside before we go. I...I hate to say it, but if we try to leave the country and you have a panic attack...it will put us at risk of getting caught."

"I...I guess." He bit his lip and swallowed. "Thirty minutes?"

"If not less. We don't need much in the way of food."

He smiled at her, then looked at Soren. "Will you join us? I...I'd feel better if it were more than just me and Rayla."

"Of course Cal. I have the whole day off so...sure. I'll join you." The blond smiled warmly. "As long as you cook me dinner. I had no idea you could cook and I really wanna try it now."

Callum laughed. "Alright. I-I'll do it." His voice showed how unsure he was, but he stood up and went to the wardrobe, pulling out a hooded jacket to slip on. Rayla had a similar one, but as she pulled it on, Callum noticed she had her revolver in a hidden inside pocket.

For some reason, knowing she was armed made him feel better as he took her hand, and with Soren on his other side, they left the apartment. Rayla had left before, going out in the dead of night for some fresh air and exercise, but this was the first time Callum had even seen the lower levels of the building.

He looked around quickly, his eyes darting from place to place while squeezing Rayla's hand and heading down the stairs. Once, on the second level, another resident came out and Callum froze, watching them, but when they didn't even look at him, he relaxed and was able to move on downwards.

Slowly, he walked out onto the street, and while staying close to his friends, he managed to get down the road and pass a few shops and people. He was a little jumpy at first, but when no one looked at him, spoke to him, or paid him any mind, he began to physically relax.

When they arrived at the store, Callum relaxed even more. He was in an environment he was comfortable in, and he soon grabbed a basket and began to shop. The brunet talked Rayla and Soren through the ingredients and what he could do with them. The cooking terms that came out of his mouth confused the two, but as he rambled on about the different cuts of beef, they just smiled at each other. Soren leant towards the elf. "He's such a dork," he whispered.

"I know," she replied just as quietly. "But he's my dork."

They walked around the shop several times until he was satisfied, and then they made their way to the till. The payment at the end was twice as much Soren had spent getting food for them normally. But as Callum pointed out: “You just bought cheap junk food.”

The pair just rolled their eyes at that before leaving the store. As they left, their arms were full of groceries and they laughed with each other. They were finally ready to head back to the apartment. 

However, as they approached the doors, an elf came walking through the entrance while looking at his phone. He bumped into Callum who was busy talking about the things he wanted to cook. “And then we can- Oof!” The human grunted, then turned to the person he’d walked into. 

A silver-haired Moonshadow elf glared at him. “Watch where you’re going, bastard,” he growled, continuing on his way.

Rayla had also frozen in place, reaching into her jacket for the gun, but then relaxed when he no longer paid mind to any of them. But when Callum let go of a bag and something smashed against the ground, they realised something was wrong. 

Rayla stepped around the mess on the floor and reached over to him. "Callum?" she whispered, looking at his face. "Callum? Speak to me."

He looked terrified. His eyes were wide and lost in the distance. He was panting and his lip trembled.

Rayla swallowed. It was like she was looking at him from a few months ago, when he’d first escaped. "Callum, it’s alri-" She was cut off when he lashed out, punching her in the solar plexus before running out of the shop and down the street.

The Moonshadow staggered back into Soren with a strangled gasp, both from the shock and the punch itself. The blond held her up, worriedly looking her over. "Rayla? You al-" He stopped when she recovered and immediately sprinted after him.

Soren was left behind with the collection of grocery bags, some broken, and he was now accompanied by lots of confused supermarket staff to explain things to.

Rayla meanwhile was chasing Callum, tracking him more from the disruptions he'd caused than actually catching sight. “Damn he's fast,” she panted.

The elf eventually caught up and turned down an alleyway, finding him on the ground while two dragons and a Sunfire elf surrounded him. Menacingly, they glared down at the human. “What were you doing, ya bastard?"

Callum didn't reply, too scared to respond. One of the dragons didn't appreciate his silence and reached down, grabbed a hold of his shirt, pulled him to his feet, and threw him against the wall. "Didn't you hear him?" he snarled, "What’re you doing here?!"

The human just started to struggle. "L-Let go of me!"

"Whoa, got a little fighter this one," the dragon chuckled, still holding him in place.

Rayla swallowed before stepping in. "Hey! You! Let him go!"

Still holding him against the wall, the group turned their heads to look at her. "What’re you gonna do about it?"

The elf frowned. "Well..." She reached under her jacket and pulled out her weapon, flipping the safety off. "Put him down and I won't shoot you."

One of the dragons looked worriedly between his companions, but the other two weren’t phased. The Sunfire stepped over with no hesitation. "Put the toy down little girl." 

Rayla glared, then aimed down at his feet before firing, the noise filling the narrow alleyway and making a chip in the ground before him. “This is no toy.”

The group looked rightfully terrified and hastily ran off in the other direction. Meanwhile, Rayla put her weapon back in her pocket and walked over to Callum on the ground. She knelt beside him and looked him over carefully. “Cal? Cal, can you hear me?”

He slowly looked over at her, his breathing still trying to settle from the adrenaline rush. “R-Rayla?” he finally whispered. “You...saved me?”

“Of course I did.” She smiled, reaching for his cheek and stroking it gently. “I would always save you. I promised I would.”

He smiled at her, then leant over and kissed her lips gently. “Thank you. I…I’m sorry I ran away,” he said apologetically. “I…I was scared.”

“It’s alright Callum.” The elf smiled, kissing his cheek. “But we need to get out of here. Someone will have heard that gunshot and I really don't want any questions.”

Callum smiled at her, then slowly made his way to his feet. "You know...it may sound weird, but...I feel better knowing you have that gun." He reached for her pocket where it was hidden. “With you having it, I feel...safe."

She smiled and held his hand. "I don't like using it...but I will to keep you safe." The elf then pulled him out of the alleyway before anyone came to investigate.

They only managed to make it half a block before Callum let out a sudden groan which caused Rayla to turn back in panic. "Cal? Are you alright?"

"Yeah..." he sighed, running his hand back in his hair. "But I dropped the groceries. That olive oil bottle is going to be smashed."

After a second to process what he'd said, the elf laughed and leant over to kiss his cheek. "Don't worry. I'll buy you some more." 

~#~

Several miles away, the lead Assassin paced back and forth in front of a screen, glancing over various images, but not one of them had what he was looking for. Behind him, another elf sat polishing a large handgun, sighing deeply. “Runaan, please, will you stop pacing? You’re making me nervous.”

“We need to find her. She couldn’t have just…vanished!”

“You’re going to make yourself sick with all this worrying.”

Runaan frowned at his husband. “We promised her parents we would look after her. And now…we don’t even know where she is!”

“She’s a smart woman,” the other said casually as he continued working. “And she can easily kick ass when needed. She’ll be fine.”

“It’s not her I’m worried about.”

Looking up from his work, Ethari frowned. “Oh. This is about Emerald.”

“Don’t say that name!” the leader snapped, turning sharply and pointing at the weapons keeper. “Just...don’t say that name to me.”

“Oh?” Ethari questioned flatly as he put the weapon down and walked over to his husband. “Then maybe I should call him Callum. That is his name.”

“Don’t push me Ethari,” Runaan huffed, turning his back to him. “I don’t want to hear either of his names.”

“You don’t even have evidence that they’re together.”

“Rayla disappeared the same day he was fired from the Dark Mage. They’re together. I know it,” he hissed. “I should have killed that boy when I had the chance.”

“And Rayla would have hated you indefinitely if you had. Or, she would have killed you.” Ethari sighed, holding the leader’s arm. “Runaan, she’s young, headstrong, and in love. If you keep pushing her like this, you will ruin any kind of relationship you had with her.”

The leader glanced over at him , his eyes showing how much the words weighed on his mind, but he just turned back to the screens. “She will get over it. I just need to find her.”

 

Bonus Scene

Callum sighed as he pulled open his wardrobe. It was so hot today. The weather channel said it was already 31 degrees! The apartment was even hotter than that! Rayla was on her laptop searching for something, but she didn’t appear to be bothered by the temperature. Callum had thrown on some jeans, but they were sweltering.

He looked through his clothes for something, anything that was cooler.

His eyes fell on a pair of dark green shorts that he used to wear when he performed. They were tight fitting, but he knew they were cool.

Desperate for some reprise from the heat, he nodded and grabbed them, heading to the bathroom to change. When he came back out, he felt much, much better.

Rayla sighed as she got up from her computer for a drink before spotting him reading from a cookbook on the counter. He was bent forward, and she stared at him in his vest top and tight booty shorts, almost feeling the blood flood to her cheeks and ears. She had to mentally tell herself to keep her hands off, but that plump behind was oh so tempting. “Damn...that ass.”

Chapter Text

Soren sighed as he looked down at the envelope in his hands. He climbed out of his car for perhaps the last time in this secret location, heading into the apartment and up to his friends. He hesitated when he knocked on the door.

Callum opened it, smiling at him. “Hey Soren! You’re just in time. I just finished a batch of jelly tarts.” He turned from the door and walked over to the kitchenette before chuckling. “If Rayla hasn’t eaten them all,” the brunet teased, going over and kissing some crumbs off her cheek before hugging her from behind. “That’s got to be your third, greedy.”

“Can’t ‘elp it! ‘hey‘re just too good!” she mumbled between her mouthful. “And they’re best when warm.”

Looking at the pair, all lovey-dovey and happy, Soren just smiled and shook his head. “Maybe I’ll have one to go. I can’t stay long. I just…wanted to drop this off,” he said, holding up the envelope.

The pair looked at it, then stepped away from the treats to see. Rayla held out her hand to take it. “Is this…”

“Yeah,” Soren sighed. “Your…new passports.”

Callum peered over Rayla's shoulder to see them as she took them out of the bag. "They look so real."

"For the price I paid for them, they better be," Rayla sighed, inspecting them. "Soren, these are perfect." She turned her gaze to him with a smile. "Thank you."

"Yeah, it was nothing," he replied humbly, shrugging a shoulder. His eyes fell to the floor for a moment before he looked back at them. "But if I were you, I'd use them fast. Word at the club is that the Assassins are getting restless. Desperate even. If you're smart, you'll get out of here as soon as possible."

Slowly, Callum's face fell. "Soren...you..."

"I can't see you guys again," he finished. "If I do...if I know where you’re going...you'll be in danger." He gave them a smile and ran his hand back in his hair. "Don't worry about me. I can handle those knife ears. No offence Rayla."

"None taken," she chuckled, going in for a hug.

Callum soon joined them, holding the other man as tight as he dared. "I'll miss you Soren."

"I know you will," he laughed, grabbing him and ruffling the brunet's hair. “Get out of here and have a good life, Emerald."

Callum chuckled at the playful tease, then used one of Rayla's moves to get free of the headlock and pin Soren's arm behind his back. "Yeah, you too, Sor-bear."

Soren laughed as he was released, then looked at them both. They held each other close and he felt a pride swell within him that made him smile. Helping them had been the right thing to do. He released a breath, then nodded, turning and leaving the apartment as he had several times before.

Once he was gone, Callum wiped his eyes of tears and swallowed hard. "I'm gonna miss him..."

"Maybe someday he can come visit us," Rayla cooed, kissing his brow before pulling him to the side where her computer was. "But he’s right, we need to get out of here. Tomorrow if we can."

"Are we still thinking about going to Del Bar?"

"I was thinking south Del Bar," Rayla explained, loading up the travel website. "Somewhere near the coast."

"So we'd have snow and surf?!"

"Not at the same time, dummy!" She laughed, pushing him back a little. "Look, this is what I was thinking."

For the next three hours, they sat and planned as if they were only going on a short holiday, not leaving forever. Fortunately, there was a flight the next day in the afternoon and they hurried to pack everything they needed from the apartment. They made sure they didn't forget or miss anything, since there would be no way to get it back if they left it behind.

As Callum packed up his scarf and other gifts from Rayla, he noticed her standing by the window, looking out over the capital city of Katolis. Her eyes were distant while she held her gun safely in her hand. "Rayla?" he asked, walking over and wrapping his arms around her waist. He kissed her ear, feeling it twitch at the attention. "Are you alright?"

"It’s just...I grew up here. It's all I’ve ever known..." She sighed, and held his hand on her middle. "A part of me...wants to say goodbye."

"To...him and your family?"

"Yeah..."

Callum kept silent. He wasn't sure what to say. He felt much better now, but every now and then, something would trigger him and he'd go back to that night. That night when Rayla's adoptive father had done those things to him. He sighed, pushing the thoughts away. "What would you say to him?...If you could."

She looked up at the sky. "I'd...thank him...for looking after me all these years...and...I'd ask him to let me go." She turned to face him. "Because...I don't want what he wants me to have. I want freedom and... adventure and...you." Her hand gently stroked his cheek. "I want to be...us."

He gave her hand a gentle kiss, then leant over and kissed her lips. “I do too,” he whispered, then stared into her lilac eyes.

After a moment, she nodded and pushed past. “Come on, let’s get packed.”

“Hey, Rayla...” Callum spoke up as she continued packing. “Are...you sure about this?” He looked out the window again. “I mean...to leave all this...for me?”

“Of course I am Cal,” she scoffed, almost laughing at him. “I mean, would I do all this if I wasn’t?”

“But...I have nothing to offer you. Nothing to give you and...”

“Callum,” she suddenly snapped. “You love me, right?”

“Yes.”

“Then I have everything I need.”

As she turned back to packing, Rayla did spot Callum hesitating, as if he didn’t fully believe her.

~#~

Driving down the road, Rayla couldn't help but frown a little, glancing at the rear-view mirror more times than needed. Callum, who had been checking their paperwork, eventually spotted it and tilted his head a little. "Everything alright Rayla?"

"I don't know. I'm not certain but...I think we might be being followed."

As soon as she said it, Callum was about to turn in his seat to look back when she grabbed his shoulder and held him down. "Don't look. If they’re following us, I don't want them to know we're onto them."

Looking on ahead, Callum swallowed. "What are we going to do?"

"Let's find out if they actually are following us first." She then pulled to the right, taking the next available junction. Then she took the next right, then a left, and another right.

She cursed as they returned to the original road. "Yeah, they’re following us."

Callum whimpered. "What do we do?"

The woman chuckled. "Well...I have an idea." Rayla hit the gas pedal, the car shooting forward so fast that Callum was thrown back in his seat.

Racing between the cars, Callum had no idea how they didn't crash into someone with Rayla taking such sharp turns, sudden breaks, and accelerations. She indicated she was going one way before not taking the junction. He actually squealed when she narrowly avoided driving into the back end of a reversing lorry, but after she’d gotten past, she turned to check behind her. "Great, lost them."

"And my lunch," Callum groaned, holding his stomach as they turned back towards the airport.

Half an hour later, they pulled up into a parking space towards the middle of a multi-leveled car park and got their bags onto a trolley. Rayla looked slightly on edge as they hurried. "Come on Callum. Once we get inside, we’ll be safe."

"Are you sure?"

"Have you seen how much security there is at an airport?" Rayla laughed dryly. "Not even Runaan would dare try anything in there. Come on."

~#~

As they pushed their luggage towards the lift to get to the lower levels, the two metal doors opened and a singular elf stepped out, blocking their path and making them both stop in their tracks. Rayla reached for her side arm but then remembered she'd left it at the apartment for Soren, unable to take it on the plane. "Shit," she cursed to herself, eyes locked on Runaan who was clearly armed. "Runaan."

"Rayla," the other Moonshadow countered, eyes locked on her. "I finally found you."

"How?"

"Your friend may know a good forger...but I know them all," he bragged, stepping towards the pair. "Now, enough of this. You’re coming home with me, now!"

"No! I’m not!"

"Rayla, this has gone on long enough. You are in my care and you will do as I tell you!"

"You are not my father and you are not the boss of me!" she shouted back, almost hoping the argument would draw others to them. Unfortunately, the car park was empty of anyone else. "I don't want to go back to...to...nothing!" She shook her head and stared hard at him. "What do I have to go back to huh? Life as a princess locked away in some room? I mean, you barely let me out, never let me do anything and...you treated me like I was some...fragile little flower!"

"You are a child! You don't know anything!"

"I would if you just let me experience the world!"

"And where did that get me Rayla?!"  the leader snapped, his gaze turning darkly to the young man beside her. "I let you experience the world and one of the first things you decide to do is give yourself to this... filth! "

Callum, who had been fighting the urge to run and hide, suddenly stood ramrod straight at being addressed, even if in such a way. Rayla however just growled. "He is not filth! And don't you dare call him that!"

"He's a whore, Rayla! He sells his body and his love to the highest bidder. He's a filthy, disgusting, cock-sucking bastard!"

"I'm not!"

The pair both turned to look at the human who had left the protection of the luggage to step forward, standing beside Rayla and facing his monster. "I am not some...filthy, disgusting, cock-sucking bastard as you claim! I'm better than you will ever be!"

"You are nothing, boy." Runaan growled, pointing a finger at the other. "You are lucky you’re still alive."

Rayla stepped a little closer to the older Moonshadow. "Runaan, I’ve had enough of this. Callum and I are going to leave here, and you will let us."

"And what if I don't let you leave?"

Clenching her hand into a fist, Rayla stepped back to shift her weight. "Then...I'll have to fight you."

Runaan only shook his head. "Really? You think you can take me on?"

"I have to," she whispered. "If you won't let me go."

"Then...you really are a fool," he huffed, quickly readying himself for the first attack. However, when Runaan shifted his weight forward and aimed his cross punch, Rayla shrieked in horror when it was Callum who took the blow.

The human had jumped in between them and stumbled back into Rayla, slightly dazed. It only took a second or two to regain his balance, but he put his own hands up, glaring down the Assassin leader. He spit some blood from his mouth where his teeth had bitten his tongue from the impact.

"Callum, get out of the way!" Rayla yelled in a panic.

Runaan glared at him as well. "Yes, get out of the way boy."

"No! Stand down and leave!" Callum snapped back, his eyes blazing. "I'm not afraid of you anymore, Runaan, and if I have to, I will kick your ass or die trying!"

The elf’s laugh was shallow and cold. "Alright, if you want a fight so bad..." Runaan went for him, his bare fist colliding with the other's stomach and knocking him back into the wall. Callum was stunned, coughing for breath, but the other just grabbed him by the hair and pulled him up a little, pulling his arm back to punch the human in the face once more. "I'm going to enjoy this," he said under his breath.

Callum winced, mentally feeling like he hadn't thought this through, but as the next punch came at him, the arm was pulled away quickly as Rayla grabbed it and twisted it expertly behind the other elf’s back. "Get your hands off him!" 

From behind, Rayla shoved the elder Moonshadow against the wall, pinning him there while angered breaths strained from behind his gritted teeth. “ Leave Runaan!...Please…”  Rayla begged quietly to her lifelong mentor and adoptive father, tears in her eyes as she held him in an armlock against the brick wall. She caught a glimpse of Callum from the corner of her eye and saw he was clearly beginning to bruise. The human’s breath was laboured, but he simply stood beside his elf with a mixture of anger, sorrow, and pity.

The Assassin leader struggled to get free, but Rayla just pushed him against the wall harder, widening her stance to maintain control. “I-I don’t want to hurt you dad! I-I don’t! Just please...let me go.”  She was on the brink of tears, resting her forehead between Runaan’s shoulder blades. “If you let us go...I will forgive you for everything…I promise...”

Breathing heavily through his nose, the leader’s gaze shifted between Rayla, Callum, and the wall. After a few deep, sharp breaths, he shook his head slightly. “You’ll get tired of him and come back soon enough.”

“No, I won’t,” she stated firmly, still pushing against him. “But maybe someday, you will accept my feelings for Callum.”

The look in the other’s eyes showed that would never happen, but he did nod. “Go...get out of here...”

Freeing him, Rayla kept her eyes trained on his movements, as if expecting him to attack, but when he did nothing but glare at her and lean on the wall, she turned to Callum. “Come on,” she told him, grabbing the trolley with one hand and his hand with the other. They hurried to the lift and climbed in, fortunate it was on their level.

As the steel doors closed, they caught one final look at Runaan and saw the defeat in his posture, but then he was gone. Rayla sighed, looking at Callum who was inspecting his face in the mirror of the lift. “You alright?”

He looked over his cheek as it turned a darker shade of purple. “It hurts, but…I’ve had worse.”

The elf smiled, then leant over and kissed his sore jaw, listening as he hissed in pain. “That was very stupid, getting between us. I could have handled him.”

“I didn’t want to be some…damsel in distress. I wanted to fight.”

“Which is very noble of you,” she said, holding his hand tight. “But your skill set does not match your heart,” she chuckled, kissing his cheek again. “Leave the fighting to me, alright? I promised I’d protect you, and I will.”

Callum opened his mouth to speak, but by then, the lift had arrived on the lowest level and they headed towards the main airport. Once inside, it was pretty straightforward. They checked in, passed through security, and waited for their flight in the departure lounge. In the meantime, they ate over-priced burgers and browsed the duty free.

Finally, when the time came, they climbed aboard their flight and left Katolis forever.

Chapter Text

 Seven hours later, the plane finally landed and they stepped off in Del Bar. Having collected their luggage, they headed for the apartment they’d set up to rent. 

Rayla sighed as she opened the door and put down her bag. “Well, home sweet home,” she said, looking over to the main living space. 

There was a large window with a balcony on the outside, and it looked over the town square while in the background was a beautiful snow-capped mountain. 

A fireplace was on the other wall, dark and silent at the moment, but she was sure they could get it going quickly. A kitchenette was behind them with several bags of fresh groceries ready, as kindly arranged by the landlady, and there were two doors on the other side that would lead to the bathroom and the bedroom.

Wandering around to explore, the elf nodded. “This looks great. Don’t you think Cal?” She turned to see Callum still stood in the doorway. His eyes were locked on hers, but when she looked at him, he only looked to his feet. “C-Callum? What’s wrong?” Walking over to him, she gently touched his bruised cheek. “Are you hurt?”

He sighed. “N-no. No...I’m fine, but…but Rayla…” He looked at her again. “You…You left everything for me. And I…I don’t have anything to offer you, anything to give. I don’t even have a real job!”

“We’ve been through this Callum,” she whispered, leaning over so their brows touched. “You have everything to offer me. You make me happy and proud, and I want to be with you, now and always.”

“But…I can’t give you the quality of life you’re used to.”

“Then I’ll get used to a new life,” she whispered, taking his hand and placing it on her hip. “I don’t need a big fancy mansion, or sport cars, or designer dresses. I need a kitchen so you can cook for me, a sofa to snuggle up with you, and a bed to ravish you.”

A slow smile came to his lips as he leant into her. “Really? A-are you sure?”

She gazed into his eyes and nodded. “One day, I’ll show you how sure I am.” Curious over what she meant, Callum frowned a little, but she just grinned, leaning in and kissing him. “Until then, how about we break in our new bed?”

The frown turned into a smile, and he nodded, gently scooping her up. “That’s something I can arrange.”

~#~

“Rayla! I’m home!”

“How was work, Cal? Did you burn the bakery down?”

“No, I didn’t burn the bakery down.” He grumbled at her tease, putting his coat on the peg by the door. “But I did master my croissants today. Chief thinks I might even be ready to try...” He trailed off as he turned to the main room. Normally, it was furnished with a table, chairs, and some clutter, but now it had been cleared to the sides to create an open space. A long metal pole was bolted between the ceiling and the floor. 

“What’s this?” he asked, giving it a test pull and finding it fitted firmly.

“Well, you know the other day when that song came on the radio?” 

“Which one?”

“Love Me Like You Do?”

“Oh yeah, I remember.”

“And you said it used to be one of your dances?” Rayla poured a glass of wine as she stood on the other side of the pole. “And you said you kinda missed dancing to it?”

“Yeah, it was very different from my normal dances,” he explained, touching the pole once more.

A hand touched his shoulder and he looked to see her cheeky smile. “I never saw you dance to that one.”

“Really?”

“I thought I saw every one of your routines, but I never got to see that one.” She gave him a puppy-dog face. “Do you think…I could see it now?”

He thought about it for a bit with a loud, deliberate hum. "Well...I dunno. I am pretty tired from work." He looked into her eyes with a smile. "But...for you, I can find the strength."

She beamed and pecked his lips, going back to the chair she'd set up to watch him from, then pressed a remote control for the music player.

Rolling his shoulders, Callum thought back to the routine, but he decided he'd throw in a few special bits for his girl.

The music started softly, building to the first part which Callum used to get into position and undo the top buttons of his shirt. He grinned at Rayla as she sat with a glass in hand and a smile on her lips. When the lyrics finally began, he moved left and right around the pole, bending his legs so his back arched. He gripped the pole, moving like he’d never left the stage. He was perfectly in sync with the beat and the words, gliding around the pole perfectly.

When the song reached its chorus, he skillfully undid the remaining buttons and slipped his shirt down his arms and onto the floor. He kicked it away while doing a high kick that would make any cancan dancer jealous, and with lyrics like ‘touch me like you do’, he couldn’t help a cheeky wink to his audience. Specifically, his exclusive audience of one.

As the beat picked up and a crescendo was hit in the chorus, he leapt up onto the pole, wrapping his legs around it and using the force to spin around. It showed his great balance and strength before he gradually set his feet to the floor.

Once more, the music calmed, and he used the calmness to slowly pull his vest off, leaving his top bare to her eyes. He walked over to her, gently touching her cheek and smiling before turning back just in time for the second, loud, and fast crescendo. 

“What are you waiting for?!” The song sang out, and Callum felt the words touch his heart as he gripped the pole and did an upside down hanging position. The song then ended as it had started, slowing to a simple fade out which Callum had always struggled with before, but now, he just used it to walk over to Rayla and kneel at her side, taking her hand and kissing the back. 

There wasn’t another song, and for a bit, they just remained silent as Callum got his breath back and Rayla stared at him, unable to bring words to her mouth. Finally, she smiled and pulled out a blue rose from behind her, holding it in between them.

Looking down at the flower, Callum chuckled, taking it from her gently and sniffing it’s beautiful, soft petals. Slowly, Rayla guided him to stand with her. 

It was then that Callum took in her evening dress, one of the few that they had packed when coming to Del Bar. It was one of the dresses she used to wear to the club, sapphire blue to match his emerald green. She smiled softly at him. “Callum…almost two years ago, you asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this. If I wanted to give up my previous life and be with you. And I said, one day, I’ll show you how sure I am. Well…today is that day.” 

He frowned at her with a confused arch of his brow. “What do you mean?”

“Callum…I have never, not once, regretted falling in love with you. For everything I left behind, you have helped me find something far better than before. You have made me happier than anything else in this world.” She stared at him, a slight nervousness in her eyes. “So…Callum, to prove how much I want to be with you…” 

His eyes went wide as she knelt before him in the dark blue gown and picked up a small box from under the chair she’d been sitting in, opening it to reveal a silver band with delicate engravings.

“Will you marry me and be my husband?

Callum stared at the ring, then at the elf, his jaw dropping. “Y-you…you want to marry me?”

“I’m on my knees in front of you with a ring, and I just asked you, dummy.” She chuckled lightheartedly. “Well? What do you say?”

With tears in his eyes, he scoffed a laugh and nodded. “Yes! Yes! I…I’ll marry you!”

Laughing as well, Rayla rose back up and took his hand, carefully slipping the ring from its box onto his finger, knowing it would be a perfect fit. She’d worked out his ring size weeks ago.

Once it rested snuggly on his finger, her four fingers interlocked with his five, and she pulled him into her, kissing him firmly on the lips and purring at his returned affection. 

~#~

It was a longer engagement, taking about a year and half, but Callum didn’t want to rush. They also wanted to save up for a grand, elegant event. But when they thought about invites, they both realised they didn’t have many people to send one to. They were new to Del Bar, and they both knew only a handful of coworkers. So, the event was toned down to a small resort on the ski slopes two hours away from their apartment on a November’s wintery day.

The pair were joined by staff from the mall where Rayla patrolled as a security guard, and others from the bakery where Callum worked. A few of his new skiing friends were invited too. But the guests they were the most excited to see were Soren and Claudia who, according to Soren, had invited herself as soon as he mentioned he was going to their wedding.

When the main ceremony was over, the blond and raven-haired woman came over to them. “Hey Emerald,” he said softly, hugging the brunet. “That was an amazing ceremony.”

“I’m glad you could make it Soren.” The former dancer smiled. “How are things back at the Mage?”

“Ah…” He looked at Claudia who gave him a shy smile. “Well…the thing is…it kinda…shut down.”

"What?" the couple gasped. "Th-The Mage is gone?"

"Yeah. It’s a casino now."

"What happened?"

"Well...turns out Double A was double dealing," Claudia sighed. "He was selling all the old booze out of the country and not declaring it."

Soren shrugged. "None of us knew...but the gov caught him and put him away for it."

"Wow," Callum said in disbelief. "That's...not how I thought the club would go down."

"Yeah...for not paying their taxes.” Rayla sighed with a shake of her head.

"I tried to get new work for as many people as I could. But yeah...the Mage is gone,” the blond said with another shrug.

"Well...that's incredible."

The others nodded in agreement. "Anyway, on our way here, we were asked to give you guys something."

The couple looked at him as he pulled something out of a back pocket. "What is it?"

"Dunno. It’s a letter addressed to you two. Whoever wrote it knew I was coming to see you," he explained, pulling it out and passing over the envelope that almost looked like a bill. "I was leaving my flat, some elf guy came up to me, and asked 'are you going to Rayla's wedding?' and when I said I was, he asked me to give that to you."

Taking it, Rayla opened the envelope carefully to find two pieces of paper, one smaller and one larger. The smaller paper appeared to be some kind of check with 150,000 written and addressed to them.

Gasping at the amount, the pair quickly looked at the other paper which simply read 'We will always love you. E+R’ .

After reading the little note for a second time, tears began to roll down Rayla's face. They hadn't forgotten about her.

Callum became concerned, watching her worriedly while he rubbed her back, but she just smiled up at him, wiping her eyes. "They still love me," she whispered, giving her new husband a tight hug before turning back to Soren and Claudia.

"Thank you again for coming to see us, both of you." Rayla smiled sincerely, stepping up to hug them.

The siblings looked confused over the mysterious note, but they simply hugged her in return. "I'm glad you’re both happy here.”

"Yeah. I’d say we’re more than happy." Rayla sighed, leaning on Callum's shoulder comfortably and smiling up at him. "But I wanted to ask...do you plan to come visit when little Cal comes along?"

They all looked shocked at the words, including Callum who turned to his bride. "What did you just say?"

The Moonshadow giggled and beamed up at him.

 

The End