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Chris woke up to the sight of an unfamiliar ceiling. There was a vague sense of panic, of apprehension that he couldn’t place his finger on, but it was muffled and muted by the vestiges of sleep and a pounding headache.

Where was he again?

He was startled out of his musings by the approaching sound of someone humming, soft but content. He quickly sat up, displacing sheets only to register the fact that he was nude. By the time he had drawn the sheets back to cover certain parts of his anatomy and had found his glasses and returned them to their proper perch on his nose the humming had stopped, right outside of the door. There was a curt knock.

“Ah,” Christian began, then winced. His throat felt abused and sore, and he was slowly becoming aware of aches in other areas as well. What exactly had happened last night? He coughed, and tried again, hating how his uncertainty manifested itself in his voice. “Come in?”

The door creaked open, but instead of the green tattered coat Christ had been expecting (but that wasn’t right, Gaz wouldn’t have knocked anyways and they would be in their own place, not wherever here was) there was the royal blue of an Arcadian official, the flutter of wings, and shit.

What was Officer Apoidea doing here?

Had Gaz done something? (the answer was always yes, but had he done something enough to warrant a visit from the police?) Had Christian done something? The policewoman waited patiently as Chris struggled with his increasing panic.

“Professor Vogal,” she began, then stopped, hesitant. Wait, why was she hesitant? She looked down at her boots, before looking back up. “No, that’s not right.” Then before Christian could say anything she strode over in a few sure strides, pulling up next to the bed, and proceeded to lean down, grab him by his shoulders, and kiss him.

Christian’s mind stuttered to a halt, and he found himself leaning into the kiss before his thoughts finally kicked back in.

Whoa whoa wait what was happening

Apoidea pulled back, blushing slightly. “I hope that wasn’t too forward of me, Chris,” she murmured, smiling faintly. “I’ve got to report for work, but the innkeeper has food prepared in his dining room and there’s a shower down the hallway. I really did enjoy last night though. If you ever have any free time…” her voice trailed off. “Don’t be a stranger, alright? You know where to find me.”

With that she turned around and left the room, before Chris could say anything.

Chris stared at the closed door, trying to process everything that had just happened. He still didn’t remember what exactly had occurred last night, but it was becoming less and less difficult to figure out.

Well, shit.


 

By the time Chris stumbled out of bed (fuck he was sore) and into the shower parts of his memory had started to return. He… he had argued with Gaz over something. He couldn’t remember what, just both parties clashing, both refusing to back down. Words were said that should’ve been unsaid, and Christian remembered storming out of the Catacombs feeling hurt and angry. That, coupled with a sudden acute feeling of homesickness (because despite the fact that he had everything he could want in Arcadia, money, a manor, prestige, Mercia was always going to be home for him), had led to some… unwise decisions that he had vowed to stay away from since his younger days.

He went to get himself shit-facedly drunk.

And it wasn’t in the privacy of his own residence, either. Too many ghosts and memories and emotions he didn’t want to deal with. Instead, he went to a pub that he remembered from his university days. And he had stayed for hours, downing drink after drink.

For obvious reasons, that’s when his memory started getting a little hazy. At some point a couple of officers had walked in. Some of them had recognized him and had been concerned. A noble, out in a public place like this, impaired in every way possible, with a serial killer on the loose? So Officer Apoidea had volunteered to take him back to his place of residence, and… that’s really where Chris’s mind blanked out. The end result, anyways, was that they had ended up renting a room at an inn for the night, and had… well. Apparently. Chris had no memory of who started what, or what exactly had happened, but he was a scientist. It wasn’t hard to formulate a hypothesis based off his observations—bruised flesh, sore throat, and an ass that ached.

He lay in bed, sprawled chest against the sheets, face buried in his arms as the other Arcadian took him from behind. He had never done this before, but it wasn’t as if he never had thought about it, never had been curious, and when Apoidea had suggested the strap-on the alcohol he had imbibed spoke for him and said yes.

The friction against his entrance and the pressure against that bundle of nerves within his body had felt strange at first, but gradually drove him to the brink of pleasure, and he involuntarily cried out as he found his release. “Oh fuck, Gaz!”

Chris’s eyes widened at his fragmented memory. He hadn’t, had he? Oh geez, he really hoped he hadn’t. He consoled himself with the thought that if that had actually happened then there would be no way the policewoman would have been so cordial in the morning. But if it hadn’t, then his subconscious was trying to project and tell him something that he had been trying not to think about for the longest of times. Not that he wasn’t aware of it. Thank you very much, subconscious. Glad that he was alone but full of mortification, Christian made to bury his face in hands, only to curse as shampoo got into his eyes.

What a great way to start the day.


Chris never did recall the full events of that night, but he blamed the alcohol and gave it up for a lost cause. It wasn’t as if this was the first time he lost certain memories thanks to drinking, but it had been something he had sworn off of, and it certainly made any further interactions with the Arcadian police force extremely awkward on his part. Apoidea apparently didn’t feel the same way.

Not that her company was unwanted. Chris had originally worried and stressed about apologizing to her, about trying to explain to her that he was so, so sorry and didn’t want to lead her on, that he didn’t feel that way about her, but no explanation had been necessary. When he had finally worked up the nerve and sought her out to speak with her privately, she had simply smiled and said “I know. It’s fine, it’s the same with me. I had fun though and enjoyed your company.”

They had lapsed into some sort of easy friendship, to Christian’s eternal confusion. She would seek him out when he wasn’t with the Ringleader, bringing him meals and coffee, enquiring about his health. One day Chris admitted to the beginnings of what could be a cold, that after so much time away he was ill-prepared and ill-adjusted to Arcadia’s snowy, colder climate. The next day Apoidea came back with a whole pot of hot soup, as well as several sweaters and scarves. Christian wasn’t sure why she was so invested in his well-being, why she cared so much, but when he asked she had simply smiled, antennae twitching, and told him “I consider you to be someone important to me.” Chris had balked at that, but over time she gradually won him over and he had accepted and become comfortable in her company.

Once, there had been an altercation in the streets between him and some more desperate, poorer citizens. They had pulled out their knives, and although Chris wasn’t a stranger to self-defense there had been too many of them, and ended up overwhelming him.

Chris had been on the verge of blacking out after suffering a blow to the head, his own blood trickling down into his eye, when he heard the sound of somebody running toward them, of a figure beating back his attackers and the alarmed shouts of the latter.

His last thought before he completely lost consciousness was that he had terribly missed Gaz’s company after all.


Chris woke up to the sight of an unfamiliar ceiling. There was a vague sense of panic, of apprehension that he couldn’t place his finger on, but it was muffled and muted by the vestiges of sleep and a pounding headache.

Where was he again?

His head was swathed in bandages and his whole body hurt.

“I’m glad you’re safe.”

He blearily turned his head, to see Apoidea sitting by his bed.

“I…”

“After arresting the criminals I cleaned your wounds and brought you to my barracks, but I wasn’t completely sure the extent of your injuries or if you had a concussion or not. It’s good to see you awake.”

Christian briefly squeezed his eyes shut, hoping that the pain would go away. It didn’t. “You saved me?” Not…

Apoidea nodded, and Christian squashed the flare of disappointment and worry? that bloomed in his chest. “I’m. Thank you. I’m really grateful.” There was something off, but he couldn’t place his finger on it and blamed the blow to the head.

She flashed him a sad smile. “Do be more careful next time, Christian. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t been nearby at the time.”

Chris coughed, smiling weakly in her direction. “I’ll do my best, but it’s not like I’m walking around with a ‘JUMP ME’ sign,” he joked.

“Hmmm.” She stood up, chair screeching against the floor as it was pushed away from the bed. “I’ve got to back on patrol, but do take care and concentrate on getting better. You’re not to move for now—your injuries while not fatal, are nothing to sneeze at. I’ll try to visit later, and we’ll determine then when you can return to your own place.”

Christian said his farewells and repeated his thanks, but after she left his eyes turned back to stare at the ceiling. With nothing to do for a few hours in bed, his mind strayed to thoughts and worries he had been repressing for a few weeks.

Where in the world was Gaz?


Eventually he returned to his own place, but the wounds were slow-healing and somedays they felt worse. He didn’t remember getting hit or sliced up anywhere near his middle, but if felt bruised and swollen and sometimes eating was painful. Apoidea visited him in her spare hours, administering aid according to doctors’ words.

Despite her help and company, Chris’s condition only slowly worsened.

He would feverishly wake up at night, screaming and clutching his abdomen, retching in pain. He started having more and more nightmares, of baleful pale faces framed with russet-red hair. Why didn’t you look for me, why didn’t you help, and worst of all, why didn’t you stop the same thing from happening to yourself. In the early hours of morning when the watery sunlight would pour into his room and weakly banish the nightmares, Christian reminded himself that the esteemed King of Rats could definitely take care of himself and was probably fine somewhere deep in the Catacombs.

Those were the nightmares that made sense.

Then there were the ones where he could only feel emotions, horror and panic that would grow and escalate until he woke up gasping and would subsequently throw up. Upon waking he’d instinctively reach out for a hand that wasn’t there, and he would spend the rest of the night staring at the ceiling plagued by unwelcome thoughts, feeling slightly nauseous and unable to sleep for the rest of the night.


 And then one night everything came to a head.

Christian woke up clutching his abdomen in pain, as had become norm, but something was different this time.He squeezed his eyes shut, face twisted with agony. Something felt like it was shifting within him.

“Christian?”

His eyes flew open as he realized he wasn’t the only occupant in the room. What was Apoidea doing here at this hour?

She stood near the window, silhouetted by the cold moonlight, foreign and almost unrecognizable this way. Gone was the familiar warmth that he had come to associate with her over the past few weeks.

“Apoidea, please, I don’t—“ Chris let out a cry of pain as another spasm wracked him body. It felt like he was tearing apart from his insides. She quickly hurried over, placing her hand on his shoulder as a gesture of comfort, her eyes intense and almost glittering in the half-light as she searched his face.

With her hair framing her head like that, leaning over his body at night, Christian finally remembered.

He continued to gasp through his orgasm, shivering with pleasure. He felt the other pull out, and relaxed, only to freeze up once again as something pierced his flank.

After the initial, painful sting, there was only an alarming sense of numbness that quickly spread up his whole body, rendering him immobile.

“Finally,” he heard her say to herself. Her hands firmly gripped his sides and she easily rolled him over so he was now facing her, unable to look away with his body’s autonomy now stolen.

She was beautiful, something that he hadn’t completely appreciated before, but there was definitely something right out of sight that wasn’t quite right, wasn’t human. It didn't matter before, but now, he was afraid. Her wings flared a bit as she moved up, straddling his chest. As sensitive as he was, whatever had paralyzed his body kept him from even the involuntary shivers that would normally wrack his body at this point. She shifted around, before grabbing him by his hair, roughly dragging his face to her groin.

He felt her grab his jaw, tilting it open, before something wedged itself inside his mouth, something rubbery and long. He would’ve gagged but his body wouldn’t respond, and she continued to thrust, abusing his mouth and throat, movements becoming more erratic and sudden.

He only realized her intentions when the first egg shot down his throat. Christian choked in alarm as the object—as hard and slimy and relatively big as it was—forced its way down his throat and into his chest. His muscles convulsed in opposition but there was nothing he could do as another egg followed, it too adhering itself somewhere deep within him.

When she was finally done, when she finally removed herself, Christian felt sick and overwhelmed with panic. She released her grip on his hair, and his limp, prone body crashed back onto the bed with a thud.

“You make this too easy for me—between the alcohol and the toxin you’ll never remember this in the morning.”

“I’m sorry it had to be this way,” she murmured into his ear as he lay gasping, clutching at his middle. “But I’m afraid you and the Ringleader were interfering too much with our investigations. Don’t worry, he’s been… dealt with as well.”

His eyes widened in fear as he finally understood. He let out a whimper, so paralyzed from pain he couldn’t even draw in enough air to scream as something clawed at his insides, finally ripping its way free.

This whole time, Apoidea hadn’t been looking after him.

She had been looking after her young.