Villain, 33

All Deals Are Dirty when the Dealers Are Dirty Too

Ao3 Link

Sam’s knees hurt every time the cart jostled them, which was a lot since they were travelling up a mountain. The path only seemed to be getting rockier and rockier, his knees taking the hit every time it did.

Every jostle of the cart seemed to drive Henry’s cock deeper into Sam’s mouth, earning him grunts and moans from Henry every so often. Sam had been in this position for a half-hour, ever since Henry had suggested that they pass the time on the road practicing Sam’s oral skills like Isaac had told them to.

Sam could have cursed Isaac for putting him in this position, but instead he’d just smiled, pleased. Only a few days and it was clear that Henry was addicted to this. He wanted something from Sam that he had to ask for, and as long as that was true, Sam had all the power. And it would always be true, because Sam had all the power and Henry didn’t.

Plus this had had the bonus effect of shutting Henry up about what they were going to do when they got to the monastery, which Sam didn’t know, because he had no fucking idea what was up there. Blowing Henry was definitely preferable to talking about nothing for the last leg of the trip.

Though his jaw was starting to hurt, and Sam found himself wondering when they were going to be there. Henry’s hands on his hair kept him from pulling off—though of course Sam could if he wanted to—and Sam kept sucking, determined to get Henry to cum.

He did eventually, Henry thrusting up into his throat and shooting hot seed down it, Sam doing his best to swallow so it didn’t run down his face and get on his clothes. He managed to get most of it and when Henry let him pull off, he coughed a little, wiping his mouth.

“You really are getting better at that,” Henry told him, patting Sam’s face.

“Be grateful to the chosen one,” Sam told him, coughing one more time. His throat was sore. He took a breath. “Are we nearly there or not?”

“We stopped moving a minute ago,” Henry told him, and as soon as he said it Sam realized it was true.

“You didn’t say anything?”

“You seemed invested in finishing,” Henry teased, taking Sam’s hand and helping him stand. A second later Henry stood as well and opened the door of the cart, brushing his hand over Sam’s lips one last time. “Let’s go.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Sam growled, following Henry out of the cart and onto the uneven ground below. He held Henry’s arm, smelling the sulphurous air. “Where’s the monastery?” he asked Henry.

“It’s not here,” Henry muttered back, pulling Sam in one direction. “There’s a flight of steps carved into the side of the mountain, the cart can’t go any farther. We’ll have to climb the last leg on foot.”

“Lovely,” Sam grumbled. Stupid nuns. No wonder Solomon had killed them. No wonder he’d hidden his mysterious centipede monster up here if it was so fucking hard to get to. A day and a half of travelling and now Sam had to walk up a flight of fucking stairs.

“It’s supposed to be the last leg of a pilgrimage,” Henry explained to him. “Technically we should have climbed the whole mountain on foot, but I don’t think either of us is getting closer to God no matter how much our legs hurt, so there wasn’t much point in that. Wait here for us,” he told the cart driver. “The king and I will be back in a few hours.”

“Yes, sir,” the driver said, sounding nervous.

“A few hours?” Sam asked, as they started up the steps, Henry pulling and pushing him to keep Sam away from loose stones. “How many fucking stairs are there?”

“Not that many, I think,” Henry told him. “I just don’t know how long we’ll be in the monastery. And I don’t want him deciding we’re dead if we don’t come back in an hour.”

Reasonably enough, Sam thought. “If we have to walk down this mountain, I will level it myself.”

“The people of Ech’kent would rather you didn’t,” Henry told him. “So hopefully the driver waits.”

“I don’t care what the people of Ech’kent want,” Sam said, using the native word for the Fury Plateau because Henry had. “I’m their king, not the other way around.”

“If you cared what they wanted, they’d like you better.”

“I don’t care if they like me.”

“You should,” Henry told him, guiding Sam to the left. “Considering that they feed you and supply you with servants, soldiers and taxes.”

“They pay taxes to me?” Sam hadn’t known that.

“Of course they do, you’re their king.”

“Well…” Sam scowled. “That doesn’t matter. They’re going to keep doing that anyway because if they don’t I’ll slaughter them, they know that.”

“They do,” Henry agreed. “But if they liked you, they’d do it and you could devote less resources to keeping them in line.”

“Do I devote a lot of resources to that now?” Sam asked, a little embarrassed that he didn’t know any of this.

“Over half your soldiers are out in the plateau at all times just making sure that the people don’t rebel against you. There are little uprisings all the time. There’s one going on in the southeast again. I just got the report this morning.”

“Didn’t…” Sam tried to remember. “Didn’t Cole suppress that?”

“Not very well, apparently. They’ve killed three of your guards. We’re going to have to deal with them.”

“Send someone,’ Sam muttered. “Kill the ringleaders, do whatever we do to suppress these things.”

“I think we should go,” Henry said, pausing Sam and moving a rock with a loud clatter.

“Why the hell should we do that?” Kings didn’t go out and deal with every minor annoyance, that was why they had servants.

“Because sending your lackeys obviously isn’t working,” Henry told him. “You need to show them that you know they exist, and that you care, and that you won’t tolerate dissension.”

“Only the first and third things are true,” Sam said, sighing. “I can’t show that I don’t tolerate dissension and make them like me at the same time.”

“Maybe,” Henry said. “But you can show that you’re worth liking to the people who aren’t dissenting.”

“Or I could just flay a few of them alive until they remember why I’m the fucking king and they aren’t,” Sam growled.

“Not a viable long-term ruling strategy,” Henry told him. The ground they were on right now was flat, but Henry turned Sam and they started up another flight of stairs. Sam’s legs hurt.

“And you’d know?” Sam snapped.

“I would.”

“Your family did such a good job ruling the Plateau that they rolled over when Solomon moved in. What makes you think you have any idea how ruling works?”

Henry’s hand tightened a little on Sam’s back. “I’m doing it now, aren’t I?”

Sam didn’t have an answer to that, so he didn’t say anything, thinking about it while his legs burned. Just when he was about to hit his limit, the stairs ended. “We’re here,” Henry said. “The monastery is right there.”

“Let’s go inside.” Sam muttered, wishing he didn’t need Henry to guide him.

But he did, so Henry guided him, taking a breath before pushing open a door that creaked and gave off a waft of air that smelled like rot. “Wonderful,” Henry muttered, leading Sam inside. There, Sam could hear it. Chittering, skittering. Insects, centipedes.

“How many of them are there?” he asked.

“A lot,” Henry muttered.

“Yeah.” Sam took a breath. “Okay. It feels like this thing is deeper into he monastery. We’ll head there…”

“No,” Henry said, hand on Sam’s arm. “We’ll stay here.”

Sam snorted. “Scared, Henry?”

Henry squeezed his arm. “You’re a king. You don’t go hunting for someone who’s invited you, not when you’ve already come all the way here. This thing can come and show some half-decent hospitality if it wants an audience with you.”

Sam thought about that. Henry…wasn’t wrong. “Okay,” he said, standing still. “You’re right. We’ll wait.”

Almost as soon as Sam said that, the clicking in the room got louder as the centipedes swarmed, and it filled the room until Sam realized that it sounded exactly like laughter, filling Sam’s ears, surrounding them.

And then it coalesced, into one source in front of Sam, accompanied by a clicking, clattering, and some other sound that Sam couldn’t place but which sounded like liquid. “Fuck,” Henry muttered.

“What’s happening?” Sam demanded, felling power forming in front of them. He grabbed his own power, the stone pulsing, just in case.

“They’re climbing onto each other. They’re making a shape. It’s…it looks like a person. Made of centipedes.” Henry sounded sick.

“Well, that’s disgusting,” Sam said.

“Heh.” A voice said, vaguely masculine, vaguely human. It sounded like it was coming from fifty places at once, but those fifty places were all the same place. “Come into my house and insult me, huh?”

“Well, fuck,” Henry muttered, holding Sam’s arm as Sam felt another surge of power. “It…looks like a human now. Mostly.”

Sam wondered what that ‘mostly’ meant, but he exhaled, directing his attention forward. “You invited me here?” Sam asked, trying to hide nerves.

“I did,” the creature said, still clicking a bit when he spoke. “Thank you for coming all this way, Your daddy never came to visit me, you know. Well, once, when he cleared out the bugs that used to live here. But never after that.”

“I can’t imagine why,” Henry muttered.

But Sam shushed him. “You’re the reason why he emptied out this monastery. So you could live here instead.”

“That’s right,” the creature told Sam. “I needed more than the pit in your house. There’s a lot of me to go around, you see.”

Sam could hear centipedes still, all around them. And he remembered how many of them there were in the capital. “All of the centipedes,” he said, just to make sure. “They’re all you, aren’t they?”

“Yes, they are.” Laughter from the creature.

“What are you?” Sam demanded, unnerved. He felt like he might fall over, and he didn’t like that. His power was skittering up and down his body, unsure.

“I just told you, I’m a zillion little centipedes. Your vocal tract is too sophisticated to pronounce my name, but your daddy used to call me Scott if that helps.”

That wasn’t what Sam had asked, so he answered it on his own. “You’re a demon,” he concluded.

Sometimes sorcerers could make contracts with demons, but it was a dangerous prospect. They were powerful and uncontrollable. And they were supposed to be chained up in hell where they belonged, but this one was clearly here, not chained up. And that was very worrying, even to Sam, who wasn’t in the habit of worrying.

“If you want to put your words on it, sure,” Scott said, taking a step closer to Sam, who had to fight himself not to take a step back. Being in proximity to the power that Scott was revolted Sam, repulsed everything in him. “The real kind, not the bunch of dumbasses you get running around your world all the time.”

Sam didn’t know what that meant. “Demons are all chained and sealed in hell,” he said. “And can only be freed momentarily through contracts with sorcerers. How are you here?”

“I’m slippery,” Scott told him, taking another step. Henry squeezed Sam’s arm, and Sam felt his power crawling. “I’m hard to chain up. And there have been…instances. In which gates were opened more widely than they should have been. In which trespasses were made that shouldn’t have been. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all of my kind are sealed just because you’ve only ever seen us in chains.”

Sam had never encountered a demon at all before now. He’d had no idea, none at all, that this could happen. Maybe, he thought, maybe that meant that the shadow from before was one too, was something like Scott. He took a breath of dead air. “Fine. You’re not chained. But you’re stuck here, aren’t you? This part of you is stuck here. Otherwise why didn’t you manifest like this in the church? Or in my castle? You made me come here because this is where your power is, didn’t you?”

More chittering laughter that seemed to echo. Scott took another step forward. “You’re right. I’m here in this tomb for the most part. Daddy preferred it that way. I don’t think he wanted me in his clean little castle down there.”

Sam could well understand why. Suddenly he wasn’t sure he wanted any centipedes in his castle at all. “Why did you call me here?” Sam asked. “What do you want?”

“I want a lot of things,” Scott said, stepping forward again. Sam knew he had to stand here, knew he couldn’t move, and he let Henry root him in place. “So many things, so many.” He reached up, power brushing Sam’s, making Sam feel sick. He touched Sam’s face, and it felt like a thousand little feet on his cheek, burrowing into his skin. “Are you afraid of me, Samson?”

“No,” Sam made himself say.

“Why not?” Scott’s breath was falling on Sam’s face.

“Because you’re bound to your contract with Solomon,” Sam said, shaking. This was true, he knew it was true. He just had to calm down and think, like Henry kept telling him, and he’d be fine. “Which is a contract with his clan, which is a contract with me. You’re not going to hurt me because you’d be sent back to hell if you did.”

Scott kept his hand on Sam’s cheek for a second. “Heh.” He let it fall. “You’re right. Mostly. I asked you to come here because I wanted to discuss that contract and I’d hoped you would be more reasonable than your daddy.”

Beside Sam, Henry snorted, but Sam ignored that. “What were the terms of your contact with Solomon?”

“Who cares?” Scott asked. “He’s gone. I ate him myself. I’m talking to you now.”

“You haven’t told us what you want,” Henry said to him.

“You be quiet,” Scott chittered at Henry, who clutched Sam’s arm a little more tightly.

“He’s right,” Sam said. His legs still hurt. “What do you want?”

“I told you, a lot of things.” Scott didn’t talk for a second, the air filled with the sounds of centipedes. They must be everywhere in here. Scott must be everywhere. “So many things. But what I want from you, specifically? I want you to make sure I can eat everyone in the city you call Three Hills. And then I want to build my nest there.”

Sam scowled. “But why?” That didn’t make any sense to Sam. There were bigger cities, less fortified cities, and more populous ones as well.

“Doesn’t matter why. I just do. That’s my only demand. Oh, no it’s not. I want to be able to leave this mountain. I’m tired of it. Let me out sometimes, just for walks.”

“No,” Sam said immediately. He didn’t need Henry’s warning grip on him to know this. “You’re too dangerous to be allowed to just wander around the world whenever you want.” Six months ago Sam might not have cared. But he wasn’t going to let Scott wreak havoc indiscriminately.

“And you’re not?” Scott asked, voice darkening a little. But then the presence that accompanied that faded back to the normal oily revulsion. “Fine. You’re just as boring as your daddy. But I can let that go. How about limited visiting time? With your permission only?”

“What are you offering him in exchange?” Henry demanded, before Sam could say anything.

“The same thing I offered his daddy. Access to me. You can send parts of me wherever you can get them on errands, which includes inside people who can do stuff for you. I’m a good spy. You have no idea how many places I’m in, do you? You could know all that, Samson. And you can direct all of me however you like, I’ll do as you say.”

Sam swallowed. He needed that information. He needed to know what his father had been planning. And it sounded like Scott was a big part of that. He opened his mouth.

Henry squeezed his arm again. “And what else?”

“There is no what else,” Scott clicked. “That’s the offer.”

“No,” Henry said.


“Sam. You heard him, that’s exactly what he offered to Solomon, and Solomon gave him less in exchange. If you’re going to agree to letting him out of here sometimes, then he needs to give you something he didn’t give Solomon. Something important, considering how badly he wants out.”

Scott made an annoyed noise, and Sam smiled. “Henry’s right, Scott. I’m not renegotiating the contract if all I’m getting is what I already have.”

Another annoyed noise. “What do you want, then?”

Sam thought about it. He wished Scott would go away so he could talk to Henry for a minute. But he didn’t, so Sam took in a breath, trying to decide. Something he could use, something helpful, something… “Control,” Sam eventually said. “Of you.”

Henry made an approving noise, and Sam smiled again.

“You already have that,” Scott protested.

“No, I don’t. Or else Solomon wouldn’t have locked you up here. You’d have been in a room in the castle if he could trust you not to eat people he didn’t want you to eat. I’ll let you out of this mountain sometimes. But you’re going to do everything I tell you. And you’re not going to do anything I don’t tell you. If you eat a cat without permission I’ll consider that a breach of contract. If you lay an egg without asking I’ll send you back to hell where you belong. You want to be allowed out? You’re going to do it on a leash, Scott. A very short one.”

“You…” Scott clicked and chittered, voice growing and shrinking, coming from all over. Sam didn’t need Henry to tell him that Scott’s human form was probably collapsing, and his power pressed in on Sam from all sides, poisoning the air, tainting him with its touch, and Sam wanted to explode, to fight back against it, holding the power of the stone in his fist, ready to level everything if that was what it took to…

“Heh.” Scott’s power receded, his voice returning to what passed for normal. “I’d like to pretend that you’ll pay for humiliating me like this. But you won’t, since the contract is effective until you die. Well done, Samson.”

Sam felt a bit of pride at that, but he quashed it. Scott hadn’t agreed to the deal yet. “While I’m at it, I’ll throw in one last stipulation. You have to tell me everything you did for Solomon and everything you know or suspect about his plans. And you’re not allowed to lie to me about anything, ever. Got it?”

“That’s two different stipulations,” Scott said, quiet now. “But fine. I agree to these terms, sorcerer. I am the Demon of Ceaseless Hunger, and I would form pact with you.” Behind that was a name, one Sam’s mind couldn’t quite hear, one that made his ears bleed.

“Give me your knife, Henry,” Sam ordered, holding out his hand. Henry did without complaint, and Sam took it and slid the blade across his forearm, trying to remember how this went. He’d only heard about it. “I too agree to these terms, demon. I am a sorcerer of Clan Netzer, and I accept your offer of pact. Long may our partnership last, in power and in blood.” He touched both Forces at once, exhaled power as he held out his hand to Scott.

A tongue lashed across Sam’s arm, drinking the blood, the power. And Scott’s hand was offered to him, leaking virulent power. “In power and in blood,” Scott echoed.

Sam took it and licked the blood from Scott’s hand, drinking it down, letting the power into him. It was the worst thing he’d ever tasted, but he avoided gagging, barely. “And so the pact is made.”

“And so it is.” Scott stepped back. “Now, I believe I have some stories to tell you, Samson.”

“Yes,” Sam said, feeling ill. His hearing was dulled with the blood in his ears. “But tomorrow. You can come to the castle and tell me then.”

“My first walk on my new leash!” Scott clapped his hands. “I can’t wait, Sorcerer King. I’d kiss you, but you’d have to give me permission first.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” Sam said with a shudder, turning away. “We’re leaving. Until tomorrow, Scott.”

“I await your summons, my king,” Scott mocked, form dissolving again as Henry led Sam out. They walked through centipedes to get to the door, and when they finally stepped outside Henry pushed the door shut immediately.

“That was disgusting,” Sam said, rubbing at his ears.

“Yeah. You did well, though. Good work.”

Sam smiled. “Really? I’m surprised you’re not waiting to tell me what I did wrong.”

“Well,” Henry said, hand on Sam’s back as he led him away from the monastery. “I’d rather you hadn’t let him out at all. The ultimate control stipulation was good. But I’m nervous about him having any foothold in the rest of the world. Especially since your control of yourself is dubious at best.”

Sam snorted. “Whatever. I need an entity like that on my side. In order to combat the one who I’m sure isn’t.”

“I get it. But what’s he going to do after he turns Three Hills into his nest?”

“Who cares?” Sam asked. “He’s our slave. He can’t hurt us, and if we don’t like what he’s doing, we can order him to stop until we die. And then after that we’ll be dead, so who cares?”

“A king really should be concerned with legacies,” Henry told him.

“The contract passes down to others in my clan, that’s legacy enough,” Sam muttered. “God, I want a bath. I feel sick.”

“Even I felt his power,” Henry agreed. “It was gross.”

“I don’t blame Solomon for not wanting him in the castle,” Sam said. “I’ll tell him he has to sleep in the pit. Or in Todd’s room.”

“Derek doesn’t deserve that.”

“Who cares? Derek can sleep in our bed if you’re that worried about him. In fact, he should anyway. You haven’t fucked him yet and I want you to.”

“You said he wasn’t very good,” Henry reminded him.

“He’s not, but he’s worth doing at least once.”

They made their way down the steps, down the mountain, dirty but accomplished.

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