Little Red Riding Hood

August 4, 2007 Danae Klimt
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A Tale of Nouveau Monmartre

I. Dermot

Once upon a time, they say, Courtesies never went out of the tower. They were enclosed, protected, shrouded in mysteries, like monks in a cloister, houris in the hareem.

As a Courtesy myself, I know that isn’t strictly true. The Founders merely wanted us to be distinguished, in the minds of our clients, from the street-corner prostitute of old Earth. They set down a policy that, with very few exceptions, we Courtesies should not perform our services outside the walls of Sacre Coeur, our home and haven. And rather than displaying our charms to the public, as the streetwalkers did, when we do go out, we wrap ourselves in hooded red cloaks. We conceal and advertise ourselves with the same gesture.

It was one of those exceptions to the rule of enclosure that brought me out this afternoon. A very dear client of mine had been ill and in hospital for some time. A freelance space pilot who transported cargo from system to system back in the days before the Cygnian trance drive became widely used, he was the patron of my First Night, the first client I ever served. I saw him often over the years, whenever he had a delivery to the colony, and it was always a great pleasure when he did. He’s a scoundrel, full of queer stories and out-of-date slang; he always made me laugh as much as he made me come.

Two years ago, he came down with a mysterious virus he’d picked up on some uninhabited planet. The doctors can’t cure him; the healers can’t do anything for him, either, except make him comfortable. He is dying but very slowly, his life trickling away one drop at a time. I visit him at the hospice once a decan and do what I can for him. He can still carry on a conversation, so I always talk with him; I read to him, bring him discs of my recitals and Fionn’s, give him massage, and, if he’s feeling at his best, bring him to orgasm with my hand. They’re not certain, but they fear he could pass the virus to me if I pleasured him orally.

I was heading for the side entrance of the hospital, head down, when someone called out to me. “Hey, red-hood.”

He was over to my left, partly hidden by a cluster of elm trees: a man about my height, but a good deal broader than I am, wearing a brown jacket that was stretched too tightly over his shoulders. His head was shaven; his face was covered with an ill-kept beard.

I kept on going and didn’t speak, didn’t even look at him. Courtesies do not make assignations with clients when we are outside Sacre Coeur; many people won’t even speak first to a Courtesy on the street. I thought he must be a newcomer who doesn’t know how we behave, but I was in a hurry, having missed the omnibus I meant to catch. My client was expecting me at a certain time, and I didn’t want to disappoint him.

“Hey, whore, I’m talking to you.”

He started to approach me, and I swerved to go round him, tossing a few words over my shoulder. “I’m not a whore, and I won’t be treated like one. Go home and make an appointment over the Nexus like a civilised person.” Quickening my pace, I ducked into the doorway of St. Hildegard’s Hospice.

St. Hildegard’s Hospice is run by the Healing Sisterhood of St. Hildegard. St. Hildegard, I am told, was a great Benedictine abbess of the Middle Ages, who in addition to being a visionary practiced healing, composed music for her nuns to sing, and wrote books on medicine and a great many other topics. The sisters of St. Hildegard follow St. Benedict’s Rule and alternate between cloistered, contemplative periods at their abbey in the exurbs and duty at the hospice and in clinics around the colony. Unlike some of the religious orders on Nouveau Montmartre, they are friendly to us Courtesies and I was allowed to visit my friend privately and provide sexual satisfaction if he wanted it.

The portress, an elderly nun who looked as tiny in her voluminous green habit as a child in her mother’s clothes, greeted me with a smile and a nod but didn’t speak. She was used to seeing me come and go, and handed me the small visitor’s carta which I tucked into my sleeve. I nodded back, thinking, as I often did on these visits, how similar Courtesies and monastics are; both of us vowed to specific expressions of sexuality, both dressed in distinctive habits, both of us covering our heads before others.

I went quietly down the hallway and into the lift, checking my jacket for the gifts I had brought my client: a disc of folk music played by Fionn and some friends of his, a bottle of his favorite massage oil, and the book I had been reading to him on my last few visits. Harp music played softly throughout the building; sometimes it was flute music, or the ethereal chants composed by St. Hildegard, or the simpler chanting of the nuns at their Daily Office. They play specific kinds of music for healing purposes, but my friend liked something a little livelier, and he would appreciate the foot-stomping tunes Fionn and his cronies had recorded even if he could no longer dance to them. The sisters didn’t mind the patients plugging themselves in to music of their own choice.

Up three floors in the lift, then down the hallway to the left. Many of the doors along the corridor were closed, but my friend’s was open, and warm afternoon light streamed out onto the wooden floor of the hall.

“How’re they hanging, Jon?”

He turned from looking out the window and smiled at me. The sunlight made his face seem a little less gaunt and pale than it was.

“Low enough to scrape the ground, boy, low enough to scrape the ground.”

I bent over the bed and kissed his cheek. I’d been greeting him that way for years now, imitating his own Earth slang that was decades, if not centuries, out of date. The vigor of his answer assured me that he was in fairly good condition today.

“For a minute there I thought you were gonna be late.” He looked up into my face as I pulled over a chair.

“Missed my omnibus and had to wait for the next one. Sorry–I know you missed me.” I smiled flirtatiously from inside my hood.

“Ah, like I’d miss a good-for-nothing brat like you.” He laughed and reached out, too slowly, to grasp my hand. “Come on, take off that rag and let me see you.”

I waited until the footsteps I heard coming turned out to be Sister Philippa, the nun in charge of his floor this quarter. “Good afternoon, Sister.”

“Mr. McFarlane.” Sister Philippa did not particularly approve of me, but she had no authority to keep me out. The order’s policy was to allow their patients any visitors who were beneficial to their emotional well-being, including Courtesies. And Sister Helena, the prioress, thought I was “a cute boy.”

“I’ll be here at least two hours, Sister. Can you hold Mr. Corelli’s dinner until we call for it?”

“Very good, Mr. Corelli.” As usual, she answered as though he had spoken, not I. Sister gave the monitor over his bed a pointed look and then left, with a bit more swishing of skirts than I found strictly necessary. She couldn’t keep me out, but she could let me know that she disapproved.

I pouted for Jon’s benefit. “She doesn’t like me.”

“No, but she fluffs a mean pillow.” Jon sighed, his face drooping suddenly. “And she’s good at praying away the pain.”

I let go of his hand long enough to undo my cloak and let it fall behind me on the chair. Then I took his hand again in both of mine and massaged it gently. “Has it been bad, Gianni?”

He sighed again. “Off and on.” Fumbling with his other hand, he elevated the bed a bit. I could tell he was trying to look cheerful for my benefit. “So, what have you brought me, kid?”

I chuckled, playing my part for him. If he didn’t want to dwell on his ills right now, it wasn’t my task to make him do so. I was here to make him feel better, in whatever way his condition allowed. “You’re the one who sounds like a kid, greedy for his presents.” I made a show of digging around in my pockets and rolling my eyes toward the ceiling. “I’m not sure I remembered to bring them… have you even been good enough to deserve a present, anyway…?”

He was laughing nicely by the time I finally fetched out what I’d brought. “This,” I held up the disc, “was made for you by Fionn and those drunken, brawling, sentimental, nostalgic friends he likes to make noise with….”

“Music by Fire in the Head?” That was the name of the band with whom Fionn played on most Market Days; they performed traditional music of the Celtic countries on Earth on traditional acoustic instruments. Jon had introduced Fionn to the band leader, Colm, more than ten years ago now. He snatched at the disc. “Give it here, you whelp.”

“Save it for later, old man, when this whelp isn’t here to amuse you.” Next I showed him the book. “We’d almost finished book five, chapter four, hadn’t we?”

“Yes.” He patted my hand. “Looking forward to hearing more. You got anything else for me?”

“Well, I don’t know if you’re up for it….” I grinned slyly through my lashes and then presented the massage oil. “If you want, I’ll give you a good massage and more.”

Jon opened the bottle and sniffed at it. He moved slowly and carefully, and his hands were a bit shaky–shakier than last time, though I hated to admit it. “Plain old almond scent. My favorite.”

“Of course.” I took the bottle from him and put it on his bedside table. “Book first, or massage?”

“Read to me a while, kid.” He lowered the bed again, and I adjusted his pillows for him. “Ah, that’s good.”

I poured myself a glass of water from the bedside pitcher, found my place in the story, and began to read.

“‘Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed….”

I brought the story up through the ride of the Rohirrim and the unmasking of “Dernhelm” at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. By that time, Jon was looking fairly tired, although he’d been following my reading, so I commed Sister Philippa and asked her to send dinner along.

One of the other sisters, with the shorter veil of the claustral sisters who do most of the dirty work of nursing, brought in the tray a few minutes later. Dinner was a thick stew with chicken, sausage, potatoes, and other vegetables, iced tea, and a small platter of nectarines and Arcturian melaarti.

Jon reached for his napkin and began to unfold it. “Have a piece of fruit, kid. They never give me that much–Sister Carol must have sent extra because you’re here.”

I started to take a melaarth off the plate, but Jon was still fumbling with his napkin. He got slower and slower every month; his cocky spacer’s grin and his old-fashioned slang couldn’t completely hide the slow disintegration of his body. I took a quick breath to distract myself from my own sadness. “You need to elevate the bed, don’t you, love?”

“Right, yeah–”

As he groped for the controls of the bed, I seized his napkin and spread it out over his lap, pushing the wheeled tray back, as well, to accommodate the elevation of the bed. He shot me a look when he realized what I’d done. “Eat your fruit, kid.”

I pointed to the steaming dish of stew. “Eat your stew first. You’re the patient here, not I.”

I watched him pick up the spoon, roll it between his fingers to get a proper grip, dip it in the stew two or three times before getting an adequate spoonful, and bring it shakily to his mouth. Most of it went in, but a few drops splattered on his shirt.

“Gianni.” I waited until he looked at me, so he could see how serious I was. “Have you needed one of the sisters to feed you, lately?”

A muscle twitched at the corner of his jaw, and his lips twisted. He stared me down for a moment, then looked down at the tray, his shoulders dropping in defeat. “Sometimes.”

I reached out and took the spoon from his hand. He didn’t resist. I fed him the stew, spoonful by spoonful, managing to keep him distracted with a light chatter about my upcoming performances and somehow not to drop any of it on his clothes. I couldn’t bring myself to tuck the napkin under his chin as if he were a toddler. Then I cut up two of the nectarines for him into slices that he ate with a fork, and picked up the melaarth that I had set aside.

One of the things a Courtesy studies is how to eat in a sensual manner. Sometimes a client wants that; a lot of people enjoy food play as part of sex. Other clients merely want to have dinner with you, have a good conversation, and see you eat like a real person. Jon had never been one for food play, or for any other kink, particularly, but I was determined to give him an orgasm before I left, and I knew I could get him started if I put on a good show with this piece of fruit.

“Mm, this looks nice.” I held it to my nose and sniffed it. “It smells really ripe.”

“Yeah, the fruit is usually good here.” He picked up a slice of nectarine and brought it to his mouth.

I gave the deep purple fruit a noisy lick without breaking the skin; then, when I had Jon’s eyes, I set my teeth and bit into it very delicately. It *was* very ripe, and the juice spurted out at the corners of my mouth just I’d hoped it would.

“Oh, this is marvellous.” I sucked the morsel into my mouth and chewed, letting the juice trickle down my chin as it would. Jon was definitely staring by the time I swallowed it. “I haven’t had one of these in a while….”

I regarded the melaarth thoughtfully for just long enough before biting into it again with sudden vehemence. Jon twitched and swallowed. Perfect. I devoured the rest of the fruit, now with fierce bites, now with slow sucking, licking at the corners of my mouth, making quite dramatic noises of pleasure. At last I wiped my mouth on the back of my hand and smiled, looking Jon right in the eye. “Delicious.”

He was drooling, Shakti bless him. “Say, kid, you know, I think I might be up for–that is–”

I leaned over and kissed the corner of his mouth, letting him smell the sweetness of my breath. “If you eat another slice of your fruit.”

Once he had done so, I put the tray out in the hall and locked the door. All the sisters knew this was our signal for privacy; Sr. Philippa would stay away and pray silently for our salvation. Letting Jon loosen his own clothes, I prepared myself by undressing to the waist, putting on protective gloves, and opening up the massage oil.

“Need help turning over, Jon?” I turned back to him, holding up my gloved hands. He had pushed up his tunic and opened his trousers, and his cock stood up hard and vital over the sunken hollow of his belly.

“Nah, kid, just….” He gestured helplessly at his erection as though it were something that wasn’t supposed to be in his lap. “Just do something for me Sister Philippa can’t, okay?”

I sat down on the bed, one leg dangling toward the floor, the bottle of oil in one hand. Jon reached up and cupped my face with his hand; it still felt hard and callused even though I could feel the little tremors in it, the loss of muscular control. I turned my head and kissed his palm.

“Dear Gianni. Lie back–relax–let me.”

His hand dropped to the bed, and he sighed. “Take care of me, kid.”

I poured a small pool of oil into my left hand and began to work on him. Slow and steady strokes, touching his face with my other hand, maintaining eye contact. When I first began to entertain Jon, I’d had to apply all my recently learned skills to keeping him from coming too quickly; now I had to work to keep him engaged, keep him erect, keep him patient with himself while his body responded at a fraction of the speed with which it used to. It took more than half an hour, but I brought him to orgasm, my free hand clasped in his, his eyes closed, and the deep purple shadows in the room graying his skin.

Jon was falling asleep as I cleaned us both up and put his clothes to rights. He started snoring while I stoppered the bottle of oil and wiped it clean, tucking it back into my pocket along with the book. I wrapped myself in my cloak again and bent to kiss him on the forehead before going. He mumbled something that had my name in it but didn’t open his eyes. “Good night, Jon. See you next Nonus.” And I left.

I walked back to the omnibus platform, wrapped in my cloak and hood and in my thoughts. He was failing, but so slowly, so slowly. He had barely produced an ejaculation, although his pleasure was real and evident. His bones were all but cutting through his skin, yet he still ate, little as it was. His hands shook and he needed help to feed himself, yet he could still become erect with a little visual stimulation. Sickening, disgusting disease that nibbled away at the body as he had nibbled at his nectarine, leaving the mind intact, a captive spectator to one’s inevitable demise.

I was still brooding on Jon when I passed the tavern on the corner by the park. I was half-aware of the sounds of loud music and louder conversation, the smell of cheap beer and fried food, but I wasn’t paying the attention to my surroundings that I should have been. As I headed into the dimly lit park, I tried to put Jon behind me for now and think about Fionn, my partner, who was off-call tonight. I was hungry despite the plum, and pleasuring Gianni had left me with an appetite for some pleasure of my own. I could count on Fionn to provide both food and sex of the right kind.

I didn’t hear his footsteps; I didn’t see him out of the corner of my eye. Idiot that I was, I thudded right into his chest, and he seized the front of my cloak with both hands.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the smart-mouthed little whore.” He laughed in my face with crooked brown teeth and fetid malt breath. “Forgot about me, didn’t you?”

I broke his grip using both my arms and hurled him clumsily aside. Then I sprinted like mad for the omnibus platform, fumbling in my trouser pocket for my emergency beacon and calling for help. He must have gone into the tavern when I went into the hospice–he must have brooded over me as I was just brooding over Jon, gotten drunk thinking about what he’d like to do to me if he had the chance–

I really began to panic when he toppled me from behind. There were few residences near the hospice, and the platform was ten stories up, too high for anybody to hear me shouting. My chin hit the ground hard, and my arms were trapped under me. Had I been able to set off my beacon? I prayed that I had. I was never any damned good at the martial arts classes; I only squeaked by. And I rarely went out alone, without other Courtesies, except to visit Jon.

He pulled my hood back and wrenched my head around so I was looking over my shoulder at him, clamping his hand over my mouth so expertly that I couldn’t even bite him. He shoved his weapon in my face, and I turned cold inside. It was some sort of energy-pistol, cheap and nasty by the look of it, smuggled in from Shakti knows where. Energy weapons are forbidden on Nouveau Montmartre; even our Einheriar don’t carry them. There would be nothing left of me except a few rags of red flesh and red fabric if he burned me.

He let go of my mouth and started tearing at my clothes, pushing up my cloak, scrabbling at my trousers. The pistol stayed pointed right between my eyes. Now I was praying for help–for wisdom, if not rescue. My instincts said to fight, even if it made him beat me to death–better death from fighting than from rape. My training said to relax, let it happen, and distance myself from the moment as much as possible; the elders would help me work it out later. I didn’t like either alternative.

I heard the hum of a motor a few seconds before my attacker did. I kept my eyes on his face so as not to give away my rescuer, but I saw the black tip of a very long and very skillfully handled whip coil around his throat before it yanked him away.

As soon as he was off me, I sat up and wiped off my face on my sleeve. My chin was scraped, and my mouth felt like one big bruise. The Einheria, a tall woman with short hair and pale skin that glowed in the faint light, was efficiently subduing my attacker with a few well-chosen blows. Not a pretty sight, yet I admit I felt a good deal of satisfaction watching her smash his jaw, drop him with a kick to the crotch, and flip him over with a boot in the ribs. I relished the sound of his groaning. When she’d wrapped him up safely in her cocoon cable, she came back to me and offered me a hand up.

“You all right?” Her eyes were startling, the yellow of rare amber over high cheekbones. Her short hair was magenta.

“I’ll do.” She pulled a disinfectant cloth out of her belt kit and handed it to me. I wiped my face more thoroughly.

“Just give me a minute to call the force, and I’ll see you home.”

Nodding, I staggered over to a nearby bench to wait. It was good to sit down and just breathe. Once the square, bulky Einheriar arrest wagon floated down to the scene and two more Einheriar, armed with nets and truncheons, hopped out to take charge of my assailant, she came back to me, her whip coiled neatly in her hand.

“You mind riding a warg, sir?”

I shook my head. “No, I don’t mind.”

“Then I’ll fly you home. It’s right over here.”

I followed her into the deep shade under a low willow tree. She was taller than I was, though not as tall as Fionn, and striking with that magenta hair and white velvet skin. She had on a long-sleeved white tunic, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows, with a green suede vest and gloves, brown leather shorts, brown leather boots. I watched her hips roll from side to side in front of me and realized I was recovering my composure already.

Her warg was a large model, painted on the sides with the design of a firebird. She slung a leg over it in a way that made my cock stir in spite of the bruises I felt. I settled behind her on the long leather seat and wrapped my arms tight around her waist. There was muscle under that white shirt, and I liked the feel of it. Those muscles had saved me from rape and perhaps from getting burned, too. Would a thug like that have left me alive? I didn’t know. I started to shake, then, and hoped that my rescuer didn’t notice. I shut my eyes and clung to her like a child.

She flew fast and a little recklessly, but then, what Einheria doesn’t? In a few minutes she let me off at an upper-level Courtesy-only entrance to the tower, which told me she knew her business. I slipped off the warg, turned, and bowed to her as politely as I could manage. “You haven’t told me your name yet, madam.”

“It’s Zova Newall.” Her voice was deep and husky, and she sounded shy, like a little girl talking to a teacher.

“I’m Dermot McFarlane, and I owe you a free appointment.” She started to object, but I shook my head. Despite the swelling and bruises on my face, I tried for a properly charming smile. “I’d rather you didn’t come up right now, of course, but I’ll put your name down with the receptionist and the nexus manager, so whichever way you make an appointment with me, you won’t be charged.”

“All right then.” She grinned suddenly, looking right into my eyes with those amazing amber eyes of hers, and I wished I had the strength to take her up to the studio tonight and let her have her way with me. If I did, I would howl like a zlan. “Tomorrow, maybe?”

I smiled in response and lowered my eyes so I could look up at her through my lashes. “I’ll be on call for the evening shift.”

“You got somebody to take care of you tonight?”

“Oh, yes. I’ll be fine.”

“Good night, then, Dermot McFarlane.” She backed the warg to the rim of the platform, swung it round, and swooped off.

I went inside, and, as soon as the door was shut behind me, sank down against the wall in the foyer. I sobbed a few times, but mostly I just had the shakes. My knees didn’t want to hold me up, or my ankles, either. After a few minutes I was able to get up, wipe my face one more time, and walk to the lift. I leaned against its mirrored wall, staring at the floor and thinking only of getting to Fionn.


II. Fionn

He’s always been like this. He deals with everything through sex. It makes him a good Courtesy, but sometimes it makes him hard to live with. Anything good, anything bad, any joy or tragedy, anything which rouses his energy–it has to come out first in sex.

Later he’ll write about it, make a poem, work it through on the piano, but first, he has to fuck.

He had me on our bed, on my belly, with him sitting over my thigh. I knew without being told that this was what his assailant would have done to him, this was why he had a cut on his chin and scrapes and bruises along his arms, on his knuckles. Not that he was rough with me. Oh no. No, he was taking his time playing with my hole, opening me up with his fingers, rubbing my prostate with the anal vibrator. He’d put a cock ring on me, too. The little bastard loves to tease.

My own little bastard. My Dermot. I’d made him what he was, as a jeweler cuts and polishes a rough hunk of stone into a gem.

When he came in, I was in the kitchen opening a bottle of wine. I heard the door, and I finished opening the wine and poured out two glasses, ruby into crystal, so I could greet him with a glass and give him a chance to unwind. Visiting his old client was satisfying for him, but stressful, too–the man is dying, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. I expected him to need the drink; I didn’t know how badly he would need it.

I didn’t quite drop the glasses when I saw him, but my hands jerked, and I spilled wine all over the front of my shirt. The hood of his cloak was torn, and the front of his tunic was smeared with grit; his face was bruised, and there was a cut on his chin. His shoulders were slumped, and he looked not just battered, but beaten. The spark had gone out of him for the first time since I’d known him–no, I remembered. I’d seen him look this way once before: when his client was diagnosed as terminal.

He walked up to me without saying anything, took one of the glasses out of my shaking hand, and drained it. His hand was shaking pretty badly, too, but he didn’t spill the wine; only a drop ran down from the corner of his full mouth as he gulped it. I watched that red drop run down like blood over his clear skin; traces of it clung to his evening whiskers.

“A man with an energy weapon jumped me as I was leaving the hospice.” He spoke clearly and precisely, too precisely, his cultivated accent turning thin and cold. “I’d encountered him while going in to visit Jon, and he spoke to me very rudely. I believe he must have gone to the tavern near the omnibus stop after he saw me, and gotten drunk thinking about how he’d like to punish me. And he would have punished me very thoroughly if an Einheria hadn’t responded to my beacon.” He took a deep breath and met my eyes, at last. His had gone a chilly grey. “Do I have time to wash before we eat?”

I let him strip and shower and take care of his injuries on his own. He’d made it clear years ago, once he was fully trained and certified as a Courtesy, that while he wanted to be my partner, I couldn’t presume on my seniority to him or my former position as his master. He could take care of himself, and what he wanted and needed from me, he would ask for. He has an independent streak like a cat that’s survived despite being the runt of the litter; he may look small and even delicate when he wants to, but he’s neither fragile nor helpless.

I put out two bowls of beef stew, two fresh glasses of wine. He sat down at the table opposite me, wrapped in his brown robe, with his hair still wet, and looked down at the bowl in front of him as if he’d never seen anything like it before. He looked even paler after his shower, and the bruises on his face had flowered violet and blue. I could see the imprints of five thick fingers against his fair skin, and I felt a surge of the old violence, the desire to put my partner’s attacker in his place. I reminded myself that the Einheriar had taken the man in already, and he could well be deported just for carrying an illegal weapon, never mind assaulting a Courtesy.

I put my napkin in my lap and tapped his hand where it lay on the table beside his wine glass and his napkin and spoon. “Eat,” I said, and started in on my own stew.

After a minute Dermot started eating as well, and once he got a bit of protein into him, he livened up a bit. “So what have you been doing on your day off, love?”

I shrugged. “The usual–cooking, cleaning, practicing the flute.” Another time I would have teased him about how rarely he cooked for me.

“I thought you were getting together with those other drunken Irishmen today.” He grinned, referring to the Irish band that I sometimes record with, Fire in the Head.

“Not today–they have a gig tonight out in the agricultural district. More wine?”

“No, thanks. Out in the agro district playing Irish music for a bunch of shit-kicking farmers.” He snorted. “What a life. It must be just like trotting the bogs back on Earth.”

He often teased me about the band, but he wasn’t normally so acerbic. He must have been scared badly, to bring out his cruel streak like this.

“You should have seen the Einheria that brought me home.”

That rescued you from being killed or raped, I thought.

“Almost as tall as you are, Fionn, with white skin and the most astonishing magenta hair.” He gulped at his wine and grinned, trying to look eager. “Shorts and boots and all this pale muscular leg in between–gorgeous. I’m really looking forward to worshipping that yoni. I’d be willing to wager that she’ll want me to play Mahisha for her!”

He babbled on like that, not talking about the attack, not quite meeting my eyes. By the time I cleared the table, he’d eaten maybe a third of his stew, and I’d had two bowls. I put the dishes in the washer and the leftovers in the refrigerator, and when I came back, he was sitting on the couch, his robe half-open, smoking a cigarette. He only did that when he was very, very wrought up; the last time I’d seen him do it was when a client had had a seizure during a session with him. I had made him stop smoking years ago, when I was training him. He gave me a look now that challenged me to reprove him.

I didn’t. I didn’t say anything. I just sat down beside him and put my arm around his shoulders. He stubbed out the cigarette when it was about two-thirds gone and snuggled close to me, wrapping his arms about my neck. I ignored the smoky flavor of his breath and kissed him as he wanted to be kissed, long slow kisses on his bruised mouth, while my hand went up and down his back and made the slow shakes go away. We kissed for a long time, and then suddenly he was dragging me into the bedroom, laughing.

“Are you sure? Dermot, love–”

“I’m sure! I need to fuck you, *now*, Fionn!

How can anyone outside of a Courtesy understand what he is to me? Even in our profession, our relationship is rare. I was his master and he my apprentice, a full-time teacher/student relationship. I was responsible for every aspect of his training. Few Courtesies are trained that way, but those who are tend to bond with their masters. Like us, masters and apprentices continue to work together, play together, but they don’t always live together, spend their free hours together as we do. If Courtesies married, we would be legal spouses, I know. But–friends, lovers, partners, master and apprentice, husband and husband–none of those words is accurate. We are what we are–Dermot and Fionn, Courtesies.

The vibrator makes me shudder, running over my balls, buzzing the cock ring, gliding up the cleft of my buttocks and into my arse again. “Please.” I twist my head to one side, say it louder. “Please, Dermot–no more teasing.”

The buzzing inside me drains away to silence, but the vibrator stays where it is. I turn to look over my shoulder, and Dermot’s face is blank; he’s retreated inside himself for a moment, something he only does around me. Moving automatically, he fucks me for a few strokes with the silent vibrator. I moan loudly to get his attention, and he comes back to me with a grin.

He kisses my shoulderblade, at the spot where it almost tickles, and then he takes away the vibrator and picks up the lube.

Soft squishing sounds as he slicks himself up. A chuckle as he rubs the slippery head of his lingam against my hole and I gasp and squirm. A long sigh from both of us as he presses in. Then he lies on my back for a moment, his arms around my arms, his face in my hair. He pulls himself up just before his weight gets to be too much.

“Gods, Fionn–” My boy pulls back and thrusts in hard– “I love to fuck you.”

None of my clients ever gets to see me like this–face down on my belly, arse in the air. None of them wants to. If they want to top someone, they patron someone else, someone young and pretty, a woman or a boy. Someone like Dermot. Most of my clients would be surprised, even shocked, to see me moaning as he rides me, thrusting back against his hips. The teacher undone by the student, a mature man fucked by a boy.

But my Dermot is not a boy. That’s just a role that he plays. He’s a man who understands why I must have this, from him if from no other. But then I understand why he needs this, too, at this moment.

My balls are straining against the cock ring; his hips are moving faster. I’m not–I can’t–not yet–but he does. I close my eyes and feel each separate pulse of semen, as I was taught to do. Hear each cry of my lover like the sound of a gong echoing in an empty room.

I feel Dermot shudder and his hands slide on my sweaty skin. I expect him to fall over me, but he doesn’t. He steadies himself and pulls out. I turn over as he falls to the bed beside me, gathering back my damp hair with one hand to get a good look at him. He is flushed, his eyes glazed over, his lips turned up at the corners. Satisfaction. Oblivion. At least for the moment.

He raises his face to kiss me, first on the mouth, then on my jaw, the side of my throat, my collarbone. And so on down my body while I still myself with anticipation. Waiting. Hoping. Yes. Oh, yes. His lips close gently over the head of my lingam, teasing, as his fingers untwist the confining ring, and he sucks me deep just at the perfect moment when my flesh is free and I can come inside him, emptying myself and gasping his name.

Only after he’s fucked me, after we’ve both come, does the crying start. He’s so quiet, at first, that I don’t notice it. Not until the tears run down onto my chest as he curls up against me, hot at first and then cooling fast against my skin. I turn towards him and hold him tight, kissing his forehead.

“He wanted to rape me. He wanted to rape me.”

That’s all he can say, so he says it over and over. But I understand. For those of us who’ve trained to be able to give ourselves freely, and skillfully, the greatest fear, the greatest injury, is to have taken by force what we make it our profession, our devotion, to give. I read somewhere that there was a time, back on Earth, when a prostitute had no recourse if a client raped her. The prostitute was almost always a woman, the client always a man, and no law protected a woman who did something that was not just illegal, but wrong because she was a woman, because women weren’t sexual creatures.

My Dermot. My beloved. He’s tough as titanium, and sensitive as glass. And he doesn’t realize that, however independent he may be, I will always be the older one, always be, to some extent, the teacher, and that there are things he has yet to learn from me. I wonder if he ever will.


III. Zova

I don’t like men. So I was pretty fucking surprised when that Courtesy looked at me with his pretty grey-green eyes and I thought about rolling him over and fucking him.

His name was Dermot McFarlane, and I rescued him before some ugly motherfucker with a burner raped him. Men. Not a one of them looking for anything in life but a hole to stick their meat into.

I answered his emergency beacon, that was all. I was out on my warg, had on my four-eyes, and I saw the red hood on the victim and the burner in the perp’s hand, pointed right between the eyes of a Courtesy. So I took him down with a couple of hits, wrapped him up like a spider’s dinner, and helped the little red to his feet.

*His* feet. Pretty boy, with eyes like spring weather and a mouth like a pussy. But that was what I thought later, when I had my free appointment with him. What turned me on then, I think, is that he didn’t seem to mind I had rescued him.

A lot of men won’t take my hand to help ’em up out of the dirt. They don’t like the fact that somebody with tits pulled the monkey off their backs–they see my tits but not the leather I wear, the leather I’ve earned. But this one was different. Not so much because he was a Courtesy, because I’ve gotten the same bad attitude from men in red hoods as from men without them, and you’d think the red hoods would know better. But I could tell by the way he looked at me when I dropped him off at the tower–hell, by the way he held onto me on the back of my warg. He wanted me just the way I was.

So I made my appointment for a late hour on the next day I had off, so I could get some good sleep before I went to see him. I left most of my weapons at home and checked in at the Einheria-only door, where I left my whip for safekeeping. Got to show your weapons and your carta and prove you’re one of the warband to get in there. A pretty little blond boy, even prettier than Dermot, showed me the way to my boy’s studio, where the green light was on over the door. He was waiting for me. I hoped he was ready.

The door opened, and I sucked in my breath. Shaktiyoni, he was pretty. Eyes as green as summer and glitter on his cheeks. Mouth as slick as a pussy, all the bruises gone; chest as smooth as a girl’s. He had on a green linen jacket and trousers, with no shirt; he flashed me some glitter around his nipples as he stepped back and let me in.

“You’re looking better,” I said.

“Thanks.” He smiled with big white teeth, and my clit twitched. “You look good yourself.”

He pointed to the sitting corner, where there was a pitcher and two glasses on a tray. “May I pour you a drink?”

“Thanks.” I sat down in a chair, soft and low and the color of chocolate, while he poured for both of us. It was plain water, so cold my teeth hurt, full of soft shaved ice. I like stout when I’m off duty, but I won’t drink it when I’m fighting or fucking. I was happy, ’cause this ice water meant he had read my survey and knew what I liked.

Dermot sipped at his water. It made his mouth shine more and I wanted to fuck it. His skin looked golden; he glowed in the light more than the sweet little-girl red hoods I’d picked up in the Salon and fucked all night.

When I finished my glass of water, I went and stood over him. He was sitting on the couch, which was low like the chairs. He looked up at me, through long thick eyelashes that were gold and glittery. “I got something I wanna give ya,” I said.

I thought he was gonna lick his lips, but maybe that woulda been too obvious. He just fluttered those lashes and smiled. “Whatever you’ve got, I want it.”

Opened up my trousers and let him have it–my own strap-on, slung in the suede harness I made for myself when I wasn’t even legal. It’s polished and treated wood, light brown with a little bit of sheen, and it looked just fine going into his mouth. He opened his eyes wide for about half a second, but then he just slid to his knees and sucked my dick between those shiny lips.

Oh, baby. He looked so good doing that. His hair had colors in it like rosewood and new copper, and it was soft under my hand and smelled good, like sand and moss. I ran my fingers through his hair and scratched at his scalp, and he purred like a happy cat as he bobbed his head up and down.

He knew right away to stop when I pulled back, just like the girls that’d sucked my cock. “You’re a good boy,” I said, grinning.

He grinned back. “I’ve got other toys we can play with, if you want.”

We raced each other to the big bed, with linen and leather flying everywhere. I pushed him down and he started sucking my cock again, trailing his fingers around my thighs and up into my fur. He didn’t try to shove ’em in or even touch my clit, though, so I let him do it.

He was good with my nipples, too, when I slid down over him. Not too rough–people make that mistake a lot of the time. Work ’em up slow and gentle, fingers and tongue, then give ’em a good sucking. Oh, I was wet like a lake. His other hand worked my cock and teased my cunt and the insides of my thighs. He liked my tits and made sweet little sounds while he sucked ’em, until finally I couldn’t take it any longer.

I didn’t have to say anything–I just started to roll him over, and he went to his hands and knees for me. He hadn’t done this for that dirtfucker who’d tried to rape him; he’d fought that ape off as best as he could. But he could do it for me; he didn’t hesitate to do it. In fact, I could tell by the shine between his cheeks that he’d lubed himself up good already. He really did know what he was doing, he really did want this, and Goddess, he had a pretty ass. Round and hard as a melon–I slapped it, and it gave off a beautiful sound, just like a ripe melon does if you thump it.

The lube was on the table by the bed. I smeared it all over my cock and put a little dab over his hole, which felt so nice and hot that I had to finger it some. I was pretty sure he’d stretched himself, too, from the feel of the muscle, but not so much that he wouldn’t feel stretched by my dick.

I gave it to him nice and slow and he let out a beautiful long slow groan. He let me know he felt every inch of it sinking inside him. His skin under my hands was so smooth, smooth as a woman’s, with a grain to it like the softest suede. Come to think of it, he had no body hair except around his cock and his balls; he must have creamed it off like so many women red-hoods do.

But he was no woman. I pushed in deep enough that I could feel the tickle of his balls against the front of my thighs. Shifting my hips a little bit, I caught his gland, and he groaned some more. “You want me to fuck you?”

He stretched and arched his back. “Oh, yes, fuck me.” Beautiful sort of Brit accent, voice as fine as his skin.

“You bet I will.”

I pulled back and started riding him. Fucked him fast and hard, watching his head and his back, waiting for him to call me on it. The base of my cock rubbed my clit, and I came two or three times, biting my lip against it so I wouldn’t let him know. He was a tough little bitch–rode with me, pushed back hard, made noise every time I hit his prostate. I fucked him until I was tired, and he never asked me to stop.

When I did stop, he squirmed underneath me. “Let me turn over, please?”

I pulled out and let him up, and he twisted over onto his back. He was at least half hard, which surprised me, and looked to have a damn big cock for such a short man.

Smiling, he grabbed the lube and squirted some on my cock and on his hand, and stroked himself. “Come on then.” He wiggled his ass for more.

I moved on top of him, and before I could change my mind, I sank down onto his prick.


He was surprised, I could tell. He reached for the lube again and smoothed it around the part of his cock that was still outside my cunt–which was most of it–and then, when I didn’t object, over the folds of my cunt and up to my clit. He slipped one finger under the base of the strap-on and rubbed me, carefully, until I came and we both felt the loosening inside me that let me push all the way down on his cock without hurting myself.

“If you’d warned me,” he said, panting, “I would have made it better for you.”

“Didn’t plan ahead,” I answered, squirming down onto him until it felt good.

It did feel good. He held still, totally still, watching my face with those big eyes, while I adjusted myself and got comfortable on him. Shakti, he was big!

“Have you been penetrated before?”

“Yes, once–” And not since then. But his prick curving up inside me did feel fuckin’ good.

I moved and he held still, until I rubbed my hand over his chest, moaning, and then he started to move with me, cautiously. Shaktiyoni, I was getting fucked. Me. And liking it. But I was as much in control as when I had been fucking him. He and I both knew it.

“I need to come soon,” he said after a while, just like he was telling me he needed to go answer the door.

“Go ahead,” I challenged. A minute later, he let loose inside me with another long groan, still not really thrusting into me. I rubbed my clit against the base of his belly, and I think I came again.

Afterward I was lying there next to him on the bed, wanting to go throw myself out the nearest window. “You’re going to be sore,” he said, so quiet he might have been talking to himself.

“Not as sore as the first time I got fucked.” I rubbed the back of my hand against my mouth, hoping to stop any more words that wanted to come out but shouldn’t.

“Was it a rape?” he asked, after a minute.


“I’m sorry.” He lay there silent for a minute. “I ought to thank you again for saving me the other night. It terrified me that he might rape me. That frightened me more than being burned.”

His voice kinda shook, and I knew he wasn’t just saying that, to make me feel better. He was telling the truth. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. He put out his hand and laid it on top of mine. I let him, but I didn’t turn my hand over, didn’t touch him back. We stayed there like that a little while.

Finally my boy sighed, and let go of my hand. Got up off the bed, washed himself off at the sink, and rummaged around in the drawer of the bedside table. He handed me a little tube of stuff. “For the soreness.”

I took it even though I had no intentions of ever using it. He looked at me, then went and got us both glasses of water. I sat up and drank some of mine. The ice had all melted, but it was still cold.

I got up and got dressed, and Dermot put on a brown robe and saw me to his door. He stood there for a moment with his hand on the latch, not letting me out. “I hope some day you’ll come back, spend time with me again, and maybe tell me what it was like.”

Did he mean what it was like to be raped by my own stepfather, or what it was like to be fucked by a man for the first time since then? It didn’t matter. “Maybe,” I said, and left.


Entry Filed under: Nouveau Montmartre

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