Justyn and Jasyn might have slipped past both their parents and their tutors, Cathal and Keegan, but Kyran was an expert at keeping to the shadows and watching the twins from a distance. He had been doing it since they were born, always keeping an eye out for them. He had been their hero when they were little, always understanding that the bond they shared was more than that of brothers. As they had grown, however, a dark desire had ignited inside him, and he had detached, becoming the lofty taskmaster that refused all their attempts to seduce him.

They were still so young, and he was positive it was just a phase of theirs. It was better that they never succeed, even if all he wanted to do was give in to their charms. Kyran was a monster, and the last thing Justyn and Jasyn deserved was to be at his mercy.

So he stayed to the shadows, silently vigilant, both unwilling to see them harmed and unable to look away. The times they were most tempting were times like these, when they were completely focused on one another. When they were on their own and thought no one was looking, that's when he saw them as they truly were, free of the hurt and anger he tended to inspire in them.

He had fought not to smile the entire night as they sneaked about and took far too much of the alcoholic beverages than was healthy for them. It was childish and charming to him, even if his face remained passive and stoic. These celebrations would have bothered him if it weren't for them, and tonight was taking a turn that made the fresh blood in his system pound through his body.

Kyran could scent their arousal like a sweet perfume wafting on the air amid the pine and spices of the cider and ales, and it drew him in like a moth to a flame. He watched them use the skills in stealth that he had taught them, and though he could see the flaws their drunkenness had caused, he couldn't help but be impressed as he followed them to the storage closet.

Taking up a casual stance next to the doorway, he listened, his ears keen at discerning the sounds through the wood. Their fumbling was clear to him, and he let every noise paint a picture in his mind. A sloppy kiss, a panted breath, a whimper that he could tell was from Jasyn. Every sound of their growing passion made his mouth become dry and his body itch for their blood, even though he had quenched his thirst in the forest prior to the party.

His heart nearly stopped when he heard Jasyn beg softly for more, and the loud thud that followed told him Justyn was now on his knees. It made his blood nearly boil with need, and he knew that he should step away from the door, perhaps go outside into the snow to clear his head and distract himself from their passion and his own twisted need. He should have just shut down his senses for an instant and fled, but he was rooted to his spot by the door, unable or unwilling to be parted from this small intimacy that they unknowingly shared with him.

A flush slowly worked its way up his neck to his cheeks, and he closed his eyes to better imagine the sight of Justyn ripping away Jasyn's trousers and swallowing the younger twin's length whole. It was quick and sloppy, but he knew from Jasyn's moans just how much love was in those touches the twins shared in passion. He longed for a moment to be part of it, and the thought entered his mind to join them in the closet, to use the darkness to mask his fangs and shroud his fears just so he could feel a fraction of the love they held for one another.

Jasyn's shout of release finally broke the spell, and Kyran gasped softly, his cheeks a light pink. Gods, what was wrong with him? He was listening at the door as the young sons of his closest friend dallied in a storage closet! Shame and embarrassment made the flush of his cheeks worse, and when he caught Jasyn's murmured suggestion that they return to their room, Kyran finally broke the hold on his legs and stepped swiftly and silently back into the party. He crossed the room like a passing shadow, using his hair to hide his face as he went to the small cabinet housing the hard liquors.

Leigheas had discovered that it was possible for him to consume only blood, water, and pure alcohol, and it was the latter that he sought now. The bottles in the highest corner were labeled with his name, and he snatched one of them down before retreating to an alcove that had been covered with festive drapes for the party. He slipped inside while no one was looking and uncorked the bottle.

Need was still bright inside him, and all he wanted was for it to go away. The ache in his groin refused to relent, even after several swigs of the alcohol. It might have been watered down a bit, but it was still as potent as any hard liquor, perhaps more so with how seldom Kyran indulged. As his head spun and his throat burned, he fumbled one hand beneath his black robes and took himself in hand.

He didn't care that other Maith were only a few paces away, separated from him only by the drapes that hid the alcove from view. He didn't care that the bards began playing one of his favorite carols from his childhood back in Surnia. He didn't care that the curtain could be thrown back at any moment and expose him. He'd hear anyone approach long before they would reach him, and he trusted his senses, even as he sought to dull them with more alcohol.

With every stroke to his aching sex, he replayed the sounds he had heard through the storage closet door, imagined the sight of the twins' sloppy kisses and passionate touches in the dark. He stifled any noise he might have uttered by keeping the bottle pressed to his lips. It wasn't enough, though. His thirst demanded blood, and he knew it was hopeless to deny the need. In an act of desperation, he bit harshly at his lower lip, letting the sharp point of his fang pierce the skin.

Kyran thoughtlessly took another gulp of the alcohol, and when he sucked his bleeding lip to draw blood into his mouth, the burn of the alcohol nearly pulled a soft cry from him. Pain, pleasure, blood, and alcohol all warred within him, and he turned his head into the stone corner of the alcove as he pumped himself. It only took a minute for his fantasy to bring him to the brink of release, and he hissed in a breath as he spilled himself.

In that instant of light and pleasure, he imagined Justyn's mouth sucking down his release and Jasyn pressed to his side, the younger twin's soft sounds captured by his lips as they kissed. It was a simple fantasy, but one that took away the chill of his spirit for just a few seconds.

All too soon, Jasyn's lips were lost to the reality of the bottle still pressed to his mouth, and the sting of his lip became a throbbing pain. He rubbed his release into his skin and stifled a sob as he sank down to sit on the cold floor. He was wicked for wanting the twins, wicked for desiring their blood, and even as his lip began to heal with the dark magic that had been woven into his spirit, he couldn't help but think that the real wound was much deeper inside.

Cradling the bottle of alcohol close, he tossed his head back and drank the rest of the bottle down. He nearly dropped it as he righted his head, and the movement sent his mind spinning. His eyes were drawn to the curtain, and he could see the firelight dancing on the red fabric, which seemed to flutter and swirl as his senses were scattered by the sheer amount of alcohol now spiking his veins.

Swirling red, a curtain of blood before his eyes. His mind finally went silent, allowing him to simply feel without thinking. In the back of his mind, he knew Leigheas would eventually find him and get him back to his rooms, but he didn't worry about that. The haze of his drunkenness made everything seem unimportant. There was no Doran, no threat in the western mountains of Rigora. There was no bloodthirst or desire. There were no twins with shining gray eyes. There was no heart beating in his chest. There was no loneliness or pain.

The tune from his childhood lilted to his ears through that red curtain, and he found himself humming along absently, his own voice vibrating in his head like aftershocks of a distant earthquake. When the song finally faded along with the shimmering red in his vision, he barely noticed, and he slumped in the alcove. This was the only freedom left to him, the only escape, and he embraced it, falling into that black abyss where nothing could trouble him for at least a short time.

Read the companion piece by S.L. Armstrong - Desperation Of Spirit

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