A Demon for Midwinter bonus story
Some days married life is great. And some days your husband’s demon magic sets the bed on fire. But rock star Kris Starr wouldn’t have it any other way. And if living together costs them a mattress or two, that’s fine -- he’ll just have to make sure Justin knows how much Kris loves him.
Justin’s still getting used to his newly expanded powers. They’re unpredictable, and they want to be used. Kris says everything’s fine, but Justin’s worried: what if he accidentally hurts Kris?
Fortunately, Justin’s husband’s also an empath ... and very good at knowing what he needs.
“Um,” Justin said. “Oops?”
He and Kris were both looking at the remains of their bed, which smoldered pointedly back at them. The air tasted like smoke, definitely no longer like sex and sweetness and sweat. The large scorch-mark in the center suggested that they’d need a new mattress, and probably a whole new bed, in the very near future.
Kris ran a hand through his hair, did not sigh out loud -- he’d liked that bed; he also loved his husband -- and said, “Are you all right?” Justin took priority over the furniture, no matter the circumstances. The furniture knew this and did not mind.
“Honestly? I don’t know.” Justin, still naked and shaken, sat down gingerly on an unburnt corner of mattress. His hair, his faint horns, even his teeth, remained wreathed in flame, though some of it’d dwindled. He looked like the half-demon he was, even more than usual: fire and sex and magic and sensuality. “I don’t generally ...”
“You don’t lose control.” Kris, also naked and unscathed because Justin had magically knocked him across the room just in time, sat down beside him. Held out a hand. His hip ached from landing on the floor and also getting old, but he could deal with that. “I know you don’t. Was it just the timing? The whole breakthrough power problem?”
“Maybe?” Justin put his answering hand into Kris’s, unhappily; his claws hadn’t quite faded into fingernails. His eyes were more crimson than their ordinary rich russet-brown; Kris wondered briefly if Justin couldn’t turn it all off, not completely, right this second.
He held Justin’s hand. He said, “Look, it’s a compliment, yeah? I’m just that good in bed, right, making you feel so good you spontaneously combust ...”
Justin laughed, honest if hollow. “You are. I think ... actually I think that was part of it? You, and me ... we always do have, um, explosive sex. You always say you’re better at projective empathy, but you pick things up, too ... you can’t not, when it’s that close and that strong, and I’m, well, me, so ...”
“Yeah, but you’re my sex demon. Seduction. All that.” He drummed fingers over Justin’s. “Not usually a problem. More like, y’know, the best ever. Every time, love.”
“Yes.” Justin made a face, abruptly more human: unearthly sharpnesses ebbed away from teeth, tiny horns, cheekbones, fingernails. His hair stayed scarlet and cinnamon. “I think you’re right. About the best sex ever -- I do love having sex with you -- and also about the timing. They said it’d be hard, for a few weeks ... unpredictable, me trying to push it all back down, the power not wanting to be pushed, you know, you were there ... you heard them ...”
“Hmm,” Kris said, not committing to an answer just yet. He had complicated feelings about Justin’s decision regarding demonic inheritance. Justin, in fact, had looked at the offer -- to remain in the otherworld, to stand beside a lake of fire, to take up his mother’s heritage and power -- and had chosen to stay half human. Had chosen to come home, to this plane of existence, full of New York City pizza and bagels and bookshops and rock music.
Justin loved all those things, he knew.