“The Old-Fashioned Way”
by Mina Moxie
“Dariel, you’re on,” Lin called.
Dariel sighed. Halloween meant another glut of humans wanting to make a deal with the devil. Busywork like this fell to lesser demons, and at crunch time, they worked in shifts.
“What’s this one? Riches? Fame? Immortality?” That last was the worst: so much paperwork.
“Nah, it’s your standard inspiration package.” Lin peered at the assignment screen. “He’s cute, too.”
Dariel perked up. Easy assignment, cute human? It could’ve been worse. He took the contract and headed out.
There were no more messy sacrifices to create portals in modern Hell; Dariel just scanned his ID at the summoning station and was transported to the human’s dwelling.
He was pleased to see this human had a sense of style: the room was lit only by candles, set about a properly drawn circle that had unerringly directed Dariel right to its center.
“James of Palo Alto,” Dariel intoned, getting the procedural necessities out of the way, “you have called, and I have answered. What is your desire?”
The human didn’t reply right away. Instead, he stared at Dariel. Dariel knew he was beautiful—most demons were, the better to tempt humans—but he grew self-conscious under such intense scrutiny. He was in his usual attire of the leather trousers so many demons favored, with a billowy shirt that had been in fashion the last time he’d been on Earth for longer than brief errands required. He knew both looked good on him, and he lifted his chin, returning the stare.
The human wasn’t that young, as humans went, though it was hard to be sure; they all died so quickly. His face had lost the unfinished prettiness of youth, and the lines of his nose and cheekbones were strong and sure. And his eyes, an unusual pale green, held humor that seemed to mock both of them equally.
“I’m a writer,” he said, but seemed not to know how to continue.
“And you wish for a never-ending source of creative ideas?”
“Oh.” His eyes widened. “Um, no. Just the ability to take the ideas I have and make them as awesome as I imagine they can be.”
“Hm.” Dariel had been doing this for hundreds of years, and that was a new one.
“What? Is that a bad deal?”
“No. Far from it, in truth. Most humans fail to think things through, and they ask for endless ideas, which, of course, drives them mad, or they forget to consider that many ideas are bad ones.”
“I’m glad you approve?”
His half-baffled, half-teasing expression surprised a laugh out of Dariel. He seldom liked the humans he encountered.
James laughed, too, more an amused huff of breath than actual laughter. “You’re not what I expected.”
Neither are you, Dariel might have said, but their eyes met, and he saw the humor in James’s shift into something more intent, something Dariel was not certain he was reading correctly. “The standard price is ten years of your lifespan,” he said to cover his awkwardness.
“I know. I did my research.” James’s voice dropped lower, growing more intimate. “There’s something else, too, isn’t there?”
Now Dariel was sure he wasn’t imagining the heat in James’s eyes. He was very appealing. He was wiser than most. He was . . . stepping right into Dariel’s personal space until the demon was backed up against the border of the summoning circle.
“Oh, sorry.” James rubbed his foot over the sigils to smudge them and break the circle. “Do I . . . Or do you . . . ?”
Dariel was just as confused as James seemed to be, right up until the human planted his hands on his cheeks and kissed him.
For a moment, Dariel completely forgot how kissing even worked, and opened his mouth to say something, which James immediately took as an invitation to flick his tongue out.
Dariel moved closer without consciously meaning to, tasting James’s mouth in return, then deepening the kiss. I probably ought to tell him, he thought, but then James slipped his hands into his hair, fingertips brushing the short—and very sensitive—horns just above his hairline, and all coherent thought fled.
They pulled apart some unknowable time later, Dariel to catch his breath and James apparently for a better look at his horns. He gently rubbed the base of one with his thumb, and Dariel couldn’t suppress a moan.
“Oh,” James breathed, touches growing bolder. “They feel like velvet.”
His halting exploration was driving Dariel mad. “Rougher,” he said, and told himself he wasn’t begging, no matter how ragged his voice sounded.
James made a noise in the back of his throat that was most of the way to a growl, and it shorted out Dariel’s brain enough that he didn’t even think to protest being manhandled when the human said, “Wait,” and spun him around to embrace him from behind. The loss of dignity mattered far less than James’s hot breath on his neck; the eager slide of fingers over horns, toying with them exactly roughly enough and even giving a little scrape of fingernails; and the hardness of his cock pressing against Dariel’s back. He mouthed at Dariel’s neck, biting gently until Dariel was squirming impatiently for more.
He couldn’t remember a human ever taking charge over him like this, and found he didn’t mind. James did it in a way that was strangely innocent, as if he were so carried away by desire that he couldn’t help himself.
Finally, James gripped Dariel’s hips and pulled him even tighter against him, sliding one hand forward to get his trousers open.
“Let me—” That was definitely begging, but Dariel was so desperate to touch James that he no longer cared. He turned in his arms, and the modern fastenings of James’s rough blue pants gave him a moment’s trouble, but he managed to figure them and the undergarments out and wrapped his hand around James’s cock, savoring the way he drew in a sharp breath. Moisture had already beaded at the tip, and Dariel rubbed his thumb across it, then brought his hand to his own mouth for a taste.
“Fuck,” James murmured, watching this. Then, much less reverently, “Fuck! I don’t have any lube.”
“There are advantages to being a demon,” Dariel said, and snapped his fingers, calling a small vial of warm oil to hand.
James took it. “Oh, thank g— oodness.”
“You will not,” Dariel said, fighting laughter despite still feeling hazed in heat, “get in trouble for blaspheming.”
“That’s a relief.” James coated his fingers with the oil, and the heat kicked higher than before as he reached down and slicked Dariel hastily but thoroughly, making him move urgently against his fingers.
Surprisingly gently, James pushed Dariel back to the table that had served as a makeshift altar for the summoning and guided him onto his back.
Instead of dealing with his trousers and everything else, Dariel simply magicked all his own clothing out of the way, and after raising an eyebrow and getting a nod from James, did the same to his.
“A guy could get used to this,” James said, then ducked his head in an unsuccessful attempt to hide his blush.
“A demon could get used to you. Come here.”
James obeyed, settling on top of Dariel, who arched up to meet him. Humans always felt slightly cool, and the contrast was delicious. Dariel pulled James into a kiss and felt his skin warm as it became lingering and deep.
James slid into him easily, and there was that sweet burn Dariel remembered. He rocked into it, clutching at James’s hips to urge him as close as possible, and James reached between them with his still-slick fingers to pump Dariel’s cock.
It wasn’t his touch, wonderful as it was, that pushed Dariel over the edge: it was James’s eyes, locked on his and darkened by passion, seeing him, wanting him, as no one had in far too long. Moments after he came, he felt James shuddering in his own release.
“Did you mean that?” James asked after a while. They had shifted apart, but James had pulled Dariel back into his arms and settled them both on the table. “About getting used to me?”
“Mm. Yes. I think I could.”
Lin was waiting for him when he returned to Hell, and eyed him as she took the forms. “Making a date with a human? Now I’ve seen everything. But we phased out sealing the deal with sex centuries ago. Why didn’t you tell him?”
Dariel was not going to blush. “He was just so . . . eager. Besides, he was even cuter in person.”
Mina Moxie is a mild-mannered editor by day and a science fiction- and erotica-writing dynamo by night.