What’s a lonely frost elemental to do when the nights get too cold and long? Simeon takes up pen and paper, drawing page after page of the two hot men he dreams about. Little does he realize that Josh and Ryan are as real as he is, and that the three of them are headed for a steamy collision from hearts and minds to hands, lips and well, all parts south of the tippy-tops of their heads.
Fire & Ice
Simeon watched the tail lights disappearing into the distance with a sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach. Carl was nice. He’d professed comfort with Simeon being a little on the cool side. They had several fun dates where they met up at the local ski-lodge, and then went cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Simeon did everything in his power to hide his…differences.
He liked having a boyfriend. They’d only kissed a couple of times, and Carl started to push for more after the third date. Simeon thought he could hold it together, keep his power under wraps. He’d overestimated his control.
They had dinner, and then moved to the living room. Simeon put one of his favorite videos in. Will Ferrell was so funny in it. That was where things started to go wrong.
Carl’s voice blew straight past disbelief to incredulity.
“Uh, yeah. I love this movie…don’t you think Will Ferrell is funny in it?”
Carl shook his head. It didn’t look like a negation so much as though he were trying to clear it.
“You actually want to watch Elf?”
Okay. Simeon was starting to get nervous now. Carl said that like…there was something wrong with liking the movie.
“Uh…we can pick another movie if you’d like. I just thought this one would be fun…and well, it’s my favorite so I wanted to share it with you.”
Carl blinked at him.
“Just how old are you Simeon?”
Crap. Simeon couldn’t lie, and he was pretty sure that either way he answered Carl wasn’t going to like.
“I-uh-I’m 19. Sort of. Or 319.”
Simeon smiled weakly at Carl.
Carl blinked again, and got up from the couch with his jacket in hand. Patting Simeon on the shoulder he said, “Kid, you should probably call your counselor or whoever helps you get your meds adjusted. Clearly, it’s time to get them checked again.”
Then he was out the door.
Warm lips kissed up each shoulder, one pair circling around to the front of his throat and then moving up his jaw line toward his mouth. The second pair settled in at the juncture of his neck and shoulder on the left side, nipping and sucking and flat-out driving him insane. Simeon was burning up. He could feel the steam rising from his skin. He’d never felt like this before. A hot hand slid down his chest to tease along the crest of one hip. The further down it moved, the hotter it felt against his cool skin. By the time the long fingers and strong palm encircled the base of his diamond hard cock, Simeon was gasping with need.
A low, dirty chuckle sounded in his ear.
“Why Ryan, I do believe our boy is trying to ask you for something.”
“You know Josh, I think you might be right.”
As the second voice spoke the hand around Simeon’s phallus began to move, stroking him with firm, even, and purposeful strokes. The deliberate motion combined with the steadily growing heat pushed Simeon higher and higher in a vortex of desire until he was flung, shouting, from the highest precipice.
Simeon jerked awake, his throat raw and his sheets sticky.
This was the fifth time he’d dreamed about Josh and Ryan, their hot hands and hotter mouths roaming his body. He sat up in bed and reached for his sketch pad. A frisson of sorrow passed through him.
“If only they were real.”
He laughed at his own whimsical thoughts, and then turned back to his drawing. He’d gotten Josh’s lips right in the last attempt, but he still wasn’t satisfied with Ryan’s eyes. Sticking his tongue out to touch the corner of his lips, Simeon lost himself in the soothing motions of the colored pencils slipping over the page.
After a while, Simeon gave a grunt, throwing the sketchpad down. Ryan’s eyes still weren’t right. The shape was better this time…but something was missing from the expression. They weren’t wild enough, or hot enough. Crap. He knew he could get it right if he had an actual person to draw from.
“Even a photo would help.”
The ringing of his doorbell shattered the early morning stillness.
Who could that be? Simeon racked his brain, but couldn’t think of anyone who had reason to show up at his house this early. He hadn’t even ordered anything from online. Maybe he should. The Ups guy was nice, and it gave him someone to talk to.
The buzzer sounded impatient this time.
Simeon fell out of bed, dragging his robe off the back of the closet door and shoving his sock clad feet into a fuzzy pair of snow white bunny slippers.
A heavy knocking started.
Simeon scampered down the hall, sliding to a breathless stop against the front door.
“J-just a minute.”
A rich, dark, smoky voice rolled through the door.
“I don’t care Josh. He needs us now. My father owes me a boon for what I did last Michaelmas, and I’m calling it in for this. We won’t get in trouble.”
A lighter tone rang out like the belling notes of a tombone played by a master. If he called out-
“Okay, Rye. Tell him to open the door before he freezes right to the floor. Geez, who ever heard of a frost elemental who couldn’t take the cold?”
A sharp smacking sound thudded through the door. Simeon stared at the thick wooden expanse with wide eyes. It couldn’t be. He. He’d dreamed them. His heart beat faster and faster until he was gasping. Simeon flung the door open.
His vision narrowed to a black tunnel. At the far end of that tunnel he saw them framed in an oval of purest white, his Josh and Ryan. And now he knew exactly what he’d gotten wrong in the picture.
Josh and Ryan moved as one to catch the collapsing man. Ryan, moving a hair faster, scooped Simeon’s pale form into his arms. Once the unconscious elemental was secure in his arms Ryan strode into the open door.
Josh stood unmoving at the threshold. He clenched his jaw. His thick chest heaved as he took several quick deep breaths.
“Dammit, Rye, you have to ask me in. You know I have to be invited because of my Dad’s little snit.
He hit the wall just outside the doorframe with one balled up fist.
“Stupid celestial rules were designed to irritate me as much as possible.”
Ryan rolled his eyes before looking back over his shoulder to scope out Josh’s expression. The big baby was actually sticking his bottom lip out. Sheesh, Josh was such a drama demon. Ryan did forget the whole short end of the stick from both parents thing sometimes, but really, this particular situation was extraordinary.
“Yeah. Sorry, Josh. I give you permission to enter.”
The words rippled out, nearly visible as they crossed the threshold and fell against Josh’s skin.
The sandy haired demon shuddered.
“Shit. That feels so weird.”
Josh stepped forward as he spoke, wincing as he crossed into the house. Ryan cocked one dark eyebrow upward. He waited until Josh met his eyes.
“What feels weird?”
“Well, it’s not your house, Rye. So even though you gave permission and I can enter, when I cross the line it feels like fine grained sandpaper swiping at every square inch of my skin.”
Ryan’s eyes dropped to Josh’s denim covered crotch.
Josh winced again before nodding.
“Yeah, lover, there too.”
Ryan’s eyes flashed upward.
“That sucks, Josh.”
Josh waved a hand toward Simeon’s limp form.
“Worry about that latter. Let’s get him comfortable first.”
Ryan grunted. Pulling Simeon closer to his chest he shivered. Speaking over his shoulder, Ryan switched destinations in mid-stride.
“Josh, he’s freaking icy. You’d better strip down to your skin and get under the covers with him. You’re hotter than I am. I’ll make something hot to drink and then join you.”
Ryan walked unerringly to the bedroom door, nudged it open with his foot and quickly deposited Simeon under the thick white comforter. He frowned as he took in the room’s lack of color. No wonder the elemental was in such bad shape. Nothing here fed the soul.
Josh’s hand landed on his shoulder, hot, heavy, and familiar.
“Go make some of that stellar tea of yours, babe. I’ll get our boy warm enough to wake up.”
Ryan nodded jerkily. He spun away from the bed, keeping his face averted.
Josh gripped his shoulder more tightly. The heat from his hand increased.
“Whoa. Don’t you go running out of here quite that fast, lover boy. Did you think this is your fault, Rye? You fucking well know better. I wouldn’t let you come by yourself.”
Josh pulled Ryan close, heat rolling off him in waves, soaking through Ryan’s clothes and warming the cold spot on his chest that Simeon had rested against. Christ almighty knew how good Josh felt against him. The boss’s son had told Ryan once that he could feel the love lighting up whatever corner of heaven Josh and Ryan were in when they were together, and that he’d back Ryan if anyone ever made a fuss about Ryan and Josh being together.
Jesus was really an okay guy. Ryan had his own ideas about the Son, but he kept those close to his chest. No need to get kicked out of Heaven. Not unless they tried to forbid Josh entry again. Ryan lost coherent thought then, Josh’s fiery pull on him melting any resistance he had.
Josh licked his way into Ryan’s mouth, tasting strongly of cinnamon, like the jaw-breakers some human children favored. Ryan moaned, pushing closer. Josh suckled his tongue before pulling away with one last nip at Ryan’s bottom lip.
A firm smack against his ass had Ryan opening eyes he couldn’t remember closing.
“Get the tea, Rye.”
Josh’s topaz colored eyes sparkled at Ryan. The demon lifted his hand, running gentle fingers along Ryan’s cheek, wiping away the tears straying over them.
“It’s not your fault, Rye. He will be okay. We got here in time. Just—just make some of your special brew and get your fine ass back in here as quickly as you can. I can heal his body, but you have a more delicate touch for the soul stuff.”
He could do that.
Joshua reached into the pocket of his charcoal grey suit jacket. The play of light across the back of his hand mesmerized Simeon. Josh’s lips curled up on one side as he flicked open an antique pocket watch.
Simeon craned his neck.
There were words written inside the lid.
It figured they were in German, one of the few languages he didn’t speak.
“Come on Simeon, we have to get going. I don’t want to miss watching the launch.”
What was Josh talking about?
Josh shook his head slowly, his smile kicking up a notch. He reached out with one hand to tap a hot finger against Simeon’s nose.
“Come on, luv, grab a parasol so you don’t burn your pretty nose.”
The bigger man turned away, pausing to look over his shoulder and quirk a brow at Simeon.
“You do still want to see the Zepplin launch, don’t you? I had to give up an entire week to my father to garner tickets to this luv, so let’s not miss it, shall we?”
He had no idea what the other man was blathering about, but he’d do almost anything to stay close to the heat pouring off Josh’s skin. He never felt cold when Josh was close.
Simeon hurried to the door. He paused at the tall brass vase next to the portal, plucking out a red umbrella. He didn’t own a parasol, but figured this would do in a pinch.
Josh held the door open; something wicked in the grin he bestowed on Simeon.
“Better grab the binoculars too, my sweet. We wouldn’t want to miss catching sight of Rye fluttering about.”
Simeon nodded yet again, starting to feel a bit like a bobble-head. Yes, that was what those silly dolls were called. He’d seen them on the film about the museum where things came to life. He liked that one nearly as much as Elf.
Josh’s voice broke through his musings.
“Stay focused Simeon. I need you to stay with us, luv. We’ll get you warm in no time.”
The umbrella’s handle grew soft in his hand. Simeon whimpered. Sunlight stabbed down at him, bright but cold. That was wrong. Sunlight should be warm.
“Rye, get in here. He’s going into shock. I think this is going to take both of us.”
Another voice sounded behind Simeon, this one …well, it sounded like butterscotch tasted, smooth and golden, sweet and slightly burnt. Not charred, but…heated.
“Josh, the tea’s nearly ready. I need a few minutes more. Do what you have to, and I’ll square it with JC, okay?”
Simeon listened for the answer. He quailed away from the cold, surging forward into Joshua’s fiery embrace. Long, lean arms closed around Simeon, and he was flying.
Simeon opened his eyes.
“I’m sorry we missed the Zepplin launch, Josh. Will your father still make you pay? It’s my fault, I know—if you want, I’ll pay in your stead.”
Josh sucked in a sharp breath. He spoke quickly, words rushing out of his mouth so fast they tumbled over the tops of each other.
“No. No, Simeon, I can’t let you pay. Not ever. I don’t mind missing the launch. We’ll see another one, luv. Later, when you’re well.”
Simeon shook. A wave of cold swept over him, and he closed his eyes again.
His own voice sounded far away and weak to Simeon.
“Shh. Yes, luv, I promise.”
Simeon snuggled deeper into the warmth surrounding him.
“Jus’ ‘nother minute.”
A hard hand clamped down on his left hip, pulling him into full contact with the heated form at his back.
The deep, rich voice he recalled from earlier fell like liquid sunshine against Simeon’s ears. He shivered, an electric prickle sweeping across his skin.
“You see, Rye? I told you it needed the both of us.”
The other voice spoke from in front of Simeon. A second, equally strong hand gripped Simeon’s hip, just above the first. His leg was lifted, and a muscular, hair roughened thigh pressed between his. Amusement laced the hypnotic tones of the man’s lilting voice.
“Yes, yes, Josh. You’re right again. Be a love and give me a sip of the tea so I can feed it to him.”
Simeon heard a muffled clink, followed by a slurping sound, then blazing hot lips were pressed to his. He pressed forward, his mouth opening under the gentle pressure exerted against it. The voice behind him sounded right against his ear.
“Get ready to swallow Simeon. Rye is giving you a sip of his special tea. Nasty stuff, but it’ll help you feel better.”
Laughter echoed in the voice.
Warm liquid poured into Simeon’s mouth.
This was ambrosia.
It tasted like the tea Simeon had once when—
He opened his eyes, swallowing the delicious sweet and salty fluid in his mouth.
Simeon’s mouth opened again.
“You’re an angel.”
He blinked at the being in front of him.
Feathery softness brushed his cheek. Simeon turned his head, breaking eye contact with the angel. Arching above him in a sheltering arc were two huge wings. One pure white, the other so black hints of blue gleamed iridescently along the curve. Simeon reached up, running wondering fingers over both.
“Angels? What are angels doing in my bed?”
A sharp crack of laughter boomed out behind Simeon. The callused hand at his hip ran up his side, over his shoulder and around his neck. Long fingers curled around his chin, pulling him further around. Simeon looked into the eyes he’d yet to properly capture in a drawing.
“Oh, Sweetness, I’m no angel.”
Simeon’s heart hammered in his chest.
He feasted his eyes on the most wickedly beautiful face he’d ever beheld.
No. This was no angel.
A hand reached over his shoulder to smack the speaker sharply on his shoulder, just where a star shaped tattoo graced it. Simeon wanted to lick that tattoo. His mouth watered.
“Ow! Dammit, Rye, I’ll ask JC to revoke your angel status myself if you keep beating me!”
Husky laughter answered that outburst.
Simeon leaned closer, wiggling around to fully face the black winged creature.
“W-what are you? You look like…a dangerous angel.”
A burning, knowing smile insinuated itself on the beings face.
“I’m an incubus my pet. Part angel, part demon.”
Simeon swallowed rapidly.
“That explains the dreams then.”
Fingers ran up Simeon’s spine. A soft kiss brushed the nape of his neck.
“Joshua, stop trying to frighten Simeon out of falling in love with you. He won’t be able to help doing so any more than I could, and speaking from experience, life is a whole lot more pleasant when you don’t.”
Joshua’s eyes flared, filling with flashes of yellow.
He turned them back to Simeon, and the little ice elemental thought he might faint again.
The incredible heat in Josh’s eyes washed over Simeon. Plunged suddenly into the molten river of need pouring from the incubus’s eyes, Simeon gasped for air. His lungs immediately felt scorched. A frightened wail escaped him.
“Tone it down, Joshua. You’re going to kill him if you bring the heat up that fast.”
Cool tones slid across Simeon’s skin, easing the stinging sensation that had so quickly overwhelmed him. A soft white wing brushed his side. Goosebumps broke out over his whole body. The ferocious heat gentled to soothing warmth.
Simeon reached up across himself to pet the pure white wing draped over his side.
A dark chuckle drew his eyes forward.
Josh smiled, the expression somehow sweet and wicked all at once. His long thick lashes screened his eyes.
“Be careful, Simeon. Nothing gets Rye going faster than stroking his wings.”
Simeon’s breath caught in the back of his throat. He wanted to bury both hands to the wrist in the brilliant white feathers that lay against his side lightly as wisps of silk. His blood pounded in his ears. Simeon could feel each beat of his heart pulsing through his body, pooling hot and heavy in his groin.
“Is…is it allowed?”
Complete silence greeted his query.
Simeon’s blood rushed from his groin to his face. His burgeoning erection wilted while his face flooded with color.
“Say something to him Rye. I know most of your brain has melted down into your cock right about now, but Simeon’s starting to look like he kicked someone’s puppy by accident.”
Simeon’s fingers touched the first feather, slipped along its length caressingly and continued as far down the length of the wing as his current position would allow.
A shaky gasp sounded behind him.
“I-ah-by the sweet Lord-yes, right there…I. Yes. Okay. T-touch me. Touch me more. Please, Simeon.”
Wicked dark eyes laughed into Simeon’s for a split second.
“Turn over, luv. Give his wings a proper pet. You’ll see what I mean.”
Turning over, he gasped at his first glimpse of Ryan. The angel’s face, transformed by the mask of pleasure encasing it, glowed with a cool white light. Josh’s voice rasped in his ear, the warm moisture of the incubus’s breath ticking Simeon’s ear.
“All that from one little pet. Imagine what he’ll look like with your cock in him, Simeon. He’ll cry out, begging you to fuck him harder every time you touch his wings. He’ll let you do anything, and thank you afterward.”
Simeon’s cock sprang to full hardness.
He sucked in a lungful of air.
A stinging bite nipped at his neck, and then Josh’s voice was whispering to him again.
“Do it. Take him.”
Josh’s hand reached over Simeon, grasped Ryan’s upper leg and drew it forward over both Simeon’s hip and his own.
Simeon looked. Josh’s fingers glistened suddenly, lube appearing from out of the air to coat them.
Josh laughed roughly.
“You mean Unholy, don’t you little elemental?”
Simeon tipped his head back. Josh’s eyes swam with some old hurt. Simeon turned his head further, kissing the underside of Josh’s jaw.
“No. I meant Holy. All things of beauty and love are holy to the Lady I worship.”
Ryan’s eyes snapped open.
“If you two don’t stop philosophizing and start fucking, I’m going to lose my mind.”
Josh quirked an eyebrow upwards.
“Well. We can’t have that happening, Rye.”
Ryan cried out. Simeon glanced down to find that Josh had two long fingers buried in the angel’s back passage. Josh held them still for a moment, and then began to stroke them in and out with slow deliberate motions. Ryan moaned, long and low, and needy. Simeon shook. His cock was bursting with blood, droplets of pre-come leaking from the tip. His balls were snugged up hard and tight against his body. Simeon blew out a shaking breath, concentrating on not coming.
“Josh, now, I need Simeon now. I’m stretched enough. I need him in me.”
Josh pulled his fingers out.
Simeon fit the head of his cock to Ryan’s loosened hole. This was the best dream he’d ever had.
A velvety black wing spread over his side as he pressed inch by inch into Ryan’s tight passage.
“You’re not dreaming this time, Simeon.”
Joshua reached for Simeon. The ice elemental’s skin felt pleasingly cool to his hot hands, drawing him back again and again to touch. He wanted to let the smaller man concentrate on fucking Ryan.
The soothing feeling of the other man’s silky skin wicking away the infernal heat that burned within him night and day—
The feeling was addictive.
A buzzing noise startled Joshua out of his contemplation of how very sexy he found Simeon, and how badly he craved the small man.
Only two people had his private number, and the only one he really wanted to communicate with was currently being fingered thoroughly in preparation for Simeon’s first time fucking him.
The other being who had the number was Josh’s dad.
There was no way this could be good. Josh rolled to his other side, snagging his cell from the nightstand. He shook his head in bemusement. Rye must have put it there when he brought the tea in. Just in case. And of course, the devil himself was taking advantage of that.
The phone chirped again as his hand touched it.
His dad hated texting.
Said it was soulless.
Josh braced himself, and pulled up the text.
“Well, son, if you can’t be bothered to answer your phone, you can find these items for me. I heard your boy offer to pay in your stead. You have 24hrs to complete my scavenger hunt, or I’ll take him up on his offer. I think a brief stay in Hell might warm your little iceman right up. –Dad”
Josh scrolled down and found the list.
2. a genie
4.relic or treasure hunter
2. a genie
4.relic or treasure hunter
What the fuck? How did the old man expect him to bring an earthquake back? Charon would be easy. Dad didn’t know the boatman had a soft spot for Rye. Um. Genie’s didn’t exist. Rye might know a way around that one though. Throwing knives were easy. Relic? What was dad up to? The relic was the key to this whole list, Josh could feel that in his gut.
A moan behind him had Josh snapping his head around to see exactly what he was missing.
That was hot.
Simeon had rolled to his back, spread Rye out over top of himself, and was stroking the pretty angel’s soft white wings as he fucked up into Rye’s tight depths. Josh groaned. Dammit, he’d missed the beginning due to dear old dad’s lousy timing. He was so going to add that to the ginormus list of shit Dad owed him for.
Ryan moaned, fluttering his wings over his back before stretching them out. The tip of one wing brushed against Joshua’s face. The cool brush of Rye’s feathers against his face radiated through Josh until it reached his center.
Dear God, he loved his angel. And now they had their perfect third. Josh scooted close again, pressing himself against Simeon’s side.
“Turn on your side, Simeon. That way I can have you while you have Rye.”
Simeon shivered as the low rough tone of Joshua’s voice slid into his ears. The vibrations rolled against the elemental’s skin in a warm rush of sound. Another layer of comforting warmth wrapped around Simeon. He gasped, unaccustomed to the deluge of sensation, hips jerking upward as his level of pleasure ramped up another notch. Ryan fluttered his wings against Simeon’s hands.
“Just like that. Oh. Yes.”
Ryan’s voice broke off into another wordless murmur. Then, apparently in response to Joshua’s statement about wanting Simeon on his side, Ryan folded the wing furthest from Joshua against his back, insinuated one strong arm under Simeon’s back with fingers splayed between the elemental’s shoulder blades, and grasped Simeon’s jaw with the other hand.
Ryan kissed Simeon. And while he sweetly poured what felt like an eon’s worth of feeling into the press of lips, he rolled to his side. Joshua’s hands grasped Simeon’s hip, lifting and pushing at the same moment. The whole movement, slick, sure and so very synchronized, gave birth to a niggling doubt in Simeon’s head.
Had they done this before?
Found some other lonely fool, whispered charming lies until they got the man naked, and plundered his flesh thoroughly before leaving him behind like a discarded toy?
A frisson of cold slid up Simeon’s spine. His gut clenched, the muscles at his center winding tighter and tighter as they attempted to draw away from the bleak, frozen despair of that thought. Joshua’s grip on his hip tightened.
“Simeon? What’s going on in that head of yours? I sweartagod—”
Ryan pulled back abruptly.
“Josh! You have got to stop using JC and his dad’s names in vain. How many times do I have to tell you?”
The air around Simeon crackled with tension. He felt hot waves of feeling beating at his back.
“Rye, we are not getting into that right now. Got it? The more important issue here is the way every muscle in Simeon’s back just tightened down so far it’s a wonder you can’t hear his bones creaking in protest.”
Ryan’s tiny frown and pursed lips softened as he turned his eyes from looking over Simeon’s shoulder to stare straight at the smaller man.
“Simeon? Are you okay? Do you need some more tea? A blanket?”
The angel’s hands moved as he spoke, one pressing even more firmly against Simeon’s back, fingers caressing the cool, pale skin beneath them. The other hand roamed up and down Simeon’s side. Simeon looked into Ryan’s eyes. Their silvery hazel depths beckoned him. Searching diligently, Simeon found no hint of malice in the warmth they offered him.
“I-I just. You were so smooth. When you moved me. Like you’d done it before. It—”
A harsh noise sounded behind Simeon. Like gravel on glass, the noise scraped across Simeon’s nerves, abrading them.
“He thinks we’re using him.”
The hand on his hip clutched him hard enough to bruise. With a snapping sound, a huge velvety wing curved up over Simeon. He was instantly enclosed in a magical cavern. The wing covered Ryan as well. Simeon turned his head up, reached up to touch the enticing surface of Joshua’s wing.
The texture, color and size of Josh’s wing was very different from the sleek, feathered appendages of purest white that Ryan sported. Joshua’s was more like something a bat would sport, softest leather covered in a thick layer of velvet. Simeon rubbed his fingertips over the rich texture, marveling at the color. The brown was dark enough to be mistaken for black at a quick glance.
“Never, little frost man, never. Rye and I just—things are easy with you. You fit us.”
A bitter taste filled Ryan’s mouth. Jagged disappointment unfurled in his chest. Without Simeon he and Joshua would soon fall apart. The prospect of eternity with neither man at his side was—unfathomable.
Ryan closed his eyes.
He couldn’t allow such a terrible thing to come to pass.
Pulling his arm out from underneath Simeon, Ryan brought both hands to frame the smaller man’s face. Simeon’s eyes turned to him, wide and wary, the pupils blown open so far they nearly swallowed all trace of color. Ryan drew upon every angelic power he possessed to infuse his words with an unquestionable stamp of believability.
“Simeon. We—Josh and I? We’ve been waiting for you. You’re the glue that holds us together. I know you may not see time the same way that we do. Elementals are sort of outside time, aren’t you? We haven’t had anyone else, not ever.”
Here his voice broke. Ryan pulled in a sharp breath before continuing. The sound of his words was lower now, tattered and rough.
“Please Simeon. Give us a chance.”
Over Simeon’s shoulder Ryan could see Joshua’s face go slack for an instant before his brows drew together in a fierce frown.
“Stop it Rye. Don’t you ever beg. Not me, not even Simeon. You’re too good to beg anyone for anything. He-you. I. Damn it—”
A buzzing noise interrupted.
Ryan knew that ringtone.
He shuddered, then extended his upper wing again, enfolding Simeon in it.
“Go on Josh. Answer it. He’ll get angry if you ignore him.”
Simeon’s forehead crinkled up, and his eyes squinted slightly. Josh folded the soft velvet of his wing against his back, and Simeon made a barely perceptible noise of distress. Josh exhaled shakily.
“Yeah. About that. Dad heard Simeon volunteer to take my place earlier. And he says if I don’t find the stuff on this crazy list he sent earlier he’s gonna call his marker in. I can’t stop him Rye.”
Joshua’s gold and amber eyes pleaded for understanding. There was no other word for it. Ryan gasped.
“No, Josh. He’d never survive.”
Ryan folded his wing more tightly around Simeon.
“No, Josh. We have to find the things for his list. Show us.”
Josh held his phone out to Ryan. The incubus’s hand trembled just before Ryan grasped the phone. Ryan set the device down and the latched onto Joshua’s hand. He caressed the silky skin at the base of Joshua’s wrist, and then pressed the other eternal’s hand back against Simeon’s hip, placing his own over the top.
“Together, Josh. We’ll keep him safe whatever it takes, and he’ll hold us together. The three of us were destined by the Fates. Nothing can change that. It’ll be okay. I promise.”
Simeon reached up, placing his hand over both of theirs.
“I haven’t got a single clue what either of you is talking about. Could someone kindly let me in on what in the world is going on?”
Shock punched Ryan square in the chest. Josh made a choked noise. Ryan looked at Simeon, took in his faintly annoyed expression, then raised his eyes to lock gazes with Joshua. There was a beat of silence.
Then laughter boomed through the room. Ryan tried to speak, choked on his own spit, and then gave up and lay shaking, tears streaming down his face, holding an equally incoherent Simeon in one arm and Josh in the other. After several minutes they all wound down sufficiennty to be able to draw breath without immediately bursting back into raucous laughter. Ryan wiped his eyes.
“Simeon, Josh’s dad did hear you. And he wants us…no, he wants Josh, to come to Hell for a while. He’s told Josh that the only way he can get out of you having to go there in his stead is to gather the things he’s put onto an impossible scavenger hunt list, or…and he didn’t say this part, but he told Josh once that he’ll always accept his son’s unconditional return to Hell. Forever.”
Josh wiped his head back and forth, not so much in negation, but more in a shamed display of anguish. Simeon’s jaw dropped. What kind of father?
“You mean—Lucifer is Josh’s father?”
Ryan braced himself for Simeon’s rejection. He was the only one who’d ever dealt well with Josh being Satan’s son. Ryan wasn’t sure that a virginal, extremely sheltered frost elemental would be able to deal with the implications without painting Josh with the same tarnished reputation his father struggled with. In Ryan’s opinion, Lucifer actually wasn’t that bad a guy. He’d had a big disagreement with the big guy, and then everyone started treating him like shit. No one had ever listened to his side of things.
It was understandable that he was a might short tempered after all this time. Even J.C. lost his cool on occasion, but the big guy never got pissed about that. And really, where was the fairness in that?
Simeon’s eyes were huge, and his face had gone just as pale as in the seconds before he fainted. Ryan shook him, lightly, and spoke sharply.
“Simeon. Simeon, Josh is still the same guy. He’s good. He’s honorable. And I love him.”
Josh made a soft, pained sound. He turned into Ryan, burying his face in the crook of the angel’s neck, with his clean shaven face turned into the broad curve of Ryan’s white feathered wings. Simeon made an inarticulate squeeking sound somewhere between a scared mouse fleeing an owl’s outstretched talons and an angry babe demanding a mother’s attention.
Simeon cleared his throat and tried again.
“I never said he changed Ryan. Who have you two been spending time with that you’d assume I was going to think so badly of him?”
Simeon shook his head, bewilderment clear on his face. Ryan reached forward, his hand settling as lightly as the kiss of an angel’s wing on the upturned face of the mortal they guarded. He marveled at the sight. He’d never seen anyone touch Josh so reverently except him. Josh quivered against him. Simeon’s fingers trembled discernibly as he smoothed them down over Josh’s shoulder.
Ryan’s skin prickled. He glanced up quickly, amazement turning his insides to liquid gold. The sunshine of the presence before him soothed him. He drew in a shaking breath. Everything would be fine now. He knew his friend couldn’t take sides, but to have his support this way?
“Josh, Simeon. I’d like you to meet my friend, J.C.”
Simeon looked up, and his heart melted. The most beautiful being he’d ever seen stood at the foot of their bed, his arms outstretched in what could only be a benediction.
“Give him to me.”
Ryan’s mouth dropped open.
Simeon’s brow crinkled.
Did he…could he mean Josh? If this being was who Simeon thought he was, then surely this went against some sort of protocol.
“Ah, and who might you be, sir? I mean, I think I know who you are, but…you aren’t going to punish him are you? Take me instead, please. I think maybe Josh has been hurt enough already.”
The being turned burning eyes, every color of the sky on Simeon, and suddenly the little frost elemental who had never been warm enough was burning alive. A voice whispered in his mind, and the whisper was as the roaring of canons and lions. The thunder of Heaven itself rolled in the small confine of Simeon’s mind and he froze, suspended above the vastness of eternity.
“You would take his pain, Simeon of the Elementals, daughter of my mother?”
“Yes, sir, I would.”
The eyes bore into Simeon a moment, an eternity longer, and then in a flash of laughter softer than springs first shoot unfurling to the warming sun a laugh wrapped round the three on the bed, tying then inexorably together with visible strands of gold.
“So be it, Simeon of the Elementals. You shall be bound to these two troublemakers, and they shall bear your pain and joy as you bear theirs.”
Something warm, unbearably sweet and full and endless opened in Simeon’s chest. The painful stretch as his soul filled to overflowing with beauty and love brought tears to Simeon’s eyes. Josh gasped, his eyes wild and filled with fear.
“Oh, J.C., what have you done? Now both our fathers have claim on him.”
J.C. smiled, an enigmatic curl of his plush lips over his wide mouth.
“Yes, Josh. I know. And he is too pure, too beautiful for us to allow either one of them to sully his hearth, isn’t he?”
He shimmered then, before fading slowing into the ether. Simeon was sure then just whom he’d been talking to.
“Er, guys, I’m pretty sure I know who that was…but what did he just do to us?”
Ryan answered in a shaking, awestruck voice.
“Yeah, Simeon, that was the son of God. And he just bound the three of us tighter than Josh and I ever could have, and in doing so bound you forever to both Heaven and Hell.”
Simeon’s body hummed with more power than he’d ever felt before. JC had poured sunshine and—something warm, sweeter than a whole package of Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls, and as energizing as a triple shot cappuccino—through the three of them. The little frost elemental licked his lips nervously.
“Just what exactly what does being tied to both Heaven and Hell entail?”
Josh sat up. Stretching out a well-muscled arm to reach around Simeon, he scooped the smaller man towards the cozy knot he and Ryan had tangled their limbs up in.
“Come here baby. I want you touching both of us while we tell you what we know, and we can all try to figure out a decent answer to that question.”
Simeon allowed Josh to manhandle him into the central position. Plastered against Ryan, with Josh pressed firmly against his backside Simeon sighed in contentment. He felt like the sugar-high-happy-filling of a celestial two-toned-shortbread cookie. Devil’s food flavor on one side, Angel cake on the other with a very happy little cream filled peppermint cool center. Hmm. Now there was a thought. He could try to make some of those when they got this whole linked to Heaven and Hell/Scavenger hunt for Satan thing figured out.
Josh cleared his throat.
“First of all I think we’d better make a list of all the things we need to get for the scavenger hunt and make sure we all have copies in case we need to separate.”
A wimpy little whining noise escaped Simeon.
“We—ah, we should probably stick together. I know I’d feel a lot better if we did.”
Ryan placed a soft kiss on Simeon’s forehead. As he began to speak, the deep rumble of his voice sent vibrations through Simeon.
“Josh, I’m with Simeon on this one. I think we need to stick together no matter what.”
Josh’s arms tightened around Simeon until the smaller man squeaked in distress. Ryan spoke over Simeon’s shoulder.
“Josh, please don’t break Simeon’s ribs. Aside from just being a very bad idea on general principle, it would seriously slow down our progress toward the goal of becoming the celestial triad with the highest number of joint orgasms.”
He tilted his head back to stare in shock at Ryan. The big angel gave him a conspiratorial wink. Simeon’s fledgling kernel of anger subsided at the sweetly inclusive gesture. A snicker escaped him.
“Oh, for sure. I don’t think I could—’
Simeon blushed, the tips of his pointed ears growing hot. His face was surely cherry red. He ducked forward and buried his face in Ryan’s chest.
Josh eased his grip.
“Okay, okay. Point taken.”
Simeon continued to hide his face. How did they just talk about such things with the same ease he would exhibit when talking about his latest baking project? Sheesh. He could only hope discussing their sex life was either something he got used to or that he got over this crippling shyness fairly soon. There was no way the two gorgeous men currently in bed with him would stay interested in someone who had no practical in “doing it”. Just thinking those words increased the heat in his face by several degrees. He didn’t want them to get bored with him.
“I like doing it.”